from the chair

Department Update

Schedules are coming out--the second draft is here and concrete information will be in your hands in about a week. 

Please take a look at the book orders that you are getting. Some orders will have CRNs or names changed; should you see a book that you do not want or that was ordered by another instructor, please just line it out and provide your own information for the appropriate book order.

Members of the WASC team visited the department on Tuesday, March 21st. They were particularly interested in the 93/94 shift and in what we are doing around Basic Skills. They were also impressed with Cyberia and how we are using it for Basic Skills students. Kudos to all!

—John Batty-Sylvan

Glory & applause

Good news

department news

• from social coordinator Bill Mc Guire:

Department fun this Saturday! 3/25

Dear Gentle People of the English Department,

Here is more information for the Party at Paolo's on Saturday, March 25, commencing at 7:00 pm.  His home address is 509 Scott Street in San Francisco which is just off Fell and near Alamo Square Park.  The format is potluck and BYOB.  Here are the food categories and their placement on the alphabet.

    A-C:  Salads (Have them assembled and include dressing)
    D-H:  Fruits and Vegetables (Cut-up and ready to serve)
    I-M:  Appetizers (Can include a variety of breads)
    N-R:  Desserts (Bite-size and finger food is ideal)
    S-Z:  Main Courses

...So if your last name is Throckmorton, you may choose to bring chicken polonaise, cooked and smartly plattered.

Please R.S.V.P. to Miss Manners aka Liam at 452-7257 or stating the number in your party and  what your are contributing.  A few souls are needed to set up, but more are needed to clean up.

See you at the gathering,
                                Bill Mc Guire

[Note: One mystery guest will be celebrating a birthday, but this editor has been sworn to secrecy on the specifics of that topic.]

from Jessica Brown, English eligibility coordinator

Looking for a textbook or three?

Well, here's the deal. The closet outside my office, L514, is The Book Closet. In the past, it has just been filled with textbooks that arrive from the various publishers and then they are set up in alpha order by author. What I am trying to do is create a more useful book area by having the publishers themselves come and put in their texts, accompanied by a pamphlet that describes the text and, in some cases, the level in which it is used. So far, I have Thomsan and Pearson/Longman/Allyn & Bacon arriving next week to pull old editions and restock with new ones. I have not heard back from Prentice, Norton, McGraw Hill, Bedford or Houghton, though I will attempt to persuade them that this is in their best interest. I am hoping that this becomes a good source for new instructors, especially, to investigate possible textbooks, but also for anyone who is interested in seeing the new texts that are coming out. I have a key and so does Diane, so anyone who wishes to check it out can contact either one of us.

from Publius:

Speech and English Summit Concludes with New Mission Statement

Since the first Speech-English Summit took place forty years ago, there have been numerous debates over purpose of the Summit’s mission. Fortunately, after a week sequestered in the hills of San Francisco, the current representatives of Speech and English came to a historic agreement in the revision of their mission statement, which reads as follows: “Poop regularly, and use your words.” Check your mail for next year’s agenda.

babies galore Representatives pictured left-to-right include Oliver (wearing the same outfit his father wore at the very first summit), Catherine, Elizabeth, and Nithan.

from Julie Young, Title III co-coordinator:

Top 5 comments on basic skills papers?

Basic Skills Teachers, please take a minute to give a virtual primal scream and share your top five revision suggestions for students. What five comments do you find yourself writing over and over and over again on your students' papers? I'd like to see the comment just as you write it, and I'd like to focus on process suggestions rather than sentence-level errors.

This will help Craig and me in our redesign and reconfiguration of the lab page and activity guide for our upcoming Carnegie residency.

Please send your comments to We'll post the top five in the next issue.

from Craig Kleinman, lab coordinator:

Reading Lab updates

We are very happy to announce that Zoya Zeylikovich has already begun her tenure as our new full-time Reading Lab 3598, joining Richard Gale in our continuing efforts to make the Reading Lab a wonderful place for students to improve their literacy skills.  Zoya brings to the job a great love of literature and an extremely impressive computer and learning assistance background.  Please introduce yourself to her if you haven’t already.  Learn more about Zoya as she braves the newsletter’s hot seat.

Most of the reading groups have been quite popular. Session two has already begun, so please let your students that the final reading group session will be after spring break—unless they want to join Christoph Greger’s six-week Neuromancer session beginning the week before spring break. Jump to more about times and books.

Please, if you would like to lead a reading group this fall and/or have an idea for a book that would be good primarily for basic skills students, contact your humble lab boy, Craig Kleinman. Try to think of a book not often used in the classroom.

The reading tutoring table has also become popular as of late among students from all levels of English. Thank you for sending them our way, and thanks to the tutors and Richard for keeping the faith.  And a special thank you to Alisa Messer for creating, posting, and coloring the reading tutoring area’s signs. Alisa’s approaches to the current sign system have emerged out of several metatheoretical assumptions: ontological, epistemological, and axiological—not to mention geometrical and umbilical. Workplace theory aside, students see the signs and then seek help.

Our most recent Title III purchase, Reading Plus, has arrived. In April it will be installed on the new Title III server, and then in early May we’ll have an all-day faculty training session. This should enable us to make smart of Reading Plus in the fall.  Please check out the Reading Plus website. Our wide area network (wan) version will handle up to 500 users and will be accessible at CCSF computer labs on all campuses. Special thanks to Nadine Rosenthal, Mamie How, Larry Klein, Nick Chang, and Bruce Smith for their support.  This program should have a major impact on reading assessment and practice at CCSF. The following table (from the Reading Plus website) provides an overview of the instructional programs.

reading plus screenshot

Cyberia updates

As a result of Patricia Delich, Julie Young, and Craig Kleinman’s upcoming Carnegie residency, a new Lab Page, Cyberia home page, and Cyberia Activity Guide are in the works!  You’ll see.  Plus—it looks like the new Cyberia computers may be ordered in time for summer installation!  Please, if you have any brilliant ideas or special requests for the room, such as a broadcaster instead of a projector, please contact your humble lab boy, you know who.  The negative side of this may be an obstruction of Cyberia classroom and laboratorium use this summer session, or at least for part of summer session.  As far as lab use, we’ll try to expand the Reading Lab’s computer offerings, especially since those machines have Internet, Inspiration, and Write OutLoud access.  Still, if you would like to use Cyberia as a classroom once week (maybe more) this summer, contact you know who asap, preferably by tax day.  Again, the Cyberia schedule may go ka-plooey due to the installation schedule.  Hopefully the new machines will arrive before our current classics go ka-plooey.  That’s the most important thing.  One other thing: If you are not already an experienced, key-bearing, code-toting Cyberian, you’ll have to wait till next fall. 

Copy/paste/fill-out this little Cyberia summer class-time request form.  Use one form per class. Thanks.

Cyberia summer class-time

Class I’d like teach in Cyberia =
Days/Times of class meetings =

IDEALLY, I’d like to use Cyberia regularly as my classroom on the following days/times:

Realistically, though, I’ll be lucky to have the room one class meeting per week.

My first choice for that one class meeting would be =

My second choice for that one class meeting would be =

Submit requests to by 4/15ish.  (Fall Cyberia requests will be tackled later.)

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

On the HOT seat: Zoya Zeylikovich of the Reading Lab

Zoya at lab sign-in computer computer

PUBLIUS: Wow, Zoya, here you are working full-time in the Reading Lab with Richard Gale.  How did you end up here? 

ZOYA: By choice. I am hoping to pick up some new “vocabs.”  I already got my first: “revelence” of sound.

PUBLIUS: More importantly, what’s your favorite episode of Star Trek? If you can’t remember the title, that’s okay, and don’t feel limited to the original series.  Voyager would be acceptable.  

ZOYA: It’s when Captain Kirk is defending this terribly deformed mute captain and the aliens are these old women with huge bald heads and pulsing veins. Brrr …

PUBLIUS: Ahh, yes. That would be Captain Pike, James Tiberius’s Kirk’s immediate predecessor.  Do you consider your position in the English Department similar to Chief Engineer Scott’s, aka Scotty?   

ZOYA: Scotty who?  BTW there is a new old show in town – Battlestar Galactica.

Scotty and Kirk from Star Trek
"Scotty who?"

PUBLIUS: I’ve noticed that Richard has a small tattoo of the Romulan Bird-of-Prey behind his left ear.  Is Richard a Romulan? If so, does he have a cloaking device that could be used during accreditation?

ZOYA: No and no, but we have a cloaking device. The trick is to use it to cloak in/out two students at the same time.

PUBLIUS: Excellent. Speaking of technology, we have just purchased Reading Plus—thanks to our Title III grant.  We already have several programs, as well as a Web site. What do you see as technology’s role in the Reading Lab’s future?     

ZOYA: In the future instead of workstations we will have couches. Students will be taking a nap while reading materials will be downloaded directly into their brains.

PUBLIUS: Which workbook activity do you think is especially good for Reading Lab students? 

ZOYA: I reserve my judgment on workbooks. I am still on “Phenomena.”

PUBLIUS: Should Reading Lab students be required to undergo steroid tests when taking the RFU?  This is, after all, a lab. 

ZOYA: Only if their parents/relatives ever worked for BALCO (or Barry Bonds).

PUBLIUS: Steroid issues aside, are you glad to be here? 

ZOYA: Steroids and jokes aside, I am really glad to be working at CCSF.

PUBLIUS: Are you currently reading any novels? Anything good?

ZOYA: Yes and no. Why read good novels when bad ones are so much more fun. My favorite example is I. Asimov’s Foundation translated into Russian by a non-native speaker. Tons and tons of giggles.

PUBLIUS: Is there a yoga position that might help students in the reading lab?

RFU yoga (picture 1)          signing in (picture 2)
ZOYA: The position in picture 1 helps students achieve the perfect 10 score on RFU cards. The position in picture 2 is what I would like every student doing when they get to the counter to sign in.

PUBLIUS: Thank you, Zoya, for being on the Publius hot seat.

campus news

from Tore Langmo:

Once every 30 years or so...

Langmo girls by Mark Albright

... San Francisco gets a dusting of snow (or in this case, hail) that sticks. In case you missed it, the CCSF-side of SF got a severe pelting on the evening of the 10th, and the following morning Siri and Nissa still had plenty to play in outside of Rosenberg Library. 

 from Suzanne Lo, MIP film series coordinator:

Finding The Way Home: A film by Shakti Butler

Fri. March 24, 2:00-4:30 p.m., Rosenberg Library, R304

The Multicultural Infusion Project begins its new diversity film series with The Way Home, a 90 minute film showing women from 8 ethnic councils, and their candid conversations with each other about race, gender and class in the U.S. These women speak their minds and hearts about love, assimilation, beauty, power and more; it's a look into cultural worlds mostly invisible to outsiders.

In showing this film, MIP hopes to provide the campus community with another opportunity to develop and deepen our understanding of ourselves and each other. We hope you'll join us and share your thoughts and feelings after the film. Open to all faculty and classified staff. 

The Way Home promo image This film offers us a rare opportunity to listen, to learn, and more importantly to hope for our future generations.Fabienne McPhail, Director, Stanford University Women's Center

 from Linda Bacon, nutrition instructor:  

The last "acceptable" prejudice: Fat 

cover of Fat!So? Marilyn Wann speaks Wed, March 29th, 9:10-10:00 am in the Diego Rivera Theater

Come hear fat activist Marilyn Wann name it and show the path for transformation. Guaranteed to be an inspirational and informative talk! Linda Bacon, who organized the event, has put Marilyn's book, FAT!SO?: Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size, on reserve at the Rosenberg Library under her name. 

 from Stephanie Lyons, concert and lecture series coordinator:

More upcoming CCSF events

For more information, contact Stephanie Lyons at 239.3580.

Classifieds: swap, barter, etc.

Recipe of the month

 from Barbara Scrafford, staff food editor:

What, we are still asking ourselves, ever possessed Joan Wilson to retire?  We are bereft of her model professionalism, her astute observations, and her excellent hair.  What does she think she'll do without papers , meetings, and us, we complain. The answer is that Joan is enjoying asparagus season--in her kitchen with the sign that reads "And greasy Joan doth keel the pot." That's from LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST, in case you need brushing up. Here follows a recipe that is a testament to her also excellent taste. The ingredient list seems long, but Joan never puts it all in--just whatever she has on hand.  I've had it several times, each with different stuff missing, and it's always delicious.

Joan's Asparagus Salad

8 servings
2 lbs. medium asparagus, tough ends removed
2 red bell peppers
2 tbs. white wine vinegar
2 tbs. capers, drained
1 tb Dijon mustard
2 tsps. chopped tarragon or dill
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 C. plus 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. soft, mild goat cheese
12 Nicoise or Calamata olives, pitted & chopped
Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until bright green & tender, about 3 minutes; transfer to a colander & refresh under cold water; drain & pat dry.
  • 2. Roast the peppers directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning until charred all over. Transfer them to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes.  Peel the peppers & cut them into 1/4" thick strips.
  • 3. In a medium bowl, stir together the vinegar, capers, mustard, tarragon, garlic, and onion; season with salt & pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil.
  • 4. Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter.  Lay the roasted pepper strips over the asparagus and drizzle with half the vinaigrette.  Crumble the goat cheese on top.  Garnish with chopped olives and the Parmigiano shavings & serve, passing the remaining vinaigrette at the table.

poem of the month

 from Alexandra Teague, Stegner Fellow:

The Grammar of Cities, an excerpt

This is part of a new sequence of poems inspired in large part by the many, many grammar workshops that I taught at the Writing Lab.

We believe we are central, but it is always easier to find the action
of a sentence first, because less happens in the world than we suppose,
and there are more of us, more nouns and pronouns, all possible subjects.

This morning, for instance, I woke in a room filled with clouds; the fog
had come over the curtainless windows like a sadness remaining
from a dream I didn’t remember, and I lay there trying to trace myself

back into darkness, into a sleep that made sense of this life with its engines
and sirens, its shopping carts rattling with broken bottles, glass clinking
with wire, the wheels jarring, as people who have nowhere to live

push their lives through the city. No wonder the subject is easy to lose.
The sound dies away at the corner where the bookstore, which I cannot see
from bed, is preparing to set out shelves of fantasy and graphic novels,

coffeetable history and sexuality, homelessness as a 21st-century crisis,
the interpretation of dreams:  books that have been touched and bought
and maybe read, though reading isn’t required, and marginalia so rare

we can believe we are the first to turn each page, to encounter words
in this particular arrangement, to try to understand the subject at hand,
which is really the object, if we are thinking of grammar.  I read once

in a book by a famous author that people live in cities to be alone
in the midst of others. It is humbling to think we cannot find ourselves
except in the syntax of strangers. If you knew me, you would know

this is true:  that I lay there trying to diagram the morning without getting up,
without looking closely at details, and I nonetheless wanted to understand
these details as they related to me and to the clouds above the orange silk

bedspread, not literal clouds, but soft grey lightlessness, as though I were
in a plane flying close to the earth or through the haze above Mexico City
with its white volcanoes and millions upon millions of people, each one alone—

as though I were suspended in the middle of a sentence in which I’d passed
myself as the subject, and my awaking, but still did not know what action
stretched ahead: if I was taking off into the long horizon of this day, or landing.

at the movies

 from Richard Compean, staff film critic:

Redux: Pride and Prejudice

Along with other Jane Austen lovers, until recently I had held it a truth universally acknowledged that yet another cinematic rendering of Pride and Prejudice must be in want of merit.  Previous renderings had ranged back to 1939 (with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) and forward to 2004 (the Bollywood version titled Bride and Prejudice), with the definitive A&E/BBC miniseries (with Collin Firth) produced for television in 1996 and released on DVD in 2001.  My pride told me that these were quite enough.  My prejudice told me that no new version would be worth paying current cinema prices or even future DVD rental prices. 

But with great reluctance on my part and great persuasion by my wife and daughter I went to see the new adaptation.  Dario Manelli’s wonderful music score, engaging settings, and fabulous acting all worked together to change my mind.  It was no accident that this Pride and Prejudice received Oscar nominations for music, art and costume design, and acting.  The sound track and settings alone are enough to recommend seeing this film (including a “grittier” and more realistic 18th century rural England).  The acting serves as icing on the cake, especially the Bennet roles of father and favorite daughter played Donald Sutherland and Keira Knightly.  Let neither pride nor prejudice get in the way of enjoying this great film.

Technology tips

 from Randy, Cyberia's main man:

Randy, my "main" man  The Randy tip of the month: Data storage

Hey, man.  Many of you have probably wondered what I do to save my work on the IBM S/360 mainframe.  I can answer that with exactly one word: 10.5inchdiameterhalfinchwidereelof- 9trackmagnetic- tapewithautoloadingtapeseal.  To me, that’s poetry, man.  It may seem crowded and weighty to you, but to me it’s like a poem about an Ornette Coleman solo.  And back in the ‘60s, when I used to listen to a lot of Coleman, I’d go on backpacking trips all over the country to find out how other labs saved data.  I called it “Backpacking for Back-ups.”  Man, those were magnetic trips, and, believe me, I saw a lot of tape and data cell drives, especially at Columbia.

Today, most people don’t use 40-year old mainframes, but that’s cool.  The thing is that a lot of students—and teachers—use different personal computers, or what the popular kids call “PC’s,” and they use these PC’s on and off campus.  Unfortunately, what’s been happening to a lot of non IBM S/360 10.5inchdiameterhalf- inchwidereelof9trackmagnetictapewithautoloadingtapeseal users is the everyday battle against reliable data storage.  What I’ve heard through the walls of Cyberia, for example, is that almost every day another floppy disk can’t be opened or another floppy drive can’t read disks.  Of course, with PC revolution, methods for saving data change all of the time.  Here are some ways to do it: home drive, shared Drive, floppy disc, cd burner, usb drive, and email attachment.

Probably the best way to do it—and this what you should tell your students too—is to not save your work one way.  If all of your work is on one disk and that disk goes bad, you are toast, my friend.  Toast, man.  If you’re not into magnetic tape or data cartridges, then use a disk or flash drive to save your work and carry it around in your macramé bookbag, BUT also email it yourself as an attachment.  In fact, you may even want to open a free email account just for the purpose of sending and storing CCSF documents.  Here are some links to places on the ARPANET—or what some of you call the Internet—that show you how to attach and open electronically mailed documents.

Next time, more trips and more tips, man.

huge rack of reels at Columbia
Some of the reels I saw after I backpacked through the Woodstock and ended up at Columbia, man.

and did you know...?

Stop playing solitaire