President’s Blog – Higher Education Matters:

Thoughts from Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross

Summer on Campus

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Karen Gross

People often ask me:  “Have you had a relaxing summer?  Things really quiet down for you at the College then, right?” To be sure, many faculty and staff take vacations (me included) at some point over the summer.  And yes, most of our students are not on campus.  But, our campus is hardly a quiet place in June and July.  There are summer school classes, admissions activities and many wonderful educational programs and meetings. There are the projects we specifically schedule for the summer — like construction and renovation.

Here is a sampling of the SVC summer happenings this year:

  • Professors Scott Stein and Scott O’Callaghan ran two separate certificate classes for employees from Senior Whole Health, based in Massachusetts and with offices in Albany.  Co-teaching this course on conflict resolution in the field of healthcare, these SVC professors led these students in discussions on listening, negotiating and stress management.  Hunter Hall served as “home away from home” for these adult students – for both living and learning.  For many of the attendees, this was a chance to live on a college campus, get to know their counterparts from other offices within the company and garner knowledge that can benefit their day-to-day work. 

    summer conference notes

     The large post-it sheets hanging around the conference room off Greenberg Atrium were tangible evidence of remarkable hands-on learning.

  • Under the leadership of Director of Counseling Mike Goodwin, we welcomed summer students in our Healthcare Academy program, run in conjunction with Wheelock College, for the second consecutive year. This program, aimed at rising high school juniors and seniors, focuses on healthcare careers and how they play out differently in urban and rural settings. These students split their time between SVC and Wheelock, visiting different healthcare providers in each locale.  Our hope is that some of these students will see themselves as college students at SVC or Wheelock, and participating SVC faculty ensured that these high schoolers had a peek preview of the wonderful educational opportunities that a college provides.
  • A group of us spent time with Tom Post, the President of Sodexo, our food service provider.  Tom and his wife Gail enjoyed two delicious Sodexo prepared meals with members of the SVC community, a tour of Bennington with our provost and his wife, a meal at Mount Anthony Country Club and several meals at our home.  We had an opportunity to discuss our Campus Community Dinner Project with him, ably led by Charlotte Kelton.  This program, graciously re-funded by Sodexo, is being expanded for 2011 – 2012; fourteen SVC students will be selected to participate, along with seven local families.  This program encourages “family dinners” and connects SVC students to the local community.   
  •  The SVC library in the Mansion has been renovated. While preserving its amazing beauty, the library now has glorious student space for reading and congregating (including three study rooms for group projects). The tutoring center has moved into what was the reserve room and the vast majority of books have been relocated to the former library computer lab. 

    transforming the library

    The computers are now being spread throughout the library.  There will be new furniture (arriving between now and the end of September). All in all, this is wonderful space where students can gather, do research and work.  

The summer is chock full of activity at SVC  — and wonderful lush green mountains, glorious flowers, fresh produce, warm (sometime hot) days and balmy nights. Howsoever lovely the summer and busy the days, we are eager to welcome our student-athletes back to campus the week of August 17, our new students (first years and transfers) on August 26 and our returning students on August 29 – with the first full day of classes on August 30.  This campus is not the same without our students!

To comment…

Send Karen Gross an email at dearpresident@svc.edu. Not every email will receive a personal response but themes raised in the emails may be addressed here and certain responses shared with readers.