Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Make It This Semester: Advice for Students... Written by Students!

Dear New Student(s),

I am thrilled to be your instructor this term.  I want to do everything I can to help you succeed.  It's (understandably) scary to start a new semester with a new prof.  To help calm your fears, I thought I'd give you some advice - that doesn't come from me.  It's written to you by former students who have managed to survive - and thrive! - in my courses.  

SO, to kick of the fall, I present to you: 

How to Make It This Term
in a Leah Payne Course

Listen.  Leah isn't a harsh grader, she doesn't hold grudges, and she gives students the benefit of the doubt, especially if you show enthusiasm and active participation in class. The only other thing I would recommend is, don't take a harsh grade too seriously. She asks some tough questions, and they might be hard to answer, but she gives plenty of opportunity to make it up. 
 - Zach Brigante, MATS Student

When Dr. Payne says stick to the word count, she means it. And she thinks it's "good for you" (read "painstaking character development") to edit every last syllable (especially if it's the only syllable in the one word that's over the limit). 300 words means 300 words or less. The nasty truth is, she's right. It actually does make you a better writer.
 - Anne-Marie Finsaas, DMin Student

Leah’s a lot of fun and her classes are fun, so relax, enjoy them, and engage – ask questions. Push her. She likes to engage and be pushed. She’s got a wide range of interests and likes to see and explore how ‘dots connect’ from seeming disparate disciplines and thinkers. Propose stuff even if you’re not entirely certain of the likely path the discussion may take. And then – research – have your stuff in order and write logical, defensible papers and you’ll be fine. Bottom line – enjoy the opportunity – you’ll look back at your ‘Leah classes’ with fondness!
 - Michael Gama, DMin

Learn the skill of skimming/reading for information.  Don't bog down in every printed word assigned, use a dictionary and think about if you agree or disagree with the main points the author is making.  The reading is where you can shape your own thoughts and bring constructive conversation to the lecture periods.  And come to lecture with humor in your heart; because Dr. Payne is a crack-up.
 - Jeniene Frisco, MDiv

Not sure what to say except to read as widely as possible. Frankly, I did not find the course work difficult as much as trying to keep up with reading, connecting the dots, and communicating in a concise manner. History has never been my thing but living Internationally, right in the middle of church history, has made a huge impact on how I listened in class and how I processed the material read for your assignments.
 - Dave Shepherd, DMin

Take notes in class and compare your notes to the outlines that are provided. Make friends in class and share with them. And don't hesitate to talk to the professor. She's not really scary.
 - Julie Dodge, DMin Student

It is essential that students understand the intent of the course by examining the syllabus, meticulously read the books assigned for the course, grasp the major theories, subject content and dissenting voices to understand all perspectives of the argument. The last essential key is to communicate early and often to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, especially on the first day of class when the syllabus is reviewed with the class. 
 - Carlos Richard, DMin Student

Be Concise... less words is best... and always organize your thoughts well. 
 - Grant Carey, DMin Student

The study guides are a huge help!  Do them and trade notes with your colleagues; they can be a great resource!  Also, learn to love knowledge.  One thing I learned about studying, in general, is that my attitude towards studying often reflects my attitude and outlook on life.  Life is not a stressful obligation!  It is (can be) a joyful discovery and an adventure!
JP Paxton, MDiv

My advise for doing well in Dr. Leah’s class is to read the readings, listen to advice, and learn from feedback.  First, Dr. Leah’s readings help students plunge deeper into topics. Second, allow yourselves to be pushed to become better writers and heed the specific instructions given. Lastly, learn from the feedback given and utilize it to make future papers stronger. If students do these three things I am confident students will succeed.  
 - Todd Clark, DMin

Don't let her winsome smile fool you, Leah's brain is on fire.
Alicia Chole, DMin Student