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Archive for April 16th, 2010

A friend of mine recently bemoaned what he perceived as a lack of school spirit at his southern SLAC.  One sign that he cited is the fact that student apparel featuring the logos of the nearest big state school vastly outnumbers apparel featuring his own school.  Since he mentioned this I have paid closer attention to the clothing of my students and noted that this is not the case on my campus.  While I occasionally see students wearing apparel from a larger state school, this is the exception.  Much more common is clothing depicting the name or logo of my own institution, and the t-shirts of sorority members add to the relatively high percentage of clothing that fits into the “school spirit” category.

While I don’t perceive a problem among the students, the faculty in general are a different matter.  There seems to be a general reluctance among faculty to participate in things beyond their teaching/research/service duties.  Obviously, those duties keep them busy, but I would still like to see the number of poorly-attended discussions about teaching methods decrease.  Beyond the general amount of work to be done, I place some of the blame on the decentralized nature of faculty living.  When applying for jobs at SLACs, I imagined myself living in an isolated town of 25,000, hoping that a mall was within a half hour’s drive.  Thankfully, this is not the case, but I think that the fact that my school is within reach of a large number of other towns and cities prevents the sorts of connections that faculty can have to a school when they live and work in the same area.  In order to attend an evening or weekend event, for example, many faculty members would have to make a two-hour round trip.  For a one or two hour event, this much travel is understandably hard to justify.

Unfortunately, this situation is unlikely to change, but as somebody who is eager to dig in to this place and make it my home, a stronger sense of community would go a long way.

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