A Trip to Indy for NCAA Conference

by Charlie Robert

This January, I had the privilege of bringing six students along with Professor Alice Mullen to the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. Mother Nature sent us off in the midst of snow from Logan, but Indy awaited with a whopping 4⁰!

L to R: JT Brown '18, Erin Stanton '18, Tyler Gaudette '18, Courteney White '19, Sarah Williams '19, Kim Csicsek '18

L to R: JT Brown ’18, Erin Stanton ’18, Tyler Gaudette ’18, Courteney White ’19, Sarah Williams ’19, Kim Csicsek ’18

We entered the Westin Hotel for check-in and immediately connected with Sandy Barbour, Penn State’s Athletic Director. Sandy and I were Pam Hixon’s assistant coaches for UMass field hockey and lacrosse. (A little history: these teams participated in the first NCAA tournaments for women in 1981-1982, placing second to UConn in field hockey and becoming champions over Trenton State in lacrosse.)

Our next stop was the NCAA headquarters for a tour of the Dempsey and Brand buildings followed by exploring the Hall of Champions! The first night closed with the Honors Celebration dinner to include the top 10 student-athlete recipients, Silver Anniversary winners, Award of Valor, Inspiration Award and Theodore Roosevelt Award.

From Tyler Gaudette ’18: “From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, everything I did and saw was so eye-opening. It was incredible to see the sheer size of the NCAA and how friendly everyone is to each other. Also, the people I got to meet were incredible as well, so many amazing people in one place.”

Thursday was a full day of educational sessions for DI, DII, and DIII topics, followed by a membership networking reception. Friday’s focus was all about DIII, opening with an ethics presentation, legislation update, and forum discussion. The Commonwealth Coast Conference meetings filled the afternoon and the evening left us time to walk to the Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Monument Circle, etc. Saturday morning was the DIII Business and voting session. It also felt like the longest day as we sat in the Indy and Atlanta airports for our midnight return to campus.

The days flew by – the students were enlightened with all that really goes on “behind the blue dot,” and having the opportunity to network with many in the industry. We kept them on a pretty fast pace and they all want to attend again next year! It was really an awesome trip as I had the opportunity to see it through their eyes after attending the convention for the past 19 years. Three of them will bring a new perspective to our NCAA Rules and Regulations class with this experience!

From Sarah Williams ’19: “The NCAA convention was an eye-opening experience and it was an amazing opportunity to see and understand first hand how the magic happens! This trip expanded upon what I have learned in my sport management classes here at Nichols and gave me the opportunity to increase my knowledge of college athletics while also learning the business side of sport. I was honored to be in the audience for educational sessions, voting sessions, and to hear inspirational speeches from Julie Foudy, Robin Roberts and the NCAA President, Mark Emmert. I am so grateful to Nichols College and Professor Robert for allowing me to attend the NCAA convention!” 

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Pedagogical Perspectives: Guest Speakers in the Classroom

For a variety of pedagogical reasons, faculty often bring guest speakers into their classes. We’ve rounded up a few perspectives on this tactic, below.

From Wayne-Daniel Berard: I invite guest speakers because the Humanities calls for an infusion of . . . Humanity! Especially in Religious Studies, we want to take all this out of the books or power points and meet real adherents, with real life experiences of their faith and its journey! So, for example, two guest speakers came to the Islam section of World Religions. One was a convert to Islam, who spoke about what had called him to this faith; the other was a young, very recent alumna, who spoke about being a Muslim woman. They were both fascinating!

Another example: Last term I taught a course on new and emerging concepts of God. One of these was “The Divine Feminine.” A dear friend came to speak, who is in the very new “Cohenate Program,” which seeks to bring about a priesthood for women in Jewish life! Very cutting edge, to say the least!

So, for me, guest speakers are an integral part of a Humanities curriculum. To do without them would be like teaching auto shop, but never getting in the car and actually taking a ride! What is the Humanities without actual humans?

From Dorrie Nang: This semester in my Storycorps class, I had a guest speaker during the second week of classes. Reverend Jonathan Scott, the chaplain at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, CT talked to the students about how to listen actively and make your subject feel heard. The students really valued his input and were curious to know what it is like to be with someone during their last moments of life. He was a captivating speaker and will be invited back to the class! I think he played a part in how well the students’ projects are developing this semester.

I also recently had a guest speaker come in to my piano class. Kayla Daly is a board-certified music therapist and licensed mental-health counselor. She talked to the students about the uses of music therapy with patients dealing with: brain injuries, memory loss, PTSD and various other challenges. The student response is always very positive as required readings have dealt with music therapy and its advantages.

From Lisa Taylor: An author has a unique relationship to his or her writing, influenced by both life experience and personal aesthetic. Even when I’ve used the work of international authors, I’ve invited them into my classes via Skype. Most authors are happy to discuss their work with college readers. Because my students consistently enjoy this unique opportunity to peek behind the scenes and gain a different perspective, I try to do it every semester. Next week, the author, Ellen Meeropol (Kinship of Clover, On Hurricane Island) will visit my fiction class and a nonfiction class. We are using her book On Hurricane Island this semester. Students come up with questions to ask her–about the style of the book, the characters, the language, and the plot. This book is a thriller told from a multiple point-of-view. The author usually shares a bit about the writing process and the theme of the book. Since my students are working on their own stories, it is valuable for them to hear a different perspective. When I invited international writers on Skype, the students would also get a glimpse at cultural differences that included both traditions and language.

Learning isn’t static. When students are able to interact with authors, it removes the mystique. They are not as intimidated by literature because they come to see that authors are people with lives and interests that are not so different from their own. Although they may not become writers themselves, it serves to make literature more accessible and engaging. There are always a few surprises–like the time my students engaged in a discussion about Irish sports with an Irish writer’s spouse who was called in from the next room, or the time a student challenged the author’s choice about a character’s particular quirk and she changed his mind by explaining her motivation. Last year’s Poetry Gala surprise poet (Frederick-Douglass Knowles) resulted in a return visit for Nichols Reads because he resonated with students.

From Allison McDowell-Smith: I invited Dr. Ardian Shajkovci onto campus Friday, October 20th and he spoke to a variety of my criminal justice classes in regards to countering violent extremism, the radicalization/recruitment process, and his overseas research experiences. He is also currently a faculty member within our new Master of Science in Counterterrorism program here at Nichols College. I find it crucial to provide my students with expertise from well-known practitioners in their fields. This allows students the opportunity to ask questions from leading experts who have engaged in career routes similar to their own future ambitions.

Dr. Shajkovci is the current Director of Research and a Senior Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE), whereas I previously conducted research as well. He has been collecting interviews with ISIS defectors and studying their trajectories into and out of terrorism as well as training key stakeholders in law enforcement, intelligence, educators, and other countering violent extremism professionals on the use of counter-narrative messaging materials. He was able to speak with students regarding their futures and answer questions about his experiences. Several students understood that they would need to obtain a M.S. degree in order to pursue their career goals. It is important for me to help my students pursue their goals both at Nichols College and upon their graduation when they enter into the real world.

From Jean Beaupre: Over the years, I have brought guests into communication and marketing classes, typically in upper-level courses. In these subjects, it is so useful to hear the perspectives of professionals working in the field. The industry changes quickly, so hearing stories from the “trenches” helps validate course topics and allows students to more clearly envision career paths. Recently, the vice president of public relations at a health care system visited my public relations class. The class was set up in a round table format, facilitating an open conversation and questions. Our guest’s real-world stories of crisis management brought to life many of the concepts we were delving into at the time, and underscored the significant stakes when organizations experience challenges in the public eye.

Finally, here are some resources on the topic, courtesy of Central Michigan University.

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Integrating Research Project Into Teaching

By Kalpana Khanal, PhD

As professors, we continually seek out ways to apply abstract theoretical constructs to real-world situations. We want students to grasp the relevance of theoretical concepts to better understand this world we live in. We desire that our students acquire critical thinking skills so that they will be able to evaluate the quality of information.

One of the aspects of the Economics department at Nichols College is the core belief that there is synergy between teaching and research. Many studies have also shown that undergraduate research holds the potential to increase learning, retention, graduation rates, and entrance into graduate programs.

In order to achieve some program-level and broader institutional goals, starting from my first semester as a professor at Nichols I tried to integrate a research project into my Money and Banking Class. Students in this class are encouraged to apply theoretical concepts learned in class to analyze a real-life economic issue or policy through hands-on experience, conducting research in a collaborative setting with other students in the same class. I try to guide them through the process so that they can break down the project responsibilities with each other and use the time wisely over the course of two to three months.

In addition to providing all the students in the class with the opportunity to conduct collaborative research, I also wanted to be a mentor to some of the academically oriented and hard-working students in my class to produce a paper that could be presented at an established academic conference. In the long run, my goal is to collaborate with students to publish papers in various outlets.

In this blog I am going to share my experience mentoring three of my students who were able to present their class project to Western Social Science Association, Association of Institutional Thought conference that took place in San Francisco during April 2017. Some student reflections are included below in italics.








The research project started as an informal conversation with Matthew Marcantonio ’19, a double major in Economics and Finance. Having known Matt as a driven, diligent young man who enjoyed challenging problems, I asked him if he would be interested to work on a research project with a goal to present at an academic conference. Matt loved the idea and decided to do his honors project on the topic of “Student Debt Problem in the United States,” very relevant to his generation. He wanted to collaborate with two of his peers, Nicole Ross and Nick Deangelis. Student reflection:

In the Fall semester of 2016, I took the Money and Banking class with Professor Khanal. Part of the class included a semester-long research project in which groups of 3-4 students explored a topic of choice. In my time at Nichols College, this was my first extensive research project and I feel as though I have gained a tremendous amount from it.

In choosing an area of study, the idea of student loans came up. Student loans were of particular interest to us as we each have them and student loans is a rising concern in the U.S. Fast forward a few months later and our paper/proposal was accepted to the Western Social Science Conference in San Francisco, CA.

The student group was also able to showcase their research findings to the campus community through Fischer cultural event. The event also provided them with an opportunity to receive feedback from other professors.

Turning our paper and presentation into a Fischer Cultural event was of great benefit. At our event, we recorded an audience of around 60 people. It helped us to practice our presentation and get comfortable speaking to a large audience. The cultural event also helped us to get advice from professors of different fields. For example, we received visual advice from Mauri Pelto and mathematical advice from Professor Naigles.

The successful conference presentation/experience was possible because of the contribution of many aspects of Nichols College learning environment.

The conference was also a great opportunity to further expand my networking skills. All of the communication skills and elevator pitches learned through PDS classes helped out tremendously. In fact, on multiple occasions, individuals would step into the elevator and say something like, “Oh, Nichols College, I know someone who goes there.”


Student Loan Presentation (002)

Sample slide from student presentation

Students were also excited to network with the author of the textbook they used in their money and banking class.

At the conference, we had the pleasure of meeting Randall Wray, the author of Modern Money Theory, the book we had read in Professor Khanal’s class.

Seeing our students present their research (click for short clip) in front of world-class scholars made me immensely proud. The question-and-answer session following the presentation was very effective. Students were confident and comfortable entertaining questions from renowned scholars in the field.


In addition to the academic and networking benefits of participating to a conference students found the cultural experience to be valuable and eye opening.

As someone who has lived in a small town in Maine all their life, California’s culture was very different, despite the fact that it is still within the Unites States. The overwhelming homeless population was what surprised me the most. Relating it back to economics, I was able to see a great representation of an unequal distribution of incomes. Lamborghinis and Maseratis drove by as a homeless man with bare feet lay his head down on the brick sidewalk for a nap. The homeless problem in San Francisco also takes a heavy toll on the economy, affecting businesses, city budget, public health, and much more.

Aside from the income gap, I was also exposed to many different types of food. Throughout the trip we tried Ethiopian, Italian, Japanese, and even Nepali. It was great to try Nepali food with Professor Khanal and learn more about her home and culture.

Overall, this was an excellent opportunity for our students to apply their knowledge to a very relevant social issue. This experience also provided our students a valuable lesson on leadership and teamwork. Travelling to a new city for the conference was also very beneficial in terms of cultural experiences and exposure to broader social issues such as unequal income distribution.

The teamwork aspect is so important and I think that is the major takeaway that I will have from this project, aside from the economic knowledge that I have gained.


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Accountants Invade San Diego in August!

By  Marcia Behrens and Mel Fleming


Earlier this month, we were among the approximately 3,000 attendees who participated in the American Accounting Association annual meeting in San Diego, the theme of which was “Imagining our Future.” The diverse group included students, doctoral candidates, faculty, textbook authors, members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and some regional CPA societies, CPA firms and vendors of various accounting resources. In addition, there were representatives from key accounting rule-making and regulatory groups such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In fact, Mel met the former Head of the SEC in a session she attended, and he shared both some of the recent cases and impacts of new standards.

Because there were so many sessions and activities offered, the session sizes (except for the plenary and Accounting standards update) were limited to 18-20 participants. This size provided us with great networking opportunities to share teaching practices, and methods and techniques for dealing with student behavior/participation in the classroom.
The conference officially began on Monday; however, we attended some pre-conference workshops on Saturday and Sunday which provided continuing professional education credit required for maintenance of our CPA certification.

One of the highlights of the conference was a focus group in which we were active participants. The focus group was led by John Wild, the author of the textbook which we have been using for over 5 years for our Acc238 Financial Accounting classes. He was very interested in feedback on his current text and was very open to comments, concerns, etc. which were documented by his co-author. He also walked us through some of the changes that he made to the textbook which we will be using in Fall, 2017. He also offered to provide us with any additional resources to supplement the text. In this focus group, Wild and other McGraw-Hill personnel actively solicited input from faculty regarding the extent to which recent technical accounting regulations should be covered in an introductory textbook.

The consistent themes throughout the conference were:

  • Explanation of the rationale for and implementation examples of some of the new Accounting standards (Leases and Revenue Recognition) and their impacts on public and private business entities;
  • Increased usage of the flipped classroom approach as well as effective techniques for online classes;
  • Utilization of technologies like Excel and QuickBooks in the classroom because of their extensive usage in business environments. Software tools for instructor use in the classroom were also presented;
  • Benefits of Big Data and Data Analytics, particularly in the field of Auditing, to replace manual techniques performed to detect any trends, etc. that may require further review and evaluation;
  • Introduction of Forensic Accounting courses in curricula;
  • Enhanced financial statement disclosures, particularly in the areas of corporate social responsibility, since investors and shareholders are finding that information increasingly valuable to their investment decisions;
  • Generational impacts of our students which educators need to be attuned to and adapt their teaching styles appropriately. This includes the widespread reluctance of students to read textbooks, resulting in some authors adopting a “bullet approach” to presenting material; and
  • Awareness of recent discoveries in cognitive psychology that define learning as a science and educators framing their responsibilities within the context of “the art and science of teaching.”

The accounting field is evolving at a rapid pace and the FASB, IASB, and SEC representatives mentioned numerous activities that they have “on their plate” for the coming years. These have significant implications not only for industry but educators, practitioners, and students, so we must keep up our pace through reading, research, and attendance at meetings/conferences such as this one.

In a continuing effort to dispel the notion that accountants are dull and boring, we forced ourselves to enjoy some of the sights, sounds and beauty of San Diego after sessions were completed for the day. We felt the sand in our shoes, the wind through our hair, danced to music from local groups (guess who was a more active participant?!), and traveled on the lovely blue waters. Contrary to Tony Bennett’s famous song regarding San Francisco, we left our hearts in San Diego.


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Postcards from Prague

by Dr. Leonard Samborowski & Luanne Westerling

prague3Nichols College has signed a Bilateral Exchange Partnership Agreement with the University of New York in Prague offering Nichols College students the opportunity to study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic in an English-speaking university with approximately 800 international students from 60 countries and 125 faculty from more than 30 countries. The school offers a wide variety of programs in a small classroom environment, much like Nichols, making it a good fit for our students. The following degree programs are offered: Bachelor of Business Administration, with concentrations in Finance and Marketing, Bachelor of Communication & Mass Media, Bachelor of English Language & Literature, and Bachelor of International & Economic Relations.

czechmapWhere is Prague? Central Europe, bordering five countries making it an easy train ride to visit other European cities on the weekend. The transportation system is reliable and safe, making it an inexpensive travel alternative for students and faculty.
In June, Len Samborowski and Luanne Westerling traveled to Prague to meet our new counterparts. They rolled out the red carpet for us! Meetings, tours, and a culminating graduation experience at the Zofin Palace have made us big fans of Prague and all it has to offer.


Prague is a modern city in a medieval setting. It offers a rich historical and cultural background to explore. A small sampling of what the city has to offer our students: dinners in Old Town Square overlooking the 607-year-old Astronomical Clock, walks prague2on the famous Charles Bridge, views from Petrin Hill (their very own Eiffel Tower), walking tours chronicling the history of communism, a day trip to Cesky Krumlov–a well preserved medieval village. As an aside, beer is a favorite there, and at a very reasonable price. Perhaps we keep that a secret, and let our students discover it on their own!

prague4While there are a number of valuable opportunities for our students, there are a number of potential opportunities for our faculty. We delivered a portfolio of CV’s from a number of our faculty, and made connections with our counterparts there to start what we hope will be a long-term relationship. Recently, the university acquired two new dormitory spaces providing comfortable lodgings that included fully equipped kitchens. They have offered us the use of these facilities for summer programs as they are rarely used during the months of June – August. Other opportunities might include, but are not limited to: collaborative research, guest lectures on both sides, collaborative teaching in like disciplines. Len and Luanne will be holding a debrief session in September with the faculty who submitted their CV’s to determine next steps, and answer questions.

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A Nichols First: Branded International Internship Program — Dublin, Ireland

by Susan Wayman; Director, Office for International Engagement, PDSO

pic1Sarah Babcock ’17, Accounting, Magna Cum Laude, Skyped her clinching job interview while studying in Spain as a first semester senior. At the 2017 Nichols “Sophomore Shout Out,” Sarah co-hosted the Office for International Engagement table. She told sophomores that her hiring manager cited the Spain study abroad experience as among the top reasons they were offering her a position after Commencement.

Colin Whitney ’16, Marketing, Summa Cum Laude, hosted OIE’s final pre-departure meeting for the Spring 2016 study abroad cohort. Colin told this group of juniors that his junior abroad experience in Rome, Italy was the number one topic at all his job interviews when he got back.

We know study abroad is life-changing; our students come back with a new sense of personal strength that benefits them, for one thing, in their US-based job searches. So what if they could come back with a new awareness of the professional possibilities open to them? Imagine if their post-Commencement job placements were no longer limited to inside the US.

pic2The newest value-added program Nichols offers students is a Nichols-branded international internship semester in the junior or senior year. A cohort of Nichols students may travel for a full semester of international work experience. Up to twelve credits may transfer back to their programs if planned in advance.

In June 2017, I visited the partner group in Dublin to discuss logistics and placements. Nichols is positioned to send a first cohort in the Spring 2018 semester. Students will travel and live as a group, but each will enjoy an individualized placement in a business or non-profit in Dublin City.

pic3During the qualifying semester before a placement, our partner will guide students to tailor their resumes, letters, and interviewing strategies to compete for the nod from international hiring managers and business owners.

As globalization shrinks the world, Nichols students can now be formally encouraged by their future alma mater to consider the possibility that the world itself could hold their career path. To find out how you can join our sending faculty, please reach out to me in the Office for International Engagement x 2230, Fels 314-315.

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Student-Faculty Reading Colloquium

by Michael Neagle, PhD & Mary Trottier

Sponsored by the Faculty Development Committee, we organized a Student-Faculty Reading Colloquium on April 6. Featuring 12 students and six faculty, our discussion focused on student reading habits. We talked about why students may or may not read for class, what they like to read, and how faculty can enhance the reading experience.

Most students indicated a general interest in reading and recognized its importance regardless of subject. Outside of class, fiction seemed to be the most popular genre when reading for pleasure. While textbooks generally were not considered “fun” reads, students recognized their utility as a resource, particularly when they were directly linked to a class project.

The biggest problems when it came to reading were:

  • Recognizing the most important ideas. Some students felt frustrated not coming to the same conclusions as the professor or other students, or missing significant points. Others felt overwhelmed trying to manage the volume of pages or information in the text, and prioritizing what they needed to learn for an assignment. Others noted that some readings were too difficult to understand without prior in-class grounding.
  • Time management. Give a variety of responsibilities (work, extracurricular activities, other classes), students indicated that they felt like they did not have the time to work thoroughly through difficult readings. Furthermore, they would be de-motivated to keep up with the assigned readings if they were not clearly relevant to the following class. If forced to prioritize, students admitted they would put more time and work into a course in their major than a non-major class.
  • Prices and usage. In light of the high cost of some textbooks, a few students noted they typically wait until a few weeks into the semester to buy the book, especially if it was underutilized in class. Some do not buy the book(s) at all if they found it wasn’t being used frequently enough.

Some suggested ideas to help with reading included:

  • Discussion questions. Students suggested that a list of questions to consider before they do the readings could serve as a guide to identify important ideas or concepts. Such questions could serve as the basis for in-class discussion and/or writings to help them better understand the readings.
  • Chapter outlines. Another idea was for a professor-provided framework of the chapter, one that would signpost key terms, concepts, and ideas that the reading would address in more detail. Alternatively, a suggested assignment would be for students to write their own outlines, particularly early in the semester. Faculty feedback on such assignments could provide effective guidelines on how to deconstruct a reading and to develop active reading habits and strategies.
  • 1-on-1 and group work. Students with reading or learning disabilities considered individual help to be critical. They appreciated the time that professors take either in class or during office hours. Reactions about group work were mixed. Some students greatly enjoy the approach because it enabled them to exchange ideas and questions among their peers, with whom they felt more comfortable taking intellectual chances. Others, however, expressed concern that students who don’t sufficiently prepare and neglect the readings could negatively impact learning outcomes and grades for the broader group.

In sum, students indicated that they would like more faculty guidance in readings, whether it be in the form of outlines, questions, or class discussion. Such guidance, they argued, could help them to read more effectively. Some faculty expressed concern about providing too much structure to reading, especially given the emphasis on helping students learn and discover ideas on their own. Such independence of discovery not only can help instill important skills and confidence among students, but they might also arrive at ideas and insights that professors had not considered.

Ultimately, our discussion verified the notion that although we all read individually, the practice of reading is not a solitary pursuit.

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Reflections on the First Chapter of the Visual Media Studio

by Juliana Cecera ’16, MBA ’17 
Graduate Assistant & Video Production Supervisor

My junior year of college, I knew that I needed to get an internship but I didn’t know where. At the time, I was lost and confused as to what I wanted to do with my life and career. Thankfully, I landed an internship with Dr. Mauri Pelto, creating videos for the college. I had never used the software he introduced me to, so for 20 hours a week, I would teach myself how to work with Final Cut Pro and learn to create videos. The expansion of technology on Nichols College campus has drastically improved during my time as a student and in my graduate studies as well. From once working on a laptop at any available table I could find, I now have the capability to work at a desk in an office-like setting.

The year after my internship with Dr. Pelto, I decided to stay on as his student worker. Then last October, the new, ground-breaking academic building opened, housing the Visual Media Studio —  with a state-of-the-art Green Screen and Editing suites. Since the Visual Media Center was being planned during my junior year as an undergraduate, I worked alongside Dr. Pelto and Professor Robert Russo to learn how to use the technology and master the software. It was beautiful, like a sparkly new toy that you don’t want to touch, but just look at.  However, with anything, it wasn’t perfect right off the bat. We did have some bumps in the road when starting off.

_MG_6950When opening the Green Screen and editing suites, there was a lot we didn’t know. Running what would become almost like a department is a lot different than working by yourself editing videos on a laptop. Some of the bigger problems we encountered were logistical. For example, the quality of the cameras in the Green Screen created such large video files that we did not have the properties to store them. We worked with the Information Technology Department to obtain three external hard drive centers, each with 8 TB of storage. Getting the students to be on camera was another challenge. There was much hesitation and whispering from students about utilizing the technology. One of our first groups that we worked with was Len Samborowski’s LEAD class. His students were to create videos to demonstrate in a storyline what it means to be a leader and have grit. The students videos were a success and later shown at a cultural about grit presented by Professor Samborowski.

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 7.34.33 PMSince the first LEAD class, it has since boomed. At the time when we filmed Len Samborowski’s LEAD class, the library owned only a few portable external hard drives. Students would check out a hard drive from the library and use it to edit off of when working on class projects. Since the library one had a few, problems arose when the demand to use the editing suites increased. Due to the heavy demand, more portable hard drives were purchased. In addition to the hard drives being located at the library, the school purchased three camera kits that were stored at the library. These kits were equipped with a Canon Powershot G16, GoPro Hero 4, tripod and accessories. Students would check the camera kits out at the library and bring them to the editing suites to work on the footage. This seemed counterproductive, so Professor Russo offered to house the kits over in the Visual Media Center. With the increase in demand from professors, we also hired three work study students to create a team. These students are Eric McLellan and Bill Rauscher.

_MG_6954Currently, my team is consistently working with classes, professors, clubs, and departments to create material. We have also had the chance to record students and alumni in the studio to capture their stories. The level of usage has forced us to develop efficiencies, such as increase in production turnover and staffing. Nichols College has encouraged the use of experiential learning, or hands-on learning. Classes have since designed part of the curriculum to incorporate this type of learning. Currently, I am the Graduate Assistant for the Sports Broadcasting Curriculum, which was designed to incorporate the Green Screen or film/editing into every project. This is a brand new practicum, currently in its second semester.

Len Samborowski has also utilized the Green Screen and editing suites, creating podcasts called “Manager Memo” that have launched on iTunes. In each podcast, he interviews a different leader from various industries. Rob Russo teaches Visual Communications, where he has incorporated editing, having his students create 30-second teaser commercials for Thompson Speedway. The clips were a hit and Thompson Speedway would like to continue partnering with Rob and his students. Jean Beaupre teaches IMG_1576Principles of Marketing, where her students utilized the Visual Media Studio technology to create a video to get the attention of the Crocs corporation. They were successful and later had a conference call with Crocs, learning about their marketing strategies. Within a year, the Green Screen has been a success. My team and I have worked with 85% of all departments, 90% of all majors, and about 25% of the student body. Some examples of this work below.

Over the last year, we have produced over 150 videos, both student work and professional work. The growth of the Visual Media Studios in just a year was astounding. I look forward to the evolution of the studios in years to come.





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How to Not Let Snow Days Slow You Down

by Jean Beaupre, Faculty Communication Liaison

snowdayMother Nature can surely be unpredictable! School cancellations can throw a curve ball at our best-laid plans. After our most recent snow days, we queried faculty for your ideas on how you handled the cancellations in your classes. Assembled in this attached PDF are 20 great responses on how to creatively maintain instructional continuity. One common thread is the how beneficial technology can be; some additional ideas, courtesy of Wake Forest University, can be found here. Thanks to all for your responses! (And to the @Nichols_College Twitter page for this beautiful campus shot.)

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Protecting Animals: Experiential Service Learning Project

By Kim Charbonneau

Last semester, my Physical Security class was invited to do a Building Risk Assessment of the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Government’s animal shelter in Dayville, Connecticut following a break-in and theft of two Pitbull puppies. As part of experiential learning for the class, the students were able to walk the grounds of the animal shelter and assess the security of the building, identifying potential areas of concern. Following the students’ assessment, the class met with Dianne Collette, Animal Services Director, to ask questions and discuss what policies and procedures are currently in place at the facility.

The following class period was spent assessing the top 10 needs of the NEECOG facility, and assigning each area to a student to assess and resolve. The students then spent several weeks developing fire evacuation procedures, training programs for volunteers, animal health and vaccination forms, volunteer application and background check procedures, and daily logs for the facility. Dianne was invited to observe final presentations, where students presented their assessments and resolutions to us, CJ Internship Coordinator Sonya Rolinski, and Nichols Director of Public Relations Lorraine Martinelli. Dianne then brought the assessments back to the shelter with her and implemented several new policies, helping to increase the safety and security of the rescued animals. This project allowed students to gain real-world experience in the area of physical security, while giving back to the community.

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