Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – March 22, 2019
March 22, 2019
Last week, ten students traveled to San Diego, CA for an Alternative Spring Break service learning experience centered around immigration and border-issues. During this experience, students learned about Chicano culture of Indigenous Mexican-American communities who live in this area, visited Chicano Park and learned about its cultural and political significance, spoke to a border patrol agent about challenges they face doing their job, and worked with Border Angels, a local non-profit, to do a water drop in the desert near the border fence separating the U.S. and Mexico. Students benefited from seeing the border fence – where it starts and ends – with their own eyes and speaking to different sources to get a broader view of the complex issues of migration and border-life.
A second Alternative Spring Break project focused on Mass Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System. For this experience, students explored the “Five P’s” of the criminal justice system: Privilege, Penitentiaries, Probation/Parole and Parental Impact. Students toured Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia (PA), visited the Dutchess County (NY) Probation office, attended workshops and participated in discussions focused on prison population/design and costs, as well as parole and life after prison. Students also had opportunity to learn about the impact of incarceration on families.
Thank you, Student Involvement professionals Tiago Machado, Rachele Hall, and Juan-Carlos Piñeiro for providing these extra-curricular learning experiences for our students. I appreciate all the projects, events, and experiences that add value by extending learning beyond the classroom.
Learning is also evident as we invest in people by promoting professional development and lifelong learning among those who work for the college. Note these examples:
- Staff Development Day which was recently organized and hosted by staff leaders Suzanne Paribello and Al Seward;
- The Teaching & Learning Brown Bag Lunches coordinated by Professors Michael Hackett, Kamil Hamaoui, Elizabeth Miller and Elizabeth Gaffney where faculty share ideas, insights, and experiences; and
- The Strategic Administrative Leadership Team (SALT) that meets monthly on special topics to expand administrator knowledge and leadership.
All of these are ways that we connect with each other, learn from peers, and imagine ways that we can improve helping students along their academic and career journey. Mastering new knowledge, trying a new practice, or implementing a new program is not always easy, nor is it always successful. Our college motto, Sapere Aude, encourages us: Dare to Know. In my experience, we know when we learn, we learn when we try, and we try when there is need or motivation for more or better. Thanks to all who stretch beyond the current to innovate and achieve better ways of doing, being, and serving.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles