from the chair

Department Update

With the end of spring semester and the start of summer vacation, I look forward to seeing everyone at the end-of-year party on May 19th. Having had a full semester with Diane Romero, our department secretary/administrative assistant who will also be working with me during the summer, I expect we will have things well in hand for the fall. Please remember there's much to do this fall, especially working on our new English major for its launch in Fall 2007.

Congratulations to Alex Leyton and Elizabeth Zarubin who, after a year's wait, have just completed their long-awaited paperwork with the District as full-time instructors. They'll be full-time in August.

Finally, a general thanks to all of you for hanging in there and giving your all to the Department and our students. We've definitely had some ups and downs over the last few years, and we've got some institutional financial problems that we'll have to deal with coming up, but I'm optimistic that things will go well for us in the future.

Have a fun, productive summer.

—John Batty-Sylvan

Glory & applause

department news

• from social coordinator Bill Mc Guire, aka Liam aka Miss Manners:

Department party May 19!

Dear Gentle People of the English Department,

Hoping to see all of you at the Basque Center on May l9 to celebrate the end of the academic year and to show our love for Toni Illick. Some members of the department have not received an invite. No problem. Just call or email me and let me know you are coming; I will then be looking for a check and your choice of entree. Thanks for your cooperation in celebrating another challenging year at our college.

                 Truly yours,
Bill Mc Guire

• from Alisa Messer and Cindy Slates, Writing Lab co-coordinators:

After party hosted by your pals at the Writing Lab

The Writing Lab staff will be hosting its end-of-semester party on the 19th, as well. Even if you're not tutoring in the Lab this semester, you're welcome to join us after dinner: email Alisa or catch one of us at dinner for directions.

from Bonnie Gratch Lindauer, Coordinator of Library Instructional Services

Information Competency requirement integrated in Eng 96 and Eng 1A

Starting Fall 2006 students successfully completing English 96 and 1A will also be completing the new information competency requirement, which was approved in February by the Bipartite Committee on Graduation Requirements. Since the course outlines have/are being revised for these two courses, the learning outcomes and instructional methodology sections of the outlines address many of the information competency/research skills concepts.

Library faculty are looking forward to working with the English faculty who teach these courses to ensure that students are prepared for the research essay/paper. In fact, a collaborative development project is underway to have online workshops for students that parallel the classroom workshops that the library faculty have been offering for many years.

from the Speech Communication Division:

The latest from Speech

The City College of San Francisco’s Speech and Debate Team returned from the Phi Rho Pi Community College Forensics Nationals with two silver medals. The Phi Rho Pi tournament is one of the nation’s largest competitive speech and debate tournaments. This year’s tournament was hosted by Kansas City Community College in Kansas City, Missouri, April 10-16.

City College won its first silver medal in five years in the forensics event of parliamentary debate. Joan Chang and Robert Ambrose enjoyed success throughout the year and capped the season by competing in the gold medal round in Kansas City. Debating the United States withdrawal from Iraq, the duo took silver while El Camino Community College scored gold. Robert Ambrose was also awarded a bronze medal in Impromptu Speaking.

Kristina Whalen, assistant coach, feels the team was especially strong this year. “We have so many intellectually curious people on our team. Forensics has provided them with an excellent outlet for their academic talents,” Whalen stated.

The City College program was also awarded a silver sweepstakes medal in debate. The sweepstakes award recognizes the entire team’s achievement in debate or individual speaking events.

Sami Kudsi attended the UCLA Transfer Alliance Program Council meeting at UCLA in April. It is an organization that is part of the Honors Program and helps CCSF students get into UCLA. Sami is also the secretary of the Bay Area Honors Consortium and hosted a meeting of that organization at CCSF on Friday, May 12th. The BAHC drafted the agreement with Mills College that gets CCSF students a scholarship to Mills. [Editor's note: See recent message from participant Janna Denig.]

Finally, Cynthia Dewar, Speech Division Coordinator, was overwhelmingly elected President of the Phi Rho Pi forensics organization. She will assume office this summer and lead the organization, and its approximately 150 member schools, for the next three years. “Cynthia’s leadership in forensics is awe inspiring. This was my first visit to the Phi Rho Pi tournament and I was very proud to be affiliated with City College of San Francisco. Cynthia’s professionalism has put our college on the map,” noted Kristina Whalen.

from Abdul Jabbar:

A thank you to members of the English Department:

Abdul's thank you note

from Alexandria Leyton, English Department mentoring program coordinator:

Mentees and mentors wanted for Fall '06

I am coordinating a faculty mentoring program which we began last fall for Basic Skills instructors and I am now extending to all English Department faculty. You don't get paid for it, but it looks good on your CV, builds great relationships within the department, and feels great!

Criteria for being a mentor:
Willing experienced part- or full-time instructor
Not on mentee's evaluation committee (this one will have to be dealt with during the semester)
Not on hiring committee

Criteria for being a mentee:
A part-time pool or emergency hire (highly recommended for new hires, but if you are part-time have been here any length of time, you can have a mentor)

Ideally, I would like to have people paired up before the start of the semester or have mentors willing to take on an emergency hire as soon as possible, so if you are interested in participating, please send me an email at your earliest convenience telling me:

1. Your name
2. If you want to be a mentor or mentee
3. What you've taught/are teaching
4. When you are available on campus

from Publius:

CCSF professor agonizes for months over essay grade

San Francisco--After spending the first three months of the spring '06 semester agonizing over what grade to assign English 1A student Emily Chow's first essay of the semester, her professor has finally determined  the true representation of the paper's "ethos, logos, and commas" must be a  C/C+. "I couldn't decide whether it was a C or C+ paper," said Dr. T. Ashworth Bumple, who holds several advanced comparative literature degrees from the U. of Minnesota, all dealing with transnational representations of soup.  Since being hired fulltime at City College of San Francisco six years ago after a former trustee (name kept confidential due to litigation settlement) nearly ran him over him one evening at a Phelan Avenue crosswalk, Bumple has been tempted to use the grade slash.  "I needed to use ambiguity to put the responsibility back on the student, especially since this was the first paper of the term."  When asked about the student's reaction to the C/C+, Bumple couldn't comment, as Chow stopped attending class after spring break.

• from Alisa Messer and Cindy Slates, Writing Lab co-coordinators:

Peer tutors wanted

The Writing Lab is currently looking for peer tutor applicants who not only excel in their writing, but also show concern, appreciation, and support for their peers. Please share this downloadable "Peer Tutors Needed" flyer with students you feel meet these qualifications (they need to have completed at least English 1A). Extra copies of the flyer are also available in both the Lab and the English Department.

from Craig Kleinman, lab coordinator:

Summer lab news: writing and reading schedules, Cyberia rehab

This summer the Writing and Reading Labs will be open Mondays and Tuesdays 10-6, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10-4.  Open lab will run this summer from 6/13-7/19, except 7/3-7/4. And there will be reading tutoring for all students taking English classes, not just reading classes, Monday-Thursday 1-3. Hurray! Hurrah! See the full schedules below.

Due to renovations and upgrades, Cyberia will not be open. The Reading Lab will be getting more computers, and your students will be able to use Inspiration, WriteOutLoud, and Internet reading/writing programs there ( If you need a computerized classroom, you'll have to try Rosenberg 209 or 210, or perhaps the rooms in the new Batmale 3rd floor lab.

Writing Lab, Summer '06

Hour/Day Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs.
10-11 Alex Leyton

Karim Scarlata (June)

Nathan Wirth (July)
Alex Leyton

Heather Tone
Amy Miles Janet Goldberg
11-12 Karim Scarlata (June)

Nathan Wirth (July)
Erin Denney (June)

Nathan Wirth (July)
Amy Miles Janet Goldberg
12-1 Jennifer Sullivan Jen Sullivan Amy Miles Janet Goldberg
1-2 Hari Costarides (June)

Kelly Vogel (July)
Jen Sullivan Hari Costarides Kelly Vogel
2-3 Lydia Graecyn Lydia Graecyn Ben Bacsierra Richard Compean
3-4 Lydia Graecyn Lydia Graecyn Ben Bacsierra Richard Compean
4-5 Jennifer Worley Shawna Ryan  x x 
5-6 Jennifer Worley Jennifer Kraemer x

The Reading Lab will be open
whenever the Writing Lab is open.

• • •

Reading Tutoring, Summer '06

Hour/Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
1-3 Elizabeth Zarubin (June)

Luia Lachmayr (July)
Julie Young Lucia Lachmayr Elizabeth Zarubin

It's cooler . . . at
lab page screenshot
cyberia page

from the Title III grant:

Denney shares some basic skills Inspiration

In April, English Basic Skills Coordinator Erin Denney shared the “groovy” Inspiration templates she’s using with her 90/9 students to organize Integrations essays April 26th. Sponsored by the CCSF Title III grant, Erin shared three templates with participants, who also experimented with Inspiration’s mind-mapping capabilities and outline-creation tools. Inspiration 7.6 is available for you and your students in Cyberia and the Reading Lab, as well as on a computer near you for a 30-day trial download at

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

On the HOT seat: Dean Mamie How

PUBLIUS: Many of our students confuse its and it’s, yet your department is called ITS.  What does that stand for, and do you think that name will still be valid in the future?

ITS stands for Information Technology Services.  As far as I know, we don't have any current plans to change the name of the department.  We used to be called Computer Services, but that name had too much emphasis on the hardware, and what we really do is to manage the college's information database and provide access to that information.

What is your exact title, and how did you end up in this position at CCSF?  Have you always been interested in technology?

My title is Dean of Education Technology.  I've been interested in technology for over 20 years.  I started out with programming classes in Fortran at UC Berkeley.

Cool.  Fortran.  FORmula TRANslation.  Randy has a huge poster of John Backus on the inner wall of Cyberia.  Won't stop talking about the guy and subroutines.

(Dean How smiles approvingly.

Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?  

 Trader Joe's for desserts, and all kinds of prepared and packaged food. Whole Foods for produce.

Omnipro or Dell?  

 OmniPro provides us with great service. Dell provided us with an 800 number.

 Tuna or chicken salad?  

 Yes to both.

What about egg salad?

DMH: Yes.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Kirk in Federation-Issue
Male Dress Uniform
PUBLIUS: With which Star Trek character do you most closely relate? Data of Next Generation? Or, dare I say, one of the Borg? Perhaps you see yourself in the role of Chief Science Officer (e.g., Mr. Spock). What was my question again? Oh yes, which character?

 I didn't really watch Next Generation. My favorite character was Captain Kirk.

Are there any Klingons among your staff? I know that there are Romulans. Please don’t deny it. 

 I can't talk about staff that way.

PUBLIUS: Have you considered the potential increase in efficiency that could be generated if your staff members were required to wear Federation-issue uniforms? Women would have the option of wearing the standard velour mini-dresses or pantsuits, more formally known as Male Duty and Female Duty Uniforms. You could wear the official Dress Uniform. What kind of impact might this have on your staff and the institution in general?
DMH: Are you kidding? You can't tell people what to wear around here. That would have to be negotiated into the Union contract as a working condition. The custodians actually did negotiate uniforms into their contract.

Some readers may not be fully aware of what a tremendous impact you have had on not just all academic departments at CCSF but the English Department specifically with tech infrastructure, labs, Cyberia upgrades, WebCT. What do you hope to see happening technologically with English faculty over the next 2-3 years?
female duty uniform

DMH: Hopefully the English Dept. will have a lot more online courses to help meet the high demand. All instructors will be using the web for posting syllabi, homework, running discussion boards. All lectures will be podcasted. All instructors will assign web-based collaborative assignments. All students will have e-portfolios.

PUBLIUS: Thank you, Mamie, for joining Publius on the HOT SEAT.

campus news

CCSF participates in May 1 walkout

support immigrant rights

from the CCSF Queer Resource Center:

Particpate at Pride with CCSF

The CCSF Queer Resource Center and Queer Alliance cordially invite all students, faculty, staff, and administrators to march in this year's Gay Pride Parade.

Planning events:
May 20, 2006:
Volunteer Kick-Off Party
LGBT Center
1800 Market Street
San Francisco
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Refreshments provided)
June 13, 2006:
Volunteer Training
Head-Over-Heels Gym
(East Bay Participants)
1250 45th Street
8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
June 15, 2006:
Volunteer Training
(San Francisco Participants)
LGBT Center
1800 Market Street
San Francisco
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Contact the Queer Resource Center (Student Union 202) at 415.452.5723 with questions.

 from Karen Eliot:

Genney and others at Rosenberg fire drill

LAC staff fashion show turns heads

Richard in orange: it's the new black

Staff of the Learning Assistance Center in Rosenberg recently showed off shiny-  new, soon-to-be-required uniforms in a runway fashion show that proved a big hit with students. 

Summer plans?

from Babara Scrafford, early modern fan:

Join your colleagues for Ashland confab this summer

How about a trip to the Ashland "Shakespeare" (It has become general theatre) Festival this summer? A few of us have decided to be there the week of June 30-July 5, and invite anyone who wishes to join us. People can make their own arrangements for housing and tickets; I would be happy to help with carpooling co-ordination. It's a 5 to 7 hour drive up I-5, and so is do-able on a week-end, if you are teaching summer school.

I have in mind a very loose confab whereby people could enjoy independence if they want, but also would know other people there if they would like to get together. Family, friends, retirees, pets, and other associates are welcome. Bring your entourage. Some motels are pet-friendly; I'm bringing Lulu.

It isn't too soon to make room reservations; places are already filling up, possibly because of Ashland's notable July 4th parade--and while there are usually some theatre tickets available when you get there, you'll have very little choice. There's a campground just outside town, and a hostel in town (although they lock you out during the day.)

You can order tickets and get help finding a room at Let me know if you are going and if you want to carpool. I'll help people connect.

What happens in Ashland stays in Ashland.

from the Coalition on Contingent Academic Labor:

COCAL VII will bring adjunct issues to the fore

The seventh international Conference On Contingent Academic Labor will take place August 10-13 in gorgeous and temperate Vancouver, British Columbia, at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre.

The Coalition on Contingent Academic Labor conference is a bi-annual international event that brings together faculty associations, unions, and contingent/adjunct/non-tenure stream faculty from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The theme this year is "The Next Five Years," with an emphasis on organizing strategies, academic freedom, and the casualization and globalization of labor. Speakers will include Raul Gatica, Joe Berry, Cary Nelson, and Marie Blais. Visit the website at for information on COCAL VII, Vancouver, and further details of the conference, including registration forms.

Recipe of the month 

 from Barbara Scrafford, staff food editor:

Paolo Sapienza Flouts the MLA!

So how is everybody coping with the many research papers due this month? Citations , or lack thereof, getting you down? Rebel against the tyranny of the MLA with this salad recipe Paolo found "somewhere on the internet" but doesn't have a citation for. Tsk tsk. It makes a fine prelude to a bowl of chile.
1 jicama, about 3/4 lb
3 blood oranges
1 papaya or mango or 1/4 pineapple
1 small red (Spanish) onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 dried habanero chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped or ground to a powder, pr cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 bunch fresh cilantro (fresh coriander) , about 3 oz., stemmed
1 bunch fresh mint, about 3 oz., stemmed
Using a paring knife, peel the jicama, including the fibrous layer just beneath the skin. Thinly slice the flesh and then cut into thin strips 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Place in a large bowl.  Working with 1 orange at a time and using a sharp knife, cut a slice off the top and bottom of the oranges to reveal the fruit. Place each orange upright on a cutting board and cut away the peel and any white membrane.  Then, holding the orange over the bowl with the jicama, cut along either side of each segment to free it, letting the segments and any juices fall into the bowl.  If using a papaya, halve lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds and peel the halves. If using a mango, peel it and cut the flesh from the pit. If using pineapple, cut away the peel and the tough core area.  Cut the papaya, mango or pineapple into 1/2 inch dice; you should have about 1 1/2 cups. Add to the bowl.  Add the onion, salt, habanero chile or cayenne pepper, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and mint to the bowl.  Toss gently to mix.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. 

poem of the month 

 from Marc Dulman:

Late night thoughts
or two for the road

1. Waking in a Paris hotel room in the middle of the night in January, I heard Schubert piano sonatas played on Radio France Classique, and it was like floating on the back of a turtle or on the belly of a whale on a sea of tranquility and I said someone there knows how to program late night music, none of this third rate stuff, in so many uncensored words.

2. Sleeping when the heater's on the fritz, an interesting term, hope no one's named Fritz, one feels the chill blanket the body, send an arm around the neck and pull you up for a vampiric kiss until you wake in the nick of time, hope no one's named Nick, shaking from the touch.


at the movies 

 from Richard Compean, staff film critic:

Nine Lives worth saving

Take the child of a famous South American writer (Rodrigo Garcia, son of Gabriel Garcia Marquez).  Add his great film script, consisting of nine separate stories focusing on epiphanal moments in the lives of nine different women, and ask him to serve as director.  Cast talented and accomplished actresses like Sissy Spacek, Holly Hunter, Robin Wright-Penn, Kathy Baker, Glenn Close, and Dakota Fanning.  Make the women in the stories young, middle aged, old, in new relationships and old, with children, parents, husbands, lovers and former lovers, in prison, at home, visiting others, in a grocery store, at a funeral or gravesite.  Finally, shoot each story in one uninterrupted take (with no cuts whatsoever), demanding precise timing and elaborate rehearsals.  Put all of these together and you get the amazing film Nine Lives, produced in 2005 and now available on DVD, a movie that, like the great collection of stories that it is, makes you both want to view it again and again and keep thinking about its powerful scenes and moments for a long time to come.  As viewers we get to see each story unfold as we follow each woman and learn enough about her life up until now to make this climactic moment both powerful and illuminating.  We may not learn as much as we would like about each protagonist and we may not be totally sure or able to guess what is going to happen next.  But this film engages us compellingly with each story—some with shared characters, some commenting on others—and leaves us with food for thought and wonder.  Rent or buy Nine Lives and see it at least twice! 

Follow Up: Two issues ago I recommended Woody Allen’s Match Point as a film worth seeing twice.  Following my own advice, I saw it again and can report that as I anticipated it got even better on my second viewing. 

Technology tips 

 from Randy, Cyberia's main man:

Randy, my "main" man The Randy tip of the month: Therapeutic devices

Hey, man.  So I was at my favorite department store, Community Thrift in the Mission, looking for lamp shades, King Crimson LP's, and back issues of Scientific American when—blammo—I thought I was in the middle of a Peyote dream.  There before me, half-covered by, ironically, one of my donated shag bath mats, was a Prism Reader. 

Man, this was so cool.  I mean, it wasn't a 1930s Ophthalmograph This is not Randy's Prism Readeror Metronoscope, but I already scored those for my private reading technology stash back in the '70s.  I dig therapeutic devices.  I mean I really dig therapeutic devices.  And that's what the Prism Reader is all about, man.  It changes the angle of print to help people read, man. Sometimes I use it when I watch old episodes of Love American Style on video.

The device above is cool, but it's not my Prism Reader, man. I do not believe in phtographing my therapeutic devices.

The Reading Lab, Title III, and ITS cats really dig therapeutic devices too, so they bought Reading Plus.  It's like a Prism Reader from the far out future, man--and more: assessment, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary. It's being linked to CCSF's labs right now, so my tip is to get fired up for the May 18-19 training if you're teaching a basic skills class here this fall. Just tell your students it's a therapeutic device, man.  And that's my other tip.  If the device is therapeutic, you should use it.  It's in Cyberia's mainframe right now, and it's cool.  Just imagine how cool it will be on the new computers in the fall.  

If you're curious, and you should be because curiosity is therapeutic, man, here's where you’ll find, among other things, short Quicktime videos, teacher guides, online support links, FAQ’s, message board, and student progress reports.  Check it out, man:

If you want to rap about Reading Plus, Cyberia's new computers, or just therapeutic devices in general, I just got my first email account, and it's free:

Summer with Silicon Valley (in the City)

CCSF's Technology Learning Center has a busy summer training schedule you can access in June: master Powerpoint, update your webpage and take a spin with WebCT, get an intro to podcasting,and much more.


and did you know...?

...that May is...

Proposition 98 guarantee—say what?

Confused about all the hoo-ha around California’s education spending? Where do California schools rank in terms of funding? How did we get here, and why? And if Arnold owes California’s schools all that money, where does the community college system fit in?

The California Budget Project Budget has answers: CBP has recently updated its background paper, "School Finance in California and the Proposition 98 Guarantee." The paper overviews California’s system of education financing and examines education spending, addressing a variety of perspectives. Download the paper in pdf form at

From the California Budget Project, an independent fiscal and policy analysis group. Visit for more.

"Block that metaphor"

Lucy yanks the football (again)

Anna Mills offers this Des Moines Register tidbit reprinted in The New Yorker:
"I'm tired of being Charlie Brown and putting in more hoops for teachers to jump through and then pulling the football of higher salaries away at every turn."

California primary June 6: Are you registered?

Seeking gubernatorial change? Are you ready for the June 6th California primary? The last day to register to vote (or update your address) for the June 6, 2006 Statewide Election is Monday, May 22, 2006. Fill out your registration form online. 

Teaching Hamlet?HAMLEGO

If you're still unfamiliar with this soon-to-be classic production, come to Hecuba.  (Click the Act 5 image to the left.)

Stop playing tetris