Ken Sell Remembers His First Time With Dawn Devine

Posted by on December 22, 2011

What can I say about Dawn? To begin, you know that Dawn isn’t really her first name. She confidentially shared with me that her real first name is Adaline but she did not want the initials A.D.D. so she goes by her middle name Dawn – although I do believe ADD is probably a more accurate description.
I was definitely a desperation hire. She had two weeks prior to class beginning to find an Intro to Psych instructor. To hire me, she must have been pretty desperate! My interview lasted for three hours – a half hour for the interview and 2 1/2 hours of Dawn talking. I later found out that was a common experience with her! You go into her office to get a single question answered and come out an hour later with your question still unanswered, had a good time with her, but forgot about what you originally went in there for. In fact, when I came home after my first interview my wife could not believe that I was at the college for that long -she thought that maybe I was in an accident.
When Dawn hired me, she told me I would be an adjunct instructor. Given her wonderful Minnesotan accent, I thought she said “a junk” instructor. Then I thought what kind of college hires “junk” instructors?
When I was about to attend my first faculty meeting, I asked another instructor what I should bring in preparation for the meeting. She told me “crayons.” Again, I thought what kind of college tells its instructors to bring crayons to their faculty meetings? After that first meeting, I understood why.
And communication was always important to Dawn. When I discovered that two of my classes were canceled, the information for the first class came through the bookstore manager and for the second class from the Assistant Dean. In fact, I was sitting at my kitchen table prepping for one class, a week prior to the class beginning, when Dawn called me to confirm that the class had been transferred to another instructor. Talk about effective communication!!!
But if I attempted to air any criticism of Dawn in front of my wife, forget it! My wife loves Dawn. She believed she could do no wrong. When we had friends getting married, my wife asked if Dawn could change water into wine. I did not know about that, but I knew she could maybe make crayons! And all those wonderful little personal cards I got in my mailbox from her will definitely be missed! My wife still cannot believe that Dawn took the time to make all those cards! And I am still traumatized about not getting my Kudos candy bar this quarter.
Another funny Dawn experience was with one of my quarter’s instructor evaluations. For once, I received some pretty positive comments about my teaching from the students and Dawn accused me of going into the computer and writing those comments myself! Geez, talk about instilling confidence.
My final Dawn story involves the greatest “I got you” yet – a rabbit. My daughter wanted a rabbit as a pet and Dawn had the perfect solution – a rabbit from the Vet Tech program. After that experience, I wish little rabbit pellets will rain down from heaven on Dawn as much as I had to pick those little buggers up.
All joking aside, Dawn is probably the best supervisor I ever had. I only wish her the very best in all her future activities and I am saddened by her loss. It will be very different environment around MSB knowing she won’t be here.
Ken Sell

Thank you for your Interest in Minnesota School of Business.