Susan and I went out with a group of friends last night to wish a fond farewell to our friend Steph, who has resigned her position at the university in order to embark on a new career opportunity. Steph is feeling good about this transition, and the mood of the group was upbeat with lots of laughter. Some gentlemen, who were at the establishment for a bachelor party, sat down at our tables for part of the night and started visiting. Quotations from their conversation supplied a good deal of the laughter before we called it a night and left!
Tonight Susan and I attended another gathering of university folk, this one a general "thank God that this semester has ended" party at our friend Holly's apartment. Holly has a deck of playing cards that feature a different cocktail recipe on each card, and she chose three of them to serve her guests tonight--tasty! Everybody brought an appetizer or dessert item to share, too, ranging from a traditional Middle Eastern dish (made by an untraditional Middle Eastern professor) to s'mores (made using a torch supplied, along with the s'mores ingredients, by one of the guests). Holly is a generous hostess who invited entertaining guests, and we had a great time.
In between these parties was the 90th annual commencement ceremony for the university. We faculty wear our academic regalia and march in and out before the students, so I spent this morning on campus. Afterwards I went to the house of one of the graduates, Ryan, for his reception. Ryan was never my student; he and I became friends through his cousin, Chris, who is my friend and a colleague at the university. Not only Ryan but also his parents urged me to come over to their house for sandwiches, salads, punch, and cake and ice cream--and who am I to refuse homemade food?
Incidentally, Ryan and I are featured (photos and biographies) on side-by-side pages of the commencement program! He won an outstanding graduate award, and I was recognized for having won the Innovative Teacher of the Year award (remember?). I'm not sure who wrote the blurb that got published next to my picture, but it's quite flattering! Read it for yourself:
"KEVIN MOBERG, assistant professor of education, received the Innovative Teacher of the Year Award. Moberg has been with the Department of Teacher Education for two years, during which time he has transformed the technology course to truly prepare teachers for the 21st Century classroom. Many educational technology courses show students tools, but Moberg has his students learn by actually using these technological tools, such as PowerSchool, Moodle, IVN technology, and electronic portfolios. Moberg also has introduced his students to the concept of 'teacher as researcher,' requiring that they develop research questions related to their classroom observations, conduct a review of current research, collect data, and make decisions based on this data. This process is rarely done at the undergraduate level. He is truly preparing students to teach 21st Century learners, students who learn differently from those in previous generations. Moberg's students know him as a teacher who is intensely interested in their success and is always available to help. He is recognized by his peers for his ability to draw students into reflective conversation in a personable and approachable manner."