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
L et the cry ring forth from the lowliest portable and let it echo through the loftiest hall: “Support for Quality Instruction!” Although I ran unopposed to serve as your faculty senate president, I still felt I needed a catchy campaign slogan to help provide focus for the upcoming year. My reasons for choosing this particular phrase were twofold, since its goal-directed preposition implies complementary burdens of responsibility. I chose it to remind myself that the primary objective of a professional educator is to communicate the conditions and demands of academic excellence in a way that empowers learners. In short... to provide quality instruction. I also chose it with hopes that my fellow faculty and our colleagues among administrators and career professionals might join together in reaffirming that the underlying purpose behind maintaining the integrity of any academic institution is to support this same goal. Although it seems painfully obvious to state this, I’ll do it anyway. By focusing our collective attention on support for quality instruction here at CFCC, we can exemplify our vision of promoting learning. There, I’ve said it.
The question remains. How do we approach this goal together? Our faculty maintain teaching loads that are 25% higher than American Association of University Professors standards for community colleges and as a result, we face daunting time management choices. Should we only commit ourselves to fulfilling immediately achievable instructional duties, or should we take a risk and try to advance our broader educational objectives through greater participation in institutional governance? The continuing challenge will be to discover an effective means of pursuing both without sacrificing the terms of our contracts.
Earlier generations of educators recognized no division of labor in academia, only disciplines. Faculty bore the burden of every aspect of college management. One of my more professorial ancestors left a journal in which he described a rigorous day of teaching theology (in Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Hebrew), followed by maintenance duties, fund raising (in the form of “subscription” campaigns), and student discipline (he firmly believed in beating his charges when they neglected their studies). The salary was irregular (in his words, “poor pay poorly paid”) and two hundred dollars a year just didn’t go as far as it used to, even then.
Our experience today is quite different from that of my great-great-grandfather. We’ve been relieved of our corporal punishment duties and the paychecks arrive pretty regularly. However, legislative directives, demographic changes, technological innovations, financial exigencies, and a phenomenal growth in demand for higher education have resulted in the implementation of an extensive administrative support infrastructure. One of the unintended consequences of this development is that instructional faculty have become a minority voice in the college dialogue, one of many factions competing for scant resources. Although “teaching and learning” remains the overarching mission, other constituencies also demand accommodation. Faculty must now add the need to become their own best advocates to their list of professional responsibilities. The unique wealth of instructional experience and the breadth of relevant competencies embodied in CFCC’s faculty can represent the college’s most valuable resource, one that must take its place at the very center of our campus conversation.
When faculty share their own perspectives, drawn from backgrounds that have been tempered in crowded classrooms and nurtured through years of assessing row upon row of learning faces, the entire community benefits. As long as this voice is an integral part of the deliberative dialogue, then the decision-making process will reflect an accurate view of classroom concerns. By communicating this experience to all of our instructional support systems and staff, the cause of teaching and learning here at CFCC is strengthened. This happens when we, as faculty, are fully present and are willing to express specific instructional needs loudly, clearly, and frequently. If one channel of communication fails, others can be opened. Ultimately, how could anyone help but be persuaded by a well articulated instructional request from a representative of this august group of valued employees, particularly if that request is punctuated with the clarion call: “Support for Quality Instruction!”
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How many of our students measure the worth of our discipline, our subject matter, and our courses by that age old question, “Is this going to be on the test?” How do we as instructors measure the value of what we teach our students and how well they learn? Contextual Teaching and Learning and authentic assessment techniques can give instructors a different perspective on testing and assessment and provide innovative ways to design assessments that can accurately measure what students have learned. We can choose to use something other than the multiple choice test to assess the level of learning for our students.
Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) is a paradigm that helps instructors relate subject matter and content to real world applications. This motivates students to make connections between knowledge and its applications to their lives as individuals and provides a context for understanding difficult theoretical concepts. (Parnell, 1995)
Contextual Teaching and Learning helps students connect the content they are learning to life contexts and other academic knowledge in an interdisciplinary context. Students find meaning in the learning process and draw upon previous learning experiences to building upon existing knowledge in an integrated, interdisciplinary manner.
Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) promotes authentic learning and acquisition and transfer of knowledge. It also promotes the use of authentic assessment methods to measure the learning process.
What is Authentic Assessment?
Newman & Weghlege (1993) define authentic assessment as meeting 3 criteria; (1) Students construct meaning and produce knowledge (2) students use disciplined inquiry to construct meaning (3) students aim their work toward production of discourse, products, and performances that have value or meaning beyond success in education.
Authentic assessment is a key ingredient in the Contextual Teaching and Learning Paradigm.
Authentic assessment should:
- be aligned with the curriculum
- promote critical thinking and problem solving
- increase a student’s use of spatial memory rather than rote memory
Authentic assessment can be project based, product based or use any combination. Examples include application questions, problem solving rubrics, case studies, mastery demonstrations, portfolios and projects.
Authentic assessment questions and methods should address the seven principles of contextual teaching and learning. These include:
- Purpose principle (Include the what and the why)
- Building principle (connecting with prior knowledge)
- Application principle (relating to real life or relating to other academic information in a different context)
- Problem Solving principle (Students use new knowledge and skills to solve problems)
- Teamwork principle (students work together to solve problems or create a project or analyze information)
- Discovery principle (students discover knowledge)
- Connection principle (instruction helps students to see connections) (Harwell & Blank, 2001).
The seven purposes of contextual teaching and learning can be integrated into the design of any type of assessment. Individual and group assessments may utilize these approaches.
What kinds of authentic assessment can I use in the classroom?
Authentic assessment can be project based, product based or use any combination. Examples include application questions and short answers, problem solving rubrics, case studies, mastery demonstrations, portfolios, group and individual oral, video, digital and/or written projects, presentations and lessons.
Harwell, S. and Blank, W. (2002). Promising Practices for Contextual Learning. Waco, TX: CCI Publishing, Inc. Newmann, F. and G. Weghlege (1993). “Five Standards of Authentic Instruction,” Educational Leadership 50 (7), 8-12.
Parnell, D. (1995). Why Do I Have to Learn This? Teaching the Way People Learn Best. Waco, TX: CORD Communications, Inc.
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Faculty Colloquium Survey Results
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August 16, 2006
"What are the most important things we should do to promote learning?"
The results from the breakout sessions at the fall colloquium on August 16 were diverse, interesting, and, well...inspired. We will be posting all the results on the T/LI Web site, and you will probably be seeing them at your department retreats. Here are some of the highlights:
Collaborate across areas (curriculum) (4)
Teach using "real world" examples (6)
Offer enough time to all faculty equally (i.e. PSAV, PSV, AA, AS, etc.) to properly plan, prepare, research and serve students
More non-class "coffee time" to spend with students (2)
Check to see that students are learning and you are not just spouting off information
Motivate and involve students in the learning process (2)
Increase interaction among faculty and students
Remember what it's like to be a student - everyday life vs. working towards dreams
Model the behavior you wish to show the students
Improve faculty/student interaction
Teach students to think for themselves (2)
Challenge students (5)
Keep high expectations for student performance (2)
Communicate expectations to students
Activities at the division level
Variety of techniques (7)
Update teaching and be knowledgeable (4)
Make more time with colleagues - share ideas
Enhance faculty retention
Exchange ideas and information with your peers
Learning outcomes for each course (3)
Promote closer working relationships and share course development among department faculty
Give feedback on strengths and areas to strengthen in timely manner
Exposure to diverse ideas, perspectives, cultures, etc.
Increase student and staff diversity
Stay positive and encourage students while they are trying to learn
Instructional design (3)
Identify and communicate best practices (2)
Provide "hands on" experiences (2)
Promote different teaching styles (4)
Encourage and support new (and old) faculty to learn to teach in a way that student learns
Offer certificate in teaching online
Student assistants to help instructors prepare /
Paid full time lab assistants
Faculty load should be 4 not 5 classes
Hire faculty who are good teachers, not just degreed
"What are the most important things we should do to promote learning?"
Formal faculty staff mentor relationship
Plan and establish learning communities
Reintroduce the G.I.F.T.S. college-wide communication/sharing
Provide on-going faculty training and support for distance education
Daycare hourly or weekend or evening to help "glitches" in schedule
Faculty enrichment through faculty presentation
Engage students early and keep interactions high (2)
Facilitate students support of peers (3)
Professional counseling for students
Effective evaluation of readiness
Be held responsible for meeting expectations
Make students responsible for their own behaviors
Solve registration and financial aid problems
Increase online and hybrid offerings with real time communication capabilities
Instruction station, computer, projectors, and internet access in every classroom
Smaller class sizes (4)
Classroom temperature (2)
Florida ’s Summit on
Best Practices and Innovations in Nursing Education
by Carol Blakeman, Health Occupations
This summit, held in Lake Buena Vista on June 14-15, 2006, brought forth nursing educators, community college deans, and nursing employers to summarize challenges that community colleges in Florida are facing in the education of our nursing students, discuss goals, and identify strategies to meet these goals. The sessions were broken into various areas such as student retention, faculty recruitment, community partnerships, educational models and online delivery, clinical practice and simulation, and continuing education.
I went to several sessions on educational models and online delivery and clinical practice and simulation. There were presentations from faculty at other community colleges about their innovative ideas. I left with several ideas and ways to implement them at CFCC. I plan to try at least one this coming term. Also, I was involved in identifying the challenges we meet in educating nursing students, short-term and long-term goals that we would like to achieve, and interventions to meet these goals. A paper will be produced, probably in August, about what we identified. It was a worthwhile use of my time.
Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning Workshop
by Ken Capps, Science
This POGIL workshop, held May 20-22 in Charleston, SC was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). POGIL is a classroom and laboratory technique that seeks to simultaneously teach content and key process skills such as the ability to think analytically and work effectively as part of a collaborative team.
A POGIL classroom or lab consists of any number of students working in small groups on specially designed guided inquiry materials. These materials supply students with data or information followed by leading questions designed to guide them toward formulation of their own valid conclusions. The instructor serves as facilitator, observing and periodically addressing individual and classroom-wide needs.
POGIL is based on research indicating that
teaching by telling does not work for most students;
Students who are part of an interactive community are more likely to be successful; and
Knowledge is personal—students enjoy themselves more and develop greater ownership over the material when they are given an opportunity to construct their own understanding.
Overall, the workshop was very enjoyable and provided an alternative to traditional lecture that utilizes a discovery-based team environment. POGIL attempts to energize students and provides instructors with instant and constant feedback about what their students understand and misunderstand.
Assembly on Education:
by Suzanne Garret, Health Occupations
I attended the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) Assembly on Education in Nashville, TN June 25, 2006 through June 28, 2006. The intent of the program offered was to provide learning opportunities to explore pertinent health information management issues, notably those concerned with preparing for an e-HIM environment. The electronic health record (EHR) is becoming a reality and it is vital that we prepare our students for the workplace where this will be occurring. Sessions concerned e-HIM curriculum changes, teaching in the age of the EHR, program accreditation basics, online courses, and many others. Perhaps the most vital session had to do with the AHIMA’s virtual lab. The lab is now available to schools for a fee and will provide students access to a variety of exercises, lessons and assessments using computerized resources such as medical records, a master patient index, other relevant databases and software, a transcription module, an encoder, etc.) The lab will be a valuable resource for programs that have difficulty obtaining current medical records, updated software, and challenging hands-on exercises that include most of us.
Networking opportunities also provided an important way to gain practical information and to meet colleagues from other institutions. Many practical solutions to program issues come through networking activities.
Although our HIM program is now accredited, it continues to be important to continually work toward improving our classes and the experiences we offer our students.
American Psychological Association Convention
by Irvin Brown, Jr., Humanities
I attended the 114 th annual convention of the American Psychological Association in New Orleans in August 2006. Because the convention was held in New Orleans there were a number of presentations and workshops that focused on the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The presenters included people who had taken part in different aspects of the relief effort in New Orleans and elsewhere. The accounts were riveting. There was much discussion of continued psychological trauma among the victims, but also stories of resilience, faith, and community.
One presentation that I attended focused on the resilience of the African-American church. The results of a large scale study were presented, which documented the nationwide networking efforts of ministers and churches in the aftermath of the hurricane. Most of the workshops I attended, however, were on the psychology of religion tract. I found them to be illuminating, as well as relevant to my own work and the class I teach here at CFCC. These workshops, along with the Katrina related sessions, revealed that the issues of hope and faith are making quite an impression on psychologists.
Nor did these issues go unattended by special guest Anna Deavere Smith (who plays the national security advisor on the West Wing series). Dr. Phil was also there, defending the integrity of his television program as if he had no idea that he would be receiving an award from APA for his contributions to promoting the profession. Another special guest, Bill Cosby, brought all the comic relief one could ask for (with all proceeds going to disaster relief). Finally, my personal tour of the hurricane ravaged 9 th Ward defies description, other than to say that emotionally it was like paying respects at a mass funeral. Supporting a convention that was supporting the city’s recovery efforts added to my sense of being where I was supposed to be.
by Peter Smith, Humanities
The 65 th annual conference of the American Humanist Association was held in Tampa from May 11-14. Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and one of the world’s leading authorities on language, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology was the recipient of this year’s Humanist of the Year Award. At the awards luncheon, late arrivals (myself included) stood around the periphery of the Marriott’s full ballroom while Pinker delivered his keynote address. The following Q-&-A session provided as much insight into the scientific knowledge and reasoned ethical concerns of the audience as it did into Pinker, himself. Of particular interest though, were his research conclusions on the nature/nurture controversy (which, while acknowledging the complexity of the issue, lean decidedly toward nature). Other questions addressed Pinker’s reaction to the scandal surrounding former Harvard president, Lawrence Summers’ use of his statistical data to explain the scarcity of female scientists.
Lori Lipman Brown conducted one of the most informative of the breakout sessions I attended. She recently became the Secular Coalition for America’s first Congressional lobbyist and is currently the only advocate in Washington for issues of specific importance to American atheists and freethinkers. Her father, Mel Lipman, former AHA president introduced her to the audience. She discussed strategies, described an average day on her “beat,” and shared her videotaped interview with Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly (whose lack of knowledge of core church-state issues resulted in a series of amusing gaffes).
I was also quite interested in the session that discussed the founding of the Carl Sagan Academy in Tampa. This is the first humanist-sponsored charter school in the nation. Its organizers explained their decision to situate their school in a high-risk neighborhood and members of the teaching staff described its unique curriculum, which is based on core humanist values of rational inquiry and compassion. Last year, they offered sixth grade classes and recently expanded it to include the seventh grade. Next year they are planning to offer eight grade classes, as well. In the future, they hope to build on this success and eventually develop a comprehensive K through 12 curriculum.
I must admit, I missed the opening plenary session performance of original songs by the famous (infamous to some) church-state litigant, Michael Newdow, as well as the presentation of former Saturday Night Live star Julia Sweeney’s one-woman show, “Letting Go of God.” However, I did enjoy a brief opportunity to chat with Sweeney during the awards luncheon and discovered her to be a charming and engaging individual.
This year’s conference exhibited a newly conciliatory tone in the AHA’s rhetoric. Over the past few years, the organization’s staunch opposition to religious bigotry had started to coarsen into polemics against believers. Sessions, such as “Why Humanists Should and Must Befriend the Progressive Faithful,” reflect this positive change in strategy. Of course, in the lobby, there were still strong sales of “ Darwin’s Fish” magnets and “Atheism Cures Religious Terrorism” bumper stickers throughout the conference.
APTA National Conference
by Patti Hooker, PTA, Health Occupations
On June 21-14, 2006, I went to Orlando to attend my first national APTA conference; I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend and I hope it won’t be the last! I met many fellow PTA educators and had a chance to discuss various issues of PTA education as well as attend seminars on professionalism and ethics.
This conference gave me the chance to see that other educators face similar situations and it was very helpful to discuss various techniques and address issues such as professional conduct with my peers. Visiting the exhibition hall and seeing the overwhelming amount of new products for our profession was very exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and brought back many new ideas to incorporate into our program at CFCC.
Statewide Meeting of CDL
by Christopher Schnelle, Workforce Learning
I attended the statewide CDL tester trainer meeting at Mid-Florida Technical Institute on May 25 in Orlando. Mr. Skip Hood, head of the Division of CDL Drivers Licenses, called the meeting to discuss the new CDL skills test and hear comments from the trainers. He was developing a time frame that the state could start the new test; all state testers must be retrained in the testing procedure and setup of the new skills test. Our group gave him input on contract changes to third-party tester agreements, and discussed recommended standards for training the trainer applicants.
The goal of the division is to have the new CDL skills test in place by January 2007.
Physical Therapy Association
by Patti Hooker, PTA, Health Occupations
What an eye-opening experience I had attending this workshop with colleague Jean McCauley! Our department is due for an onsite visit by CAPTE (our accreditors) in 2008, and this workshop, held in Orlando June 17-19, helps PTA programs to prepare for the visit.
I had no idea how much information is required by CAPTE. Attending this workshop helped me to understand the process and what steps we must take to be prepared. It was also nice to meet with other PTA educators from all over the United States and Puerto Rico. Jean and I have much to do to get ready for our visit from the CAPTE; I feel better prepared having attended this workshop.
Congress on Women’s Health
by Jan Livingston, Health Occupations
Eleven collaborating organizations designed this program, which provided a wide variety of topics on Women’s Health. Since this is my area of nursing education and practice, I will be able to bring the latest information to the nursing students and my clients in clinical practice.
Approximately 350 health professionals attended this conference on June 3-6 at Hilton Head, SC. I was able to network with several and learned about their practices.
Topics included depression, cardiac stress testing, virtual colonoscopy, new cosmetic procedures, obesity, the high cost of high heels, obesity, breast cancer, and menopause. This is only a small sample of the topics on the program. All were presented by experts in their fields and the handouts provided are excellent resources.
Please share your GIFTS with your fellow instructors. E-mail Joe Zimmerman at email@example.com.
Judy Downer, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor, Equine Studies
Several of my courses are highly technical, such as Anatomy and Physiology, Equine Medicine, Equine Nutrition, etc. Many of the students either have poor backgrounds in biology and chemistry, or it has been many years since they took those subjects in high school. Rather than teach and test “down” to where the students are comfortable, I teach and test to a more advanced level – almost to the graduate or veterinary student level. While a few very capable students can handle the work (and easily get grades in the mid-90 range), quite a few students fail the exams with scores in the 30-50 range.
But we don’t stop there. The students get to take the test home and have one week to re-do the test using open book and open notes. The test is graded again with ½ credit offered on the questions previously answered incorrectly. So, for example, a student earns a 60 on the first pass through the test (closed book). After correctly answering all the questions, their final grade rises to an 80 (60 + ½ credit on the 40 points missed = 60+20=80). The students are very pleased to have this benefit in the difficult subjects, plus I feel they learn more, not only about the subject matter, but how to study for a test.
WATCH OUT. THE EYEBALL HAD SINUS SURGERY AND GOT NEW GLASSES THIS SUMMER. SO I CAN SEE AND SNIFF OUT THE JOYS OF CF EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE….HEH, HEH, HEH.
CFCC’s building of the Half-Century Tower has been an inspiration for the school in other ways…
I love the fact that the clock is still not working, but set on eternal NOON. I am gaining all sorts of weight eating lunch all day…
Numbers of strange phone calls have been reported since the erection of the bell tower. Most of them seem to come from someone with a slight speech impediment whose name is “Quasi…something” and who seems to be interesting in a bell-ringing position…Check with Esmeralda in HR to see If it has been posted…
There are also rumors of early morning pagan rituals connected with the sun rising. A new student group called CF-Henge is forming. It doesn’t seem likely that college students will join anything connected to sunrise, however.
We are trying to establish our own version of Ocala’s famous sewage plant on 441…The Rose Bowl. If you haven’t driven around the entrance to CF and whiffed the lift station…it WILL clear your sinuses…maybe permanently.
New cheer for Auditorium users: “Barney!!” “Fred!!” It’s the RUBBLE yell…
Several faculty members and staff are wondering how long it will take us to find anything in Building 5. It was easier when we could see through it…
Ever since the refurbishment of Lake Dassance out front of the college (say: Scum Removal…Biology Dept is doing something with that stuff) things have been so attractive. Rumors are that we will be starting our own glass bottom boat rides soon.
CFCC Springs…where Nature meets 200.
There have also been repeated sightings of a large lake creature, recently dubbed “Moby Chick.” More on this later.
We have a lot of sharp, new, young faculty and staff this semester…but it was troubling to hear that one of them got lost in Bob DuMond’s maze garden.
This is my SECOND total auditorium renovation…not counting the summer of HVAC a couple of years ago. I should have become a subcontractor…because at least I’m here when I’m supposed to be.
So many of CF’s “old timers” are retiring, we need different colored jerseys on campus to tell the DROP from the non-DROP people.
We should have a contest on Incredible Forms of CFCC. My vote is for the mounds of paper it takes to arrange a student trip of any kind. Many of the forms seem to be designed to check and see if the VPs are doing anything….since all of them have to sign off. Some forms need so many signatures that one wonders if ANYONE has any authority around here…if we could find out, we could just take the forms there and avoid the trouble.
The renovations on the auditorium are zooming right along. Some days one guy works almost a whole day in here…The joys of subcontractors!! We are expecting the new seats any day now…so the folks standing around can have a place to sit…
While emptying my recycling I noticed that most of the bins were very full of cans, bottles, etc. The new in-box recordings of Steve McKenzie’s intoning “Sustainability” must be inspiring folks. Keep it up, Steve. I hope it was a recording…
Good that we finally bought some vans for CF, just like the ones we had years ago, but the paperwork to use one to take students anywhere filled up one of them already.
Sign seen in Building 7: “STA2023 Exams are on the stove for you to pick up.” As if Statistics isn't bad enough...What will those math profs cook up for us next???
Love the need to go to three different walls in the classrooms to turn off the lights. Must be part of the battle to fight obesity in us old profs.
Time for the eyeballs to close for another nap.
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"Sipping" the Pierian Spring
by Marie Eichinger, Math
Hello! My name is Marie Eichinger (EYE-kin-jer) but most students call me “Mrs. E.” It’s a lot faster and easier to pronounce and over the years I’ve encouraged all my students – from elementary to high school to college level – to use the nickname. For the last five years, it has been my pleasure to teach the Prep Math classes (MAT0012 and MAT0024) at the Citrus campus. This fall I’ll teach a Business Math class, too.
Did you know that as an adjunct instructor at CFCC you can take one 3-credit hour course, tuition paid, each semester you are actually teaching a class? This does not include the original application fee or additional fees for labs or books, etc., but I still think it is an excellent bonus. It’s one of those benefits that make working for CFCC such a pleasure. It definitely creates a “win-win-win” situation. Who wins? The teacher, the student, and CFCC!
Quite a few of our adjunct instructors also teach at area schools and need to apply for recertification every five years. One way to qualify is to take six college level hours at an accredited higher education institution, such as CFCC. With the variety of classes offered here each semester one can readily select two courses of interest. CFCC also has Internet-based instruction that can work well with an adjunct’s schedule. In any case, if you are looking to recertify, contact the Florida Bureau of Education in Tallahassee to be sure you are fulfilling the requirements needed in your field.
Perhaps you are not looking for recertification classes. How does taking a class help that person? As teachers, we need to keep our material “fresh.” One cannot just follow the same outline each semester. Taking classes from other teachers gives us an opportunity to observe successful teaching practices used by our peers and emulate them. I also think that teachers who can empathize with how students feel on the “desks and table” side of the classroom perform better as educators on the “chalkboard and screen” side.
A student benefits from having instructors that are continually involved in their own learning. If someone in class says that you don’t know what it’s like to have papers due and study for tests, you can tell them about the mid-term you have to take or the paper you have to write for that Humanities class! Many people are more motivated by an instructor when they see by our example that education is an ongoing process.
CFCC benefits from this program, too. As an adjunct, I feel that being able to take a class tuition-free is a “value-added” to my regular paycheck. It makes me happy! Happy employees work harder and stay longer! Expanding my knowledge base makes me a well rounded, better teacher, and better teachers usually make for better, more successful students. These students mean success and growth for CFCC. Voila …a “win-win-win” scenario.
There is one thing I would like to recommend to improve the current program. Instead of having to take the free course simultaneously with teaching one or more classes, CFCC could allow the adjunct to “bank” one class per semester. For adjuncts like me who don’t teach during the Summer A or B terms, we could take a class at that time without having to correct assignments and calculate grades in the classes we are actually teaching. There may be adjuncts that teach in the summer and would rather take a class in the fall or spring. It would also enable the instructor to be more selective in the course one takes because not all classes are offered each semester. It’s just a thought! If you like this idea, please let me know ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and I’ll pass it along.
Finally, I’d like to thank CFCC for the opportunity to take these free courses. I love to teach, I love to learn, and CFCC has made it a little easier to experience subjects and investigate skills that I did not have time for in my undergraduate and graduate work. Some classes weren’t even offered yet, back in those “dinosaur” days (PRE-calculator, PRE-keyboarding, PRE-MLA style).
Whether you are new here at CFCC or a returning adjunct, please take advantage of this valuable “extra.” Alexander Pope wrote that we should “drink deep” of the Pierian Spring but what’s wrong with taking lots of sips? Take a class to hone old skills, develop new ones, or for the sheer joyous experience of learning!
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by Kathy Kilcrease, Science
Some years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of science educators listening to the Vice President of the National Science Foundation speak to us about science education in this country. Something that he said that day made a great impression on me. He said that not only are we in great need of scientists in this country, but we are also in need of a populace who has an interest in science and will support scientific endeavors......a kind of “cheering section” I think he called it. He said that our job as science educators was not only to educate future scientists, but also to change attitudes about science among members of the general public.
Changing of attitudes is something that is very difficult to measure via a paper and pencil exam, but changing attitudes has been one of my goals over the years. Many students enter college level science classes with negative attitudes about science and a general fear of the subject matter. I strive to alleviate some of that fear and instill in my students some of the excitement that I have about the subject matter that I teach. Hopefully, in the process, some of the negative attitudes they may have had about science will change into more positive ones. Over the years through conversations with students, letters received and written student evaluations I think that I have at least been partially successful.
I believe that learning can be fun, but it is also hard work. Developing the brain is not much different than developing your muscles; they both need to be exercised. I expect much from the students that I teach. The courses that I teach are college level science courses and I believe should thus have a fair degree of “rigor” associated with them. I also feel that if we fail to push students beyond their present comfort zone and in some cases force them to "stretch" we are doing them a disservice. I “set the bar high” in my classes and then try to give students the tools and encouragement to reach upward. Students quickly learn that it takes effort on their part to succeed, but succeed they can. When students describe me they often say that I am “hard” or “tough” but that I am also “fair.” That, to me, is not a negative description.
I believe that one of my responsibilities, as well, is to instill in students a sense of responsibility; responsibility for the work they do both in class and out and the choices that they make relative to my class. I try to model the type of behavior that I expect from my students. I am prepared for my classes, arrive on time, and always try to get papers graded and back to my students as quickly as possible. I try to be fair to all students and have similar expectations for all of them, but try also to be cognizant of the needs of the individual as well.
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Your Mini-Grants at Work
Student Success Strategies
by Glenna Morelock, Wellness
On May 8, 2006, 24 brave souls volunteered for a workshop dedicated to exploring strategies for student success. Funded by a generous T/LI mini-grant, the program was presented by Michelle Martin, a former faculty member at Valencia Community College and now a “College Survival” trainer for Houghton Mifflin. The morning session discussed active learning strategies that can be applied across many academic disciplines. Especially interesting were the suggestions for incorporating active engagement into traditional lecture methods. During lunch, Michelle met with a small group for a conversation about the development of our learning community for preparatory students.
Increasing the effectiveness of the College and Career Success course (SLS1501) is a key component of the college’s QEP. The afternoon was devoted to a “Master Instructor” workshop that provided significant and specific professional development for current and future instructors of this course and others who were interested in preparatory instructional strategies. Michelle also facilitated the group’s development of a “common” syllabus for SLS1501 to serve as a template for the course in the future.
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