Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Break

It’s that time of year when everything winds down and winds up all at the same time. It’s a time to visit family and friends and relax and a time to make plans about the up-coming year. This Winter Break I’ll be spending a week of down time with my wife and daughter and then head to visit my folks in FL, taking their grand-daughter with me. But I’ll also be thinking about starting classes again in January and getting ready for that.

While you’re on break this holiday season it might be the ideal time to check out Rockhurst. They have an open Transfer Day on Jan 6th and the Admissions Office will be open to take you on a tour if want to schedule one in. So enjoy your Winter Break and maybe think about explore some new possibilities.
Have a good one!

http://www.rockhurst.edu/admission/events/transfer_openhouse/index.asp

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bookin' it! Text it!

Part of going to college is going to the library. But our library doesn’t just have books, it has access to an awful lot of electronic resources and databases. Our library is more accurately an Information Literacy Center housing information in all sorts of media. And if we don’t own something or have electronic access, we’re a member of the powerful MOBIUS Inter-library Loan system which covers the whole state of Missouri. And if by some strange chance, no one in the MOBIUS network has what you’re looking for, our Inter-library Loan Librarian can most likely get it for you from somewhere else.

The bottom-line is education is about access to information and THEN processing that information in an academic fashion. The internet is awash in lots of mis-information. Reader beware. Rockhurst University provides a solid academic Catholic and Jesuit atmosphere in which to discern and process the information that inundates us every day. Knowledge without reflective analysis is mere trivia. And trivia is at the root of trivial. Rockhurst is not an on-line academic institute prone to the trivialization of a sound academic formation. Our education process is fundamentally communal: Learning, Leadership, and Service in the Jesuit Tradition. Our “academic product” if you will, is embedded in lived experience that has endured for centuries and will enrich the world for centuries to come.

For info on our library, check out this link. http://www.rockhurst.edu/services/library/index.asp
For info on Rockhurst Jesuit education click here. http://www.rockhurst.edu/admission/ugrad/jesuit.asp

And book on over to Rockhurst!



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kickin' It!


The sixth-ranked Men’s Rockhurst Hawks will host the 2008 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional on Friday Nov 14th and Sunday Nov 16th at RU's Bourke Field. Rockhurst, 16-1-3, is the No. 1 seed and will face fourth-seeded Lewis, 14-1-2, in a first-round game at 7 p.m. Friday. The other first-round game on Friday matches second-seeded Northern Kentucky, 15-2-2, against third-seeded Ashland (Ohio), 15-3-2, at 4 p.m. The two winning teams will then meet at 1 p.m. Sunday, also at Bourke Field.

The Rockhurst women's soccer team is NCAA Tournament bound for the first time in school history. The Hawks found out Monday afternoon that they will be traveling north this week to play in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wis. Rockhurst, 10-5-3, is the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region and will face third-seeded Northern Kentucky, 15-3, in a first-round game at 11 a.m. Friday. The winner will advance to play second-seeded Wisconsin-Parkside on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Kenosha.

Regarding last Sunday’s match, senior goalkeeper Chad Becker, the GLVC Defensive Player of the Year, stopped five shots in posting his 14th shutout of the season. Junior forward Tom Heinemann scored his team-high 10th goal of the season on a header from six yards off a cross from Mark Anthony Foster to give Rockhurst a 1-0 lead late in the first half. The Hawks added an insurance goal in the 89th minute on a four-yard shot from senior midfielder Pat Kearns with assists to Kyle Samuelson and Heinemann.

Last Friday, the Hawks got past Drury in a seven-round shootout in the semifinals of the GLVC Tournament at Bourke Field. Becker stopped three consecutive penalty kicks to give the Hawks a 5-4 victory in the shootout after both teams battled to a 0-0 tie for 110 minutes. Heinemann, who led the Hawks with nine shots against Drury, also scored the game-winning goal in RU's 2-1 overtime victory over Wisconsin-Parkside in the first round of the GLVC Tournament on Nov. 2 at Bourke Field.

Congratulations to Coach Tocco and Coach Herdlick and our fine student athletes!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Who do you want to be for Halloween? Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Last Saturday, Lee’s Summit (where I live) had its Halloween Parade in which kids get to march in their costumes and have a fun time. Our daughter chose to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. So I helped her get dressed and my wife did the pony tails and put in ribbons, and we had an old fake dog that we threw in a cheap wicker basket. We threw “Dorothy” into the car and my wife whisked her away. As everyone was lining up someone approached and said, “Your daughter has been picked as a one of the finalists. Have her go up to the stage when called.” My wife was stunned and delighted. After a process, turns out our daughter won 3rd place for best girl’s costume, and there were over 200 kids there. My wife was blown away and so was I when they got home and told me.

We had totally forgotten that there was a competition and judging. So what does this have to do with college? Who do you want to be? Our daughter picked a favorite character and we just went with the flow. Being Dorothy came “naturally” to her. When choosing a college major and eventual career you simply need to go with the flow. Probably if we had consciously tried to win the competition we wouldn’t have. It would have been overkill or something.

“You’ll recognize it when you see it.” You’ll eventually see yourself in some role or career when it’s the right time and place. Don’t worry about it. Just fall into step in the parade, have fun, and everything will fall into place. Every place has its own rhythm, its own step. Rockhurst is a small university with lots of one on one attention from faculty where you get to make lots of close friends. Some like a bigger, more bustling atmosphere. You’ll know which college is right for you. Don’t sweat it. Just go and visit several. Just follow the yellow brick road.

Check out Rockview: http://www.rockhurst.edu/rockview/

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Economy & Education

In this time of economic crisis it’s good to know that Rockhurst University is the cheapest Jesuit institution in the nation. Out of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, it costs less to go to Rockhurst than the other 27. Of course, state run colleges cost less than Rockhurst, but most don’t offer a Liberal Arts education that gives you a well-rounded and broad-based foundation upon which to build in the highly competitive market. Furthermore, state run colleges and universities don’t bring in a Christian perspective and values. Sustained by a 2,000 year old Catholic tradition and a 450 year old Jesuit perspective, Jesuit institutions have weathered a lot of storms and crises and have endured.

While Wall Street is rocked and Main Street experiences potholes, some large enough to engulf a local bank, and while the world economy is shaken to its knees, you have to keep your wits about yourself and realize that life went on after the Great Depression—if not, you wouldn’t be here today. Life will go on. We’ll get through this economic crisis, but the thing is to have a strategy. As a prospective student and/or parent of high school kids, you need to invest in the future. A college grad with a well-balanced multifaceted education will be better placed in the emerging world market than a grad with a narrow focus from a state college. You can go cheaper with a state college or university education, but you almost always get what you pay for. Sometimes things are too cheap and the product doesn’t last, or devalues. A Jesuit education is sound and well-rounded. It doesn’t invest in fly-by-night educational schemes and flash-in-the-pan ideas. A Jesuit education is well-worth the money spent.

So why Rockhurst, and not another Jesuit institution that costs more? Won’t I get more since I pay more? Not necessarily. Rockhurst strives in giving you more bang for your buck. We don’t have as large an overhead as some Jesuit universities do, and so we don’t have to charge as much to pay for lots of stops and whistles. At the same time, we’re not bare bones either. Think of us as a well-trained athlete: lean and mean. We’ve already cut away a lot of the fat that Wall Street and Congress need to cut out. There are no pork barrel projects at Rockhurst that need to be funded by student tuitions. So check us out. We’re not afraid to be compared with other institutions. You have to choose wisely and invest in your values, especially your (child’s) education. Rockhurst University makes no bones about its Catholic Jesuit values which embrace people from all backgrounds and religious or non-religious affiliations. We respect diversity of opinion and freedom of conscience.

Click here for info.
http://www.rockhurst.edu/admission/ugrad/jesuit.asp



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Double Majors & Double Dipping

Recently a prospective student asked me whether Rockhurst University allows a person to get a double major. Yep, no prob. Allegedly some colleges and universities don’t encourage doing this, but at Rockhurst double majoring is a little known secret—unfortunately even to some of our own in-coming students. It’s actually not hard at all! Because Rockhurst has what’s called a Core Curriculum that all students must take, some of the courses you’d be taking in your major also count as meeting the Core req. In other words, you can take one course once and have it do double duty! Because of this, double majoring is quite doable, even easy. In fact, some people even leave Rockhurst with a triple major, though in five years instead of four. But you can easily double major in four years.

Graduating with a double major has many benefits. 1) It knocks the socks off any anyone interviewing you. 2) It demonstrates you have determination and discipline. 3) It provides you with a much deeper well-rounded education. 4) It gives you a fall-back plan if you ever need to change jobs and seek employment in that other field. 5) Some jobs require a multi-faceted background and people who can readily multi-task seemingly different subjects.

I’ll be honest; some students feel intimidated just by the thought of doing a double major, but let’s tackle it this way: at Rockhurst after getting one major, most people have 50-55 hours worth of free electives to take. Yes, FIFTY. Many majors consist of 21 or 24 hours of upper level courses in addition to the Core; that’s only 7 or 8 courses out of the 16+ free courses you have left. By choosing certain upper level Core courses that can do double duty, you double dip and can get a double major without any extra money out of your pocket, or Mom and Dad’s. Or if you really play your cards right, you can come to Rockhurst bringing with you high school courses taken for college credit and already have a jump on things! This frees up way more hours. Even a triple major would be quite doable.

So take full advantage of what a Rockhurst University education offers, double dip and get a double major! And getting a double major and a minor is also in the cards.

http://www.rockhurst.edu/admission/ugrad/fields.asp

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Color, College, & Career


Last night I was winding down and came across a thing about a Career Profiler based on color. My first thought was, yeah right. Then I thought, what the heck, just for kicks. Freaky! It pegged me as an organizer and researcher/teacher. Here's the link: (and it's FREE)


The site gives you a pretty detailed career profile based on your color preferences. I'm presuming most people don't change their color preferences in life and so this should be a pretty good aid (while using others) in narrowing down a life career. Allegedly, there's been lots of research done with this color profiler . . . Anyhow, most people when they come to college don't know what in the world they want to do in life, and that's okay! College should be a time to explore ideas, and one's self, more deeply, while getting a well-rounded education. At Rockhurst University we have a good Career Center that hosts lots of career opportunity sessions, and there are many "instruments" you can take to help discover more about yourself and what types of careers would best be suited for your make-up. Rockhurst has an outstanding reputation and many employers snap up our grads in numerous fields. Rockhurst also hosts Career Fairs where you get to meet employers etc. We also have sessions on proper dinner etiquette, interviewing strategies, etc etc.

So Rockhurst University helps prepare students to live and serve in the real world. Check out this link and see all the Career Oriented events we have for the Fall.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rockhurst Day 'Round the Corner


It’s Fall and time is already flying by! Before you know it, Rockhurst Day will be here. Why don’t you mark your calendar and plan a visit on September 26th. It would be a great day to see the campus and share in the activities. It’s Home Coming and there are soccer matches and festivities for all ages and food and . . . well it’s just a blast. Just wanted to give you a heads up so you can plan that weekend.
And speaking of festivities, check out the recent goings on at Rockhurst.
http://albums.phanfare.com/rockhurst
For pics from last year’s Rockhurst Day:
http://albums.phanfare.com/4668668/2083847#imageID=28555775

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

End of the World & the Class of 2012


Well , we just welcomed the class of 2012.By the time they graduate the world will end as they know it. At least that what some say the Maya Calendar predicts. The calendar runs out on 12.12.2012.

I personally doubt the world will end then due to some galactic shift, or being hit by an asteroid etc as some predict. But “The End of the World as we know it,” isn’t that what college is all about? At Rockhurst we try to prepare students to face the real world. The “cozy world” the class of 2012 will have known, will abruptly end (but in mid May 2012, not December 12th.)

Having experienced a broad-based Liberal Arts education will well-equip these students to face whatever may come. And knowing human nature, we humans will probably have wreaked a certain amount of havoc upon ourselves, but essentially we are good, even if we have to dig down deep some times. The Catholic and Jesuit ethos is that we can find God in all things, and make God’s good world better. It’s a healthy and balanced dose of optimism. And Lord only knows, we could use some of that. The class of 2012 is our future. And there are many bright minds, loving hearts, and people possessing intestinal fortitude who can enable us to face whatever may come, with the grace of God. The world will end in 2012 as we know it and give birth to a new world, just as it will end in 2009, and already ended in 2001, etc. But with a Rockhurst University education gradates can face the myriad challenges and opportunities in an ever shifting and exciting world.

For pics of the incoming class click here. http://albums.phanfare.com/4668668/2576756#imageID=43284589

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

XXIX Olympiad & RU

The opening ceremonies in Beijing were totally awesome, a true tribute to what the human spirit can achieve. Equally breath-taking are Michael Phelps’ performances. That 400M relay was like nothing else!

But what does the XXIX Olympiad and Rockhurst University have in common? China. Back in April 1997 Dr. Frank Smist of our Political Sciences Dept. led a trip to Hong Kong. This trip was sponsored through the Global Studies Center and run through our Center for Arts and Letters. Frank’s last group tour to China was in March 2002. But last year Dr. Martin Stack from the Helzberg School of Management was on sabbatical which involved taking a trip to China to study their beer making. (What a sabbatical!) But Dr. Stack did some serious business research and was on a panel held this past Spring.

The International Studies and Global Perspectives Committee organized a series of three events related to China in Spring 2008. Five Rockhurst faculty members and one student participated in a panel in which they discussed their experiences of traveling, studying, or living in China. Dr. Catherine Green (Philosophy) spoke about the Catholic Church in China; Dr. Cecilia Samonte (History) talked about China’s foreign policy toward southeast Asia; Dr. James Daly (Dean of HSOM) and Dr. Stephen Holland-Wempe (Director of our Study Abroad Program) also presented information regarding how Rockhurst students can study in China. And Dr. Martin Stack discussed the research on beer that he conducted. Finally Ms. Elaine Chen, an RU student, shared her experiences as an Asian-American immigrant.

The second China event was a guided tour of the world-renown China exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, right here in Kansas City. The tour was organized especially for the Rockhurst community. The Committee wrapped up the China event with a campus viewing and discussion of the film, “Joy Luck Club” (1993), based on the novel of the same name by Amy Tan.

So you see, RU has a strong connection with China. At the games athletes strive for excellence, to give it all they’ve got. This need of the human spirit to perform at one’s peak is part of the Jesuit tradition called magis, to strive for greater and greater things, all for the glory of God. The best athletes are the ones who are humble and know that there is a greater Power, and are filled with gratitude for their innate abilities that they have honed. This is what Rockhurst education is all about, honing the God-given talents that one has and empowering them to their utmost. So check us out. And maybe even study abroad in China!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Green Computing


As a faculty member, we all serve on various committees. I so happen to be the Chair of the Information Technology Committee (ITC). ITC deals with Computer Services as well as Information Literacy (the library side, books, databases, etc.) We’re constantly trying to improve.
Rockhurst University was one of the first campuses to go entirely wireless. Now we’ve just made a big leap forward by going green and using “thin clients.” This means that computer labs have computer screens that tap into a centralized campus-wide server and are not attached to individual computers. They use 90% less energy than traditional PCs. The speed is much faster and no info is lost if the workstation you’re sitting at somehow goes down. You can log on to another station and immediately be right back where you were! This is true for all 18 computer labs across campus. Eventually thin clients will populate more places around campus. While some other colleges and universities in the area have some thin clients, Rockhurst, at least for now, is the only one to undertake such a massive upgrade of its computer system.
Rockhurst continues to strive for excellence in technology regarding education. This move also “makes God’s good world better” by being environmentally friendly and responsible stewards of our resources. This is an economic savings to Rockhurst. We have a great Computer Services staff.
For more info click here. http://www.rockhurst.edu/news/events/thin.asp

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Exotic Getaway w/ Education


Have you ever thought about studying in some exotic location? Rockhurst University offers the opportunity to Study Abroad in some pretty cool locations. Or is that HOT locations? No matter what your scene, RU holds exciting opportunities to study in other countries.

This summer there are two groups out there doin’ their thang. One’s in Costa Rica (la vida loca) and one’s in France (oo lalah). Check ‘em out.
http://albums.phanfare.com/rockhurst

And don’t forget to check out the info on our Study Abroad Program.
http://www.rockhurst.edu/academic/international/studyabroad.asp


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Banking with a Bang

Well the 4th of July weekend is right around the corner. It’s a time to celebrate freedom. Along with independ -ence from Great Britain, Independ -ence Day also held up the lofty ideas of freedom of information and pursuit of happiness through acquiring knowledge. Benjamin Franklin is noted for his many witty quotes, one of which is: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” For him and many Founding Fathers (who incidentally were well-educated), freedom of information and knowledge was a liberating thing. They believed the best way to educate the general public was through freedom of the press. Let people have all the facts and make up their own minds. Withholding information and promulgating disinformation was part of what the British government was doing.

This drive for liberty and freedom of thought gave rise to many colleges that espoused the Liberal Arts. Education is to be a liberating enterprise. Knowledge is power that can break the bonds of oppression forged by ignorance and misinformation. Rockhurst University promotes the seven liberal arts disciplines: Artistic, Historical, Literary, Philosophical, Theological, Scientific-Causal, & Scientific-Relational. We at Rockhurst believe that this Liberal Arts Core builds a Rock Solid foundation, empowering you to be a free thinker in a life-giving fashion. The Liberal Arts prepares you to function and serve in society as a well-balanced and well-rounded person.

BTW, Liberal Arts doesn’t mean “liberal” in the political sense of “far-left.” One can be politically conservative and totally embrace a Liberal Arts education, because it seeks the truth no matter where that leads; and Truth has nothing to be afraid of. The Liberal Arts, however, point out that there are many perspectives that can have a bearing on the same issue.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” This is banking with a bang. Not only will graduating with a degree from Rockhurst further your career opportunities, the Liberal Arts education will liberate your mind and challenge you to think critically and to formulate decisions in a comprehensive and responsible fashion, following your own informed conscience. That’s what the Rockhurst education is all about, Learning, Leadership, and Service in the Jesuit Tradition.

Freedom of information and academic freedom are the life-blood of the American Revolution. Continue the revolution by investing in knowledge.

For information on the Liberal Arts Core click here: http://www.rockhurst.edu/academic/deansoffice/liberalcore.asp



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Transfer and Improve Your Credit


Credit card companies are always offering introductory rates and enticing offers with low APRs. At Rockhurst University you can transfer credits and improve your overall academic credits by taking upper level college courses, as well as work on a better GPA. And there’s no deceiving introductory rate! Many of the courses that you might have taken at a 2 year community college in history, math, art, theatre, communications, music, English or world lit, Spanish, French, German, chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, sociology, political science, global studies, and economics transfer right in as equivalents to our Core curriculum. You can transfer in lots of credit hours and later market yourself better by graduating with a degree from Rockhurst. Reputation counts.

A liberal arts education from Rockhurst University in the Jesuit tradition can round out the course work you’ve already done and provide a Rock solid foundation for life in the real world of the market place, inter-personal relations, and service. The Rockhurst experience is based on Learning, Leadership, and Service in the Jesuit tradition. We don’t just teach you information; we form you as a whole person by challenging you to grow in multiple areas. You, then, in turn can transform lives, rising above the ordinary humdrum and rat race. Education is more than just jumping through the hoops. It can be a fun experience of playing with the “hula-hoops” of ideas and strategies. So break out of the dog eat dog world of jumping through hoops, and get down . . . to RU.

Who cares what’s in your wallet. What’s in your portfolio?

Transfer Day is July 11th. http://www.rockhurst.edu/admission/events/transfer_openhouse/index.asp

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rockhurst Night Life



What you mean by Rockhurst Night Life, especially during the summer, is probably not what I mean. Not that I’m against “night life,” it’s just that Rockhurst University offers a wide assortment of night classes that are appealing for people who hold day jobs, might need to squeeze in an extra course or meet pre-reqs. Of course, these can also be done by taking day-time summer courses, but throughout the year Rockhurst offers night courses to fit peoples’ schedules.

Right now I’m teaching a course from 5:30 to 9:30 and it’s not as bad as I thought it might be. I haven’t taught a night class in ages. But the people are dedicated and engaged in the material. Night classes also cost less, so there’s an incentive for ya! Those in the regular, as well as accelerated, Nursing Program are thankful for these night offerings. Also in my class are several people who hold positions in businesses. Our MBA program is a good one as well.

Second summer session classes start July 7th and we have night classes in: Communication Disorders, Communications, Education, Paralegal Studies, Psychology, and Theology. Of course there’s always Fall as well! It’s not too late to register for 2nd Summer Session classes or Fall.

So why not check out what type of stimulating “night life” Rockhurst has to offer?

https://oracleweb.rockhurst.edu/pls/dbp/bwckschd.p_disp_dyn_sched

http://www.rockhurst.edu/HSOM/programs/mba/why.asp

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Boys of Summer

Summer is just around the corner and of course the boys of summer are out in full force. A former student of mine, Ryan Morgan, who just ended his junior year, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 26th round on June 6th. He was the 775th overall pick. Ryan signed a contract with the Royals this past Monday (9th)—of which I get a handsome cut—I wish! Kudos Ryan!

Ryan’s a great guy and a superb athlete. I had Morgan in my TH 3000 class, and he was a hard worker. He’s not a wunderkind, all brains and brawn, but he’s a disciplined hard worker. Like other students, he would meet with me one on one to make sure he understood the essays and class material. He was determined to earn an A in my class, and with hard work he did just that. Keep in mind he was juggling baseball, other classes, and extra curricular activities.

At Rockhurst University we are dedicated to developing the whole person. The Jesuits call it cura personalis. We also stress magis, striving for excellence, empowering a person to excel to the best of their God-given talents. Not everybody can be a Ryan Morgan. But everybody has their own special gifts and with hard work, discipline, and determination you can realize your dreams. The faculty at Rockhurst are here to draw forth the latent gifts and talents of students and empower them to make their dreams come true.

Ryan’s love is baseball and his dream was to pitch in the major leagues. Ryan hails from St. Louis, MO and as a junior he posted a 3-4 record with a 3.89 ERA while striking at 74 hitters on 69.1 innings this past season. During his three seasons at Rockhurst University he ended with a 10-11 record and a 3.67 ERA. Ryan struck out 205 batters and issued 94 walks in 218 innings.

In a Rockhurst interview Ryan noted, “I had a feeling I would be drafted by the Royals. I had a good day at their tryout camp. It seemed like they were high on me.” Morgan also made a big impression on the St. Louis Cardinals at their tryouts with his fastball clocking between 92 and 94 mph.

He’s the fifth player to be drafted during the 14 year tenure of head coach Gary Burns. We have a good athletic program at Rockhurst University that stresses academic achievement. Check us out. http://www.rockhurst.edu/ru_athletics/index.asp


Friday, May 16, 2008

Finals are Over!

Finals week is over! Let summer begin! It's been a crazy week here at the Rock--wrapping up the Spring semester. Of course, as a proff I had to assign research papers, and of course these had to be due at the end of the semester once students had enough information under their belt, so that meant reading a slew of papers, about a hundred during the past week. And what would a semester be without a week of finals? So for students and instructors alike the end of term is a real zoo, and you can just imagine how restless the natives get.

Well today is Baccalaureate, my favorite event. It has lots of pomp and celebration and an informal reception afterwards. That's the part I like most: the food--jk. While the finger food is good, the opportunity to see graduating seniors one on one and get photos taken etc, that's the real event. Tomorrow is Commencement, and while that's nice in its own way, it's such a BIG production with hundreds of people, there's no real opportunity for the more friendly exchange. Anyhow kudos to the graduating class!

I'll be in England for the next two weeks, visiting my wife's Dad and some relatives. Then I'm back in the swing of things teaching two summer courses, so I'll let you in on what it's like during the summer, (besides hot and sweaty). And if you're thinking about summer classes, better sign up soon. BTW, they're cheaper in the summer than in the Fall and Spring.

Until then . . .

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Student Wins Regional Paragon Award

At Rockhurst University we emphasize developing the whole person in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition. One outstanding student example of this drive for excellence is Garrett Fischer who has been selected to receive the 2007-08 Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award. The award, bestowed annually by the Great Lakes Valley Conference to one male and one female student athlete that display academic excellence, athletic ability and achievement, character and leadership, will be presented at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car GLVC Awards Banquet in St. Louis on May 20.

Fischer exemplified the traits of a Paragon Award recipient during his time as a tennis player at Rockhurst. He helped guide the Hawks to the NCAA Tournament in all three years he was with the program and will earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in May. Fischer maintained a 4.0 grade point average, while excelling on the hardcourt and in the community.

He was an All-GLVC selection in 2008 and posted a 20-31 record in singles play over the course of his career. Fischer guided the Hawks to a second-place finish in the GLVC in both 2007 and 2008 and was named the 2007 GLVC Men’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year. During Fischer’s tenure with the squad, Rockhurst is 38-26 overall.

Fischer is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, a three-time GLVC All-Academic selection, a two-time ITA Academic All-American and a member of the Rockhurst Dean’s List and National Dean’s List. He is also the recipient of The Wall Street Journal Award and the Delta Sigma Phi Scholarship Key.

His activity in the community also sets him apart. After battling an illness in 2006, Fischer organized a fundraising team for the annual Guts & Glory Walk-Race in 2006-07 and helped raise over $1 million for research for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). He contacted congressmen to advocate for support of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Bill currently in Congress and planned a CCFA benefit night through the St. Louis Aces.

Fischer was also a representative at the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education in 2006, was an Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Honors Student Council Member in 2007 and was a three-year member of the Helzberg School of Management Dean’s Student Advisory Board.

“Garrett Fischer is very deserving of the GLVC Paragon Award,” states RU tennis coach Carolina Mayorga-Perry. “He displays academic excellence, tremendous athletic ability, tremendous character and strong leadership.”

Fischer is the first Rockhurst student-athlete to be awarded the Paragon Award. Rockhurst began competing in the GLVC in the fall of 2005. The Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award was established prior to the 1990-91 season in honor of Richard F. Scharf, Commissioner Emeritus of the GLVC.

(Thanks to John Dodderidge for this report.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Deans' Summer Research Fellowship

Every year students at Rockhurst University have the opportunity to apply for a Deans’ Summer Research Fellowship. Besides the monetary bonus, it provides the student the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor. This year another student of mine, Andrea Essner, who is a Theology major was selected as one of seven to receive the fellowship. Many more students had submitted competitive proposals. I heard the selection process was difficult.

Andrea comes from Saint Louis, MO and is pursuing a double major in English and Theology. She intends to go onto grad school to earn a Ph.D. in theology. Her summer project is entitled “Feminine Images of God in English Mystical Texts: A Comparative Analysis,” and I will serve as her mentor since I have some expertise in this field of study. Andrea’s knowledge of English literature will enable her to appreciate how mystics throughout the British Isles used feminine metaphors of God to convey a spiritual reality that was meaningful for their audience.

Congratulations go to all of our fine recipients this year!

· Ms. Madiha Aslam, “Inquiry - Based Learning in Mathematics,” under the direction of Dr. Mairead Greene, Department of Mathematics and Physics.
· Ms. Blair Ballard & Ms. Bailey Williams, “Accuracy of Personality Judgments: Theory, Research, and Applications,” under the direction of Dr. Kate Nicolai, Department of Psychology.
· Ms. Rebecca Benjamin, “Evaluating the Success of a Relocated Population of Timber Rattlesnakes,” under the direction of Dr. Mindy Walker, Department of Biology.
· Ms. Andrea Essner, “Feminine Images of God in English Mystical Texts: A Comparative Analysis,” under the direction of Dr. Daniel Stramara, Jr., Department of Theology & Religious Studies.
· Ms. Jeanette Powers, “Looking In and In and In: Fractals and Nature,” under the direction of Dr. Zdenka Guadarrama, Department of Mathematics and Physics.
· Mr. Alhagie Touray, “Case for Economic Cooperation and Integration in Africa: Is It Possible?,” under the direction of Dr. Michael Tansey, Department of Economics.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Faculty Member of the Year Award

Every Spring students get the opportunity to recognize one of our faculty members as an outstanding teacher who is dynamic in the classroom and facilitates learning by really connecting with students. This year the “Rockhurst Faculty Member of the Year 2007-2008 As Voted by the Student Body” went to Mr. Glenn Young. Mr. Young is presently wrapping up his dissertation at UMKC on The Cloud of Unknowing. This is his first year teaching here at Rockhurst full-time and its quite an achievement to receive this award at all, let alone in one’s first year! Glenn teaches TH 1000 Christianity I: Foundations and its sequel TH 3000 Christianity II: Development, and we’re glad to have him in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

At Rockhurst we are centered around student learning, which is bolstered by an instructor’s scholarship and service to the community. We’re expecting great things from you, Glenn. No pressure!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Going to India -- An Interview


One of our Rockhurst faculty members, Dr. Faith Childress from the History Department, has just been accepted into a prestigious summer institute in India. So here’s an interview report in the first person.

"I’ve been selected to participate in the National Endowment of the Humanities’ Summer Institute entitled “Bharata Darshan—Past and Present in the Study of India’s History and Culture.” The Institute is composed of about 20 professors from across the US. For the month of July, I’ll be living in three locations in India: Shimla, New Delhi, and Agra. We’ve already been warned that the climate may prove challenging because although all three locations are in northern India, temperatures in July range from the 50s in Shimla to 110-plus degrees in New Delhi and Agra. Every day I will be attending morning lectures by scholars of South Asia, in the afternoons visiting sites related to the lectures, and attending cultural events in the evenings."
"I'm really jealous, Faith!"

"Well of course you are, Daniel. Anyhow, I’m excited about the Institute because it’s interdisciplinary. We’ll examine India’s religions, arts, architecture, history, and literature from ancient times to the present. Likewise, we’ll explore a variety of topics such as the creation of Indian myth, the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, the synthesis of Hindu and Islamic artistic traditions, the interaction of British colonial power with the Princely States, the nationalist struggle, and the sexual economies of modern India. In addition, we’ll see temples and mosques, Mughal sites such as the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal, and memorial sites for leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi. I know that being in India will be a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to incorporating what I’ll learn and experience into my World Civilizations and Modern South Asia courses."
"Did you know that I'm a contortionist and can fit into a small trunk?"
Dr. Childress gasps, "O my gosh, Daniel! How did you do that? But I'm sure they won't let me smuggle a wild animal into India."

Have a great time, Dr. Childress!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

International Faculty


A university is a vibrant community, composed of students, faculty, and staff. And like any dynamic and living organism a university changes; it grows, adapts, etc. Next Fall Rockhurst will be gaining some new faculty. Because of job opportunities and family reasons our History Department had lost two faculty members. The new hires are Mr. K.D. Motes for Early US History and World History, and Dr. Cecilia Samonte for Modern US History and World History. (Dr. Samonte has already been with us for one year.) Our Department of Communication and Fine Arts had also lost a faculty member to a new job opportunity. He will be replaced by Ms. LaKresiha Graham. A faculty member in the Political Science Dept. had retired and will be replaced by Mr. Matthew Beverlin. And Biology and Chemistry likewise needed new members and thus Dr. Christine Wills and Dr. Petia Bobadova-Parvanova (from the University of Sophia, Bulgaria) will be joining us, respectively. And Rockhurst is pleased to hire a Director of Global Studies and Assistant Professor of Anthropology all-in-one: Dr. Chanasai Tiengtrakul. Dr. Chanasai will help launch our new Global Studies Perspectives requirement and reshape our Global Studies Program.

We eagerly await this diverse group of talented people--from across the USA (from California to Pennsylvania) and from around the world--to enrich our faculty and Rockhurst learning community. Our faculty is becoming more diverse and international.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quaking in My Boots




One of the purposes of the RU blogs is to give you a glimpse into the life of students and faculty. So here’s one about me—my most favorite subject. jk! (Those who know me, know I really don’t like talking about myself, and I hate filling out Annual Faculty Data Reports where I need to talk about everything I’ve done and how good I am at doing what I do. YUCK!!!)

Any who . . . sometimes research and articles are spawned by accident. As I said previously, one of my hobbies is genealogy. As an historian I always try to track down all the verifiable information and documentation that I can find. One particular line of my ancestry is Quaker, and my most immediate Quaker ancestor was “disunited” for “marrying out.” In other words, he married a non-Quaker and was kicked out of the local Quaker congregation for it. Thus “disowning” and “disuniting” amongst the Society of Friends intrigued me so I investigated it. In looking at transcripts of original documents I discovered that many New Jersey Quakers were also disowned for their participation in the American Revolution, so this led to a whole new line of inquiry. Quakers were and are pacifists. So what about these fighting Quakers? Well it turns out that very little has been written about New Jersey Friends who took up arms, just a passing paragraph in some books. A good bit has been done on PA Quakers. So all of this “love of learning” has led to my cranking out an article written with a social sciences approach regarding New Jersey Quakers and the American Revolution.

So besides teaching and trying to foster learning, faculty members do research and writing that feeds back into the classroom. This research has given me a better understanding about the Society of Friends and appreciation for the complex relationships that existed during an important era of US history.

University life is about the love of learning and having gusto for life.





Friday, March 14, 2008

Shrouded in Mystery


The Shroud of Turin, the alleged burial cloth of Jesus, has attracted a lot of attention ever since 1898 when it was discovered that the image on the cloth is a photographic negative. Scientists remain puzzled as to what exactly caused the image. Now the Shroud has gone High-Def, photographed “almost 1,300 times stronger than a picture taken with a 10 million pixel digital camera.” A BBC documentary about the recent filming etc will soon be aired on the Discovery Channel.

Back in 1988 Carbon-14 tests were done on a corner sample producing the dating between 1260 and 1390. Subsequently, most scientists dismiss the Shroud as an ingenious Medieval Latin forgery, but many questions still remain. The image on the Shroud in places is no more the 1/500 of an inch thick; modern science still has no way to replicate that. Seen through a VP-8 Imager, a photograph of the Shroud image is actually 3-D; regular photographs are not. Pollen samples as well as limestone build-up indisputably prove that the cloth existed in the Jerusalem area. Likewise, the weave of the cloth is unique to first-century Palestine textiles. How did a Medieval-Early Renaissance forger know the specific weave etc and replicate it? And then there are medical anatomical facts as well. Theories have been posited regarding how the forgery could have been pulled off, as well as theories questioning the Carbon dating results. No matter what, the Shroud proves for interesting scientific investigation. Nothing like a good mystery!

The bottom line is, the belief in Jesus Christ being the Incarnate eternal Son of God, who was crucified and resurrected, is a matter of faith, not reason. Faith and reason can and should work hand in hand; religion shouldn’t fear science. As a Catholic university, Rockhurst values both faith and reason; religion and science. Whether the Shroud is the actual burial cloth of the historical Jesus of Nazareth is not essential for Christian faith; however, ongoing scientific questions and resultant data support the idea that faith shouldn’t be summarily dismissed either. Something is going on that defies present scientific understanding.

For links about the up-coming Discovery Channel program as well as the Shroud of Turin, click below.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/02/28/shroud-of-turin.html

http://shroud.com/

http://www.shroudofturin.com/

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring Break

Well this is mid-term week and EVERYONE is looking forward to Spring Break which starts Saturday, or earlier if you're lucky! It's been a jam-packed semester especially since we started much later this year. Then there's Easter Break right on the heels of Spring Break. We're back for four days and then off again. The Calendar Committee better not do this again! Just wrap it all up in one enchilada. Anyhow, all of us teachers are looking forward to the time off, though we need to grade the mid-terms and turn in grades by next Tuesday March 11, during Spring Break. Thus for many of us, Spring Break really doesn't kick in until all that grading is done.

As for me, after that I'll be here trying to catch up on stuff, such as writing up reports for powers that be, finishing up articles I'm writing, preparing an extensive writing guide for research papers, and handouts for up-coming Greek classes. But at least the pace will be more relaxed for a week. Hopefully the weather will end up being nice and sunny and warm for a day or two and if so, I'll escape from the office. Please God let it warm up!


So not much new in the zoo besides the animals getting restless and planning an escape.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bursting Your Bubble

Sometimes we need to have our bubbles burst. Check out this very cool highspeed film, slowed way down and be amazed.

Have a wet one!



video

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Greek Pride- Let's Party


Okay, well I might not throw a full-blown party, but I'm really proud of my students in the Intro to New Testament Greek class. Not only are they mastering the theological concepts brought out by the Greek language in the biblical text, but they're really grasping the Greek language in just three weeks! For every test the students need to know six theological essays (in English--thank God!) out of which I randomly pick two (30 points each). Then they have ten sentences in Greek to translate into English (4 points each). We just had our first exam last week and 3/4 of the class scored 90 and higher. Ex-cell-ent! We're even at the point now of reading some basic verses from the New Testament. And the students aren't geeks. Several jocks are taking the course and some socially cool people. Eight of them are business majors, three math, two biochemistry, two psych, two english, and or course there are some theology majors, namely four, and assorted others.

Bottom line, the vast majority of the class is kicking some serious butt when it comes to learning Greek. I think they're even beginning to appreciate how Greek enables them to think critically about how things relate to one another and the necessity of articulating those relationships clearly and accurately. In English we have one word "the." Greek has eight ways to express the concept "the," and then does so three times over because there are three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Imagine memorizing twenty-four different "the's"!

And the students in my other classes are great as well, but ya just gotta love somebody who can say "the" twenty-four different ways and not just say "duh."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heart-throb


Well I arrived into work a little later today because my daughter made a point of waking up early so she could wish me Happy Valentine's Day and give me my card. I leave at 6:00 AM. Much to her surprise Daddy had already bought a half dozen golden amber roses and placed them at her breakfast seat along with a card. You should have seen the joy in her sleepy little eyes as they came into focus. I have her Valentine's Day card to me here on my desk She and her mummy had gone out shopping for a Valentine's Day card about a week ago and she picked one out all by herself. It's one of a cartoon dog sitting at a computer typing in a long list of Valentine tributes "of all the things I love about you." When opening the card up, out pops a computer print out saying EVERYTHING. I wonder where she gets the idea that I spend a lot of my time sitting at a computer?

So anyhow, today's a day dedicated to love. Lots of people have lots of different ideas about what love means. Its kinda like God, there are a zillion different takes. But in seeing my daughter's reaction this morning (as well as that of my loving wife--I had bought her six long stem white roses which surrounded six long stem royal purple ones), I was reminded of what I have come to know. If there is true love, authentic love, there will always be joy. A test to see if this relationship is really real or not is: Is the relationship life-giving? Does the love endure? Does the joy persist? A true sign of love is joy. Love and joy are companions.

That's not to say authentic love doesn't also encompass pain and sorrow, but there's always enduring joy. Clare and I were expecting twins: a girl and a boy. Our daughter was delivered by C section first (its pretty standard to deliver twins by C section). I can't express the extreme joy I experienced. Then little Daniel was to be delivered. I could see the doctor's expression change and knew something was terribly wrong. Daniel was stillborn. That was five years ago this coming April 17th. The doctors after running subsequent tests still don't know exactly what happened or why, but somehow his internal organs stopped growing during the last few weeks unbeknownst to everyone. The odd thing was, before the C section they always hook up heart monitors and each twin was registering distinctly different heartbeats.

The doctors had been monitoring Clare and the twins for weeks before, and she would wear these little heart monitors attached to her abdomen. When I would come home I would say, "Daddy's home." And then speak to each one by name. When little Daniel would hear my voice and hear me say "Hi Daniel," his heart would race; you could see his heart beat accelerate when I would talk to him. That gave me the greatest joy. Daniel, you're still my "heart-throb." Love ya son. The joy you gave me will never die.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mediocre Wednesday


Well I've been thinking what to write about. Yesterday was Super Tuesday. This Wednesday morning the final results are still trickling in. I'm not going to get partisan, but thought I'd just give a little commentary, share a perspective. My wife is from London, England and they do things differently there. I was born in Baltimore, MD, and am a US citizen. In fact, my ancestors helped found this nation, fought in the Revolutionary War, held political offices, and an ancestral first cousin of mine signed the Declaration of Independence.


But last night was interesting, if not down-right baffling. I was aware that for Republicans it means winner take all (the delegates) and that Democrats share the delegates proportionally, but what baffled me was that Republicans swap caucus members so as to block another Republican candidate (eg. in WVA Huckabee gained McCain delegates so as to block Romney--Huckabee take all) and that Democrats flood caucuses so as to outnumber an opponent (as appears to have happened in Olathe, KS with young Obama caucus members standing in freezing rain).


I guess I'm just confused about the democratic ideal of representation. I mean the driving force of the American Revolution (against England) was "No taxation without representation." How do the American people get represented who can't attend a caucus (whether Republican or Democratic)? I would think when it comes to national issues it would be more just and democratic at least to provide a fair opportunity for all people to get involved in the (s)election process rather than limiting it to an hour or two etc. (Personally, when it comes to national matters [not local] I believe we should have one uniform standardized format. But that's just me.)


Anyhow, so what does any of this have to do with Rockhurst and what I do? I just wonder how many new young voters got disenchanted last night with the "process." How many now feel what's the use? I believe people should be engaged in civic matters. No matter what the results might be, Shouldn't the process itself be equitable and empowering? At Rockhurst we strive to form the whole person. One facet of that is service to others. Naturally that involves civic duty and political participation. I just hope that the recent Generation X and the current Millennial Generation don't become disillusioned with civic involvement.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Little Skittish


One of the courses I teach is TH 1000, Christianity I: Foundations. In one section we study the various models of Jesus Christ that appeared in the early centuries. Because the ideas are fairly abstract (Was Jesus the human being really God, and if so, to what extent and how?) I put on a little one man skit, so that it makes these views at least partially visible and understandable.

Mainline Christianity held that Jesus is both human and divine, a paradox. A paradox is when two seemingly contradictory things are joined into one. A paradox is a both/and; quite different from an either/or perspective. Anything that deviates from this balanced paradoxical view was deemed heretical. The word heresy means to veer off course, wander away. Every heresy contains within it something which is true, but runs wild with that forgetting something else that the mainline church thought was equally true. Heretics weren't trying to be "pains in the butt;" they were wrestling with a mystery and trying to understand it. But they did end up being myopic. In other words, something can be true, but not be the whole truth.

So without further ado, here's a link to the skit I put on. It won't be a YouTube sensation, but this gives you some idea of how I teach on occasion. I'm usually willing to do whatever it takes to try to be an effective facilitator of learning.

mms://webcast.rockhurst.edu/Faculty/StramaraD/Christology.wmv

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back into the Cold

Well I just got back last evening from sunny Fort Myers, FL where the temps were in the high 70s. Here in KC the highs are in the teens to low 20s. What a rude awakening from a vacation! My daughter enjoyed visiting with her grandparents.

Today was the first day of classes and it was great seeing lots of people in the hallways and greeting former students. My first class went well: Introduction to New Testament Greek.

Over the break I found out that my article I had submitted last month, "Collegiality and the Formation of the Apostles' Creed," was accepted by the journal Ecumencial Trends and appears this month in print.

Faculty are already deciding what pre-registration activities they're going to get involved with regarding prospective students. While it's the dead of winter, thoughts are on Spring. Maybe I'll see you on campus as you check us out.