I can't let September get away from me without posting something. I have had great ideas about what to write for the past month but have not been able to find an hour to develop them into anything coherent. I especially wanted to finish the story about the adventure in China in August, but that news is very old by now. In an effort to put something out into the ether, I will resort to a little summary of what I've been up to for the past four weeks.
Special Students. Anyone who is not a regularly enrolled student but wishes to take a course at Colby, for credit or as an auditor, must go through a process to register. Someone in the Admissions Office has to oversee this, and I am that someone. I disseminate applications, meet individually with each potential special student, answer endless questions over the phone and via e-mail, work with the Registrar and numerous faculty members. This process has been endless since August 24.
Travel planning for numerous trips to Boston, one of my most important areas; visits to Maine high schools; a big trip at the end of October to Southern California; a short trip to Costa Rica in November. All of these appointments and arrangements should have been completed by Labor Day; however, preparations are on-going.
Event planning An overview of Eastern small liberal arts colleges for students in Southern California when I am there in late October; on-campus visitation programs in October and November. Venues, publicity, activities, speakers, food. Coordinating professors, colleagues, student volunteers, and trying to satisfy all parties. Impossible task!
So far, three trips to Boston, including 5 college fairs (4 in one day), 15 school visits, 2 community-based organizations. Three days of travel in Maine.
The on-going and the usual: interviews with visiting students, presenting information sessions, giving input on projects like the new admissions video, trying to keep up with expense reports and inquiry cards gleaned while on the road, etc.
The highlight of the month: students arriving! One of the most rewarding elements of this work is when the students we worked hard to recruit actually begin their careers at Colby. Three dinners: one with all of the newly arrived international students, put on by Sue McDougal, the Dean for International Students. Two organized by a few of us in Admissions to help refine our messages for recruiting various groups of students: one for United World College students, held at a colleague's home in the Belgrade Lakes, complete with impromptu singing around the piano; the other for students of color, held at Cancun, a relatively new Mexican restaurant in Waterville where there is finally decent Mexican food to be had this side of the Mississippi!
And a final note: Family Homecoming Weekend occurred last week with mostly beautiful weather, albeit a little ahead of Maine's stunning foliage. My husband and I were excited to be able to welcome a family from Swaziland to our home on the coast. One of our newly enrolled students, Stephen Nodder, is the son of the principal at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa. This term, his dad is on sabbatical at UWC-USA, so Stephen's parents and younger brother are currently in New Mexico and were able to make the trip to Maine to see Colby for the first time. The Nodders have been very hospitable to me when I have been in Swaziland, and it was great to be able to return the favor. The best part was teaching the newcomers how to eat lobster. A good time was had by all.