Updated July 18, 2016
The English Blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient. Changes will be complete in the week of July 18.
Dates to Remember for Fall 2016
Assessment by Design Workshop (9 a.m. -3 p.m.)
Teaching with the new MLA, Maureen Fitzpatrick and Kathryn Byrne. (11 – noon a.m., LIB 373).
Common Read Updates, Maureen Fitzpatrick and Monica Hogan (10 – 11 a.m., GEB 215)
Building the Literature Assessment Rubric, Monica Hogan (10- 11 a.m., CC Learning Studio)
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
All Staff Poster Session (8 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.) [Poster Session on the Common Read]
All Faculty Meeting (9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)
Composition-Literary Arts Connect with the Visual Arts (1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m., Museum)
Mind’s Eye Launch, includes readings by students and refreshments (2 p.m. – 3 p.m., RC 101 B)
E/J Division Meeting (10:30 – noon, RC 183)
Assessment World Café, (noon – 2 p.m.)
General Sessions (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
Adjunct Professional Development (9:00 a.m. – noon, RC 101)
• 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.
• 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!!!
• 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.'”
• 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.
• 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.
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
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 of “Responding 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.
• 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.
•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.
• 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
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
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
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]
• 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.
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.”