Category Archives: Write6x6

Week 3 Stats for Write6x6

We have had continued success with Write6x6 at Glendale Community College. In our third week we were able to produce another set of meaningful, inspiring, enlightening pieces of writing – 18 total for week 3. We slipped a bit in number of posts, but the quality is still high. This week we wrote about professional development, fitness, student success and two administrators wrote about being a student then and now. Good stuff, and I expect a few more will come in over the weekend for Week 3.

ParticipantsWe now have a total of 65 posts in only three weeks from 25 participants. We represent administration (8), faculty (10), adjunct (4), student services (3), administrative/business services (3) and other (2). Thirty total signed up, but 5 have not posted yet or are part of a team. For instance, Dean of Strategy, Planning and Accountability (SPA), Alka Arora Singh, has not posted, but her team has contributed 3 awesome posts about our student demographics and internships for students in their department. I’m a big fan of the team approach. We also have a joint post this week from two faculty who team teach, so 1 post for 2 people. Again team work is awesome.

 

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We are all unique in who we are and what we do on our campus, and sharing what we do, how we feel, how we make a difference and what we do for student success is the best professional development anyone can ask for. I look forward to each post each week and do my best to get others in the education community to read our blog. Just yesterday while at the Wired & Inspired conference in Vegas, I crashed Todd Conaway’s session on his 9x9x25 Challenge at the #eLearning2015 conference across the street. He was presenting to an audience of about 23 on his awesome idea to get faculty blogging at his college. This is the idea we stole borrowed for Write6x6. What’s really cool about this is other colleges across the country are also using Todd’s idea on their campuses. We have various renditions of it:

It was fun listening to Todd, Dr. Karly Way, a Yavapai instructor, and Skyped in guest Mark Dulong from NMC talk about their projects. Thanks for inviting me to tag along Todd. Be sure to check out their blogs and read posts from their faculty and staff. And for a little extra entertainment, check out NMC’s video about their 4x4x16 Challenge in Michigan. You’ll be glad you live in Arizona after watching the opening scene.

 

Where’s the Medicine?

no cookies

I promise that I am not being motivated by ice cream and chocolate chip cookies but here I am again at the end of week three of Write 6×6 and it’s time to share the wonderful exercise opportunities we have right here on our campus. Where’s the medicine?

GCC is in the running to receive national recognition for Exercise is Medicine on Campus. As part of the EIM-OC initiative, we are tasked to ensure that qualified fitness professionals are available on our campus to serve the needs of our community, which includes employees, students, and the general public.

We meet that need in two ways:

  1. We Train the Fitness Professionals!
  2. We Have Outstanding Staff and Facilities!

We Train the Professionals

Since 1983 we have prepared students to become certified fitness professionals in our Exercise Science and Personal Training programs. Our students gain the knowledge, skills and abilities to design and implement exercise programs and can immediately enter the workforce as Personal Trainers.  Many choose to transfer to university and finish programs in Exercise and Wellness, Kinesiology, Physical Therapy, Athletic Training, and Dietetics, just to name a few.

In collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Department, we share the Exercise Science and Nutrition Club, where our students can combine their knowledge and skills to help promote fitness and health on campus and in the community. A recent scavenger hunt activity drew more than 100 excited participants, sending them running to all corners of the campus hunting for clues and enjoying the excitement of the competition.

We Have Outstanding Staff and Facilities:

We hire only the most qualified, certified fitness professionals who share their expertise with employees, students and the local community.

The Fitness Centers on the Main and North campus offer state of-the-art cardiovascular and strength training equipment and a myriad of free fitness classes including yoga, cycling, lap swimming, and boot camp style sessions.

The biggest difference that sets the GCC Fitness Center apart from its competition is its professional staff and exceptional customer service. A family-friendly location, we offer personal training, nutrition consulting, blood pressure and body composition checks, massage, incentive programs, great prizes, locker facilities and a towel service. There is always a degreed and certified instructor available to answer questions and assist with exercise programming.

Special discounts are available for veterans, high school students, nursing/EMT/firefighters, student athletes/dancers and students enrolled in the Exercise Science and Personal Training programs.

Our Sports Performance Lab, located in the LSA building, offers clinical fitness screenings and evaluations for faculty, staff, students and the community. Triathletes and sports professionals can take advantage of VO2max testing, blood lactate assessment, body composition, flexibility and strength analysis.

The Adapted Fitness Center designs fitness programs for individuals with disabilities and meets a very critical need in our community. Participants receive individualized attention and enjoy the benefits of exercise using specialized equipment with the help of highly trained staff.

Our Senior Fitness program draws a great deal of interest from the local community and accepts health insurance benefits such as SilverSneakers, Prime, Flex, Cigna Medicare and Silver & Fit. The classes are designed specifically for the senior population and cater to all levels of fitness.

The line-up of Physical Activity (PED) classes for college credit includes swimming, water exercise, line dancing, hiking, camping, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, yoga…you name it, we have it. We also offer mind/body, wellness and recreation classes. Aromatherapy is one of our very popular wellness classes.

Spring 2015 Events for the Health-Minded

This year, we have collaborated with the Nursing Department on the Community Health and Wellness Fair, which will take place outside the Life Sciences Building on March 25th, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and March 27th, 1 – 7 p.m. We plan to promote Exercise is Medicine and launch a 50-mile walking incentive program during the month of April using a fitness tracking app developed at GCC. Participants will receive pedometers and completers will be entered in a grand prize drawing.

May is Exercise is Medicine Month.  We plan to offer lunchtime fitness activities throughout the first week in May. Test your kickboxing skills, or try our yoga or Zumba! Stay tuned for more details on EIM Week!

 

 

A Sound Investment

After teaching here for five semesters, I can say that one of the best parts of working for a college in the Maricopa District is the plethora professional development opportunities available.  Everything from the robust CTLE’s we find on each Maricopa campus to the MCLI Learn Shops and the individual funding for conferences makes for invaluable growth opportunities that can be found everywhere from right on campus, across the Valley, or across the country.

I am the kind of faculty person to take advantage of every development opportunity that I can–as much as my schedule, energy, and family allow.  I love to travel to new places, and am grateful that since I’ve joined GCC, I’ve been able to go to conferences as far away as New Orleans and Seattle.

The past few weeks, however, I’ve been making the long drive out to Scottdale Community College to attend an MCLI Learn Shop — Engaging Students through Active Learning (ESAL) taught by Rosie Magarelli.  This is, by far and away, the best professional development I’ve experienced in many years–and there’s some pretty stiff competition.  Still, attending this Learn Shop has reinvigorated my teaching in more direct ways than any other opportunity has.  Most importantly, it’s made me incredibly mindful of my connections with each student in class.  The ESAL Learn Shop has me asking some important questions that professors can begin to take for granted after teaching for so long (in my case, since 1992 at the college level): 1) Am I constructing a safe environment for each student in class to participate, speak up, and engage in?  2) Am I doing the most to get and retain the students’ attentions?  3) What can I do differently and more effectively to provide these important aspects of learning for my students?

I’ve also learned about neurons and the brain — *how* humans learn. I’ve learned about Brain Myths and brain plasticity.  I’ve learned the biology of learning.  That’s pretty cool.

Rosie teaches the Learn Shop to model the content: we faculty are actively engaged learners–the entire time.   And since sessions run for just over three hours each, that’s been important.  This past month, I’ve been able feel exactly how engaging active learning feels, and I’ve been learning simple techniques, which I can work into my courses right away or little by little over time.  But by being in Rosie’s Learn Shop, I’ve put back on the learners shoes, and they feel great to walk in!

Last night (Thursday), as I was making the long drive home through rush hour traffic  from Scottsdale to the Phoenix/Glendale border, I felt such gratitude for the ESAL Learn Shop.  But I also felt immense gratitude to be able to work for an organization that really provides professional development as a top priority. In investing time, energy and resources into me, MCCCD is investing time and energy into our students and our entire learning community.

 

EDU 250 – More than what I thought!

In my ongoing journey of professional development to increase my knowledge and skills as an academic advisor I am currently in the process of working on the  Foundations of Student Services Certificate Program.  As part of the program I was required to take EDU 250 – Teaching and Learning in the Community College.  As an academic advisor I was tenaciously focused on delving into my craft and learning all I could about ADVISING students, so this class really wasn’t at the  top of my list.  As is goes, it has been the class which I was disinclined to take that has been the most useful! Little did I know that EDU 250 would provide me with some of the most essential skills I needed to serve students and help my team as we built the Gaucho 101 Program.

With the EDU 250 course under my belt I acquired a critical understanding of the many characteristics a community college student might have and the challenges some those characteristics bring.  I have a new respect for our students and what it has taken for many of them to simply walk onto the campus.  From the 1st Generation Student to the young parent who is balancing home, work, and school it is vital that each get advisement that suits their individual needs.

Then after examining the different learning styles of a student that awareness impressed upon me how important it is to build programs which incorporate different learning styles.  I now deeply understand that just talking at a student might not serve their needs and how vital it is to include visual and tactile moments of learning when possible.  Admittedly it takes time to add such elements to an advisement session but it gives the student more opportunity to truly learn.

What really rocked my advisor world was learning about course planning and design, as it gave me a good action plan for both advising students and building programs.    I have endeavored to make these four elements of course design part of my every interaction with students and to do my best to bring them into any program our team designs.

  • Knowing the aim, goals and objectives for the student
  • Finding clear ways to present the subject matter
  • Include learning activities
  • Evaluating

Beyond giving our instructors a solid foundation the EDU 250 course offers valuable knowledge at the heart of Student Services.  I highly encourage anyone who advises students or works on student programming to enroll!!

 

GCC STUDENTS HAVE A SEMESTER IN SPA

SPA logo.fw

By: The Office of Strategy, Planning & Accountability (SPA)

 In 2012, ASU conducted a Preliminary Stakeholder Needs Assessment for GCC. One of the findings pointed out that there was a need for GCC STEM students to have practical experience in research through internship opportunities. In response to this need, the Office of Strategy, Planning & Accountability (SPA) established a formal internship opportunity with GCC’s psychology department. Each spring semester, psychology professors recommend a small number of high-performing students who have successfully completed (or in the process of completing) Introduction to Statistics (PSY230) and Research Methods (PSY290) and are interested in the internship. The research team then interviews them and makes a selection. The selected student works with the research team throughout the semester on specific projects.

SPA’s pioneering student intern Wendie, completed her internship in spring 2014. Following is Wendie’s feedback regarding her learning outcomes from her experience at SPA.

1) First and foremost, I learned that a successful research study takes not only teamwork within the office, but also teamwork from the organization, as well. I was working on one specific project all semester, which was the Gaucho Student Survey (GSS). The making of the survey had just started right before I began my internship and the making of the survey itself was continuing after I left. I never really understood how beneficial it is to have outside collaborators, until I went to SPA meetings to talk about this specific survey. It is so powerful to have different knowledgeable people work together because they may have ideas no one else thought of, they may catch a mistake we missed, or they would help us better word something for a person at the college level to understand. I have no doubt that the survey I helped with was successful due to the amount of team effort and work went into it. That is what makes anything successful: teamwork.

2) I learned an extensive amount about survey work. Phil, my director, showed me past survey studies that had been administered at GCC and this helped myself tremendously when brainstorming about the GSS. In addition, I had the opportunity to help Jay with an organizing a survey that was already going to be administered at all Maricopa Community Colleges. Survey studies take just as much work as any other research project and the results can be very powerful after finding the correct organizing, word choice, and main idea you are trying to find. This was my first quasi-experimental study I participated in and it was a great experience nonetheless.

3) I learned much more about SPSS. SPSS is program where data is entered and analyses can be performed. Since I was fresh out of my research methods class, I was still (and still am) learning all about SPSS. I was able, towards the end of my internship, to actually input data to get some practice. There are so many different types of tests a person can run in SPSS that it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Phil explained everything thoroughly and efficiently to where I was able to run a few tests he wanted me to perform on data he already possessed. I was looking for significance within the analyses and recorded which results were significant and which were not. SPSS is something that has to be consistently practiced, but as I grow in my education, I will one day be just as good as everyone within the SPA team.

4) I learned how to successfully research past research articles. Before any research project can begin, you must have information backing up what exactly you want to research. There are multiple different articles out in the internet database and even books that is takes an extensive amount of time to do. When I first began with SPA, I began researching from day one until my very last day. You have to thoroughly read through everything to get an idea of what an article is about and if it will help in what you are trying to research now. There is never a limit on how much research that can be used within a research project. The more information, the better. I definitely learned that from the amount of hours I spent doing so. Not only do you have to successful research various articles, but everything must be cited correctly within a bibliography, as well. For myself personally, finding research is the hardest part of any project because this sets a foundation of where your specific project will go. The amount of research I did for SPA has helped me even within my schoolwork because with anything anyone does anymore, it needs research.

5) Most importantly to myself, I learned exactly what I want to do one day in the field of Psychology thanks to this internship. I have decided to become an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist and I hope to one-day work for a school system doing some form of research. This internship opportunity with SPA taught me a lot about how I want students to be successful in their studies, what exactly will draw them into college, and what will keep them in their studies. School is something I hold dear to my heart and working hands on with something that will be impactful for students is very satisfying. The SPA teams works very hard to get the results that the organization itself needs and I could tell how passionate each member of SPA is in regards to their studies. Each and every one of them including Phil, Alka, Jay, Eddie, Heather, and Lisa, has inspired me to follow along in their footsteps. I am not sure where I will end up in the future in regards to my future practice, but it will be very similar to what I have taken away from SPA. The internship in a whole was a wonderful experience that I will always be grateful for.

Our newest intern, Amiee, from the psychology department began her internship this semester with SPA and is hard at work with the research team! For more information, please email us at spa@gccaz.edu.

 

I Received a Rose for Valentine’s Day

rose

On February 13th, I was sitting in my office and a young man walked by my window and then stopped at my door. I looked up from my computer and saw him standing there with a bunch of roses. “Oh, how pretty,” I commented. He walked in and gave me a rose. I thanked him and he left to continue his mission of giving out roses to the ladies in Testing Services.

I was touched and at that same time frustrated and mad at myself because I couldn’t remember his name. He is one of the DRS students we serve. I used to remember students’ names when I worked at a small private college but now I meet with several hundred students a year and the fact that being older also hinders my memory capacity. 🙂 I can’t keep all their names in my head.

For the next 45 minutes I was possessed with finding out the student’s name.  Why?  Because this student took the time to drop by my office and offer me a rose.  The least I could do is find out who he was and to thank him.

After identifying the student, I re-read my notes related to my meetings with him.  I realized that learning challenges he had during high school and college coupled with surviving a brain tumor has not hampered his spirit.
Although the limitations he experiences academically leaves him feeling useless at times. His friends from high school have abandoned him and he technically can’t work because of the medical benefits he receives. During our last conversation in November 2014 he shared that he is bored. He stays home so much and wants to do something. We brainstormed resources and volunteer opportunities to get him involved with other people and feel useful.

I directed him to Career Services for additional support. I am unsure whether he found a volunteer opportunity or not but one thing I am sure; he took the time to bring roses to the Disability and Testing Services building for Valentine’s Day and blessed my day!

 

Exercise is Medicine for Stress

The people have spoken! According to the survey results from last week’s blog, the number one reason that GCC employees exercise is for…wait for it…relief from stress.

The stress relief gained from just one exercise session can last for 60-90 minutes! This is due to the release of endorphins – chemicals that act like pain killers!  According to WebMD, “…that feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.”

Just from reading some of the awesome Write 6×6 blogs, you get a sense of the anxiety and tension experienced by employees and students alike. You don’t have to read the blogs to know the amount of pressure we are all dealing with.

test-anxiety

One of the most common stress responses felt by students is test-taking anxiety.  You know…that feeling when you have stayed up all night to cram for a big exam, and realize the next morning that absolutely nothing was committed to memory. The exam paper staring up at you. Panic sets in. Eyes dilate. Heart races. Breathing increases. Sweat beads begin to emerge, but nothing coming from the brain.

As employees we may feel similar tension related to deadlines, presentations, forging through “red tape,” miscommunications, personality conflicts, cultural differences, personal beliefs…the list is endless.

So grab your work buddy and take them for a brisk walk around our beautiful campus! Encourage your students to move more every chance you get! Be the role model and show people in a positively active way how you handle your stress!

Don’t think you have time to exercise? Watch this video, “23 and 1/2 Hours,” and I promise it will make an impact on your decision.

Next week I will tell you about all of the wonderful on-campus opportunities to move more and have fun doing it. If you can’t wait ’til then, come find an exercise professional on the west side of campus! We are here to serve you!

Results from the survey “My Benefits of Physical Activity.

More energy (have enough energy to play with the kids after work, stay productive after lunch, take care of the house on the weekend) 75%
Less chance of colds and flu 75%
Relief from stress 100%
Increased productivity (feel confident that I can accomplish all I want to do and invigorated when I get things done) 75%
Clean thinking (able to concentrate, sort things out clearly, and solve problems) 75%
Healthy and strong bones, joints, and muscles (lower my risk of injury, tackle heavier household chores, and try new activities) 75%
Increased vitality (feel alive and full of energy, like I can take on the world) 50%
Better quality of life (stay active in retirement, keep up with family and friends on vacation or around town, do things for myself) 50%
Stronger, healthier heart and lungs (climb stairs without huffing and puffing; become more active and less fatigued around town or on vacation) 75%
Better sleep 75%
Decreased feelings of depression or anxiety 75%
Improved physical fitness 75%
More effective weight control (be able to reduce or maintain weight) 50%
Reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes 50%
Brighter mental outlook (feel good about life, ready to take on the day, and confident that things will work out) 75%
Reduced risk of colon cancer 0%
Healthier and longer independent life (reduce my risk of disease and maintain my independence as I grow older) 75%
Improved self-esteem and self-image 75%

 

 

 

From 1980 to 2014: How has GCC’s student body changed?

By: Busaba (Owan) Laungrungrong, Institutional Research Analyst

In 1965, Glendale Community College (GCC) was established to serve the higher education needs of the West Valley. Since then GCC’s student population has changed in a number of interesting ways. Here are five facts about how our student body has changed between 1980 (the most comprehensive data available) and 2014.

#1   GCC’s student enrollment headcount increased 65% from 1980 until 2014. During that time the number of Full Time Student Equivalents (FTSE) has increased 58%.

#2   One of the most drastic changes over the last 34 years has been the change in the racial/ethnic composition of GCC’s student body. The number of students who self-reported as being “white” has declined from 87% in 1980 to 47% in 2014. In contrast, the number of self-reported minority students at GCC went from 13% in 1980 to 53% in 2014. Hispanics had the largest percentage increase of 24% during that time span.

#3   More female students have always been enrolled at GCC than males since 1980. The gender gap remains stable at roughly 54% (female) and 45% (male) during 1980-2014.

#4   The average age of GCC students decreased from 28 years in 1980 to 25 years in 2014. The number of young students (under 25 years of age) accounted for the majority of students at GCC in 2014; 38% of students were under the age of 20 and 69% of students were under the age of 25. The decrease in age is attributable, at least in part, to GCC adoption of dual enrollment in 2001.

#5   Since 1980, the majority of GCC students attend part-time. In 2014, one-third (34%) of students enrolled full-time. However, the percentage of full-time student enrollment has increased by 21% between 1980 and 2014.

Owan blog

Learn more about GCC students by visiting:

http://www2.gccaz.edu/departments/administrative/spa/research

 

Everything I Know I Learned from Reading Blogs

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but if I’d said, “Most everything I know about teaching with technology and technology in general I’ve learned from reading blogs,” that would have been too long a title for this post. Either way, the point is blogging is huge, and I’m so excited to have 32 people from GCC blogging on Write6x6.com. Except we’re not calling it blogging because that complicates things. People know how to write, but many don’t know how to blog. And that fact alone prohibits many from sharing their expertise with the world. So we’re writing, not blogging.

We learn so much from each other, yet we rarely talk to each other. This is often the case on a busy campus or workplace. I’ve worked at GCC for 6 years now, and I have to admit, I don’t know half the people whose writing I am now reading each week. But I’ll know them better after these 6 weeks are over. I’m already starting to feel a connection with many and learning lots of cool things. But that’s normal for me – Reading blogs, engaging with an online community, Tweeting.

I’ve had this blog, freshmancomp.com for about 9 years, but I started blogging back in August of 2006. I had a Blogger blog back then that still sits untouched with my early writings. The interesting thing about that first blog is my first blog post ever was a post I wrote about my first day at GCC on August 13, 2006. I didn’t even work here permanently then. I was doing a semester long transfer with Nancy Siefer that fall. She was me at SMCC, where I was a full-time faculty member for, at that time, 6 years, and I was her here at GCC. I still think that was a brilliant move on our part to finagle that trade because look where I am now – at GCC for the past 6 years. Anyway, enough about me. Let’s get back to me and blogging. :)

Throughout the years blogging has not only been a way for me to share what I’ve learned about teaching with technology, but it’s been my primary way to learn about what others are doing in that same realm. I read over 159 blogs! Yes, 159. Seems impossible, but I’m only reading the good stuff. Using a feedreader like Feedly.com allows me to subscribe to many different blogs, collate them into a single space, and organize them by topic, making it easier to skim through and read what I want. Click the image to see a bigger picture of what that looks like.

feedly

I can honestly say I’ve learned more about teaching and learning, technology and instructional design from my online reading than I did in my doctoral program in instructional technology and distance education. That’s not a crack on my education. It’s a reality that once you graduate, your education stops. Let that sink in. But the world and your field doesn’t stop. In order to keep up, we all have to keep educating ourselves. I could never do this job, Faculty Director of the Center for Teaching, Learning & Engagement based on my degree I earned back in 2006. See the correlation now? Once my degree was complete, I started blogging AND reading to keep the education going. And now I’ve been able to move to a new position and have the knowledge and skills I need to do it well (well, I least I think I do it well).

I’m hoping that our Write6x6.com professional development activity at GCC will inspire others to keep the education going and not only keep blogging, but also keep reading and educating themselves to be better educators, administrators, managers, support staff or better at whatever it is they may do at GCC.

For you educators, check out a few of my favorite blogs:

 

 

What your zip code may be saying about you.

By: Eddie Lamperez, Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness

Glendale Community College has a diverse student body. The zip code in which a student resides can tell us a lot about them. The top five zip codes for GCC students include four that surround GCC Main and one that is adjacent to GCC North.

  • 85302 (1,438 students). Location: Glendale. Median Household Income: $47,884. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: White. Percent that are first generation students: 58%.
  • 85345 (1,329 students). Location: Peoria. Median Household Income: $49,014. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: White. Percent that are first generation students: 64%.
  • 85308 (1,245 students). Location: Glendale and Phoenix. Median Household Income: $70,701. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: White. Percent that are first generation students: 40%.
  • 85301 (1,103 students). Location: Glendale. Median Household Income: $31,254. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: Hispanic. Percent that are first generation students: 72%.
  • 85303 (789 students). Location: Glendale. Median Household Income: $52,301. Most common educational intent: university/college transfer. Most common ethnicity: Hispanic. Percent that are first generation students: 67%.

If you are from the zip codes that surround GCC Main then you are more likely to be Hispanic or White, working class or middle class, and a first generation college student. If you are from a zip code adjacent to GCC North, then you are more likely to be middle class or upper middle class, White, and have parents who graduated from college. Regardless of zip code, your intent is likely to be transfer to a college or university and earn a bachelor’s degree. We embrace the  diversity of our students at GCC; helping all of our students achieve their goals is our mission.

Learn more about GCC students by visiting: http://www2.gccaz.edu/departments/administrative/spa/research