Academic Goals

It’s the start of the new semester, and consequently many students are thinking about the possibility of graduating from NOVA and transferring to BA programs across the state and region. One thing I like to get students to think about at this time of year is their academic goals because I find that many students really don’t have an academic goal!

Time and again, I hear students tell me that their goal is “to get my BA” … but hear me: “getting a degree” is NOT a goal. A degree is a step along the pathway to achieving a goal … but the goal is to do the thing you want to do, be the thing you want to be, when you finish school! A real goal is to be a teacher, or a doctor, or run your own business … these are examples of goals. A degree of itself is of no value if it is only being done TO do it.

So, to set an academic goal, I encourage students to think about their dreams, their interests, their desires: the thing that doing will give you joy and pleasure in life, something in which you can take pride for having lived well and good. Once you have identified this, then I encourage students to find the school that gives them the degree that allows them to START this dream, this job, this career. And students need to recall that a degree is not the end, it is the minimum qualification to begin doing the thing you want to do!

So, when you think about a goal, don’t think about a degree: think about what makes you happy and gives you joy… the goal of education should be to live a good life, nothing less than that is really worth the effort or the cost!

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End of the semester is here …

Exams are just around the corner and that means the end of the semester is upon us all. This is the craziest time of the academic year not only for students, but also for teachers and college staff as well!

That means, dear students, that if you are trying to get something done, or trying to see a professor, or use the writing center, or trying to get help from a librarian… or trying to talk to just about anyone in the college community… it means we are all running around like crazed lemmings! So, be sure to give yourself a little extra time to get things done, and be patient when working with college faculty and staff: as busy as you are trying to get your work done, so to are your teachers and staff members…

Spring registration is going on right now! So, if you have questions about a class or a graduation requirement, go see your ACADEMIC ADVISOR, the faculty member whose job it is to help you get through your academic requirements as quickly and efficiently as possible…

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Thanksgiving is over…

Just a reminder to all you NOVA droogs: it’s time to register for Spring semester! If you have a question about what class to take, what you need to do to transfer or graduate, or need a letter of recommendation … be sure to stop in to my office in CN 128! I’m always happy to help out!

And if you are thinking about registering for my totally bitchin’ and ungodly fun Eng 256: Survey of Science Fiction class … better do it soon: it’s filling fast! This year, I’m thinking we’ll add Ender’s Game to the reading list, just because the film was just released and I figure, why not?

Other books on the list this year are Frankenstein and War of the Worlds… plus a slew of totally cool and mind-blowing stories that you can’t believe were ever even imagined, must less actually written down and published!

Be sure to register BEFORE the Zombie Apocalypse because AFTER it starts, class is cancelled, and no Withdrawals allowed.

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English 114: Scientific Writing

In Spring 2014, I will be offering the new VCCS English course designed for science majors: English 114 Scientific Writing. This totally cool class is built to appeal to those students who would like to learn the writing styles and genres they will need as they pursue scientific careers. Students will read and write about a variety of scientific topics and for a variety of scientific purposes. I promise an interesting and useful semester!

If you are one of those science students who avoid English classes and don’t feel comfortable reading and writing about poetry and fiction, well this class is for you! Being a “good writer” in science is not that hard … and I will teach you how to do it. And one day in your future, you will be glad you took this class…

Here’s a couple of things I want to emphasize:

1. The online description of this course states that Bio 101 is a prerequisite. THIS IS AN ERROR IN THE ONLINE CATALOGUE! Any student who has completed English 111 (or equivalent) can take this class.

2. This is also a great class for those non-science majors who want to build a career as professional writers and editors, or who want to transfer to programs such as James Madison’s Professional Writing and Rhetoric degree.

3. Right now, English 114 satisfies the Composition II requirement for ALL NOVA and VCCS degree programs and certificates of study. However, the transfer of this course to four-year institutions is still being worked out (yes, academic bureaucracy at is best!). This class WILL transfer as a general elective, and I will assist all students in applying for an official waver to allow this class to satisfy the articulation agreements with four-year institutions in Virginia.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them here or shoot me an email or stop in my office!

Dr A

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Snorkel 2

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