Reflecting on the Academic Year

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It is now a month since the spring semester ended.  Faculty are off resting and researching.  Students are picking up extra units, on mission and service projects, or working, and perhaps playing some (needed and healthy).  It is time for some long-range planning, which requires some reflection on some of the events of the last months.  What is it that I remember most, or am inspired by, or thankful for?  Three things come to mind.

First, the FPU School of Education partnered with the Central California Diagnostic Center to form the “Community Autism Partnership.”  The partnership organized on hosted on the FPU campus a conference on “Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment of Young Children with Autism” in late April.  About 600 attended from all around California.  The attendees were teachers, child care providers, social workers, nurses, physicians, psychologists–I was amazed at the level of collaboration on a topic that has become a pressing concern.  Sally Rogers, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UC Davis, was the keynote speaker, and there were nineteen seminar sessions on everything from diagnosis to resources to treatments. This is part of FPU’s ongoing work on with special education and our new autism certificate program.

Second, was the formation of the new FPU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.  Its about time! Our history grads have graduate degrees for Princeton, Fordham, Emory, a number of the UC campuses, Notre Dame, and a couple are finishing doctorates now at Yale, to name just a few.  We had an delightful dinner together.  Being a member of the history faculty, I thought it was an honor due to our students.  This event came right on the heals of our interdisciplinary honor society, Alpha Chi’s annual dinner, and announcement of scholarships won and papers read by our students at the annual national conference.  And it preceded our annual undergraduate research day.  These events always remind me of what universities do that no other institutions can do well.

Inaugural Members FPU Chapter Phi Alpha Theta

Third, commencement–always an day to celebrate!  400 master’s, adult degree bachelor’s and traditional bachelor’s marched across the stage to the cheers of family and friends. Some of them were tearful with gratitude for the families who had supported them; some were proud of the completion of their degrees after many years working in their professions; some finished in four years and moving on to begin their careers or enter graduate school.  A number drove up from Bakersfield and Visalia where they took courses in our regional centers. Our faculty came up too to celebrate with them.

I have sat in the faculty section many years and watched and applauded the graduates as they received their degrees.  As they go by I wonder where I will see them next–the prinicpal of a school, a business owner, pastor, fellow professor, teacher, lawyer, coach, researcher, counselor, politician, teacher, author?

Things to remember in our planning for next year…

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  • Justin Spurlock

    Steve, I just found this blog of yours. Very enjoyable reading! Sort of a behind the scenes look into the university (and other things) from your point of view. Excellent!

    • Steve Varvis

      Justin, glad you like it. Behind the scenes or infront, but definitely from my point of view, for what its worth. Good to hear from you. Steve