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It seems like well more than a week since I sat down to write before the storm. So much has happened since then. Since I can’t possibly say it enough, I am going to once again offer a huge thank you to the members of the Campus Operations staff who worked around the clock for days to make this campus passable and safe as quickly as possible. Thanks also to the folks from Public Safety, Residential Life, Chartwells and others who were on campus or on call all weekend. Your efforts to keep our students safe and cared for are greatly appreciated. If you haven’t already seen the thank-you video put together by the Marketing and Communications Division, check it out here.
Throughout the weekend and this past week, I have heard many heartwarming stories of students, staff and even strangers helping out and offering a random act of kindness. I want to share one or two:
Jeff Barrett of Public Safety shared that student Stephan White approached him earlier this week during the early stages of cleanup in the North lot. While Stephan had already cleared his vehicle earlier in the day, he returned and asked if he could help others dig out. Jeff took him up on his generous offer and the two of them helped 15 to 20 students free their cars.
I have also heard that many of you were out and about in Bridgeport and Fairfield helping our friends and neighbors dig out and rescuing motorists around the area who had gotten stuck. Even the parents in our community got in on the act. One dad who came to campus to help his daughter shovel her car out stuck around to assist with a half dozen other vehicles. Although I have come to expect nothing less from this very special community, it is heartwarming to hear about our unsung heroes. Thanks to you all for the way you represent the spirit and mission of SHU.
I’m not sure if this is related to the storm and all the updates we sent out via social media, but I’m told that the SHU Facebook page now has more than 10,000 “likes” and that we are just double digits away from more than 3,000 Twitter followers.
For the past 18 months, more than 100 members of the Sacred Heart community have been preparing for the upcoming visit from the NEASC accreditation team. The process requires rigorous preparation and input from all departments and programs. Congratulations to Brittany Burger who was last week’s winner in our NEASC trivia contest. Don’t forget to send in your answer to this week’s question. You could win a $20 SHU bookstore gift card.
I want to encourage you to come to the Chapel at 7 this evening for the “Living Stations of the Cross.” This dramatic presentation was written and directed by student Vincent Ebenau (yes, the same one you see interviewing me for SHUBox each month) and will be performed by a cast of SHU students. It should be the perfect way to prepare yourself for the holy season of Lent.
Next Wednesday afternoon, SHU will offer its own version of TED Talks. Sponsored by the Hersher Institue for Applied Ethics, the program will feature SHU professors from a variety of disciplines talking about some fascinating food-related topics. Examples include Steve Lilley on “Free Range Humans,” Andrew Pierce on “Disgusting Food” and Beau Greer on “Foie Gras: Delicacy and Distraction,” but there is much more. The program is slated for 1:50 to 3:50 in the Schine Auditorium, and I encourage faculty to attend. Congratulations to Mike Ventimiglia, who co-directs the Hersher Institute, on an innovative and exciting program.
Wednesday also brings the first of four lectures that comprise our colloquia series entitled “Reflecting on the Sandy Hook Tragedy.” The topic of the first lecture will be “Trauma and Mental Health: Implications of the Sandy Hook Shooting.” David Johnson and Hadar Lubin from the Post-Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven will address two important issues – the impact of trauma on both the individual and the community and the relationship between mental illness and violent actions. SHU Professor Michelle Loris will facilitate the discussion.
It’s Siblings Weekend, and I hope all our students will have a great time with their brothers and sisters. Enjoy!
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It’s February already. After the cold and windy weather we’ve been experiencing, I’m hoping that Punxsutawney Phil does not get scared by his shadow tomorrow morning.
This week, I want to talk about NEASC Standard Five, which is Faculty. This standard gives us the opportunity to share with NEASC the strength of our faculty and to highlight their role as educators. As a university that places a high priority on the teaching and learning process, I am proud to have faculty who invite our students into their research and also support the research of students (as can be seen each spring at our annual undergraduate poster session).
The NEASC team will look at the Academic Program Reviews for each of our colleges. These are self- evaluations that are completed every five years. It’s a time for the colleges to determine if any programs should be discontinued and where there is opportunity for expansion.
The dedication, enthusiasm and preparedness of our faculty allow this University to thrive and to continually meet the diverse needs of our students.
Don’t forget to answer our NEASC trivia question. You could be the winner of a $20 SHU Bookstore gift card!
While I’m on the subject of our distinguished faculty, there are more kudos in order for this week. First, I want to congratulate our authors from the College of Arts and Sciences. Lori Bindig, Richard Grigg, Michael Higgins, Christopher Kelly, Stephen Lilley, Jason Molitierno, Gary Rose and Jonas Zdanys were all honored at a reception this week for their recent publications. Their books cover a wide range of topics. There is definitely something for everyone!
I also want to congratulate Seamus Carey, who has been selected to participate in the 2013–2014 Executive Leadership Academy, cosponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Academic Leadership Institute. The year-long program prepares experienced administrators for future leadership roles. The program is a big commitment, and we appreciate Seamus’ desire to develop additional knowledge and skills that will benefit this University.
Finally, a tip of the hat to Ralph Lim, professor of Economics & Finance, for taking third place in the Stamford CFA Society’s Forecast contest. I’m putting him on speed dial for all my financial decisions!
The Newtown t-shirt, with proceeds going to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial Scholarship Fund, can now be purchased online. You can order them at www.wearenewtownshirt.com. The Newtown shirt is the first of many original and exciting shirts to be produced by our new student-run t-shirt business. Proceeds from future shirts will be used to support our student mission trips.
The annual Pack the Pitt event on Saturday was a big success with a packed – and very loud – gymnasium that led to victories by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. A highlight for me was the chance to chat with our enthusiastic band members as well as some special guests – high school students who are interested in both Sacred Heart and the band program. They joined our band in rallying the crowd with some spirited hand-clapping, foot-stomping selections.
We were fortunate this week to have University of Notre Dame Professor of Organ and Artist in Residence Craig Cramer on campus. The combination of his incredible talent and the organ and acoustics in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit led to a breathtaking evening of music.
Tonight is the first installment of a three-part trivia contest featuring teams made up of faculty and staff. I’m looking forward to checking out the talent and finding out if there is anyone my student-led team couldn’t wipe the floor with! Good luck to everyone and have fun!
What better way to get psyched up for the Super Bowl than with an evening of Polish music? In all seriousness, Saturday’s concert in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit features three extremely talented artists on voice, piano and cello. I encourage you to attend.
Have a great weekend. Enjoy the game. Don’t eat too many chicken wings!
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Last week, I began sharing the 11 standards that the NEASC accreditation team will look at when they visit in April. This week, I want to tell you about Standard 4, the Academic Programs standard. I am particularly proud that at Sacred Heart, learning takes place anywhere and everywhere – not just in the classroom. The SHU Square website that complements the First-Year Seminar is one example, but as I travel the campus, I see engaged learning taking place in the library, in the dining halls, in the residence halls with our Living and Learning Communities and even on the lawn…on days a bit warmer than today.
When we respond to the Academic Programs standard, we will describe and assess our academic programs and project our future growth. For example, when we went through this process 10 years ago, we were getting ready to introduce the doctorate in physical therapy. In this report, we are introducing the nurse practitioner doctorate, along with future plans for additional doctoral programs. In the same vein, we offered just 10 master’s programs 10 years ago; now we have 24.
The exciting thing about this process – and this standard in particular – is that it gives us a chance to reflect on the success of our programs and to focus on the future opportunities we have to respond to the growing needs of our students and the marketplace.
Our NEASC contest begins next week, so watch for an email with your first opportunity to win a $10 gift card to the SHU bookstore.
This has been an exciting week at Sacred Heart with lots of good news to share. Congratulations go out to Don Cook, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, on his election to the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame. Don is one of three inductees this year and is more than deserving.
Congratulations also are in order for several students. Alyssa Papachristos’ illustration, "Frog," was accepted into the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles WEST 51 national juried competition, and clarinet player Lora Streett, bass clarinet player Nate Tallo and tuba player Mike Tomanelli have all been named to the New England Intercollegiate band. This honors band gives students an extraordinary opportunity to perform in a college ensemble with peers of the highest caliber. Kudos to all.
Sacred Heart has received its fourth consecutive Gold Award from the Business Council of Fairfield County. The award goes to employers that are successful in promoting a healthy workplace. Congratulations and thank you to Rob Hardy and Sally Schettino of Human Resources, who have done an outstanding job developing the University’s Health and Wellness program.
A tip of the hat (or maybe a stomp of the feet is more appropriate) to Scott Aliberti on the success of last weekend’s Performing for the Angels of Sandy Hook fundraiser. A total of $2,067.03 was raised in donations at the door, and more than $500 in additional funds came from the sale of the Newtown t-shirts. Totals from online donations are still being determined.
Similarly, the Aunt Terry Foundation recently raised $5,000 at a fundraiser for SHU’s Horizons Program. The Foundation is run by attorney Victoria Ferrara and our own Michelle Loris and was founded in memory of long-time educator Theresa Martinez. The foundation’s goal is to serve children and the elderly. The event was a concert featuring Vicki’s Dini Band.
Ernie Anastos was on campus Tuesday to meet with our communications students and faculty. Ernie, a longtime journalist, freely shared his experiences and advice in his upbeat “positively Ernie” style. It was great to see him, and we appreciate his taking time out of his hectic schedule for our students.
The penchant for giving back to the community is not limited to SHU students, faculty and staff, but also includes our high school Upward Bound students. On Saturday, the students will be down the street at St. John’s Church where they will package and distribute food for the homeless and organize clothes that were donated by themselves and others. They participated in a similar event in early December.
The grand opening of the student-run Walnut Beach Creamery took place Wednesday evening at Roncalli Hall. Leave it to us to open an ice cream shop on the coldest day in seven years! Despite that, the shop was crowded, and the ice cream was delicious. Stop by and try some of the great SHU-themed flavors! The shop is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.
If you are looking for something to do in a weekend when there is no football to watch on TV, there are a number of great events happening on campus. Tomorrow is Pack the Pitt with the women’s game at 4 p.m. and the tipoff for the men at 7. If you are more into the arts, check out Craig Cramer, University of Notre Dame organ professor and artist-in-residence, who will perform in the chapel Saturday evening. Or head over to the Edgerton for Theatrefest, which features plays written, directed and performed by SHU students and a performance by the Awkward Handshakes improv group. That show takes place both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Whatever you do, stay warm and have a fun!
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I want to start with a big welcome
back to the students and faculty and a welcome to new transfer and graduate
students. We are glad to have you as part of the Sacred Heart family. I wish everyone
a successful and rewarding semester with just the right balance of work and
Meteorologically, we got just enough snow on Wednesday to make for a messy commute, but it also gave the campus a clean winter look – just right for January!
Initial sales of the “We are Newtown” T-shirts I wrote about last week have been extremely positive, and it looks like a second printing will be needed. The shirts are available for $20 in the SHU Bookstore and are a joint venture by the Art & Design Department, the Welch College of Business, the Marketing and Communications Division and the University. All proceeds go to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial Scholarship Fund.
I enjoyed the Dueling Pianos event at Red’s last night. It was a nice venue for that kind of entertainment, and the music was great! It was wonderful to see such a good turnout. Hopefully it will be the beginning of many such programs.
I want to remind our full-time undergraduates that we are still hoping for a good response to the Princeton Review’s Undergraduate Survey. This is your opportunity to share your thoughts on SHU with prospective students and their parents. Be sure to stop by the Undergraduate Admission Lobby in Curtis Hall with your printed thank-you page, so that you are eligible for Sacred Heart’s survey raffle as well as the one offered by the Princeton Review. You can access the survey here.
Last week, I mentioned that we are preparing for an accreditation visit from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in April. In fact, 11 committees made up of students, faculty and staff have been focusing for the past two years on the 11 standards that the accreditation team will look at when they are here. One of those standards is Mission. The committee’s preparation for the review also provides an opportunity for us to recommit to the core mission and values that make this University such a special place.
For example, our mission statement talks a lot about service, social responsibility and making contributions to the human community. We will be extremely proud to tell our visitors that we donated 52,000 hours of community service last year and are well on our way to matching – or exceeding – that number this year.
In the weeks between now and the NEASC visit, we will continue to update you on the process – through this blog and our website. We will even have a weekly NEASC-related trivia contest for a gift card to the SHU bookstore. Stay tuned.
With the Golden Globe winners announced last weekend and the Oscars rapidly approaching, I have been trying to see some of the movies that have been receiving so much acclaim. I recently saw Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. They were both based on history, and they were both excellent. I was especially struck by the underlying philosophical approach to human dignity underscored in the story of Lincoln’s final months in office. It was particularly outstanding considering that in those times it was unfashionable to speak for human rights, especially those of black men and women. It’s a good reminder that we all should be willing to take a risk for justice and for what is morally right.
For students who would like to get out and see some of the great movies that are playing right now, the Oakview shuttle bus is available to take you to the Trumbull theaters any day after 5 p.m. Just hop on and let the driver know you want to go to the movies and what time you need to be picked up afterwards. You can also purchase $7 movie tickets in the Student Life Office.
I want to remind you of the “Performing for the Angels of Sandy Hook” benefit here on campus Saturday evening. It will feature performances by our own students and professional dancers from New York City’s Broadway Dance Center. There is no charge for the event, but attendees are asked to donate to the Newtown Scholarship Fund’s newly established Sandy Hook Elementary School Memorial Scholarship Fund. Please support Scott Aliberti who has worked hard to put this show together and Julie Savino who is president of the Newtown Scholarship Fund.
Have a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!
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We are gearing up for an accreditation visit from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). NEASC provides accreditation services for more than 2,000 public and private institutions in the six-state region – pre-K through university. NEASC accreditation uses self-reflection, peer review and best practices as integral components of its assessment process. Their team will be here in April, and we will be telling you more about the process and how you can help in the coming weeks.
Have a great weekend!
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