Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday Season Ahead

As the calendar turns to November, we enter into a time of holidays galore. But I suppose the purpose of this blog is to remind everyone, L e t ' s s l o w d o w n.
There is enough stress and pressure throughout this time of year, we don't need to compound it all by speeding things up. And speaking of speeding things up, Christmas songs on various radio stations???? Give me a break. I am all for the birth of Christ's celebration, but in its due time. We have veterans to thank and respect, we have Pilgrims to remember and relive their tradition, we have to recall the "date which will live in infamy," and we even have "National Regifting Day" (Dec. 18, for those who really wanted to know). So, let's don't rush to get to Christmas, because if we do, we may not be going slow enough to really enjoy it and really think about its true meaning. Happy Holidays to come.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Integration Night

The Behavioral Sciences Club hosted an "Integration of Faith and Discipline" night with Christine Saladino, Richard Brewer, and myself. It was a great night of presentation and dialogue about how each of us have grown in the manner by which we integrate psychology, sociology, and social work into our Christian worldview.
I think I can summarize a few things for those who were not there.
1. There is no one way that integration is or can be done. It is highly personalized. It is led by the Holy Spirit and built around our experiences. The Bible, of course, still guides our principles and precepts, but we still grapple with where does our field of study fit?
2. It requires patience and practice. It does not come overnight. It makes us struggle, not just intellectually, but also emotionally, because the beliefs we hold to are very core to each of us.
3. It is exciting as much as it is exasperating. We love what we learn in our respective fields. We love insight, we love striving with others in this endeavor, and we love our growth in our maturity. But, boy, does require work. It requires that we read, listen and learn from others, and it requires that keep on doing it. In all likelihood, no real closure in this lifetime.
So, next time we do something like this, we would like to see more of you there. But in the meantime, try some integration on your own. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Student Professional Memberships

One of the things that students in the Behavioral Sciences should consider is belonging to a professional organization as a student member. Whether one is going on to graduate school or not, the sheer amount of information and the benefits received from joining such a group is invaluable. Psychology students can look to the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Counseling Association (ACA), or even the American Association of Christian Counselors. Sociology students can join the American Sociological Association (ASA) and those bent more towards the social work area can think about joining the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) or the National Association of Christian Social Workers (NACSW). And our Criminal Justice majors may want to consider the American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA-Lambda Alpha Epsilon).
Usually, for a very nominal membership fee as a student member, you would gain access to many helpful tools to assist you in career development. Information about how to get into the field and everything from graduate school preparation to up-to-date issues can be found. Additionally, you may have various newsletters, journals, or databases that you can access, which would increase your overall exposure to the discipline.
Therefore, I would encourage each of you to speak with your advisor or your professor about such memberships and see which one is right for you. Take a serious look at your professional development even now as a student and it could open a whole new perspective for you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Classroom behavior strategies class to be held October 27, 2009

Barbara Riedesel, Behavior Specialist from the Bolivar Exceptional Pupil Cooperative, will be teaching a Classroom Behavior Strategies class on Thursday, October 29, 2009 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Gott Education Building, Rooms 240 and 250 on the SBU Bolivar campus.

Classroom management and behavior/discipline strategies are often challenges for beginning teachers. This seminar will address strategies to help the beginning teacher determine appropriate tactics for their classroom.

The initial certificate (IPC) is valid for four years. During the valid dates of this classification, a teacher is required to participate in a beginning teacher assistance program. This seminar will help qualify the participant to advance to the next level of certification.

The cost for the seminar is $15.00 which includes a meal and drink The deadline to sign up is October 23, 2009. No late registrations will be allowed. The seminar is limited o the first 50 participants.

Registration forms MUST be accompanied by check or purchase order and may be faxed or mailed. For more information, please call (417) 328-1717.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Homecoming is coming! I am looking forward to seeing some alumni and some current students in and around the SBU campus on the weekend of October 10th. Please take advantage of this time to meet our esteemed faculty, the newer ones and the ones who have been here a while. Many times, I never know who I will meet and it is a surprise. It is nice to catch up on everyone's lives and stories. So, come and share. Safe travels and blessings to all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What-if Overload

While trying what to make my first posting about, I considered many things but kept coming back to the same topic. In my first aid class we are currently going over CPR. I generally go into this topic with the knowledge that actually having to do CPR on a real person is a frightening thought for most students. Perhaps because the students are so worried about actually helping someone, they tend to ask lots of questions. Some questions are for clarification or further instruction on how to perform the skill, but others seem to be derived from the worry. Questions about situations that probably those of us who don't work in ERs will ever encounter. I try to tell my students that the what-ifs are not the focus, and if they know the basic skills they can handle almost any situation. This, however, is not the answer they're looking for and often provides little satisfaction. In these cases, I try my best to answer their questions and emphasize using good judgment and common sense.

This idea of worry about the what-ifs has me thinking about our lives in general though. How often do we worry about an event that's in the future? Or a situation that is in the past? Studies have found that what we tend to worry about things that will never happen, the what-ifs. For some of us, myself included, we have a hard time refraining from worry. One of the bad things about worry is that it is a vicious circle. If we try to eliminate worry from our lives, we worry that we aren't worried. If we focus on our worries, then we are missing out on all God has planned for our lives. I suppose there is not easy fix for worrying, but by using good judgment and following what you've been taught, you'll know what to do in those what-if situations.

Friday, September 18, 2009

GRE Anyone?

Hello and welcome back. Sorry I have been away from the blog. But here is the latest scoop from the Department of Behavioral Sciences. Psi Chi and SCJS (Sociology and Criminal Justice Society) is sponsoring the Fall GRE Prep Sessions. So, for those of you who have aspirations for graduate school and the GRE is required, then this is for you. For $7.00, you can attend all 5 sessions: Overview; Practice Testing; Essay Writing and Statistics; Vocabulary Building; and Math Review. Materials will also be provided. This has been done before and reports are that this type of study is well worth the time and effort. So, make room on your schedules for September 24, 25, 26, and October 2 and 3 for this event. You have until September 19th to register, so hurry.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not our Tim Wood, a case of mistaken identity

“There are two modes of establishing our reputation: to be praised by honest men, and to be abused by rogues. It is best, however, to secure the former, because it will invariably be accompanied by the latter.”

-- Charles Caleb Colton, Anglican clergyman (1780-1832)

Reputation and trust are precious and precarious things. They are built over a lifetime, and yet they can be squandered (or stolen) in an instant. This has been one of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the past few days as I have dealt with a rather unusual case of identity theft.

Hopefully, none of you are going to encounter my cyberspace imposter or his/her work firsthand. But just in case, I wanted to take a moment to explain what has happened, set the record straight, and reassure everyone that I haven’t completely lost my mind!

This situation first came to my attention back in December. Just before the beginning of Christmas break, I began to receive “fan mail” (for lack of a better term) on my university e-mail account. These people kept raving about this online political essay I had supposedly written and published, and that was now being circulated via forwarded emails. Some called me courageous. Others hailed me as a visionary. A few suggested that I was predestined to play a pivotal role in the apocalyptic events foretold in the Book of Revelation. (I’m not kidding...) Now over the past eleven years I have published a book and several articles in academic journals, and I have to admit I never even attracted one groupie. So with my curiosity very much piqued, I began searching the internet for the mysterious article.

I suppose it was inevitable that I was not going to like what I found. There, prominently displayed on a rather politically extreme website, was an essay that likened President Barack Obama to . . . Adolph Hitler. Underneath the title was the inscription “by Tim Wood.” Uh-oh.

I was not pleased. However, even though my parents always told me I was special, a quick internet search will reveal that I am not, in fact, the world’s only Tim Wood. So I ignored it. Until recently, that is, when the forwarded version of this article had mutated into a form which included the rather unambiguous phrase “Professor of History and Political Science, Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, MO.” The writer of this message also helpfully appended my office phone number and e-mail address.

I would be lying if I said I was not upset. Even above and beyond the fact that the comparison is utterly ridiculous (anyone who believes that truly has no understanding of the depths of evil plumbed by the Nazi regime), it was now personal. Who has the right to speak for me like that? How dare they hide behind my name! What if my colleagues -- or my friends and family – read this and believed it??? And it still surprises me how much we all (and I include myself in this) take at face value off the internet. In history, scholars are trained to always analyze their sources. Always, in the back of their minds, historians must be aware that the historical documents they are working with may contain errors, lies, omissions, and distortions. Their sources may even turn out to be wholesale forgeries.

To navigate those potential pitfalls, historians check facts and look for other documents that conform (or contradict) the information found in our source. We seek to identify the author and understand his or her motives for writing. We try to understand the larger historical and cultural context surrounding a document. By doing our homework, we’re better able to judge when something or someone deserves to be “taken at their word.”

This episode has taught me that these skills have an important place even outside this history classroom. All of us know how much dishonesty there is in the world around us, yet how quickly we forget that just before we hit the “forward” button. For me, this has been a warning against being intellectually lazy and has reminded me of the importance of verifying information before passing it on to others. (Along the way, I’ve also learned that websites such as and are excellent tools for investigating online hoaxes.)

At any rate, I’m now in the process of cleaning this mess up, and am optimistic that it will soon be straightened out. And if any of you encounter any online rantings and ravings that claim to be by me, don’t necessarily believe it. Things are not always what they seem.

Timothy L. Wood, Ph.D.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Psychology of New Year's Resolutions

When the New Year rolls around, many of us think in terms of making a New Year's Resolution for ourselves. The only problem for many of us, is that by the time the next Christmas comes that resolution is far distant memory. But the short of it is this: we all need goals. Goals helps us to formulate a plan or strategy to help us accomplish a desire we may have. Too many times, we simply focus on the "desire" we would like to accomplish this next year, without the plan to help us succeed.
So, keep these 5 things in mind when working on those New Year's Resolutions.
1. Keep things simple. Perhaps work on only one thing at a time. Break things down into smaller, and more workable steps.
2. State your "desire" in behavioral terms. It is not enough to say, "I want to get closer to God this year." The question is how, and you can do that by reading your Bible more often, or keeping a daily devotional.
3. Make it something you can count. Minutes you have walked. Chapters of the Bible you have read. Times you went to the gym to workout this week.
4. Write it down. Putting your plan into words is also very helpful. It is like a "contract" with yourself and contracts can be very motivational.
5. And plan to reward yourself at various points of accomplishment along the way. Giving yourself a pat on the back, using something material that you will buy if you complete certain tasks. It is the "ol' carrot in front of the donkey, pulling the cart" routine. At some point, we have to let the donkey get the carrot, or perhaps, he'll never pull for us again.
If you have any questions about some plans for your life, please drop us a note at the Behavioral Sciences department.