Saturday, December 6, 2008

How to organize your children's school work

Kate (2nd grade) and Carolyn (kindergarten) bring home daily paperwork.
You will need to find your own system for organizing it.

Here's mine:

I used to by the Esselte Pendaflex, legal size, 12 pockets, with a flap that closes. It's really hard to find.
You must have legal size because some of the art is large.
And you need it divided by months, and you need it to close with a band.

Put the papers you want organized by month. For the month of July, but a new sticky label over it and entitle it "Extra special work." That way, if you ever get rid of the daily work, you at least know right away where the special art/work you want to keep is located.

So, I order one for each daughter, and just write their name, grade, teacher and school on the front with a sharpie. It's just really help me stay organized. Papers don't just sit around as clutter because you don't know what to do with them. I edit somewhat, and then it goes straight into the pendaflex!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So, you are thinking about a career in student development?

I love my career (calling) in student development and I love being able to shape Christian community on our campus and help students find their calling. On a daily basis I provide opportunities, resources and solutions to develop student leaders, increase student satisfaction, and retain students to our campus.

My job involves problem solving for students and parents, assessment (CIRP, CSS, NSSE, SSI), training and development of a large staff, leadership for one of the largest budgets at Union, legal issues (responses to issues as well as the development of policies that help us legally), scholarship (a great deal of writing and speaking), crisis management, and many meetings (senior leadership, staff meetings, student services faculty committee, strategic planning committee, trustee meetings, SGA meetings President's Cabinet, Provost Council, ad hoc committees, etc.) I also do a great deal of data assessment, trend projection, and pinpointing and operationalizing retention strategies.

I hope that you find a vocation that you love as much as I love mine. If you love ministry and people, and want to make a real difference in the lives of others, student development may be an excellent fit for you.

Here is some advice as you consider this profession.

1) Be involved in a student life office while an undergraduate student. (Volunteer or work with an organization or an office if you can't get a workship/workstudy position. Never underestimate the power of volunteering and developing solid relationships in fields that interest you.)

2) Go to graduate school. There are many types and different delivery methods (online, residential, more theory, more praxis. You need to talk to a network to see what institution is going to be the best fit for you.)

Many program deadlines for graduate school scholarships are in March. Financially, it would be good to find a program that pays a small stipend through a GA (graduate assistant) position and also waives tuition - like Baylor, unless you have a full time job in student development. (Also called student services, student life - the terms are interchangable.)

3) You have to begin as a director/assistant director in something before moving "up" (e.g. leadership development, Greek Life, student activities, career services, academic support, counseling services, judicial affairs, first year experience programs, intramurals/wellness, service learning, orientation director, SGA, academic advisor.) Residence Life is the most common way people get started because it gives you experience with most everything in student life. (This may sound obvious, but you can't start out as a Vice President for Student Services. Most often, you have to come up through a department within the division, and certainly have an excellent working knowledge of all the departments.)

Graduate Programs: Recommended Schools To Explore:

For the most up to date graduate list, click here:

Baylor (TX, faith based) - residential, excellent GA opportunities Baylor

Asuza Pacific University (California, faith based)[]=masters_degree

University of Louisville University of Louisville


Taylor University (CCCU) - (Indiana, residential, excellent GA opportunities)

Messiah College has a new online program athletics management; institutional advancement; student affairs –or create your own individualized concentration, tailored to your professional goals.)

Geneva College: Very well respected graduate program

Indianan Weslian- MA counseling, with emphasis on student affairs

Ball State University
(This is a residential program, but it is a unique one year program. Several of the professors are very strong Christians.

Unless you already have a full time job in higher education, I would not recommend an online program because you need current context and experience while you are working.

Look at the website job descriptions from CCCU and ACSD (websites below) and see what job descriptions resonate with you. Again, eventually, you will have to narrow and specialize in order to get hired. (Employers don't necessarily want you to "love everything"  -  that can be interpreted as being unfocused. Employeers want you to 100% love and have experience in the area for which they are hiring, especially when you are starting out.)  For example, I want my wellness center director to love wellness. I want leadership development folks to love training and development, to know the leadership trends and books out there. I want residence life to understand the specific opportunities and challenges within residence life (RA training, crisis planning, occupancy reports, etc.)

Never, and I mean never, talk to an employer and talk about how you want the job because of the experience or that you want to "try out this field." An employer only wants to know what YOU can do for them, not necessarily what they can do for you. (e.g. talking about your excitment about the tuition discount in the interview is a big turn off.)

Programs/PeopleUniversity of Memphis
(MS, Leadership and Policy Studies - student personnel concentration.)
The classes are offered in Memphis or at Jackson State.
Contact Dr. Frances Pearson 901.678.4060
Contact Ashley Jackson who graduated with classes from that program.

Herrell, Laura []
Graduated Baylor in May 2011
On scholarship - Interned in VP for Student Services Office

Jon Abernathy - or
Graduated Baylor in May 2011
On Scholarship- Working in Academic Success.
Serves as our (inaugural) Director, Office of Disability Services at Union.

Cam Armstrong - Masters at University of Florida, working on Ph.D. at APU
Former coordinator of Student Activities at Mississippi College
Now works at Baylor University

Stephanie Lee Steele - Masters and Ph.D. at Vanderbilt
Was Union's first Director of Student Leadership Development.
Now is full time faculty at Union in the College of Education.

Cassey Stafford
University of South Carolina
(Now a doctoral student in Michigan - focus international/intercultural higher ed)

Karen Taylor
Associate Director of Student Leadership Development and Student Programs
Graduate of Dallas Baptist University's college student development/higher ed program

Jason Castles
Director of Student Leadership Development
Masters at University of South Florida, finishing Ed.D. at Union University

Melissa Gruver
Masters from Baylor University

Jennifer Tharp
Director of Student Services at The Kings College in Manhatten
Regent University - completed online masters in college student development

Bryan Carrier
Assistant Dean of Students at Union
Masters at Asuza Pacific University, finishing Ed.D. at Union University

Kimberly Thornbury, Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students, UU
Masters at University of Louisville, Ph.D. Regent Univeresity

Ken Litscher
Director of Residence Life
MDiv from Denver Seminary, but can talk to you about how he uses his MDiv and pastoral training in work with college students.

Several student life professionals also completed masters degrees at Union, and tailored projects to their student development interests. Such employees include Jacqueline Taylor, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Vocatio Center for Life calling and Career, Ashley Jackson, and Blake Pennington. Renee Jones, Associate Director of the Vocatio Center received her MBA at Union.

Websites you should know: (this and naspa below are the two largest professional organizations for our field.) (National Associatiotn of Student Personnel Administrators) (This is the best site for those wanting to go into student development at schools like Union - evangelical, liberal arts colleges.)

http://www/ (Council for Colleges and Universities.)

Southern Placement Exchange (Usually held in March in the South - sometimes as close as Memphis)

Oshkosh Placement Exchange (Feb 26-March 1) Oshkosh, WI,
(Type in the website since dates will change.)

Discipline specific professional websites for housing, orientation, activities, intramurals, etc. American psychological association (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) American association of christian counselors (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) Christian association for psychological studies (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) Disabilty services (e.g. Dr. Paul Deschenes) - National Strength and Conditioning Association (e.g. Matt Brunet) -National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (e.g. Blake Pennington) American College Health Association (e.g. Nurse Paul)
IAEM (International Association of Emergency Managers (e.g Carson Hawkins) Orientation

Greek Life:


Student Government:

Leadership Development: (e.g. Jason Castles and Karen Taylor)

Career Services:
National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
Southern Association of College and Employers (SoAce)
Tennessee Association of Colleges and Employers (TACE) --Assocation of Christians in Student Development --Chronicle of Higher Ed --Student Affairs (general) --Resident Assistants --Judicial Officers (e.g. Bryan Carrier) –Housing Officers (e.g. Ken Litscher) - Safety and Security (e.g. Carson Hawkins)

Hundley Center (e.g. Bethany Morse)
National College Learning Center Association
National Center for Developmental Education
National Tutoring Association

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Websites I love (money management) (skin care) (rates cosmetics and skin care products.) = tracks your calories and helps you set goals, for free. Also give you a cute carb, protein and fat breakdown. (Family Calendar)

Friday, November 7, 2008


Buy from one store, buy from someone who knows your body, buy less.

I am not great at picking out lots of different pieces of clothes and "putting it all together." Nor do I watch alot of TLC or What not to Wear. Plus, I am pretty busy.

My advice is to just shop at one store (MAYBE two.) I just go in a few times a year, and whatever the have (clothes, shoes, bracelets) I buy within my budget.

They pay designers big bucks to coordinate outfits, and often the styles and colors work from year to year, so it's a great way to build a wardrobe.

Get to know one saleswoman. Work with her each time, regardless of the store. They will send your coupons and tell you the best times to come into the store. Greg does the same thing with his store.

Personally, I have a personal shopper (it's free) at JCrew and 85% of the time just buy from her. Remember, JCrew gives you a 15% teacher discount. I switched to JCrew over two years ago and have to buy less since it's a bit more pricey, but I don't get tired of the clothes and they last longer.

Also, edit, edit, edit your closet. I have such a hard time with this. Honestly, do you need more than 15 outfits? Find 15 that you love. Give the rest to Goodwill.

The macro principle here is to be store loyal. If you get to know the shop owners, they are more likely to give you good advice and help you out.
More about Ashley Neighbors, the free personal shopping service from JCrew:
Honestly, in the past year I haven't even been able to get to Memphis to shop, so doing this by e-mail or by phone helps. She will send you outfit photos picked out just for you by e-mail, and you can select from there. Yes, it's more pricey. But the theme is - buy less outfits. Buy only outfits you love and look great on you. Take care of all your clothes, because you will need to buy classics that last a long time. If you need to supplement with a $10 H&M shirt do so, but otherwise, buy things that work for you and you love. And if you don't have style, like me, find someone who does. (Stay in your lane.)
JCrew personal shopper: 1.800.261.7422 or

Before you job hunt

I just gave a lecture on social networking during Career U.
Here are some things that I think seniors should know, but sometimes don't.

Before you search for a job
1) Get a professional e-mail account like (I also think gmail is classier than hotmail.) Trust me, I' just isn't going to get you called for an interview.

2) Edit your facebook pics and postings. Don't be afraid to delete those posted by others if they don't represent you well.

3) Get a serious ring tone for your phone or text alerts. (Avoid silly or controversial.)

4) If you have "music while you wait" on your cell, choose classy music.

5) Contact Career Services to make an appointment! You don't have to have it all together before you go in. Go in with no resume and no direction, and they WILL help you! Just make an appointment!


My new advice (as of summer, 2009)
I use the entire Paula's choice line. I love it. (And trust me, I've tried it all.)
My daily Routine:
1. Skin recovery system (I choose the line for dry skin, but they have all types.)
2. Cleanser (am/pm)
3. toner (am/pm)
4. exfolient (AHA product - pm only) (I switch this every other day with RX retinol.)
5. antioxidant (am/pm)
6. moisturize (pm)
7. sunscreen (Neutrogena Age Defense SPF 90 - am only)

Older advice
At age 45, I think you can look 25 or 65 depending on your skincare routine.

First of all, there is a great website that is an up to date online version of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without me." It's a fabulous book about what really works. Listen, if you have a drawer full of half used products or are in your 40's have still haven't found the right product, and are just drawn in by so many claims and confused, get this book.

Or, get up to date info at

The site is now free. If you are also thinking about an expensive project, she will tell you what product can do the same for less. She knows the % of active ingredients in each product.

Here is the advice I've gathered.

1) Sunscreen. Use an SPF of at least 30 every day. SPF 70 if you are going in the sun/to the beach. I use Eucrin for senstive skin. This is the absolute best advice. If you do NOTHING else, wear sunscreen. Anything other than this is just covering sun damage. (Never, and I mean never, use a tanning booth. Honestly, when older, it becomes sort of unattractive "type" of a person who goes.)

2) The basics: Drink water, exercise, and sleep 7-8 hours a night. Don't stress.

3) Exfoliate weekly. If you don't do this, it's just like watering grass with leaves on them. No penetration into your skin. Avoid the ones from the 80's you used with ground walnuts in them. Hello - you are a grown up now. Respect your skin. It's doesn't have to "hurt" to exfoliate. Use Neutrogena fresh foaming scrub. (Again, I use Paula's choice.) 

4) Use a retinol every night. It's ok to use Olay of Olay or Neutrogena rather than an expensive brand. The dermatologist said that they contain the highest levels without moving to a prescription (which isn't such a bad idea.) And since they are priced well, you'll more likely stick to it. I use Neutrogena anti wrinkle intensive night cream - get the kind with retinol. Use the matching eye serum.

5) Use an AHA (alpha hydroy acid) product in the morning or product with peptide. I use Neutrogena anti wrinkle serum. A peptide product is less harsh, so if you are really flaking, step back. Again, follow that by sunscreen.

6) Facials should be done monthly to improve skin. If done less than once a month, they are just for relaxation, not long term skin care improvement. (I don't spend money on this. My point is that if you aren't going every month, just get a massage instead.)

7) Wear sunglasses. For those who know me, you know I can't hear as well when I wear sunglasses. (I know, strange.) But I wish I wore them all the time to avoid crows feet/squint lines.


Dear Friends:

This blog is being created to capture the practical advice I've collected thus far! Those of you who spend time with me, you know that not a month (or week) goes by without me sharing a new product or system or piece of advice that I have discovered, tried and loved. 

This blog will help me organize the information. Please know that I want to hear your feedback so feel free to comment, agree, disagree and add to this list!

Warmest Regards, 
Kimberly Thornbury