Un/Subscribe   |   Archives   |   Comment or Question?

The Compass
The Compass
Vol. 1 No. 1 | October 27, 2009
Dean Michael Stevenson

Letter From The Dean

by Michael R. Stevenson, PhD, Dean

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the first issue of the Compass —your online newsletter featuring the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. I encourage you to explore our web site to read the most current information about our college. Through this portal, you have access to a wealth of up-to-date information about the departments, centers, institutes, programs, and people who make SBS tick. You can even view a short video about some of our programs. This video was created by students in our electronic media and film program.

SBS students and faculty are energetic, talented, and ready to make a difference in the world. Although SBS encompasses a wide range of academic programs, we share a common vision and interest in promoting social justice, developing global perspectives, living in harmony with the environment, and facilitating positive social change. Your student is being educated by some of the brightest scholars in their fields. Read on to learn more about SBS faculty.

I welcome your comments, feedback, and support, and look forward to your son or daughter’s involvement in our college.

Faculty Spotlight


Dr. Cathy Small

Name: Cathy Small, PhD

Education: BS, University of Massachusetts; MS, East Stroudsburg State College; PhD, Temple University 1987

Office: Room 109A, School of Communication, bldg. 98D

Contact Info: 928-523-1090

Cathy is one of NAU’s most well-known faculty members. Her book, My Freshman Year, has generated interest from the New York Times, Neil Conan’s Talk of the Nation, and the Today Show. In her book, Dr. Small used the anthropological methodology of participant observation to better understand the contemporary life and practices of American university students. During a leave of absence from teaching, she enrolled as a student at Northern Arizona University, signing up for a standard first year range of courses.

My Freshman Year

To develop a greater sense of appreciation and compassion for the first year students’ social, emotional, and academic experiences, she moved into a student residence hall and sequestered herself from family and friends. Cathy describes the experience as “transformative.” On her return to teaching, Cathy’s students responded enthusiastically to her new sensibilities as a teacher, evident in her classroom style and content. She was voted “Teacher of the Year” in SBS in the year following her freshman year experience. You can read an article about her life as a freshman at NAU in the New York Times.

Her current ethnographic/applied work continues to focus on the culture of higher education. She has been an invited speaker at more than thirty universities, and her “freshman year” book (My Freshman Year, Penguin Press) is now the basis of efforts at NAU and in conversations around the country to better adjust college structures and teaching to the learning styles of a more pressed and diverse student body.

Get Involved…

Micro-grant Proposals

For questions or to learn how to donate, please contact Anne Buzzard, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at 928-523-2130.

$5,000: Launch NAU’s Sustainability Cafe

This unique space will provide a venue for holding issue forums, lectures, student art exhibits and other activities designed to deepen student’s knowledge of ecological and social sustainability. It will also provide a first-hand example of sustainable design at work. The cafe will serve local foods, including salad greens grown on-site.

$3,000: Support Town-and-Gown Urban Gardening Project!

Help Northern Arizona University partner in a city-wide effort to plant fruit trees in Flagstaff. Participating students will gain civic capacity, organizing skills and important on/off campus networks as they deepen their knowledge of urban agriculture. Through this project, students will leave a legacy that will continue to promote food security in the NAU/Flagstaff community long after they graduate.

  Bottom of column