Today, Sunday, August 31st, marks the beginning of a new and remarkable segment in the lives of DCAD's new incoming students. As I looked out onto 6th Street, I saw a group of students walking from the Saville Apartments to the main building, and what was so striking was that they were obviously new students, as illustrated by the way they marched up the street to the crosswalk and made the 90 degree turn to cross the street. Once they become more comfortable in their surroundings they will likely cut some of those angles down to more of a curve, one would imagine, but to see them today and see their willingness to follow instructions (and pedestrian laws) was to see their naiveté. Very touching.
The day was divided by hot dogs, many hot dogs - Johnny's - in the park across the street that provided a brief respite from the swirl of activities surrounding the students' real first day at DCAD (the move-in day, Saturday doesn't count; too much like work and Monday, September 1st classes commence) and another opportunity to meet their classmates and some of their faculty. While most tried to look "cool" and as if nothing fazed them, underneath, there might have been more than a few nervous stomaches, to digest both the hot dogs and the new life on which they have embarked.
The faculty also appeared in full force today at the all-faculty meeting called by Dean Catherine Drabkin for the late afternoon in preparation for the new academic year. Welcoming back colleagues and introducing new ones made for much of the "new business" in the agenda. Catherine has worked very hard in preparation of the upcoming year and has shared her results and plans with the faculty. There will be a visit by representatives of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in November to monitor DCAD's progress since the last accreditation visit. Catherine and Traci (Parman) have been spending many hours in research to address the nature of Middle States' visit and to work on the report that's due by October 1st. Lots-o'-work and not much fun, to be sure, but gratifying to see the actual developments in data gathering, assessment, planning, and implementation that's happened in two short years. Kudos to both!
As this year officially opens, DCAD is poised to exceed all expectations. Now, we just have to do it.