Saturday, February 8, 2014

SAGGA – An epic contribution to Geography & Anthropology

Inaugural SAGGA members Hannah, Nathan, & Joey.
We will get a picture of Corrin later.
When I think of all the problems I have encountered here at the university, those times when tensions or conflicts have emerged, a "lack of communication" always seems to be implicated.  In contrast, when communication takes place, when faculty and staff or departments or administrators communicate, not only are problems avoided, they are solved. Relationships are enhanced, opportunities are identified, widely beneficial progress and great outcomes follow. We say yay!

With that in mind, I am very thankful for the enthusiasm and commitment with which our geography majors Hannah Bristol (Sr.), Joey Quintana (Sr.), Nathan Schaffer (Jr.), and Corrin Turkowitch (Sr.) have grown the Student Advisory Group for Geography and Anthropology (SAGGA).  Last summer, they were invited to consider serving on a newly formed student group that would advise the chair of the department and serve as a conduit of information between the faculty and students.  Similar to how the chair represents the faculty of the department, SAGGA represents our departments majors and minors.  As student leaders and representatives, they have been an invaluable source of ideas and feedback.  I like to think that this helps empower our students highlights their sense of responsibility.  If their willingness to critique me and hold me accountable for what I say and do is any indication, we may be accomplishing this.  But one would have to ask them.

Since the start of the school year, SAGGA and I manage to meet every 2-3 weeks to discuss student concerns, departmental issues, news and developments of interest to all of us, and, importantly, create a meaningful opening for growth and improvement.  Most recently, we have been planning an All Majors Geography and Anthropology Summit at the end of the month (February 27, Davies Center) to bring students and faculty together as a way of expanding the ambit of communication.  More on the summit later.

For now, we need to start preparing for a transition of SAGGA membership.  Three members are graduating this spring (Congratulations to you three, by the way -- you seem to be remaining on task very well), so we will need to identify leaders for next year. This will be our first transition, so I am not clear how it will go, but I would like to start receiving nominees.  

We are very fortunate to have students like those on SAGGA.  Thank you, Corrin, Hannah, Joey, and Nathan, for your contributions and conscientious work.

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