Tag: McMurry university
We are in the countdown stage of an important launch in McMurry Biology circles. Beginning Friday, September 5th, Biology will participate in a new initiative to build community among our science students: Science Fridays. Each Friday, students and faculty and friends will gather for lunch and community in the Finch-Gray Science Center. There will be club meetings (Tri-Beta, Chem Club, Society of Physics Students, AITP, Math Club), special events (field trips, Skype speakers, visiting alumni presentations, etc.), and plenty of fun – horseshoes or darts anyone? We’ll also have games like Pandemic and movies (our first movie will be Friday Sept 19 with Contagion). Oh, and departments are offering tutoring services to students!
This promises to be a wildly successful effort to bring our new freshmen into the McMurry science community, to connect our students with our faculty, and to improve spirit and understanding on campus. If things go as planned, the outcome will be more successful students, greater retention within the sciences, and an environment that will attract new science majors.
Our theme at McMurry this year is “Ubuntu” – I am because we are. Our community-building initiative builds on a successful start by Physics and Chemistry, and is expanded in audience and activities to reach more students, meet their needs, and move them toward a successful future. In a very tangible way, McMurry sciences are living ubuntu with our students.
In the past few days I’ve experienced what every college professor relishes in – reconnection with former students. In some ways, seeing a student graduate is like letting my dog Chili off her lead – I never know if she’s going to go chase the bunnies or remain close by and be obedient. There’s been more than one occasion when freedom has meant chasing a cat, when it should have been all about sticking by me while we check the mail or get the newspaper.
I have been fortunate through the years to have great students and to enjoy living a portion of McMurry’s core values – that personal relationships are the catalyst for life. Those relationships begin as students come in as freshmen and we begin to learn about each other – about our families, the importance of faith in our lives, how to balance needs and wants, where education has and will lead us. I believe my students know me well, know my wife and sons, know that I really, really care about their success as students today and professionals of the future. Students at small colleges like McMurry probably have no clue that their faculty live vicariously through the lives of their students, and that we feel great pride and a sense of credit and accomplishment when our alums become successful. They take a piece of us with them and leave a piece of themselves behind when they have spent four years in our classes and offices. And when they then graduate and go off, I know I always worry that they will chase cats and rabbits and neglect to stay in touch.
I have seen the beginning and endpoint of that journey in the past week, starting with Student Preview on Saturday. Talking with prospective students and their parents is always enjoyable, as I emphasize the strength of our programs and more importantly the strength of our relationships with students. If those in attendance at Preview could only have a glimpse of the outcome of a McMurry education! I was reminded of that on Sunday, when Dr. Sharla Owens sent a friend request on Facebook from California where she practices and teaches emergency medicine. Our college-age sons were just little guys when our family drove down to Galveston for her graduation from UTMB. Then today, Dr. Chad Johnson, alumnus and physician in El Paso, contacted me to discuss a high schooler he knows who is interested in McMurry. Chad was my barometer on the quality of our science courses during his time at McMurry. Anytime I needed to know how we were doing, he was willing to answer truthfully. And yesterday I was privileged to spend an hour or so with Dr. Gena Jester Nichols, catching up on people and old times, and learning about her research on Adenoviruses and how her Wake Forest PhD has prepared her for her new job as a Research Scientist at Tulane.
Three different students, three different success stories of moving through the years from teacher-student to mentor-apprentice, and finally to friends and colleagues. It has been a very rewarding week for me because these three alums have chosen to reconnect with McMurry’s science faculty. May those who enter as freshmen next fall do likewise over the years to come.
I use the StatPress administrative monitoring features A LOT to see what type of activity our webpage receives, with one feature called “Spy” particularly interesting. It allows me to see what countries (and sometimes what cities) our visitors come from. I’ve marveled at the variety of nations and peoples represented as I’ve scrolled through those lists many a day. Alicia Wyatt, our web guru for BIMS and a faculty member from Computer Science (and my assistant dean) has added a new feature to allow me to see over time what type of global attention the McMurry BIMS program has received. ClustrMaps is now one of my favorite features on the BIMS webpage.
Although the BIMS ClustrMap is only about a month old, it reflects visitors from 47 countries spanning every continent but Antarctica. However, ClustrMaps only updates on occasion. “Spy” tells me in recent days our visitors have included folks from Latvia, Belarus, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Korea, Japan, and Ukraine, some of which don’t appear yet on the ClustrMap. Can’t wait to see what it looks like this time next year!
Why is our program gaining so much attention? Much of it is probably unintentional – someone does a Google search for a term used on one of our pages and they load our page in hopes of having a question answered. But, some visits are very intential – someone visits the McMurry webpage and then clicks their way to BIMS to find out more about our program. StatPress will tell me how a person found our page. Either way, we hope they enjoy their view into our program at McMurry. Tell your friends in exotic places to come take a look at McMurry Biomedical Sciences and get their country and city reflected on our ClustrMap!