Scorpion and the Frog

Do you know the story of the Scorpion and the Frog? This is from Aesop’s fables. The gist of the story is that a frog agrees to take a scorpion on his back across a flooded river. Half way across, the scorpion stings the frog and they both drown. When the frog asks with his dying breath “why?” the scorpion responds, “it’s my nature.” You can “google it” and find the full story.

For more on this check out the short video below:

Taking Tests

One of the most stressful parts of higher education, or education of any kind, is the tests. Test anxiety is a real thing and many find themselves tensing up with the approach of a quiz, mid-term, or final; sometimes to the point of being nauseous. Below are some tips that work in easing your anxiety beyond the obvious preparation of studying for the test. I say obvious because there are still some who think they can get a college degree without studying, a sure way to failure.

Here are some lesser-known but proven practices that can help you get past the anxiety and give you a better outcome:

  1. Breathe. Yes, that’s right, breathe.  Studies show that if you will take several breaths, inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose over the count of 5 it has the effect of relaxing you and giving you better control.  It has a side benefit of oxygenating your brain, always a good thing going into a test.  So, next time you taking a test, before you start, shut your eyes, breathe in quickly through your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose over 5 seconds. Do this 3 – 4 times.  You should feel more balanced and focused.
  2. This one seems completely disconnected but studies have shown it is effective for helping you face any challenge or test and achieve a better outcome. Just before the test close your eyes and think about what you are good at. It can be anything and doesn’t need to be related to the course – it just needs to be something that you know about yourself that you are good at, and proud of. Once you have that thought, on a scrap of paper write a sentence or two describing that and why you are proud of it.  That’s all.  You can keep the paper or throw it away – the paper isn’t the secret, it is that you have positioned your brain to remember you are a capable person.
  3. This may sound a little ridiculous, but, again, studies have shown that it works: your posture going into the test communicates to your brain whether you feel you are going to succeed or fail, which contributes to how you perform. You can trick your brain to perform better by simply sitting with a posture that says you are confident, whether you feel like it or not.  This shouldn’t work, but it does make a difference!  “Fake it until you make it” is the old adage and it certainly works here. So, sit up straight, lean forward a bit and let anyone who is looking at you think you are confident, and your brain will believe it, too.

Of course, just to reiterate what I mentioned at the first, all this assumes you have actually studied for the test, which means taking good notes throughout the class sessions.

I encourage you to give these tips a trick.

Dr. Upchurch

Leading Change

If you are in any position of leadership, at some point you will find yourself being responsible for leading a change initiative. It might be something small within a department, or for the entire organization. Change management is a normal part of leadership, but it can be far more complicated than it appears on the surface. Key to effective change is four things: (check out the short video below to find out these four things).


Virtual Synchronous Update

As you know, Belhaven has been piloting Virtual Synch and Hybrid undergraduate courses during the Fall 2019 term. The Hybrid courses meet the 1st, 3rd, and 5th nights in the classroom and virtually by Zoom on the 2nd and 4th nights. The VS courses are conducted virtually by Zoom for all five sessions. Students attend from their home or wherever they have a reliable internet connection.

So far 135 students have completed a virtual synchronous or hybrid course, or both; 75 in term 1, and 60 in term 2. Another 89 students are planned to start one of these courses in term 3 next week. All of the faculty teaching these courses has had to go through a training course to help them become proficient with the software. Students in each term were surveyed regarding their experiences with the opportunity to point out problem areas and share testimonials if desired.

Of those responding, from term 1,

  • 52% liked the format, with another 35% indicating they would take another course in this format if that was the only way the course was offered.
  • 100% said the Instructor’s use of technology and the ability to teach in this format was Satisfactory or above.
  • “Having access to a virtual class fulfilled my need for being connected with my professor and classmates in a structured learning involvement that accommodated my schedule and location.” Amber Tilley
  • “The virtual classroom was great for a parent especially for me who has smaller kids I did not have to worry about finding a sitter. In between the classroom breaks I was able to finish dinner and get the children prepared for bedtime. I’m grateful for this option.” Dominique Hart, Desoto Campus

Of those responding from term 2

  • 58% like the format with another 33% indicating they would take another course in this format if that was the only way it was offered.
  • 100% said the Instructor’s use of technology and the ability to teach in this format was Satisfactory or above.
  • “This is my first virtual class. I admit that I was a little apprehensive in the beginning but after the first class I was at ease. I love the flexibility of being home and not having to drive to campus. Keep them coming!!”
  • “I have been pleasantly surprised! I think by having to log on at a certain time and still “attend” class creates the bridge of making this the best of both worlds. I can still interact with my instructor and classmates in real-time from the comfort of my home.”

Below is the list of courses being offered in the VS format for Spring 2020.

PSY-461-1SO51 Psy Thru Eye of Faith (Virt)
BUS-362-1SO52 Human Resources (Virt)
EDU-106-1SO52 Found of Composition(Virt)
HIS-205-1SO52 Contemp World His(Virt)
SOC-101-1SO52 Intro to Sociology (Virt)
BIB-221-1SO52 Explor the New Test (Virt)
BUS-304-1SO52 Business Comm (Virt)
ENG-203-1SO52 Sur World Lit I(Virt)
PSY-331-1SO52 Theories of Personality(Virt)
MSL-601-1SO82 Intro to Graduate Ed (Virt)
BUS-412-1SO53 Org Behavior (Virt)
BUS-320-1SO53 Intro to Mkting(Virt)
ENG-204-1SO53 Sur World Lit II (Virt)
BUS-414-1SO53 Business Law I
EDU-105-1SO53 Lrning Strat for Adlts (Virt)
WVC-401-1SO53 Kingdom Life (virt Cls)

Think! before you criticize

One of the easiest and most practiced habits is to be critical.  It is easy to find fault with situations, organizations, and especially people. It is easy to spew forth our observations, pointing out each fault in detail. Easy, but usually non-productive and more often than not, counter-productive, damaging relationships and creating animosity.

For more on this check out the short video below:

Set your Priorities: Putting First Things First

Putting first things first is likely one of the most important and most difficult challenges we face as adults. There are so many pressures and all of them come with the insistence that they are the MOST important. When everything is the MOST important, paralysis ensues and nothing gets done.

Earlier this week I was speaking with a student in the elevator about her day. She commented that it was a busy day, but that she was there to finish a degree she had delayed years earlier. She went on to explain that when she had her daughter, she stopped school to focus on her daughter with the intent of starting back when her daughter started Kindergarten. Her daughter started Kindergarten this fall and she started back on her degree, determined to get it finished. She obviously knows how to prioritize her life and understands how to put first things first. While her choices may not be the same for you, it is still up to you to make conscious choices about your priorities.

While you are in the season of getting your degree, don’t be easily pulled away. Jesus, in talking about the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:25ff, urges those listening to count the cost with the realization that following him will be costly, but will also be worth everything.

The same concept applies, although with obviously lesser consequences, regarding the pursuit of your academic goals. You have counted the cost and started your degree. Don’t treat this casually by missing nights unnecessarily, or coming late unless unavoidable, by not completing your homework, or plagiarizing your work. This is YOUR future; Put first things first.

Everything is not of equal importance, and the importance of different priorities changes over time. Keeping the first things first is the surest path to success. Take the time at least yearly, but preferably once a quarter to evaluate the different priorities in your life. You can always find an excuse to delay your goals and procrastinate, but the one who suffers when you do that, in the long-run, is you and potentially your family. Put first things first.


Persevere – Don’t Quit!

No one wants to be labeled a “quitter,” but there are times when EVERYONE has felt the pull to quit. It could be a job, a friendship, a project, an educational program, even a marriage. If you are human, you have fell the temptation to quit. Sometimes quitting is the right answer, but most of the time real victory and growth take place when you are willing to persevere; to stick with it, in spite of the temptation to quit.

For more check out the short video below:


I’m sitting at my desk this morning and receive a phone call. It was from a student. She was surprised that I answered the phone and was prepared to leave a message, so it caught her off guard for a minute. We chatted a bit and then she got down to what she called about.

It seems she received a letter in the mail from me yesterday. She picked up her mail and pulled into her drive and pondered whether or not to open it, thinking it was a bill or some other kind of bad news. She has been going through some difficult challenges and didn’t know if she could handle another piece of bad news. Still, she steeled herself and opened the letter, only to discover it was a congratulatory letter for her making the Dean’s List. She said she sat there cried happy tears and has read and re-read the letter several times.

All I did was send the letter, she was the one who put in the hard work to achieve this honor, but she was so appreciative of my acknowledgment of her effort. I have to be honest I got a little teary listening to her.

The faster we go the less there seems time to give a compliment or recognize the efforts of those who are truly giving their best . . . and the more these kind of encouragements are needed. I know I like to feel appreciated, and I suspect we all do. So, be a Leader, let your people know you recognize the work they are doing and make it your goal to be an encourager to someone every day. We don’t have to allow our culture or society to drive us to be cogs in some machine determined to use us up and leave us empty. We are created in the image of God and that is all about relationship. Relationships are built and nurtured when we take the time to value each other.