Commuter and Non-Traditional Student Programs (CNTSP) and the Nontraditional Students Association (NSA) recognize UMaine faculty or staff members who show sensitivity to the diverse learning styles, experiences, and multifaceted lives of non-traditional undergraduate students. Faculty or staff members are nominated because they interact positively with non-traditional students and support and enrich the student experience. Nomination letters are solicited in late March or early April each year and include examples of interactions, teaching, or program design that reflect the nominee’s understanding of and helpful response to the needs of non-traditional undergraduate students.
In 2010, we recognized Gus Burkett, Farahad Dastoor, Barbara Howard, and Brad Libby. Recognition was announed by Kat O’Connell, President of the NSA and presented by Dr. Dean Dana, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs and Barbara Smith, Staff Associate for Commuter and Non-Traditional Student Programs.
Gus is the Director of Campus Activities and Student Engagement. It is only because of Gus’s common sense advice that the Nontraditional Students Association exists today. He has also been most helpful in our efforts over the past three years to bring family friendly activities to the Union. We especially appreciate his recognition of the scheduling challenges of non-traditional students when organizing the “Build A Bear” program during Stress Free Finals week last December.
Dr. Farahad Dastoor has made an effort this past year to create positive learning experiences for non-traditional students. Dr. Dastoor teaches the large BIO 100 and 200 classes. He created a voluntary survey for his spring BIO 200 class and the results showed that 17% of his class considered themselves non-traditional students. Dr. Dastoor has made an extra effort to learn about the needs and concerns of non-traditional students so he can adjust his course teaching, if necessary. He became involved in the Non-Traditional Student Programs Advisory Committee and his presence at a What’s On Wednesday event in the Commuter Lounge let non-traditional students know that professors really care about their issues.
Barbara Howard is Director of the Bachelor of University Studies program, academic advisor, and adjunct faculty for the College of Education and Human Development. Barbara goes above and beyond to accommodate the schedules of her students who are not regularly on campus. She visits the Hutchinson Center in Belfast one day a week, reaching students in the Belfast, Camden, and Rockland areas. She teaches online classes and communicates using whatever technologies allow her to reach her students, be it phone, e-mail, or video conferencing. She is a strong advocate for the non-traditional students we rarely see on campus.
Brad Libby is the Manager of the Horticultural Facilities on campus. Brad supervises a crew of workstudy students year-round and sometimes teaches horticultural classes. He appreciates the life experience that non-traditional students bring to the classroom or job, while understanding the responsibilities these students have at home. One single mother told me he was the best boss she’d had and she appreciated his consideration of those situations that inevitably arise when trying to get a young child off to school or dealing with a babysitter. Brad creates an atmosphere in which people of any age can feel part of the workspace and he recognizes everyone as an individual, so non-traditional students can be appreciated for their unique perspective as part of the group without feeling different from the group.
2009 was the first year we formally recognized faculty and staff for their assistance to non-traditional students. They are pictured above from left to right and holding the plaques: Sandra Caron, Kathy Ingraham, and Ginger Hwalek.
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