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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Eighth Annual: The Year in Review - 2015-2016

Another academic year is in the books, and as is tradition, I take a look back at the year that was. I try to think broadly, beyond the Student Life perspective. I have certainly missed some things and invite readers to post on those things in the comment section.

I want to also note that I review the Trinitonian and my own posts to prepare this piece. The Trinitonian does a fantastic job of reporting a LOT all year long. They deserve more credit than they receive. Sources tell me the weekly paper will come out earlier this year, which should help Friday morning readership!

Top Stories
I rank these mostly by impact and long-term/present-day scope and affect on others.

1. The Anderson Presidency 
Danny Anderson began as the 19th Trinity President on May 29, 2015. He is already well-liked and marked his first year by listening a lot and developing deep connections with others. His inauguration was a celebration of learning at Trinity University through the Great Trinity Experiment. He began building his own cabinet, hiring Mike Bacon and Sheryl Tynes to important posts. Additionally, he hired Deneese Jones, a nationally prominent academic administrator and educator. She is also the first black Vice President in Trinity's history, who is also the first female to serve as Vice President for Academic Affairs.

2. We are the champions!
It is really hard to win a championship at the collegiate level. In a field of over 400 schools, consider the odds. Tiger baseball delivered big-time this summer sweeping through the DIII College World Series. We should savor this with #TigerPride All. Year. Long!

3. Pathways
Well, not as sexy as a championship, but in terms of reach and impact, launching a new curriculum is huge. The Class of 2019 was the first to undertake the new six credit First Year Experience class. For many, it was a daunting way to start college. Overall, the faculty worked extremely hard to kick-off this important and well-considered new curriculum. It will be assessed and evolve to create a meaningful blueprint for 21st century learning.

4. Social Justice and Related Issues
Whether the issues were Islamaphobia, race, political correctness, women's rights, gender equity, terrorism, open carry, the election, the environment, or sexual assault, there was no shortage of topics for students to digest and process. Since graduation, Orlando, terror overseas, police brutality, and brutality of police have occurred. The world needs change, leadership, and education...

5.Campus Dialogue
Those issues (above), created a tremendous amount of discussion and dialogue on campus. Whether through speakers, programs, multiple forums, editorials, counter-editorials, counter-counter-counter editorials, the campus was a fertile environment for deep and meaningful discussions. Students from the right pushed those on the left, leading to multi-faceted conversations with a subtext of free speech and the role of a college campus in delivering and fostering that.

6. Campus Master Plan
A comprehensive year-long review between campus leaders and a consulting firm through a campus-wide committee lead to a number of recommendations for the future. Chiefly, conversations about Chapman, Halsell, the library, and a way to link these areas was of top priority. The evolution of housing, including more single rooms and the addition of apartments was discussed as well.

7. Greeks
The Triniteers were suspended and the barred Pi Kappa Alpha had some residual issues. Nevertheless, this was an outstanding year for Greek Life. Coordinator Jeremy Allen took the helm at a time when there was a decrease in conduct issues. He worked with a really productive Greek Council. Revamped standards resonated with clubs. The staff relied heavily on fraternity and sorority leadership to again address vexing issues related to off campus parties at private residences. What followed was a new approach and that hopefully takes hold this year. Students are the culture here and they can keep one another safe...

8. Sexual Assault
...which was the approach of the Coalition for Respect and Student Government Association. A spring student-only forum put students at the center of this issue, where they were challenged to proactively address campus culture related to alcohol and sexual assault. The University's role is to educate and manage complaints. We all must strive to eliminate that need altogether. Our one-of-a-kind (second annual) report shows a campus community engaged in addressing this important issue.

9.North and Pets
A renovated North Hall introduced designed single rooms on campus for the first time. The reception was incredible as assessments showed that residents were thrilled with privacy in their third and fourth years on campus. The master planning committee took note. This fall we will pilot a pet-friendly hall with cats and dogs in South Hall. There are critics but with the three-year requirement it is important to offer students dynamic living options. Ruff.

10. Trinity Market
The Market incorporates all of our vales: discovery, excellence, impact, the individual, and the community. It is a wonderful venture, is well-managed, and marketed (no pun intended) extremely well. The question is, will it take? It competes with the Pearl Market on Saturdays and there is not an easy and direct entrance. Let's hope it gains traction as the heat lessens this fall.

- #TigerPride... It is growing!
- Admissions hits the mark with a big crew for the Class of 2020!
- Active shooter drill: As we learned from UCLA, people need to know what to do, unfortunately.
- B'Low Optimal and Optimal Buzz programs taught students to drink like grown-ups. Well, some grown-ups.
- Student Government (SGA) had a terrific year.
- Tiger Network allowed off-site access to lectures, events, and athletics. It was huge in allowing Trinitonians to follow Tiger baseball to the championship. And, you can still find the tremendous 2016 commencement speeches in the archives.
- Jane Goodall was great, though again, could have been anywhere...
- New chef at Mabee and new offerings, including smoothies were well-received.
- HBO Go!
- Trinitonian headline: "T-Pain was better than Tyga" Duh. And he wore a TU shirt!
- Mousetrap - What a fun play!
- Standing item: Acabellas and Trinitones

- From last year: B-Cycle was set to launch in September, then January, then May, and now, hopefully September. Spokes still turning. Update: SGA met with B-Cycle, did extensive survey, and still awaits a response from B-Cycle. Prediction: Great idea, but students are reluctant to pay and the program leadership and city may want to put resources elsewhere.
- Zip Car: It was successful enough, but vandals broke out the windows of one vehicle and another was stolen. Oops.
- The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and city announced a route change to eliminate the hills near campus (yay!) but now the route will bypass Trinity (hiss...).
- Milo
- Student complaints about Mabee and parking...

Under the Radar
- Academic Success Center with Stacy Davidson: What an important addition to Student Success!
- Game of Life from Residential Life received a national award (NASPA).
- KRTU turned 40, and all that jazz!
- Conduct changes: after a year-long review student hearings will be very different next year.

Big Hurts

- Professor Dan Spiegel passed away during finals.
- Staff members Carolyn Bonilla and Randy Creech died, leaving colleagues broken-hearted.
- Our obituary page reflects the losses of former faculty members Ted Sparling, Mary Ann Tetreault, and Jean Chittenden.
- Some real heavy hitters retired from the faculty. They will be missed.
- Hate to see colleagues leave, though we sure attract great people. Among those who left this year were Edwin Blanton, Soi Smith, Lisa Petrakis, Lyndsey Aguilar, Ana Windham, Jerry Ferguson, and Ann Knoebel.

On the Horizon
- Bell Center renovations are underway.
- Year two of Danny Anderson presidency
- Master planning decisions
- Off campus parties and new conduct procedures
- We will be smoke-free one day, the question is when...
- Don't look now, but 150th anniversary is just around the corner

Year 7
Year 6
Year 5
Year 4
Year 3
Year 2
Year 1

Bonus tracks
In case you missed it, here are some of the topics I got to write about this year. Trinity is rich with material:

Stolen Endings
Alcohol speaker
Faculty sandwiches
A Christmas Story
Work fun
Alumni on Campus

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