The following speech was given by Dr. Dassance at the Saint Leo University commencement at Queen of Peace Church, May 14, 2005.
Thank you for that kind introduction. I am indeed honored to have been asked to speak at this graduation ceremony. Central Florida Community College has had a long and productive partnership with Saint Leo University, and we are deeply indebted to the University for having made the commitment to offer upper level degrees in Ocala and the surrounding area.
Saint Leo did this when no other university would. Dr. Persky, I hope you will convey to Dr. Kirk how much we at CFCC value our partnership with Saint Leo.
That having being said, the first order of business is to congratulate the graduates!
I know that you have made many sacrifices to achieve this significant goal in your lives. I think you will find that those sacrifices were worth it, and I honor you for this achievement. It was Senator Bob Dole who made what I think is the most astute observation ever about graduation speakers. He said that being a speaker at a graduation is a lot like being a corpse at a funeral: everyone expects you to be there, but no one expects you to say much.
So, if graduation speakers are incapable of saying anything particularly significant, I will at least commit to you not to say anything particularly significant for very long!
I would like to share some thoughts with you, so let me get on with it.
Steven Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , says that we all have four great purposes in life: To live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy. On an individual/personal level, it is pretty clear what each of those things mean.
To live is to meet the basic necessities of life. It is why most of us get up each morning and go to work; we need to earn enough money to take care of our basic needs for food and shelter.
To love is pretty straight forward as well. We need relationships in our lives, whether that be a spouse, other family members, or friends. We have a very basic need to love and be loved.
And you graduates are living examples of what I think is an innate thirst to learn. We literally begin learning from the moment we are born and, if we live a full life, we continue learning throughout our lives. And learning, of course, is much broader than that for which you are receiving a degree today. As Mark Twain said, “Never let schooling interfere with your education.”—There are lots of ways to learn.
And the last great purpose, according to Covey, is to leave a legacy.
This is generally something that we more closely associate with our spiritual life and one that seems to gain more importance as we get older. As we age, we think more about what our life has meant and what we will be leaving behind. – our individual, personal legacy. What we leave behind says a great deal about who we were and what we valued.
I want to talk about leaving a legacy, however, in a broader sense.
Everyone here is fortunate to live in what is arguably the greatest civilization ever created. This country we live in, based on core principles of freedom, justice, and opportunity, is a great experiment in human history. We as citizens of this nation have inherited an incredible legacy from those who established this nation. Sacrifices that were made to create this ideal — this country—and the sacrifices that continue to be made for this democratic ideal have been significant.
As citizens of this nation, whether by birth or through immigration, we all have a great responsibility as well.
We are collectively responsible for what we pass on to future generations that constitutes the United States of America. What will we do to assure that those bedrock values such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the free exercise of religion, and all of the great freedoms that are set forth in the basic bill of rights and constitution will be preserved – and, hopefully, expanded.
You graduates, as a highly educated group, have a special responsibility in this regard.
We live in a time in our nation right now when the discussion of what is important to us has been taken over by
extremists of both the right and the left. This is not a new phenomenon. If you study the early history of our nation, and really our entire history, you will find plenty of times when extreme positions of one person or group or another captured public attention and dominated the national dialogue for a time. Today, if you are only listening to the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh or the rhetoric of Michael Moore, you are receiving a very biased and one-sided view.
In my humble opinion, the great strength of this nation has come from a solid core of rational, moderate citizens who have not allowed themselves or the nation to be distracted from what is truly important by radical ideas of either the left or the right. As a citizen, and especially as a well educated citizen, you have a responsibility beyond casting a vote every two years or four years. You have a responsibility to find the truth from among all the political rhetoric you hear. That means reading a variety of publications (and not just those you agree with), listening carefully and skeptically to what you hear, and taking the time to think deeply through the issues that we face.
All of us have a collective responsibility as to what legacy we will leave behind.
And I understand that what I am suggesting we all have a responsibility to do means that we have to make some sacrifices. We have to be willing to give some time to our role as citizens, and that might mean giving up some things that we would rather do. The Founding Fathers risked their lives and their fortunes for the idea of a nation built on freedom for all. Some continue to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend the nation, but just as heroic are those who sacrifice some of life’s pleasures to actively support and defend this nation’s values and freedoms. Such sacrifices pale by comparison to the sacrifices that others have made to create and maintain this nation, but the outcome is no less important.
Our strength as a nation is in the pragmatism that comes from the collective thinking and discussing that we do as citizens.
I feel very strongly that decisions made by a group will always be better than decisions made by one individual, if that group has access to good information and takes the time to learn from one another and to think through the issues.
All of us, if we are to leave a legacy of a great and free nation, must insist that our leaders keep us focused on what is truly important. Howard K. Smith, a long-tine journalist with ABC News, said we should never under-estimate the intelligence of the American people; but, he said, we should never over-estimate the knowledge of the American people.
In other words, it is not sufficient to be an intelligent citizen: one must also seek the level of knowledge necessary for making good decisions as a citizen.
By the way, in ancient Athens, one of the birth places of the Western idea of the concept of citizen, citizens who neglected their civic duties—those who failed to vote, serve as jurors, and the like – were labeled as idioms. The modern derivation of that word is “idiot”.
And we really do act as idiots if we do not carry out our civic obligations. Because, by doing so, we place at risk the very things we say we value as a nation. We place at risk the legacy we will leave for our children and grandchildren. For too long now, the opportunity for us to carry out our role as citizens has been made nearly impossible by politicians and others on the right and the left who claim they have the answers to what is best for our national interest. We must not be fooled by easy answers to complex issues or by the dangerous notion that our nation can do no wrong.
I believe that our future as a nation rests on our understanding of what is fundamentally important about this country and on our willingness to insist that our political leaders focus their attention there as well.
Let me close by congratulating you again on this significant achievement.
Regardless of what you now do with your new degree in terms of your life’s work, please do not overlook your obligation -- your responsibility -- as a citizen of this nation. Live well, love well, learn well and leave a personal legacy that will honor who you were.
But also remember your collective responsibility to the legacy that is this great democratic nation.
Chief Justice Earl Warren said that citizenship is man’s basic right, for it is nothing less than the right to have rights.
That role as citizen does not flourish in the shrill, confrontational circus that seems to characterize much of what we hear on radio and see on television, but it does flourish from thoughtful, well-informed discussion by us as fellow citizens on how we will preserve and protect our basic freedoms, and our basic rights, that we truly will be and continue to be a nation of liberty and justice for all.
Thank you very much.
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16 th International Conference
on College Teaching and Learning
by Richard Pendarvis, Science
This spring, I attended the 2005 International Conference on College Teaching and Learning at Jacksonville representing CFCC as this year’s faculty recipient of the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology.
I also presented a paper on some work I did on using computer animation in assessment. The concept that assessment can help students learn has basis in the literature. By incorporating animation into computerized testing, we can assess mental domains not easily open to us by ordinary means. My presentation was better attended than many and gave me some ideas to pursue. Many schools are moving to faculty content servers; I met one fellow from a small Connecticut school that has a separate server for the science department.
In the past, I presented at the Jacksonville conference in 1996 and 1998. Quite a lot has changed over the years. Attendance is much greater now and presenters from out of state make up a larger part of the program. Quite a lot of those attending now are faculty from four year colleges and universities. Although technical support was really lacking in 1996, this year the technical support personnel were actually roaming the halls trying to find people who might need their help. The food was even a lot better than in the past! In 2006, attendance at the conference will probably be up somewhat because it is moving to Ponte Vedra.
Floriculture Field Day Trials
by Bob DuMond, Horticulture
I am excited to report that my trip to Gainesville in May for the Floriculture Field Day Trials at UF has left me pumped. I know you are all saying that my head is always in the clouds. Regardless, the seminars were better than outstanding this year covering material such as annual and perennial container displays and recipes, maintenance of annuals in the landscape, bog plants, native wild flowers, and evaluation of the garden trials themselves.
One of the best things that came out of the trial was the networking I was able to accomplish. It is often hard to ask industry for materials and support, but I try hard to achieve this. This time, it really paid off. Bethel Farms has recently imported plants form Australia that may prove to be a substitute for some of the more troubled common groundcovers we use here in Central Florida. I spoke to them at the show and showed them pictures of the maze garden in hopes of obtaining material for the garden. They asked me if I would be willing to trial about 10 new Dianella and Lomandra cultivars in both sun and shade. By the time you read this they will be planted and ready to be visited by all. Come visit—you have no idea what you are missing.
Thanks for allowing faculty the ability to attend these seminars. They mean a great deal to all of us!
Florida Association of Career and Technical Education
by Bill Schaeffer, Workforce/Vocational Ed
Held in Tampa on July 21, the annual FACTE conference is always beneficial because it provides an opportunity to appreciate statewide educational issues while socializing with peers from other community colleges and school districts. Some noteworthy observations:
Industry certifications for all vocational programs may become mandated within five years
Curriculum changes are expected in 2006 for the Personal Services programs including cosmetology, specialty nails, and specialty facials
Gaggle.com allows instructors to establish and control e-mail accounts for student groups.
Consider Blogger.com to create web logs for you or your students.
Assembly on Education
by Millie Norris, Business & Technology
The Assembly on Education (AOE), a part of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is held annually for the HIM educators. We met on June 26-29 in St Louis, Missouri at the Hyatt Regency Union Station. It was a learning experience to view the history of the restoration of the 60 acres that had been the hub of the rail transportation in that area.
The Healthcare Informatics and Information Management Faculty Development Institute was held on Sunday. Dr. Elizabeth Zeibig of St Louis University used the VARK learning method, which determines learning styles, and asked us to participate as her students. She stressed the need keep students engaged in the learning process. I use games and group work now but I definitely plan to incorporate some of her ideas in my fall classes. I left her session with three pages of helpful resources, websites, and teaching strategies.
Other sessions that day included HIM curriculum for the future and an interesting session with Dr. Frank Waterstraat from Illinois State University on Student Learning Assessment Techniques. He sees no point in grades (“Where did grades start? Is anyone going to hire you because you made an ‘A’?”). He discussed his non-traditional methods and making the student responsible for their learning, and recommended the book, The Art of Possibility by Zander. I agree with the issues of grades and tests, and will focus on direct measures of student learning that will give a more accurate assessment of the student’s progress.
Health Information Management Education: Innovation and Collaboration was the topic for the next three days of the symposium. The many sessions covered the following issues:
Virtual classroom- Distance Learning
Allied Health Reinvestment Act – loans and scholarships
Foundation of Research & Education (FORE) – programs and resources for educators
Professional Practice Experience for students
Curriculum Gap Analysis
The future of HIM graduates
“The Perfect Storm – Future of Retention and Engagement" was presented by Jay Jamrog of the Human Resource Institute at the University of Tampa, FL. He employs 20 researchers who gather data on the different generations found in the workplace. There are four groups: Depression (1927-1945); Baby Boom (1946-1964); Baby Bust (1965-1983); Baby Boomlet (1984-2002). His slides show, Characteristics of the Generations, detailed 14 categories that included values, lifestyle, religion, value of authority, and work ethic. He discussed what the future employee would want and what employers would have to do to recruit and retain the best personnel.
Educators in Health Information Management will have to continue to look closely at how to prepare students to adapt and be successful in the quickly changing environment. We have to add more every term to our content to ensure we are keeping up with the new ways of maintaining health care data.
I look forward to next year’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.
Gordon Research Conference:
Chemistry Education Research & Practice
by Ken Capps, Science
This conference, held in New London, CT June 26-July 1st, was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Chemical Society (ACS) with the theme of “The Emerging Vision of Chemistry Education Research.” This was an excellent conference that included poster sessions, speakers and informal discussions from chemistry instructors and researchers around the country. The conference allowed for extended discussion and the exchange of ideas about the various topics, which included research on teaching, learning and assessment; faculty development and its impact; uses and assessment of technology; and pedagogical techniques and evaluation.
Two topics I especially enjoyed were 1) the Virtual ChemLab; and 2) the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) Project.
Virtual ChemLab is a sophisticated and realistic laboratory simulation for freshman and sophomore chemistry. Using the program, students are allowed to complete simulations involving qualitative analysis, titrations, calorimetry, etc. prior to completing the actual lab.
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. Guest speakers discussed lessons learned from the POGIL project.
Keeping up the Pace XIV – an HIV Update
by Joann Rivers and Grace Gil, Health Occupations
Joann: “This conference for health care professionals was held in Gainesville on May 11, 2005. As a nursing educator for the ADN and this summer the PN program here at CFCC, my objective was to obtain information that I could use to help the nursing students meet their objectives to learn about HIV and AIDS.
The morning plenary sessions gave me the updated statistics regarding this disease for the general population and then specifically for Florida. In Florida there are about 95,000 people living with HIV/AIDS; this is about 10% of the national population. Locally in Central Florida there has been an 11% increase in AIDS cases and a 17% decrease in HIV cases (note that a person can live with HIV with treatment). The treatment regime for HIV varies by individual response to the medications. The important factor is that patients MUST take the medications 100% of the time. If they do not follow the treatment plan, the HIV can convert to AIDS.
It was a very good conference and I hope to attend the 15th annul update next year.”
Grace: “All of the information presented will be so helpful in updating my class presentations in this rapidly changing area of health care. As an instructor for HIV/AIDS in the nursing program, it is essential that I keep my material updated. Every summer I do a major revision of all of my HIV/AIDS notes, and this conference supplied me with a great deal of new information.
I was impressed by the attitudes of the conference participants, who spend every working day caring for persons with HIV/AIDS and yet have a spirit of hopefulness, which was pervasive throughout the day in every session I attended. I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent the day learning about the work of such truly dedicated individuals. Thank you for making my attendance possible.”
Southern Greenhouse Conference
by Bob DuMond, Workforce Technology
The Southern Greenhouse Conference was great from start to finish. On Wednesday, June 22, we boarded a bus at seven in the morning and made our first stop Costa Color, who supplies all the Lowe’s and Wal-Mart stores with annual and perennial color throughout the growing season. We spent about an hour touring their greenhouse facility and then headed toward the Biltmore Estate. Oh, you are all about to say how wonderful, but this was a behind the scenes visit to their perennial greenhouses, better known as the Biltmore Estate Nursery, which consisted of about four housed and four full time employees. If you are a season pass holder to visit the estate or just passing through on vacation you can purchase a day pass to see the estate and then buy some of these wonderful plants to take to your private garden.
After leaving the Biltmore we went to a very upscale garden center known as B.B. Barns, which is a great place to pick up anything you might want for the garden from pot, plants, and fountains to greeting cards. This was an awesome place to visit. The day ended with a tour of Faford, a large soilless mix facility that furnished soil for greenhouse growing. This was their 25 th anniversary and at the end of the tour we mingled with their employees, had a wonderful dinner and took in a seminar on biological control of soil fungus using other types of fungi.
The following day started with lectures on “Propagation from A to Z” and during the afternoon session all participants planted seed and different types of cuttings using the techniques addressed during the morning session. That evening we heard a great lecture on the history of “American Seed Houses” presented by Jim Nau of Ball Seed, followed by a trip downtown to Greenville for a light food fest at the Hyatt.
On Friday and Saturday I spent most of the day attending lectures on new growth regulators for the industry, Poinsettia production, container garden workshops, and one exceptionally outstanding talk given by Dr. Paul Nelson on water quality in the greenhouse. When I was not in the lectures
“Mobil A/C Trainer”
by Paul Rossiter, Workforce Technology
Last spring’s mini-grant project, “Mobil A/C Trainer” was a great success. This joint project between the automotive, welding and auto collision programs resulted in the construction of a useful teaching/learning training device.
In addition to the design, fabrication and assembly of the trainer, the completed unit was used during the summer semester to instruct the auto collision students. I held a workshop teaching the basics of air-conditioning principles; phase two of the workshop was a hands-on session using the trainer. We will continue to conduct workshops for the auto collision students each semester with our new Mobil A/C trainer.
Feedback from the students indicated that the A/C workshop was a success. On behalf of all the program administrators involved with this project, I thank the T/LI for awarding us this Mini-Grant.
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Congratulations, Pat, on being awarded a Fulbright. Tell us something about the Fulbright Scholarship program.
The Fulbright Program was founded shortly after World War II by Senator William Fulbright, then a freshman senator from Arkansas It was designed to promote international education exchanges under the mantra that such “exchanges would promote peace and thus humanize mankind.” Since that time, more than 50,000 academics and specialists have spread the gospel of knowledge both near and far. In addition to the Traditional Scholar program which offers U.S. faculty, administrators and professionals grants to lecture, do research or participate in seminars, Fulbright also conducts visiting scholar programs in which faculty from other countries perform the same duties on U.S. campuses.
I didn’t think Fulbrights were awarded to community college educators . I know you’re the first at CFCC.
Fulbright awards to community college faculty have been rare. However, in recent years, the Fulbright program has been promoting (and awarding) scholarships to qualified community college teachers.
What’s the application process like?
To be eligible for a traditional Fulbright, a Ph.D. is preferred though not required. Significant teaching experience, sound health and U.S. citizenship are the other requirements. An extensive electronic application (mine was 15 pages) which includes a focused project statement outlining one’s plan for the Fulbright provides the basis upon which one is chosen. Once awarded, the recipient then undergoes a basic physical examination and personally handles the immigration process and travel plans to gain entry into the awarding countries.
Getting the Fulbright really started with your interest in India, right? How did that happen?
India played a great part in this process. I spent a transformative month in the summer of 2004 as part of a Fulbright Hays team from the University of Central Florida and the Orange County Public Schools visiting and learning about India. That program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, sends teams of college and K-12 educators to other countries for short periods of time. As a doctoral candidate at UCF, I had heard about the program after listening to a presentation given by two Indian storytellers who had been visiting the U.S. as part of another Fulbright program which brings scholars and educators from other countries for short and long terms stays in the U.S. I submitted an application and was selected to go. We visited the cities of Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi where we took part in more than 50 hours of seminars and visited more than 40 temples and historical, cultural sites. Since my return, each of these cities has been impacted by a significant event. Mumbai still reels from the monsoons of the past month. Indeed, the campus. In Chennai, pictures I took of Marina Beach on the Bay of Bengal show a place which has been devastated by the December tsunami which struck Asia. Finally in Delhi, recent violence between Muslim and Hindu communities has provided an unsettled tone to the Indian capital.
Your work in both Armenia and Kyrgyzstan recently was part of it, too, wasn’t it? Tell us about Armenia.
Yes. I was motivated to seek a year long Fulbright after participating in the year long U.S.-Armenia teacher exchange project. Like the Fulbright program, this project was sponsored by the United States Department of State and brought 22 U.S. educators to Armenia to learn about and to link up with an Armenia educator for a year of collaborative classroom activity. My partner, Hasmik Harutyunyan, hosted me for four days in her remote village in the Caucasus. And, as many of you know, CFCC played host to Hasmik last April when she visited local sites, made presentations to more than 12 classes and learned about American culture.
Yes, she visited the T/LI during her stay. And your work in Kyrgyzstan?
This past June, I visited Kyrgyzstan to present a paper at an International Symposium on Culture and Communication. This ten day trip allowed me to get a closer look at the region, the nature of university education there and the viability of my proposal to study technical communication in the region. This whirlwind adventure, chronicled in the blog I wrote during my stay, left me with nothing but good feelings about my decision to apply and the willingness of my potential partners to make my stay meaningful. While there I took more than 800 photos which provided a glimpse of various aspects of Kyrgyz life, from the rural school high in the Tien Shan Mountains, to the White House in the capital, Bishkek, where, some three months before my visit, the Tulip Revolution took place and the former president forced out.
Did you get help on this end for your Fulbright project?
Definitely. I must say that by keeping CFCC fully informed about my desire to apply for a Fulbright and the status of my application, matters on this end have been taken care of with consummate ease. CFCC has supported my quest for a Fulbright: President Dassance, VP Sharon Cooper and my immediate supervisor, Assistant VP Cheryl Fante have provided the guidance and pathways necessary for all this to happen. In addition, Trish Glennon in Human Resources has helped me navigate the process of taking a leave of absence.
The Fulbright is a one year commitment. Where exactly will you be going?
For ten months, I will split my time between Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages in Almaty, Kazakhstan and the International University of Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz Turkish Manas University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I am told by Fulbright that an award split between two countries is quite rare. However, in planning my project and checking a Rand McNally (if yours is older than 15 years, it will be difficult to find these countries!) I realized that these two cities are but 120 miles apart. The comparisons and contrasts possible between these two nations, united in their freedom from Soviet hegemony but uniquely Kazakh or Kyrgyz in other ways, would provide the substance for a challenging Fulbright year. These countries represent two of the world’s most recent democracies, both having declared their independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, and are located in Central Asia. Kazakhstan, the ninth largest country, in square miles, in the world, is that place in your world geography memory known as steppes. Kyrgyzstan, a Nebraska in size but a Colorado in topography, with more than 90% of its people living at a mile high or more, depends on any level of tourism for its commercial survival. Both share an eastern border with China and are located on the same latitude as New England. So I am packing clothes for a cold winter as well as a hot summer. What’s it going to be like to see the fall colors again!
What exactly will you be doing in these countries, besides trying to stay warm?
In Fulbright’s terms, I will be “lecturing” and “researching” in both countries. Specifically, I will be seeking to understand how scientific and technical information is transferred within Central Asia. On one level, I will be teaching classes at my host universities in what might be called Business English to speakers who have come to English as their third and sometimes fourth language (after Russian, Kazakh or Kyrgyz, and Turkish). As these emerging countries vie for global standing, English is fast becoming the communication vehicle for their studies. I will be visiting the National Libraries in each city to see how technical communication has evolved as these countries have shifted their ideological focus from Turkic, to Arabic, to Russian, to Kazakh and now to English templates.
You’re tying in CFCC with some of these activities, aren’t you?
Right. I will be running an ongoing book discussion group, using the Learning Theme Committee’s selections, The Kite Runner and Clones and Clones , to generate oral and written activities for my advanced students. I am particularly interested in identifying fictional and non-fictional narratives like the Kite Runner indigenous to these countries. I am also hoping to use the Webcam features of Yahoo messenger to communicate directly with CFCC faculty and students while I am there.
And what about the research?
My research activities will consist of visiting Kazakh and Kyrgyz classrooms and photographing the visual messages which are evident in the room. I began this project last summer in India, followed it up with memorable photos from Armenia and look forward to visiting at least one school a month while I am in Central Asia.
How can your colleagues contact you when you are there?
I can be reached through my college email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through the blog I started while I was in Kyrgyzstan in June. Again, that address is http://asianattitude.blogspot.com < http://asianattitude.blogspot.com/ > . I hope to post pictures in a timely manner through a Yahoo service, flickr. I encourage you to have your students read about my Fulbright year and I would love to connect with your classes in any way feasible.
And if any faculty members are interested in applying for a Fulbright?
They should go directly to the Fulbright website at http://www.cies.org/us_scholars/us_awards/ . Awards are organized by location and by discipline. And please, if you have any questions about the process of my application, contact me directly at email@example.com and I will tell you what my experience has been like.
Congratulations again, Pat. And have a great trip. We’ll keep in touch.
tales and tips for staying on track
written by and for our Adjunct Faculty Members
Face Life’s Challenges with a Smile
by Faithe A. Liburd, Communications
It was many years ago that I dreamed of teaching at a college. I kept this dream in the back of my mind not knowing that CFCC would be the place where I would begin. How did I get to this point in time? One of the things that has gotten me to this place at this particular time is the fact that I have learned, with God’s help, to face life’s challenges with a smile. When I say “smile,” I am referring not only to the physical expression, but more so an attitude.
Let me tell you the story of a little girl. I arrived here in the United States at the young age of six. Having left Jamaica’s warm and welcoming sun, I arrived in Boston to a cold March wind. My mother wanted us to benefit from the land of opportunity, so she sent for me and my other siblings.
The first lesson you learn when you arrive in a new place is how to smile. Smiling when you can hardly understand the funny speaking people is the best thing to do. Smiling got me through that first year of school. I did not like the food at school. My mother had to send me with egg sandwiches everyday. The teachers could not understand my ‘patois’ and tried very hard to get me to pronounce words the way they did it. I did what I did best. I smiled in the face of life’s challenges.
Smiling, in the midst of everything, got me through middle school and high school with only two near fights. I learned how to make friends by being pleasant and having a good attitude. I learned very early in life that the people who complained all the time and were very negative were also not very successful.
I have survived through many years of being an immigrant and the constant questioning of my heritage and birth from those who have never left the U.S. I persisted in my quest for knowledge and fulfillment. Did I get all good grades? No, I did not. I was an ‘A’ reader; however, I was not faithful in doing my assignments. It took many years of prayer and determination to make myself understand time management. I am sure that those who know me will agree that I am still working on this area.
What can I say to those who also face life’s challenges? Smile! Because of my determination, I graduated from Boston Latin Academy, one of the only college prep schools in Boston. It used to be called Girls Latin School. I went on to get my Associate’s Degree in Theology, my Bachelors in Psychology and my Master’s in Education. My next goal is to get my doctorate. Why do I mention these things? I mention them to encourage my fellow adjuncts and students that may be reading this, to smile in the midst of life’s challenges.
I was the first college graduate in my family. Although I am not making millions, I am happy to be teaching at a college and I am also happy to be working as a Chaplain. As I face each day, I look up and smile. I know that it is going to be a good day. It doesn’t matter how challenging the semester or my personal life gets, I know that it is a good day because of my attitude.
How is your attitude? Charles Swindoll, a theologian, once said,
“The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace that day. We cannot change our past…We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude.”
I ask you again, how is your attitude? Are you smiling in the face of you challenges or are you buckling under pressure?
Each semester has been interesting. At the beginning of my first semester, I was given teaching materials, sample tests, a sample of a syllabus and sent on my way. I was so glad that I was assigned Judy Haisten as a mentor. I was able to e-mail her with all of my questions. She did not know it at the time, but she kept such a good attitude in response to all of my questions, that she too was telling me to smile. I made it through that semester followed by four more, and I look forward to many in the future.
When other adjuncts and I keep a good attitude throughout the semester, especially when we are “tried in the fire” by students, we too are telling them to smile. Who wants to walk into a class with someone who is always frowning?
As I stated earlier, I also work as a Chaplain. This job takes me into a prison five days a week. Each day, I have to encourage, pray with and strengthen those who are weak. I do this willingly. I have also traveled to preach in several places around the U.S. and in the islands. I love to encourage others to smile in the face of life’s challenges.
If my students want to make it in this society, if I want to make it in this society, if you want to make it in this society, you’ve got to learn how to endure difficulties with a smile. Students will learn good study habits and good work ethics by watching the teachers who teach them.
The next time you walk into a class to teach, remember your smile. Your attitude can make all the difference in the life of your student. The impact of your attitude will have a stronger and more far reaching effect than you may realize.
My high school Latin teacher once told us that we were the best. I have carried that with me over the years. I did not always do my best, but I knew that I was the best because he told me. As I grew and matured, I took on a personal faith that has also helped me.
As you face life’s challenges, figure out what is best for you and…Smile! Other have been successful, so can you. Even when you don’t know if you can do something, try it regardless. You might be good at something that you haven’t tried to do yet. Learn from the birds of the air. Learn from those around you…Always learn that as you face life’s challenges, smile!
ADJUNCT ORIENTATION A CONTINUED SUCCESS
“The information was presented with excellence.”
“Best adjunct training I have attended.”
“Thanks for this service.”
These evaluation comments were made by CFCC adjuncts after attending one of the three orientations at the Ocala and Citrus campuses prior to the beginning of the fall term. They were welcomed with refreshments and received a $40 stipend. Presentations related to instructional improvement and student success were given by staff, faculty, and other adjuncts.
At the Ocala campus, Kimberley Smith spoke on Students with Disabilities; Dr. Ron Cooper, Academic Integrity Policies; and Dave Lanzilla, Jenzabar for Faculty. In addition, the Learning Resources Center and Learning Support Center presented information on LINCCWeb and PLATO software.
Citrus faculty members Wayne Wannamaker, Kenneth Quinnell and Mike Temple presented workshops in math assessment software, APA Research Documentation, and MLA Research Documentation.
Adjunct orientations are coordinated annually by Dr. Sharon Cooper, Vice-president, Office of Instruction; Joe Zimmerman, Coordinator, Teaching/Learning Institute; and Carole Bartholomew, Manager, Office of Professional Development.
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Summer Fantasy Workshop 2005
by Sandy Pell, OPD Coordinator
Summer Fantasy 2005 came and went in a blur of activity, conversation and food consumption. The participants worked hard all 3-1/2 days on June 22, 23, 24 and 25. With Joe Zimmerman at the helm, our great tech team—Steve Hill and Josh Strigle—rose to the occasion (and cries for help), making the workshop a success. Here’s what the participants worked on:
Amanda Gennaro, a first time Summer Fantasy participant and visitor to the PDC, managed to keep her sanity while surrounded by people yelling “Steve!” and “Josh!” Her project was a PowerPoint presentation on histology and embryology for the dental students in the Hampton Center. Will she ever return? We hope so!
Lori Kielty and Debbie Towns created videos for their Intro to Computer Technology class and made four posters, printed by Staff Services, to hang in the classroom. They did most of their work in bldg. 40 but showed up on time for lunch every day!
Kenneth Quinnell updated the Social Science Web site for Citrus campus faculty. He included some interesting links for students, such as Mistakes Students Make on Exams/Quizzes. You can check out his Web site at http://cfcc.quinnell.us .
Hope Dewlen prepared tutorials, worksheets and practice tests that she put in notebooks study guide notebooks for college prep math students.
Mike Bannester and Paul Rossiter updated their existing Web sites for welding and automotive technology in a continuing effort to recruit new and benefit existing students.
SuZi made her presence known testing sound bytes for the PowerPoint presentation she created for her Comp.1 class. Headphones are on order for our next workshop.
Liz Minnerly created online interactive lessons/quizzes for MLA citation (I took the test and managed to answer all but two of the questions correctly).
James Manley created a CD of resources for the academic study of the New Testament for his Intro to the New Testament classes; the CD will provide a resource for life-long learning outside the classroom as well.
Pat Fleming , who is headed for the hills of Kyrgyzstan, worked on a new course, “Help Desk Customer Service,” for the Technology Management program in his division. The course will allow students to become engaged in real life workplace scenarios that will help them understand the role of the community in the programs offered at CFCC.
Susan Bradshaw, our last Netscape hold-out, converted the LRC Web site from Netscape Composer to Dreamweaver, and improved the features in the Services for Students page. You can check out the new site at library.cf.edu.
Jerry Meyerson, with lots of help from Steve Hill, continued work on an Excel spreadsheet that uses a financial variable for generating retirement planning data.
Faithe Liburd updated her PowerPoint entitled “Increase Your Self Esteem—Do Well in College” for her college prep classes. Topics included were time management and study skills.
Zinnia Callueng, a workshop regular, continued her “adventures in Dreamweaver” by putting lecture and lab notes on her Anatomy & Physiology Web site to give students more accessibility to course and lecture information.
Faithe Liburd updated her PowerPoint entitled “Increase Your Self Esteem—Do Well in College” for her college prep classes. Topics included were time management and study skills.
Zinnia Callueng, a workshop regular, continued her “adventures in Dreamweaver” by putting lecture and lab notes on her Anatomy & Physiology Web site to give students more accessibility to course and lecture information.
Dave Hartley spent the entire 3-1/2 days scanning performance photos from the past 17 years, with the goal of organizing and archiving the CFCC Theatre history. We even gave him his own room so he could “direct” his project at will (and not frighten newcomers).
Judy Haisten created a Web site for Spanish 1120 and 1121 classes, including interesting Spanish sites for student access and a personal web page about the instructors. We have to take Judy at her word, since none of us understands what her Web site says...
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“Keep them moving!” That’s the slogan now for the 50 th Anniversary Journals Project which began this past summer. The idea of 50 journals for 50 years was proposed by SuZi, a former part time professor of English, who worked here last year. She modeled the idea from the 1,000 Journals Project which began in California. With a great deal of enthusiasm, she explained what was needed to Jillian Ramsammy and then two very excited people discussed it with me. The reason I heard about it is because I am a member of the 50 th Anniversary Editorial Committee. The Editorial Committee has been working for the past two years on gathering historical information about the college and preserving that information in a publication. But Suzi and Jillian were thinking about the future. The students, the alumni, the faculty, staff and administration, what do they think today about CFCC? In 100 years, what will people have to look back on that represents 50 years of memories at Central Florida Community College? Who is collecting the current information? Those were the questions proposed and thus began the 50 Journals Project.
What happened is quite simple. We purchased, with funds from the Foundation, 50 small journals. We requested interested individuals to decorate the journal covers on a Saturday at Brick City Center for the Arts. By the end of the day, 50 still damp, but individually designed journals were ready for distribution. Each one is numbered and the property of CFCC. We want them filled in and back here by September 30, 2006. That’s next year. We are going to include them in an exhibit in 2007 that celebrates our 50 th anniversary. Where are they now? I don’t know. I hope they’re moving. I still have a few of them to distribute, but most of them are gone. And gone is a good thing. They are out and about. They now contain sayings, essays, poems, pictures, drawings—whatever message the writers want to share. This project is a creative process in current time that will surprise us all when the journals come back next year and we see what’s inside. There is no right way for this to happen. They are on a journey. And so, I am asking that if you see a journal, add to it. If you would like to start a journal, contact me at the Library. A few are still here. As the year progresses, keep an eye out for the journals and “Keep them moving!”
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One of my jobs in the Library is to come up with displays for our three display cases throughout the school year. One of my favorite annual displays highlights Banned Books Week (September 24-October 1). We now have many resources that discuss banned books, including my very first source for ideas and still my favorite book: Banned Books: 387BC to 1978AD by Anne Lyon Haight and Chandler B. Harris. This marvelous book lists most “classic” titles that have been banned and/or challenged from the beginning, why they were banned and when. Every year I mention that Mickey Mouse cartoons have been banned in several different countries. Another little known Disney character, Clarabelle Cow, had also been suppressed in the United States (Haight 81) only because she was drawn reading a book ( Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn) that had been banned in 1907-1908 in England, Canada and the United States (58). And thus begins my search for the banned cartoons…
After scouring our own extensive collection on Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, I interlibrary-loaned many different books hoping I would get lucky and find anything about Mickey or Clarabelle. One day, a couple of years ago, I found a reprint of the actual Mickey Mouse cartoon and the story of its banning in Yugoslavia! The comic strip serial, published around the world, was entitled “The Monarch of Medioka” and was patterned after the story “The Prisoner of Zenda” (Blum). In Yugoslavia at the time (1937) the regent was in charge of the government, and the Mickey Mouse comic strip storyline was hitting a little too close to home and so it was banned from the country. This was the country’s first known incident of censoring a comic strip, according to The Golden Age of Serbian Comics website (Zupan). Even The New York Times reporter who broke the story, Hubert Harrison, was ejected from Yugoslavia (Blum). Having finally discovered the title of the comic strip, I went on eBay and Amazon.com hoping to find at least a reprint of the Monarch of Medioka, if not the actual vintage comic strip. And, lo and behold, I found one published by Gladstone Comics so I bought it right then and there! When it arrived I read it cover to cover including, amazingly enough, reprints of the New York Times articles from 1937!
I am always searching eBay for Clarabelle items to include in my displays. I now have a black and white bean bag Clarabelle and a 1938 book entitled, The Story of Clarabelle . But no Disney animated cel of Clarabelle reading a book as of yet!
I even spent a week at the Walt Disney World resort searching for anyone who knew what I was talking about: the Disney bookstores and art stores at Downtown Disney, the MGM Studios park stores, even customers that were as interested as I was in the topic. I also talked with several Disney artists about Clarabelle but…unfortunately, to no avail.
The Library has several encyclopedias on Disney and the Disney characters and several of them are written by the man who has my dream job: the archivist at the Disney Studios, Dave Smith. Finally, in desperation, I wrote him a letter last year asking if he knew which cartoon I was talking about. Amazingly he wrote me back within a week or two (never underestimate the power of a self-addressed stamped envelope) and he told me all the information I needed! The cartoon I was referring to was “The Shindig” originally released in 1930. I just had to wait until Walt Disney Studios released another Disney Treasures DVD with early Mickey Mouse and friends black and white cartoons (or animated shorts) and hope that it was included (Smith). They did shortly after I received the letter and the cartoon was included on the DVD and, now, after literally searching for years, I have that cartoon !
So when I say that Mickey Mouse and Clarabelle Cow have been banned, I can show it as well as tell it!
Blum, Geoffrey. “Liner Notes.” Walt Disney’s Comics in Color . Prescott, AZ: Gladstone Publishing, [n.d.].
Disney, Walt. “The Shindig.” Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 2, 1928-1935 . DVD. Burbank, CA:
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2004.
Gottfredson, Floyd. “The Monarch of Medioka.” Walt Disney’s Comics in Color . Vol. 6. Prescott, AZ:
Gladstone Publishing, [n.d].
Haight, Anne and Chandler Harris. Banned Books: 387BC to 1978AD . New York: Bowker, 1978.
Smith, Dave. Letter from the author. 5 October 2004.
Zupan, Zdravko. “The Golden Age of Serbian Comics: Censorship.” Internet Library of Serb Culture . September 1997.
Projekat Rastko. 13 June 2005 <http://www. rastko.org.yu/strip/zzupan-golden_age.html>.
And for more information on Banned Books Week, check out the official American Library Association’s Banned Books Week website at: www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bannedbooksweek.htm .
Here is more news from the CFCC Book Club, as reported by Amy Mangan.
Here are some summer reads:
Kurban Said, Ali and Nino – an enchanting novel set in WWI Transcaucasia about the coming together of Christian and Muslim, Sunni and Shiite, Armenian and Azerbaijani, Russian and Turk, East and West. I think so highly of this book that I may adopt it as a collateral reading for my Islamic Civilization course.
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents – what is a summer without a bit of Freud?
Guess what the theme of this next group is—
Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves
Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Gods of Mars
Arthur C. Clark, The Hammer of God
Arthur C. Clark, “The Nine Billion Names of God”
Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
William Gibson, Neuromancer
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
Why Sci-Fi? It liberates the mind, breaks down the barriers of imagination and thought, suggests realities most of us may have never considered. Just think of Sci-Fi as “alternate realities without the drugs.” I avoid the most of the trash Sci-Fi—and there is a lot of it out there—by reading the grand masters of the genre ( i.e ., Asimov), NY Times Bestsellers and National Book Award recipients ( i.e ., Gibson, and Le Guin), or the Hugo and Nebula Award winners (Asimov, Clark, Card, Gibson, Le Guin). The best the genre is both literate and grounded in scientific plausibility. For the academic side of the field check out the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas ( www.ku.edu/~sfcenter ).
~ John Mathews
100 Years of Solitude – by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A sweeping narrative of a fictional Columbian village whose inhabitants never die. Full of imagery, symbolism, and people levitating. Still deciding if I like it. Anyone else have a book like that?
Good Grief by Lolly Winston–Lighthearted and witty look at life as a young grieving widow who didn’t have a Plan B.
If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name – Non-fiction/commentary by an Alaskan newspaper reporter recounting the daily lives of a small, quirky Alaskan town. The best essays are the obituaries.
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy. Everyone should read this work written by Sir Pat in 1969. Favorite book of summer, if not all time. His commentaries on our educational system are eerily familiar for today.
An Unfinished Life – fictional work about an elderly father coming to terms with the loss of his son. This work had a lot of potential, but faded toward the end.
~ Amy Mangan
The CFCC Book Club invites you to join them in PDC 1-101 from 12:00-1:00 for their book discussions. Here is what’s on the calendar this term:
|Friday, September 23
The Partly Cloudy Patriot
by Sarah Vowell
facilitated by Sandra Cooper
|Friday, October 28
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
facilitated by Dean Blinkhorn
|Friday, November 18
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
by Gregory Maguire
facilitated by Sheila Evans
Book Donation Party
at Amy Mangan’s
Mark your Calendars!
Mini-Grant and Super Saturday applications are due on Friday, October 7 th. You can download the forms at
Projects must (a) focus upon improving student learning in accordance with the CFCC vision statement and the Teaching/Learning Institute mission and (b) go beyond faculty members’ regular responsibilities.
Super Saturday : November 5th
The premise of the workshop is that you know what you want to learn and only need time and a little help to accomplish your project. Participants will submit a proposal of a project that can be completed during the one-day workshops. A $100 stipend will be given to each articipant. This workshop is limited to 15 participants.
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