This fall, I will teach a section of the ASU 1201 Foundations of College Success course. Incoming freshman are assigned to this class in order to provide them with a solid foundation for scholastic achievement, while emerging them in the university’s rich heritage and tradition. Students will cover an array of topics while dialoging with campus and community leaders; thereby, providing students with essential elements for continued success. This course is yet another example of the value that universities like Albany State provide to their students, offering holistic learning to our most significant stakeholders.
As the face of higher education continues to evolve, we must use courses such as this one to go beyond the ordinary to prepare our students for the global marketplace. The inevitable seismic changes in education require no less a commitment to our students. Characteristics such as confidence, compassion, and competence are needed to prepare our leaders for the future. My goal is to use this exposure to ignite a desire for achievement and success that I’ve seen in our loyal and committed Golden Ram alumni.
I’m calling on our alumni to assist us in giving our students a sense of personal accountability that will keep them on track in pursuit of the dream that J.W. Holley had for his students. In keeping with the tradition of Albany State, we expect our students to operate in their utmost potential.
Written By: Dr. Art Dunning
Photos: ASU EDUCATION & RETENTION SUMMIT 2014
This week, members of the ASU leadership team engaged in a Retention and Education Summit to help chart a course through the changing environment in higher education. One of our facilitators, Dr. Stephen Portch, referred to the “seismic changes” that have occurred in higher education in the last few years to describe the changing face of education. Many of the public historically black colleges and universities like Albany State are the ones most affected by these changes. A recent article posted on Highered.com detailed the challenges faced by our institutions including reductions in state and federal funding and enrollment declines. The summit also allowed us to identify additional topics such as the standards for accreditation and the proliferation of online programs.
Today, Albany State University has to reposition itself to address these challenges head on. We must reframe our lens to ensure that we are the best in recruitment, retention and the graduation of students. Our senior administrators have done an excellent job in identifying strategies to address challenges, but it will take each and every person on campus to bring them all to fruition. I encourage you to talk with your division head to seek details about our new plans and to chart your own individual plan that will support our efforts to succeed. Together, we can have a seismic wave of success!
This week, the nation pauses to celebrate Independence Day. We celebrate the privilege of being citizens of the world’s most progressive nation. It’s a nation where we are not only encouraged to dream big but to act boldly, utilizing those incomparable freedoms that are too numerous to name. Collectively, those inalienable rights guaranteed in the U. S. Constitution afford us the best quality of life known to man. A law that guarantees all Americans a quality education was one which many of our forefathers fought and sacrificed for.
During its history, Albany State has educated countless students who as graduates are enjoying the full benefits of a college degree. As celebrations across our great country begin this week, we should consider creating an Independence Day for ASU.
Independence for ASU can be realized when those who have derived benefits from our beloved institution support it, financially and otherwise. With resources, ASU can operate more independently when it comes to expanding its educational offerings, diversifying research opportunities and enhancing travel abroad programs for all students, for instance. The University will be less dependent on state funding, a mandate that higher education institutions across the country are tasked with in order to construct state of the art facilities and increase the amount of need based scholarships.
Let’s use this holiday to make a contribution toward ASU’s independence. Make a donation, large or small to the ASU Foundation. Earmark the contribution to an area that interests you. Give online at www.asurams.edu. Click the “Give to ASU” link or mail a contribution to the ASU Foundation, 504 College Drive, Albany, GA 31705.
By: Dr. Art Dunning, Interim President of Albany State University
Photo 1:The Temple in the Sea, in Trinidad
Photo1: Students Swimming in the Argyle Falls in Tobago.
Photo2: Candice Price on a boat to Gasparee Cave in Trinidad.
Submitted by: Candice Price
Today I was a Daredevil! Our class went to Gasparee Cave in Trinidad. We were surrounded by water, and one of my biggest fears was being in a small boat in the middle of the ocean, while the large tides rock the boat back and forth. I kept thinking to myself, “This boat is going to turn over and I’m going to be stuck in the middle of the sea.” I can swim a little, but my endurance is terrible. I overcame my fear and we rode a small boat through the middle of the ocean to get to the island where the cave was located. I was scared but I told myself “I have to do it. I cannot allow my fears to stop me from experiencing the world.” As soon as we reached the cave, we climbed a steep hill. I was almost out of breath, which made me realize how much I need to work out when I get back home. I was glad when we finally reached the cave. It was so beautiful and the water below was gorgeous. The sparkles in the cave reminded me of a fairytale and the bats made the cave interesting too.
Inside the cave I was hot and sweaty; the water below looked so refreshing. But I was still apprehensive about getting in. “What if I drown? Can my feet reach the bottom?” I didn’t want to burden our tour guides. Then all of a sudden one of my classmates decided to be the first to get in with the tour guide, and then others started to jump in. So I decided to get in the water too! I climbed down and eased into the water then started swimming. The tour guide even gave me a few lessons. Before I knew it, I was on my own and swimming. I was so proud of myself. I enjoyed every moment! I didn’t want to get out. I thought to myself, “Look at me doing something I never thought I would ever do in my life.” The ruff boat ride across the ocean and the hike up a steep hill was all worth it. I am so glad I had this opportunity. I would definitely do it again!
Photo 1: The ASU 2014 T and T Global Ambassadors
Photo 2: The Temple in the Sea in Trinidad
Submitted by: Teiara Tyson
Senior Social Work Student
With only one more week left of this trip. I realize how much I have learned. From the rich culture, to the history in the revived cocoa plantations, Trinidad and Tobago has been an interesting experience. Everyday has been a learning experience and thus far I see a change in my peers and myself. Coming from the United State of America, where so much is taken for granted, I have really began to appreciate the little things here in Trinidad and Tobago. The people are so passionate about their country, their culture and their food.
The latest excursions were to the Temple in the Sea and a quick stop to an Indian Museum. Prior to going to the temple I decided to do some research on the history of the Temple in the Sea. The Temple in the Sea is actually a temple constructed by one man, Sewdass Sadhu who fought hard just to have a place to worship. During a time where public temples or acts of Hinduism were illegal in Trinidad, Sadhu went against the government’s authority and displayed his religion publicly. Later Sadhu went to jail and his temple was demolished. In 1994, the temple was rebuilt and restored as a place of worship. A statue of Sewdass Sadhu himself now stands upon the shore. Inside the temple there were beautiful hand crafted and painted figures of Hindu ideals. There was also a view of the Caribbean Sea from the temple.
Afterwards we went to the Indian Caribbean Museum. The museum restricted photography for the purpose of preserving the history. I found that to be interesting that this particular museum respects that history of its culture and find it to be sacred. In the museum was a grand amount of endless stories and acts of triumph by many Indians in Trinidad. Based on the brief dialogue of the worker in the museum, it is safe to say Indians have made a great mark in Trinidad and will continue to do so.
Overall my time here in Trinidad has been a memorable and an experience that I will never forget. As we approach this last week I am sure we will learn more interesting facts. I am looking forward to the next stop which will be Tobago!
Photo2: Students on a boat tour of the Caribbean Sea.
Photo3: ASU Students Swimming in the Caribbean Sea.
Submitted by: Brittany Welch
Senior Social Work Major
Our second stop, Tobago, the second island that makes up the country of T and T! We arrived in Tobago early Friday morning and jumped right into the fun. We rode up the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea sides of the coast of the island, viewing all the scenery that was different from Trinidad. In Tobago, everyone was more laid back and welcoming and it was not as crowded on the streets. Our first stop was a restaurant built into a treehouse called Jemmas on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. I really enjoyed my meal of baked barbecue chicken, salad with a ginger dressing, rice, bread fruit and vegetables. After lunch, we hiked through the rain forest to reach Argyle waterfall. The waterfall itself was very beautiful. As a group, we did go to the top to experience the nature spa, but was not brave enough to jump off in the pool at the bottom. My biggest fear of being in the water was the fish that were swimming so closely to us.
Saturday, we went on a boat tour aboard the “Cool Running’s” that took us on the Caribbean Sea in route to the Nylon Pool and Buccoo Reef. The Buccoo Reef is one of the most accessible coral reefs in the Caribbean. It is a protected marine park located a short distance off Pigeon Point and store Bay beaches. The reef has a fascinating, colorful underwater life. Along the route to the nylon pool, we noticed how the ocean changed colors and observed the fish underneath. The Nylon Pool is in the center of the ocean but it is shallow, only about two-three feet. “Imagine swimming in a pool of beautiful, clear waters and becoming five years younger… that is the legend that surrounds Tobago’s famous Nylon Pool. Although the legend itself has not been proven, the pool attracts more than 40,000 people yearly. According to the tour operator, the history of the name stemmed from Princess Margaret’s visit to the pool in 1962. She saw the beauty of the pool and declared it should be renamed the Nylon Pool. (The pool was originally named the Dance Poo)”. We were able to get off the boat and swim, and we were not deterred by the rain. My favorite part is when were able to snorkel not far from the Buccoo Reef . That was the first time I have ever done it and I would like to try it again. While underneath I saw a sting ray, fish, and an octopus. The tour guides said that I had a very good eye because the season that octopus come out is in October. Overall, I enjoyed my experience in both Trinidad and Tobago, and I would like to come back.
Photos: Albany State University New Student Orientation Fall Session Friday, June 27
Moving Albany State University forward is a challenge that requires sacrifice, commitment and a lot of hard work. Some of this change will require us to look at things differently, act more responsibly and open our minds to new ways of doing things. Each day, I engage with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who all want to see Albany State get bigger, better and stronger. With this common goal, I believe that we can do more than dream of ASU’s potential, but we can make her Potential. Realized.
To realize this potential, we must make a greater investment to ASU. Alumni must give back financially to help sustain our current and future student body. Modest, consistent donations will be the life blood for student recruitment and retention. Our students must invest their efforts into academics, but also redefine what it means to be an ASU student. I’ve already called upon our faculty and staff to evaluate our processes and procedures to make sure that we are an efficient and effective operation. Most importantly, all of us must improve customer service to each other. The way we communicate and work together places an intrinsic value upon the ASU experience. Each of us play an important role, and we owe it to each other and to the dream of Dr. J.W. Holley to further his vision and enact changes that will ultimately better the institution.
When we make changes that require you to sacrifice by paying a little extra for an athletic event or working a few extra minutes or perhaps taking on additional responsibilities here and there, remember that the change you’ve been asked to make is designed to make ASU a better place.
By: Dr. Art Dunning, Interim President of Albany State University
Photo 1:The Royal Victorian Institute Museum
Submitted by: Keandris Hogan
June 11, 2014
If anyone would have asked me last summer about my plans for this summer, I would have never imagined that I would be leaving the country for the first time in my life to travel to Trinidad and Tobago. A few of the excursions that we have experienced include the Port of Spain Museum, which was very historical, and the Board Walk Beach, which is a part of the Caribbean Sea where we had an opportunity to zip line across. We also attend classes that range from three to four hours each and participate in service learning which allows each study abroad student to interact with local Trinidadians. The highlight of my experience was our visit to the Port of Spain where the beach, museum and the hills of Trinidad are located. It was very exciting and historical. Many of us are realizing more about ourselves and learning more about diversity. We are stepping outside of our comfort zones through our service learning.
June ninth was a life-changing experience. I had the opportunity to work at the Audrey Mollineau House for elderly women and those who have mental disabilities. The Audrey Mollineau House is teaching me to be grateful for being physically and mentally healthy; from a spiritual standpoint, I am learning to just be thankful. Although, this blog was written a week ago, it feels as if we have been here much longer because of all the life lessons we have learned. When comparing the United States to a country that is less developed, there are many things we take for granted. During this month long journey, I am reflecting on how we as US citizens can better our country and stop taking what we have for granted. How can we as Americans uplift each other without socially stratifying each other consciously and unconsciously? The journey continues…
Photo 1: A student from the Center for Strategic Learning and Special Education Institute erupting volcano presentation.
Submitted by: Nickala Kendrick
June 16, 2014
Service Learning: Center for Strategic Learning and Special Education Institute
Studying abroad has been one of the greatest experiences of my life! During my visit I have tried some of the most ingenious foods, given my soul to Soca music, and now I feel my twenty one years of life are complete. My only complaint with this beautiful country, are the living conditions. After witnessing the heartrending lifestyle of poverty lived by a large percentage of the population, I thought that life here was not happy. I assumed that my living conditions were almost replicate to theirs, and I was unhappy. As study abroad students we live in the oldest dorms located on the campus of the University of the West Indies. The rooms are cramped and hot. I don’t mean just regular hot, I mean fuming hot. I am constantly sweating and plagued with Kimbo Slice type mosquitoes. In the shower it’s always a gamble for hot water. Sometimes the fans work and sometimes they don’t. This place makes Albany States’ Gibson hall look like a five star suite. Living in the Milner dorms has almost pushed me past my limits and I’ve only been here for three weeks. Imagine living here. That is why I initially imagined that people who lived here would share my similar ideas and opinions of the environment, but I was wrong. The people here rarely complain. They are joyous people who find the positive when surrounded by negatives. When I’d rather complain and pout, they make songs and celebrate.
My perception of Trinidadian people became evident to me while I was volunteering at the Center for Strategic Learning and Special Education Institute. The center is a school for children who have learning disabilities and mental disorders. The age groups range from three to thirty two years old. The school helps students develop relationships skills and gain an education that can compete with students from standard public schools. Most of the population at the school suffer from autism. They struggle with connecting to others and communicating their feeling and thoughts. It would seem that these children would feel frustrated and defeated, but they are the exact opposite. They are some of the brightest and jovial children I have ever met. Today was their science fair exhibition and their projects were mind blowing. One child showcased a gaming application used by smart phone users he had created. Another child presented the formation of crystals and devised a marketing scheme for the sale of crystalized jewelry. A third child recreated a pendulum from common household materials to display kinetic and potential energy. Their projects were amazing! When I was in high school, my science fair project was a simple Styrofoam replica of the solar system glued to a trifold board.
Watching the children present their projects I could hear their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge. I could see that they were happy. One student even told me that Trinidadian people they don’t look at the glass half full or half empty, but they are thankful to have in general. They don’t have much, but that does not matter. I spent a lot of time complaining about what I did not have when I should have been thankful for what I do have including this once in a lifetime trip to the experience diversity, and the opportunity to meet such amazing children. I have learned a real life lesson. I am changed.
Photo 3: Tre’Kenya Henderson and Nickala Kendrick watching student the presentations.
Submitted by: Trekenya Henderson,
Senior Social Work Student
Photo: ASU Rams and other tourists exploring the caves and swimming in the cave waters.
Trinidad and Tobago has been an interesting trip thus far. From the moment I departed the unsinkable Albany State University until now, the world itself has been an amazing teacher. I realized I had to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Some excursions have been more fearful than others, but I managed to overcome the obstacles. However, many of the outings that I have taken part in have been really exciting and worthwhile!
Just the other night, we attended a steel pan concert with a group of students from Spelman College. Steel pans are hammered shiny metal objects derived from a drum barrel used as percussion instruments. The different beatings from the musicians on the steel pans create a wide array of beautiful music. The sounds of the steel pan resemble reggae music. Everyone was dancing to the music and having a great time celebrating the 100th year birthday of the Port of Spain, the country’s capitol city.
The most interesting excursion thus far is the trip to Gasparee Cave. Initially, we all had to take a boat to get to the island where the cave was located. The walk to the cave was very rigorous. It felt as if we were walking up a never-ending mountain trail. Shortly afterwards, we finally reached the cave. I was afraid because I am scared of heights, and we had to do down about four flights of stairs. As I was going down into the deep part of the cave, a number of bats were flying above my head and I felt as though I could fall down the narrow steps at any moment. The temperature was extremely hot and humid inside the cave. I was relieved when we finally reached the bottom. The first thing I noticed was the colorful rocks and the clear beautiful water in the cave. The view was spectacular. I did not get into the water like my fellow classmates but I enjoyed watching them. I’m really looking forward to other exciting excursions like Gasparee Cave!
Photo: ASU Rams and other tourists exploring the caves.
Photo: Steel pan band performing
For more information, contact the ASU Office of University Communications at 229-430-4671.
Submitted by: DeJuan Clanton,
Business and Marketing Major
Traveling to Trinidad and Tobago was my first time riding a plane. When we first landed the heat of the island was overwhelming. Over the past week I have learned so much about the history of Trinidad. I was placed in a service learning agency “Creative Parenting for the New Era” with my director Dr. Bishop. Dr. Bishop manages several non-profit organizations in Trinidad. She is extremely hospitable and has taught me so much about the political, social, economic history of Trinidad.Over the past four years, the people of Trinidad have faced many political challenges.
Within a week I have tried salt fish, coconut bake, fried plantain, goat, and duck. One of the highlights of our trip was our excursion to Pitch Lake, Trinidad. It is the largest natural producer of asphalt in the world.
We took a tour of the University of West Indies, St. Augustine campus which houses about 18,000 students. The best thing about the university is that the government pays their tuition. Here minimum wage is around $15 an hour and taxes are 15% on the dollar. Most women work security jobs with long hours overnight. Many single mothers are forced to leave their children at home alone overnight while they work.
The nights are long but we occupy our time with getting to know each other and preparing assignments. Sometimes when I am alone, I watch a movie and when I wake up in the morning, I forget that I am in another country. I have learned more in one week than I imagined I would the entire trip.
Local Trinidad and Tobago Community
DeJuan Clanton, Business and Marketing Major at Pitch Lake
ASU students study in Trinidad and Tobago
Official flag of Trinidad and Tobago
The priority road, cars and maxi taxi’s
Trinidad and Tobago currency
Deborah C. Hammond
The beginning of my journey in Trinidad and Tobago began June 2, 2014 with a flight from Albany to the Port of Spain. When I arrived at my dormitory, Milner Hall, I had an “omg moment” because of the heat and realizing there were no air conditioning units in the dorm. Despite the abundance of mosquitos in the shower and the rooms, my experience has been interesting and definitely different.
I enjoy the classes I’m taking because we get to engage in the lecture through interactive activities. So far, my favorite experience happened on a Tuesday night when everyone went to the bar and grill. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
I have noticed that Trinidad has a lot of broken and worn-down buildings. I realized that Dr. Gibson was right when she said that Trinidad is a developing country. I’ve been interacting with this one native, Sanchez. He’s very intelligent and open-minded; yet, he is distrusting of people and paranoid. I feel like he’s in a dark place but in denial.
I’m still in the midst of getting to know my dorm mates but, overall, I appreciate the different perspectives everyone brings to the experience. Today, we went to the beach and went “zip-lining”, and I was the first one! I was terrified but after the first line, it became easy. I want to do it again! Pictures of this experience are forthcoming in future blog posts.
For more information, contact the ASU Office of University Communications at 229-430-4671.
I am convinced that the proof needed to negate the characterizations about our region can be found in laboratories and classrooms on our campus. Yesterday, faculty members in our School of Science and Health Professions and within our Flint River Water Planning & Policy Center worked with me to host a symposium to explore agricultural applications for unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. It was an excellent opportunity to discuss how our teaching and research in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) can address some of the challenges facing the main driver of the state’s economic engine, agribusiness.
The use of drones to impact agriculture is one of many special initiatives that can be leveraged to showcase the talents and skills of this great university. As the senior institution of higher education in Southwest Georgia, Albany State is uniquely positioned to support economic development efforts by deploying our best researchers, problem solvers and strategic thinkers who are members of our faculty and student body. Together, they can work as a team to impact this region in unique ways. Our students will become more engaged during the matriculation process through meaningful community involvement that brings relevance to lessons gleaned from a textbook. The young researchers will see real life applications in a modern context.
We are already partnering with Albany Technical College, Darton and the Dougherty County School System to tackle the high school dropout rate. Similar partnerships with business and industry leaders can be formed to develop the workforce in ways that will make this region a location that attracts investors and major corporations.
As we expand and broaden the Ram Impact, the greater the reach of Dr. Holley’s vision formulated over a century ago. Our future depends on it.
By: Dr. Art Dunning, Interim President of Albany State University