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
Terry O’Banion, higher education guru and author of A Learning College for the 21st Century (as well as those 14 Benchmarks we discussed in our retreats last semester) visited CFCC on February 8 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of our institution. He spoke, along with others, at an afternoon panel and then a lunch the next day—both held at the Webber. The following is a very brief summary of each and a few of my own comments I feel compelled to share.
O’Banion’s topic at the forum was the “early stirrings of student development” in community colleges and the role CFCC played in those early days (he was then Dean of Students here). He set the general stage by mentioning a lot of the psychological ideas prevalent at the time and went on to mention about a half dozen people who contributed to the development of CFCC as a college.
There was a lot of interesting things to learn about our college in this talk. Much of the language—in the earliest catalogs, for example, and much of the inspiration—came from the University of Florida. Here’s how that happened: Joseph Fordyce, the second president of CFCC, had been a part of the College of Education at UF (Fordyce had a degree in English from a small college in West Virginia, a masters from Harvard and a doctorate from Florida). O’Banion was his student assistant there, and when Fordyce became president of CFCC, he talked O’Banion into working for him. O’Banion described Fordyce as a sound but innovative leader; “His style was to encourage and facilitate. He supported our experiments, and he did not mind our failures.”
Of the more interesting memories O’Banion recalled during his talk involved the many rules that existed for students at CFCC back then. As we learned at convocation in January, there was a strict college wide attendance policy. But there was also a dress code, and a strict policy concerning part time jobs: students were not allowed to work over 20 hours if they were taking a full class load (12 hours). O’Banion remembered actually calling students’ place of employment to verify that students were sticking to that rule.
O’Banion talked a lot about the focus that helped guide the new model of community college organization. The philosophy that guided the efforts of this small, young band of people could be summed up in the term “humanistic education.” Their heroes, according to O’Banion were Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Arthur Combs and Sydney Jourard. “The concepts we bandied about to explain Humanistic Education included unconditional positive regard, self actualization, self-concept, self-esteem, transcendent functioning, self disclosure, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, client-centered therapy, and gestalt therapy.”
Don Creamer and Maggie Culp also sat on the panel and each added reminisces about the “early stirrings” of student development at CFCC. The whole event was a unique and unusual blend of ideas, discussion, and nostalgia. Many educators and administrators from around the state attended the forum and added their own memories.
Lunch the next day was also in the Webber. About 30 people attended the informal discussion from various areas of the college. After Dr. Dassance briefly summed up the efforts of CFCC in the past 10 years to focus on student learning, O’Banion summed up the problem and the solution quite succinctly. “The number one goal of a learning institution is to improve and expand student learning. So how is that done? How do you put learning first, how do you make it a priority across the campus? How do you get student learning in policy, in programs, in practice?” The answer, said O’Banion, is to keep asking yourself two questions: “Does the action—whatever it is—improve and expand student learning?” The second question is, “How do we know?”
O’Banion, who really is known more for generating ideas, did give a specific example to illustrate his point—late registration. He said that by letting people sign up a week late for class, you are telling students that that first week doesn’t count. The administration is telling the faculty that, too. And we all know that students who sign up late have a much higher drop out rate. So the priority of late registration is not student learning: getting as many people enrolled is the priority. O’Banion insisted a few times that the “inherited architecture of learning institutions” needs to be change. But he also argued that there is a lot of freedom, a lot of wiggle room for creativity in the current structure.
Part of the discussion at the lunch was about “objective knowledge.” Some people who read O’Banion’s work believe he doesn’t pay enough attention to the faculty, to what goes on in the classroom; that he relies too much on that humanistic approach to education. When finally pushed into a corner about “content”—about the faculty role of dispensing objective knowledge—O’Banion admitted that he doesn’t talk or write about it too much because “Content is a given. That’s why I avoid it.” Of course, you want to hire faculty knowledgeable in their discipline.
As I was leaving the Webber, I found myself discussing this idea (the ideal versus the practical) with Lynne Boele, CFCC’s own guru of student learning: “That’s what Terry does; he comes in and gets people stirred up. He gets the dialogue going. He identifies the goals and gets people inspired. You have to have that before practical, everyday changes take place. You have to keep faculty and staff talking about student learning.”
Note: The T/LI has copies of the papers presented at the forum by both O’Banion and Creamer. Please call me at x1784 if you would like me to send you a copy.
Look for that Union Label:
The United Faculty of Florida
Somebody’s got to uphold our thousand-year old tradition of preserving methods and values for an uncertain posterity. Someone has to guard the ancient wellsprings of intellectual leadership. When somebody needs to learn, someone has to teach. After discussions of learning colleges, restructuring initiatives, and education reform echo into silence and the classroom door swings shut, we still stand alone before our students. Their learning is still our responsibility. This is still our daily labor.
College professors’ reputation for integrity is acknowledged by a recent Harris poll, which reveals that only doctors and schoolteachers are more trusted. Americans apparently have more faith in their professorate than in their clergy. Despite this, the professional status of higher education faculty is progressively undervalued. Adjusted for inflation, average salaries for full-time faculty declined by 0.3 percent in 2005–06, following a 0.5 per-cent decrease in 2004–05. Job security is increasingly elusive. From 1993 to 2003, non-tenured full-time positions increased from 50 percent to 58 percent. From 1970 to 2000, the percentage of part-time faculty rose from 22 percent to 43 percent, and recent community college data places this figure at 63 percent. The alarming practice of using “contingency” faculty undermines academic disciplines, alienates teaching from scholarship, and discourages meaningful participation in institutional governance. This leaves almost a half million instructors powerless, and when the work of this many teaching faculty remains unprotected, how long will it be until there is no one left to maintain the standards of this profession? As concerned educators, we’re inheritors to that responsibility, and this is one job we can’t tackle alone.
Faculty from all eleven state universities and nine community colleges in Florida are already raising their voices in a chorus of mutual support. The United Faculty of Florida (http://www.unitedfacultyofflorida.org/) is the statewide organization around which each institution’s local membership rallies. The UFF successfully challenged the governor in 2005, and the Supreme Court of Florida agreed, ruling that his attempt to nullify the employment contracts of over 10,000 professors was illegal. That same year, when a member of the House introduced legislation attacking the integrity of Florida’s faculty, the UFF launched a persuasive defense of academic rights, and the bill died. Last year, when trustees of the University of Central Florida raised their president’s salary by 40% (to a total compensation package of $907,929), UFF activism pressured the legislature to mandate a 3% raise for faculty. As you can see from these slim, but hard-fought gains, the state of Florida has light years to go before higher education workers, the ones whose job is to teach so that others may learn, are truly valued.
As an engaged citizen and as a dedicated laborer in this state’s “education industry,” it has become important for me to play my part in the United Faculty of Florida’s efforts to establish a culture of teaching and learning here in Florida. Since the eighteen-fifties, America’s higher education faculty and administrators have united with their fellow teachers in the cause of education. Nationally, teachers’ unions continue to address issues of educational standards, institutional governance, academic freedom, intellectual property, teaching loads, and, of course, salaries. They do this through collective bargaining and by advocating legislation that improves education. As this college’s sole union member, it sometimes gets a little lonely around here, but the United Faculty of Florida is affiliated with the National Education Association, which means there are well over two and a half million people who can be called upon to help preserve the integrity of my profession. You never have to stand alone.
From Ft. Lauderdale to St. Louis
by Rob Marino, Communications
Normally you wouldn’t associate the words St. Louis Cardinals, fabrication/plagiarism and the Florida Community College Press Association together -- that is unless you’re trying to sum up the places I traveled during fall semester with the Patriot Press. In addition to the student staff publishing five issues, several student editors and I felt like we lived out of our suitcases for part of October after attending two journalism conventions.
At the same awards ceremony, I was elected incoming FCCPA president for the next two years. Imprints adviser Cassandra Robison will serve as vice president.
A day earlier, I hosted a seminar workshop at the convention dealing with plagiarism/fabrication in journalism. I asked four of my editors (Josh Crabtree, Jordan Ackerman, Alison Scott, and Brent Ward) to join me on a panel as part of the seminar as we discussed a “fabricated” story involving a former Patriot Press writer from a previous semester. We focused on ways to prevent this on student newspapers by distributing CFCC’s newly revised Student Publications Manual, which is given to every Patriot Press staff member and covers many of the ethical situations a student might encounter while on staff. We received extremely positive feedback from the 25-30 students and advisers who attended our seminar. In fact, the response was so strong that two of the editors and I will be covering the same topic in a seminar/workshop at a journalism convention in New York City we’ll be attending over Spring Break.
At our second convention, editors Jordan Ackerman, Brent Ward, Jessie Taylor and I attended the ACP/CMA (the national journalism organization of which the Patriot Press is a member) National College Media Convention in St. Louis. There, I taught a seminar on covering community college athletics, specifically involving coverage issues for community colleges without an athletic department or whose athletic departments have been
eliminated. Our CFCC students “networked” with other student journalists from across the nation and attended seminars/workshops.
The highlight of the trip, however, was the convention coinciding with the World Series between the hometown Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. We stayed in the same hotel as the Tigers. With our hotel just being a few blocks from Busch Stadium, we were able to experience first-hand the Cardinals winning the world championship; I was even lucky enough to be given free tickets to Game 4.
and Freedom of Expression
by Ron Cooper, Humanities
This conference, subtitled “An International, Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Information Fluency, Critical Thinking, and Ethics,” was presented by the University of Central Florida’s Philosophy Department, Office of Student Conduct and Student Rights and Responsibilities (yep—that’s the office’s name), and Quality Enhancement Plan for Information Fluency. Held on January 18-20, keynote speakers were Gary Pavela, University of Maryland, on “Defining the Scope of Student and Faculty Academic Freedom,” Arne Grǿn, University of Copenhagen, on “Religion and (In) Humanity,” and Lorraine Code, York University, on “Images of Expertise: Women, Science, and the Politics of Representation.” Other presenters came from across the nation (from California to New Hampshire), from Canada, and from the UK.
Participants were mostly philosophers, but other disciplines, notably sociology, political theory, and religious studies were represented. Among the titles of presentations were: “Free Speech versus Offense: Defending the Culture of Independence,” “Hannah Arendt and Political Action,” “An Affirmative Response to Hate Speech,” “Blasphemy and Pornography as Speech Acts,” “The Epistemic Plausibility of Heresy, Blasphemy, and Freedom of Religious Belief,” “The Heretical Saints: Spinoza and Derrida,” and “Should We Take Blasphemy Seriously: A View from Virtue Ethics.” I was particularly pleased that the organizers allowed a good deal of time between sessions for informal discussions in the hall or around the coffee urn.
One session that, I suspect, would have interested all of us was a panel discussion entitled “Freedom of Speech and Assembly on College and University Campuses.” The panel was assembled at the request of the Students for a
Democratic Society (the old SDS lives!), an organization that claims to be unfairly restricted by UCF policies and unjustly targeted by campus security. Panelists included a representative from SDS, a political theory faculty member, the director of the Office of Student Involvement, a graduate student, and Gary Pavela, one of the keynote speakers. Much of the discussion focused upon free assembly spaces, that is, areas on campus set aside for student demonstrations. Some panelists argued that such spaces, despite intentions, become instruments of restriction. A panelist suggested that these areas are “false negative spaces” designed to make participants think they make a contribution when in fact they do not.
Pavela made some compelling points about how restrictions on expression may have broader, more diffuse sources than we might first notice. For example, newer college architecture is often anti-speech. We no longer have open spaces like the old-time quads. Buildings tend to have a more corporate look, and administration buildings are more like bunkers. Also, our information age tends to treat all information as data of equal value, and too many people are tuned in to trivia, which is a much more severe censor than an oppressor. The result is that groups with a message are often forced to seek extreme means to get attention. Similarly, the world of higher education, like the rest of our lives, is deluged with corporate advertising resulting in a psychic censorship that diverts our tastes and values from serious issues.
One of the organizers of the event was Nancy Stanlick (UCF philosophy department) who visited CFCC several years ago to discuss the UCF academic integrity initiative, upon which we modeled ours. This conference was a function of UCF’s QEP for Information Fluency which is directly connected to its academic integrity process. As Stanlick told us, the more you encourage freedom of expression, the more you recreate a college in terms of an intellectual community , the more you install academic integrity as the central concept. If this conference is indicative of UCF’s practices in general, then UCF is certainly doing something right.
Leading Without Authority
by Delores Hunt, Personal Service
This director’s speakers series seminar, held on 1/17 at the Ocala Hilton, was quick and meaningful. Dr. Benjamin Akande, a wonderful presenter, gave us a list of attributes necessary to lead without authority:
- Know who you are, not where you are going;
- Leadership is transformation (innovative and productivity improvement);
- Know the seven leadership styles (none needed authority).
He also recommended we each do a personas S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to identify our goals.
International Association for Jazz Education Conference
by Sam McClung, Fine Arts
In many ways, this conference, held in NYC January 10-13, was like every other music/music education conference, but it was also unique and—dare I say—at times, edgy. The theme for the conference was “Envisioning the Future of Jazz,” and the performances certainly had elements of the past, the present and the future. The conference was essentially broken down into four main areas: 1) Workshops/Clinics; 2) Interviews/Discussion Panels; 3) Vendor Exhibits; and 4) Performances.
Each main area was then divided into sub-areas of either: a) Industry; b) Teacher Training; c) Research Presentations; or d) Technology. Because there were overlapping sessions, adjunct instructor, Bob Brouillard, and I found it impossible to attend everything, and we were compelled to pick and choose only those events that would have a positive impact on the jazz program at CFCC, and would be beneficial to us as practicing musicians.
Of particular interest were the industry track sessions billed as: 1) Getting Paid in the Digital Age ; and 2) Downbeat Live Blindfold Test: Ron Carter conducted by Nat Hentoff. In the first session, a panel representing a cross section of people from the recording business, education, broadcast media, and performers discussed ways to use the new technology—current and future—to generate revenue, and interest in recorded and live performances. The overriding message: while the landscape of media and venue changes, and can be intimidating, the newer forms of reaching the audience can be very effective and reach a segment of the population that has, heretofore, been virtually isolated from the sounds of acoustic instruments and the art form(s) that are indigenous to those instruments. The second session, with Ron Carter, had special significance for me. First of all, I “cut my jazz teeth” listening to Ron’s bass playing on various recordings; a real mensch. Secondly, Ron was a classmate, at the Eastman School of Music, of a personal friend—also a friend of CFCC’s jazz program—who passed on last November. I was more than pleasantly surprised to hear Ron’s comments about bass playing and music in general and the relation of a solid music theory background to effective performance—both conceptually and functionally. I was also pleased to be able to chat with him, after the [packed] session, about his comments and to remember our mutual friend. His musical comments: 1) focus is essential to musical structure, 2) simple, uncluttered writing and performance is extremely desirable, 3) no matter how hard some try to break away from traditional harmonic principles, those principles still prevail; i.e. the harmonic series, as discovered by Pythagoras, still dictates how we perceive tonal centers and chordal relationships. I wish my students could have heard the conversation; they would have sworn there was an echo in the room.
Although the Teacher Training presentations seemed to be geared—in the open sessions—to those who teach high school, there were two sessions that I found to be of great interest: 1) Jazz On The Run: Podcasting Rehearsals , and 2) the Community College Interest Group. The Community College Interest Group allowed me to network with music professors from all over the country, and to discuss ways of partnering with four-year institutions such as Julliard to provide personal interaction between the community college students and music faculty of nationally acclaimed music schools.
There were jazz ensembles from several community colleges that performed one hour concerts, including a Community College “All-Star” Ensemble. The makeup of these groups, and the financial support from their colleges and respective communities was indeed remarkable. One band, from Mt. Hood Community College ( Gresham, Oregon), spent roughly $30,000 dollars to make the trip to NYC. The director of that ensemble and I have exchanged cards and will be in contact with each other to brainstorm funding options, and other subjects for CFCC’s Patriot Blues.
Vendor exhibits took up three floors in the Convention/Conference Center of the Hilton. I did pick up some vendors’ literature for products that I think would be desirable and beneficial for the entire instrumental program at CFCC. Technology is influencing not only electronic instruments, music notation and recording, but also the design and production of acoustic instruments.
Last, but not least, performances by various high school, community college, university, conservatory, and professional groups played a big part in the conference makeup. There were even school groups from Kazakhstan, Australia, Denmark, France, and Israel that performed. Although there were performances by many big names (Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Bill Watrous, Michel Legrand, to name a few), to me, the performance highlights were: 1) The Latin Side of Miles Davis featuring the Conrad Herwig / Brian Lynch Octet, 2) the Clayton Brothers Quintet, and 3) the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, directed by Slide Hampton, with special guests, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, and Nancy Wilson. Again, our students at CFCC need to be exposed to these things, to rub elbows with Billy Taylor, Wycliffe Gordon, and others; to be simultaneously inspired and awestruck; to understand the truly fraternal—albeit competitive—nature of music; to watch, listen and learn.
Association of Practical Nurse Educators of Florida
by Kathleen Combs, Health Occupations
This annual conference, held in Altamonte Springs on November 1-3, featured workshops that were very helpful, including “True Colors,” a personality evaluation tool similar to Myers-Briggs that discusses personality types, strengths, and issues including academic performance. I have used this tool in my vocational relations class since returning from the conference.
Another workshop, “Teaching Ethics to Today’s Students,” was insightful in confirming issues with Generation-X students and how to involve them in ethical thinking and behavior, which is essential in nursing. I also attended “WIKI Wonders,” which showed the benefit of on-line collaboration.
In addition to the workshops, I attended the Board of Nursing and Department of Education Update meetings. Staff from the Department of Education was available to discuss current changes, PN employment trends and grant availability. Also, the Deans and Directors meeting discussions included state-wide and regional concerns with PN education. I look forward to continued participation in this group and with the association.
Florida Criminal Justice Educator’s Association
by Gregory Dawson, Public Service
I attended this meeting in Daytona Beach Shores on November 12-14 with other Criminal Justice educators in the state. We discussed the statewide course lettering and numbering recommendations to propose for the legislature, an issue which will be readdressed and worked on over the next year or longer before final presentation. In addition to this topic and discussion about numerous issues that pertain to individual colleges and programs, we also attended a presentation from two criminal justice professors who wrote two textbooks for classroom exercises.
Black, Brown and College-Bound
I was initially drawn to this topic as a Nursing Instructor teaching mini-courses within a largely female-dominant population. I have counseled multi-racial male students and, at times, felt inadequate in understanding the needs of this group within this career path. I wanted some help in assisting them to feel well-integrated in small group settings and even in identifying proper terminology. This seminar , held in Tampa on 11/30, helped me get a feel for some issues regarding retention and completion within the community college setting. Although I just attended the one-day session, I got a glimpse of some unique cultural viewpoints to share with my departments.
by Barbara Anderson, Health Occupations
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Teaching Can Be An Intimate Affair
by Dennis Radice, Levy Center
I find teaching to be an intimate undertaking. The intimacy to which I refer takes several different forms. One is the intimacy of two people sharing the same experience at the same time and place. Another is the intimacy of learning personal details about someone. The third is intimacy based on the trust between two individuals who must rely on one another to accomplish a life-changing task.
The teaching I am referring to is not the teaching associated with a Psychology 101 lecture class with 200 students. It is the teaching that begins when a students says, “I don’t understand,” or, “You lost me,” or even just a simple, “Why?” I live for those questions because they often signal the start of the challenging and rewarding exchanges that make teaching one of the world’s most intimate professions.
When a student asks questions such as those mentioned above, he or she is sending me two important messages. The first is, “I want to understand and so far I don’t.” The other message is “I trust you enough to be open with you and believe you are willing to help me.” It is an invitation to join together to pursue a goal. Questions are when the intimacy of teaching begins.
In order to help a student achieve the goal, another form of intimacy develops. As teachers we all know the three basic learning styles. I believe, however, that every student has his or her own unique learning language of process and logic. This learning language allows him or her to turn external teaching into internalized learning. Just as every car has a distinctive key needed to start its engine, every student has a unique learning key that opens his or her mind.
As a teacher, I am a learning locksmith. I must find the key that unlocks the student’s individual process and logic and opens the door to his or her personal learning language. That process requires some in-depth knowledge of each student. I don’t mean to imply that every student needs to be taught every concept in his or her unique language. What I am saying is there are instances when a student cannot internalize the lesson using traditional teaching techniques. Those instances are the wonderful teaching opportunities. I never know where they will lead. So far, the languages I have discovered included dance, stories, rhymes, role play, competition, student teachers, prizes, bets, church doctrine, quarter car washes, and even disappearing ink. And that’s just for math! Talk about exciting! The intimacy of connecting with someone in his or her own private learning language is powerful.
The final intimacy of teaching is the “aha” moment; that precious moment when the student’s eyes suddenly focus, the wrinkled eyebrows relax and the student says something like, “That’s it?” Or, “I got it.” For a fleeting moment, the student and I share the same experience, at the same time in the same place. We are intimately connected by shared experience. There is no one else and nothing else, just me, the student and the shared experience. Powerful indeed!
I consider myself lucky to be teaching in an environment that gives me many of these teaching/learning opportunities. I would not last long if my primary teaching responsibilities required me to lecture to large numbers of students regularly. Students at traditional colleges and universities are successful because they have learned how to decode typical teaching languages. They need the material more than they need me.
The unique characteristics of the community college environment and its students, and of adult education and its students provide fertile fields for the teaching I love. Classes are typically smaller. Students are typically more challenging with a greater diversity of learning languages. Learning is a struggle and success is exciting.
If you have had the experiences I write about here, then you understand just how intimate and rewarding an one-on-one, no-holds-barred, teaching death match can be. If you have not experienced the intimacy of teaching, stop by rooms 105 or 106 at the Levy Center and give it a try. Just be sure to bring your dancing shoes. Tutus are optional.
by Wendy Neeld, Learning Support Center Supervisor , Citrus campus
Words both gain and lose their meaning through familiarity. We hear them day in and day out; we use them in conversation and on paper. We are comfortable with them, confident that we understand them. Yet, for such simple things, words are slippery and unpredictable. They are complex little noises, plumbing depths of meaning we occasionally fail to recognize. Take, for example, the word “integrity.”
After exploring our college learning themes for a number of years, most of us give the vision statement a familiar nod as we pass its posted incarnations. We know the words chosen to embody the mission of the college, and we feel confident that we have explored them. Yet, as we come back to re-examine integrity in a new context, it is worth considering a slightly different understanding of the word as well.
In our focus on integrity, we have examined the concept as a moral sister of responsibility, looking at our duty to view ourselves, our college, and our world with the light of truth and to develop a sense of honor. Certainly, that sense of wholesomeness represents integrity, but integrity is also intended to convey a sense of whole-ness, a unified, undivided completeness that is sound and trustworthy because of its unity. For us, as members of the CFCC family, it is well worth considering that message of integrity as well.
On a popular science fiction show from a decade or so past, a latex-coated alien voiced the sentiment that humans stood out in the galaxy because they were community builders. They alone created working social frameworks that could embrace diversity, change, and difference of opinion, yet remain strong and whole. Pop culture wisdom perhaps, but wisdom nonetheless. Creating a functioning community is a daunting challenge; creating one that demonstrates integrity, holding together through dispute and change, is even more remarkable.
Yet that goal is part of the intent of the CFCC vision statement. CFCC is a community as well as a workplace, and in order to truly attain excellence in both internal and external endeavor, we must gain a sense of integrity, of unity. Finding that sense of wholeness is not always easy. The CFCC community is a dazzlingly diverse one. We differ in our duties, our talents, our education, and our perceptions. We have different scopes of knowledge, work in different departments, focus on different student and staff populations, and occasionally serve in very different geographic locations. How then can we find integrity?
The answer is simple, and in some ways self-evident, yet it is still worth voicing. The CFCC community is unified by its goals and by its recognition of interdependence. Regardless of where we work or whom we serve, we are all educators; our community is dedicated to learning and to giving gifts of knowledge and self-improvement. Yet no single person or department can effectively achieve that goal. We are each too limited, trapped in our own expertise and perceptions. Recognizing our reliance on the diversity that sets us apart from one another forces us to appreciate the importance of integrity. Alone, our skills are limited, but added together, we create a community, a whole that far exceeds the sum of our parts, able to present a complete, trustworthy set of services.
As a community, we do need to focus on integrity and on the sustainability of the unity that makes up our college identity. Being willing to learn the strengths of others and to offer our own strengths in return creates an environment in which we take pride, a place we enjoy being. That sense of community and of value is the key element in sustaining the integrity of our college family. It allows us to identify ourselves both as teachers and as learners within our own community and gives us the freedom to trust one another.
Through that trust, we can indeed achieve integrity – and more than that, we can achieve an integrity that may be sustained. As we expand, grow, and struggle, our college community changes. Old friends leave, new faces arrive, and our student body washes in and out with the tide of graduation. Yet the sense of integrity – of value within all aspects of our community – may be sustained through all of those changes. Wholeness does not come from a particular set of individuals; it comes from an overall attitude of community. Integrity blossoms in mutual respect and a sense of being valued. Within that admission of need and granting of worth, we become something greater than ourselves; we become an integrated community that is able to, with remarkable quality, sustain the name we claim for ourselves: a Community College.
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by Sandra Cooper, Communications
My teaching philosophy reflects my belief in a teacher-led, student-centered classroom. To become better writers, students have to learn to use the writing process. My job is to facilitate that process and to create a classroom atmosphere that is lively, creative, and enthusiastic, and where students are encouraged to improve their writing skills. I actively encourage student participation and student collaboration. My experience as a professional writer taught me that most writing situations in the “real world” are collaborative and prompted by necessity. It is important that I give students the skills and opportunities to learn to cooperate with one another to meet their goals.
My teaching philosophy also focuses on an integrated approach to learning. To accommodate the diverse learning styles of my students, I employ various teaching strategies within a class period. A class period may contain a short lecture, individual writing assignments, small collaborative work groups, or class discussion. I post syllabi and supplementary materials on the course website. I continually strive for a classroom environment that meets the needs of the diverse student population contained within it.
I also, very consciously, cultivate a friendly, open environment within my classroom. I teach a course fraught, necessarily so, with criticism. Students have spent years locked in negative experiences with English teachers. This is unfortunate because writing is essential and personal. A criticism on an essay can easily be felt as a criticism of the student. I read once about two images of college teachers. One is the guardian of the gate. This faculty member believes it her duty to guard the gates of knowledge and limit access to only those capable of rigorous academics. The other image is the faculty member who shepherds as many through the gates as she can. I work hard to be the latter. If my students are intimidated by me, they will not come to my office for assistance. If they do not get feedback from me laced with as much praise as criticism, they will be afraid to put pen to paper. Each semester, on the first day of class, I tell my ENC 1101 students that this course is the most important course they will take--and not just because I teach it. They usually respond with a polite, forced laugh, and we move to the next point on my syllabus. I firmly believe that ENC 1101 is essential. Without the mechanical and critical thinking skills learned in ENC 1101, the student will not successful in other coursework.
My first mentor at CFCC was Debra Vazquez. When she put her portfolio together for Rank and Reward, she included statistics about the number of words that composition teachers read each semester. We laughed and groaned when she reached her conclusions, but I think they are significant in light of what we try to do in the Communications Department. Each semester, I teach five Gordon Rule courses; each course has an average of 25 students, so I read from 650,000- to 700,000-words each semester. To do my job well, I must praise and critique those words and treat each of the 125 students I have each semester with the support, consideration, and kindness that he or she deserves, and still readying the student for upper level work. The work that I do at CFCC is rewarding and important, and I appreciate the dedication of and collaboration with my CFCC colleagues.
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Please share your GIFTS with your fellow instructors. E-mail Joe Zimmerman at email@example.com.
by Tammi Viviano, Humanities
I borrowed this title and idea from the college and have found great success in using it with my classes. For the last two semesters, I have been inviting students to lunch with me on a specified day before each exam. We meet in the cafeteria and bring or purchase our lunches to enjoy while we review for the upcoming exam informally. I have been amazed at the turnout! There are times when so many students attend, I feel like I cannot speak loud enough to be heard at the other end of the table. Students have frequently told me that they appreciate the chance to ask questions and review in an informal setting. Many of my quieter students seem more comfortable asking questions over lunch. I enjoy the opportunity to get to know my students better and help them increase their learning. Of course, I make sure to bring a reward, such as homemade brownies or layer bars. I think some students might attend every time just for the sweets, but I figure they may just learn something too.
CFCC Book Club Schedule
All meetings will take place from 12-1 p.m. in the Professional Development Center, Bldg. 1, Room 101.
In a special event held on February 21 , book club members had the privilege to meet with John de Graaf, co-author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic.
Pictured here are John Retey and John de Graaf enjoying lunch, which Darrell Riley, who facilitated the meeting, did an excellent job of coordinating. Faculty had the opportunity to hear John speak as well during College Planning Day on February 20 in the Klein Center.
March 30 - Carry on Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Facilitators: Susan Bradshaw and Darrell Riley
April 27 - Hume’s Fork by Ron Cooper
Facilitator: Amy Mangan
(book should be available for purchase in March)
Hume’s Fork will Stick to your Ribs!
Ron Cooper’s novel Hume’s Fork will be released from Bancroft Press in March and is now available for pre-order at www.bancroftpress.com (where you can also read comments from reviewers). Here’s an excerpt:
Whether or not God exists would make no difference to my sorry life. At least that had been the most recent of my procession of theological positions. Before college the only challenge I ever had to my Pentecostal militancy was my uncle Rembert’s declaration that he had never thought about God “one way or t’other.”
“But don’t you care about your soul?” I had asked.
“I don’t know nothing about no soul,” he said between swallows of Brass Monkey on his back porch that shaded twelve bad dogs. I would ride my bicycle to his place during the summer to make a few dollars cropping tobacco and would have to wait at the gate of the seven-foot chain link fence while he called off the hellhounds.
I tried another tactic. “How do you think it all got here, then? Something had to create the world.”
“I wa’n’t here when it happent, so I don’t know. And you sure as hell wa’n’t neither.”
My Pentecostal training had prepared me for a world filled with Satan’s helpers—atheists, false prophets, would-be messiahs, pope-worshipping Catholics, Christ-killing Jews, communists, rich people—but not indifference. Rembert did not exactly lack concern; he was the ultimate empiricist, calling them, like an umpire (umpiricist!), as he saw them. Could he really be content with a reality that extended no further than the range of his sensory experience? Of course, neither I nor anyone else had ever seen God, but reason could establish his existence, right?