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 In Magida’s view, the traditional classroom setting is “outdated,” restricting what a professor can do, and what techniques he or she can employ to help students learn and retain information.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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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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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…]

For Norwich seniors, it’s a look back at many memories, and a look ahead to the future

It’s like any other day for Angel Cruz, you wake up to get ready for school, making sure that you have all that you need. Yet those days were getting closer to an end for Cruz, a 21-year-old senior from Passaic, N.J.

With less than a week before graduation, “it’s an unreal feeling, knowing that my first 16 years of education are coming to an end, and I will be on my own for the first time,” Cruz said.

Like many Norwich students who are finishing their four years and about to join the class of 2018, Cruz was excited to discuss his future. And like his fellow seniors, who come from all backgrounds to Norwich to face challenges, gain leadership experience as well as to find new families, it is a time to look back as well.

“I recently bought my graduation tickets for my family to come see me, it’s exciting to know that they will be here to see me finish my time. They are very proud of me to see my accomplishments and how far I got,” Cruz said.
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Controversy surrounds the ring

Forty-three years ago, David Whaley received his Norwich University cadet ring in the mess hall, alongside the rest of the class of 1976.

“Receiving the ring was about being welcoming and forming a bond of a class,” said David Whaley, vice president of development, alumni relations and communications, Class of 1976, and a former NU Class Ring Advisor.

Throughout the years that Whaley has attended and worked at Norwich University, the requirements and the formality of the NU cadet class ring have changed.

“There was not a physical fitness test to pass, a certain number of credits or a number of semesters in the corps. We were much more open back then,” Whaley said.

The change in the process and increasing formalities have created an issue this year for two second-year cadets who are academic juniors and took a non-traditional route to the ring. Uproar over the approval caused the cadets to ask The Guidon not to use their names in this story.

“Two second-year cadets submitted a request for a waiver based on the fact that they were academic juniors but entered the corps in a non-traditional way,” said Col. Michael Titus, 55th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets.

Traditionally, Norwich University cadets enter the corps their freshmen year as a rook, where they receive training from upperclass cadets on what it means to be a cadet, until they get formally recognized as a cadet in the spring semester and then continue as cadets until their senior year. [Read more…]

Norwich hockey community mourns, comes together after Saskatchewan junior hockey team’s crash takes 16 lives

The bonds athletes make with their teammates are almost incomparable. For a junior league hockey player, they’re as tight as it gets: When you eat, sleep and breathe the sport of hockey with the same 20-odd guys every day and night for eight months out of the year, the brotherhood bond is inevitable.

Freshman Norwich ice hockey player Michael Korol can attest to this brotherhood, and feels especially blessed for the memories he has been given with his former junior league hockey team, the Humboldt Broncos. Now, he cherishes them a little extra following the deadly accident that occurred in Saskatchewan leading to heartbreak all over the country.

Sixteen junior league hockey members of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) woke up on Friday morning unaware of the fate that awaited them later that evening on April 6.

The Humboldt Broncos were on their way to game five of the SJHL playoffs last Friday evening when their bus suddenly was hit at an intersection by a semi-trailer on Highway 35 just miles north of Tisdale, Saskatchewan.

For Korol here in Northfield, the terrible accident hit home. [Read more…]

For foreign faculty, an adventurous path to NU

Years ago, two Norwich professors, despite coming from different countries, had a common dream. That dream is what brought them across the ocean, and made them settle in the United States.

“When I was young, I really wanted to go to Washington DC, study politics, and then go back to Korea and become a politician,” said Prof. Yangmo Ku, an assistant professor of political science. “As that time went by, that plan changed dramatically, and rather than go back I decided to stay here, study more, and eventually I became faculty.”

Alex Chung, an assistant professor of economics and finance from Taiwan, China, tells a similar story. He was just a young student when he made the same decision to undertake a study abroad experience in the USA.

“At the beginning I had no intention in staying here for a long time. I just wanted to get a master’s, work for a couple of years, and then go back to China,” Chung said. “In Taiwan you get more job possibilities if you studied in the United States, plus my entire family lived there.”

Among the faculty members at Norwich coming from different countries, many started as international students who then became permanent immigrants to the United States, thanks to study or work opportunities, according to Chung and Ku. [Read more…]