Published by the CFCC Teaching/Learning Institute.
Contact Person: Joe Zimmerman, Building 1,Room 103A
Ocala Campus, Extension 1782 or 1708
Energetic, purposeful, creative, Central Florida Community College
promotes learning in an open, caring, inclusive environment which encourages
individual and community development inspired by shared values of
integrity, service, responsibility and diginity
by Joe Zimmerman, T/LI Coordinator
The numbers are clear and disturbing. According to an investigation by the Government Accountability Office of Congress and a survey by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs), students in 2005 spent an average of $898 per year on textbooks. This number represents 72% of tuition at the average community college. If the trend continues, in a few short years our students at CFCC will be paying as much for books as they do for tuition.
Even more disturbing than the spiraling price of textbooks is the fact that textbook publishers are almost surely engaging in unfair business practices. A study by Yale University last year came to the conclusion that American textbook companies sell the same textbooks in England for far less money than they charge in the U.S. These companies are gouging our students as well as our financial aid resources, and I really think it’s time that we as professors start doing something about it.
The book reps—who always behave like long lost friends when they open our office doors—tell us how expensive it is to research and develop textbooks (as they pass out canvas bags filled with goodies, bring lunch to all who will sit and listen to them, and send desk copies to teachers who no longer work here). They tell us that new editions have to come out every three years so that they can be up to date. They tell us how little money their companies actually make. They tell us how many free books they have to send out to professors to get one to actually use the book. But I find it hard to feel sorry for the 8 billion dollar textbook industry.
The sad thing is how little colleges and professors are doing to fight back for our students.
I know that our textbooks are an extremely important tool in the educational process. I know that many textbooks do need to publish important up to date information. But for a lot of different courses—history, literature, math, humanities, English—I find it hard to believe that the changes of a new edition warrant a $100-$150 price tag on a book.
What is surprising is how little the previous editions of textbooks cost. Go to half.com or Amazon.com. and type in the title of your textbook. Now compare the prices of the current edition of your text with the previous edition. I did this for the book we use in Freshman Composition II. The new edition at our bookstore sells for $85. The previous edition on half.com sells for $5. The difference in the books is negligible—they took out a few poems and stories, they added a few. But I was happy with the previous edition (and the one before that). Textbooks companies make huge amounts of cash by constantly churning out new editions because frankly they don’t make any money on the used books. (Think of the sustainability issue here, Steve!).
How can we help our students? Below I offer some suggestions, and if you can think of any others, please let me know so I can print them in our next issue. Special thanks to Sandra Cooper and Diann Stowers for their thoughtful input to this list:
1. Give students extra time to get their textbooks for your class. Many of our students are savvy—they do get their texts online. (One of our learning outcomes is “self direction,” so it follows that we should support our students who pursue cheaper books) But this means it might take a few days for them to get it shipped to them. So put several copies of your textbooks on reserve at the LRC so that the students buying online can keep up with the readings in that all important first week of class. And tell students it’s OK not to buy the text at the bookstore; this is America.
2. Try to choose textbooks that have a longer new edition cycle than similar texts. I use the Norton publisher in my literature classes because their cycle is every six years while their competitor puts out a new edition every four years.
3. Post textbook titles and ISBN numbers on upcoming class schedules.
(Yes, Jenzabar can actually do this!) As soon as students sign up for a class, they can start searching for good textbook prices. Simply give the textbook information to your friendly staff assistant when they are imputing the new schedule of classes. You can post the textbook info on your office door as well.
4. If you can, let your students use a previous edition of your text. (But be specific as to how far back you will allow them to go).
5. Lately textbooks companies have been bundling their texts with extra items like workbooks and CDs. This makes is it harder for students to sell back their books. If you don’t use these add-ons, let students know so that they can buy a used edition of the book.
6. Beware of the recent ploy of “premium” companion web sites. In this scam, the students who buy the new textbook pay less for the web access than students who buy a used book. Fees for access also go up without notice. Here at CFCC, when mycomplab launched, access was $9.95 per year; now access is $24.95 per year. Professors were never notified that the price more than doubled in less than three years.
7. Facilitate student book swaps. On the last day of class, ask students who want to sell their textbooks to write down their name and phone number. Give this list to the first meeting of your next class. Other colleges sponsor student book swap events the first week of classes, in the gym in the cafeteria. I recently spoke with Marjorie McGee and Dr. Cooper about this and they would support such an event. This of course would have to be student driven.
To read the Yale study on lower textbook prices in the UK go to
The following site is an interesting national student site with some great ideas for lowering prices: http://www.maketextbooksaffordable.org
Finally, here are some websites which offer large inventories of previous edition textbooks: campusbooks.com, half.com, Biblio.com, Abebooks.com and A1books.com. When all else fails try Amazon.com.
You are a veteran at CFCC, a veteran of the Citrus Campus. What is it like teaching in Lecanto?
Well we have a small campus, obviously, and it’s nice because there’s a certain bond that you can develop with the students; the faculty and adjuncts work closely together. It does have its limitations, but sometimes these limitations can be strengths. But anymore with internet and video conferencing I feel a lot more connected with the main campus. I don’t feel as disconnected as I did when I first started teaching out there.
What courses do you teach?
Studio art, I’ve taught drawing, design, sculpture, and painting. I also teach humanities and art history.
Do you have a philosophy of teaching?
Yes. I sum it up as “DOA.”
That doesn’t sound promising.
Well it’s not what you think. It’s just a way that makes it easy to remember. The ‘D’, for example, is for dynamic. If you are presenting material that you present it in a way that it was intended. Like if it’s a certain piece of literature, or a certain style of art that you’re showing, you want to be able to put yourself into it and give gestures and voice that go with whatever that is….
What’s the ‘O’?
The ‘O’ is organic, like a growing thing. For example you start a semester at point zero and you grow with the class, like a plant. You feed and water and hopefully you get that back. You have to be ready to change. I have learned that success in teaching is connecting what I’m doing in class with what students already know, or think they know. So, again, in every course a teacher has to be ready to change, which kind of goes back to the Dynamic part also.
The ‘A’ is for authentic—every time you walk into class there’s an honest kind of repertoire that I try to build with these people. They are students, yes, but they are people. And so am I. I like to think that students tap into my enthusiasm. I am absorbed in my subject matter, in and out of class. When students know you are honestly and sincerely moved by the subject matter—which I am—they have a good chance of learning that subject matter.
It sounds like a very humanistic teaching philosophy. But let’s get more specific. Studio art. You teach drawing. How do you do that? How do you teach somebody to draw? Where do you start?
More like constructivist, but Humanist is fine. OK, first of all …Let’s take figure drawing. Nine times out of ten, the people who come into that class think that they already need to know how to draw in order to take a drawing class (weird!). We start with basics. There are certain sets of proportions, such as those used in drawing the head and the figure.
Well, how many heads high for the figure, setting up the head in 3rds and 4ths, how to set up the curve of the spine, ways to compare the width of the shoulders to some other length or width, things like that.
Does inspiration play a part?
It depends. In freehand drawing one it’s mostly skill building for the first half of the semester. Then you can do projects where they can experiment and be more creative individually, after they’ve gone through the four basic subject matters—still life, figure, portrait, and landscape—and you’ve exposed them to certain media and methods.
So anybody can be an artist in Michele Wirt’s class?
Anyone can be creative; anyone can learn skills; anybody can have fun; but are you going to leave the courses having learned enough to go forward and be successful professionally at art? For a living? Without a day job?
Competence , yes. But inspired? A teacher can’t necessarily make that happen.
Learning the elemental skills reminds of the teaching style of Jack Thursby. Do you like Jack’s work?
Yes I do.
What do you like about it?
Well…Color is everything about Jack’s mature work, along with the emphasis on brushstroke, a result of his training in the Japanese Sumi-e techniques with Yolanda Mayhall. The draftsmanship was always there, but then his application of color theory is one of his trademarks. I think his art has great humor—a lot of visual puns—I like that, too. And I always see something new when I look at his work…it’s enduring.
So let’s talk about your art, Michele. What is your forte?
I’m involved with doing portraits at the moment, have been for a while…
In acrylics, I most enjoy doing portraits of musicians in acrylics. It’s fast. I tend to be very immediate and direct…I don’t like to labor too long on a piece…I like to have similar themes running through the work…And I like doing musicians because someone always has something in their hands, they’re always interacting with the instrument, the way they hold their bodies…that fascinates me.
I saw some of the works you are describing in your show last year. What town was that in again?
Old Homosassa, which was a fishing community way back when.
I remember the show was in an unusual building…there were old …
Printing presses. It’s a print museum, [The Old Mill House Gallery Printing Museum, next to the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins]. It’s really quite famous.
So you did an art show at a Print Museum. I remember there was music and beer. That was some art show.
The proprietor is an old friend, James Anderson. I wrote a piece for the local paper, a profile on he and his wife, the whole process of how he got started with the museum, and as a favor to me for doing that he let me do an art show there of my work.
Wasn’t he in the band?
That was him. His stage name is Boe. He has a blues band.
All this talk of beer and music is distracting me. Let’ focus. You attended the Summer Fantasy Workshop in July and if I remember correctly you told me you had just completed a course offered by FSU in techniques for online teaching. Tell us about one thing you learned in that class that you use in your online teaching.
Well there were a few. One of them was the use of a Wiki space.
Tell us about Wiki.
A Wiki is a collaborative document that the students create. You have to be careful that they don’t edit or delete other students’ work…
At first I put discussion topics up there, wide open ones. What is the purpose of art, that sort of thing. Now I’m constructing the topic objectives to be more conducive to collaboration, for example having them create questions which others in the course have to pose answers for.
How is that different from a discussion on any other kind of discussion board, like Web CT?
It has some great advantages. In a regular one you have to open up every single message, or you have to compile them, and open up all the texts. But in Wiki you can see all of the posts on one page and it’s just visually a lot more interesting and fun, the students can add pictures as well.
So the Wiki is successful?
So far. We had a few setbacks. Some of the students were accidentally deleting each other’s stuff.
Do you assess the discussion posts?
Yes I do, and make comments on them as well; 20% of the students’ grades are based on the quality on their overall postings.
Weren’t you experimenting at Summer Fantasy with something called Diigo?
That’s an animation tool for Wiki. Students post things and it looks like regular yellow post it notes. This is so experimental I haven’t really built it into the course in that way yet. And some of these students have challenges as far as technology goes.
You took some students to Italy last summer. Let’s talk a bit about that. Where did you all go?
Rome, Venice and Florence.
How did the trip come about?
Originally, the year before I ended up taking them, I tried to get an Italian Renaissance Art course passed, partly because I was involved in an exhibit in Florence, so I thought it would be neat to be in the exhibit and brings some students so they could see the artwork there, meet other artists, absorb another culture. But that didn’t pan out. So instead, the next year, I took the students as an independent study course.
Was the trip successful?
I hope so. Many of our students don’t travel much, so I think they were all very enriched by being in Italy, seeing a lot of famous art in original settings. There’s a big difference looking at a piece of art in an art history book and seeing that piece of art hanging in a museum in Florence. Or seeing the statue of David, or the Pantheon. I hope to offer it again sometime in the next few years, but to do things differently, more tailored to our students needs.
Something you said earlier in the interview has been bothering me, a little. How do you teach art without teaching in a studio?
Well, we do have one classroom that has no carpet and a sink and storage space and has tables instead of desks. So over time I’ve bought easels, filled cabinets with supplies, kept past student work .Sometimes I bring stuff from home. I want to give back. These are courses students don’t have to take, so when they do take them, and then they come back for another course, and then another…that really keeps me going.
Thanks for your time, Michele.
A Fond Farewell and Best Wishes to our Retirees
Brenda Frazier, Kathy Kilcrease and Vi Surmons
Vi Surmons’ love of teaching is exhibited each time she enters the classroom. She is a skilled teacher who captures the interests and the involvement of her students in learning. Vi never desires to take center stage; however, her quiet leadership was evident during her term as program facilitator and in her service to the college and the community. I appreciate Vi’s involvement with the implementation of the QEP.
Kathy Kilcrease displays a strong personal commitment to learning – for students and for faculty. Kathy provided valuable leadership for the Teaching and Learning Institute during the development of the faculty promotion process and the adoption of the Institutional Learning Outcomes. I appreciated Kathy’s assistance with the development of “New Faculty Orientation and Training” and the many other activities involving faculty.
Brenda Frazier strongly motivates her students to achieve optimal learning in the Surgical Technology program. For many years, during her tenure as Director for the program, the students received 100% passing rate on the national certification exam. This program was also recognized as one of the top 20 Surg-Tech programs in the United States. I have appreciated Brenda’s candor and her ability to organize a very complex training schedule for her students.
Sharon P. Cooper, Ed.D.
Vice President for Instruction
I’d like to thank Kathy Kilcrease for being the fantastic teacher she was. She certainly made Geology come to life for me. Thanks Kathy! ~ Trish Glennon
Kathy’s trips to the Galápagos Islands in the late 80’s were the inspiration for my course on Darwin, Evolution, and Galápagos Islands. She was very helpful and supportive of me while I was developing the course and I’ll never forget that.
~ Adam Hayashi
There were a few occasions when I needed some uplifting and Kathy happened to be there; she made me feel like there was someone else who also cared!
~ Zinnia Callueng
Vi Surmons: A pure heart and a kind soul, Vi is a shining example of excellence and faith. I will remember her always. She inspires me. ~ Cassandra J. Robison, Ph.D.
Vi Surmons got me my first job judging art at a local festival—the person in charge of the Inglis-Yankeetown Arts/Seafood “festival” knew Vi from some other community projects, and besides, they were probably desperate!
~ Michele Wirt
Vi was on my interview committee and I still remember my first impressions and how her response to me made me think, “I want to teach at CFCC”. Vi was dressed in her very professional and beautiful way and she smiled at me as she sat down at the table–her smile lasted longer than just a quick greeting smile; it was more like a comfort smile and I immediately had a feeling of being welcomed from this woman. During the past eight years I have watched students start to realize their potential because of the way Vi has of making people know they are welcome in her presence – just as she did for me. Students have worked very hard for Vi and she has touched many with her magic. Her firm faith permeates her entire life and she is one of the most Christian human beings I have every experienced. I will miss Vi and I hope she knows that she has touched my life in so many wonderful ways. ~ Connie Tice
Kathy Kilcrease—“energetic, purposeful, creative”—she is our vision statement personified. Kathy tops the list of people to have by your side or leading when you face any challenging task. Kathy's student and learning centered philosophy helped to forge the vision and mission of the Teaching/Learning Institute. With her laughter, clear thinking and determination, she encouraged and nurtured her colleagues in the development of new ideas. For me she has been friend, confidante and partner. Thanks for guiding me over the rocks, dear hiking buddy. ~Lynne Boele
Brenda is a nurse, a surgical technologist, and a teacher. She created our Surgical Technology (ST) program in the early ‘90s and has taught the program since that time. Brenda has maintained high standards, as demonstrated by the ST gradates 100% certifying examination pass rate and the ST accrediting agency designation of our program as a Top Twenty program in the country. The ST program and students have been the center of Brenda’s life. Her dedication, expertise, and initiative have influenced the lives of many students and, through her graduates have, positively impacted health care in the CFCC service area and beyond. ~ Gwen Alcorn
Brenda is a ‘real’ person…She will chat about any current issues – in nursing – in cooking – in arthritis – in student behaviors….Doesn’t matter. You can always get a response – a real response. Not glittered up but usually with a laugh! She takes pride in her program and is not afraid to let us know that the surg-tech program has high state (and national) rankings. Some may call it bragging, but she feels she has bragging rights! ~ Barbara Anderson
Kathy Kilcrease and I have spent many years discussing how the college can better do “housekeeping.” What that means is why talk about all the technology, if you don’t have pencils! Thanks to Kathy for her leadership in the Teaching/Learning Center, where her work along with the rest of us helped create the Fantasy Workshops that have helped improve instruction and education all over this campus. ~ Dave Hartley
Vi Surmons unselfishly led the Communications Department for more years than any human should…mostly because no one else wanted the thankless job. Here’s some thanks for all of that hassle and work. I cannot number how many students have told me in passing how helpful Mrs. Surmons has been in their college experience. All that, and she bakes wonderful desserts! ~ Dave Hartley
Working with Elvira for 23 years now, I have always considered her the emotional rock of our department; she faces her work with unshakable determination, and consistent professionalism. As a teacher, Vi has a big impact on her classes; I can always tell when I have one of Vi’s students sitting in my classroom; they are the most organized and always put forth a lot of effort. As program facilitator—an often impossible job—Vi inspired us to do better and never lose site of the student, and the personal challenges that so many of them bring to our classes. She was always fair, and practical, and helpful. I have never known a person more grounded in the values of teaching. The college is losing a valuable treasure.
Good luck to you Vi; we miss you already. ~ Joe Zimmerman
During my third year at CFCC, I had the opportunity to attend the Florida Developmental Educators Association Fall Conference in Orlando. I was a relatively new faculty member at the time and was excited at the opportunity to get to know my fellow developmental educators from around the state and get to know my conference roommate Vi Surmons. I was looking forward to being able to spend some time with Vi and get to know her better as a person and a friend because I already knew and respected her as a wise and gifted educator.
During that conference, I got to know Vi much better and was amazed at her boundless energy and her determination to get the most out of every minute of every day—literally. She showed me that she demonstrates more than one interpretation of Colossians 4:5 in her daily walk “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” She also showed me that even though she was a veteran educator, she was not ready to slow down and coast, but that she was truly like the Energizer bunny and she was going to keep going and going and going to get the most out of life.
She set a great example for me as a faculty member who was just beginning my higher education career and I have never forgotten that. ~ Jana Bernhardt
To Vi: You have been a friend, mentor, and confident. I am going to miss you.
~ Judy Haisten
To Kathy: I have enjoyed getting to know you. Have a wonderful retirement.
~ Judy Haisten
Vi Surmons has been a good friend and co-worker for the past twenty-three years. She always cared about her students and tried to make a positive influence in their lives. Vi has such a loving and good heart—I cherish our friendship! I will truly miss Vi and her words of wisdom! ~ Diann Stowers
Learning Theme Update
by Jana Bernhardt, College Success Coordinator
In keeping with the current year’s learning theme of Service students in SLS 1501 and SLS 1101 courses had the privilege of hearing CFCC Alumni Michael Fluker speak to them about the Principles of Success and Service.
Michael was in Ocala for a book signing celebration at Barnes and Noble in recognition of his new book and also he was here to support the theatre production of Once on This Island presented in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Fluker is the President of the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe.
Students were uplifted by Fluker’s motivational message of empowerment. He shared with them the idea of empowering themselves for success through using the power in their thoughts, actions and words. He encouraged students to develop their potential and to use their inner power to create, connect with others, and care. He shared many humorous and personal insights from his days as a student at CFCC and shared his journey since he graduated CFCC in 1991.
The four simple principles of success that he shared with students are:
1. Don’t use your power to resurrect the dead. The only time you should resurrect the dead is to give life to others. He encouraged students to not to give past academic and personal difficulties power over their lives, but to focus instead on using their inner power to create opportunities and experiences for the future. He admonished students to only focus on their past barriers and problems when they are sharing examples in an effort to encourage others in a positive manner.
2. Whatever you’re looking at is what you will see; whatever you are listening to, you will hear. He encouraged students to use their power to focus on positive aspects of life issues and not get focused on problems and barriers to success. He admonished students that when they focused only on the problems they encounter, they will fail to see the solutions, opportunities and resources all around and available to them.
3. We are so driven to succeed, that we forget the road to success is called failure. Fluker encouraged students not let failures and disappointments turn them in a different direction looking for an easy way around their problems in an effort to feel like they are successful and can accomplish something. He stated that it is better to keep making a repeated effort to accomplish a goal rather than to fail an attempt, give up and change direction and settle for being successful accomplishing a goal that you don’t truly desire.
4. You won’t discover the greatness you have until you go where greatness is needed. Fluker passionately shared this main point of his presentation with students. His emphasis was that students all have talents and greatness within them, but will often not discover these attributes until they put others first and discover their talents and greatness through service to individuals and their communities.
Students in the SLS 1501 classes did a follow up personal journal writing that provided a response to Fluker’s message and also had to identify at least one positive area of “greatness” that they possess or would like to possess and one area of service in which they could use this greatness.
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Lighthearted Philosopher’s Society
by Ron Cooper, Humanities
The first annual meeting of the Lighthearted Philosophers Society, held on October 20 in St. Petersburg, featured approximately 40 people, mostly philosophy professors, a number of graduate students, and some undergraduates. Presentations included such titles as “A Figural Theory of Film Comedy,” “How to Read Wittgenstein as x: An Exercise in Selective Interpretation,” and “Valuing Situational Comedy: A Way to the Good Life.” Joseph Ellin (Prof. Emeritus, Western Michigan University) set the tone for the conference, as perhaps for others to come, with his “Why Philosophy Isn’t Funny.” He told a number of jokes that one might characterize as philosophical but then argued that they were not really philosophical. After remarks on several theories of comedy, he claimed that what makes those jokes funny has little to do with philosophy. Such jokes can, however, be used as the basis for philosophical discussion, especially in the classroom.
Elizabeth Victor (USF) offered a similar critique of TV sitcoms, focusing upon The Simpsons and South Park. Victor pointed out, among other things, that the very thing qualities that often make these shows funny—their irreverence—often raise questions about social mores. Danielle Carducci (University of Texas) commented on Victor’s paper and disagreed, claiming instead that those shows are neither funny nor likely to raise philosophical discussions. A TV show that does accomplish those things, Carducci claimed, is Sex and the City (!). Despite the show’s admittedly offensive gender stereotypes, she said, the characters represent perspectives (the workaholic, the idealist, etc.) that provide opportunity for examination of ethical issues from varied approaches.
My reading and discussion of selected passages from my novel Hume’s Fork was the final presentation of the conference. I maintained the view that what we find most funny is usually what we find most embarrassing. The excerpts I read were scenes that take place at an American Philosophical Association conference in which I lampoon members of the profession. I got a terrific reception, and I believe that the attendees agreed that we philosophers have much to be embarrassed about.
Florida Division of American
Choral Directors Association
by Gregory Ruffer, Fine Arts
The highlight of the Florida Division of American Choral Directors Association on November 1-3 in Lake Mary, FL came in three workshops presented by Peter Boonshaft, Director of Bands at Hofstra University. He focused on energizing rehearsals and creating a positive atmosphere. I felt rejuvenated by his enthusiasm.
In addition to the workshops there were a couple of reading sessions of new music where I found some usable material. I also heard several excellent concerts by Florida groups and found time to meet with several of my colleagues.
Making a Case for Evidence Based Practice
by Polly Millet, AD Nursing
There is a quiet revolution going on in health care—this was the focal point of the Evidence Based Practice conference at UCF’s School of Nursing in Orlando on October 16 that Carol Snyder and I attended. Only about 10% of health care providers of all sorts of consistently using Evidence Based Practice (EBP). The rest are more commonly doing things “the way we’ve always done it.” New information more likely to assure positive outcomes of health care to clients is becoming available at a great rate. In the near future, third party payers will only provide reimbursement for health care practices that are supported with evidence. I wondered how all this could be reconciled with the realities of clinical practice with real human beings, and how to prepare our students to function in this environment.
According to a very inspiring speaker, Bernadette Melnyk, RN, PhD, EBP is “a problem solving approach to clinical practice that integrates the conscientious use of best evidence in combination with a clinician’s expertise as well as patient preferences and values to make decision about the type of care that is provided.” This made great sense to me, as it “humanized” the process, and enabled nurses to discover the most recent findings and put them to use as appropriate in a clinical situation.
In order for nurses to practice evidence based decision-making, resources must be available in the clinical areas, in the form of journals, computers and access to data bases. Information fluency is a must, starting in nursing education settings. Critical thinking will be required, along with clinical expertise.
Ellen Fineout-Overholt, RN, PhD, showed us the necessary skills: how to formulate a question, how to find and interpret the evidence quickly and efficiently.
This conference sent us home with ideas to assist our students with EBP. All are presently “computer literate” upon graduation, familiar with searching professional data bases, and we are well positioned to incorporate relevant learning experiences within the program.
Florida Reading Association
by Leona Hunt, Communications
The Florida Reading Association Conference at Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando on September 7-9 provided an amazing amount of information about aiding struggling readers. The various sessions I attended addressed writing to engage comprehension, reading in the content area, and the implication of brain research on reading education. When I left FRA, I felt energized and refreshed as a literacy coach for my students.
One of the exciting sessions I attended addressed the amazing connection between reading and writing. Students are more active in the reading process when instructors add a writing requirement. Often the writing assignment helps students set a concrete purpose for reading. When this writing becomes deep, reflective thoughts about the text’s content, students deepen their metacognitive process. Instructors should respond to the writer’s log, deepening the comprehension process and guiding the reader to undiscovered thoughts.
Dr. Coe from the University of Central Florida talked about a strategy called “Cubing.” This strategy is used to deepen the comprehension of expository text. Students are asked to describe, compare, associate, analyze, apply, and argue for or against the content of the reading. She demonstrated this strategy using an article about Hurricane Katrina. The amazing vocabulary and discussion that came from the cubing strategy elicited more information than a group of questions at the end of a text chapter.
I also attended a session related to brain research. This session focused on the “zone” of learning in which we must instruct our students. This zone, when monitored by medical equipment, causes the most brain synapses to light up. The way we create this zone is to keep students challenged beyond what comes easily; however, we must not challenge them to frustration. This “zone” creates the most learning in students. As a teacher, I was challenged to differentiate my instruction for the students based on their need to stay in the most beneficial learning zone!
Florida Philosophical Association
by Ron Cooper, Humanities
The 53rd annual meeting of the Florida Philosophical Association was hosted by the Florida State University in Tallahassee on November 9-11, 2007. Professional philosophers, graduate and undergraduate students, a few philosophers from other states, and several now retired to Florida attended. The entire state was represented geographically (members from Pensacola, Tampa, Miami, etc.) and institutionally (research universities, private colleges, and community colleges, including Okaloosa-Walton CC, Valencia, South FL CC [Avon Park], and of course CFCC). Most of the broad philosophical spectrum of philosophy was discussed; papers were presented on ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, contemporary epistemology, and ancient thought.
Of the sessions I attended, perhaps the most interesting was “The Leap that Kierkegaard Could Have Let Lie.” The paper itself was not so compelling (and, I think, wrong on several points), but the author’s unsuccessful attempt to draw a parallel between Søren Kierkegaard and Ludwig Wittgenstein on a certain concept led to a lively discussion afterward. Since liveliness is an uncommon quality of philosophical discussions, the spirited exchanges between two camps of interpretation (one led by a genuine scholar of both K & W) was refreshing.
One of the best presentations I heard was “The Liar Paradox and the Inclosure Schema,” which was the winner of the graduate student paper competition. Although it relied upon some highly technical features of logic and set theory, the paper focused on a question that is somewhat accessible to non-specialists: do all logical paradoxes share a similar structure and thereby similar solutions, or do they come in two sorts, one logical (or mathematical or set-theoretical) and the other semantic (having to do with faulty ideas or language)? If they come in one sort (as argued by Bertrand Russell), then the reduction of mathematics and other axiomatic systems to logical constructs may be possible. If they are of two kinds (as argued by Frank Ramsey), then that would supply more warrant to the view that those things are distinct.
Some of the papers were illustrative of a persistent division in philosophy that has largely been sutured in recent decades. To those (like me) who are primarily interested in Continental thought and American Pragmatism, the protracted tendency of Analytic philosophy to treat the history of philosophy as ground for puzzles instead of material to be appreciated in its own right is irksome. For example, the author of a paper entitled “Cartesian and Leibnizian Rationalism” admitted that his distinction was not based directly on Descartes’s and Lebniz’s works but rather that their names make for useful labels. A paper called “Against the Nietzschean Immoralist: The Rule of Reason Giving in Constructing Morality” was really about two recent philosophers’ criticisms of moral constructivism and hardly, as the author was told by a couple of audience members, conversant in the great German’s thought.
Perhaps more than other conferences, much of the between-the-sessions topics were inspired by such errant appropriations of the tradition and how that relates to philosophical education. The theme of the presidential address, “Truth, Tenure, and Tedium,” was also related. Traditionally, the presidential address is light but makes some general comments on the state of the profession. David McNaughton of FSU, this year’s president, read some entertaining examples of work written in horribly tedious style and suggested that the enormous pressure on young thinkers to produce publications may be to blame. He advocated (only partly in jest) that philosophers seeking tenure be limited to the number of publications they can have or even barred from writing at all.
I was fortunate to have a large turn-out for a discussion of my novel Hume’s Fork, which is set at a philosophy conference. After I read a couple of selections, two respondents gave highly praising comments on the book. The best part was that the audience responded to my readings with hearty laughter, a rare occurrence at a philosophy conference.
C.S. Lewis Conference
by Susan Monier, Citrus Communications
My weekend at the C.S. Lewis Conference in Wake Forest, NC, October 25-28 fulfilled my quest for professional development by providing key scholars who discussed the author, his life, and his works. I focused on seminars relating to his children’s literature, The Chronicles of Narnia, which I will be incorporating in a
new unit I will prepare for my fall 2008 Children’s Literature class.
The most interesting lecture dealt with the many mythological allusions Les used (Norse and Greek, esp.) His secretary shared information about the process of wring this masterpiece and the other literary strategies involved. Many scholars had brought copies of their publications for sale, and I was able to procure three which will be rewarding to me in terms of expanding my knowledge and in teaching the class. I appreciate being able to attend!
Florida Communication Association 2007 Conference
by Connie Tice, Communications
The theme for this yea’s Florida Communication Association Conference held October 11-14 in Daytona Beach was “Globalization and Communication.” Some of the seminars offered were: Power, Massa Media & Organization, Communicating Health in a Globalized World, Teaching In the Globalized Classroom, and People/Power/Politics. During the conference I had the privilege of presenting in two of the seminars: Best Practices for Teaching Communication, Globalization and Forensics, and being the moderator for Teaching in a Globalized Classroom Best Practices, Styles & Techniques.
As always when attending a conference of my peers I came away with new ideas for the classroom, however, this time I also came back with a renewed sense of community with my colleagues. For the 2007/2008 year I will be the CFCC representative and will also serve on the Executive Committee as the Newsletter editor for the Florida Communication Association.
Florida Community College Early Childhood
Educator’s Network Conference
by Marybeth Kyle, Public Service
The FCCECE Network, held September 25-27 in St. Petersburg, was very informative. Not only did we discuss current legislation regarding our programs, but we shared valuable teaching methods and ideas with one another. We had special guests who updated us on current early childhood events including Michelle Sizemore – DOE/VPK, Debbie Russo with DCF, and Beverly Esposito with the Children’s Forum and the PERK’s grant.
Articulation was a point of conversation. Polk Community College has an articulation agreement with USF. Additionally, Polk does not require their EC students to take their math class until the last semester because many students give up on a degree. They found that students gain more academic skills after taking the other classes which give them skills and confidence to conquer the “dreaded” math class. Good idea! Also, the committee said to find agreements that will not make a student get an AS and an AA degree before going on for a BA. We need to streamline the coursework.
Legislation requiring VPK teachers to have a degree is on hold until the governor can tie the requirement to funding. However, the rule is coming. So, it is important to get a VA or BS articulation in place.
TEACH has received $3 million dollars for scholarships. There may also be funding through Worknet for early Childhood programs. Students in the vocational certificate program may apply for FSAF-CE funds to attend programs.
We now should be articulating 9 credit hours for a FCCPC (CDA) and a Director’s Credential to our AS degrees.
The new Performance Standards will address training that includes birth through age four whereas the VPK standards are separate. The VPK Literacy is the only one accepted by the state for VPK teachers.
We were also given a pre-training in “English Language Learner in the VPK Classroom.” We received a training manual and training materials. This class will be offered on-line next month and will also be feature Kinderoo Children’s Academy in the training videos. Kinderoo is located here in Ocala.
All the information received will be shared with students and colleagues as well as be incorporated into many of our competency goals in our credit and non-credit Early Childhood classes. This was a most valuable conference that will enable CFCC to stay current and on the cutting edge.
Florida Association of Accounting Educators
by Vern Allen, Business & Technology
A new and important dimension of the October 4-6 2007 FAAE conference in Tampa rests in the fact that college and university economics faculty participated in joint sessions, thus enhancing the richness of research reports, teaching techniques and “sharing what works” roundtable discussions. Dr. Irv Gleim hosted a dynamic discussion of recent CPA exam content and online test administration methodologies. As with every FAAE conference, interaction among college and university faculty regarding successful modes of instruction – traditional and online – challenged participants to experiment with numerous new resources.
Martin Walter, IRS agent, addressed developing issues confronting both taxpayers and those responsible with tax code enforcement. The premier topics were ethics and fraud as viewed by a CPA office. Despite a popular urban legend, relatively few accountants knowingly facilitate clients’ unethical or fraudulent schemes.
Finally, opportunity to renew acquaintances with friends from other institutions proves one of the most rewarding experiences at any conference.
FCCPA Conference Presentation
by Verne Ayers, Fine Arts
I attended this conference on October 12 in Jacksonville to present two workshops:
The group attending Choosing Art for a Community College Magazine responded to questions as well as general discussions during the workshop. Many of the students viewed the student art on display; by using the handout and responding to the lecture, they learned techniques to select quality and relative artworks for publication.
The group attending Using Political Cartoons in a Community College Newspaper was very positive and receptive to the directions and suggestions presented. The group was large but seemed to be sincere about the future use of cartoons in their publications. The handout and lecture was well received and many students stayed after the workshop to view political cartoons and discuss the idea of the cartoons.
The demonstrations went very well, and overall, what I hoped to convey in my workshops was accomplished.
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Super Saturday Surprise
By Rita Lammot, Communications
Everyone’s definition of a super Saturday varies. Some of us wake early to hit garage sales, hoping to find priceless unnecessaries. Some of us take a morning run to get over the week’s stressors. Some of us gauge the super part of our Saturday by how long we were able to lull in bed before having to get up.
My usual definition of a super Saturday is: roll out of bed at a disgusting lazy hour – say 8:00 a.m.; indulge in a carbohydrate loaded breakfast such as pancakes at Scrambles; drink coffee refills at my table while reading the paper until the waitress gets impatient. This past Saturday I traded in my normal routine for CFCC’s Super Saturday. I thought it was a stretch to use the term “super” in relation to working on a Saturday, but I was proven wrong.
This Super Saturday was held in the new Professional Development Center. If you have yet to visit the Professional Development Center, I highly recommend it. For adjuncts who share an antiquated IBM in a joint office/storage room, the Professional Development Center is an oasis. Multiple computer labs, scanners, and printers abound. However, the staff alone is what makes it worth the visit. Sandy Scott, Steve Hill, and Chuckie Delano were patient, entertaining, and (at the risk of blowing my parallel structure) extremely helpful.
My chosen project was to create assignment specific rubrics for my ENC 1101 class. I had noble aspirations, but I realized, compared to the other participants in Super Saturday, my project was boring—they were creating multimedia extravaganzas for their classes. Integrating streamed media, Jeopardy games, Word scrambles, and Excel spreadsheets left my project in the dust. A variety of disciplines were represented: business technology, social sciences, and communications. We met, discussed our projects over breakfast, worked steadily until lunch, indulged in too much lasagna, went back to work, and met at the end of the day to share our projects.
I was impressed by the professionalism of the projects and by what was achieved in a few short hours. The interaction with co-workers outside of my discipline; the creativity exhibited and readily shared; and the helpfulness of the Professional Development Center staff, made my Saturday great. I will submit a proposal to participate in next year’s super Saturday; however, I only hope competition will not be tough. Did I mention you have to work on a Saturday?
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As educators, we encourage and appreciate those wonderful “aha” moments for our students when they suddenly gain understanding of a difficult concept or master a particular skill or have a meaningful personal revelation.
How many of us have had our own moments lately? Sometimes they come at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places.
Last month when I stopped by K-Mart to pick up my allergy medicine at the pharmacy, it was late, I was tired, in a hurry and was walking in a fog of fatigue when I heard a small voice ahead of me say “Mama, look—It’s my professor!”
I looked up to see Amelia, one of my students, pushing a cart with bulging trash bags full of waste from the Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant. She was closely followed by an older woman pushing a similar cart full of trash. The older woman walked slowly with sagging shoulders and a sleepy stare while hunched over the bar of the shopping cart. In class, Amelia is attentive, quiet and has a smile that frequently lights up the classroom. I have observed that her quiet and positive spirit is infectious as it spreads to her classmates during group learning activities.
Amelia’s eyes lit up and that wonderful smile brightened her face as she stopped to say hello. She introduced me to her mother and I made the comment to Amelia “I didn't know that you worked here.” She replied, “I don’t—Mama works here and I come and help her close up and take out the trash when she works late.” I told her, “You are such a good daughter!” I looked at Amelia’s mother and suddenly she was not tiredly stooping over the cart and a smile was growing on her face.
Her mother’s eyes were shining with pride as she asked me “How is she doing in college? Is she doin’ alright?” I replied, “Yes ma’am. She is doing more than alright, she is doing great! She is a wonderful student and has a very positive attitude that she shares with her classmates.” Suddenly I saw the veil of fatigue lift from Amelia’s mother’s face and I realized where Amelia got her bright smile from because I saw that same beam radiate across her mother’s face.
As we finished our chat and Amelia and her mother went to finish their work, to my amazement, I no longer saw a dutiful daughter and an exhausted working mother finishing a shift, but I witnessed two energized women smiling, talking and walking much taller than before. I also witnessed myself, no longer tired, in a hurry and focused on getting my medicine and getting home.
My epiphany you ask? I am reminded that such a small, common moment can demonstrate how much personal power we have as educators to impact the lives of our students and their families in ways we often never realize.
So often we do not witness the daily struggles that our students endure to be able to sit in those seats in front of us in the classroom. We do not realize the personal influence we have on our students as they and their family members really do view us and respect us as teachers, mentors and role models. We do not realize the power we have to make a positive difference in the lives of our students and the individual power we can wield to help them be successful.
In our busy lives, we often do not realize the powerful impact we have on our students when we stop and make the effort to connect and share a few minutes of our time and a few words of encouragement with them.
As an educator, I am now ever more mindful of the power of my words, the power of my attitude and the power of my actions in the classroom and how these impact my students in ways I do not always realize at the time. I am humbled, renewed and ever more committed to providing a positive and encouraging learning environment that creates a culture of success for all of our students.
By Glenna Morelock, Wellness
“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
William Butler Yeats
Defining a personal philosophy of learning is a daunting task. How do you clearly describe the fundamental values that move you through your life and work? Students are unique individuals and there can be no generic proclamation of what they “need” to be successful—it varies as much as they vary. Discovering and defining that essential element is the art of what we as teachers do. A teacher’s role is at its best the facilitating of the students’ development of self sufficiency, self awareness, and clarity in their thinking and learning. We do this in as many different ways as we have differing students.
Communication is the key. Some students require a sounding board for their exploration. Many students need support and an affirmation that they are capable of making the right choices. Learning to rely on their own judgments—learning to ‘own’ their education—is powerful, but every student does not easily acquire this power. Many come filled with self doubts and it is our task to enable them to move beyond those doubts by teaching them how to critically evaluate the choices before them and accept the success or failure resulting` from those decisions. Indeed, communication is the fundamental element in all teaching and learning. The voice I choose must be one that my student can hear, or no real learning will take place. I believe teaching is, at its best, the development of a relationship with a student. Student development literature clearly demonstrates that one of the most consistent factors that successful students share is a personal connection to some staff member. If I am authentic in my passion for their success, my students will more readily accept the guidance I offer and make that connection.
How we accomplish these tasks is at the heart of what any philosophy truly involves. My philosophy is that all philosophy is best defined through actions. My students are not clients or customers or whatever the ‘educationese’ of the month labels them—they are students. My work is to teach them—to overcome barriers to their goals, to develop educational self-sufficiency, to help them solve those problems that prohibit learning.
My actions within the classroom define who I am as a teacher. I believe that students learn best from example and I demonstrate my commitment to my academic values through my behavior and my expectations for excellence in the classroom. I demonstrate my commitment to learning as I consistently evaluate my own programs, strive for improvement, and involve myself in life long professional development. I demonstrate my commitment to my students by regarding each individual as unique and striving to create a partnership with every student to work toward his or her academic success.
A meaningful personal philosophy of teaching must be applied and so I strive to assist my students in actively applying the principles they study. My goal is that my students carry the academic skills they learn into the world outside the classroom. In the information age in which we live, reading and thinking critically must be at the heart of a quality education. For my field, lacking this ability can significantly impact the quality of health and life. To that end, my courses always require application and critical evaluation of current research and information. I attempt to model this learning as I continue to read, evaluate, and introduce new information in my field to my students and as I strive to model the positive wellness choices that are the focus of my teaching by including at least one section of a fitness course, Aerobics, in my course load each term.
My long term goal is to continue to learn as I hope my students continue to learn. In the immediate future, I hope to gain expertise with the new JICS system, so that I can enhance my communication with my students by posting announcements, syllabi, assignments, grades, handouts, etc. In the next five years, I would like to expand the courses offered in Wellness, particularly by increasing the courses targeted for future physical education teachers. I would also like to revise the curriculum for the health course, HSC2100, to reflect a more “global” health perspective and to provide a course with a family focus, as this is currently the trend for this course within the state universities. I plan to continue to work with the Curriculum Committee. I also hope that the work of the Service Learning Task Force, on which I currently serve, expands the opportunities for service learning within the college as a whole and that I am able to expand those opportunities for my students as well. A lifelong focus for me has been the expansion of opportunities for girls and women in sport. I plan to continue my community work to enhance sports experiences for girls within our area both through my direct active support and by exploring potential grant opportunities.
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Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 1:27 AM
A few notes from Krakow. My work with the disability community has been fantastic. I also have slides from a public art installation by the polish poet, Zbigniew Herbert, who was featured in the NY Times book review last Sunday. He took celebrated works of art from various masters, produced a minimalist sketch of his own and then added 75 words of prose. Each was presented on a 15 by 6 foot banner which was affixed to a ribbed metal backing. These backs were then attached and set out in the town square in Krakow. What a treat!
Hope all is well. More writing below.
Another sparkling morning in Krakow. The street sweepers and bottle collectors are busy at work preparing the square for the onrushing hordes who will dine, drink, chat and soak in the atmosphere of this city which is celebrating its 750th birthday.
My visit to the polish countryside was memorable. A three hour one way ride (in a Mercedes minivan) took a friend and me to her father’s birthplace (he left here in the 30s) where we dined twice, first with a niece and then with his sister. Polish means polite is my new marketing slogan for this land where horns go unblaring on the road and everyone seems ready to please. I like that.
The niece had two boys, one, a twenty year old law student who seems more interested in his girlfriend, his grafittied guitar and beer, had a winning smile and somewhat limited English speaking skills, and the other, at 18, has been dealing with the effects of water on the brain (partial paralysis, sight and hearing loss) for five years. He saw his weight fluctuate from 154 lbs to 211 lbs in four months, the common effects related to the steroids which have helped relieve his symptoms. His English and mind are quick and solid. At one point, he left for his bedroom to retrieve at least six large photo plates, each with at least 30 tomographic scans of his brain. He asked me to compare the sheets and evaluate his progress. Yikes!
Throughout this process he has depended on his doctors (the lubina clinic, in his mind, is the best Poland and most of Europe has to offer) and his faith. On another trip to his bedroom, he returned with a small four inch figurine of the Madonna and child. He and his mother, who has been his rock throughout this five year period, visited this place and he gave testimony to his faith and hope.
My goal was to examine the relationship between disability and religion while in Poland. This and another extensive interview I had with three people running an organization for people with Down syndrome has provided ample fodder for my work.
Today is the downer day: the visit to Auschwitz. Sadly, Poland, at 98% pole, is not a diverse country. Anti Semitism and racism are not hard to find. My meditation on the horrors that took place not far from where I am typing this begins in about a half hour.
I better run.
Keep your umbrella up and smile ablaze, Joe.