Hundreds of Brookdale faculty, staff and administrators came together on May 12 for a day of personal enrichment, professional development and communal growth during the college’s annual Scholars Day program.
Co-chaired by psychology professor David Wiseman and biology instructional assistant Kristen Petersen, the program allowed members of the college community to attend a series of employee-hosted workshops on a wide variety of subjects, held throughout the day in Larrison and Gorman halls.
From Sara Barnett’s workshop on effective teaching strategies, titled “Secret Weapons and Hidden Gems,” to Dinneen Jackson’s presentation on the dangers of environmental toxins, this year’s breakout sessions were as inspiring and diverse as the employees who hosted them.
Associate anthropology professor Barbara Jones and assistant English professor Margaret Natter co-hosted a breakout session describing the success of the new learning community they developed to support students in Anthropology 205, which at the time had a completion rate of only 57 percent.
Natter and Jones worked to create a curriculum for Natter’s English 122 course which would support the research and writing demands of the 200-level anthropology course. After only one semester, they said, the completion rate jumped from 57 percent to 100 percent.
Other presentations focused on classroom technology, like Jonathan Shaloum and Norah Kerr-McCurry’s presentation on creating video podcasts and William Burns’ workshop on the Innovation Center, which plans to open a “sandbox” in MAC 121 that will allow faculty to discover new tech-enable teaching strategies on their own time.
View the full Scholars Day 2016 program here.
The program began with keynote address by Dr. Matthew Reed, who said he was looking forward to experiencing his first Scholars Day as Brookdale’s vice president for learning.
“Scholars Day is a wonderful idea, because it puts all the administrivia to the side and gets us back to what the college actually is,” Reed said. “It is a collegium of scholars, it is a group of colleagues, a group of equals who are united by the shared love of knowledge. And I am excited to see that shared love of knowledge today.”
The kickoff also featured keynote speeches by psychology professor Elaine Olaoye, interim testing services manager William DeVoe and college store accounts payable specialist Helen Vota, each of whom explained what excites them about starting a new academic year.
Quoting from an essay submitted by one of her former students, Olaoye said all Brookdale employees are united in their passion and appreciation for the power of education.
“Learning is a mountain, climb it,” she said. “Learning is a process; engage it. Learning is a mirror; find your reflection in it. Learning is a seed; it will grow if you let it. Learning is a vehicle; drive it. Learning is forever; enjoy it. Learning is power; share it. Learning is a hug; love it.”
Wiseman also took time out from the ceremony to recognize beloved former employees and regular Scholars Day contributors Marianne Drake and Michael Folwer, who passed away this year.
“Marianne Drake was always a joy to work with, both in terms of helping me out with classes and with Scholar’s Day,” Wiseman said. “And Mike Fowler was a presenter every time that we had Scholars Day. I do want people to remember both of them today. I have no doubt that if they were still with us, Mike would be presenting today and Marianne would be involved as well.”
Brookdale English professor John “Jack” Ryan added that he is collecting donations for a memorial in honor of both Drake and Fowler. Community members who are interested in contributing can contact him here.
View more photos from the 2016 Scholars Day program here.