Owl Sightings Summer 2012
A news supplement for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University
OWL Summer | 12 Glad to be Grads! Dear Friends of Southern, As the state’s leading producer of certified teachers and school administrators, Southern is a key player in building stronger partnerships between higher education and K-12 schools. We recently announced the Southern/New Haven Academy for Professional Development – or SNAP – focusing on distinctive training for student teachers seeking to work in urban schools. Southern has also been named a co-recipient of a seven-year, $31.5 million federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant to improve college access and readiness for Connecticut’s students. Starting in summer 2013, we will host 320 seventh graders from eight New Haven middle schools who will participate in science, math, literacy, and cultural programs. The funding will be used to increase the number of low-income students prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education, and to provide scholarships for eligible high school seniors. I wish you an enjoyable summer, and I thank you for your support of your alma mater as we continue our efforts to ensure that a college degree is an attainable goal for all of Connecticut’s children. It was a day for celebration for the approximately 1,800 members of the Class of 2012, who were honored at Southern’s undergraduate commencement exercises on May 18 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush, delivered the commencement address, detailing the profound education she received from nontraditional teachers. Hager’s influences ranged from inner-city school children to a young mother living with AIDS whom she met while interning in Latin America with UNICEF. “I have learned invaluable lessons and, in fact, I’ve found sometimes you’ll find teachers in the most unexpected places,” says Hager, who is chairwoman of UNICEF’s Next Generation, an initiative for young professionals dedicated to reducing the number of preventable childhood deaths around the world. In addition to her volunteer efforts, Hager is a contributing correspondent with NBC’s “Today” morning show and a New York Times best-selling children’s book author. The university also held graduate commencement exercises at the same location on May 17, recognizing the more than 850 students who earned advanced degrees. Christopher J. Korenowsky, executive director of the New Haven Free Public Library, addressed the graduates. a news supplement for alumni and friends of Southern Connecticut State University Mary A. Papazian, Ph.D. President Marketing Masters A talented team of Southern students tied for third place in the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) international collegiate case competition, which challenged students from around the globe to develop a marketing plan for an academic publishing company. As one of only 10 finalists, the Southern team was invited to present their plan at the AMA collegiate conference in New Orleans in March. Southern’s standout performance placed them in good company: the University of Pennsylvania won second place in the competition, while the top prize went to the British Columbia Institute of Technology. GREAT EXPECTATIONS The results are in for the 2010-11 Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) — a test that evaluates students across the nation in several key areas, including analytical reasoning, writing, and problem solving — and the findings are particularly impressive for SCSU students. Southern students showed much greater gains between their freshman and senior years than most of their peers across the country. Notably, Southern seniors who took the CLA also exceeded expectations — performing much better than had been forecast based on their scores on the SATs and the CLA taken in their freshman year. In fact, when all factors are weighed, Southern’s seniors reached the 91st percentile nationally in A dream team of Southern students tied for third place in an international competition run by the American Marketing Association: [STANDING, FROM LEFT] Peter Romas, Nicholas Gallicano, Marina Virgalla, and Daniel Morales [SEATED, FROM LEFT] Dean of the School of Business Ellen D. Durnin, Emily Burkhardt, Cassandra Cortese, and Associate Professor of Marketing Robert Forbus, who advises the chapter. terms of exceeding expectations in the educational gains they made between their freshman and senior years. In addition to the stellar CLA test results, Southern has been selected by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which T Degree Hand IN he benefits of a college degree are farreaching. Studies show that in addition to having much greater earning potential, college-educated adults volunteer more, lead healthier lifestyles, and even share more educational activities with their children. With such advantages in mind, the Board of Regents for Higher Education has approved a new transfer and articulation agreement between the 17 Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (ConnSCU) — which includes the four state universities, among them, Southern Connecticut State University; the 12 community colleges; and Charter Oak State College. The agreement is designed to make it easier for interested students to transfer from Connecticut’s community colleges to the state universities and Charter Oak — and ultimately earn a four-year degree. By the end of September, the member colleges and universities will finalize a 30credit common core curriculum — general education requirements that will be transferrable between the institutions. The policy will not consist of a simple course-tocourse transfer. Instead, the policy is competency based — meaning students will be expected to demonstrate competency in skills and knowledge areas agreed upon by all of the member colleges and universities. A full major-by-major transfer plan is slated to be adopted by July 2013. represents 34 nations, to participate in a feasibility study for an international assessment test of general skills. Southern was one of only 10 universities in the United States chosen to take part in the study, which will assess students’ skills against peers in Colombia, Egypt, Finland, South Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, and Norway. OWL Sightings TEACHING Tomorrow’s Teachers recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals one of the most pressing challenges facing urban schools: hiring and retaining excellent teachers. At the elementary school level, for example, schools located in cities found it “very difficult” to fill teaching vacancies or were unable to do so 6.7 percent of the time. In comparison, the figure was only 3.7 percent for rural schools and 3.5 percent for schools in a suburban setting. Two years ago, Southern and New Haven Public Schools began work on a long-term [TOP LEFT] Southern student teacher initiative — the Southern/New Haven Academy Haley Vitko brings science to life in a firstfor Professional Development (SNAP) — designed grade classroom at Barnard Environmental to provide specialized training for student Studies School in New Haven. [REMAINING THREE PHOTOS FROM TOP] In the city’s Conte-West Hills teachers who plan to work in Connecticut’s inner School, several student teachers, including cities. As a first step, five schools in New Haven Megan Bryant, Rachael Bedard, and Brenna have been designated as SNAP schools, locations McGuigan, teach and learn from their students. where most Southern student teachers stationed in New Haven will be assigned. In the spring 2012 semester, about 40 student teachers were placed in the SNAP schools, which include Barnard, Edgewood, Conte-West Hills, Bishop Woods, and John S. Martinez schools. In the past, about 40 to 50 students typically were assigned to the entire New Haven school district, which includes 31 elementary and middle schools. There are numerous advantages to clustering the student teachers in the five SNAP schools, including increased opportunities for them to meet as peers to discuss their observations and share suggestions. The program also will make it possible for Southern to offer more workshops and professional development programs at the SNAP school sites. Southern students are currently required to complete two, eight-week student teaching sessions — one in an urban district and one in a suburban or rural setting. Looking forward, Southern soon may give students the option of completing two urban placements. A THOMAS RULES THE POOL: TRUE GRIT A National Champion Again! Crowning a spectacular season, swimming sensation Amanda Thomas was named the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Swimmer of the Year by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The junior exercise science major won two national titles at the NCAA Division II Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship this year — the 200- and 400-yard individual medley. The individual medley consists of four strokes: the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Thomas, who was the national champion in the 200-yard individual Retired U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly addressed an enthusiastic audience at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, discussing his career and the challenges his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), has faced during her ongoing recovery from a traumatic brain injury — the result of a January 2011 assassination attempt. Kelly, who served as commander of the space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission to the International Space Station, delivered the 2012 Mary and Louis Fusco Distinguished Lecture on May 4. A portion of the evening’s proceeds supports Southern’s Endowed Awards of Excellence, a meritbased scholarship program. Owls Seek Olympic Glory With the XXX Olympic Games set to kick off in Great Britain on July 27, two student athletes are striving to make their own Olympic dreams a reality after qualifying to compete for spots on the U.S. team. • Track standout Selasi Lumax [NUMBER PHOTO] THREE IN THE RIGHT qualified for the trials by winning the 800 meters at the New England Championships. The track and field trials will be medley in 2011 as well, set an NCAA Division II record in the event this year with her time of 2:00.09. She also finished second in the 200-yard butterfly and third in the 200-yard backstroke at this year’s national championship, which was held March 14-17 in Mansfield, Texas. Stay tuned! The 14-time AllAmerican has qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this summer. held from June 21 to July 1 in Eugene, Oregon. • Swimmer Amanda Thomas qualified to compete in the 400-yard individual medley. The trials will be held from June 25 to July 2 in Omaha. Summer | 2012 Homecoming 2012 O C TO B E R 13 Come home to Southern for a campus-wide celebration for the entire family. (203) 392-6500 The Alumni Tent Party • The Student Parade of Floats • The Homecoming football game • The 5K Robert Corda Road Race • The President’s Donor Recognition Breakfast • and much, much more! Alumni and friends are invited to join the Southern community for THE Inauguration OF Mary A. Papazian, Ph.D. as the 11th president of Southern Connecticut State University. September 28 • 1:30 p.m. John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts Information on the ceremony and a week of activities leading up to the event will be available at www.SouthernCT.edu/inauguration2012 or call (203) 392-6586. Your gift has a real impact. & Outstanding Alumni Awards Michael J. Adanti Student Center, Grand Ballroom Distinguished October 12 Keep a Southern education in reach of talented and deserving students and help the university create a climate of excellence. Please make a gift to our students today by returning the envelope provided or visit us online at www.giving.SouthernCT.edu. Honoring alumni for their accomplishments in the community and the business world. (203) 392-6500 OWL Sightings Track Standout Crowned NATIONAL CHAMPION I n a dramatic show of strength, skill, and versatility, student athlete Nick Lebron won the national title at the NCAA Division II National Indoor Track and Field Championships in the heptathlon, which includes seven events — the 60meter dash, the 1,000-meter run, the shot put, the 60-meter hurdles, the high jump, the long jump, and the pole vault. Lebron scored 5,225 points in the event, breaking his own Southern record established earlier in the season. Fellow Owl Connor Coleman finished third in the heptathlon at nationals, which was hosted by Minnesota State University from March 9 – 10. The Owls finished third overall at the competition, the team’s best-ever standing at the indoor championship.