New Provost announced

Photo courtesy of Marketing and Communications  Office New Provost Debbie Ricker

Photo courtesy of Marketing and Communications Office
New Provost Debbie Ricker

Dr. Debbie Ricker was recently named the next provost and vice president for academic affairs of Hood College to start on July 1.

Ricker’s first goal is to learn as much as she can “about Hood College’s people, programs, and policies.”

However, the plans she has upon her arrival to Hood is assure that the college is ready to be visited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for the reaffirmation of accreditation. Ricker will also review the goals of Hood’s strategic plan. She believes “these two documents will help us as a campus, to define our ‘big plans’ for the future.”

Ricker has served as a faculty member, department chair, associate dean, and currently dean at York College.

 

In a letter to faculty, staff and students, President Chapdelaine said, “Her excellent credentials, enthusiasm for our academic mission and passion for students will serve Hood well as we build our next strategic plan to further strengthen our academic offerings, student academic achievement and support for our faculty as teacher-scholars.”

 

Her experiences that have prepared her for this position include: curricular design, strategic planning, student success and retention, faculty and staff development, budgeting, enrollment management, co-curricular programming, and community engagement.

 

“Personally, I think Dr. Ricker will be a fantastic provost for Hood College,” SGA President Katie Bailey said. “The direction our school is headed in, with all the changes and plans created by the new administration will be greatly helped by what Dr. Ricker has previously done at York.”

 

Ricker is looking forward to two things at Hood, the people and the future.

 

“Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive; I can’t wait to learn more about my colleagues on the academic affairs team,” Ricker said.

 

She said she was excited for the opportunities to collaboratively work with the other administrators and with the campus towards a new strategic plan.

 

“I truly enjoy working with students every day, whether it’s teaching a class, celebrating an achievement, cheering at an athletic competition, mentoring through a crisis, or simply enjoying lunch in the dining hall,” Ricker said. “Student-centered isn’t just a buzz word to me; it’s how I live and it’s how I work.”

 

Ricker found her fit at Hood in its “commitment to providing an enriching, holistic, student-centered educational experience. And, this experience is cultivated by professionals who value teaching excellence and fully embrace a multitude of learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, as well as on and off campus.”

 

She also likes how Hood integrates liberal arts and professional programs, making them work together, “preparing students to not only make a living but also make a life.”

Dining hall improvements

I think it would be fair to say that for most Hood students, the dining hall has never been our favorite place to eat. Disliking your dining services can sometime feel like a college rite of passage – you hear practically every college kid talk about how they don’t like their dining halls, and oftentimes for good reason. It’s hard enough being forced to eat at the same place every day – trying to find variety and substance in meals that are obviously being made for large groups of people. I know that in the three years that I have been here, I have had no shortage of complainants about things I disliked about the food at Hood. It’s just how it is.

However, I’m not here to talk about my problem with the dining hall. We’ve all complained about it more than once – we all know that sometimes it can suck. Instead, I want to talk about one of the few really good changes that has come to Hood College in recent memory. I am talking about the fact that in the last year, Coblentz dining hall has gone through several major improvements, to the point where these days it is an infinitely more enjoyable place to eat.

Since the start of the academic year, there has been a steady amount of positive changes being made in the dining hall, from a better quality of food to far more options. Recently, for the first time in a long time, students have had actual variety in the food they have been able to pick from, and have been given an equal amount of fun and healthy options to make their dining experience better.

While there are obviously many people to credit for this (mostly our dining hall staff, who this year have really been giving us solid service), I feel like most of the acknowledgment should go to our Food Service Director, Jennifer Curtis. Jennifer has been in her position for over a year, and since her arrival at Hood, our dining services have seen several major improvements and has overall come to be a far more enjoyable place to eat. Jennifer has become a great part of the Hood community, and was even recently tapped into the Iconic Society as an honorary member.

Since Curtis’ arrival, we have had monthly Dining with the Director dinners. At these meals, students are welcomed to come have dinner and talk about the various things they like and dislike about the dining hall. Last semester, me and some of my friends mentioned missing the Panini press and microwave, and within a month both those tools had been returned to Coblentz. We have made other requests as well – from specific food items to kinds of variety – and, within reason, they have all been met.

These days when you go into the D-hall, you have options. You check out the express station, and have some of whatever the special is for the week. You can have some pasta, which is available every day. You can go to the back of Coblentz and have whatever daily special they are offering. If you’re not in the mood for anything fancy, you can choose pizza, fries, or chicken nuggets. Or if none of that is appealing, you also have the ability to make your own food – there is materials for salads and sandwiches, and machines to heat them up with. Most importantly, you actually have more than one option of what it is you want to eat for a meal, something we haven’t always had.

Obviously, the dining hall is not perfect, nor will it ever been. It is a large quantity of food being produced for a major amount of students, and it’s never going to be able to please everyone. Even now, with all the positive changes that have happened, there is still plenty of room for improvement. However, the fact that now we have someone in change who seems to care – who takes the time to listen to our complaints and changes what can be changed, has honestly been amazing. I’m grateful that the person making these major decisions has been willing to listen to what the students want different, and then has worked to implement those changes. It’s a step in the right direction, and it’s a step towards a better dining experience.

Hood’s Wi-Fi may get updated over the summer

Hood College’s faculty has requested funding for an upgrade to the campus’s Wi-Fi services.

This upgrade would update the several Wi-Fi connections offered on campus from 802.11n to 802.11ac. In addition to being compatible with more hardware, the update would offer a significant boost to connection speeds.

Compared to the 30 megabytes-per-second speed of 802.11n, 802.11ac typically has a speed of 90 megabytes-per-second. This means that loading webpages, downloads, and streaming videos would hypothetically be far more efficient than before.

Mike Pasquerette, Hood’s network engineer, said that the upgrade was a possibility, not a certainty. If the necessary funding for the upgrade is acquired, the changes would take effect during the summer break of 2016.

Smartphones may benefit the most from the change. Wi-Fi services that have 802.11ac connections allow for “beamforming,” which allows for mobile devices to receive the best possible connection by preventing multiple signals from interfering with each other and canceling each other out.

The upgrade would be one of several changes to Hood’s campus for the academic year of 2016-2017, along with Shriner Hall becoming co-ed and Memorial and Smith Halls being limited to freshmen only.

Study abroad coordinator says goodbye

Photo by Jeanne Robinson. Study abroad coordinator Kate Emory.

Photo by Jeanne Robinson. Study abroad coordinator Kate Emory.

Study abroad programs coordinator Kate Emory finished her final day April 4 after almost five years of work at Hood College.

“It was exciting to work here,” Emory said. She left Hood for a position at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, her alma mater.

When Emory arrived at Hood in July 2011, there were no study abroad programs except for foreign language students. Hood received international students in exchange programs, but did not send students themselves because there was nobody in charge of managing them. The loss of the study abroad office was part of the cuts made in 2001-2002, she said.

Hood even used to own their own program in Strasbourg, France, which students from other institutions studied through as well, according to Emory.

She wanted Hood to “allow more students to have education overseas,” Emory said, a study abroad alumna herself.

Today, Hood is affiliated with the Center for Academic Programs Abroad (CAPA), which means students’ financial aid goes towards the tuition of the program to study abroad in international cities. One of Emory’s last accomplishments was for Hood to become affiliated with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), which will be in effect as of Fall 2016. This relationship with the program will give students additional options for locations and majors.

Emory talked to faculty and asked them “Do you want your students to go abroad?” Then, she worked on where the demand was, for which locations and fields of study. There has to be open communication between students and faculty, Emory said.

If nobody goes to certain locations, then there is no reason for Hood to have that program, Emory said. Both CAPA and CIEE offer courses in English for the majority of their locations, so any student can study abroad with them.

From Emory’s work here, 77 students went abroad for semester programs. Locations Hood has had representation in include England, Argentina, Jordan, Greece and Australia. Overall, students have studied in more than 16 countries for at least one semester.

Having these study abroad options is a promotional tool for Hood, Emory said.

Emory also assisted in the coordination of Alternative Spring Break trips to Haiti and faculty-led trips to countries including Costa Rica, France, Germany and Ecuador.

“One of my favorite aspects of my positions at Hood has been to see how a study abroad experience can affect students,” Emory said.

Any questions about studying abroad should be sent to studyabroad@hood.edu and will be monitored by the Provost’s office until there is a new study abroad coordinator.

Work-study student senior Meg Locey, study abroad alumna, is still in the office. The new hours are Tuesdays 11am-2pm, Thursdays 10am-3pm and Fridays 12-3pm.

Author and former police officer talks to class

Photo by Jeanne Robinson. Author Lori Shenher Skypes in to the classroom.

Photo by Jeanne Robinson. Author Lori Shenher Skypes in to the classroom with Professor Bean.

An honors seminar class conducted a webcam discussion with Canadian author Lori Shenher April 4.

The students of Professor Teresa Bean’s HON 470: Investigating Serial Killers class interviewed Shenher via Skype about his book “That Lonely Section of Hell.” All the students read the book and wrote reviews beforehand.

In “That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away,” Shenher recounts his career-changing investigation of the serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton who was charged with killing 26 female sex workers in Vancouver, British Columbia. Blending the structures of true crime novel and memoir, Shenher shares with readers intimate details of working with the Vancouver Police Department and how the case affected him and gave him Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Today, Shenher has a “lot more emotional distance from it,” he said. “I’m excited about the amount of speaking about it now.”

The students had the opportunity to ask Shenher about what he was thinking during specific sections of the book, how he chose what to include and why he wrote it in the first place.

Shenher said he wanted discussions around the book to be helpful. “You don’t know what you don’t know before going through one of these things,” he said. There is no way to prepare for that kind of work, he explained.

He chose policing because he wanted to help people, but then found out “the system was not built for that,” Shenher said. There are many problems in police systems that citizens are not aware of, he said.

He discovered the discrimination of sex workers is more subtle than of others, such as racial or gender discrimination. Many of Pickton’s victims were Indigenous, and assumptions of the victims got in the way of the investigation, according to Shenher.

Shenher wanted what happened to be known, which is why he is so detailed in his writing. The Vancouver PD “messed up” and could have caught him much sooner and saved more lives, he said.

Before joining the police Shenher was a journalist, so he saw the investigation more from a journalistic perspective while writing “That Lonely Section of Hell”, he said. “Every story that you have personal knowledge about…will be wrong in the media”, Shenher advised the class.

A word from the editor

There have been many rumors going around campus this week with the recent article that The Blue and Grey reported on about the class banners.

We originally reported on this story before spring break, but the paper was only recently distributed just this past week. There might have been changes within that time since we reported on the banners. That being said, we do our best to continue updating that story, along with others, as new information is decided and announced.

On behalf of the student newspaper, I take full responsibility for every issue published. The Blue and Grey staff works very diligently to make the best calls as journalists and work their hardest to report on upcoming stories. For The Blue and Grey, individuals are not required to be communications majors to write, they only have to have an interest in writing, or a desire to publish what they think is important. This allows any student the chance to be a part of the Hood College student newspaper. We encourage many students, of all different majors, to join the paper. Some members of the Executive Board read every article before it is published to make corrections that seem fit for the paper. If there is a problem within that issue, we do our best to make corrections for the following issue. We also update our website daily.

With that being said, The Blue and Grey is the only student-written and student-run news organization that specifically is addressed to the Hood College community: students, faculty, staff, and the extended Hood family. The purpose of the student newspaper is to provide objective, accurate, and unbiased coverage. Each member of the staff is accountable for the article that they have written. However, reporters do make mistakes. Being a part of the student newspaper is a learning experience for all who are involved, including myself. We constantly learn knew things everyday wither it is about reporting, editing and layout, or even ourselves as reporters.

In regarding to the class banner article, I, as Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper,  stand behind with what our reporter wrote.

 

Sincerely,

 

Katie Misuraca

 

Editor-in-Chief of The Blue and Grey.

Vans Warped Tour 2016

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Photo by Abby McAlister. Warped Tour 2014.

Abby McAlister

Recently, the 2016 line up for The Vans Warped Tour was released. The punk rock festival is gearing up for its 22nd season, where it will tour across the United States. Vans Warped Tour is an all-day outdoor concert festival where bands can showcase their new music and gain more fans. While the Warped Tour is a place for new bands to bloom, it also showcases some big names; each band gets a set time of 30 minutes so audience members can get their fill of as much music as possible. Bands also have signings and will meet their fans, and fans can take advantage of all the free giveaways and merchandise.

This year the tour will have a grand total of 82 bands playing and some say it is one of the best line ups in a long time for the famed festival. The music genres range from, Pop, to Punk Pop, to Punk Rock, to Rock, to Heavy Metal, and to Screamo; so the warped tour offers a little something for everyone. Notable names this year include: Bullet for my Valentine, Crown the Empire, Falling in Reverse, Good Charlotte, Knuckle Puck, Mayday Parade, Motionless in White, New Found Glory, Set it Off, Sleeping with Sirens, Sum 41, The Maine, We the Kings, and Yellowcard. Think you like that list? Go to vanswarpedtour.com to check out the rest of the bands, I am sure you will find one to your liking.

This year the Warped Tour will be in Maryland on Saturday, July 16th, at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. A full list of dates is on vanswarpedtour.com, so you can find out when the Warped Tour will be near you! You can also buy tickets through vanswarpedtour.com or at the venue the day of the show, if there are tickets left. If you get the chance to go, don’t pass it up; it’s a day of music, dancing, meeting people with similar interests and meeting the bands that write your favorite songs.

Students go to New York City

Photo by Christie Wisniewski. Edge of a rainy Times Square.

Photo by Christie Wisniewski. Edge of a rainy Times Square.

Christie Wisniewski

The Hood College Honors Program offered a trip to New York City for students on Saturday, April 9. For those in the honors program, the cost was a mere $35, and for students attending the college but not in the program, the cost was $45. This cost included the bus ride and Broadway tickets.

The purpose of the trip was to see a Broadway play, and there were two choices: Fiddler on the Roof and Matilda.

Fiddler on the Roof was performed at Broadway itself, while Matilda was performed at the Shubert Theater. More than half of the students went to see Matilda.

The almost-full bus left the front of Alumnae Hall at 8:30am and despite some snowy roads in Pennsylvania, arrived in front of Central Park at 1pm.

Students were allowed to choose their activities for the day before the start of the shows. The only request from Amy Gottfried, the chaperone, was for students to not wander off alone.

Students split up into pairs or small groups and went off on their own. Some visited one of the many art museums, walked in Central Park, visited the World Trade Center site, found unique restaurants or went shopping.

Emma Carlson, a freshman member of the Honors Program, was grateful to be able to take a day trip for such a low price.

“It’s hard to travel because everything costs so much money,” Carlson said. “But when I saw that I could go to New York City for a day for only $35, I jumped on that. I’ve been to the city a few times but I’ve never seen a Broadway play.”

The bus departed the city around 11:30pm and arrived back at Hood just before 4am.

“Despite the rain I had a good time,” Carlson said. “I hope I can go again.”

 

Equestrian Makes Hood History

Photo courtesy of Jessy Burke

Photo from Jessy Burke. Burke jumps her horse. She is Hood’s first equestrian team member to make it to nationals.

On April 9th, 2016, the equestrian team competed at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone Finals. The team competed against institutions such as Duke University, Bridgewater College, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Goucher College. Two Blazers competed for a spot at the 2016 IHSA National Championships.

The IHSA provides competition to riders of all skill levels, who can compete individually or as teams at regional, zone, and national levels.

One member of the equestrian team that wrote her name in the record books on April 9th, 2016, is Jessy Burke. Burke who is a junior at Hood, made history by being the first member of the equestrian team to make it to nationals in program history. She brought home a second place ribbon in the intermediate over fences class, which sealed her spot in the IHSA National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.

Another member of the equestrian team competed at zones. Senior Leah Hull, competed in her respective events which were walk trot. She finished off zones with a fifth place ribbon. Hull had an outstanding senior year, by placing first or second at every show that the equestrian team competed at.

The 2016 IHSA National Championships will take place on May 5th to May 8th, we look forward to having the first Blazer compete in a few weeks.

Division III Week

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Flier for the SAAC/Spurs food drive

For the week of April 4th to April 10th, SAAC/Spurs organization celebrated Division III Week. Division III week is a specific week where individuals connected with DIII observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and the student-athletes. Each DIII institution is encouraged to hold some sort of an outreach activity which must be from one of the following three categories: academic accomplishment, athletic experience, or a leadership/community service event.

At the Division III level student athletes understand the meaning of “giving back” to the community. The SAAC/Spurs organization chose to collect canned goods and nonperishables at each of the Blazers home games during the week of April 4th to April 10th. Even though the week provided several postponed Blazer events, SAAC/Spurs were still able to collect goods to donate to the Frederick Food Bank.

The entire goal of celebrating Division III week at Hood College is to build a greater awareness and understanding of Division III athletics.