• from the chair
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.
- Louise Nayer is one of three featured poets—with ten poems and an interview—in the latest issue of Abalone Moon, an online literary journal. She's also provided our featured poem in this edition of our newsletter.
- English student and Writing
Lab tutor Anthony Cook will be
presenting his paper
"Let's Make the Myths: Literature vs. Real Life(?)" this month. The
piece explores how global capitalism turns the general public against
literature by using the "Ivory Tower" myth to create interlocking
points of power at the cultural, economic, and political levels.
Beginning with Stephen King's 2003 National Book Award speech, it shows
how certain literary forms become "truths" in order to sustain a
consumer-nationalism. The second half of the paper is devoted to posing
educational possibilities for getting students to rethink
literature’s role and function in “the real
This paper was written for the final segment of Dr. Craig Kleinman’s English 40 Advanced Composition class which focused on American Culture. The assignment, entitled “American Change,” invited students to imagine an issue that was crucial to them, analyze the problem, and then propose realistic and concrete methods for solving it. Students also turned in discussion questions about their own papers from an alternative point of view.
The Acacia Group, a graduate/undergraduate literary organization at CSU Fullerton, has selected the paper for presentation at their 2006 Conference, “Politicizing Texts.” The focus of this conference deals with pedagogy—how to teach critical theory, peer editing, new ways of interpreting texts, neutrality and using the internet in the classroom. The conference will be held in Fullerton, CA, February 17-18.
- Craig Kleinman, Patricia Delich, and Julie Young have been selected for the Carnegie Foundation's Strengthening Pre-Collegiate Education in Community Colleges (SPECC) residency on representations of teaching and learning. This three-day intensive practicum will be held April 7-9 at Stanford University where educators will work together to build, review, and plan multimedia materials that faculty and students can use to improve learning in pre-collegiate math and English—at CCSF, other SPECC campuses, and beyond. Craig, Patricia, and Julie decided to apply for the residency as a team, their proposal focusing on a major multimedia revision of the Cyberia Activity Form. For more on SPECC and the Carnegie Foundation’s Knowledge Media Lab and KEEP Toolkit, go to www.cfkeep.org/html/snapshot.php?id=54054842567122 and www.carnegiefoundation.org. This a great honor, and Craig, Patricia, and Julie will be working hard this winter on the Cyberia Activity Form in order to make the most of the residency this spring.
Congratulations to Jessica Brown and Linda Legaspi, this year's Purse Contest winners. Well done! You have touched all of us with your strength, persistence, and desire to be #1.
• 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 hoursThanks 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:
T/R from 1:30-4
Students can contact me by phone, 239-3574
or email, email@example.com 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 MyDropBox.com (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.
- BRUCE F. HANNAH SCHOLARSHIP— This scholarship of $100 is awarded annually to a student who has completed or is currently enrolled in either English 35A or 35B.
- THE EDWARD KLOSTER SCHOLARSHIP—This scholarship of $200 is awarded each semester to a student who is currently enrolled in or has completed English K or English 9 within the last year. The student should be recommended by his/her English K or English 9 instructor. The student must have been born in the United States, have a goal to earn an associate degree, a vocational certificate or to transfer to a four-year college or university. Financial need is a consideration.
- DOROTHY FREDERICA MERCER SCHOLARSHIP— This $2,000 scholarship is awarded to a CCSF student who exemplifies academic excellence in English. The scholarship is awarded to a student who will transfer in the Fall to UC Berkeley and major in English.
- BURT W. MILLER SCHOLARSHIP— This scholarship of $100 is awarded annually to a student who, though course work as well as extracurricular work, has shown an interest in writing. The recipient must have attended CCSF for at least one semester, have earned a GPA of at least 3.0 and must intend to transfer to a four-year college or university. Financial need is a consideration.
- ESTHER BRYANT SNEPP SCHOLARSHIP IN AMERICAN LITERATURE— This scholarship of $400 is awarded to an English major who has taken a course in American Literature at CCSF.
- THE LEN SANAZARO MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP— This scholarship of $200 is for students who are English Majors currently enrolled in English classes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Financial need is a consideration.
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.
- download the latest documents regarding the department's proposed assessment schedule and mission here.
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:
- to be dedicated to teaching basic skills students,
- to be willing to work intensely with another faculty member aligning classes (there is pay for this),
- to be willing to attend regular meetings of all linked faculty members (again, you will be paid),
- to be willing to commit to the link for many semesters,
- to be willing to be trained in Reading Apprenticeship.
Interested? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 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:
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? 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?
TABLE: 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.
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?
• from Bill Mc Guire, your willing and enthusiastic docent:
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
- Thursday, February 16, 1 p.m., Rosenberg 305: Fania Davis discusses "Restorative Justice"
- Friday, February 24, 12 noon - 1 p.m., Science 300: Paul Kephart discusses "The Living Roof and Sustainable Buildings" as part of the biology seminar series and upcoming events for Earth Day
- Friday, February 24, 11 a.m., Southeast Campus, Alex Pitcher Community Room: Dr. Bruce Jackson discusses the DNA Roots Project
- Thursday, March 9, 11 a.m., Diego Rivera Theater: "THE MEETING" - produced and directed by Gloria Weinstock, this play depicts a hypothetical meeting between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X
For more information, contact Stephanie Lyons at 239.3580.
• from Robert Gabriner, Vice Chancellor:
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.
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
Monday • February 27, 2006 • 12-1 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, email@example.com or extension 3615.
• from Bill Mc Guire, event coordinator extraordinaire:
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.
• from Barbara Scrafford, staff food editor:
Leek and mustard pie
- 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.
• from Louise Nayer, featured department poet of the month:
In the Islands
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.
• 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.
• 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:
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.
• from Randy, Cyberia's main man:
The Randy tip of the month: Blogs and
wikis, the macrame of the
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.
- Wikis are online collaborative publications that allow multiple users to create documentation, websites, and documents with a very simple user interface. Cyberia now has its own wiki at cyberia.pbwiki.com--take a look and contribute: it's easy!
- If you're looking for collaborative tools to really see what an online collaborative project can do, check out a free account at Basecamp, or, for a more personal approach well-suited for students (or to help you keep track of your own to-do lists), its little sibling, Backpack. From 37signals.com, these sites also coordinate writeboards, an impressive tool for collaborative editing (like Word's "track changes" on steroids).
- On a roll with checking out free technology you and your students can use? Social and blogging software such as elgg.net, blogger.com, and livejournal.com, which support easy online publishing and multiple members are a great way to get students to collaborate and share writing, information, and feedback. Best of all, when students publish online, it offers a way for them to proudly share their writing with others, from classmates to family and friends, and write for a real audience that extends beyond the classroom.
- Do you have your own technology tip to share? Contact your newsletter editors and let them know about it!
• more handbook info: plagiarism prevention
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 mydropbox.com. 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.
Giant checkbook in SacramentoCalifornia's budget got you down/confused/irate? Wondering how community college funding fits--or doesn't fit--into the state's educational future? Next Ten, an independent, non-partisan educational organization can help you and your students makes heads and tails of it all. Take the budget quiz or--if you're looking to prove once and for all that your hairdresser/taxi driver/11-year-old could balance the budget with better priorities--head for the California budget challenge.
National statistics on salaries and staffingWondering where CCSF's faculty rank compared to salaries across the nation? The National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education, has released its study on 2004 salaries, but it doesn't include part-time faculty, who make up at least 35% of the nation's faculty. (Read more about the staffing crisis in higher education from AFT.)
Yet another study on college students and literacyThe good news: "Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation." But there's more than that to ponder in a recent study of college students and literacy skills funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News: "Study: most college students lack skills."
Stop playing minesweeper
- Waste time here instead: Treasure Box is an amazing puzzle game--turn your sound down first!
- Or how about free audiobooks? In the public domain?! Downloadable?! Cool! Check out LibriVox.org for an expanding list of audiobooks (and podcasts). Austen, Twain, Conrad, Dostoyevsky, and Shelley are there already, among others--and with many more to come! (There's poetry, too!)