Updated May 20,  2016

 • Steve Gerson Retires and Speaks at Commencement!

Professor Steve Gerson, who has taught at JCCC since 1978 and who will retire from the JCCC English Department in May, has been selected as the Commencement Speaker for 2016. Congratulations, Steve!
Steve was also featured this week on the JCCC homepage for his many years of service to the college:


On Thursday, May 19, Steve’s colleagues, at a farewell luncheon, surprised Steve by dedicating the E/J Division conference room in his honor.

steve 3

• Danny Alexander on College Website 

The English Department’s Danny Alexander was also featured on the college website this week.  Danny has published the book Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige.


Also read Danny’s “Music Review: Chris Meck And The Guilty Birds’ ‘It’s 4 A.M. Somewhere.'”

• Dates to Remember for Fall 2016

 Monday, 8/15:
General Sessions (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Assessment by Design Workshop (9 a.m. -3 p.m.)
Tuesday, 8/16:
General Session (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Faculty Academic Symposium (1 p.m. –  4 p.m.)
Wednesday, 8/17:
All Staff Breakfast (7 a.m. – 8:20 a.m.)
All Staff Meeting (9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)
Service Pin Ceremony (11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)
Wall of Honor Luncheon (11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
General Sessions (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
College Now PD Event (4 p.m. – 9 p.m.)

English Adjunct Faculty In-service: 6:30 – 8:30, CC 232

Thursday, 8/18:
All Staff Poster Session (8 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.)
All Faculty Meeting (9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)
General Sessions (11 a.m. – noon; 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
Friday, 8/19:
Division/Department Meetings (8 a.m. – noon)
Assessment World Café, (noon – 2 p.m.)
General Sessions (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)

• Steve Werkmeister Reads Poetry at Noon At the Nerman

Steve Werkmeister, associate professor, English, presented at the Noon at the Nerman program Friday, May 13, at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. He recited his original poem based on the artwork Performance Piece by Dennis Oppenheim.  

  • The Common Read Selection for 2016-2017

The faculty voted during in-service and the 2016-2017 Common Read selection is In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria.


• Diane Davis Report from CCCC in Houston 

“Writing Strategies for Action” was the theme of this year’s Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston, Texas.  Houston, the fourth most populous city in America, seemed as appropriate a choice for this venue as it was perplexing.  This conference, one that champions inclusivity and non-discrimination, had to highlight the rich, diverse culture of the city at the same time it expressed disappointment with Houston’s November 2015 vote defeating the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO (an ordinance that would have included protections from discrimination for many groups not protected now under city law).   My birth state of Texas has always bewildered me—I have never understood how a state as diverse and massive in size could sustain such a distinct culture and voice.  Yet, that said, clearly change is coming to Texas, and 4 C’s, with its focus on writing for action, is a reflection of that movement.
The conference started with a key note address from Dr. Joyce Locke Carter, an associate professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communications at Texas Tech University.  She challenged all of us in attendance to be disrupters, to work for change, and to stop being so reactive and start an offensive that promotes what we do in the classroom.  I’ll share here a few comments that inspired me: Diane’s CCCC Essay

• English for Academic Purposes News! 

JCCC Faculty and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art presented the 19th Annual JCCC Night at the Nelson Friday, April 15, 2016 Over 600 people attended the event.  EAP Professor Holly Milkowart presented Roxanne Wentzell’s “Kosha Appreciates Anything” Santa Clara Pueblo.

Holly Presents at Night at the Nelson

In other EAP news, on May 5 and 6, my EAP students will be part of the third annual “Utter Lingo:  An Interactive Gallery of EAP Student Digital Narratives.” Check back for up-coming details about time and location.

• The Journalism Department Held the Headline Award Luncheon

The 2016 Journalism Department Headline Award recipient was Jon Cook, who is the CEO of VML Advertising.  Jon gave a presentation to JCCC students, faculty, staff and other interested parties at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 28.


• The English Department Hosts the Second Annual Cavalier Conference on Writing and Literature

new logo

The JCCC English Department hosted the Cavalier Conference on Writing and Literature this April 29, 2016. The conference theme was  “Responding.”  Over 100 teachers from nearby colleges and high schools attended.
The keynote speaker was Prof. Nancy Sommers, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author ofResponding to Student Writing.” 
The planning committee for this conference, which is the only one in the area that involves both college and high school English teachers, is composed of Beth Gulley, Maureen Fitzpatrick, Marilyn Senter, Sam Bell, Kay Haas, and Keith
Read more about it on the conference website.

• Steve Werkmeister Recommends . . . 

the Chronicle article “When Higher Education Valued Discovery” by Gregory Jones-Katz.


• Journalism Students Work with KCPT on American Dream Project

Students in two journalism classes partnered with public television station KCPT to gain real-world experience in writing, editing, video and promotions. The project was called Re:Dream, a nationwide effort to examine the hopes and dreams of Americans everywhere. More specifically, Re:Dream seeks to analyze the opportunities and obstacles of the American Dream in the 21stcentury. Advanced Reporting (JOUR 222) students worked with KCPT professionals to document the stories of students, staff and faculty at JCCC and ask what success meant to them. (The first story created by a JCCC journalism student is now on the KCPT site.)
Students from Promotional Writing (JOUR 225) also worked with KCPT and came up with the idea of staging their own Re:Dream roundtable discussion on the JCCC campus. They organized the event, came up with various tactics to promote it and visited classes to explain to students what the Re:Dream project entailed. They held the Re:Dream roundtable discussions in the Regnier Center on April 11.

Read more about the project on the JCCC website: Journalism Students & KCPT

• Danny Alexander — Guest on KCUR

 English Professor Danny Alexander was interviewed on radio station KCUR for the feature story “The Vulnerable Queen” about Mary J. Blige on April 5, 2016.  Danny recently published the book Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige, which tells the story of one of the most important artists in pop music history.

•Andrea Broomfield — Guest on NPR’s Central Standard

English Professor Andrea Broomfield was a guest on March 29 on NPR’s Central Standard broadcast.  Andrea discussed her new book Kansas City: A Food Biography.

• Steve Werkmeister Wins JCCC Publication Award! 

Steve Werkmeister is the winner of the 2015-2016 Publications Award.  The Publication Award recognizes external publication of outstanding material by JCCC employees, particularly material relating to the improvement of teaching and learning.  Steve will be honored with a plaque at the BNSF Railway Staff Awards Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 6.  Congratulations, Steve!!!
•Dave Davis Reports on Trip to Toronto for the Space Committee 
As co-chair of the academic spaces committee, I went to Toronto to visit Humber college.  President Sopcich had visited the campus while attending a conference there and thought the committee could learn from some new classrooms the college has just opened.  I travelled with Larry Reynolds, John Harty, Adrian Swan and Ron Brunkow.  The college ended up closing for an ice storm on the day we were there, but some very generous members of Humber’s administration made it to the campus and spent the day with us showing  us various iterations of their new classroom design.  While cllasses were not exactly suited to JCCC’s needs (too large and focused on a very specific classroom pedagogy), we learned a lot about the processes and pitfalls that went into developing a new classroom paradigm.  Probably the biggest lesson learned was the importance of a pilot room where the realities of the day to day classroom experience can work out unforeseen obstacles.

• The Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Nelson

 • A Messages from the JCCC Creative Writing Club

My name is Miranda Schumacher and I’m the President of the Creative Writing Club here at JCCC.
I’m excited to say that award-winning author Mr. Daniel Schwabauer has agreed to come and speak on campus. The event will be hosted by the Creative Writing Club and take place Wednesday, April 6th, in Galileo’s Pavilion Room GP 101 from 1 pm to 3 pm.
Mr. Schwabauer is an author and teacher, with works including stage plays, radio scripts, short stories, newspaper columns, comic books, scripting for a PBS animated children’s series, and young adult novels.
Mr. Schwabauer will spend the first hour discussing various topics related to writing and publishing and the second hour will be open to questions.
We’re very excited to have Mr. Schwabauer and hope you and any of your students would feel welcome to attend.
Hope to see you there,
Miranda Schumacher
President of the Creative Writing Club

• Rebecca Kastendick Wins the Lieberman Award!

Rebecca Kastendick, Adjunct Professor in the EAP Program, has won the top Lieberman Award winner.  She was awarded $750 and honored at a dinner. Congratulations, Rebecca!


• Beth and Jeremy Gulley in Riverfront Reading 

Over Spring Break, Beth and Jeremy Gulley read from their work at the Riverfront Emergent Voices Reading Series on March 19.


  • Gerson Nominated to Board for Technical Communications

Professor Gerson has been nominated to serve on the board of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication, which is an international organization that promotes programs in technical and scientific communication; develops opportunities for the exchange of ideas and information concerning programs, research, and career opportunities; assists in the development and evaluation of new programs in technical and scientific communication, if requested; and promotes exchange of information between this organization and interested parties. If elected, he will serve as a member-at-large representative for two years.

• Danny Alexander Publishes Chapter of his New Book

You can now read a chapter from Danny’s Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige on the Cuepoint website: https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-profound-racial-subtext-of-mary-j-blige-s-u2-cover-21fd1937dafc#.t9kebig00


• Danny Alexander’s Book Is Published

Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige 

Mary J. Blige is an icon who represents the political consciousness of hip hop and the historical promise of soul. She is an everywoman, celebrated by Oprah Winfrey and beloved by pop music fans of all ages and races. Blige has sold over fifty million albums, won numerous Grammys, and even played at multiple White House events, as well as the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Displaying astonishing range and versatility, she has recorded everything from Broadway standards to Led Zeppelin anthems and worked with some of popular music’s greatest artists—Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Sting, U2, and Beyoncé, among them.
Real Love, No Drama: The Music of Mary J. Blige tells the story of one of the most important artists in pop music history. Danny Alexander follows the whole arc of Blige’s career, from her first album, which heralded the birth of “hip hop soul,” to her critically praised 2014 album, The London Sessions. He highlights the fact that Blige was part of the historically unprecedented movement of black women onto pop radio and explores how she and other women took control of their careers and used their music to give voice to women’s (and men’s) everyday struggles and dreams. This book adds immensely to the story of both black women artists and artists rooted in hip hop and pays tribute to a musician who, by expanding her reach and asking tough questions about how music can and should evolve, has proven herself an artistic visionary. [From Amazon blurb]


• Andrea Broomfield’s Book Is Published 

Kansas City: A Food Biography

While some cities owe their existence to lumber or oil, turpentine or steel, Kansas City owes its existence to food. From its earliest days, Kansas City was in the business of provisioning pioneers and traders headed west, and later with provisioning the nation with meat and wheat. Throughout its history, thousands of Kansas Citians have also made their living providing meals and hospitality to travelers passing through on their way elsewhere, be it by way of a steamboat, Conestoga wagon, train, automobile, or airplane. As Kansas City’s adopted son, Fred Harvey sagely noted, “Travel follows good food routes,” and Kansas City’s identity as a food city is largely based on that fact. Kansas City: A Food Biography explores in fascinating detail how a frontier town on the edge of wilderness grew into a major metropolis, one famous for not only great cuisine but for a crossroads hospitality that continues to define it. Kansas City: A Food Biography also explores how politics, race, culture, gender, immigration, and art have forged the city’s most iconic dishes, from chili and steak to fried chicken and barbecue. In lively detail, Andrea Broomfield brings the Kansas City food scene to life. [From Amazon blurb]


• Steve Gerson’s Book Is Published 

Technical Communication: Process and Product 
Sharon J. Gerson and Steven M. Gerson are dedicated career professionals who have a combined total of over 80 years teaching experience at the college and university level. They have taught technical writing, business writing, professional writing, and technical communication to thousands of students, attended and presented at dozens of conferences, written numerous articles, and published several textbooks, including Technical Writing: Process and Product (Ninth Edition), Professional Communication in the Digital Workplace, The Red Bridge Reader (Third Edition, co-authored by Kin Norman), Writing That Works: A Teacher’s Guide to Technical Writing (Second Edition), Workplace Communication: Process and Product, and Workplace Writing: Planning, Packaging, and Perfecting Communication.   
In addition to their academic work, Sharon and Steve are involved in business and industry through their business, Steve Gerson Consulting. In this business, they have worked for companies such as Sprint, AlliedSignal–Honeywell, General Electric, JCPenney, Avon, the Missouri Department of Transportation, H&R Block, Mid America Regional Council, and Commerce Bank.  Their work for these businesses includes writing, editing, and proofreading many different types of technical documents, such as proposals, marketing collateral, reports, and instructions.
Steve also has presented hundreds of hands-on workshops on technical/business writing, business grammar in the workplace, oral presentations in the workplace, and business etiquette.  Over 10,000 business and governmental employees have benefited from these workshops. For the past decade, Steve has worked closely with K–12 teachers. He has presented many well-attended, interactive workshops to give teachers useful tips about technical writing in the classroom.
Both Steve and Sharon have been awarded for teaching excellence and are listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Steve is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication and won the prestigious Society for Technical Communication’s 2016 Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication. In 2003, Steve was named Kansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education.
Their wealth of experience and knowledge has been gathered for you in the Ninth Edition of Technical Communication: Process and Product. [Amazon blurb]


• Andrea’s Report on the Faculty Senate Meeting 

Notes from FS meeting, Feb. 11, 2015
Submitted by Andrea Broomfield, English and Journalism Division Faculty Senator
During the Open Forum, Nathan Jones read his statement, passed by the FS Exec. Committee: it concerns a motion to include a non-voting faculty representative on the IDC
Most of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of HB 2531, which would, if passed, eliminate a state-mandated due process for community college faculty. Chair of the Board of Trustees, Greg Musil spoke on his own behalf, not on behalf of the board. Trustee Musil began by speaking to President Joe Sopcich’s importance in Topeka where he is often standing “18 to 1 or 17 to 2” on issues ranging from the state mill levy to the elimination of the service areas, both of which could potentially do significant harm to the college. Trustee Musil surmised that HB 2531 is guided by two legislative principles: “ Divide and Conquer/ GroupThink.” Trustee Musil asked faculty to not lose sight of “the bigger picture.” If a state-wide levy is passed, then we will lose 8 to 16 million dollars that would be funneled to Topeka, and we would likely see only 25% of that money back. When faculty pressed Trustee Musil on why the board and the college president endorse HB 2531, he responded that the board cannot be neutral on any bill that has a direct impact on JCCC. Furthermore, HB 2531 allows for local control of faculty personnel issues, and given that the college routinely asks for local control (guns on campus, for example) and is denied it, it does not make sense for the board and administration on this one issue to ask for the state to continue to have control. Trustee Musil asked faculty to trust the board in making sure that JCCC faculty continue to have due process. He noted that the board will establish a new process that will fit what we need at JCCC and that will mimic what might be lost at state level if HB 2531 makes it to the floor for a vote and into law. He emphasized that a strong due process procedure is necessary to hire and keep talented faculty.
When asked about the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees’ position and whether it knew about HB 2531, Trustee Musil responded that KACCT knew about the bill, but as to when or how, it was not clear to him. Deb Williams clarified for the Faculty Senate that HB 2531 originated out the Kansas Council of Community College Presidents (KCCCP). Numerous visitors and Faculty Senators asked the Board to stand with the president of Kansas City Kansas Community College and reject this bill. Trustee Musil repeatedly responded by asking, if we adopted the same exact bill that is going to be eliminated, why would that not be enough? Several faculty pointed out that HB 2531 was still in committee, and the biggest community college in the state–JCCC– could have an influence in turning other community colleges against it. Furthermore, it was noted that academics sense that their views and those of the board and administration are not in alignment. At other places where due process has gone away, it has been a green light for administrators to terminate faculty at will. Why would that not happen at JCCC?
The question was posed to Trustee Musil: Why is tenure important? Musil responded that society had to give academics a higher level of leeway because they have to be innovative and challenging, and without professors doing that, we would have a “very beige or vanilla teaching experience.” Fear of termination will lessen faculty willingness to be less challenging and less rigorous, and he understands that. Nonetheless, the concern was also raised that JCCC was paying lobbyists to help pass this bill into law. There were many related questions, particularly about the KACCT: is it private? It receives $67,000 from JCCC, Trustee Musil noted. There are no public meetings. This portion of the Faculty Senate meeting concluded with the Board, President, and Administration supporting HB 2531, and the faculty largely against its support.
 • Destiny of the Republic on PBS
The American Experience on PBS premiered the program “The Murder of a President” on February 2. This documentary is based on our Common Read selection Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard.The episode is available on YouTube:

  • Creative Writing Club Meets in Spring Semester 

The Creative Writing Club meets every Thursday, starting January 28, 3:30-5:30 in the In-Focus Dining Room in Dining Down Under in the Commons.  Mostly the club does writing exercises and critiques club members’ manuscripts.  The club is considering inviting faculty members to speak on writing in the different genres; this will probably be one of the first items of business once the club starts meeting.

 • Andrea Broomfield Blogs about Life as a JCCC Student, Post #3

Shortly after I was awarded my sabbatical, euphoria disappeared and a host of pesky logistical problems crowded in on my little celebration.  Chief among them was gaining admission to JCCC as a student.
Be Prepared
The best students often become teachers.  There’s nothing new about that.  When they were students, these teachers didn’t have to rely on the syllabus to know when or what to study.  They prepared weeks before the syllabus was even handed out, anticipating assignments, working ahead.  Instruction engaged them, lectures scintillated them, and discussions thrilled them. They were, in other words, hard-wired for academe. I was that student.  I loved gaining teachers’ respect and admiration.  Their praise was my drug of choice.
Well, a lot had changed between those days of my academic accomplishments and the weeks leading up to me becoming a JCCC student.  I was preparing for class, all right, but not because of pride and enthusiasm.  Instead, I was preparing because I was scared.  Here I was, a fifty-year-old woman with no professional cooking experience other than a two-week stint at Long John Silver’s when I was sixteen (I was let go) and a head stuffed with too many Iron Chef episodes and images of bad asses like Gordon Ramsay screaming at inept under-cooks.  The professional kitchen, in other words, was a man’s domain, the realm of one-upmanship and sabotage.  What would these guys make of me? “Molly Homemaker” who might know how to bake chocolate chip cookies but take down an ox? Clarify two hundred gallons of consommé? Gut and fillet one hundred flounder?  In an hour?  Yeah, right.
My fear was compounded by my ineptitude with math.  Having no idea of what the first day of Professional Cooking I would entail, I decided on my worst-case scenario.  I imagined being ordered to convert recipes from metric to standard and bring a one-hundred-gallon soup recipe down to one gallon.  This particular scenario was based on a conversation I had had with a well-meaning student who advised me get on a cooking team with someone experienced in banquets because the banquet guys were the best at recipe conversion.  Given that my Perspectives in Hospitality Management class also required a calculator and that the textbook contained math problems,  I spent much of the winter break doing all manner of conversions, working far ahead of chapters one and two in my textbooks, worrying that on day one, I would be exposed as the imposter I was.
In my “spare time,” I was frantically trying to prepare for Professional Cooking I  by cooking all manner of odd things that our family never eats and with which I had no first-hand experience.  The house reeked of roasting veal shins and beef knuckles as I attempted to perfect brown stock and consommé. Pangs of inadequacy and fear of failure drove such cooking sprees.  The days where I prepped for class knowing I would go in and “blow them away” were gone.  Now, I was the “mature student,” desperate not to stand out, to not appear the fool.
It all turned out fine in the end, as they say, and over the next months, I will write about what I actually learned, what the realities of first-semester HCA classes really entail.  The point of this post, however, is to impress upon readers that the fear and anxiety that gripped me–at some points almost defeated me–grip many of our students from the minute they enroll in class, not just when they show up on the first day.  This fear and anxiety are particularly acute for the so-called “non-traditional” students.
We know this intellectually as faculty and administrators.  Community colleges accommodate thousands who do not match the cookie-cutter 18-21 student mold, and in the mix are scores of students who resembled me: older, and way out of their comfort zone.  But given their work ethic, experience, perspective, and most of all, their humility, many of these adults are oftentimes not only our best students, but the ones that we become lifelong friends with.
Repeatedly, these older students would confide in me, their English professor, how frightened they were of walking into my classroom on that first day and confronting all those students that they just knew were smarter and better equipped than they were. I laughed with them about their early fears, but on a fundamental level, I never could understand that fear, until I became that student myself.
I achieved a 4.0 during my sabbatical semester not because of talent and genius for cooking.  It was the result of me being old enough to be humble, to consider my shortcomings, and to want my peers’ acceptance.  Somewhere on a professor’s roster are the names of students who are going to be amazing not because of their native intelligence and smugness, but because the alternative is unfathomable for them; in other words, shame and exposure as an imposter.  It was essential for me to go through this agony myself.  It makes me better prepared to meet my students on the first day, knowing that for some weeks prior to it, they have been checking D2L daily to see if any early assignments or information or clues have been posted.  They purchased the textbooks months in advance, and they have tried to memorize a load of material in anticipation of being called on and, in their worst-case scenarios, flushed out and written off as “old,” or “dumb,” or a “clown.”

Post #2

Since I am an already an English professor here and “just” taking a sabbatical,  did I even need to apply?  I assumed no, and I nursed that false assumption all the way to October, 2014, when it was time to pre-enroll.  Numerous niggling questions related to admissions also invaded my peace of mind:  If I did not have to go through an official application process, did I go through an “application lite” process instead?  How do I use the Class Schedule and Academic tabs on JCCC.edu to find classes?  How do I pay tuition?  Do I actually want a culinary career waiting for me after I start–and finish–actual coursework?  Should I audit some of these courses so that I can save myself from having to study so hard?    Do I really have to take the sanitation class, or can I just kind of “sneak” out of it?  Do I have to take the Compass placement test even if I already have a terminal degree?  Surely not, I told myself, but that particular question haunted me the most. To read more . . .

• Springtime on Mount Hood

 • Follow English on Twitter


The English Department Twitter account is run by Professor Steve Werkmeister English Dept@JCCCEnglish
. The Twitter account is one attempt at having a greater social media presence in the hopes that we can showcase our disciplinary values and the achievements of our faculty.
The English Department Blog Twitter account is run by Keith Geekie JCCC English Blog@kgeekie
  • NCTE Statement Affirming #BlackLivesMatter 
The following statement, invited by the NCTE presidential team and authored by the NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus, calls on all English, English language arts, and literacy teachers “to transform our world and raise awareness of the crisis of racial injustice.” It affirms that “as an organization, we are committed to providing English educators with the tools, training, and support needed to build a more equitable system better able to serve the unique needs to all youth.” As you begin the school year, please consider this eloquent statement as you, too, work for equity in your classroom, institution, state, and country. Sincerely,
The NCTE Presidential Team
Kathy Short, Doug Hesse, Susan Houser, Ernest Morrell
Read the NCTE Statement Here 

• Study Aboard Opportunities for JCCC Students 

Farrell Jenab, as the new Study Abroad Coordinator, wants the English Department to know that the most effective way to let students know about study abroad options is through classroom visits.  She would like you to invite her to speak to your classes about the study abroad program.  It will take less than five minutes. You can contact Farrell at fjenab@jccc.edu.