Welcome to issue number seven of “What’s On My Mind?” This week I’d like to reflect on a number of sights and sounds from around the College that are indicative of our continued commitment to student success, community building, bringing learning alive and positive social change. First though, let me comment on the historical presidential election of Barack Obama and what this might mean to students and learning.
Over the last several weeks, I have been trying to understand – through the eyes of students – the significance of the U.S. electorate choosing Obama decisively by popular vote as our first African-American President. It has been reported that young voters (ages 18 – 29, many who are students) overwhelmingly supported Obama – 68 percent to 30 percent for McCain. I talked with a student while waiting in line for fry bread during a Native American dance exhibition. She shared how pleased she was that Barack had been elected, but found that many of her friends seemed to discount the importance of the election and were hesitant to talk openly about an African-American being elected president. She was disappointed that at least among her peer group, there seemed to be lack of engaging conversation. Later that week, I visited with a PVCC faculty member who shared that one of her students – as evidenced by a pre-class impassioned discussion with other students – was now empowered and engaged because in his words “everything is possible now.” Lastly, I was thumbing through a high school newspaper of one of our feeder high schools and ran across a student written editorial reflecting on post election racist mal-behavior – tiny hanging nooses being waved towards African-American students during an in class discussion of the election results. Are these behaviors representative of the larger student population and society in general? Perhaps – I don’t know. We know that learning occurs best when done in the context of a compelling situation and the election of an African-American is a historically compelling situation. Take the time and talk with students about the election – you will be surprised what you’ll learn and how much more we all need to learn.
Sights and sounds around the college…
The Business/IT Division is “double-dog daring” all other divisions and departments to join in on the fun with Relay for Life. There has got to be other groups that will compete with the folks in Business/IT. BTW – ask Gary Smith what he is doing to raise money for Relay – it is impressive. I hear that faculty members Brett Reed in music and Catherin Snyder in psychology are doing some amazing engaging activities in class – ask them about their approaches!
Stop by the reception for the PVCC Men’s NJCAA National Cross Country Champions on Tuesday, November 25 – what a success story for coach Dave Barney and his student-athletes.
Have a great week.
Paul Dale, Ed.D.