12 New Faculty Members join Hood Professors this year

by Maya Douglas

Hood College will welcome 12 new professors onboard for the 2017-2018 school year, according to a message from the Provost.
The additions will include six visiting assistant professors, including Dr. Carol Jim who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hood College. Jim will be returning to teach in the computer science department.

Visiting professors will also include Dr. Robert Casas Roigé in the Foreign Language department, Dr. Nora El-Bilawi and Daniel Shea in the Education department, Dr. David Hixson in the Art and Archeology department, Dr. Molly Moreland in the Psychology department and Dr. Margaret Oshai in the Nursing department.
Also joining the team will be five assistant professors in the subjects of counseling (Dr. Stephanie Dailey), social work (Dr. Michelle Gricus), accounting (Dr. James Hua), cognitive psychology (Dr. Molly Moreland) and mathematics (Dr. Van Nguyen).
Dr. David Steinberg will be joining as an associate professor of organizational leadership.
The academic affairs staff also brought on new additions for the school year. In the Center of Academic Achievement and Retention, Lisa Copenhaver is now the Director of Student Success and Kristel Ehrhardt has been hired as a math skills and tutoring coordinator.
Dr. Lisa Littlefield is the director of the Center for Career Development and Experimental Education, and Tanya Williams is the now the assistant director of assessment.
Three faculty members received tenure this August. Professors David Gurzick of the Business department, Elizabeth MacDougall in the Psychology department and Katherine Orloff or the Communications department earned a tenure that became effective on the first of August.
Faculty members receiving promotions include professors Kristy Calo as associate professor of education, Heather Mitchell-Buck as associate professor of English, Dianne Graves as associate professor of psychology and Tricia Strickland as associate professor of education.
A number of staff will be taking sabbaticals this this year including associate professor of journalism Liz Atwood, who will be using the spring semester to finish a novel.
Other professors taking sabbaticals include Liza Algazi Marcus, Eric Annis, Elizabeth Knapp, Ellen Koitz, Xinlian Liu, Lynda Sowbel, and Stephen Wilson.
In addition to faculty changes, the Maryland Higher Education Commission has approved Hood to offer as Master of Science in Cybersecurity, according to a press release for the Hood Marketing department.
The program will serve as a sub-discipline of computer science and information technology and is a 30 credit program.
“Students will learn about computer forensics, defending networks and firewalls, and configuring and deploying new systems,” said George Dimitoglou, associate professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology at Hood.

Back to School Tips (for Every Stage)

By Tia Saluzzo

 

As the school year starts up again and we take on exciting new classes, challenging projects, and thrilling experiences, it is important to think about ways to make the most out of the next four months in order to fully rock the next semester. Whether you are a Freshman just starting out or a Senior going into your final year here at our beautiful Alma Matter, we all desire the same thing: to be someone that matters in the world. College is our opportunity to do great things – to learn valuable skills both inside and outside of the classroom in order to become prepared for a life outside of these grounds. This idea is both exciting yet intimidating at the same time, but fear not! No one is alone – and it is with this in mind that the following back to school tips have been created in hopes of providing an important stepping stone that may be need to start off on the right foot of achieving this goal of success.

For Freshmen:

1. Go to as many orientations and events as you can – Most Freshmen are experiencing the same thing: a new environment unknown to them, new people from all kinds of different backgrounds, and all without the comfort of their homes and families to get them by. Attending events is one way to meet new people and make friends that will allow your transition from high school to college become more manageable and enjoyable.
2. Find your classrooms before the classes start – With a school as small as Hood, it is easy to quickly learn your way around; however, there will always be an adjustment period. Finding your classrooms the day before (or even an hour before) the actual class begins is a good way to make sure you are on time and aren’t fumbling around at the last minute causing you to miss important information.

3. Communicate with your roommate – If there is a problem, address it immediately. Roommates last for the entire school year; that’s a long time to be angry or annoyed with someone. Clear communication from the beginning is the most important part of dorm life, but you should always remember to be respectful if you wish to gain that in return.

4. Get organized – Getting organized (and staying organized) is an incredibly important part of the college experience. Each student has responsibilities, whether it be homework, going to class, sports, clubs, or a job, and it is very difficult to juggle everything without some kind of organization. Create a schedule that works and hone in on some time management skills in order to avoid extra stress.

For Sophomores:

1. Meet with your advisor to map out a plan – Be sure to use your advisors to help plan out your college future. Discuss the classes that are required
for the core classes, your major classes, and any minor classes and come up with a schedule for each semester and keep note of which classes you need to take in order to graduate on time.

2. Declare your major – By this time you might have an idea of what you are interested in studying full time. If you don’t of course no one will rush you, but keep your head up and maybe even play around with your schedule a bit. Also, look into some classes you may be interested in taking. Talk to the professors! A major deserves a lot of time and energy dedicated to it and its classes so before you declare a major make sure it is something you are passionate in and have no qualms about.
3. Don’t be sad if you drift away from friends – Once you declare a major, you will be spending a lot of time with other people of that same major. They share the same classes (most of them multiple classes in the same semester) so it is inevitable that you would begin to grow closer to these individuals and would perhaps begin to stray away from your hall mates. It happens, and it is just a part of the college experience.

4. Get your core requirements out of the way – Odds are that there is at least one subject that is unbearable to each student. However, more than likely, this subject is part of the core requirements that each student is required to take. Take your least favorite subject early to get it out of the way.
For Juniors:

1. Get your resume in order – Junior year is the prime time to start looking for internships and getting advice on how to begin your job search. However, in order to do this you must have an up-to-date resume. You should always have an updated version of your resume ready at a moment’s notice.

2. Get an internship – Internships are a crucial part of resume building and the experience they bring simply cannot be taught in a classroom.
3. Know the resources offered to you –In the Career Center students can find internships, learn how to interview and create a resume. The office also assists with where to begin searching for jobs.
CAAR, the center for academic achievement and retention, is also another beneficial resource given to students.

4. Save your money – It doesn’t have to be all of it, but it would be a smart idea to begin to put some aside for after college in case you haven’t already. You will thank yourself when the time comes.

For Seniors:

1. Attend all the job fairs you can – Job fairs are an easy way to network. Dress professionally and

bring copies of resumes – you never know what this opportunity may bring.

2. Don’t slack off – Senioritis is a real thing. After four years and with the end so near it is normal to lose focus and motivation for school work; it is understandable. But, you must push forward. Now is not the time to slack. Now is the time to work harder and make a name for yourself – to do something that you will be proud of after graduation and in years to come.

3. Search and apply for jobs – This is the hard part. The search for a future career can be tedious and overwhelming but it is a necessary stress. Take it slow. Do simple searches and expand from there – don’t get discouraged and don’t ignore any job listing with potential. Keep your options open.

4. Relax – Despite everything, the most important thing to do during Senior year is relax. Take a deep breath. You’re fine. It is not necessary to have everything figured out or planned yet; life is a surprise. Don’t slack off, of course, but don’t spend all your time working. Now is the time to make memories and enjoy the time you have left here of your home for the last four years. Enjoy it.

With these tips and the strength and dedication that each Hood College student is capable of, each student can pull through the stress and have an awesome and successful semester.

The Perfect End of Summer Playlist

by Nailah Russell

 

Vacation is over, but the sounds of summer linger in the high-riding bass, romantic choruses, sun-soaked guitar harmonies, and laid-back flows of the songs in this playlist.
Here’s a list of music spanning the genres of Rap/Hip Hop, Indie, Pop, Electronica, and more. It’s filled with infectious beats that never get old and prove to be the perfect soundtrack for cruising, chilling, and partying.
16) “Now or Never” by HALSEY
The strength of music nowadays doesn’t just rely on the singer anymore. It’s almost all about production – how much the beat bumps and how much it makes you wanna turn the volume up to max when the chorus hits. Whoever produced this song, knew exactly what they were doing.
15) “New Scream” by Turnover
I don’t know a college student who doesn’t relate to this song. Not only are the lyrics about the times we all wish he had zero responsibilities, but its youthful and warm melody just makes you want to drive down an open road with all of your windows down….avoiding all of your responsibilities.
14) “III. Telegraph Ave.” (“Oakland” by Lloyd) by Childish Gambino
13) “You Got It” by Bryson Tiller
12) “Despacito” feat. Daddy Yankee by Luis Fonsi
All I’m gonna say is that Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee are all you need to make you wanna get up dance to this song, even when it’s not playing because it’s THAT catchy.
11) “LUV” by Tory Lanez
10) “LOYALTY” feat. Rihanna by Kendrick Lamar
9) “So Many Details” by Toro y Moi
8) “Ocean Drive” by Duke Dumont
7) “Pop Thieves” by Childish Gambino
Pop Thieves is practically made to listen to in the summer time. It’s off Gambino’s 2014 album Kauai, but its beachy feel makes it a timeless jam for every summer.
6) “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars
5) “Wild Thoughts” feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller by DJ Khaled
4) “Unforgettable” feat. Swae Lee by French Montana
3) “HUMBLE” by Kendrick Lamar
2) “LOVE” feat. Zacari by Kendrick Lamar
1) “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Other than this song being perfect because it’s actually about summer, when is a better time to appreciate a good throwback than summer? Summertime is one of those jams that can give you nostalgia about BBQs you’ve never been to, that one uncle in a polo everyone has, and fashions your cousins wore when they were young and free in the 90s. As the Fresh Prince puts it, this is the perfect song to play when you need a break from the heat of all that hardcore dancing. It’s a joint so cool, air conditioning is practically unnecessary.

And there you have it! 16 songs with the soul of summer.
Whether you have last minute bashes, ocean-bound adventures, road trips, pool days, or plans to hit the mountains of Frederick, you’ll want to make sure to give these songs a play or seventeen on your loudest bass woofer sound system.
These are the tunes guaranteed to make the best season last forever.

 

 

 

New members inducted into Hood’s biological honor society

On April 13, five new members were inducted into the colleges Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society’s chapter, called the Alpha Omicron chapter.

Among those inducted were Matthew Ball, Andrea Christmas, Elien Comhaire, Jenna Hasson and Melissa Nisonger.

The advisor of the chapter is Dr. Georgette Jones.

Beta Beta Beta, or Tri Beta, is a nationwide organization dedicated to understanding and improving biological studies.

There are currently over 626 chapters in the country, totaling over 20,000 members overall. 20170413_191351

Photo courtesy of Georgette Jones

Pictured:  Alpha Omicron Chapter members(from left) Elaine Cerchin, Dr. Georgette Jones (faculty advisor), Dr. Ricky Hirschhorn (faculty), Melissa Nisonger, Matthew Ball, Elien Comhaire, Jenna Hasson, Andrea Christmas, Alana Thomas, Catherine Knight, Kelsey Decker, Fatimah Spall, Dr. Debbie Ricker (provost), Alyssa Denikos

 

Controversy Over Hood College Republican Display Case

By Maya Douglas, Mary Milligan & Christie Wisniewski

This story will continue to be updated as we get more quotes and information

The display case on the second floor of Whitaker has been changed from Protesting Peeps to a showcase of quotes from celebrities voicing some beliefs of the Hood College Republicans.

This display was constructed by HCR club’s Vice President Brice McAndrew and Treasurer Brendan Mahoney.

They came up with the idea after seeing previous displays about transgender and pro-choice awareness put up by Hood College’s LGBT club and Feminist Student Union, according to McAndrew.

“We think it’s only fair for the other side to to have a chance to be represented,” he said.

However, to many, this display is being seen as hateful, transphobic, and misogynistic. Many students are quick to point out that Hood should not be condoning this kind of rhetoric and that it should be taken down.

“I would like to say that Hood College is a place of inclusion, community, and fostering  acceptance and harmony among students,” said senior Jennifer Forester. “It is not a place for hateful inflammatory rhetoric to be spewed, which will only further divide us against each other.”

Students are quick to ensure that they want to promote free speech but not hate speech. Senior Molly Masterson said, “We support discussion and disagreeing opinions. What we don’t support and why we are upset with the display is hate speech. The rhetoric the Republicans used regarding trans rights and abortion was hateful, discriminatory and ignorant. It has nothing to do with the fact we don’t like opposing opinions. We don’t like discrimination.”

On The Blue and Grey’s Facebook post, Jeff Robert seemed to disagree with this above sentiment. Robert wrote: “Freedom of speech. If people find it offensive, they have the option of moving on. If its offensive, it creates discourse which is a good thing. I haven’t seen it myself, as I haven’t had the need so far this semester to be on campus, but I find it to be informative.”

Others were quick to point fingers, like alumnae Caitlin Clark who wrote, “Seems like @Christopher Gardner has some personal issues he needs to work through. Sad!”

Christopher Gardner is the president of the group responsible for putting up the poster.

Senior and staff writer CJ Blickenstaff wrote: ” There is an abundance of free speech throughout the halls of Hood College; Art, Religion, Literature… Politics. Whether you agree with it or not, censorship is not the answer. If we all censored what we didn’t agree with then no opportunity for communication and dialogue would exist. Without those opportunities no one ever learns and hot topics such as those imposed on the board never come to the center. Censorship is divisive. Rejection of opposing ideals is divisive. Let’s find common ground. I do not discuss politics at school because someone is always offended; some sit silently…others shout their discourse.  Let’s accept each other’s points of view as valid. We don’t have to agree; just see the other point as legitimate and respect it.”

The first panel of the poster includes anti-abortion and anti-transgender material.

The first panel of the poster includes controversial quotes about abortion and the transgender community.

Staff and students’ opinions

Travis Eichelberger, the assistant director of student engagement and coordinator of diversity and inclusion, said that the Hood College Republicans approached him for the space, but didn’t specify the content. According to Eichelberger, the club claimed that they wanted a space to display some conservative hot topics and current discussions.

The next morning, he said, he walked out of his office and saw the current poster.

Views from students, faculty, and alum all seem to be mixed. Some dislike the material, but are quick to stress the importance of the First Amendment. Others believe that the speech is hate speech, and some others believe that all opinions have a place, even if these opinions aren’t popular.

“Everything that gets put up you don’t have to agree with,” said Hood Professor Timothy Jacobsen. “[People] have a right to disagree with you. That’s fine. Free speech protects all speech, whether you like it or not. I think it’s a great opportunity for discussion. I will say putting up something like this and saying that it’s to start a discussion… it’s kind of a cop-out.”

He continued to say that as long as the content is respectful and not derogatory, and as long as it’s not “filled with venom”, people have to respect it.

“You don’t have to agree with it,” Jacobsen said. “People have a right to speak their mind. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. It doesn’t mean by putting this up, there aren’t going to be some sort of consequences.”

Senior, Gabrielle Cavalier, was present during the creation of the display.

“I just thought of it as joke…” she said. “I didn’t think it would blow up to what it is right now.”

Free speech or hate speech?

Cavalier, a member of the Hood College Democrat club*, believes the language on the board is “definitely inflammatory.”

On Wednesday night, President Andrea Chapdelaine issued an email statement to the Hood community stating that discussions are being held with students, administrators and faculty to “come to a resolution that is most consistent with the values of our institution.”

Action is being taken, according to the email.

The Hood College Republican Club issued a statement on their Facebook page last night stating the following:

“There has been some members of the Hood Community who have expressed their outrage towards the display. We encourage all of those who have questions or disagree with us to approach us on campus or come to our general meeting in Whitaker Commons at 7:30 on Sunday. The intent of this display was to help encourage constructive political discourse on campus. We have been fortunate enough to have many great conversations with people of different backgrounds and ideologies the past couple days. Conversations with people who may have never voiced their political opinions on campus before. This unprecedented level of discourse wouldn’t have occurred without the presence of the display, which we still believe holds value.”

“I think it deserves all of the outcry that it’s getting right now but I will fight forever for the right to be able to express your view point,” said Cavalier.

“This is the messy side of politics. Things like this have to happen to start discussion. This campus has always been divided and this just highlighted it,” said McAndrew.

The Hood College Republican Club president has had approximately $200 donated to Planned Parenthood in his name, according to The Frederick Extra.

The Hood College Democrat Club will not be doing a board in response to the Republican display. According to Cavalier, members of both clubs are cordial and collaborate often.

“There isn’t any tension between us,” said Cavalier.”[We] don’t want this to get any bigger than it is…it isn’t tit for tat.”

In a second email statement from President Chapdelaine, she stated that the administrative team gave the HCR a chance to remove the display voluntarily, however, the club refused to do so.

“They have the power to take it down if they want to, but we won’t do it,” said McAndrew in response to the request.

“I have requested that we follow College procedures to determine if these messages have violated policy, with appropriate sanctions to follow should such a determination be made,” Chapdelaine said in the campus wide email.

If determined by administration, the board may have violated Policy 55 of Hood’s Student Handbook, which protects against bullying, hate speech, and harassment. Some students are comparing this controversy to the vandalized Black Student Union display in 2014, which featured pictures of unarmed victims of police brutality and a Black Lives Matter poster.

“I’ve put up with so much at this school and I just think it’s interesting how nothing this big happened when the same thing was done to the BSU,” said Chanté Moore, a senior majoring in social work.

“Hood picks and chooses what they want to correct,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

The third panel of the poster.

The third panel of the poster.

The poster states "We invite everyone to our meetings, regardless of political ideology. If you would like to discuss the display or our stances further, please come to our meetings, message our Facebook page or approach us on campus. We meet at 7:30 Sunday nights in Whitaker Commons. Sincerely, The Hood College Republicans."

The poster states “We invite everyone to our meetings, regardless of political ideology. If you would like to discuss the display or our stances further, please come to our meetings, message our Facebook page or approach us on campus. We meet at 7:30 Sunday nights in Whitaker Commons. Sincerely, The Hood College Republicans.”

Retaliation

Around 7 p.m. on Thursday, a third of the display was ripped down. The person responsible was caught immediately by campus security and the display has been repaired.

Campus security escorted the person out of the building. The meeting room that allows access to the poster has been locked, and a sign on the door tells people to contact campus security if they want access to this room.

There is no word whether the person was disciplined by security or was just removed.

A chance to speak

The HCR held their regularly scheduled meeting on Sunday April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons. They invited all to come for a “constructive discourse.” Over 50 students and faculty were in attendance, and people streamed in and out of the meeting that ended shortly after 9:15 p.m.

Hood College will hold an official community forum on Tuesday April 25 at 9 p.m. in Whitaker Campus Commons. The public is invited to come and listen to the club’s discussion of the poster, as well as ask questions.

 

 

*Gabrielle Cavalier’s opinions do not reflect those of the entire Hood College Democrat Club

 

Admitted Students Day welcomes prospective students to Hood College

Committed and prospective students alike visited Hood College for Admitted Students Day, April 7-8. They familiarized themselves with the campus, meeting faculty and other Hood students in their time at the college.

The event was an experience stretching two days where visiting students and their families could preview life at Hood. Attendees could sit in on mini-courses, attend athletic games, explore dorm buildings, and attend the college’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“The main point of Admitted Students Day is to get them very connected to the other members of the Class of 2021,” Elizabeth Gomer, the senior associate director of admissions, said. “For the small handful of transfer students, it is to get them connected to the other incoming transfer students, because we just can’t say, ‘Oh, everyone that’s here is the Class of 2021!’ We need to be inclusive.”

For Admitted Students Day, Gomer works with prospective students to plan their visits to the campus. According to her, one of the more fulfilling programs of the event is the “Hood Hello.” This segment is a small group setting where admitted students participate in teambuilding exercises and icebreakers.

The afternoon activities were compared to a “choose your own adventure” by Gomer, with admitted students browsing around the campus however they pleased. Whether they stopped by the fair operated by academic departments and student services, or watched the improve show at Avalon Theatre, the remaining day’s agenda was up to them.

Admitted students could arrive the day before for an “overnight experience.” Attendees ate dinner with current students at Hood, met with Hood student leaders, and participated in an interactive game night at Whitaker Campus Center.

“For the campus, it is an opportunity to really showcase what we do best, and that is building connections,” Gomer said.

The confirmed attendance for the event was a total of 165 registered students, with 51 taking part in the overnight visit as well as the day itself. Of that 165, 43 have already deposited the $350 check to confirm that they will enroll at Hood.

Compared to previous Admitted Students Days, little changed for this year’s event aside from expanding athletics and career-related sections. Hood’s administration gauges feedback and interest on each year’s event, and keeps what worked while replacing what did not.

“We want this day to really help them understand that this is a great place that they can call home for the next four years,” Gomer said.

Hood College Performs Rendition of Howard Ashman’s “Little Shop of Horrors”

In her directing debut, senior Carla Kronsbein put together a brilliant show.

 

The musical follows the blunders and misdeeds of Seymour Krelborn, played by Zachary Peck.  He starts as a lowly orphan born of the poor urban town Skid Row, and the plot follows his rise to fame and fortune.

 

Seymore begins in a floundering flower shop ran by Mrs. Mushnik. Mrs. Mushnik is the greedy mother figure to Seymore. The flower shop is nearly out of business when Seymour shows that he has discovered a new type of plant that is sure to bring in more business.

 

To bolster the store’s reputation and impress his taken crush, Audrey, Seymour begins to feed the plant blood. Audrey is in an abusive relationship with Dr. Orin Scrivello D.D.S. The dentist is a sadistic boyfriend who regularly beats and verbally abuses her.

 

As the plant begins to grow, its appetite begins to move from blood to something more deadly, and Seymour, under false promises of fame and fortune, indulges it. Seymour names the plant Audrey II, and it goes on to develop a sinister personality of its own.

 

The musical does an equally impressive job of showcasing the talent here at Hood College, providing comic relief, and speaking on the dangers of chasing fame at all cost. The performers should be commended for the efforts making the audience both laugh, and sympathize with the moral dilemmas Seymour faces throughout.

 

The show stars Zachary Peck as Seymour, Alexandra Skouras as Audrey, Rylie Nobis as Mrs. Mushnik, Audrey II was voiced by Gabriel Cassutto, and the puppeteer was Christopher Garner, and Nik Smith as Dr. Orin.

 

The musical features masterful solos from Peck, Skouras, Nobis, and the skid row gang; Crystal, Chiffon, and Ronnette, played by Kaylene Wright, Meagan Huyett, and Kerry Murphy respectively.

 

The cast was given excellent musical direction by Lynn Staininger who also graced the keys in the pit along with Jacob Harding (guitar), Jay McRoberts (Bass), and John Maestri (percussion).   The pit orchestra, along with all the voices providing refreshingly beautiful and down to earth music that further added to the greatness of the production.

 

On opening night, Hodson Auditorium was filled with Hood students, faculty, and family members. The following nights reportedly also had high attendance.

 

I sincerely hope that all of you were able to come out and enjoy the production, because it truly was one of the best musicals I have seen. Whatever you do, don’t feed the plants!

Storytelling event April 21st at Hood

Hood College’s very own Blackbox Theatre in Tatem 10 will house a storytelling event open to all students.

This event is entitled “True Story!” with the theme of new beginnings. The show will be made possible through the partnership between Hood College Theatre, Humanities Council, and Beneficial-Hodson Library.

“True Story!” will occur on Friday, April 21st at 7 p.m., with no prior sign-up necessary. The only thing needed in order to participate with the event is a story they would like to share and an audience.

Inspiration for the event comes from “The Moth,” which was launched in New York in 1997. “The Moth” is a conglomeration of performance events, community workshops, and radio airings to give people a chance to artistically express themselves through storytelling.

The originators of the Hood event were also inspired by “The Stoop,” a Baltimore borne series which is similar to “The Moth”. Other colleges have held events inspired by the two series. Stevenson University calls their own version of the series, “Quad Stories.” 

Many students may be familiar with the brains behind the operation: Aimee Gee, one of Beneficial-Hodson’s Reference Librarians; Joe Brady, the director of the theatre program at Hood College; Aaron Angello, an English and Communication Arts professor at Hood; and Sophia M. Libman, the NEH Professor of the Humanities.

“I had the idea last year because I’d known that other colleges had done similar events and I’m a big fan of ‘The Moth’ and ‘The Stoop’” said Aimee Gee. “I couldn’t get everything off the ground, but partnering with Joe Brady and Aaron Angello has made it possible this year.”

Anyone can meet and become familiar with the creators of this event during auditions to be the show’s host on Friday, April 14 in the Blackbox. The chosen host may also be a part of the storytelling.

There will be free pizza at the event and a donations box will be present for anyone who would like to help offset the cost of this event and future ones.

 

Middle States Commission visits Hood for reaccreditation

A couple weeks ago, Hood students might have noticed quite a few less parking spaces available in the Whitaker lot for a few days.

 

While some students who tend to run late may have experienced some early morning panic, it was all for a good cause. Beginning March 26, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) visited Hood in an effort to keep Hood an accredited college. The team visited from Sunday until Wednesday at noon.

 

Hood College, like other private and public universities and colleges in the Mid-Atlantic region, is accredited by the MSCHE.

 

“It’s important to be accredited for a variety of reasons,” said Donna Bertazzoni, director of the Communications Arts program at Hood and co-chair of the committee who oversaw the reaccreditation process. “It certifies to employers and to graduate schools that our institution meets certain well-defined standards.”

 

She continued to stress the importance of this reaccreditation by saying that without it, Hood wouldn’t be able to give its students federal financial aid. Also, the college wouldn’t be eligible for the outside accreditation that it has for programs like education, nursing, computer science, business administration and social work.

 

“In other words, it’s a big deal,” Bertazzoni said.

 

Middle States is changing its accreditation cycle, and beginning this fall, all institutions will be reviewed on an 8-year cycle instead of the previous 10-year cycle, which Hood College just completed.

 

A couple years ago, Cindy Emory, the director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, and Bertazzoni attended the “Self-Study Institute,” a workshop for colleges and universities that were entering the self-study review process. Emory and Bertazzoni were named the co-chairs of the Self-Study steering committee, which consists of a group of faculty, staff and administrators who oversaw the reaccreditation process.

 

“For the next 18 months, we undertook an extensive and intensive self-examination, looking at all areas of the College to ensure that it met the 14 standards outlined in the guidebook we were expected to follow,” Bertazzoni said.

 

Each of the standards was assigned to a group that included faculty, staff, students and administrators. Each group put together a detailed report that was reviewed by the entire steering committee.

 

Last summer, once the group reports were completed, Bertazzoni compiled them into a singular report that went through extensive editing and revisions by many across Hood’s campus.

 

“Their help was invaluable in crafting the final version of the report that was sent to Middle States and the peer review team in February,” Bertazzoni commented.

 

“In essence, a (MSCHE) team visit is a fact-finding mission,” she said. “The team spends the bulk of its time on campus meeting with various campus constituencies and getting any questions they may have answered.”

 

They interviewed members of the senior team and had open meetings with students and staff. They also reviewed the documentation that Hood provided to back up what was said in the report.

 

“I’ve been an evaluator and it is a very intensive process,” said Bertazzoni.

 

The team allowed students to meet with them in order for their compliments and concerns with Hood and its operations to be heard. The meetings were held on campus for approximately an hour, and the team members listened as students described their experience at Hood.

 

Overall, the team prepares a report that outlining whether the college meets certain standards and whether they have any recommendations or suggestions.

 

The team provided a feedback session for any faculty or staff member who could attend during the week.

 

“They cannot tell us whether they will recommend us for reaccreditation,” said Bertazzoni. “That information is shared only with Middle States. However, they do send us a report that outlines their broad findings and whether they had any commendations, suggestions or recommendations.”

 

The report has not gone to Middle States yet, but according to Bertazzoni, the team chair indicated the team felt Hood met all of the standards. They provided some suggestions and recommendations for the college as well.

 

The commission reviews all of the material from each of the colleges they visit at its meeting in June. Hood should know about its reaccreditation status in July.

 

Preparing for Graduation: The Worst

If you’re a senior, chances are you’ve heard the following question: “What are your plans for after graduation.” Unless you’re very good at planning, you also probably don’t have an answer to that question.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Either way, whenever I hear that question, I suddenly find myself breaking out into a cold sweat. It’s not because I don’t feel ready to say goodbye to Hood – despite my love for my college, I can feel myself reaching my end.

I’m ready for no more class and no more campus life. Ready to be an adult in the real world, doing whatever it is that real adult people do. It’s just figuring out how to make it to that point that I’m worried about.

The problem is not having a plan, not knowing how long it will take for me to get a job, and not having an idea of what I am going to do with my life. While I have a vague concept of what I want to do – pretty simple, just writing – I’m still pretty fuzzy on the particulars.

In my defense, I don’t think I’m alone. “I don’t like to talk about it,” said Gabrielle Cavalier, a senior at Hood. “It gives me great anxiety.”

Knowing that in a month I’ll be an alum is a pretty hard pill to swallow. Even if you do know what your post-college life will look like, as lots of people who are better than myself at planning probably do, I imagine that it’s still at least a little terrifying.

Of course, there are parts of the upcoming graduation festivities that I’m happy about. I’m excited to take my last final, and to attend Pub Crawl and senior week. I am excited to know that I am done with classes, at least until grad school, and to prepare my cap and spend some time with friends. I’m ready for all the fun time.

But that’s where my excitement ends.

I know that, eventually, I will figure out what I am going to do with my life. I will have a job and a place to live, and I’ll be set. But being thrown out into the world, not having another semester to go back to in the fall, is pretty scary. It’s kind of terrifying not knowing where exactly you’re going to be in a couple months, or a year. And the closer we get to graduation, the closer I get to the unknown.