C-SC students called to be good beginners; faculty praises possibilities of EXP@CSC
Thursday, August 28, 2008
CANTON, Mo. – Learning to be a “good beginner” is one of the best lessons a student can learn at college, Culver-Stockton College President William L. Fox told students during the opening convocation Thursday, adding that everyone at C-SC is “beginning all over again” with the new curriculum, EXP@CSC, and the new academic calendar. Fox led off the first convocation of the 2008-09 academic year and was followed by four faculty members who spoke about their personal reaction to EXP@CSC.
“This is the start of the 156th academic year at this college. The first students arrived by horse-drawn wagon, had to haul their own water from the college well, and cut the firewood to heat the college’s only building,” Fox said. “We shouldn’t assume that we have nothing in common with these starter generations. We are all beginners here ... not just the newcomers, but all of us starting this year with a new academic program and a new academic schedule that has never been tried here before or anywhere else in this part of the country.”
Saying that life is full of beginnings, Fox called on students, faculty and staff to “relearn how to be a beginner, learn how to be a good beginner.” Fox said good beginners bring fresh ideas and fresh energy and are willing to try situations that are new to them.
“You’ll be beginners more than once in your life,” he added. “Ask yourself what helps you here as a beginner and learn from what you discover about yourself and about others.”
Faculty members who addressed the convocation included R. Joseph Dieker, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college; Scott Giltner, assistant professor of history; Christe Thomas, senior lecturer in athletic training; and Joe Jorgensen, professor of art.
Dieker noted that EXP@CSC, which was designed by Culver-Stockton faculty, is more than a curriculum change and calendar change. “It is a complete change of how you are going to be educated to be prepared for the 21st century; it is your college experience,” he said.
“EXP@CSC is all about opportunities. It will make sure you’re ready for the world, that you’re prepared to be a leader not a follower, and that you have the hands-on experience to give you a leg up on your career or on grad school,” Dieker added.
Giltner, who earned his undergraduate degree at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, recalled when he learned that Hiram was changing to a 12/3 semester schedule. Hiram is the only other college to split the 15-week semester into a 12-week term for more traditional courses and a 3-week term for concentrating on just one course.
“I was worried about what it might mean for me, but my concerns were completely exploded. The 12/3 calendar was the best academic calendar that I’ve ever experienced,” Giltner said. “And our system will be even better. EXP@CSC redefines the classroom. It’s no longer just four walls, desks and a teacher up front. The classroom now may be the halls of Congress, the ruins of Troy, Civil War battlefields, or corporate boardrooms.”
Thomas noted EXP@CSC allows her to teach a course on women’s health that she has been dreaming of for three years. “When I first thought about teaching the course, it just didn’t fit into the curriculum,” Thomas said. “But the first-year experience courses that are part of EXP@CSC make it possible for me to teach the course. EXP@CSC is all about possibilities.”
EXP@CSC makes it possible for faculty members to move their classes from passive learning environments to active learning environments by giving them the flexibility to change how they teach, she added.
Jorgensen, who will be conducting his three-week term digital photography class in the Grand Canyon, said he is excited about teaching again because of EXP@CSC. “After 25 years of teaching, it takes a lot for me to get excited, but I find that I am staying up until 2 a.m. preparing for my classes,” he said. “The walls are coming down. I haven’t had a chance to do teaching like this, and it’s making me a better teacher and I’m all for it.”
He added that taking students out to the real world is the “best catalyst for learning.”
“Everyone here is looking for some type of adventure. Humans are always looking for something,” Jorgensen said. “EXP@CSC can help you figure out who you are and what your purpose is on earth. Our mission statement says that we create visions of success for each student. EXP@CSC is going to be your key to your vision of success. I hope you enjoy it.”
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