Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What a Day at URI!

What a day! Now that we have been open for a couple of weeks, today seemed to be a great time to reflect. This fall’s opening was one of the best I have observed in my sixteen plus years in higher education. The community welcomed over 5,000 students into our residence halls. These students have spent the time since Labor Day Weekend finding the best times to go to Hope Dining, how to get involved, and the importance of their educations. I love being a part of this process and my colleagues have prepared all summer to support students.

I started this blog post with the comment ‘What a day!’ because URI continues to amaze me. I had three fantastic encounters that reinforced why URI is a powerful institution.

This morning I had the opportunity to hear from our Multicultural Center Director about some of the amazing programs planned for the upcoming Diversity Week. If you don’t know (and you should), Diversity Week is a program of over 60 events in one week. Not only are these programs educational and participatory, the events bring together the entire community. Traditionally, almost every department has worked to support Diversity Week. Take the time to check out the site, register, and join in.

Instead of a relaxed lunch, I ate as I walked over to Roosevelt Hall. University College conducts a survey called MAP-Works for first year students. This extremely powerful tool is designed to support students’ academic goals through self-assessment and real-time recommendations. Students will begin taking the survey shortly and will be given results upon its completion. In addition, campus advisors will utilize the data to deliver student support in a more tailored and sophisticated manner. I look forward to our ever-increasing efforts to see our students thrive and graduate.

To cap off my day, I listened to Cedric Jennings, the protagonist of A Hope in the Unseen (URI’s common reading). URI’s common reading is design to engage the community in a conversation and it was a hit this year. Cedric shared his reflections on education, mentoring, and life. I was thrilled to attend a dinner with students in honor of Mr. Jennngs. Student questions and level of engagement impressed all observers. My heart was warmed that our community chose a text that positively and profoundly impacted our community.

Today was a microcosm of what I love so much about higher education. We have the ability to support the dreams and education of students while striving to improve our approaches. URI showed its Keaney Blue today!!!