Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Friday, April 22, 2011

In the Catbird Seat

It has been a busy and productive week around these parts.  I am watching the students start to wrap up all the semester tasks, and feeling good about where they are, or will be, in two more weeks when it is finished.  The Mississippi spring has roared in with its usual full force and we have been inundated with rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and chilly weather for the past week.  In spite of that, I donned my sweatshirt and scarf yesterday evening and sat outside for some bird watching.  It was the first time I had the opportunity this week, either because of working late or the rain.
Our final site visit for the masters program accreditation is next week, along with the last two visits to Riverside and the rest of the role plays for students practicing their interviewing skills.  I am all caught up on uploading their videos for them to watch and complete self-evaluations and plans for skill development.  I've been very pleased with how well they all have done--evidence of having had some good foundation skills in the first practice class.  (Way to go, Dr. Simmons!)  I am going to pilot a new way of teaching the research writing class this summer, and am all excited about that as well.  I love the support I have for trying new things in the department, as we continue to look for ways to better prepare students for practice.
I'm also completing the final stages of the class to South Africa.  Margie and I had a great workshop in Canton last week, with superb participants, most of whom were DHS workers.  It was a busy day, and we really enjoyed interacting with everyone and actually ran late in wrapping up the workshop.  We were raising money to help fund the students going to South Africa.  I fly out of Memphis on May 15 and am ready to start packing!
I also met with some colleagues yesterday in regard to our work on service learning/joint research in South Africa/Belize/Delta, and that was an inspiring time.  I love to conceptualize models and theories, so they ask me to work with them on developing the conceptual framework for our proposed work.  I had some thoughts last night and grabbed my pencil and pad and started sketching out circles and arrows and linking aspects based on what I know at this point.  
I'll be heading down to Mound Bayou in a couple of weeks to meet with the Mayor about our working with them on some of their community goals.  Mound Bayou has long been a community of interest to me, as I love their history of self-empowerment, and am excited to be traveling there and meeting with some people about how we might support their work and provide service learning opportunities for our students.  I'll be following up with a post on the community after that visit.  While it is one more thing on the plate before the end of the semester, it is one I am really looking forward to!
Yep, I'm just pretty contented right now, feeling like everything is just coming together.  My friend Pete called it "you're on a roll right now and just rolling right on to South Africa."  If I am in the catbird seat for a little while, I surely don't mind--it is the perfect way to end a year that has been incredible, and jump start the next semester and its projects.  Life is good, even when it's hard.

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