SUNM is an impressive manifestation of the ideas and efforts of many people. But two in particular have devoted their every day for the past several years to the task. They are, however, naprapaths by trade, not seasoned school administrators. It’s an undertaking that has been overwhelming at times, learning about building schools as the moments come. Persistence, dedication, and optimism have served them well in creating their dream.
But as the second class through, I hope you wonder about the bumps we’re experiencing. After all, who gets the right teacher every time? The right texts? Who’s really that organized to have it all together in a perfectly timed rhythm the second time through?
So here I am, telling you that it hasn’t been totally perfect, seamlessly smooth at every step of the way. However, I also stop to wonder whether it’s entirely fair to expect. Even at my well-oiled university, students wandered around asking questions, trying to figure out what the process was. And I can certainly tell you that, in spite of the grand reputation of my college, not every professor was highly organized and prepared. It’s an ideal to strive for, but rarely one attained.
So let me tell you this. As my class has hit some bumps, we’ve talked. We have an understanding that the school, and the profession, is in its birthing process. If you come, you’d best be prepared for such a perspective. Though they have the standard curriculum of the profession, I don’t think it’s been updated in decades. Teachers and school administration are still working out what the classroom needs, what books are best to use, and how to best sort out the syllabuses in conjunction with other classes. There’s the balancing the needs of accreditation (which is in process) with the licensing needs of higher education with the needs of teachers and students. And then, of course, there’s the desire to make it bigger, better, and more up to date than it’s been in a very, very long time. It’s a great big, gloriously messy process in some ways.
That said, there are few major bumps even worth remembering. Generally, the overall theme seems to be unclear communication from the administration to students. Mostly, it’s been stopping to wonder what the process of our research paper was, how the independent study was going to evolve, or wishing a class had come before or after another. Other moments were more significant. For example, some students weren’t entirely aware of the current limitations in licensing outside of New Mexico and Illinois. Others weren’t aware that they would have to do a self-study course to meet college level Biology requirements. It’s not uncommon for us to come to class and have one of us ask “if anyone knows…”.
The fortunate thing is that our class is enthusiastic about the future of this work and wants to see this school succeed. We’re willing to flow with the bumps, but we’re also interested in paving a better road for others. In a co-creative spirit, we all offered to meet with the administration to share our experiences and resulting suggestions. There wasn’t a hesitation to meet with us. They came prepared to take notes. And they came with a willingness to think about what was being said and take action as needed. There is no doubt that those at the helm want this school to succeed and are committed to taking every step to make the experience and the education the best it can be. The same, fortunately, can be said for the current students and teachers, too.
Between all of us, SUNM is on track to not only be a success but a profession leader. Even the earliest classes are lucky to be a part of it, bumps and all.