Editorial by Mary Catherine Schoals
As a student here at Brookhaven College, I always have been (and continue to be) amazed by the "hidden gems" that exist on campus, in the form of instructors, coordinators, resources, and support for success. Thom Chesney pointed out recently that Brookhaven College remains "Dallas' best kept secret", and I couldn't agree more. Who knew that the majority of our students in specialized programs land jobs before even graduating? Why is that not our college slogan?!
Wanting to highlight these individuals whose efforts I was aware of at the time, I pitched a mini-series to The Chatter in the winter of 2012, with a maximum of three to four issues planned. My genius assumption was that I could easily encompass all that needed to be said in a few months.
Around ten months later, I am finally wrapping up what turned out to be an extensive look into every academic division on campus. Emails, phones calls, and personal visits came pouring in from all over in response to "Who goes above and beyond for students at Brookhaven?" It must have been the look of desperation on my face, or the tears of a lost boy, because next thing I knew the lovely folks here at The Chatter were refining and defining this new monster. The former question changed to "efforts made by academic divisions that go beyond curriculum requirements to ensure student success in their careers, not just their classes" and the three part series was expanded into ten parts named the "Student Value Series".
Now armed with a pen (they say it is mightier than the sword nowadays!) and a detailed plan of execution, I ventured out on interviews and photo shoots, like a regular P.I. Meeting so many employees, and getting an inside look into all the roles they assume, really tried my mediocre writing skills. I found the online thesaurus becoming my most-visited site, to the extent where ads for English classes began appearing in my spam mail.
Even though I found out about the official Brookhaven College values campaign a few months before All-College Day 2013, the list and definitions seemed familiar. While talking to the divisions for the Student Value Series, almost everyone had their version of the mantra "Brookhaven is more than a junior college; through excellence and service, Brookhaven is a leader of its community." When the list of values was placed on my desk, I realized they outlined the pattern I was seeing in the series. Everything I was struggling to put into words for months was suddenly plopped down in front of me, in the form of five nouns. Service by giving back to the community, learning through instruction, diversity in our campus culture, integrity in our practices, and excellence in every decision enacted truly is the sum of Brookhaven College. They say (the ominous "they"), not to see the forest for the trees. However, everyone forgets that the forest actually IS made up of the trees, and its efficiency is dependent on the ability of the trees to "work" as a forest. Brookhaven IS made up of divisions, and offices, and teams, but the success it brings to the community is result of the (until recently) unspoken values practiced by all.
To be given the opportunity, the chance, to see Brookhaven College through the eyes of so many employees was an immense honor. Talking to deans, staff and faculty that give more than they have for their students was inspiring, and a privilege not many receive. As a student, I want to thank the employees for their superhuman efforts, for choosing to work in the primary stages of higher education. These first years are brutal and hard to muddle through. Having assistance from amazing people who, from personal experience understand the stress of juggling work and study, makes it easier to get up every morning to head to class. Especially when your instructors are working professionals in their field, or bring in guests who are. What student doesn't want every possible internship opportunity from their school? Who wouldn't want lab and gallery coordinators dedicated to individual student success, instead of ones motivated by community recognition? Brookhaven College is, without a doubt, Dallas' best kept secret. As Dallas continues expanding and the demand for a qualified, trained workforce increases, the community will look to institutions like Brookhaven to lead, to prepare, and to provide. As an employee, I thank all those who I have met with over the past ten months, for sharing the cheers and tears of working in education. I have never been so proud to be in a position to promote the exertions of so many outstanding characters. Thank you for your patience, your stories, and your service.
See y'all around campus,
Your crazy-cool Marketing and Creative Services team