By Collin Regan – Contributing Writer
A crowd of UMF faculty, students, and community members recently packed Emery Arts Center to listen to professor Rhonda Jamison’s talk about Teacher-Student Relationships.
Jamison, also known as Dr. J around campus, talked about three studies she did, including one on UMF students and the impact of mandatory office hours.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Jamison wanted to see how the relationship between her students and herself impacted the classroom environment. To do this, Jamison conducted an experiment between three of her Child and Adolescent Development classes (PSY 225). In one of her classes, Jamison required two mandatory fifteen minute office hours during the semester, one class had one set of mandatory office hours, and the other had no mandatory office hours.
“The goal of the office hours was to get to know students as individuals,” said Jamison. “This was one avenue for connecting with students outside of the classroom, where I could get to know each student as an individual.” Jamison had a theory that when she got to know students as individuals, they would do better in the classroom.
Lydia McDonald, a junior Elementary Education major, remembers having two required office hours over the course of her second semester of freshman year.
“I really enjoyed going to visit with her and chat. It made me feel very comfortable around her and in class,” said McDonald. “I felt pretty neutral about office hours before this, but now I think they’re great.”
During the office hours, students would have a conversation with Jamison. Sometimes, Jamison used conversation starter questions found online to ignite conversation. “I always made sure that I answered the questions too, so that I got to know them, and they got to know me,” said Jamison. Office hours took place in the second and third weeks of the course, right after students had taken a survey.
Over the course of the 2015-2016 year, Jamison gave the same survey to 159 students who had either one, two or no mandatory office hours. This survey was given once at the beginning of the semester before the office hours and once again at the end of the semester. The results showed that students who came to office hours–whether it was once or twice–showed a significant increase in perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness to concepts in the class.
While Jamison was most interested in the findings of a teacher-student relationship, she was surprised that the experiment showed an increase in autonomy and mastery or competence in the class.
“I didn’t know that coming to office hours for fifteen minutes would change how students felt about the content in the course so dramatically,” said Jamison. Having a relationship with students outside of the classroom improved the content knowledge, confidence, and participation from students in the class.
Daniel Picard, a junior Secondary Education major, remembers his experience in PSY 225. “I remember the class having a lot of participation, more than most of my other classes I’ve had at UMF,” he said. Picard was a member of a class that had one mandatory office hours.
Jamison also made an impact on some future educator’s careers in the process of this study. “One great way to learn how to be a great teacher is by observing great teachers,” said McDonald “Dr. J is definitely one of the professors I enjoyed watching teach because her way of handling the class is excellent.”
Jamison will soon be presenting her research and results at a national level. In January of 2018 Jamison will explain her findings at a conference for the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP).
“This conference is different because everyone is presenting on teaching psychology, which everyone in the room does,” said Jamison. “I’ll be in a room of people where everyone does it, which is pretty cool.”
By Collin Regan – Contributing Writer
UMF students and their families packed the Mantor Green on a dark and beautiful fall
Friday night on October 13th to watch the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus.
UMF Community Assistants Michaela Zelie, Kendra Burgess and Sam O’Neal teamed up to create the event to add to the experience of Family and Friends Weekend at UMF.
Senior CA Michaela Zelie said, “the attendance is huge for this program every time.”
With the feeling of Halloween in the night, Friday the 13th featured one of the most successful and populated programs that UMF has seen so far this year. Along with the film, there was also popcorn, donuts, candy, a variety of hot chocolates, coffee and apple cider available for the UMF community. Students snuggled in their blankets and their eyes never left the screen as people relived some of their childhood memories.
This was the second year that Hocus Pocus was shown on the green. Last year, the event was created with the name Campout Cinema to give residents the chance to watch movies on a bigger screen. Senior Brennah O’Connell remembered last year’s program and was excited to see it come to life again this fall.
“I love that this is becoming a tradition,” said O’Connell. “A lot of people were looking forward to it this fall.”
Tyler St. Pierre, a junior at UMF, was also at the event and enjoyed the atmosphere. “It
was perfect. It was a good way to get into the Halloween spirit,” said St. Pierre.
One of the best parts about the event that had campus buzzing was the movie itself.
“Hocus Pocus is known as one of the classic movies, and it’s good for kids and adults,” said St. Pierre. “It’s a great family movie and really worked out for Family and Friends Weekend.”
Over the course of a semester, each CA has to put on a total of five programs or events
for residents at UMF. The goal of these programs is to build a sense of community. While
most programs are aimed towards a specific residence hall, this program was targeted towards
the whole campus and community, which added work for the three CAs.
“This is easily the hardest program I’ve done because it takes so much time. However the end result is always my favorite,” said Zelie with a smile starting to grow on her face. “To see that many people show up is wonderful.”
The CAs involved with the program had to communicate with several different people
across campus in order to make the program as successful as it was. Some of these
departments included Facilities and Student Life in order to get the rights for the movie. While the process was lengthy, it seemed to be worth it. Kendra Burgess, a first year CA and
sophomore, was impressed with how this program turned out.
“I think it gave a good example of the kinds of things CAs try to do for the community over the entire year,” said Burgess. “I think it was good for families to see this as well, as it fell on Family and Friends Weekend.”
Zelie and Burgess hope to continue more Campout Cinema events during this upcoming
year. “Because Hocus Pocus was such a success last year, the university bought their own screen,” said Zelie. This makes the event more manageable as the extra step of renting a screen is taken out.
Zelie and Burgess urge residents to be on the lookout for all programs that their CA’s put on, and especially potential future Campout Cinema programs.
Collin Regan – Contributing Writer
Recent college graduate and new hall director Dan Knox is looking forward to adding a new perspective to the Farmington community.
Knox is the new hall director that oversees the residence halls Lockwood, Dakin, and Stone. While he may be new to the Farmington community, Knox comes with a variety of experiences.
Fresh out of Ripon College with a dual degree in Business Administration and Politics in Government, Knox comes with three years of experience in residence life.
During his freshman year, Knox was a resident. His sophomore year, he was an RA, and during his junior year, he was a Programming Assistant where he essentially interacted with the whole campus. During his senior year, Knox was a Student Assistant Hall Director.
While all of these jobs involved working with residents, the responsibilities became greater as the years went on. These responsibilities did not seem to bother Knox. “I like interacting with residents, but I think I’m better at administrative work than most people,” he said.
Kathleen Simpson, a UMF Hall Director in her second year, was part of a team that hired Knox. “We were looking for somebody who added diversity to what we already had, knowing that our staff was going to be similar to what we had last year,” Simpson said.
The team saw that Dan would add that type of diversity to the staff, because of his experiences. “We saw his yearly growth as something that proved he wanted his own self-growth and the fact that his school thought he was good enough for this position was evident and good to see,” said Simpson.
Knox and Simpson both understand the importance of their jobs. Simpson points out that a
hall director “is responsible for thousands of lives on campus.” Knox describes the job as, “making sure residents are figuring out life and doing it in a safe and responsible manner.”
Knox is already helping impact the community through overseeing the Community Assistants (CA) in Lockwood, Dakin, and Stone. Sage van Eekhout, a third-year student and second-year CA in Stone Hall, has enjoyed working with Knox so far this year. “I think Dan brings in a really good and new perspective, being recently graduated and being in a Student Life Department while bringing some of his ideas into our staff,” said Eekhout.
First-year CA in Stone Hall Kendra Burgess has enjoyed getting into a new job, as Knox is settling into being a new hall director as well. “We’re both getting used to new positions but the communication has been great,” says Burgess.
Both Burgess and Eekhout agree that Knox has done a great job creating community within the staff. “I think he’s really great at positive reinforcement and making our staff feel so close. He gives out gold stars to people at every staff meeting from shout-outs we give,” said Eekhout.
As the year goes on, Knox is looking forward to this experience and the personal growth that will come with it. While he has small goals of visiting more places throughout Maine, Knox also has some career goals. “I want to figure out more of my styles in leadership and supervision,” he said.