Tag Archive: Plattsburgh State


Decision for Excellence

 

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The vision statement for our School of Education, Health, and Human Services at SUNY Plattsburgh contains a goal of our graduates modeling excellence in their careers. The path to excellence is not about perfection, but about continuous improvement and striving for excellence; walking this path is a decision that conveys a chosen attitude.  Achieving excellence happens during class time, during advisement and mentoring sessions, and during opportunities for leadership training. The path to excellence has many obstacles, including mediocrity, fear/anxiety, and lack of self-discipline. Here are a few topics and quotes you can share with students to help them manage these obstacles.

Mediocrity

  • Help students define clearer short-term and long-term goals.
  • Make sure there are no mental health issues impeding motivation; ask about depression and anxiety and seek appropriate supports is necessary.
  • Ask, “In what ways are you currently accepting mediocrity in your studies?” “What is one thing you could do to overcome this?” Adapted from Randy Gage
  • Share with advisees that each semester they learn new skills to be successful, greater potential is possible for the next semester. The skills build on each other and evolve to make greater success in each new semester a possibility. Ask, “What are you doing now to develop these skills?”

Fear and Anxiety

  • The greater the distance between the “real self” and the “ideal self,” the greater the anxiety. Help students focus on acceptance of the current “self” with well-defined steps for meeting short-term goals.
  • Help students reframe some degree of fear or anxiety as a normal feeling if they are growing; we don’t grow when we are comfortable.  Discuss the difference between non-productive anxiety and productive anxiety.
  • Talk about expanding comfort zones, as described by Susan Jeffers, by “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.” Courage is the key, a great topic for discussion.
  • “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Self-Discipline

  • “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn
  • “The most valuable form of discipline is the one that you impose upon yourself. Don’t wait for things to deteriorate so drastically that someone else [or a policy] must impose discipline in your life.” Jim Rohn
  • “Self-discipline is the ability to do what you think you should be doing rather than doing something based on how you feel.” Brendan Baker
  • In our society, things happen at increasingly faster speeds with greater connectivity. A conversation about delayed gratification is important (e.g., shutting off your phone and focusing for 30 minutes, not allowing yourself to check social media or email for 30-45 minute periods when studying, etc).

There are additional obstacles students face when they have made a decision for excellence such as roommate issues, financial concerns, and family problems; however, addressing mediocrity, fear/anxiety, and self-discipline during advisement and office hours provides a clearer path to success. Help students make a decision for excellence and let them know some lessons that have been on your path. As Sheldon Kopp once remarked, we are not gurus, we all are pilgrims on this path together.

Bonus:
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EHHS Shared Values Highlighted

  • Excellence in Teaching
    • Helping Students Achieve Goals
    • Lifelong Learning/Growth

References
Image (n.d.) Retrieved on March 18, 2017 from: http://refe99.com/quotes/excellence/

Gage, R. (n.d.). Fighting mediocrity. Retrieved on March 18, 2017 from:  http://www.randygage.com/fighting-mediocrity/

Jeffers, S. (2007). Feel the fear and do it anyway: Dynamic techniques for turning fear, indecision and anger into power, action and love. Santa Monica, CA: Jeffers Press.

Kopp, S. (1980). If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him: The pilgrimage of psychotherapy patients. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books.

Rohn, J. (n.d.). The Key to Getting All You Want? Discipline. Retrieved on March 18, 2017 from: http://www.success.com/article/rohn-the-key-to-getting-all-you-want-discipline

Second Image (n.d.). Retrieved on March 18, 2017 from: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/ralphmarst104215.html

EHHS Mission, Shared Values, and Vision

mission-vision-values

Mission describes our purpose and our why;
Shared Values describe how we fulfill our mission and “provide guidelines for our choices and actions” as we fulfill our purpose; and
Vision inspires and “continues to provide guidance as goals are achieved.”
                                                                   (Blanchard & Stoner, 2011)

School of Education, Health, and Human Services (EHHS) at SUNY Plattsburgh

EHHS Mission

The School of Education, Health, and Human Services cultivates inclusive, dynamic learning environments that prepare students for professional careers to serve the diverse needs of others.

 

EHHS Shared Values

  1. Excellence in Teaching

Helping Students Achieve Goals

Lifelong Learning/Growth

  1. Professionalism

Honesty

Collaboration

Service

Appreciation

  1. Inclusion /Culturally Responsive

Respect and Empathy

Social Justice

Broad-minded

 

EHHS Vision

Our vision is to graduate ethical and culturally competent professionals who thrive in their careers and model excellence by championing the education, health and personal growth of our global citizens.

 

EHHS Shared Values Defined

The descriptors detail how the shared values are engaged with students and with colleagues in EHHS.

1. Excellence in Teaching

  • Engage students
  • Recognize and respond to students’ needs
  • Timely feedback
  • Clear expectations
  • Model passion and professionalism
  • Effective assessment tools

          Helping Students Achieve Goals

  • Reach out to struggling students
  • Challenge students to create connections, follow passions, and think critically
  • Empower students to realize goals
  • Provide real-life professional experiences

          Lifelong Learning/Growth

  • Provide students exposure to professional experts within the community
  • Participate in professional development (inclusive of student participation)
  • Create an environment in which active engagement and learning are valued, respected, and expected.
  • Inspire critical thinking that challenges the way things have always been done
  • Require applied assessment of student learning

 

2.  Professionalism

  • Demonstrate ethical decision making/behavior across all settings
  • Earn respect of students, colleagues, and area professionals
  • Positive attitude
  • Dependability
  • Be present
  • Appropriate boundaries
  • Make time to share and collaborate
  • Exhibit a strong work ethic

         Honesty

  • Follow through with our campus commitments: students, colleagues, college
  • Transparency
  • Openness about our limitations

          Collaboration

  • Draw on diverse perspectives
  • Divergent thinking
  • Creativity
  • Team-teaching

         Service

  • Service/applied learning
  • Model for students
  • Help and support for local agencies
  • Contact with the public – education and resources

         Appreciation

  • Announce achievements
  • Celebrate success
  • Make time to celebrate success in the School of EHHS

 

3.  Inclusion/Culturally Responsive

  • Culturally responsive teaching for our students
  • Self-reflection
  • Demonstrated awareness, knowledge, and skills
  • Caring attitude
  • Continued learning, challenging and changing of our attitudes
  • Courage to discuss sensitive issues and “sit with discomfort”

         Respect and Empathy

  • Demonstrate compassion to evoke potential in students and colleagues
  • Embrace diversity of opinions and perspectives
  • Listen to each other
  • Seek to understand before being understood
  • Trust
  • Communicate with the person, not about the person, when there is conflict
  • Enter into differences of opinion and conflict with respect
  • Open-mindedness
  • Share our challenges as well as our successes

         Social Justice

  • Recognize social justice issues
  • Advocate to enhance social change
  • Enhance community responsibility/social responsibility

         Broad-minded

  • Embrace multicultural perspectives
  • Evolve
  • Be non-dogmatic
  • Take a creative perspective
  • Out-of-the-box problem solving

 

References

Image (August 23,2016). Retrieved on February 25, 2017 from: http://almaaspioneer.com/category/about-us/

Blanchard, K., & Stoner, J.L. (2011). Full steam ahead: Unleash the power of vision in your work and your life (2nd ed). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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There were many moments over the past week that provided individual growth for colleagues, students, and me. While “individual” is emphasized, growth is something we often do together, especially through our relationships.

Curiosity also is a key ingredient for growth. When discussing Piaget, W.C Crain stated, “Children develop not because they are shaped through external reinforcements but because their curiosity is aroused. They become interested in information that does not quite fit into their existing cognitive structures and are thereby motivated to revise their thinking.” As professors, we know increasing curiosity with others opens the door to deeper learning.

Last week, curiosities were heightened before and during a “Teach In” that focused on social justice. We were invited to attend engaging sessions by faculty and a presentation by the keynote speaker, Dr. Jonathan Kozol, entitled, Savage Inequities: The Struggle Goes On. Some of the sessions were standing-room-only events. In a room filled beyond capacity, there were moments you could have heard a pin drop when Dr. Marco Turco was sharing Lessons From Apartheid South Africa, lessons based on his experience of living in South Africa during that time. Butterly Blaise and Dinai Robertson presented on, Intersectionality of Identity on a College Campus.  Group work around intersectionality engaged individuals from many levels of the college in conversations about assumptions and the absolute necessity of getting to know others on a deeper level. Think about this by expanding the metaphor of walking in someone else’s shoes and understanding that she/he has more than one pair of shoes. Many faculty and staff contributed to the success of the Teach In, creating a proud moment for SUNY Plattsburgh that was captured in a group picture by the pond.

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Often, it is not an overpacked room with an expert speaker who helps you see the world in a new way or even a small classroom where individual growth might be easier to achieve, rather, it is one-on-one interactions. As a student walked into my office last week asking to drop a class, my intuition told me to ask, “How are you doing?” More than an hour later, the world looked different to both of us. I had a number of individual meetings with students over the past week where deep discussions lead to new understanding, renewed motivation, and steps to obtainable goals. I came away asking how we can be more intentional about taking time to do this individual work because it is imperative to the success of many students. While advisement provides a platform for these discussions, it is not enough to meet the day-to-day needs of our students.

Growing as a community of life-long learners, where we spend the extra time to do the individual work, for us and our students, ensures a brighter future for everyone. This is a daily approach to our work that can be energizing if done mindfully. This energy can come from a place of joy.

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In The Book of Joy, a recently published book containing conversations between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, there is a passage about helping others that says, “The more we turn toward others, the more joy we experience, and the more joy we experience, the more we can bring joy to others.” Joy can be a powerful motivator for our collective work. So, here’s to another week where we have more opportunities to embrace and inspire curiosity in an inclusive learning environment and to create moments of joy from growth in ourselves, our students, and our learning community.

Bonus:  Here is the short video about intersectionality that was shown in the session mentioned above.  Please take the time to watch it if this is a new concept for you.

EHHS Shared Values Highlighted
– Lifelong Learning/Growth
– Inclusion/Culturally Responsive
– Social Justice
– Helping Students Achieve Goals
– Collaboration
Book of Joy image(n.d.) Retrieved October 30, 2016 from: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Joy-Lasting-Happiness-Changing/dp/0399185046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477839575&sr=8-1&keywords=The+book+of+joy

Curiosity Image (n.d.) Retrieved October 30, 2016 from: http://theconversation.com/curiosity-changes-the-brain-to-boost-memory-and-learning-32296

Group Picture: SUNY Plattsburgh Facebook

W.C. Crain (1985). Theories of development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

The Heart and Spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh

Twenty one years ago, I was completing my dissertation at Wichita State University with high hopes for the future.  A national add caught my attention in a place called Plattsburgh.  Looking at a map of Plattsburgh, I saw a lake and mountains and noticed it was close to Montreal where I had some relatives.  It was during mid-November those many years ago that I first stepped onto the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh.  When I got to Plattsburgh, it was cold and snowy and clouds obscured any mountains I imagined from looking at the pre-Google Earth map.  I went through what I now know as a typical interview routine with breakfast, formal interviews, a presentation, an individual meeting with graduate students, and a tour of the area (the mountains never were visible).  Everyone was kind and the students were amazing.  I also had a meeting with then Provost, Tom Moran.  He shared the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh through his warmth and enthusiasm as he spoke about the college.  That conversation was pivotal in my decision to accept a job at SUNY Plattsburgh.

Fast forward to this year, I served on the Lead Committee for the Strategic Plan.  There was a lot of discussion about makes our college special and who we want to be in the future.  Words often seemed limiting when trying to capture the supportive environment of our college, but there are many examples that convey the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh.  Just over the past week, I can think of many events that displayed the essence of what makes our college special.  The SUNY Plattsburgh Experience is found at the heart of who we are as a caring community.  I experienced our caring community most deeply last week when I attended a standing-room-only dedication of the Doug and Evelyne Skopp Holocaust Memorial Gallery.  Evelyne was honored for more than 20 years of service in the registrar’s office, a place she continues to volunteer one day each week since she retired. She embodies our commitment to service.  Doug was honored too and spoke in a prayerful tone from a depth of humility that intimately embraced the love of his family, his students, and his colleagues.  Regarding his students, he said he learned more from them than he could have ever hoped to teach them.

Doug and Evelyne Skopp Holocaust
Memorial Gallery Dedication

Dr. Moran spoke at the dedication from the place in his heart I was introduced to many years ago.  He referenced Doug’s research of the Holocaust and culmination of his work in a historical novel, Shadows Walking.  He said, “For Doug the foundational insight is that, in an otherwise dark universe, rescuing our common humanity is the only way to light a path to a decent future. This requires that we imagine others’ lives, with empathy, and as they experience their lives. We must see in them our own qualities. In our dreams and despair, in our capacity for love and to cause pain, we human beings are more alike than we often want to acknowledge.”  This “common humanity” where empathy is found is a common path of SUNY Plattsburgh’s heart and spirit.

There were other examples, among many, of SUNY Plattsburgh’s heart and spirit from the past week.  There was a professor who brought a student to my office seeking help to find resources for the student to attend a conference; I was pleased by the professor’s student-centered perspective.  There were flag-lowering ceremonies by our ROTC Cadets in honor of one of our students, Dain Venne, who was killed in Afghanistan last week.  There was a gathering of people from diverse sectors of the college for a meeting dedicated to finding ways to enhance the sense of community at our college.  I attended a diversity enlightenment session where students were highly engaged.  Finally, I attended an Open House on campus with my 17-year-old son.  As I sat in the audience as a parent, I felt the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh in presentations by staff and students.  The physics professor in the academic breakout session said, “Our students become part of our family.”  At the academic fair in the ballrooms, the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh was felt when I observed how my son was treated through the sincere and caring interactions of faculty and staff.

Before I came to SUNY Plattsburgh, a professor in a counseling course I took gave an assignment to write our epitaphs.  I wrote, “He made a difference.”  When asked, the professor said his was, “He cared.”  I have reflected many times on the wisdom of his prioritized choice.  Now, I can say I am grateful to be in a place where I can care and make a difference.

My original plan was to be at SUNY Plattsburgh for three years.  What kept me here was and is a caring community that nurtures personal development of its employees and students.  We are the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh – a community that must be nourished and cherished.  For me, it is the depth of this heart and sprit, along with our commitment to service, that make SUNY Plattsburgh special.  I am grateful for the foundational service of many caring individuals over the years who have nurtured the heart and spirit of SUNY Plattsburgh’s community.

Take Action:  What is one thing you can do today to build on the foundation of SUNY Plattsburgh’s heart and spirit?

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