All posts by Chris Nielson

Dream on…

Yes, we are singing again and again (you probably missed the second one because it is on another blog!).

Dream until your dreams come true…and you get to do some cool things on campus with your colleagues.

Yeah, so that one was a bit off melody! ūüėČ No disrespect!

I am not going to write about¬†my dreams. Nope. I won’t be writing about lofty dreams of peace, or the elimination of poverty,¬†or even meal times that don’t include my kids complaining about “vegetables again.” I am not going to do that.¬†That discussion is worthwhile, but that is not what Steven is telling me to write about, and right now, I’m listening to Steven.

Dream until your dreams come true. In other words, don’t give up (thanks for that translation, Captain Obvious!). We can talk all day about how cool it would be to have virtual reality glasses in every classroom, or give every new student a brand new laptop when they enroll, or how great it would be if faculty members from all corners of campus regularly¬†attended workshops in the CTLE, but we can’t go that big all the time. Don’t get me wrong, those are fun conversations to have, and sometimes they are useful or necessary; however, they tend to¬†lead no where because often no first step is taken.

Really BIG first steps are scary. So are chocolate covered sardines.

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Both happen.¬†We may not know how, and we may not know why, and sometimes we may¬†not like it, but sometimes BIG dreams do come true. And the coolest thing about it is that those big dreams come true the same way those “regular” dreams come true: take the first step. It doesn’t have to be a big step just because it is a big dream, it just has to be a step. We just have to work towards those goals one step at a time; we just have to dream on.

 

 

Getting to know you…

Sing with me (again)!

Getting to know all about…your colleagues

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So a couple of weeks ago, the new group of GCC Residential faculty (lovingly referred to as the FYRE group) embarked on a tour of GCC that each of them partially lead. The “FYRE Guided Tour” is an opportunity to show off the different areas of campus where each member of FYRE works on a regular basis. Instead of parading the FYRE group around campus with me posing as the all-knowing¬†tour guide, I created an opportunity that helps build community and connection between the group, while also learning about different programs and resources available to students.

I personally have learned quite a bit about GCC from the three FYRE Guided tours I have been on, and I know many of our new faculty have enjoyed learning about their colleagues and the campus at the same time. I mean, think about yourself and how well you really know what is happening on our campus. Even if you know of many of our programs, there is a good chance you have not seen some of the interesting, hands on learning opportunities many of our faculty create on a regular basis.

I am sure most of you know we have a fantastic nursing program, but have you actually seen the simulation lab that our students learn in? Have you seen the capabilities the mannequins have? Do you have any idea how the faculty that teach and operate these simulations plan for and pull off these lessons? Wow! Check out some our very own GCC students running through simulations.

Or did you know we have a Children Lab (or know what one is for that matter)? In our Child and Family Studies department, there is an active daycare that is part of the learning environment for our students. Through a two-way mirror and an intercom system, GCC students are able to observe the behavior of children in the daycare and analyze the way the childcare professionals interact, teach and play with the kids, all while the professor connects theory to practice. Awesome!

There are many other programs and resources on campus besides these two, and as I mentioned already, many of us know of them, but ¬†unfortunately, we don’t really know them.

We haven’t really seen the materials, the labs, and the behind-the-scenes¬†rooms (full of costumes and rocks and chemicals and plastinated body parts¬†and props and fire engines and grand pianos and toys and boom mics and pinned insects and Corvettes) all over campus.

We know the people who work in these fields, who have dedicated countless hours planning and prepping, and we love catching up with them in the common areas of campus, but we often haven’t seen them in their¬†domain, which means we don’t really know what our colleagues do here at GCC.

Is this a missed opportunity? Might this¬†be the clue¬†we’ve been searching for in our quest to tear down (or at least connect) the silos? It could be, or it might just be me wishing we¬†could all see more of the inner workings of different departments and different disciplines. Anyone game to host an “Open Department” someday?!


I Get by With a Little Help…

Thank you John and Paul. Now if I may riff off you for a brief moment please (sing with me!)

I get by with a little help from my… colleagues.

It’s true. I really do, and I am grateful for it. The help and support that comes from the people I¬†work with not only gets me through the day/week/month/semester/year, but it keeps me coming back for more. I’m lucky to work in a supportive atmosphere that encourages sharing, engagement, connection, building relationships, and, well, being helpful.

In turn, the help and support from friends and colleagues that keeps me motivated to do my best inspires me to be helpful and supportive too. You know, the pay-it-forward idea. And when I really think about that concept, I realize most of what I do as faculty at GCC is centered around helping others. Whether it be helping new faculty learn to navigate our monstrous community college system, or helping students find their writing voice (sure, they may not realize they want to find it–they simply want to pass ENG101–but I still help them find it!), my job is to help. Seriously, that is the second coolest realization I have had all year. (In case you care, the coolest realization I have had this year is that this applies to all of us who work for GCC–our job is to help. We are in the business of helping people find their purpose, change their lives and reach their goals.)

(I will sleep better tonight knowing we are all so helpful!)

Take us out, Ringo!