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Uconnect Parents and Family Association Newsletter - April 2012

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April 2012

U and the President

PresidentAt the University of Mount Union, we are dedicated to developing a curriculum for the future – one that will meet the needs of our graduates and society as a whole today while also equipping our students for the emerging fields of tomorrow. That’s exactly why we have spent the last two years fortifying our general education curriculum by creating a distinctive program that will serve as a model for innovation.  It’s also why we continue to hone in on new and relevant academic programs that meet critical needs in today’s world. 

From undergraduate programs in civil engineering and mechanical engineering to our increasingly-attractive graduate program in physician assistant studies, Mount Union’s recent curricular additions are opening a world of opportunity for our students.  And, we continue to explore other options for the future as well.  In fact, our faculty members recently approved the addition of an undergraduate major in financial planning and are exploring another in human development and family science.

Progress has been rapid and would not be possible without our forward-thinking faculty, a dedicated community of scholars and teachers who, each and every day, illustrate the close, personal attention that is a hallmark of the Mount Union experience.  They are experts in their fields – 85% hold a terminal degree – but they are also inspirations in the classroom. They believe whole-heartedly that teaching comes first.

And, many have been recognized publicly for their unwavering commitment to our students.  This year, five of our faculty members – Dr. Beth Canfield-Simbro, Dr. Jamie Capuzza, Professor Sandra Ekstrand, Dr. Ronald Mendel and Dr. Peter Schneller – were recipients of the Excellence in Education Award sponsored by Ohio Magazine.  In addition, this year’s Great Teacher Award recipient, Dr. Scott Mason, shines as another exceptional example of all it means to be a faculty member at Mount Union.  All of these individuals are dedicated to ensuring that their students reach their full potentials and committed to instilling in them an appreciation for lifelong learning.

We are truly fortunate to have a community of faculty members like Beth, Jamie, Sandra, Ronald, Peter and Scott – renowned experts in their fields who are committed to facilitating the meaningful student-faculty interaction that inspires the best kind of learning.  I assure you that ours is an environment ripe with opportunity – one that sets a foundation for your students continued learning and success.

Sincerely,

Dr. Richard F. Giese
President of the University of Mount Union

U and the Parents and Family Association

wear purpleParents are invited to attend events sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and University Activities

Mount Union’s National Wear Purple Day
Saturday, April 28 at 1:05 p.m.
Akron Aeros Stadium

Greetings from The Mount Union Fund! 

It is amazing to think that another academic year is coming to a close very soon. Time flies with the vigor of the spring semester!

In the weeks leading up to Commencement, members of the senior class diligently work to secure the final dollars in support of the class project. This year, the Class of 2012 has chosen to place additional recreational space between Bica-Ross Hall and Shields Hall. These residence halls, on the northwestern edge of campus, house numerous upperclassmen while serving as a gathering space for student organizations and academic classes.

Many of you have chosen to support a variety of projects on campus this year by making financial commitments to the senior class gift or by making unrestricted gifts to The Mount Union Fund. With the fiscal year coming to a close on June 30, there is still time to join the many other parents and alumni who have chosen to support this year. Visit us at alumni.mountunion.edu/give to join them!

As always, thank you for allowing us to be a part of the educational journey of your family. We are grateful for the faith you put in the University of Mount Union ... where exceptional begins.

U and our Students

Study Tips

studentWith exams right around the corner, here are a few study tips to help your student:

  • Study over a period of time and not cram
  • Switch up study spots rather than sticking with one location
  • Make use of study groups when it’s hard to get motivated
  • Make a study schedule that includes breaks
  • Prioritize which class your student needs to study for the most
  • Exercise to help reduce stress

Positive reinforcement during this very stressful time is important. Take a moment to send your student a small treat, fun photo of his or her pet or encouraging email or card.

Office of Academic Support
The Office of Academic Support offers a variety of services to assist day and evening students in managing their course work successfully. Individual academic counseling and study strategies matched to learning styles can help students handle difficult classes. Additionally, peer learning assistants, who are hired and trained by the office, facilitate study groups for many courses. Learning assistants are also available for tutoring appointments with students who need assistance with course content.

Commencement
honorsCongratulations to our upcoming graduating class and their parents! The ceremony is planned to take place on the south lawn of Chapman Hall. The rain call will be made several days in advance with a notice posted on the website. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the Peterson Field House in the MAAC.

The University store will be sell bouquets of roses on Commencement day prior to the ceremony at a cost of $18 for a half dozen or $25 for a dozen.

It is recommended to make lodging reservations as soon as possible if you need a place to stay, as area hotels fill up quickly. Get more information on Commencement.

New Curriculum
The entire campus is excited as we prepare for the new curriculum to begin in the fall semester! Discussions about changing the curriculum started in 2006, and it is finally happening. In addition to updating our course offerings more generally, the faculty sought ways to give students more time for reading, research and reflection. The result is impossible to miss: most courses in the new curriculum will be four credit hours (as opposed to three), and new students will complete a new general education program, called the Integrative Core. The IC, as it will be known, consists of a first-year seminar, four Foundations courses (one in each area: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts) to explore different perspectives on the world, paired Themes courses in the junior year designed to integrate learning, and a Senior Capstone project. Further, written and oral communication will be integrated throughout the curriculum more intentionally, and new students will complete a portfolio to demonstrate their work as part of their graduation requirements. While a change of this nature can be stressful on students, there is no reason to worry: faculty advisors have been meeting with every student on campus to develop a clear plan to ensure timely graduation. Because current students are completing their original requirements, they do not need to take courses in the IC, nor are they required to submit a portfolio. Like any big change, there is a lot of anxiety ... but also a lot of excitement, as we improve on an already excellent academic program!

Student Representatives to the Conventions
Four students will be representing Mount Union at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL in August and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC in September. Through the Washington Center, students will have a one-week seminar/training session before experiencing the excitement of a national political convention. This memorable experience is being funded in part by the Ralph and Mary Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement.

Service-Learning, Community Service and Philanthropy
ServiceThroughout the year, the Regula Center has been instrumental in giving students opportunities to be involved in the community. Through more than 20 service-learning courses, students were able to see the value of doing service while tying their experiences to classroom learning. A Pay it Forward grant gave students the opportunity to give awards to organizations while learning about philanthropy, understanding the non-profit sector and building relationships. We also were able to facilitate events throughout the year including a community Thanksgiving dinner, trick or treat for canned goods and MLK Day of Service. Students were mobilized through ECEA, America Reads America Counts, SPARK and Navigators. 

Outgoing Regula Scholars
The inaugural group of Regula Scholars Ben Hartwell, Tim Hatton, Becky Hill and Patrick Williams are finishing their first year excelling as public servants. Each scholar maintained a 3.5 GPA, held at least one leadership position, attended events and will have completed 150 hours of community or public service. Scholars receive funding for professional development, conferences and other special projects. Our scholars take interest in political science, philosophy, business and education among other fields and have served populations including Alliance youth, MRDD individuals, people dealing with poverty, students interested in voting and a wide range of others. Two of the scholars are currently in Washington, D.C. completing internships — one is doing student teaching and another recently participated in an alternative spring break trip. Welcome to incoming scholars Greg Djordjevic, Marilyn Miller, Zak Suhar and Alicia Switzer!

Trash to Treasures Recycle Sale – May 2 – 3
Between April 24 and May 1, students can donate unwanted items from their rooms as they are getting ready to leave for the summer. There will be designated locations in each residence hall or students can call the Regula Center if they have larger items. Everything will be sold at the Physical Plant from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 2 and from 9 a.m. to noon on May 3. All proceeds will benefit the United Way for a new program they are creating for our students. 

University of Mount Union Center for Global Education
ChinaMount Union is currently in talks with Jackson High School of Jackson, Ohio and No. 1 High School of Liaocheng in Shandong Province, China and held a meeting January 13 to discuss the option. Jackson Local School officials have been working with No. 1 High School of Liaocheng for some time now. They are in the process of developing an academy for global studies with emphasis on intercultural studies, community service opportunities, language study and international projects. Mount Union’s own Dr. Frank Triplett, professor of French, advises Jackson High School as a member of the World Languages Community Advisory Board.

In addition to Jackson High’s already impressive international connections, they are looking to form a partnership with a small, private Ohio university for educational purposes. Dr. Jennifer Hall, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and cultures, faculty director of the Center for Global Education and associate professor of foreign languages and cultures at Mount Union, is excited about the prospect of an educational collaboration. “This partnership would create additional international opportunities for our students and faculty,” Hall said.

U and Mount Union

Mount Union Choir Summer Performances

  • Sunday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in Natrona Heights, PA
    Center United Methodist Church, 1575 Donnellville Road
    Hosted by Dr. James H. Ritchie, Jr. ‘73
  • Monday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in Mentor, OH
    Mentor United Methodist Church, 8600 Mentor Ave.
    Hosted by Craig Eppler ‘83
  • Tuesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Norwalk, OH
    Norwalk First United Methodist Church
    Hosted by Carol (Chalker ’76) Phillips