Albertus Alumni Activities

Top of Alumni PageSpring semester heralds much excitement on campus. For senior students, it’s their last semester on campus, a very bittersweet experience for many of them. Conversely, freshmen return comfortable and excited “knowing the ropes.” For us, in the Alumni Office, the anticipation of Commencement and the official addition of new members to the Alumni Association create a buzz of activity. But, we are most looking forward to welcoming our milestone alumni back to campus in June for Reunion, which will celebrate graduates whose class years ending in 4 and 9. The Class of 1964 will be inducted into the Golden IMG_9383Society and honored for their accomplishments and commitment to the College for 50 years. Members of the Student Alumni Association volunteer at Reunion each year, and they, too, recognize how special the activities are. At Reunion 2013, one student commented on the Golden Society induction:

“As all the names were called, I thought to myself that the grandchildren and children of these wonderful women should be extremely proud. Can you imagine? 50 years as a college grad and not just any college, but Albertus Magnus College. It made me really think about the mark I intend to leave on this College when I graduate in two years and how I am going to represent Albertus in the years after that. I teared up a little during “Alma Mater” as it was led by choir director Arthur Bellucci.  We, as present day students of Albertus Magnus College, were connecting with the faces of our futures. One day we will replace this 50th anniversary class and those students will be looking up to us and so on. It is a legacy that can never die and with another 50 years of Albertus alumni, our Alma Mater will reign forever.”

2013_Student_Alumni_Association_IMG_9040Student Alumni Association

What an amazing tribute to the alumni of this College. We relish the opportunity to invite you back to campus to see what the College has become, to enjoy the company of your friends, but also to see the legacy that you have bestowed upon our current students and future fellow alumni. We know that Reunion is a wonderful celebration for you and your classmates, to laugh and cry and remember the times you shared in the historic mansions and classrooms that made Albertus home to you.

Because we know what an important milestone a Reunion is for each of you, our office works diligently to put together an enjoyable day for everyone. Reunion 2014 is going to feel slightly different from previous reunions with a revised schedule to better accommodate you and the time that you are able to spend with one another.

Reunion is Saturday, June 14. The day will begin at 10 a.m. with the traditional Reunion Liturgy with special intentions for deceased classmates. Following the liturgy will be a luncheon featuring the President’s Address, Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association, presentation of the Alumni of the Year Awards, and Golden Society Induction Ceremony with champagne toast honoring the class of 1964. In the afternoon, we have several enrichment sessions for you to choose from, including book readings and signings from alumni authors Bette Isacoff ’68, ’13 and Suzanne Palmieri ’95; a faculty panel; and beer and cheese tasting by cheese expert and owner of New Haven’s Caseus, Jason Sobocinski. The day will end at an all-classes cocktail soirée, celebrating all alumni.

A full Reunion schedule will be available in the weeks ahead. It is our sincere hope that you are as anxious to return to campus as we are to greet you and share a wonderful day together.

Visit our website for more Reunion information.

Cultivating Exemplary Leadership (Part 5): What do Leaders do?

The past six months of blogs have predominantly focused on my views of exemplary leadership.  I’ve written about passion, respect, modeling the way, using gestures, and the like as ways that we can all build our leadership toolkit and act as leaders in our lives.  In today’s post we will veer away from my views on leadership and focus on some very important leadership characteristics that aren’t always at the forefront of our mind, characteristics that workshop and classroom participants have discovered.

In the video clip accompanying my November post we saw how workshop participants identified leadership traits and discussed how they are utilized by leaders in their lives.   In today’s clip you will see how when we use a creative exercise, we identify even more leadership characteristics and behaviors then we did initially.

In the Business Card Exercise, an exercise I have adapted and used over the years, participants are asked to name an inanimate object, not a person or place, but a thing, and write this thing on the back of a business card.  They are then asked to pair up with a colleague, switch cards, and describe to their counterpart how what the other person wrote relates to leadership.  These instructions often cause some apprehension as well as a few snickers, but what comes next is always exciting and insightful as participants spend a few minutes thinking about how their items can represent leaders in some ways. A few of the more common objects people write about and discuss include a chair, a tree, and a car.  There are also some interesting ones which are used (a stiletto heel is one of my favorites), and at the end of the exercise we all discuss how the items relate to leadership and enjoy some great insights.

Before I give you a few examples of how the above items relate to leadership, I will give you a minute to think about this for yourself.  How do these items relate to leadership?  Before reading forward, please do think, see what you can come up with, and share with me via email or by replying to this blog.

So, how do a tree, a car, or a chair relate to leadership?

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A tree:  Well, a tree gives shade, thus offering protection to people from the elements and a leader must protect his or her people from the elements within the organization or outside of it.  A tree has firm roots (values) but can sway a bit with the wind; leaders need to stay true to their values but can sway a bit on execution of ideas based on ideas of their people.  Finally, a tree offers oxygen and sometimes fruit, offering those things to people for survival; a leader offers insights, thus helping their people to excel and grow.

A chair:  A chair offers support for people, just as a leader must do.  A chair can sometimes be wobbly and need something to help it function properly.  Leadership is not about a single person, a leader without a team can sometimes fall.

A car: What does a car do?  Well, it takes you from point A to point B….you get the idea!

These are just a few ways the above items relate to leadership, there are many more for these items and many more items to think about and relate to leadership.  I gave you a start, now look around the room, pick an item and think about how it relates to leadership; I bet it will be something that you didn’t originally think of when posed with the question to name characteristics of leaders!  If you come up with a characteristic of leadership relating to an item, I’d love to hear about it.  Please respond to this post or email me…I look forward to hearing from you!

Oh, since you asked, how does a stiletto heel relate to leadership, well, sometimes leaders have to put their foot down and say this is just the way it is (this isn’t often a good tactic, but sometimes we all need to remember that leaders are in their position for a reason and we need to have some trust…this is another blog post!).

Thanks for reading along and for allowing me to offer some more leadership tips to add to your ever-growing toolkit!

HF

Howard C. Fero, Ph.D.
The Leadership Doc
Director, Graduate Leadership Programs
Associate Professor of Business and Leadership
Albertus Magnus College

untitled2Dr. Howard Fero, is an Associate Professor of Business and Leadership and the Director of Graduate Leadership programs at Albertus Magnus College. When not teaching classes and overseeing the Leadership programs at Albertus Dr. Fero uses his expertise to help individuals and organizations achieve optimal performance and effectiveness as The Leadership Doc. Dr. Fero will be blogging about different leadership topics throughout the year and speaks about these topics in his classes in the Master of Arts in Leadership and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership Programs. He welcomes your comments and looks forward to communicating with you in our exciting new blog.

 

The Dominican Perspective on Education

Albertus has had a tradition of preparing its liberal arts undergraduates for teaching careers from its founding in 1925 by the Dominican Sisters of Peace (then known as Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs). For various and good reasons this tradition was interrupted for about twelve years until 2003 when, as a newly appointed director of the Education Programs Department, I was charged with leading the process for gaining approval of the CT Department of Education for a program in teacher preparation. The first thing I did in my new position was draft a Conceptual Framework, a document that continues to guide us in maintaining and updating existing approved programs and in proposing new programs, such as the early childhood teacher preparation program at the undergraduate level, currently planned for implementation within a year.

DSCN9043Conceptual Frameworks are documents that identify the unique characteristics of any educator preparation unit, so as I began to craft our CF, I went back to our Dominican roots as an institution. Our Dominican tradition at Albertus provides a perfect framework for those of us who teach or aspire to teach. Think of the Four Pillars of Dominican Life:  prayer, study, community, and ministry. Certainly, anyone who anticipates teaching needs to study broadly and purposefully. No matter what level of teaching-early childhood through higher education- the teacher needs to love to learn and to learn as much as possible in all disciplines, and to master the content one anticipates teaching. For those of us who teach from the Dominican tradition, prayer provides the spiritual dimension of what it means to teach. We pray for guidance to love our students and to bring them to lives of fulfillment.  When we embrace our students as the unique human beings they are, from diverse cultures and levels of learning readiness, we form community with them and their families, to say nothing of the community we form with our colleagues and administrators who join with us to do the best for our students. For all teachers, and particularly for all teachers who complete their preparation at Albertus Magnus College, teaching is a ministry, a commitment to lead our students to lives of fulfillment.

_U7C6401Inherent in our Conceptual Framework for Education Programs at Albertus Magnus College is our tradition of honor. As a graduate of Albertus Magnus College, myself, I lived under the tradition of honor during my undergraduate experience. Then, I took that tradition with me to all my classes during the years I taught secondary English in both urban and suburban schools, and later to the students and teachers at the pre-K-8 school where I served as principal. This tradition, part of the Dominican heritage passed on to me at Albertus, became the basis for my formation of classrooms, communities if you will, of mutual respect between me and the students and colleagues with whom I engaged. For me, and I hope for all our teacher candidates, this mutual respect for each other and for an environment of integrity is critical if real learning and growth as human beings are to take place.

Finally, each time I read the Dominican motto inscribed on the walls surrounding the atrium of Tagliatela Academic Center at Albertus, …Contemplata aliis tradere, I think how fitting these words are for all teachers, and particularly for those of us educated in the Dominican tradition. The complete motto reads Contemplari et contemplata aliis tradere, To contemplate and to share the fruits of our contemplation.  As teachers we must study diligently, teach passionately, and reflect on our study and how we carry out our instruction. Then, we share the results of our study and our reflection with our students and with our colleagues and the entire learning communities where we teach. This is how we get at Truth, in all its dimensions. This is how, as teachers, we live out the Dominican tradition.

joan-vendittoJoan Venditto, Albertus Magnus College, ’63, is Associate Professor of Education and Director of Education Programs. In this position, she oversees the implementation of the College’s strategic initiatives for education at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Currently, these programs include teacher preparation programs leading to initial teacher certification for middle and secondary school classroom instruction, as well as a graduate level alternative route preparation program for reading specialists, and a Master of Science in Education program.

Dr. Venditto received the Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College and the degree of Doctor of Arts in English from Carnegie Mellon University.  She also received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at Yale University.

For many years, Dr. Venditto served as department coordinator of English at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Connecticut, where she supervised and evaluated performance of members of the English department and was involved in the redesign of the curriculum and in assessment programs.  She was principal of Our Lady of Mercy School, also in Madison, where she initiated a middle school program within the preK-8 structure, initiated strategic planning, and led the school through the continuing accreditation process of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  Dr. Venditto served as a consultant of Hope Academy of Milford where she worked with the administration and faculty as the school charted a plan to seek formal approval from the Connecticut Department of Education as a school for special needs students.

An alumna of Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Dr. Venditto at one time served as the school’s Alumnae Director. Previous to her current appointment at Albertus, Dr. Venditto served as an adjunct faculty member of Albertus Magnus College, Southern Connecticut State University, and the University of Connecticut in its cooperative education program for secondary school students.