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Fordham Instructor, Alumna Appear on Game Shows

Edith Kealey (GSS ’03) took home $2,000 thanks to her second-place finish on Jeopardy!
Photo by Janet Sassi

Fordham’s Edith Kealey (GSS ’03), a doctoral student and member of the adjunct faculty in the Graduate School of Social Work (GSS), appeared as a candidate on Jeopardy! on Friday, Oct. 31. On the same day, Jean Marie McCormick (FCRH ’01) appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and appeared again on Nov. 3.

McCormick took home $50,000 after her two-day appearance on Millionaire. Kealey finished in second place on the Jeopardy! show behind the defending champion, and took home a second-place cash prize of $2,000.

“What I can say is that it was really fun, and will be a dinner party story that I’ll have for the rest of my life,” said Kealey, who is the wife of Joe DiBari, director of sports information at Fordham, and the mother of two boys. “Alex Trebek is very sharp.”

McCormick is the daughter of Linda McCormick, executive secretary to Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.

Kealey said she was encouraged to take the show’s online 50-question tryout test by her former college roommate, who was a contestant in 2007. Kealey scored well, and when the Jeopardy! “Brain Bus” scheduled in-person tryouts in the New York metropolitan area, she was invited to do a mock game.

To Kealey’s surprise, many of the other candidates were on a first-name basis with the Jeopardy! representatives, she said.

“There are actually Jeopardy groupies who try out repeatedly,” Kealy explained. “These candidates knew so much about the show—they even knew when Alex Trebek had shaved off his moustache.”

Following the April tryout, Kealey said she forgot about it. She was contacted in August to appear on the September episode.

Once the actual show began, Kealey said that her biggest challenge was not whether she knew answers, but, rather, how well she could maneuver the ring-in buzzer.

“You get locked out if you press the buzzer too soon, before Alex finishes reading the questions,” she said. “So there is a very narrow window in which to ring in.”

—Janet Sassi

Drop It Like It’s Hot!

Who’s that getting down with students at the annual President’s Ball? None other than the University’s new Ram mascot, who made his unofficial debut at the Oct. 25 event. The Ram strutted onto the dance floor to the sounds of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and proceeded to amp up the party with some signature moves.

Guys and girls alike danced up on him for a good part of the evening, with the Ram giving as good as he got from the electrified crowd. But the Ram was all business the next day, having recovered from the night’s revelry in time to lead the Fordham football squad onto the field at Homecoming.

—Joseph McLaughlin

Ignatian Pedagogy Launched into Cyberspace

Are professors increasingly becoming avatars in virtual classrooms housed in cyber communities?

That and other questions in distance learning were discussed on Oct. 23 and 24 at Fordham as part of a conference sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities for deans of adult and continuing education.

In attendance were representatives from 20 of the nation’s 28 Jesuit colleges, as well as spokespeople from Jesuit Distance Education Network (JesuitNET), a Web-based clearinghouse for some 500 online courses.

“Jesuit education has a centuries-old tradition of attending to the whole person—intellectually, ethically and spiritually,” said David Robinson, S.J., of the Nestucca Sanctuary Jesuit Community. “Such values are not left as a sidebar when the learning venue moves to cyberspace.”

Rev. Anthony Ciorra, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham, said that as rollouts in online courses climb among Jesuit universities, it’s important to focus on embedding quality Ignatian pedagogy in those courses.

“Distance learning is neither good nor bad, and you are not going to get all faculty on board,” said Father Ciorra, who helped teach the first wave of Fordham’s online courses last spring. “But at the end of the day, you have to look at the customer.”

Calling his personal experience teaching online “transformational,” Father Ciorra noted some distinctly Ignatian characteristics of the distance-learning model developed by JesuitNET.

They include: cura personalis, the Jesuit notion of care for the whole person, which is tantamount to online learning; the desire to not only gain knowledge, but to address how that knowledge will be used; and creative thinking, deep thought and reflection on the material that is presented.

“Part of the transformation to online courses was realizing it is not the quantity of information, but it is teaching students how to think creatively, how to connect the dots,” Father Ciorra said. “And it is not just [becoming] a Stepford wife. Your personality as a teacher comes into the course.”

The event was hosted by Fordham College of Liberal Studies and took place at Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campus venues.

—Janet Sassi


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