from the chair

Department Update

Full-time faculty will be informed of Fall 2007 class assignments in March, if not before, and assignments for part-time faculty may be delayed due to budget uncertainties but will be sent out as soon as possible. All faculty should be advised the room assignments for classes are expected to be in flux for some time. At the moment, due to construction on campus, it's unclear which classrooms will be available (or even standing). 

Overall, it looks like funding for all things at CCSF is in jeopardy at all times, and enrollment is currently down quite a bit. We really really don't know anything right now. Keep an eye on the upcoming state budget and what Chancellor Day has to say.

On the brighter side, the English major committee is now sending paperwork to the state. With approval, we would hope that the new English major would be available as of Fall 2007. The committee will meet with curriculum and personnel to discuss more details at the start of Fall 2006. Special thanks to the faculty on that committee for excellent work.

And, as always, thanks to all the faculty on all committees who have been working particularly hard these last semesters. You know who you are.

Glory & applause

Good news

department news

• from social coordinator Bill Mc Guire:

You're invited: Sat. 3/25

Keep Saturday, March 25 open, for there is going to be a big department party at Villa Sapienza starting at 7:00 p m.  The format will be potluck, and we will get a sign-up sheet/invitation out to all as the date approaches.  We will be in party mode because our midterm grades will have been submitted and the spring break will be just around the corner.

from Jessica Brown, English eligibility coordinator

Eligibility hours

Thanks to all for making the first 3 weeks manageable. Now that the add period is coming to a close, my new hours are as follows:

Open Office Hours, English Eligibility
T/R from 1:30-4
By appointment...
Students can contact me by phone, 239-3574
or email, and can arrange an appointment.

from Monica Bosson, handbook committee chair:

PH handbook technology now ready for classroom prime-time

After getting feedback from the faculty who attended the presentation, I am happy to report that the new handbook training was informative and interesting. When you get a chance, use the code in your instructor's handbook to view all the material that is available online. If you are interested in accessing (an anti-plagiarism tool that looks great--see more below), please contact Monica (L558, 452-7027) to get a form that will give you a free account. (Normally, this would cost $120 dollars per instructor!)

Also, everyone should warn their students NOT to sign up for online materials with the code in the students' books. We have a special deal with Prentice Hall that allows our students two-year access to the web materials (vs. the one-year membership available normally). Student codes are available for pickup in the department office through our dear Diane. Make sure that you pick up a copy of the code for EACH of your students as they are all different. Note: Please verify that individual students have purchased the book before providing them with their special access codes.

Thank you to everyone who attended the workshops, and thank you to Prentice Hall for providing lunch both days.

from Amy Miles, scholarship coordinator:

English Department scholarships

The English Department has six scholarships available this semester; please share these opportunities with your students.

Scholarship applications are available in the English Department (in the black book rack, which also holds other pertinent English Department handouts, near the door) and the Writing Lab.  Instructors can also pick up applications from me to bring to their classes. Applications are due to the Scholarship Office (Bat 366) by 4pm on March 3, 2006. More on scholarships here.

from Jodi Naas, assessment coordinator:

Department's proposed assessment plans and schedule

The 1A assessment design group will meet every other Monday directly after the 1A course outline meeting, at 2:00 in the English Department conference room. 

A limited number of additional meetings of the general assessment committee will be held on the Wednesday afternoons when there are not Curriculum Committee meetings, on the same time schedule, until a reasonable assessment schedule and mission statement have been completed and related issues have been explored to the satisfaction of all concerned. This will also be the meeting at which we will revise the English 96 rubric. This group will be dealing specifically with the questions and issues discussed in the attached handout. 

Whatever we do at these two meetings, I will bring them to Curriculum Committee for more general discussion and approval.

from Erin Denney, basic skills coordinator:

Basic skills planning, teaching, and learning communities—join us!

Basic Skills is already off to a rollicking start!  We've already had our first meeting, wherein John Delgado and Nick Chang graced us with their presence and ran an informative discussion about Early Alert. John and Nick explained the program in detail, aided us in understanding who to refer and how best to refer them, and asked for our input in how to make the program even more successful than it has already been.

Our next Departmental Basic Skills meeting is on February 22nd (2:00-3:30 pm). We will work on the Strategic Planning Summary (in particular the Vision section).  

At our following meeting, Jackie Reza, the primary workshop facilitator for the Multicultural Infusion Project, will present: "An Introduction to Multicultural Teaching Competencies: Assessing What You Have and What You Need to Teach a Culturally Diverse Population." This workshop will take place March 22, 2:00-3:30 pm.

Meanwhile, the Basic Skills listserv has been busily working on their Vision statement for the Strategic Planning Summary. There is only one more section to go after the Vision statement, and then we will be strategically planned and summarized!

Finally, are there any faculty out there interested in teaching with a partner in a 90/9 link?  Interested faculty need:

Interested? Email me at

from Jodi Naas, assessment coordinator:

Have an idea for an assessment topic or reading?

I'm keeping a file of all readings and ideas that I think we might be able to use on future assessments, especially for the 96 summary and for the Common Exam. If you have seen anything recently or even heard of a subject on NPR that you think might work, shoot me a quick email or just yell it out to me in the hallway as long as it's not unseemly. If you've had any bright ideas lately, respond to this email and I'll start a collection. 2 minutes of work now can save hours later; we can simply choose from a file rather than going out hunting at the last minute. Send assessment ideas/readings/clippings to Jodi Naas (L126).

 Publius's continuing series of  interviews with the who, what, and where of English Department excitement: 

On the HOT seat: The Reading Lab's tutoring table

PUBLIUS: So, Table, tell us a little about yourself?  Where did you work before arriving at CCSF, what, 7 or 8 years ago?
PUBLIUS: And now faculty will be sitting with you in order to tutor reading.  Can you believe it's taken this long to really make use of your skills as a Reading Lab table?
PUBLIUS: By the way, there are a lot of tables and table systems out there.  I know that you don't like to think of yourself as part of a system, but you are.  Just look at your kin all over the LAC.  At the risk of sounding like a materialistic, elitist, tintist, I have to ask you this question: Do you struggle with self-esteem issues since you're not made of solid wood.  What are you, particle board topped with green laminate?  Some wood composite? How does that make you feel?
TABLE:   PUBLIUS: I mean, you're very functional and practical, and you've aged well, but are you ever jealous of what designers call "contemporary working environments," especially those with legs providing optimum flexibility?
PUBLIUS: What's the gauge of your steel frame?
PUBLIUS: Is it 16?
PUBLIUS:  It's 16, right?

PUBLIUS: Have you ever been called a workstation?
TABLE: Look, freak, your questions bore me.  You bore me. Zip it.  I'm glad that there is now reading tutoring at the Reading Lab and that I'm a part of it, provided nobody sticks gum on the cracks of my particle board underside. Interview over.

table underside

The table's underside is supported by a tri-foot structure representative of the Reading Lab's three R's: Reading, Re-reading, and Richard. But do the legs provide optimum flexibility?

campus news

 from Bill Mc Guire, your willing and enthusiastic docent:

Olmec head Campus art tours

Bill Mc Guire is willing to give a campus art tour to anyone interested.  The best times are Monday and Wednesday at around 2:10 pm. Call (x7257) or email to set up a date.

 from Stephanie Lyons, concert and lecture series coordinator:

Upcoming CCSF events

For more information, contact Stephanie Lyons at 239.3580.

 from Robert Gabriner, Vice Chancellor:

Student scholarship workshops

The Office of Institutional Advancement hopes that you will remind your students scholarships are another funding source they can apply for in these times of increasing tuition and book prices. More than 200 scholarships will be awarded to students by City College this spring. Information about these awards, and how to apply for them, is available on the City College website under Student Services and in the Scholarship Office, Batmale Hall 366.

Workshops are being held in the Rosenberg Library, Room 301 on the following dates to guide students through the application process:  
    Wednesday • February 15, 2006
 • 11-12 pm
    Thursday • February 16, 2006
 • 5-6 pm
    Wednesday • February 22, 2006
 • 3-4 pm
February 27, 200612-1 pm

Students will be coming to the faculty to request a letter of recommendation before the March 3 deadline. These letters are an important part of the application to the student. For more information regarding letters of recommendation for CCSF scholarship applications, please contact Karen Grant, or extension 3615.

and beyond...

 from Bill Mc Guire, event coordinator extraordinaire:

Drama, anyone?

Barbara Scrafford has come up with a fine idea: She would like to organize a group from our department to travel up to Ashland, Oregon to take in some Shakespeare and other rich offerings on the bill. If this is tempting, contact Barbara S., Paolo S., or Bill M.. We may decide to rent a van or bus or organize a car pool. This would happen in the summer, but we may consider a trial run over spring break. A sneak preview of possibilities is here.

 from Lucia Lachmayr:

Reading conference in April

We at the NCCRA (The Northern California Community College Reading Association) welcome teachers of reading, as well as compositionists interested in the teaching of reading, to our the annual NCCRA conference, which will be held April 1st at Skyline College. Please join us for what promises to be an exciting conference with presenters discussing everything from teaching perspective in a reading class to a presentation of City College's own Reading Apprenticeship Program. Berkeley reading specialist and professor, Nic Voge, will broach the topic of reading assessment in the keynote address. Download the registration form.

Recipe of the month

 from Barbara Scrafford, staff food editor:

Leek and mustard pie

Here's the recipe for the best dish served of any I sampled over the winter break parties. This quiche knock-off  was the centerpiece of a  festive January brunch. I think the original is in the Greens' (at Fort Mason) cookbook.
dough for one pie crust
4 to 5 cups leeks, cut into 1/4 inch rings
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup cream or creme fraiche
2 to 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
3 ounces grated cheese, or 4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons chives, sliced into narrow rounds
  • Partially prebake the tart dough.
  • Wash the leeks well and set them aside.  Melt the butter in a wide skillet, add the leeks along with the water that still clings to them, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the wine or water and the salt, cover, reduce the heat, and cook slowly until the leeks are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Check the pan after 7 minutes, and add more wine or water, if necessary.  When done, season with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Beat the eggs and stir in the cream, creme fraiche, mustard, leeks, and grated cheese.  If you are using goat cheese, work half of it into the custard and crumble the other half over the top just before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pour the custard into the prebaked shell, smooth down the top, and scatter the chives over the entire surface.  Bake the pie until the top is firm and golden brown.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

poem of the month

 from Louise Nayer, featured department poet of the month:

In the Islands

           for Anne
You sit among bougainvillea
painting pictures of the sea
on pods that my children
rattle in their magic rooms.
For 40 years
you have lived and died
in the sun and its shadows.
Every life is a miracle:
yours is a street of sand
that enters the sea.
Even in the black waters
there is the luminescence
of one who has been saved.
A small sea horse
floats into midnight.

at the movies

 from Richard Compean, staff film critic:

Woody Allen's Match Point

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has erred once again by omission-leaving off its list of nominations for Best Picture one of the three greatest films of 2005, Woody Allen's Match Point.  Although nominated solely for Best Original Screenplay, Match Point is a film every bit as good as Brokeback Mountain and Capote and deserves nominations for more. 

You don't have to be a tennis or Woody Allen fan to enjoy this mesmerizing moral tale of love, wealth, and class in contemporary London, starring Jonathan Rhys-Myers, Matthew Goode, Emily Mortimer, and Scarlett Johannson.  Match Point is also a modern story of manners and morals, of luck and consequences with Rhys-Myers and Johannson performing brilliantly as outsiders trying to find their way in (they are the "you and me" of Scott Fitzgerald's comment to Hemingway on the rich).  Their ping-pong-table erotic dialogue rivals the best of Bogart and Bacall in Key Largo, and their loving-in-the-rain scene rivals the famous on-the-beach scene in From Here to Eternity.  We tell our students that great books are worth rereading; Match Point is a film worth seeing again.  It will keep you thinking long after it's over.  Seeing Match Point will also make you want to give your own awards for picture, acting, and direction as well as for writing.

grammar tidbit

 from Dave Spears, roving grammarian:

Serial commas: making the world a safer, clearer place

Here is a sentence I once read on a Trivial Pursuit card:

"Who did Liz Taylor call Daddy, Agnes or Pockface?"

It sounds as if Liz called either Agnes or Pockface by the nickname "Daddy." However, after a moment's reflection it occurred to me that she called Richard Burton one of these names—and probably many other unprintable ones—depending on her mood.

If there had been a comma after "Agnes," the question, if not the answer, would have been instantly clear. Just another reason to add the comma before the last "and" or "or" in a series.

Technology tips

 from Randy, Cyberia's main man:

Randy, my "main" man  The Randy tip of the month: Blogs and 
 wikis, the macrame of the 21st century

Back in the '70s, when I wasn't reorganizing my punchcards, I was like huge, man, into the macrame community.  We'd make vests, plant hangers, bedspreads for my special  ladies, and sometimes pot holders, you know for my collection of stainless fondue pots.  We'd weave hemp friendship bracelets for each other and talk about what's outside of the mainframe, like astrology and tofu and my special ladies.  I learned a lot in the macrame community.  It's crazy, man, but today there are communities on the Internet called blogs and wikis.  There are even macrame blogs and wikis.  The thing is, a lot of teachers are using blogs and wikis in their classes because they offer a way for students to write, read, think, edit, evaluate, collaborate, and publish--and, dig, it's free.  

So here's what they are.  A wiki, or the backronym for "What I know is," used in Wikipedia and Wiktionary, is a collaborative web site with interconnected or linked pages written and edited collectively.  Since this is kind of an open community, errors and abuse may occur--just like in the macrame community--but someone else can join and edit. Cavandoli!  I'm telling you, it's all a weave, man, like macrame.  And so is a blog, a doobie way to say weblog or web log.  Really, it's just a web site in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order.  If you join  in to add a comment or an article, then you're blogging, man. It's a community driven weave, man, like macrame and wikis, with lots of reading, writing, editing, and researching.

And now you can join the Cyberia blog and Cyberia wiki! I set them up, man, hoping that they would help our community of users, innovators, and newbies share their knowledge and tricks and give the assessment cats more to think about.  Don't forget the square knot, man.  Cavandoli!

 from the English Dept. chapter of Geeks-R-Us:

Yet more technology: free collaborative resources for teaching and learning

"Free tools can be like free puppies," warned presenter Mark Crane of Utah Valley State College when he visited us recently to discuss using technology in the classroom. "Choose carefully." The "wow" and/or "aaawww" factors may be enough to get you to take them home (or to class), but ultimately, you'll need a "puppy" with the right temperament and training to make it a viable relationship.

Free, online resources with applications for education--and for writing in particular--are proliferating so quickly that it would be silly to try and keep up. Below are a few "puppies" that can be used to highlight group work and collaborative projects. Even if you choose not to adopt, you may enjoy playing with them for a bit.

 more handbook info: plagiarism prevention

Where would we we without algorithms?  In geometry, maybe?

The English Department's newly adopted Prentice Hall Reference Guide includes free access to My Drop Box, perhaps the best plagiarism detector on the market today.  It's a wonderful tool for students to use while composing their papers, just in case they've "forgotten" a few quotes here and there.  Of course, teachers may "drop" electronic copies of their students' papers as well.

The following description has been taken word-for-word from  In fact, the paragraph has been copied and pasted, but, look, there is no recognition of the source.  There aren't even any quotes.  Well, anyway. . . . Any paper turned in by students via the MyDropBox Course Management Toolset, Blackboard or WebCT can be set to be scanned by SafeAssignment. Our system uses a highly advanced algorithm to compare submitted manuscripts against the Internet Archive of over 8 billion documents, scholastic and news databases with over 9 million articles and an intra-institutional archive of previously submitted papers. Despite the comprehensiveness of the checking, SafeAssignment reports are generated in as little as 1-2 minutes. Here is how ["Here is how"?  Is that syntax worth the risk of plagiarism?] the originality detection process looks: click here to see

and did you know...?

Stop playing minesweeper