Character Day 2016


Last week we held an event in partnership with the Leadership Honors Program and the McNair Scholars Program known as Character Day.  Character Day is a global initiative celebrated all around the world with the goal of helping people with character development.

Character Day at UT Arlington was 1 of 90,000 events in 124 countries.

The Maverick Transfer Connection scheduled Character Strength Sessions throughout the day with featured speakers from the McNair Scholars Program, School of Social Work, College of Education, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Leadership Honors Program.  These speakers discussed how they have developed their own character strengths and the importance of character in our every day lives.

The schedule went a little something like this…

9:30AM: Bravery and Curiosity with Natalie Stephens, McNair Scholars Program

Natalie Stephens on Character Day
Natalie Stephens from the McNair Scholars Program discussed the character strengths of Bravery and Curiosity. Students and staff enjoyed an online quiz on

10:30AM: Hope and Perspective with Dr. Diane Mitschke, School of Social Work.

Dr. Diane Mitschke, a Professor in the School of Social Work, discusses the character strengths of Hope and Perspective. Dr. Mitschke included her experiences working with refugees.
Dr. Diane Mitschke, a Professor in the School of Social Work, discusses the character strengths of Hope and Perspective. Dr. Mitschke included her experiences working with refugees.

11:30AM: Love of Learning with Dr. Peggy Semingson, College of Education

Dr. Peggy Semingson, a Professor in the College of Education, discussed the character strength of the Love of Learning. She provided some great quotes about learning and life.
Dr. Peggy Semingson, a Professor in the College of Education, discussed the character strength of the Love of Learning. She provided some great quotes about learning and life.

12:30 make that 1:00PM (slight room scheduling glitch): Film Screenings

The day also featured the screening of a couple of short films: The Science of Character and The Adaptable Mind.  These films focus on how character strengths can be developed and how character is important to moving forward in our technological age.

Take a few minutes to watch The Science of Character if you missed the screening.

Both films along with others are available for viewing online at

Discussion materials from film screening of The Science of Character.
Discussion materials from the film screening of The Science of Character, a short film by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain.

3:30PM: Gratitude and Fairness with Dr. Becky Garner, College of Nursing and Health Innovation

Dr. Becky Garner on Character Day
Dr. Becky Garner discusses the character strengths of gratitude and fairness. Dr. Garner also included some great tips for working on “bounce back ability” and resilience.

4:30PM: Leadership with Tanya Garcia, Leadership Honors Program

The Leadership Honors Program concluded Character Day with the last Character Strength Session. The speaker, Tanya Garcia, is a student and discussed how her experiences have led her to develop the important character strength of Leadership.  She also discussed how students can get involved in the Leadership Honors Program.

Tanya Garcia, a Theatre Arts Major and active participant within the Leadership Honors Program, discusses the Leadership Honors Program and how she fell in love with leadership.
Tanya Garcia, a Theatre Arts Major and active participant within the Leadership Honors Program, discusses the Leadership Honors Program and how she fell in love with leadership.

Overall, the day was awesome!  The sessions were well attended and people enjoyed themselves.  I’m already looking forward to next year!

If you’re interested in learning more about your personal character strengths visit the VIA Institute of Character website and take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths for FREE!


Registering for classes

Well it is that time of year again.  Time to plan ahead for next year and register for those classes.  In this blog, I will give you a couple of tips that will help you with registering for classes; so you can get the classes, professors, and the times that you want.

My first and most important piece of advice is to Register early.  As an award winning procrastinator myself (I pick up my award tomorrow) I have learned to follow this advice after a couple of scary moments.  One example of a scary moment is when I waited to register for classes in May (after finals) for the fall semester.  There were a lot of  classes and professors that  I wanted to take, but was not able to because the classes were all filled.  It is a frustrating feeling, trying to register classes but finding all of them full.  Now that semester I was able to get a full time load of classes, but if I had more progress into my degree plan that would probably not be the case.  This incident made me realize I needed to register early.  Now a days I make sure to check the registration schedule and register as early as possible (but I am not one of those people who wait until midnight to register…I need my sleep).

How I felt my first time on MyMav.









My second piece of advice is to understand how MyMav works.  Now I know this sounds condescending, but it is important. I know the second time I ever used MyMav, I got confused and forgot how to use it.  I mean we only use it twice a year, its understandable to forgot some of the steps.  Well have no fear, we have some resources that can help you navigate MyMav.  Click on MyMav Registration Instructions and Schedule Planner Instructions. Or check the video on our blog for step by step help.

My last piece of advice is to look around campus for electives.  This time of year there are a lot flyers posted around campus that advertise an elective you can take.  Some of them will spark your interest and you can find a fun way to fulfill your electives.

Well that’s all I got for you.  Now go and register!!!

Online Communication Etiquette

As an online student, I communicate with professors via email 90% of the time. The other 10% is through discussion boards and webinars for class. Communication for online courses is a bit different from face-to-face courses, but email is still what students and professors are using to communicate most of the time. I have seen a statement about communication etiquette in just about every syllabus this semester. But what is communication etiquette? And why do we need to use it when interacting with professors?

A students works on a computer in the Central Library.
Courtesy of

Professors are professionals, and could be potential employers. Professors could be the door to your big career break. Maintaining a professional attitude as a student will let your professor know that you intend to be a professional in the work world.

Look at the following statements and decide for yourself which one is easier to understand, sounds most professional, and looks best:

“Was absent Tuesday. Missed test. Free to retake it on Friday. Thx.”

“Hello Professor. Due to a car accident, I was unable to make it to CRCJ 4333 – section 002 on Tuesday at 8am. I understand that I missed a test and that you have retake policies. As stated in the syllabus, I am allowed one retake before the week ends. I am available Friday after my 1pm class. Please let me know a time that we can meet to further discuss this issue. Best, Student name.”

Although the 2nd one seems a little longer, it shows that you CARE and have respect for the professor.

Student uses a laptop near the University Center.

Some general rules for communicating with your professor…

  1. Never use slang or text language. Sure you may be sending that email from your phone, but using “u” instead of “you” is unacceptable. I actually had a professor use “u” in an email to me. It made me think a little less of their professionalism. I will discuss this incident more in a later blog post! Stay tuned!
  1. Always say the course number, section number, and time of the class in the email. Some professors prefer that you put the course number and section number in the subject of the email. I’ve noticed that this usually results in a quicker reply. Remember that professors have hundreds of students and sometimes teach up to 7 courses.
  1. Include your student ID number. There are probably several students named “Taylor Smith” in the student directory. Even if you think you have a unique name, the student directory still has some alumni from years ago. If the professor can locate you with your student ID, it makes it more efficient for them to help you with your issue, especially if it is concerning a grade.
  1. If it takes you more than 2 paragraphs to discuss your issue in email, make an appointment. Most professors are more than happy to help you with anything during office hours. If the issue takes a while to explain, it is probably best said, and taken care of, in person.
  1. NEVER send any emails on the following subjects:
  •       “Can I have extra credit?” (Unless the syllabus says you can email for extra credit.)
  •       “Can I turn in an assignment late?” (Unless you have a LEGIT, REAL reason to do so.)
  •       “What did I miss in class today?”
  •       “What is due this week?” (It’s on the syllabus.)
  •       “When is the test?” (It’s on the syllabus.)

I hope that some of these tips help you!






Pros and Cons of Online Classes

So, you’re considering online classes… but you’re still unsure about it. I became a strictly online student this semester, but I’ve been taking online classes for about 2 years now. I will share with you some of the pros and cons of taking online classes.

Photo courtesy of

Let’s start with the pros.

  1. Flexible schedule. You can do school whenever you want, wherever you want! Some professors require online meetings, or will set time frames for when work is due, but you can generally create your own schedule.
  1. Work at your own pace… sometimes. Some professors give you all of the work up front and allow you to finish ahead of time. Some professors only release assignments a few weeks before they are due. It depends on who you have as a professor, but I really appreciate the ones that allow working ahead!
  1. If you enjoy reading, you’ll love online classes. Most are very reading intensive since the lecture component is cut out of online class. I enjoy this, but it isn’t for everyone.
  1. It’s easier to work. If you have a part time job, you will no longer have to worry about planning your hours around class time. You can now plan school around work, which is really great! It may even allow you to work a few extra hours.
Photo courtesy of

Sounds great, right? Here are some cons.

  1. You may forget to do classwork. A friend of mine was taking online classes and totally forgot about one of his classes, causing him to fail it. The key to preventing this is making a to do list. The fact that you aren’t in a face-to-face class everyday makes it easy to forget what you actually need to do for class. I keep a journal that is strictly for class to-dos.
  1. The Internet sometimes sucks. ALL classes require an Internet connection. As I’m sure you know, the Internet is more unpredictable than the Texas weather. I’ve been in the middle of a test before and had the Internet cut out. I had to retake the test, which wasn’t fun.
  1. It’s harder to meet potential coworkers and colleagues. Many of the people I met in my in-person classes are people I know I will see in the field throughout my career. Although professors try to replicate this through online discussion boards, web meetings, and email, it’s impossible to completely simulate the face-to-face meetings. This only means that networking is going to be harder, which doesn’t hurt every career, but may be crucial to some.
  1. You may actually have more work. One of my classes requires weekly discussion board postings. These really add to my workload. But some of my classes only require 3 tests for the entire semester. Again, it depends on what kind of professor you have. It’s kind of luck and chance taking an online course.

The best way to decide if online classes are for you is to make a list of the pros and cons you think that you would encounter. I started by only taking one online class per semester. That way, if I decided it wasn’t for me, I didn’t have to take another online class the next semester.

Good luck!