beardOne of the most frequent comments I’ve heard from students this semester is that I have a beard.  After Spring semester finals I let it grow out and after a while I started digging it.  Those of you who know me will not be surprised that I like the contrary nature of growing my hair SOUTH of my nose instead of north of it…

I guess it makes it harder for people to recognize me.  My family went on vacation this summer and when we were picking up the rental car in Denver, I had a funny interaction.  I was talking to the Enterprise RAC associate at the desk and asked how he liked his job.  Enterprise is a big partner of UCF Career Services so I was curious about his experience.  He’s been there six months and really enjoys it.  Lots of opportunity, lots of good people to work with.  One of them made her way over…

Where in Florida are you from?


Where do you work?

UCF.  I teach a series of career classes in the College of Business

I THOUGHT SO!!!  You were my husband’s teacher!!

Turns out one of the associates at the desk graduated from our college, is a brother of Delta Sigma Pi, and her husband was in the very first offering of GEB 3003 in Fall 2014!  Small world, eh?  My family was NOT surprised, by the way, that I ran into one of my students 2000 miles from home.  The class that Jaimee’s husband took bears only a slight resemblance to the GEB 3003 that students entering the college take this semester.

Reflecting on this interaction as well as the reaction I’ve had from students who took the summer off and returned to see their instructor looking like some quintagenarian Milk District hipster wanna-be reminded me that change is something constant that we have to learn to manage.  Getting used to your instructor with a beard is easy.  Making sure you know the CURRENT requirements for a class rather than approaching the class the same way you did a couple semesters ago can be harder and have an impact on your grade!

Here’s a few things that have changed:

There’s a new book – This semester I incorporated Alex Groenendyk’s “This is Who We Hire” into the curricula of all 4 career classes.  Alex is a local retired executive and wrote this book out of a need to help students understand what companies look for and how to connect with them. It’s one of the best works I’ve seen on how to tap the “hidden job market.”  One other change related specifically to this book; quizzes on book chapters will be taken in the testing lab, not at home!  GEB 3005 students take note, your first quiz is this week!

Online Verification submissions – Nothing burns my rear more than people who like to say, “What you oughta do is…” and then walk off.  It’s like standing on a dock yelling “SWIM” to someone who’s drowning.  Jim Gilkeson, Director of our Integrated Business major, sat down with me and walked me through how I could set up assignments to accept Career To-DO List activity verifications through Webcourses (more on my love of Webcourses later…) Thank you Jim for not just yelling at me but actually lending me a hand!

New Volunteer opportunities – I’ve partnered with Volunteer UCF to offer Career To-DO List points for volunteer activities.  This is an AWESOME way for students without much work experience to build job qualifications quickly while also serving their community.  Go serve your community and make some great connections!

Your Essay is your Final – GEBs 3003, 3005, and 4223 don’t have a Final Exam.  Your essay is now your Final.  I wanted to focus more on the reflective nature of this assignment so I moved it back a week.  What will you do, how will you do it, what will you say, and what should you have done?  These four questions will guide your journey through the career classes.

New Webcourses format (again!) – Yea, I keep playing with how the course is laid out in Webcourses.  I have to say, out of all the stuff I have to do, I enjoy this part the least.  Partly because Webcourses symbolizes a lot of what I dislike about the way we have to manage large classes.  But mostly because I just suck at it.  Yes, I’ve watched the videos (Eight hours of crap like, “Students use lecture capture to go back and re-watch the important parts of your class.”  OH BULL$***!)  Yes, I’ve used the “Help” function.  No, I still don’t think it’s awesome.  Generally the problems come up because the nature of this class isn’t just the acquisition and testing of knowledge; it’s about activity.  So when I ask a question I get a lot of, “Well Webcourses really isn’t set up to…” type of answers.  It’s like working at the top of a very steep, rocky, dirt road and you’re given a low-rider pickup to drive as a company car.  Not the best tool to accomplish your goal.

So embrace these changes!  Go enjoy your new book (seriously, it will change your job search for the better!), scan your forms, volunteer for a great project, and start to think about the answer to your essay prompt.  All of these changes were made with the intent of improving the effectiveness of your class.  And as for Webcourses, it’s like growing a beard; a work in progress.  You change this, change that, and eventually you get it looking right.