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President's Notes III.9December 19, 2013
Hello, everyone. As Advent has progressed, celebrations have been steadily bursting out on campus and off. Hollyfest was held on December 4 at the Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich, MA. Almost 50 alumni gathered for a luncheon and to hear Campus Minister S. Betsy Conway, CSJ, our Erat Scholars, and benefactor Kathryn Erat speak about their recent trip to France, Switzerland, and Rome. Check out the new issue of Regis Today as well for an article on Kathryn and her inspiration for the Erat Scholars. At Hollyfest, Marrissa Gondola Brunetti ’07 was introduced as the new liaison for Cape Cod Club.
That evening our annual Trustee-Faculty-AC-Directors Christmas Party at Morrison House was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We began at 6:00 and verged toward midnight! Thank you to our caterers, Chartwells, for a terrific job.
The next day, December 5, the Board met. Dr. Donna Norris, who is now in her second term as a trustee, has completed three years of service as Board chair. Thank you, Donna! Trustee Joan Shea, who has been so helpful chairing our Board’s Facilities Committee, which carefully reviewed our Master Plan, has been elected the new chair, beginning in January. Welcome, Joan!
On December 7, Regis College Campus Ministry collaborated with the congregation of St. Julia’s Parish in Weston Center to sponsor a crafts fair and fundraiser for the benefit of HEAL, Raising Our Children Foundation, Inc. This was coordinated by student Julia Doiron.
Holly Tea Brunch was held on Sunday, December 8 in the Fine Arts Center. Over 120 alumni and friends joined together for a festive afternoon. As you can see in the photo, Santa and Mrs. Claus made a special appearance – and both the children and the young at heart were delighted! The brunch was followed by the College’s lovely annual Christmas Concert under Professor Sheila Prichard’s direction. Thank you, Sheila.
Also our New York City event was held last Friday, December 13, at the Union League Club, hosted by Eileen McCormick Langenus ’78 and her husband, Regis Trustee Peter Langenus. This, too, is always a wonderful alumni gathering, with numerous NY area alums attending. Thank you, Eileen and Peter, for sponsoring this event. While in New York I also attended a meeting of the Health e-Villages Board on which I serve.
On December 17, the staff Christmas Luncheon graced College Hall Foyer. As always, Director of Human Resources Joan D. Sullivan ’81 and her staff put together a lovely, fun occasion, complete with good food, a raffle, and live piano. Here’s a glimpse of the merry occasion (next page), with faculty members Sister Judith Costello, CSJ, and Bernard Jackson, and staff members, Jan Rutkowski from ITS, Caitlin Watts from Finance and Business, and Marcia Spivey from Advancement holding up the winning cards in the raffle.
Joan and I were to visit with the retired Sisters of St. Joseph in residence at St. Joseph Hall and Bethany in Framingham after the luncheon, but postponed the visit till tomorrow, Friday, December 20, because of the snow on Tuesday afternoon. I am always happy to see the Sisters whose life breath and dedicated hard work was the life blood of Regis. I am also very grateful to our staff and faculty who generously donated $900 for the sisters. Meanwhile, yesterday, December 18, I was pleased to welcome faculty and staff to a Christmas Open House at Morrison House between 4 and 5:30 p.m.
We are now well into the last week before Christmas, the famous seven days of the “O Antiphons,” with each one, each day, under ancient, scriptural titles like “Adonai,” Son of David, Radiant Dawn, and Emmanuel, praying Christ to come. As our offices close on Friday, December 20, all our faculty and staff will enjoy the last few days before Christmas and the days immediately following as part of an extended holiday. Thank you to Vice President Tom Pistorino, Finance and Business, and HR Director Joan Sullivan for working that schedule out.
Faculty & Staff
Math professor Santosh Matthew has published a book called Essays on the Frontiers of Modern Astrophysics and Cosmology. The book collects together fourteen essays that describe an inspiring journey through the universe and discuss popular science topics with which modern physics and cosmology are struggling, such as “What is our place in the universe and what happens in the magnificent cosmos where we exist for a brief amount of time?” In a unique way that incorporates mythological and philosophical perspectives, the essays address the big questions of what the universe is, how it came into being, and where it may be heading. This exciting adventure is a rich scientific history of elegant physics, mathematics, and cosmology as well as a philosophical and spiritual pursuit fueled by the human imagination. You can read more about its publication here or at the publisher’s, Springer Praxis. The book has received some excellent reviews from professionals, students, and amateurs alike. Santosh also writes a popular science blog on the Huffington Post, and he is profiled among authors for The Guardian, Congratulations on all counts, Santosh!
PR Tips: Take a look at The Boston Globe on Sunday, January 5, for a special education supplement on outstanding professors. Reporter Cindy Atoji interviewed Dr. Ernest Collamati of our Religious Studies Department. Thank you, Ernie; we look forward to seeing the article.
And today, running in the regional sections (North, West, South, Metro) of the Globe, look for an article on private colleges and universities and affordability. Vice President Paul Vaccaro, Enrollment Management, Marketing, and Communication, was interviewed by reporter Jennifer Lefferts.
Thank you, Paul, for your superb communication of several of our efforts at Regis to control costs for students and their families while still enabling students to compete in our world.
Faculty members Nancy Street, ScD, NP, and Cherlie Normilus, MSN, NP, directors of the Regis College Haiti Project, have just returned from a trip to Haiti. Under the mentorship of professors Street and Normilus (2nd and 6th from right in photograph on the left), members of our first cohort of Haitian nursing faculty delivered intensive on-site classes on Nursing Leadership to our second cohort of nursing faculty. While in Haiti, the Regis Haiti team also hosted a dinner for Rector Jean Vernet Henry of the State University of Haiti with our Haitian nursing colleagues. Preparations for graduation of the first cohort of nursing faculty are underway at this time. The Rector and leaders at the Haitian Ministry of Health are working together to secure details for this historic occasion, when the State University of Haiti will award the first Master's degree in Nursing ever given in Haiti.
I am pleased to report that colleges and universities are collaborating in devising safety guidelines and responses to campus intruders and possible violent incidents. On Friday, December 6, 2013, Marla Botelho, Chief Information Officer, James Guaragna, Director of Orientation and Communication Management and Shawn Edie, Director of Residence Life and Housing, attended a NASPA Region I Drive-In Conference at Merrimack College. The drive-in conference was titled: Emergency Preparedness & Post-Emergency Response for Student Affairs Practitioners which focused on emergency preparedness on college campuses and was developed in response to successes and challenges faced by Massachusetts institutions during and following the Boston Marathon Bombing in April.
On December 9, for example, in collaboration with Synergy Solutions, the Regis College Campus Police presented a workshop in the LSU for faculty and staff on the subject of how one should react if encountering a violent intruder on campus. The workshop aimed at presenting a viable working plan for when a violent intruder has been reported and/or encountered on campus. This workshop, which will be repeated throughout the year to give everyone opportunity to participate in at least one session, is meant as a training program to help inform faculty and staff with working knowledge on “what I should do."
Sadly, there is a need to be on guard. On December 17 a wandering thief posing as an employee did manage to steal from the purses of some staff members. We have circulated his photograph caught on video.
Students, Universities & Future Student Employment
The good news, as Director of Internships and Career Development Susan Kennedy tells it, is that employers expect to hire 7% MORE college grads this year than last. In fact, if projections made by employers in the financial services industry were removed, that number would be an 11% increase this year over last year. Susan explains that these numbers are within 0.5% of those of 2007, the highest year ever recorded and the year before “the Great Recession.”
In a provocative NY Times column for educators, David Brooks, “thinking of the future,” argued on December 9 that mechanical intelligence will drive new categories of jobs. He lists the top 15% of these workers as freestylers, synthesizers, humanizers, conceptual engineers, motivators, moralizers, and greeters – and the bottom 85% as economizers (living meaningfully on little) and weavers (those who organize life for others who can’t). The article is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it certainly registers the generally increased social stress the transformation of business, education, health care, and government by technology and “mechanical intelligence” is causing. Beyond the information age, we are all having to learn how to function through gizmos. Our very successful all iPad initiative, rTIP, and digital pedagogy have made a relatively smooth transition, but we have other things still to discover. Meanwhile, coached by my own post-grads, I am personally finding it a lot of fun, too, even the YouTube sensation on “What does the fox say?”
Seniors, however, are facing a major milestone. For a look at a couple of seniors who know where they are headed, take a look at this Institutional Advancement video appeal regarding scholarships and the Regis Fund.
On December 11, under faculty member Michelle Cromwell’s direction in Sociology 303A and with the collaboration of Campus Ministry, the Unity Committee, and a co-curriculum grant, Regis students produced and launched an iBook on the topics of prejudice, oppression, and discrimination. Way to go, 303A! Especially during this fiftieth anniversary year of the March on Washington and the recent resurgence of “the rainbow” as the world remembered the eminent South African President and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela.
The College Academic Affairs Committee (CAAC) has recommended to me a change of name for the current Office of Continuing Studies. The new name is "Institute for Advancing Studies" (IAS). Consistent with the current organizational chart, the Institute will remain under the administration of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs in the Office of Academic Affairs. Regis must continue to create infrastructure to appeal to changing and diverse populations of twenty-first century students in line with the Board-approved “case for growth”.
In anticipation of spring break, our AmeriCorpsVISTA co-ordinator Marlene Mendez has issued an invitation to students to sign up to participate in five days and nights on the Heifer Farm in Rutland, MA, March 2-7, where they can learn about and explore global hunger and poverty while also serving hands-on around the farm with gardening, maintenance, and livestock chores. Contact Marlene at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. In line with Pope Francis’s recent call on Human Rights Day, December 10, to eliminate hunger, I think a visit to the farm is a great opportunity to educate. That day the Holy Father asked for a prayer wave beginning in Tonga and going around the world in about twenty-four hours. Similarly, with consciousness effort and better planning, we human beings can eliminate world hunger by 2025. If we are truly one global family, there has to be food for all. Certainly, people have noticed rising food costs during the recession, and the younger generations in particular are aware of great inequities in production and distribution of food and want to do something about it.
Thanks to Vanessa Noesi ’14, Graphic Design major, Campus Ministry has a new, beautiful hand-painted mural on its office walls. The mural depicts different aspects of the Regis Community, including the Sisters of St. Joseph, athletics, academic work, international presence, the iPad, and even a picture of the Norman Tower in the center of the tree:
We do, indeed, belong to something bigger. May you all be enfolded in light by the Christmas mystery and enjoy a happy and restful break. The next issue of President’s Notes will be out in mid-January. For now, a conclusion in pictures, saying it all.