Tuesday, December 14, 2010


If it were not for the silence in the hallways I wouldn't believe the semester is over already!  Where did it go?  This Fall came and went before I knew it.

This time of year is a time for silence and reflection.  I hope you get the time (or make the time) to relax and reflect on all the goodness that you have experienced.  Sometimes we get so busy we don't take the opportunity to reflect and be thankful, and to then cherish what is wholesome and life-giving.  In the hectic pace, it's too easy to think about the stress and all the things that have gone wrong.  During winter, earth takes a rest so that she might spring back with vibrancy.

May your winter break be restorative and give birth to renewed hope and joy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

World Cultures Day

We just had World Cultures Day which is a day dedicated to celebrating various countries and cultures around the globe.  I did a table on Ethiopia because I had spent a month there about five years ago.  I cooked Eythiopian Chicken Stew known as Doro Wat. This past World Cultures Day over fifty countries were represented.  I also got a table going for England, Scotland, and Wales once I heard no one was doing those countries.  That's the adjoining table to the right above.  See the pic below.  I managed to drum up some help from my colleague Dr. Alan Douglas who is from Scotland and now a US citizen, and one of his students who is Wlesh and has been to Wales also pitched in.

World Cultures Day is a fun event when people come to together and work together, honoring differences and rich diversity.  Rockhurst University strives to show how we are part of the global community.  Even our curriculum has a Global Perspectives Requirement with several courses having a global component.  Then there are some courses which are strictly Global Studies oriented.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Spy on Steroids

Well our family went for a walk Sunday afternoon and my wife and I were blown away! Our seven year old daughter loves to play "I Spy" and she said, "I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter 'G'." My wife and I tried and tried to no avail and had to beg for a clue. The clue was "It is something which is invisible and really can't be seen." My wife exclaimed: "Well, then how are we supposed to see it and guess it?" Our daughter giggled to her hearts content. My wife blurted out: "Gravity." No. I forget what things I came up with besides "gas." It went on and on and on until we gave up. We got another clue, "It can be seen in the trees." Huh? No idea. The answer: "Gap!"

Not to be outdone by a seven year old, I came up with: "I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter "s," but it's tricky." Ou daughter asked, "Is it on a house?" My reply, "It can be." They eventually asked, "Can it be elsewhere?" I replied, "Yes." They eventually begged for the next letter. I said, "Aha, that's important, 'h'." I todl my daughter, "I know you can get this." She eventually did: "shadow."

She came back with, "I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter 'S' and it's always found on a surface." We tried and tried. I begged for the next letter. She replied "C." I asked if it were hard or soft. "Hard." That didn't help and of course by that time we had walked past the original thing. She said, "It quite often is found in a museum." Aargh. I begged for the next sound. "ool" HUH? The answer "Sculpture!"

So what's in your mind? How do YOU perceive the world? Part of a Rockhurst education delves into that very dynamic: perception. The Liberal Arts program offers seven different perspectives on viewing and interpreting the world and our experiences. Check us out. http://www.rockhurst.edu/academic/deansoffice/liberalcore.asp

Monday, August 30, 2010

Half a Million Dollars & Service w/ a Smile

One of the things that is part of a Rockhurst University education is getting involved in community service.  One of our Greek sororities, the Zetas, has taken on the task of promoting the local Catholic school of Our Lady of the Presentation in Lee's Summit, MO that serves grades kindergarten through 8.  Kohl's Cares for Kids is running a contest to see which private school in the nation can get the most votes.  Presently (to my knowledge) Our Lady of the Presentation is ranked #15.  The top 20 schools in the nation with the most votes will each be awarded HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!

Because the closing date is September 3rd (2010), one can't take being in 15th place as a shoe-in.  That can change hour by hour.  To vote, follow this link and keep in mind that you are allowed (and encouraged!) to vote FIVE TIMES.  http://www.voteolp.com/

I live in Lee's Summit and this is the Roman Catholic parish I attend when I'm not attending the Byzantine Catholic parish which is nearby in Sugar Creek.  (To find out about that church—which doesn't run a school—check out this link: http://easterncatholicskc.blogspot.com/ )

Rockhurst University gets quite involved in the local community and has all sorts of Service Learning projects.  Check us out.  http://www.rockhurst.edu/services/service/index.asp

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back At It

Well we're back at it.  I can't believe more than a full week of classes has come and gone!  I'm once again teaching Intro to NT Greek and the students are awesome.  They're catching on pretty quick.  It's a fun class.  I have 25 students.

I'm also teaching the Honor's version of TH 1000, and that group is really great as well.  So we're off to a good start.

Yesterday I met with a prospective student who's a senior in St. Louis who's thinking about majoring in theology.  While theology might not be your thing, definitely think about coming to Rockhurst University to check out the wide range of majors and programs we offer and all the exciting classes.

And don't miss our Centennial bash!   http://www.rockhurst.edu/centennial/index.asp

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Where's the doc, Doc?

News from the hole; seems like I’m crawling out of one! This summer since being back from a two week vacation visiting family in England, I’ve been teaching the 2nd summer session. It’s a five week intensive version of the regular 14 week long semester course. I’ve also been working on my application (a huge portfolio) for promotion to the highest academic rank, that of Professor; I’m presently an Associate Professor.

Every year each faculty member must file an annual report, specifying what had been accomplished during the previous year regarding teaching, scholarship, and service. This is so one can reflect upon one’s academic work, and think of ways in which to improve. The annual report is a method of self-assessment. The faculty at Rockhurst University are deeply committed to teaching, scholarship, and service. In my applying for promotion it has allowed me to reflect on the past five years and all that I have accomplished, as well as all of the goals I set before myself. This July I was also made Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies for the next three years. The future is quite exciting and will afford me many opportunities to serve our students, especially majors.

So now I need to return to working on my application, my “doc.” In the meantime, why don’t you check out what my department has to offer, as well as Rockhurst University.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Well it's summertime. Summer classes are in session and various groups are here for summer camp at Rockhurst University. So what are you doing this summer? How 'bout taking a trip to check out Rockhurst? It could be a day trip, or a stop while you're on to some place else. Sure you're just goin' to be a senior next year, but before ya know it, it'll be time to send out applications in the Fall. Ee gads, that's right! You can start applying for college as soon as late Fall. So when are ya gonna get all those trips booked in to check out schools? Now's a perfect opportunity to talk Mom & Dad into taking a trip to KC which has lots of fun things to do. And while you're in KC, drop by campus. Of course, it's always best to contact us ahead of time and set up a personalized tour of the place.

And of course, like those blasted roads that are down to one lane due to improvements, there might be some things torn up on campus to make improvements while the swarms of students are away. But isn't that what summer is all about? Detours? So make a detour to the Rock.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Dr. Katie Madigan Knighted!

On 3 June 2010 Dr. M. Kathleen Madigan, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Modern Languages, was knighted by the French Government. Once a year the French Government accords the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques to one recipient, occasionally from each country. Established in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Academic Palms is the oldest civilian accolade and one of the highest honors awarded by the French Government to recognize individuals for distinguished contributions to the promotion of the French language and culture. The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an Order of Chivalry of France for those in the spheres of academia, culture, and education. The French minister of national education recommends nominees to the French prime minister, who, if in agreement, issues an official decree naming recipients.

Rockhurst University congratulates Dr. Madigan on this high honor and international recognition!

Dr. Madigan is pictured above on the right wearing the blue pendant and gold palms, with Dr. Stramara on the far left, accompanied by his wife Clare, and their daughter Julianna.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Paper Trail

Well it's already that time of year to turn in research papers. Hard to believe the Spring semester is drawing to a close. As a proff I get lots of last minute e-mails needing help on finding more sources, explaining a confusing apparent contradiction in information found, etc. That's part of the whole Rockhurst learning experience--helping students one-on-one. A good indicator of how a university really treats its students is how they treat them when the going gets tough, or when students are facing stress and perhaps personal and/or family issues during the year.

One of Rockhurst University's Jesuit values is cura personalis, care for the whole person. Rockhurst is not an "education factory" where we merely mass produce graduates. Rockhurst is a learning community where attention is given to the whole person.

In fact, Rockhurst even has a slick wellness e-bulletin that offers students advise and equips them with skills. Check it out: http://readsh101.com/rockhurst.html

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dust Never Settles

Can’t believe how much time has blown by, yes BLOWN! We had mid-terms so I was busy grading those tests and then immediately after that we were in Spring Break and I was in at the office everyday working from 6:30 AM until 4:30PM, including Saturday. Why? No I’m not a glutton for punishment, it’s just that a manuscript I had written for a book has been accepted for publication and I’ve been swamped trying to edit it and make it conform to Pickwick Publications House Style and be ready for the typesetter. So it’s a good “problem.”

The dust never settles. Of course, I’ve been busy with my regular Rockhurst responsibilities and family duties as well. But that’s what life’s all about: constant change and opportunities for growth. Sometimes it feels like a nice strong cooling wind, sometimes like a dust storm, or even whirlwind.

Here in the Midwest we get tornados, though KC hasn’t been hit by one in over 50 years. But one always needs to be prepared. That’s what a Liberal Arts education at a Jesuit university is all about, preparing you for whatever life throws at you. In the whirlwind of life you need to rooted enough so as not to be blown away, and at the same time know how to go with the flow and bend with the wind, rather than snap. Rockhurst University prepares students for what happens in life by addressing the full spectrum of being human: body, soul, and spirit. Secular universities can’t talk about the spiritual dimension of the human experience, but Rockhurst University can and does, fed by the rich Catholic and Jesuit tradition.

Check us out: http://www.rockhurst.edu/admission/topnav/visit/index.asp


Friday, February 26, 2010


Don't know about you, but I've been trying to watch the Winter Games as much as possible. These athletes are amazing. What sets the Olympians apart from other contenders? They push the envelope; they compete on the edge.

One of the hallmarks of Jesuit education is the sense of magis. Magis means "more," but is much more than that. It embodies the notion of striving for excellence, maxing out--in the positive sense. Magis means the drive to reach your ultimate potential. The Rockhurst University experience provides the conditions in which students are challenged to reach their fullest, to stand on the podium of life, as it were. Granted, not everyone can get the gold, but not everyone has the chance to do the mogul run, or skate on the speed track, etc. Just to qualify for the Olympic Games is an awesome achievement in itself!

In one sense, Rockhurst trains students for the "extreme sport" called LIFE. Running the "rat race," etc, whatever one wants to call it; life is a constant set of challenges that invite us to excel and reach our fullest potential. A focus on the Liberal Arts in the Jesuit tradition caring for the whole person, is what sets Rockhurst a part.

Game on!


BTW, one of our outstanding student athletes is Aaron Hill. He is one of the top five in the whole nation to receive the award for the 2009-10 ESPN The Magazine College Division First Team Academic All-American®. Way to go Aaron!!! Read about him:


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Wing and A Prayer

Sometimes in life we're flying by the seat of our pants. Sometimes it's with a wing and a prayer. Check out this true video of a pilot who lost one wing while in flight and how he landed the plane safely! In that one moment the pilot needed to maintain his calm and pull together all the learning and experience he had ever had. While I'm not envisioning your life-experiences to be so catastrophic, a sound and thorough well-balanced education at Rockhurst University can prepare you to face whatever life throws at you and to maneuver your way through life's hurdles with calm, grace, and a solid footing. Our academic Liberal Arts Program is coupled with a grounding in Catholic Jesuit wisdom and spirituality. Our focus is on the whole person and thus quite distinct from a State school education that doesn't address the spiritual side of the human equation. At Rockhurst, things add up and become an integrated whole. Going elsewhere, you only get less. When life hits you hard and you're just left with a wing and a prayer, knowing how to pull on your comprehensive learning and to spiritually "wing it," helps.