Guest Post Archive

Allison McWilliams: Planning for growth

Allison McWilliams is assistant vice president of mentoring and alumni personal and career development in the Office of Personal and Career Development.  She writes occasional articles for Inside WFU.  This is the third for the fall semester. In each, she shares observations and suggestions with faculty and staff from her professional experiences with students.

Allison McWilliams

Mentoring is a strategic intervention. It is intentional, goal-oriented, and action-oriented; the mentee is always working on getting from some current reality to an identified future state. Of course, students don’t think about mentoring in these ways. They’re just looking for someone to help them figure things out, to give them the right answers, to get the A. But life doesn’t work that way. There are no right answers for creating a meaningful life. There are no grading rubrics, no A’s given out in life. It’s up to each of us to figure out how to navigate that uncertainty, to let life happen to us or to build an intentional life.

The good news is that helping students to create and own goals and action plans for their growth actually helps them to acquire the tools that they need to do this work for life. As mentors, we help students to acquire higher-order critical thinking skills by pushing them to set goals, create plans, and to work towards achieving those goals and plans.

Effective goal statements, whether personal or professional, use the SMART goal model: they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. An example of a great SMART goal statement is: Build connections with three faculty members outside of my intended major by the end of the fall semester. Once this goal statement has been created, then the student can develop 2-3 action steps to achieve that goal, again following the SMART model.

Setting goals for mentoring relationships helps us to do several critical things:

  • They help to define expectations between mentoring partners.
  • They help to define success for the relationship.
  • They provide a framework both for the conversations and for the work that is to be done.

But as a bonus, setting goals helps students to acquire skills of critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving, and strategic planning, which they will use for life. Setting goals forces the student to take ownership for his or her personal growth. And it is yet another opportunity for learning. As John Maxwell has noted, “the greatest achievers in life are people who set goals for themselves and then work hard to reach them. What they get by reaching the goals is not nearly as important as what they become by reaching them.”

Categories: Guest Post

Reynolda House extends Thursday hours for O'Keeffe exhibit

This is a guest post from Reynolda House Museum of American Art:

Reynolda House Museum of American Art has extended its hours on Thursdays until 8 p.m. during its blockbuster exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern.” The exhibition opened Aug. 18 and several timeslots have sold out in the first two months. The Museum recommends Wake Forest faculty and staff – who can reserve up to two free tickets – make plans to see the exhibition on Thursday evenings. The exhibition closes Sunday, Nov. 19.

Like daytime admission, tickets for Thursday evenings are available online at, and there is a Wake Forest employee ticket category. Advance purchase and reservation is recommended to guarantee admission, and museum officials say that Thursday evenings are offer a less-crowded alternative to visiting on Saturdays and Sundays, typically the museum’s most popular days. The museum’s hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Thursday night extended hours are made possible by support from Forsyth County and the City of Winston-Salem.

On the first Thursday of November, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m., the museum will show a video recording of the exhibition’s opening lecture by Wanda Corn, curator of “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern.” The 45-minute lecture will be screened in the museum’s auditorium, and it is included with museum admission. The lecture took place at Reynolda House in August and sold out in advance.

“Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” is the largest exhibition ever mounted at Reynolda House, with 190 objects displayed in the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing and extending through the 64-room house built by R. J. and Katharine Reynolds in 1917. Forty of O’Keeffe’s works are presented along with personal objects such as jewelry, accessories and garments, some designed and made by the artist herself. The exhibition reveals the artist’s powerful ownership of her public identity and affirms that she embodied the same modern aesthetic in her self-fashioning as in her art.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is the only venue in the South to host “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern.” Visitors have traveled from more than 20 states to experience it.

More information and tickets available at

Categories: Guest Post

Secrest Series presents Noche Flamenca Oct. 19

This is a guest post from the Secrest Artists Series:

The Secrest Artists Series will present Noche Flamenca on Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall (Scales Fine Arts Center).

Hailed by critics everywhere for its colorful and deeply emotional performances, Noche Flamenca is today’s most authentic touring company in the field of flamenco—the thrilling national dance form of Spain. Formed in 1993 by Martín Santangelo and his Bessie award-winning wife, Soledad Barrio, Noche Flamenca regularly tours around the globe, including performance seasons in New York City and Buenos Aires.

Due to the popularity of this performance, the Secrest Artist Series encourages you to arrive early for the best seating selection. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Enrich your concert-going experience by joining a pre-performance talk at 6:40 p.m. in M208, adjacent to Brendle Recital Hall. This evening’s talk will be led by José Luis Venegas, associate professor of Romance languages and interdisciplinary humanities. His lecture explores the role of flamenco music and dance in Spanish history and culture. It traces the genre’s development and discusses how it has been transformed by the social, cultural, and political forces that have shaped and defined collective identities in Spain and its southern region, Andalusia, from the late 1800s to the present. A block of seats will be reserved for those who attend the pre-performance talk.

Tickets for the community are $5-$24. Festival seating; Doors open at 7PM.

Wake Forest University and Medical School faculty, staff and retirees receive free admission for themselves and one guest to each Secrest Artists Series performance. Wake Forest students and Medical School students receive free admission for themselves. Simply show your Wake Forest I.D. at the door.

More information at or 336-758-5757.

Categories: Guest PostInside WFU

School of Divinity administrator named assistant teaching professor

Shonda R. Jones

This is a guest post from the School of Divinity:

Shonda R. Jones has been named assistant teaching professor in intercultural theological education at the School of Divinity. Jones will continue serving in her role as associate dean of admissions and student services. As assistant teaching professor, she will link the intercultural competency work she has long been doing with students, faculty and staff as associate dean with classroom teaching.

“The realities of contemporary life and ministry demand that religious leaders develop intercultural competency and cultivate a wide range of cross-cultural skills, “ said Jill Y. Crainshaw, acting dean and Blackburn Professor of worship and liturgical theology at the School of Divinity. “Shonda has provided vital leadership in recent years as the school has expanded our co-curricular offerings in these areas.”

Jones will guide the school’s work to integrate theory and practice in this important dimension of ministry by providing related course offerings. She is uniquely equipped to teach courses in intercultural theological education not only because of her doctoral studies emphasis but also because of her ongoing training in and experience in intercultural competency. Read more

Artisans' Fair looking for vendors from faculty, staff

This is a guest post from organizers of the annual Artisans’ Fair on campus:

It’s that time! Our call for vendors for the annual Artisans’ Fair, which will be on Friday, Dec. 1!

Are you gifted in woodworking, arts, crafts, etc. and want to share your hand-made products with other Wake Foresters?
If you are a WFU employee (staff or faculty), spouse of a WFU employee, retiree or student, you are eligible to participate.

Restrictions are as follows:

1. Vendors must be WFU employees (faculty, staff or their spouses), retirees, or students who wish to sell or display their work. Outside vendors will not be permitted. Must be a US citizen or eligible to sell within the U.S.

2. All items to be sold must be handmade by the representative.

3. Vendors must arrange to staff their booth. Tables cannot be left unattended.

4. All vendors must pay a $10 table registration fee (you will get one 6-foot table and one accessory table). This fee will be used to cover event expenses. No refunds available.

5. The Planning Committee reserves the right to refuse any exhibit not appropriate for this event.

Read more