All posts by Dr. Dave Davies

Dr. Dave Davies

Active-learning trip to Washington, D.C.

Professor Stanley Hauer and his ENG203 class just returned from a class trip to Washington, D.C., where he and his students visited the Folger Shakespeare Library to follow through on a semester of study devoted to the Bard of Avon. My colleague Stacey Ready, coordinator of General Honors, accompanied the class on the trip, and from all accounts it was full of both learning and fun. Blake Houston, a communication studies and Spanish double major from Laurel, was kind enough to pop by the office with a thumb drive full of pictures to give me some details of the trip.

The D.C. trip is just one of our many active-learning classes. About half of our freshman/sophomore classes travel as part of the coursework. The intention is to give students hands-on experiences in a way that drive home the course material. Our art and theatre classes travel to New York, our religion class goes to San Francisco, and our psychology class visits Key West, Fla., to study dolphin psychology. Other active-learning classes stay closer to home. Whether visiting places near or far, students in these classes tell us they’re incredibly effective.

Dr. Dave Davies

Faces of HoCo: Brittany Poelma

Today’s “Faces of HoCo” featured student is senior Brittany Poelma, a senior psychology student from Biloxi, whose plans for next semester are so exciting I asked her to write a summary for you:

In the spring of my freshman year, I took part in an Honors active learning trip that brought us to Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida. At the time, I was pursuing a dance major with the hopes of going into dance/movement therapy. However, when the trainers would ask if any of us wanted to work with marine mammals I kept finding myself wanting to say “I do!” That trip awakened in me a desire to go into marine mammal care and training. It was not until my junior year that I switched into the psychology program after immersing myself in the world of marine mammals to make sure I wasn’t just in love with the glamorous side of working with dolphins. Pursuing what I felt was the career meant for me was a giant change that I was able to make with Dr. Stan Kuczaj, my Honors adviser and teacher for that original active learning trip. Last March, I spent my spring break in Honduras where I was able to work with the dolphins that I am currently writing about in my Honors thesis. For my final semester of college, I will be returning to Dolphins Plus as a Marine Mammal Care and Training intern to begin my professional journey. While there, I will be learning basic care skills related to dolphins and sea lions and will learn the foundation of animal training. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without the Honors College.

Wow, Brittany. The Honors College does its best to give students many opportunities, but it’s to your credit that you took them to their full advantage to fulfill your dreams.

Dr. Dave Davies

Presentation time

The Honor House is buzzing this week with end-of-the-semester activity. Students are in and out of the office on their way to the library, to work on projects, and to meet professors. And this seems to be the week when all across campus Honors students are making presentations in class that sum up a semester’s worth of work.

This morning I happened by our honors conference room, where students were assembling for the start of Dr. Tammy Barry’s HON301 class. In 301 our students prepare a detailed research proposal — also called a prospectus — that outlines the work they plan to do on their Senior Thesis. The thesis is a two-semester research project in the students’ major that both sharpens knowledge in their discipline and also hones their skills in research and writing, giving students practice in the very skills they’ll need to succeed in graduate school on down the line.

To give you a sense of the kinds of research our students are doing, I convinced one student — junior Mohamed Ismail — to give me a brief overview of his project. I thought I was putting him on the spot; instead, he thanked me for giving him practice at summarizing his research! You’ve got to love the HoCo kids…

Dr. Dave Davies

Faces of HoCo: Meet Anna Rikki Nelson

For today’s Faces of HoCo feature,  Honors College senior Anna Rikki Nelson of Hazlehurst talks about her exciting plans for study abroad during her last semester before graduation. (I certainly wish my undergraduate days had offered this much excitement!)

Dr. Dave Davies

London calling

Senior public relations major Keenon Walker, Professor Maggie Williams, and sophomore PR/English major Mercedes Livingston mug for the camera at today’s noontime session.

I spent the noon hour today taking part in an information session for students interested in our British Studies Program, specifically the Introduction to British Journalism course that my colleague Maggie Williams and I teach in the School of Mass Communication & Journalism.The course runs the month of July in London.

We strongly encourage our Honors College students to study abroad during their time at Southern Miss. Many of our HoCo students take part in British Studies, and I’m hoping 2013 will be a banner year for study abroad. (We had 20 or so HoCo students take part in the British Studies Program in the summer of 2012.) Southern Miss has a wide range of international studies programs, representing virtually every continent around the globe.

In the short video below, Williams and PR major Kennon Walker talk about today’s program. The second video is a short minidocumentary — and a first-rate one at that — that Keenon put together describing the BSP experience.