Wednesday, April 9, 2014

HCC Receives Acceptance to the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities at Evergreen College

This summer a select group of HCC faculty and staff have been accepted and will be attending The National Summer Institute on Learning Communities at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. 

The National Summer Institute on Learning Communities is designed to help two-year and four-year campuses that are starting or expanding learning community programs, as well as institutions that are just beginning to explore the potential for learning communities on their campus. It draws on the wisdom of experienced learning community practitioners as well as the growing research on what makes learning communities an effective institutional change strategy for improving student learning, persistence, and graduation rates. 

The institute has been held annually since the mid-1990’s at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Teams from both public and independent institutions have found the institute invaluable in creating, expanding, and improving their learning community programs.

Colleges and universities selected for the institute are matched with resource faculty who are leaders in learning community work and other reform movements in higher education. The work of each team at the institute varies, depending on their institutional and program needs. Institutions starting or expanding their programs will leave the institute with a two-year action plan. Those considering learning communities will create a well-developed program proposal. Workshops and consultations are designed to support teams' work on proposals and plans relevant to their institution. Teams generally range in size from five to ten members.

The HCC Learning Communities mission statement is: “To provide HCC students an opportunity for interactions with faculty and peers in a vibrant, linked classroom experience; This educational space offers faculty partners  collaborative, intellectual collegiality, creating interdisciplinary intersections,  while students benefit from  a cohesive, transferrable, relevant view with increased interest in learning and perseverance.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Faculty Spotlight - Christopher Martinez

Faculty Spotlight - Christopher Martinez

Untitled Document

Humanities Instructor
Dale Mabry Campus

“If I can do this, anyone can.” As a graduate of HCC (I show my students my AA degree), I tell them that as a solid C student I still excelled at HCC. So, if I can do this, anyone can. They just need to be tenacious.
Picture of Christopher Martinez
Capital Course:
I love teaching World Religions. The course touches on the personal lives of every student in the class, whether we cover their religion or religious background or upbringing. The students internalize the knowledge, recognizing it as familiar.

Ideal Ideology:
An advocate would best describe my philosophy of higher education. This advocate, interacting with the local community, guides students in their best interest. Higher education is the link between the aspiration of students and the community’s needs. The responsibility of this advocate is to anticipate the future needs of the community and general society and to tailor its educational offerings accordingly. This serves best both students and the community.

The latter can be seen in the fields of distance education and multi-media training, no longer a future trend. Multi-media skills are needed in the careers of the present. HCC, as the student advocate, should offer this training.

But multi-media training should not be just the goal, but also the delivery system. In the 21st century, students need access to more than just traditional, face-to-face instruction. Technology is the norm in society, and it should be that in higher education. Distance learning and multi-media training has been shown to exceed face-to-face instruction in certain aspects. This is why I have been involved in the e-textbook pilot at HCC.

Teachable Moment:
I’ve had two. One student’s last name was Singh. I asked her if she was a Sikh. She asked me how I knew. I told her Singhs have the title “Singh” in their name and they are Sikhs. She said she went home and her parents confirmed this, something she had never been told.

Another student showed up for class wearing two rosaries around his neck. I asked to borrow one and then began reciting the prayers assigned to each bead. His eyes grew wide and said he did not know that was what a rosary was for.

This reflects my teaching approach: a personal encounter with students so they internalize the knowledge in class and use it in cognitive reasoning.

Student Success:
I believe in “edutainment.” This is a combination of education and entertainment. Students, particularly the younger ones, consume large and fast quantities of entertainment through various electronic means. In the classroom, I use humor to hook the students (get their attention) and then teach an interesting topic, interspersed with videos, class projects and more humor. Humor makes me, as an instructor, more approachable, when a student is encountering difficulty inside or outside the classroom.

Techno Tool:
Blackboard is my primary techno tool. Everything is in the course template there: syllabus, PowerPoint and other documents, reviews for tests. This is the primary sources for my instructional content, and both instructor and student draws from it, so everyone is on the same page.

Optimized Advice:
It would be presumptuous to offer advice to any faculty member, including new ones, with one exception: encouragement. Remember, you usually always know more than the students. Love your teaching, enjoy your interaction with the students, and be passionate about the subject matter.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Faculty Spotlight - Bryan Shuler

Bryan Shuler

Humanities, Dale Mabry Campus

Course Range: (Traditional)

Quotable Quote:  When studying the Humanities, especially in my African Humanities course, “It’s all about “Culture,” and not about Colour.”

Capital Course:  HUM 2420- African Humanities; as one of only a handful of Africanists in the state, I take pleasure in bringing my fieldwork as a Fulbright Research Scholar and Cultural Expert for National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions to the classroom and sharing it with dedicated and curious students here at HCC.

Ideal Ideology:  I believe that only through hands-on in-depth research in the field can an instructor fully perceive, appreciate and explain the various aspects of their course topics, and therefore, present the insight our students desperately need in order to successfully compete in the global environment they are and will experience in their lifetime.

Teachable Moment- Student Success: As a Humanistic Anthropologist, I continuously place myself within the scenario of the culture being discussed, and honestly share my personal experiences and reactions in the moment to what was occurring around me, rather than observing the culture at arm’s length, keeping it in a glass museum case. The students will automatically perceive the difference in approach and will come to embrace the culture rather than allow it to remain 2-dimentional in a textbook. It is one thing to discuss health issues through published statistics; it is another to share my personal experiences and emotions interacting with lepers in the community in which I lived. Photographs of textiles in a textbook cannot even begin to match the same classroom experience as allowing students to adorn various cloth and costumes from a culture. In the end, these moments of sharing between students and instructor inspire them to engage in their own unique experiences which jettison them into a world of personal exploration. 

Techno Tool:  I enjoy using the Power-Point presentations created using photographs taken during my fieldwork as it transcends a product made from “Clip-art” into a statement of personal point-of-view.

Optimized Advice:  Break out of the academic sterility; do not be afraid to expose one’s own emotions and experiences in your given field to the students, as this is the real basis for genuine honesty in the classroom.