Blog Update: February 26, 2015

• Marilyn Has a New Family Member! 

The English Blog is delighted to report that Marilyn’s daughter Kim has given birth to her second child, a girl, named Eleanor Diana, who came into the world at  9 lbs. 11 oz., 21 in., on Wednesday morning, February 25. Our best wishes to Marilyn and her family!


• The Lead for Innovation Literary Context, Deadline April 3 

The League for Innovation in the Community College is sponsoring its annual literary competition to celebrate the creativity, talent, and diversity of student writers. Each League board member (including JCCC) conducts its own competition, for which students submit work in four categories: fiction, essay, poetry, and one-act play.
league competition
The work of the local winners will be forwarded to the national competition to be judged by acclaimed writers in each category. The winners of the national competition are then published in a journal. This year the journal is titled Inner Moonlight and includes the work of JCCC student Shawna Bragg, who earned third place (and a $100 cash award) for her essay “What Do You Know About It?”

The JCCC competition is now underway, and as mentioned above, we are accepting submissions in four categories: fiction, essay, poetry, and one-act play. The deadline is Friday, April 3, 2015. Please spread the word to your students. I can place copies of the entry form in your mailbox upon request. Entry form hard copies are available at the Writing Center and on the E/J Division office bulletin board. The entry form is also available by clicking the link below:

The entry forms are available online but still must be submitted to Tom:  League of Innovation Student Literary Contest Form for 2015 (PDF)

Submissions and completed entry forms can be placed in my mailbox or dropped off at my office (GEB 165H). If you or your students have any questions, contact me at ext. 3935 or at Several reminders will be sent before the April 3 deadline.

from Tom Reynolds

• College Scholar Applications Due March 22

 Applications for JCCC College Scholars are due by 5 p.m. March 22.
The purpose of the College Scholars program is to showcase faculty excellence in research fields that go beyond the classroom to make scholarly contributions to knowledge within the professor’s academic discipline. It is open to all faculty members, although previous recipients must wait one year before applying again and must apply with a different topic.
Obligations for recipients of the College Scholar designation include delivering multiple presentations. Click here for complete details on the award, including the link to the application form, located on the College Scholars Award home page. Applications should be sent to the Staff and Organizational Development office, RC152, Box 35.
You may contact Staff Development with questions at, ext. 7654, or Sarah Boyle, chair of the College Scholars committee at

 • Films on Demand Is Newest Library Resource

Students, faculty and staff now have access to Films on Demand, a streaming video resource provided by Billington Library. Thousands of videos are available for in-class use and viewing from on or off campus.
These educational videos can be easily incorporated into D2L and shared with students. Included in the collection are over 20,000 titles on academic topics ranging from anthropology to world languages.
To learn how to integrate Films on Demand and other library resources into your courses, please visit the library guide, Embedding Library Resources into D2L
 • David Cantwell Has Article Published in The New Yorker

Adjunct Professor of English David Cantwell has really gone national!  His article on singer Glen Campbell entitled  “Saying Goodbye to the First Good Ol’ Boy of American Pop”  appeared February 19 in the The New Yorker.  Congratulations, David, on this wonderful accomplishment!


• Father Gregory Boyle to Give Public Lecture, March 10

In conjunction with this year’s Common Read selection of The Other Wes Moore, the English Department is hosting events involving Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, who has dedicated his life to helping LA’s most marginalized individuals find a place in society’s ranks.  Father Boyle, a JCCC Scholar-in-Residence for 2015, will give the presentation “The Other Way to More: The Power of Boundless Compassion” at 11:00 a.m., March 10, in Yardley Hall.   The presentation is free and open to the public. for the flier for the Lecture Click Here


• English and Journalism Division to Host Food Drive in April

The English/Journalism Division decided at its last meeting to organize a food drive in April for the JCCC food pantry.  This drive is being organized by EAP Professor Holly Milkowart.

• Faculty Assistance for with Prospective Students

The Welcome Center staff is seeking faculty to volunteer to talk with prospective students, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Why is it important for faculty to interact with prospective students?
Several studies have proven that faculty involvement in the student recruitment process increases the likelihood of student matriculation. This is true even if the faculty member does not teach in the students’ intended majors.
Faculty interaction enables students to see professors as people. Individual or small-group meetings can often calm student fears of what professors are like and how they interact with students outside the classroom.
These meetings also give students the opportunity to further their understanding of the academic rigors of college. For example, students who found studying a rarity in high school often leave with a better understanding of collegiate expectations.
Students who do get to talk with faculty within their intended major gain an intimate knowledge of the curriculum and course work within that major. Students can have their questions more thoroughly addressed and often leave with an increased enthusiasm for that major.
More than 1,000 prospective students tour JCCC each year. These prospective students already listen to an information session covering the steps to enroll and tour campus with a student leader. Many have an appointment with an academic department or counselor. A visit with a faculty member would help complete the process.
If you would like to volunteer five or ten minutes of your time in the Welcome Center to talk to prospective students, call Eldonna Davis at ext. 4141 to schedule a time. Volunteering just once can make a difference!

• EAP Professor Holly Milkowart Win NISOD award 

Holly was among three Johnson County Community College faculty members to be selected as recipients of the 2015 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award.
The NISOD Excellence Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated teaching and leadership excellence in institutions of higher education. The NISOD International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence Conference will be held in Austin, Texas, on May 23 to 26, 2015. Recipients will be recognized at the award ceremony to be held on Sunday evening, May 24.

•  Service Learning Workshops, February 26-27


Please see the handout about Service Learning.   Service Learning Workshops in February
A Message from Marilyn Senter:
This spring, we have a second opportunity to be in conversation with Gail Robinson, a higher education consultant who works with colleges to help develop service learning programs.  Gail came to JCCC a couple of years ago, and she was able to help those of us on the Service Learning Council rethink some of our approaches.  Now she is coming to help faculty incorporate service learning into their courses.
I know we have all kinds of opportunities to enhance our courses with programs at the College.  We have the Common Read and sustainability and sections with special topics.  But those additions just make adding service learning all the more logical.  Using the Common Read book about boys in the inner city certainly begs a familiarity with programs in KC which work with that population.  Adding sustainability topics into a Comp. course opens up opportunities to add hands-on activities.
Service Learning is of benefit to students.  Research shows that students who are engaged have better retention and graduations rates, and they simply get more out of the courses they take.  Many need service hours in their career fields in order to move forward, so service learning provides an opportunity to add to their resume.
Gail would be happy to look at your syllabus and suggest ways to make service learning part of your course content!  Remember:  this doesn’t have to be a student requirement; it can be an option that your offer.  Check out the workshops on the attached flyer, and email Cheryl Slaugh to indicate which of the sessions you will attend.
Thanks for considering this!
• Purchase your tickets now for International Dinner March 13
JCCC’s ninth annual International Dinner with the theme “A Taste of South Africa” will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, in RC 101. This fundraiser benefits international and immigrant students through academic and need-based scholarships. JCCC executive chef Marc McCann will prepare an authentic South African meal that will be hosted and served by JCCC students. The evening will feature a delicious four-course meal and live entertainment.  Alcoholic beverages may also be purchased. Tickets are $35 per person, $60 for two or $250 for a table of eight.
Purchase tickets here. This event will sell out very quickly, so purchase your tickets now! For questions regarding the dinner please contact Patricia Donaldson or call 913.469.3835.

• Scholarship from the People’s Republic of China for One Semester at Northwestern Polytechnical University, Applications due March 31

Twenty scholarships are available for students to study in China during 2015 fall semester. The International Education Office is now accepting applications for students to study Chinese language during the fall 2015 semester at JCCC’s partner college in Xi’an, China.
Twenty full scholarships (tuition, fees, room, board, and books) are available. Students must have completed a semester of post-secondary study, be at least 18 years old, and have a 2.5 GPA. Previous study of Chinese is not required.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to send interested students to the International Education Office, COM 220, for an application. Contact Barbara Williams,, for more information. The application deadline is March 31.
• League for Innovation of the Year Award nominations due by March 14
Established over 25 years ago, the League’s Innovation of the Year award was devised as a way to recognize significant innovations. These innovations reflect capstone achievements and the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded.
This award is designed to recognize innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies, and activities that improve the ability of institutions to serve students and the community, and to honor the faculty, staff, and administrators who have created and implemented them. Granting this award provides a venue for showcasing these innovations and the dedicated community college educators who strive for excellence on a daily basis.
League Alliance colleges determine their own eligibility criteria and selection protocol, and each college or system submits their winning Innovation of the Year through an online system.
One winner will be accepted for each college or district.
Criteria. Winning innovations should meet one or more of the following criteria.
Quality. Students and/or staff agree that the innovation increases quality in the course, program, office, or institution.
Efficiency. The innovation contributes to more efficient processes.
Cost Effectiveness. The innovation adds value to the institution while containing or reducing costs.
Replication. The innovation is easy to replicate at other institutions.
Creativity. The innovation is original and creative.
Timeliness. The innovation is not more than five years old at the institution.
Click on this link to access the Innovation of the Year Award Nomination Form.
Please submit this nomination and all required attachments to Staff & Organizational Development, GEB 275, Box 43, by March 14. If you have any questions, contact Tom Grady, faculty development coordinator, at

• Booktalk Selections for Spring 2015, Next Meeting, February 27

download (1)

Friday, Feb. 27: “The Art of Mastering Soviet Cooking” by Anya Von Bremzen
Friday, March 27: “Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teichotz (paperback due out January)
Friday, April 24: “Five Days at Memorial” by Sheri Fink
These meetings will be held at 2:15 p.m. in GEB 264 as well.

• The Dutch Exchange Program, Applications Due March 4

Applications for the 2015-2016 Dutch Exchange Program are now available in the International Education Office. They will be due on Wednesday, March 4.
Faculty, administrators, and staff are welcome to apply to this exchange program, which matches Americans with a counterpart in the Netherlands. Those working with JCCC’s career programs are particularly encouraged to consider this program.
Dutch participants will visit JCCC from October 17-31, 2015, and our participants will travel to the Netherlands from May 14-28, 2016. A reciprocal homestay is a requirement of the program.
For more information or to obtain an application, contact Janette Jasperson in the International Education Office,

• Outcomes Assessment Mini-grants Available

Mini-grants offered by the Office of Outcomes Assessment now are available on a rolling monthly deadline; submit your grant proposal by the 15th of the month to be considered for grant-funding review that month.
Use mini-grants to jumpstart or continue your assessment projects. Funds may be used for: Assessment resources
Travel for assessment-related activities
Equipment or software dedicated to assessment efforts
Assessment retreats
Costs associated with data input or external consultants
…and more.
Mini-grants are now available for up to $750. New guidelines/applications are available from the Office of Outcomes Assessment, GEB 262, on InfoShare or on the Outcomes Assessment blog.

• 60 Stunning Satellite Images of Earth 


• National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest Winners 


• Word-processing from Microsoft 

Students  can get Microsoft Office 360 for free:
If you would like to activate your own Student Email, here is a handy PowerPoint containing just these instructions: How to Access StuMail

• Volunteers needed for Conversation Partners program

The JCCC Global English Institute is seeking English-speaking volunteers for the Conversation Partners Program.
If you are interested in other cultures, like to meet people from diverse backgrounds, converse, and are looking for a fun volunteer opportunity that doesn’t require a huge time commitment, then consider becoming a Conversation Partner Program volunteer this semester for a student whose first or home language is not English.
Here are some of the benefits:
Converse in English with a student studying in English for Academic Purposes classes to help with his/her English conversation skills
Choose one hour per week that fits your schedule to meet on the JCCC campus during the semester
Great opportunity for anyone interested in education, international programs, study abroad, ESL teaching, foreign languages, community service, etc.
No experience required, but must have fluent English speaking skills
Learn about another culture and worldview
Make a friend and help others
A service learning opportunity for JCCC students
If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the Conversation Partners Program Agreement and the JCCC Volunteer Application and make an appointment to return both documents and briefly meet Jeffrey Couch, Global English Institute director (ext. 913-469-8500, ext. 4386 / in Carlsen Center 214B.

• David Cantwell  Writes Tribute to Little Jimmy Dickens

David Cantwell has written a piece for, on the legacy of the late and longtime country star Little Jimmy Dickens.

• Creative Writing Club to Meet Every Thursday


Starting February 5, the Creative Writing Club will meet every Thursday, 3:30-5:00 in the InFocus Dining Room (Down Under) in the Commons building.  Activities vary from week to week, but usually involve writing exercises and critique sessions.  For more information, students may contact the club’s president, Stephanie Wallace:
• English Professors, Ask Students to Sign Up for Twitter, Search for and Follow @JCCCEnglish 

To create a Twitter  account on the web:

Go to and find the sign up box,
Or go directly to
Enter your full name, email address, and a password.
Click Sign up for Twitter.
On the next page, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one  Twitter has selected for you. Twitter will tell you if the username you want is available.
Double-check your name, email address, password, and username.
Click to Create your account. You may be asked to complete a Captcha to let us know that you’re human.
Twitter will send a confirmation email to the email address you entered.
Click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.
Search for @JCCCEnglish to follow English Students Twitter account

• Poet Tom Reynolds Featured on JCCC Homepage 

Read all about Tom’s latest book Kansas Hermit Poems here


• Creative Writing Readings for Spring 2015, Next Meeting, February 25 

The Creative Writing Readings for the Spring Semester are scheduled for February 25, March 25, and April 29 at 1:00 p.m., in COM  319.  For more information contact Beth Gulley, especially if you would like to act as host for one of the readings.

creative readings

• The English / Journalism Division Food Pantry Drive in April

Holly signed up the English dept for the JCCC food pantry drive in April, just as we voted to do in the Division meeting. As for the contribution, the needs of the food pantry vary from month to month (week to week, actually), so Holly will have more information in March.  The food bins will be delivered to us and placed in the areas we decide and will be collected by Brian Wright and/or Anna Page once the month is over.
 • Steve Gerson’s New Publications
Steve and Sharon Gerson have two new books going into production this spring:
Technical Communication:  Process and Product, 9th edition (begins production in Feb.)
Professional Communication in the Digital Workplace, 1st edition (begins production in Mar.)
Both textbooks are scheduled for a January 2016 release.

• Alert Your Students to this CASAI Resource 

The JCCC group Council Addressing Substance Abuse Issues (CASAI)  is sponsoring meetings on Thursdays, 11:00, RC 171 for those struggling with substance abuse problems.
•The Common Read Selection for  2015-2016 Common Read Announced 
The Common Read Committee is pleased to announce the Common Read selection for 2015-2016 is The Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candace Millard.  Candace is a local writer and a former JCCC student!

common read 2

• Applications for the Dutch Exchange Program, Due March 4

     Applications for the 2015-2016 Dutch Exchange Program are now available in the International Education Office. They will be due on Wednesday, March 4.
     Faculty, administrators, and staff are welcome to apply to this exchange program, which matches Americans with a counterpart in the Netherlands. Those working with JCCC’s career programs are particularly encouraged to consider this program.
     Dutch participants will visit JCCC from October 17-31, 2015, and our participants will travel to the Netherlands from May 14-28, 2016. A reciprocal homestay is a requirement of the program.
     For more information or to obtain an application, contact Janette Jasperson in the International Education Office,

• Deadline for 2015 Kansas Voices Writing Contest,March 13

kansas voices

• There’s still time: Free College Day 2015 Volunteers Needed, but not Teachers

There’s still time to volunteer for the college’s fourth Free College Day on Saturday, April 18, 2015.
For each of the last three Free College Days (2009, 2011 and 2013), we offered more than 100 classes and welcomed about 1,000 people to campus. Teachers and participants alike told us how much they enjoyed the event.
Though there is now a full catalog of courses, If you’d like to volunteer to work at the event, please contact Judi Reilly at, ext. 3980.
 • Steve Werkmeister and the English Student Twitter Account 
You may be aware that the JCCC English Department has a publicity committee. The committee’s charge is to find new ways to advocate for the Department and all we have to offer, and in pursuit of that charge we have, among other endeavors, created a Twitter account (@JCCCEnglish). I have been given the honor of administering that account, and I am asking for your help.
At its most basic, the account imparts important department and college news, recognizes literature and literary figures (or things related to literature), and advocates for the discipline in particular and for the Arts and Humanities in general. Below, I will get into why I think this is vital, but for now, here’s a few sample tweets from the past couple months:
•#JCCC has released spring catalog! Find your English classes here: 
•Banned books are to libraries as dancing is to Footloose. Get your groove back with a book: so much depends / upon // 6 hours of comp / credit // glazed with rhet/oric // in MLA / format. Happy #JCCC Engl b-day, Wm Carlos Williams!
•Everything in higher ed is measurable if you value only what can be measured. #SMART#JCCCEnglish: Count on Wisdom, Count on Art.
•”Words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean” Theodore Dreiser, American writer. Learn to sew words to meaning at #JCCC English!
•Literature draws on 2500 years of tradition–it’s what stays. Join us this semester at #JCCC
The thing is, we need followers, particularly students. Since we set up the account in mid-spring, we’ve attracted roughly three dozen followers, mostly through word of mouth (tweet of screen?). My hope here is two-fold: 1) you all sign up to follow the department twitter account (to do so, you need an account yourself–here are the instructions: (it’s super-easy–D2L will hang its head in shame–and you do NOT have to tweet in order to receive tweets). 2) you encourage your students to sign up. Our hope is that if we can get students to sign up, we can get students to elect to take more of our classes.


• Enrollment now required for mandatory training; here’s how to enroll
     July 1, 2014, marked the beginning of fiscal year 2015 and with that a reminder of two training programs required of every employee every fiscal year. Completion of these two training programs is in compliance with Board Policy Mandatory Training 422.02
     Enrollment with a CRN is now required for the two training programs. You can do so through MyJCCC. After enrolling, you will receive an email confirmation that will contain a link to the training program. The training is delivered on-line 24/7 from any computer with an internet connection.
     Each training program has its own CRN, one mastery test and a certificate of completion. Should you desire a certificate of completion for your records and/or if your supervisor requires it, you will be able to print it.  You do not need to present a copy to Human Resources. Successful completion will automatically be communicated to Human Resources. Your JCCC transcript will be updated the month following the date you completed the training.
     The course CRNs are:
Information Security and Campus Safety Awareness – CRN 34050 Preventing Harassment in the Workplace and on Campus – CRN 34051
     Follow these steps to enroll:
Log in to MyJCCC Click on the MyView tab Click on the green ADD/DROP CLASSES button located in the Staff Development window Select the term Staff Dev 2014-2015 Enter the CRN Click Submit
     The CRNs may also be found on the staff development open/closed class list.
     Questions regarding registration or the programs may be directed to

• The English Department’s Mind’s Eye Is Now Available


 From the College Website: Mind’s Eye includes poetry, fiction and non-fiction. It began as a way for writers and artists to share their material in print form.
“This year, the poetry section includes 18 works, all of which have the earmarks of good poetry—interesting use of language and the ability to surprise us, to make us think about ourselves and our world from fresh perspectives,” writes Thomas Reynolds in the magazine’s introduction.
“The fiction and non-fiction sections are also very strong, conveying their narratives in prose that is often surprising and always compelling,” he writes.
The magazine will also include interviews with Denise Low, former Kansas poet laureate and guest judge of the poetry and fiction entries, and Wyatt Townley, the current Kansas poet laureate.
The wisdom from three other writers also is included, as they answer the same three questions posed to them by the magazine’s editors.
Works of art from JCCC students, which Reynolds describes “as series of powerful and thought-provoking images,” also contribute to the creative content.
“Mind’s Eye” is for sale for $3 starting in the C-Store and the Writing Center or from Reynolds (GEB 165H); Larry Thomas, “Mind’s Eye” faculty advisor for art and photography (ATB 101B); or Kelly Byfield, administrative assistant for the English department (CC 221B).