The School of Education celebrated its first higher education reunion and program celebration on the 14th and 15th of September 2012. The event brought together former faculty, alumni, and current faculty and students in a two-day celebration of the higher education program's past, present and future. Former faculty members Drs. Clif Conrad, Mary Ann Danowitz, Roger Baldwin, David Leslie, and Tom Goodale returned to William & Mary for the occasion.
The celebration started with a welcome reception in honor of the former faculty and alumni to provide an opportunity for the attendees to make each other's acquaintance in an informal setting. More than 60 people attended the reception. The reception also sparked nostalgia as old friends reminisced about their time at William & Mary.
The next morning with almost 60 people in attendance, Dean Virginia McLaughlin not only welcomed the participants, but announced a major gift from Thom Terwilliger that will add support to the graduate assistantships in higher education. Serving as panelists, the former faculty members offered the audience an insightful and often humorous discussion encompassing the past, present and future of the higher education program, the events and issues related to higher education in general from the 1960s to the present, and forecasting issues that the field faces. As Clif Conrad concluded, "Listening to this [panel] and the thoughtfulness, just reminds me why I love what I have been able to do and work with people like this my entire life and just it's great. Thanks for reminding me." Clif Conrad
The lively discussion was moderated by Drs Pamela Eddy and Jim Barber. At the center of the conversation were questions about the changes underway in higher education and the role of scholarship to helping leaders face these changes. Mary Ann Danowitz reflected, "To talk about change and to implement change requires a shift in the culture and the reality is that most people who are guiding institutions in various leadership roles are often so engaged with keeping the institutions going that to bring about reform has risks and calls for time and often it just doesn't happen, and not to mention the internal resistance. " The panel session ended with audience questions and the attendees adjourned to the Dogwood room for lunch where they were treated to poster presentations by current students and recent alumni.
Poster presentations included:
Leslie Bohon, Kim Brush, Amy Schmidt, Sharon Stone, Bronwen Watts: A Journey Through Irish Education
Holly Alexander Agati: The Millennial Generation: Howe and Strauss Disputed
Jodi Fisler: The Elephant in the Room: Deconstructing the Place of Conservatives in the Student Affairs Profession
Angelo Letizia: When the Truth is False: Nontraditional Students Not What they Seem
Jeremy P. Martin: Tuition Discounting at Private Baccalaureate Colleges in the Aftermath of the Great Recession
Shylan Scott: Emancipated Foster Youths' Transition from Care to Virginia Community Colleges
Kristen Tarantino: The Undergraduate Voice on Engaged Scholarship: Student Experience and Perceptions of University-Community Partnerships
Doctoral student Kristen Tarantino with her poster presentation
During the afternoon, a professional interest roundtable attracted more than 50 folks. The session enabled alums, faculty, and students to network and to discuss professional issues and get advice on job hunting.
Professional networking roundtable: Doctoral Candidate Christen Hairston and Dr. Peter Garland
The participants reconvened in the evening for dinner at which Dr. Peter Garland, an alum of The College and of the higher education master's program and the Executive Vice Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education delivered the keynote address titled "Board Members Behaving Badly and Presidents Running with Scissors: Who's In Charge of Higher Education?" The higher education program celebration was a wonderful opportunity for current students, faculty, alumni, and former faculty to renew friendships and discuss the history and the current realities of the program so we can plan for a better future. As Tom Goodale reflected on advice for others, he offered, "Let me just say to my younger colleagues in the room: figure out what you want to leave and make it happen. Leave a legacy!" This higher education event provided a wonderful opportunity to see how our students, graduates, and faculty are leaving a mark on the profession.