It’s that time of year—when our new students who moved to Indiana from southern parts of the country are shocked by the “cold” weather here. I say cold because we saw 62 degrees at the end of September, and those of us in the know are very aware that THIS IS NOT COLD. For the rest of us, it’s the opportunity to break out sweaters and long pants and start thinking of new soup recipes to sustain us through the season.
It is also time to finish out hurricane season. Hurricane Ian recently dumped an astonishing amount of water on Florida, creating ruins that they will be dealing with for years to come. There are so many aspects of our applied and research work that are relevant here: comforting survivors and their families over the massive property loss; scores of lives lost (humans and pets); helping people manage the various changes in their lives as a result (changes in living circumstances and/or financial circumstances, for example); and the implications for a state loaded with retirees and tourists. First responders are also heavily affected by this work, both those locally and those coming from across the country to assist. If you want to do attitudes research, or study group behavior, there is so much to focus on here (and social justice issues will be debated for some time to come).
In slightly more local news, Ball State and Muncie continue to undergo changes in the next stage of the COVID era (I can’t rightly say post-COVID era because we are still IN that COVID period). Like other parts of the country, many businesses, including BSU are struggling to find employees. Our student body has fluctuated in size, but it appears that our undergraduate population is growing. Our own graduate numbers are holding fairly steady, though, which makes us happy. As you will read elsewhere in this issue, we have added two amazing alumni to the ranks: Dr. Becca Kinsey is a full-time assistant teaching professor this year, and Dr. Betsy Varner is a post-doctoral fellow in the Counseling Practicum Clinic. We are excited to have the benefit of their expertise this year.
You may have seen these photos on our social media, but we were overjoyed to host our first department Fall picnic since 2019! We even had a few recent master’s alumni surprise us with their presence (COVID snatched their opportunity to attend during their time in the department, so they joined in our fun). It was great to see them, and everyone; I forgot how much food this department can produce at the drop of a casserole dish. Separately, some doctoral alums also decided to host a birthday bash/reunion. There were almost as many kids and pups in attendance as adults. It was nice to be able to hang out with some folks and not have to worry about evaluations later (for the alums or for the faculty in attendance!). In short, you DO come out of this on the other side and have a life!
Finally, there have been a couple of job changes here that you might be interested in. Mary Graham, our Administrative Coordinator for 16 years, has moved over to be the Office Manager in the College of Architecture and Planning. Barb Irvin, our Graduate Admissions Coordinator, was appointed to the Admin Coordinator position. We are advertising for a new Grad Admissions Coordinator now. We also are advertising for a new Assistant/Associate Professor of Psychology–Counseling. If you happen to know someone who would be perfect for either of these positions, send them our way!
Dr. Sharon Bowman