Campus building renovations reflect shifts in technology and student learning

Over the past five years, Norwich University has undertaken major renovations and construction projects to reinforce a “general push for collaborative learning,” according to the University’s chief administrative officer, David Magida.

Dewey Hall under renovation, with Webb Hall in the background. Photo by Stephanie White

In schools across the country, traditional education methods are evolving largely to collaborative and conversational classroom settings, where “students and faculty interact on a more personal and progressive level,” said Magida, who oversees a transformative revamp of campus buildings.

With the completion of Mack Hall and the current renovation projects on Webb and Dewey, Magida is hoping to do just that. In Magida’s view, the traditional classroom setting is “outdated,” restricting what a professor can do, and what techniques he or she can employ to help students learn and retain information.

“We want the classes to be very flexible,” Magida said. “We want to make it very easy for the faculty members to change things up.” To achieve this goal, Magida and his team have introduced a new era of teaching spaces known as the “smart classrooms.”
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We welcome readers to the first issue of the Norwich Guidon

Hello! My name is Sonja Jordan. I’m a senior communications major from Enterprise, Ala. I’ve worked on The Norwich Guidon staff for two and a half years as a copy editor, and this year I serve as the editor for the newspaper and website that serves the Norwich community.

A little bit of information about the paper: This is our 96th year in print, and The Guidon serves as the only student-run, student-edited and student-written publication at Norwich University.

However, The Guidon is not the first university newspaper. Norwich also had a publication in the mid-1800s called “The University Regulator,” which appeared to be run by the Regulators, an old secret society. Shortly after The Regulator began publication, “The University Owl” also began reporting. However, the difference between the two is that “The University Owl” stated to maintain a commitment to reporting on the news on campus and in town, while “The Regulator” appeared to focus on “corruption” befalling the school in the 1850s. The Guidon aims to fall in line with a statement from “The University Owl” many years ago: “Our business, as our name indicates, is to be everywhere, pry into everything, and know all that is going on.”

Our goals this year are to keep our readers (you, the faculty, alumni, and Northfield residents) informed on events and news on and off campus, as well as to tackle difficult subjects throughout the year. We will try our best to be accurate, timely, and fair in our reporting and editing. Most of all, we will be honest in the stories we publish.

If you have any tips or story ideas, please send them to sjordan1@stu.norwich.edu. Also check out our Instagram and Facebook pages – we’ll be posting a lot more photos that capture the campus and athletics this year.

Running Big in Honor of the 200th Year

For the first time in almost 200 years, Norwich University experienced a regimental run during rook week, planned by the commandant’s staff.

Norwich has a history of trying new ideas and techniques and adapting to the times with the Corps of Cadets. For example, the university recently restructured the corps to have upperclassmen live in rook barracks.

But the latest change came with a decision to try something new that had never been done before – and it was pulled off on very short notice.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. John de Nagy, a cadet mentor here at Norwich, was the staff member who was put in charge of making sure that the project was completed, and that the correct people got the correct information.

The idea for having the whole Corps run was spawned last summer. “The regimental run came on the schedule at some point during the summer planning,” said de Nagy. He was assigned as the point of communication for the project, and he reached out to the regimental master fitness trainer Cadet Capt. Jake Drew, a senior physical education major from Houlton, Maine, to begin planning this run.
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Internships lead to unusual jobs, challenges

Summer interns are usually tasked with errands and coffee orders, but one Norwich University senior accounting major was, “dealing with millions and millions of dollars every single day,” as part of his internship.

“I was overlooking multi-million-dollar invoices, allocating money to their appropriate accounts, building accounting packets and basically verifying that our company’s money was going to all the correct places,” said Brandon Beal, 21, a senior accounting major from Quincy, Mass.

Beal spent his summer working on the “accounts payable” team as an intern for Advent International, a global private equity firm, that has $40 billion dollars of investments in more than 300 companies world-wide.

As an intern, Beal was mostly responsible for confirming employee travel expenses, making sure that employees received reimbursements for expenses during business out of the office. When he wasn’t overlooking things in the expenses paid department, Beal was tasked with looking over multi-million-dollar invoices that were to be sent out to businesses world-wide.

Working in partnership with big accounting firms like Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Beal would give careful inspections of accounts that Advent International held with businesses all across the world and made sure that everything “added up” so that the money would be ready to be sent out.
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Dating downfalls: Yup, there are some

Michael Dziatko and Suraya Davis prove that Corps/Civvy relationships do exist. Picture by Andrew Thomas

If you talk to many students at Norwich University, you’ll often hear that it isn’t a great place for when it comes to the dating experience on campus.

Cadet Hayley Vance, 19, is a sophomore who is double majoring in mathematics and education and hails from Beacon, Ill. She says that it’s not hard to find guys who want to pursue girls, but it’s the guys staying around in a relationship that becomes the problem.

She calls that “a male issue,” pointing to the idea that since there is a higher percentage of males than females on campus, men make it a high priority to chase females.
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Enthusiasm grows for new Mack Hall building

Example image of Mack Hall created for proposal before the actual construction. Picture by Norwich University

“I really think that Mack represents an opportunity for Norwich to open up more to the outside world, to say to everyone, and most importantly the surrounding community, come in and see what we are doing”

Those words come from Jeff Casey, a Norwich University English professor and the director of theater, who is eagerly embracing the modern new theater/auditorium that is located inside Mack Hall.

He sees Mack Hall, just opened this fall, as making a significant statement, a view that finds agreement from others on campus as well.

The $24 million project that constructed 51,300 square- foot Mack Hall symbolizes opportunity, according to Casey. “We can bring the alumni and we can bring the community in, which is something that we are working on in the theater. We can bring all of these people together.”
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Sodexo tries out new feedback board in Wise

The food service at Norwich University run by Sodexo is reaching out to students to have them give feedback on their dining experience in every way they can.

If you’ve noticed the new feedback board in the Wise dining hall, that’s the latest effort by Sodexo staff to improve their performance through listening to students’ criticisms and suggestions.

The feedback board is located on the wall as students exit the dining hall to put their trays away, and students have been doing their part by putting comments, both good and bad, up on the board. The board is a recent innovation that replaces paper or sticky notes to write the comments on.

Norwich Sodexo head staff, composed of Amelia Heidenreich, Lisa Kennedy, or Dennis Gallant, are the ones in charge of responding to the comments left by students.

Based on the responses, it appears the feedback wall has benefited the overall experience in the NU dining hall.
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Study lounges solve housing crunch

Recently built Dalrymple Hall residence. Picture by Norwich University

The lounges in Dalrymple Hall and South Hall were designed as study spaces for civilian students, but for the third year in a row they are still being used to house up to as many as four students.

Still, three years of overflow housing in the lounges isn’t enough to convince Sean O’ Reilly, director of residential life and civilian housing, that Norwich needs to commit resources to expand living space for students.

O’Reilly said part of the space crunch may have to do with the fact off-campus housing is not “readily available,” suggesting the need for overflow housing isn’t driven primarily by incoming freshmen, but by returning upperclassmen who want to live on campus.

O’Reilly emphasized that he doesn’t believe that Norwich is admitting too many students to house because of the fact that there were still spaces available in quads and doubles. The only case when the director would worry about housing is if he still had a wait list.

O’Reilly has been able to house every student who wanted to live on campus, including students who completed their housing forms late and even “took care of new students who hadn’t completed their housing forms.”
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For longtime VP of students Frank Vanacek, Norwich character seen as defining trait

 

Vice President of Student Affairs Frank Vanecek has been at Norwich almost four decades, and has a strong sense of what defines the school.

As a boisterous laugh from outside his first-floor window peeled his eyes away from his computer screen, Frank Vanacek’s gaze rested on a group of students laughing in the warmth of the spring weather outside. Smiling to himself, the Vice President of Student Affairs turned back to his desk and let his mind wander to years past.

“I have taught at three other institutions other than Norwich University during my time working in higher education, and I will say that after my experiences at those other schools, I would choose Norwich over them every single time,” said Vanacek, who has been a higher education professional for almost four decades.

Vanacek doesn’t mean any offense to the other institutions that occupied his time, he simply says, they didn’t have what Norwich has. “Their students didn’t have that special character about them. They didn’t have the Norwich character,” said Vanacek. [Read more…]