Student success: Focus on learning, not grades


RickMuthiah-2By Rick Muthiah, Associate Director of Learning Support Services

I frequently meet with students who express high anxiety over test taking, either because they have difficulty learning course content or because they experience a mental block when they sit down to take the test. Our conversation generally winds its way to one of my most repeated phrases: focus on learning, not on grades. I drive home this point with any individual or group I meet with to talk about academic success. Whether on tests, papers, homework or projects, I practically beg students to exert their effort on the learning process and to let go of any fixation on grades. A funny thing happens for those who invest in learning – they generally end up with good grades, too. Conversely, students can get an A in a class without learning much from the course.

What does it look like to focus on learning? Let’s start with a commonly repeated formula that suggests that students should spend two hours out of class for every hour in class. To be frank, most college students aren’t spending sufficient time on learning activities once they leave class; they are spending about one hour out of class for every hour in class – half the recommended time. This standard will certainly fluctuate based on course demands and time of semester, yet a survey of students at my institution indicated that 70 percent spent 15 hours or less per week preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, doing homework or lab work, analyzing data, rehearsing and other academic activities). Given that a full-time course load is 12 to 18 hours of class per week, many students are skimping on learning activities.
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Student Success Story: Arturo Lucatero

IMG_7678Senior computer science major Arturo Lucatero won’t graduate from George Fox University until May, but that didn’t stop him from lining up his dream job with one of the most recognized companies in the world: Microsoft.

This summer, Lucatero, an Act Six scholarship recipient, will begin work as a program manager at the company’s world headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where his duties will include testing consumer products to ensure a user-friendly experience. “One of my favorite parts of my job is that I become the face of the customer,” he says.

Recently we sat down with Lucatero to learn more about his new job and his time at George Fox.

Q: I understand you’ve already got a job lined up after college. Tell me what the position is and how it came about?
A: I will be working for Microsoft as a program manager on their business intelligence team. Growing up, it was my dream to work at Microsoft. After arriving at Fox, I pursued an internship with [the company], and though it didn’t initially work out, I managed to land an internship with Intel. Still, my dream was to be a Microsoft intern. One of the things I learned was that Microsoft prefers computer science majors as interns, so I switched from information systems to a computer science major. Thanks to that, I was able to be a Microsoft Explorer intern last summer [2013]. It really helped me decide what I wanted to do, which is program management, so this summer I went back as a program manager intern working on a self-service business intelligence project.
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ADP Graduate Success Story: Jim Ferraris

FerrarisDegree: Bachelor of Arts in Management and Organizational Leadership (2013)
Current position: Deputy Chief of Police, Salem Police Department

How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

My experience at George Fox was outstanding! The George Fox motto is “Be Known.” That was so true – I was known at George Fox. I have a busy life, both professionally and personally. Staff and faculty did everything they could to make furthering my education workable within the demands on my life. Several professors and instructors stand out. To name a few: Frank Barsotti taught human resources. He was a perfect fit. He has years of experience working for HP as a global HR director, responsible for more than 30,000 employees. I learned a lot from him that I am able to apply in my professional life. Carol Hutchinson was another fabulous instructor. From a spirituality perspective she helped me grow as an individual. Dr. George Byrtek was another great professor. He shepherded us through the MGOL program, always was available to us and pushed us to be better.
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Engineering Major Lands NASA Internship

NASA Portrait-2Engineering major Joseph Truitt lined up a great internship this summer in the rotorcraft aeromechanics department at the NASA Ames Research Center!

Here’s what he’s working on: “I’m working with a radio controlled (RC) model of an aircraft called a V-22. It’s a tiltrotor aircraft, meaning that it has propellers which point upwards for it to fly like a helicopter and can also pivot forward to fly like an airplane. There are well-trusted methods used for testing full size rotorcraft (any aircraft with rotor blades, like helicopters). The goal is to see if those same testing methods will be accurate for smaller-scale aircraft, such as an RC model. So the project that I’m working on takes those full-sized testing methods and uses them on the small-scale RC model to see how accurate the results are.”

Meet the Class of 2014: Trevor Fekkes

Trevor FekkesName: Trevor Fekkes
Hometown: Camano Island, WA
Major: Accounting

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: George Fox has been instrumental in shaping my personal and career growth. My professors, specifically Seth Sikkema and Josh Sauerwein, have prepared me well for life after Fox. They have had the biggest impact on my education and knowledge in accounting, as well as being great mentors. I feel blessed and lucky to have had them as professors.

My favorite memories will come from hanging out with my friends and roommates, playing Thursday night Frisbee and watching my Seahawks go all the way. I’ve learned to have a curious mind and that success comes from doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

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Meet the Class of 2014: Renee Geck

Hometown: Everett, Wash.
Major: Biology (cell and molecular) with minors in mathematics and chemistry

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My time at George Fox has enriched so many areas of my life. I have made fantastic friends, gained knowledge in diverse fields, and had unique opportunities inside and outside of my major. I was blessed with a tight-knit freshman floor, so we had a lot of fun together and some of those women are still among my closest friends. I also connected well with my major department, especially doing breast cancer research with Dr. John Schmitt. He has been a wonderful mentor to me, and those summers helped me determine what I want to do in the future.

One of the fantastic things about George Fox is all the opportunities to explore different disciplines and issues. Even with commitments to my major, I was able to take classes in math (which I love!), play in band, and be a member of the International Justice Mission Club for all four year I’ve been here. I’ve also taken “just for fun” classes in art, history and religion, as well as a spectacular Juniors Abroad trip to Greece. To me, that balance of strength in my major as well as ways to pursue other passions has created an invigorating and exciting course for my time at George Fox.
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My Be Known Story

By Jared Larson (’15), psychology major

Being known academically is a promise that our university holds to high standards. When I think back to when a professor has academically challenged, encouraged and pushed me to my limits, I think of Sue O’Donnell.

Sue is a psychology professor at George Fox. Her main focus is on developmental psychology. Some of the classes she teaches are Child Development, Adolescent Development and Research Methods.
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Swimming with the Sharks at i-Day

Senior business majors got a heavy dose of real-world experience this semester at i-Day, an event where they pitched their Senior Business Capstone projects to a panel of judges consisting of highly successful business executives. On the line was a share of $12,000 (split between 16 teams) with which they would fund real businesses during their final year at George Fox.

But the money would not be split evenly. Similar to the popular TV show Shark Tank, the panel of executives would decide how much money each team got based on their presentation. The panel consisted of five “sharks” who had already made their mark on the business world: Phil Autrey (Partner, Kitchen Sink Holdings, LLC), Dave Barram (former CFO of Apple), Ruth Bennett (former CFO of Bonneville Power), Laurie Koehler (Consumer Campaigns Activation Manger, Intel) and Walt Truelson (Founder, Truelson Associates).

What was it like to swim with these “sharks”? We asked three students to share their experiences.
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My Be Known Experience

By Tracy Berg, Class of 2013

Very few universities connect students with faculty like George Fox does. I’ve had insightful late-night conversations with professors, and even been invited over for Thanksgiving when I didn’t have anywhere else to go. Recently, I was shown once again just how committed the faculty at George Fox is to meeting students where they’re at.
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