Update to Professor Miles’ Journey
Here it is September and one third of the Fall academic session is behind me. A fast moving train that requires me to keep up with all that is happening. In a total of 16 weeks from the start of classes on August 23, it all ends with Commencement on December 10. Between that the University is closed on Veterans Day and the Thanksgiving Holidays with a total of 30 class sessions. My first learning is that the time in front of and with students is a very precious landscape! With that said I am enjoying the opportunity to engage as all are required to attend (Pending a COVID shutdown-remote learning).
The most difficult issues for me are learning the E-Learning platform that drives both the front of the house (classroom) and back of the house (all Administrative functions and grading and assignment submissions). With the last calendar year being very difficult on budgets and all fronts, faculty must do all of their own work. Fortunately for NAU, unlike many other Colleges and Universities, the enrollment for 2021 is equal to 2020. Many Institutions have experienced a 6 to 10% decline. This says a lot for the culture of NAU which is very much student focused and is reflective in enrollment. Challenges but not disastrous.
Looking forward to the rest of the semester. My approach in class is to create a “Learning Community.” I have adjusted the syllabus for Leadership and Ethics to more strongly support this approach. While my class designation is a “W” for writing (APA style-shades of my Thesis and Dissertation) I am also looking for and focusing on Critical Thinking and Art of Leadership. As Juniors and Seniors, they are facing a new world of work and have themselves learned to be agile in this Covid environment.
My other area of responsibility is to Coach and Counsel students in the very active Career Counseling endeavors. In general I will be offering advice one on one, primarily in person, for 16 hours a week, reporting to the Director. This of course is something I have a lot of practice in and is easily adaptive to first career opportunities after college. I am also fortunate that College Graduates are the most sought after group in Hospitality and Business Services. They are, by the very nature of their education, significantly more agile than prior graduates or career veterans.
So, I am definitely looking forward with additional enthusiasm to the rest of the semester. Soon I will be back in Leesburg, and I am sure I will miss the vibrancy of the college campus-with students! Thanks for all of your support and interest.
~Professor Miles, in Residence, NAU, Flagstaff main campus.