Tag Archives: Faculty

WEEK 6: The “One Thing” and The Final Step

Welcome back to the final week of the” One Thing” you can do to raise enrollment, a six week “how-to” series.

The NUMBER ONE REASON employees cite for NOT completing their employee bio page:

Now you know!
Your employee Bio Page is the ONE THING you can do
to influence the student decision-making process, raise enrollment, and raise GCC’s reputation in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

If you’ve been following along, you know by now that completing your employee bio page is a seemingly SMALL thing that pacts a powerful, influential punch.

But if you are just joining us, follow these links to catch up on this data-driven strategy:

Week 1: What’s on your GCC bio page right now?
Week 2: Quotes – their power to connect.
Week 3: How to get a rep.
Week 4: Your face.
Week 5: The “One Thing” Before and After

Here we go – Week 6 – the final step: today you find out how to copy and paste your story into a simple Employee Biography online form, and click “submit”.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • GCC email address
  • Credentials (such as MS, Ph.D.)
  • Biography (Hint: Review Weeks 2, 3 and 5, and be relatable, not stiff)
  • Areas of Expertise (Special knowledge or field of study)
  • Office Hours
  • Headshot (This is a photo of your face. It should be cropped to a perfect square. You will click to upload a jpg, which will be resized to 280×280 pixels. See Week 4 for photo tips)
  • Personal Website URL (This is a separate step: To include a link to your work-related Website, login to your Maricopa profile using the Manage My Account tool, and add the url there. It may take up to a week for the link to appear on your Employee Bio page, depending on how often the Web Team refreshes the Website.)

Ready? Use this form to update your bio page.  (The link to this form is listed here on the GCC website.)

That’s it! 

For those itching to know the broader impacts, read these final bits:

Dear Faculty, you, perhaps more than anyone else, are uniquely empowered to factually communicate GCC’s reputation by explicitly stating your credentials and experience, why you continue to choose to teach at GCC, your areas of passion, and your teaching methods. You have been empowered to give the community concrete reasons to choose you, and GCC, over every other institution. The broader impacts of doing this one thing includes reputation, enrollment, media attention, and funding.

College Reputation
Your employee bio page impacts the reputation of the college. Faculty completing their Employee Biography pages serves to significantly elevate GCC’s reputation and raise its credibility on a local, national and international scale. We need to tout the talent and body of experts who teach at GCC. It hinders efforts to fill classes when faculty are too humble to talk about their personal contributions and proudest moments.

Student Enrollment
Your employee bio page impacts enrollment. When comparing colleges, student not only look at cost, location and facilities, but they also compare faculty between colleges. “Who will be teaching me? What are their qualifications? Will I like them?” Students want to pick the “right” instructor and are looking for a reason to choose you. Your employee bio page empowers you to teach students how to think about you. Be relatable.

Media Attention
Your employee bio page impacts media attention. The enormity of all faculty specifying their “areas of expertise,” on their employee bio page cannot be emphasized enough. Members of the Media are using google to find experts to weigh in on current events and issues. For example, a USA Today reporter used a google search to find an expert on “Living Libraries,” and GCC popped up in the top of the search results. “Everybody has a fascinating story, all of us,” said GCC faculty member Heather Merrill in a USA Today article on the Human Library. “Our students are craving this, and they’re craving help having these conversations.”

Funding Awards
Your employee bio page impacts the GRANT AWARD decision-making process. It is common for REVIEWERS to search the web for insight into the applicant’s reputation. When a GCC Faculty member applies for grant funding, they are competing against other institutions to win that award. Faculty bio pages provide an opportunity to showcase your integrity and past performance, both of which work to influence the REVIEWER COMMITTEE’s decision to award a grant.

Small things make a big difference. Tell your story in your employee bio page.


Two Prof’s in a Pod Podcast

Hello readers! I’m super excited for this week’s post. I’m on a podcast with my colleague Beth Eyres, it mostly focuses on teaching and learning. This is our first podcast. We’re learning so much, and we know that there is still a lot more learn. We’re working on it. =>)

The first episode is all about Inspiration! We discuss what it is, what the research says, how to cultivate it, things on our radar, and little learning nuggets for the audience. Hope you get a chance to listen to it. Hope you enjoy!  =>)

P.S. – All of our podcasts can be found at twoprofsandapod@blogspot.com

P.S.S – Our episode pic is the moment we heard our first published podcast on the internet. =>)



-Tenisha Baca



Bringing the Joy

I often joke about wanting everyone to be my BFF. In an idyllic world, that would be possible. Unfortunately, we have an invisible professional barrier that we need to keep in place so we can do our jobs effectively.

That said, we still need to build professional relationships with our students and our peers. I hope the following does not sound preachy in any way, because I need to work on all of it myself.

  1. Learn names
  2. Smile
  3. Bring the joy

Recalling peoples’ names is a difficult task for me sometimes, and when I see someone outside of a familiar location it is nearly impossible for me to remember their name. Unless…I write it down, repeat their name, and say something about them to someone else. I am the queen of sticky notes.

Some people are really good with names. I don’t know if it just comes naturally, or they practice some unconscious habits in the process of saving and recalling. I find that people are really impressed when you remember their name and are secretly disappointed when you don’t. I claim most of the responsibility for learning names, but if a student is practicing the camouflage-in-the-classroom technique, I blame them!

Each semester I learn between 50 and 80 new student names. When I think about that, I wonder how I ever survive a semester! Before a class begins, I print out the roster, study it, notice commonalities and differences, and practice pronouncing names. Once in the classroom, I begin with first-day introductions. I scribble notes feverishly, usually illegibly, and then draw a map of the classroom so I know where everyone was sitting. Any paperwork I collect, I will go through and alphabetize after class.  I do this with each of my classes.

When a student shows up at my office door or says hi at the Student Union for the first time, and they are not sitting at their designated classroom map location, I am typically stumped on their name! I listen and wait for clues in their conversation and hopefully can save myself the embarrassment of having to ask their name and which class they are taking. At the beginning of the semester it is not so embarrassing to ask, but after week four it is downright flabbergasting!

The students I do remember are the ones who ask questions in class and show a genuine interest in the subject matter. They are the ones that email me after class to ask questions, or have to take a makeup test. If I have three Mikes and three Marys in one class, then it will take me the full four weeks to sort them all out!

Smile. When I concentrate really hard on something, I am not smiling. I have my game face on. If I am desperately trying to remember a name, it is likely that I am not smiling. Strike 2! It turns out that when you maintain a half smile and belly breathe, you turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, get out of fight or fight mode, and turn on your pre-frontal cortex so you can actually begin thinking again. That’s a bonus!

When you smile at someone, you can change the course of their day and simultaneously affect the people they come in contact with. The ripple effect is insane! Imagine if everyone smiled at three strangers every day, and each of those people smiled at three more people and so on…imagine the impact!

Bring the joy. Let’s face it, we seek to be around people who make us happy. What can we do to ensure this? Well, smiling is a good start. Knowing people’s names really helps too. Using tasteful humor, even when things seem bleak can really help. If you know that you are about to face a difficult day and difficult decisions, it is good to plan ahead. Ask yourself “what would my best self do if xyz happens today?” “How will I bring my best energy to the people I engage with today?” Try setting a reminder on your phone that simply says “bring the joy” once every hour. See what happens!

So to recap: Remember names, smile, and bring the joy!

Good luck!


Conversation = Relationship


relatinoships pics


Positive relationships are the glue that hold an organization together. Without the glue, the organization will fall. Over the years, I have been a part of organizations where the adhesiveness of the positive relationships in the organization was strong. I’ve also been a part of organizations where the relationships were extremely negative and the organization just fell apart.

Majority of the positive relationships are held together with communication. Majority of my time in the classroom is spent teaching students how to build positive relationships with family, friends, and in the workplace. One way to build relationships is through conversation. Conversation, especially multiple conversations over a period of time, builds rapport, trust, openness, etc. through self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is the information we share about ourselves with others. Sharing information helps us discover similarities and intriguing differences between each other.

Today I will share how to carry a conversation.

Step 1: Start a conversation

Start a conversation by saying hello, stating your name, or asking a simple question. Initiation is key when starting a relationship. Tip: Take notice of anything that the person is carrying or wearing that indicates their interest. Example: Band shirts, jerseys, books, skateboard. Say something like: “Hey, I noticed your U2 shirt. Are you a fan? I’m one too.” Yesterday I saw someone with a Good Burger shirt, and I had to start a conversation with him since I am a fan of the movie.

Step 2: Keep the conversation going

Maintain the conversation by asking open-ended questions as opposed to closed-ended questions. Closed-ended questions can be answered with one-word responses. Example: What is your major? Closed-ended response: Accounting. Open-ended questions encourage the listener to expand on their answers. Example: What do you like about our psychology class so far? Open-ended response: I like our teacher and the theories are so interesting. My favorite one is……Continue asking questions of interest, but don’t interrogate the person you a carrying a conversation with. I recommend trying to find a topic that excites the person you are talking to, or a topic that they are passionate about. Focus the conversation mostly on them, some people really enjoy sharing, but don’t forget to share something about yourself.

Step 3: End the conversation

This is a tough one. When is it a good time to end the conversation? Sometimes the conversation will naturally exhaust itself out. There is really nothing else that needs to be said. The conversation will eventually start slowing down. This would be a great time to make your exit with an exit statement like: “Well, I hate to end our conversation short, but I have to go. I really enjoyed talking to you. We should do it again sometime”. The statement can also be used if the conversation has not slowed down and you really have to go. If you have to check your watch for the time or your phone towards the end of the conversation, just let the listener know that you’re not trying to be rude, you’re just checking the time really quick since you are on your way to work/class/ etc.

I value relationships. They are vital to our well-being. My relationships have provided me with colleagues, friends, and mentors who have been a source of guidance, wisdom, and opportunities throughout my entire life. I encourage you to cultivate positive relationships in your life today. Start by just talking to someone. If you have no one to talk to, stop my office. I talk to everybody, and I’d love to get to know you.


School Lunch

The major downside to being an online instructor is the lack of meaningful interaction. Outside of a few e-mails, I rarely have a conversation with fellow faculty. Most of those are usually related to development of course materials or help with a student or technical issue.

When I taught face to face there was a fellow adjunct, Gary, who was in a similar situation. Twice a week I would walk into the adjunct office to find him sitting there at his laptop, cup of coffee in hand, smiling and commenting on the various comings and goings. Wearing a baseball cap and shorts, he made it clear he was just there to socialize. Looking back, I now understand and appreciate that longing he had to simply associate with a group of peers.

Sadly, I can’t come in a few times a week like he could, but what I can do is stress how important it is to do so if you are able.

Gary and I ended up having lunch a few times and talking about everything ranging from education techniques to our shared interest in writing fiction. I credit him with giving me enough courage to finally self-publish my first short story. Fast forward five years and I now have several short stories published, and am working on putting together a collection. Those lunch time conversations, and Gary’s need to socialize, were the main catalyst for me stretching myself to accomplish more than I would have otherwise done.

You never know how people you meet will influence you, it won’t always be positive, but more often than not in education it will be. Despite having various backgrounds, I find that most educators are open minded and friendly by nature (it is one of those unspoken requirements of staying in the field).

So, as I sign off for the last time this year, I wanted to leave everyone with a message of encouragement. Find a fellow teacher and go have lunch. Talk about ideas, education, hobbies, interests. Appreciate every moment of it, because whether you realize it or not, that ability to connect is not a given, and who knows, it may even help you become a better version of yourself.



6 x 6 Connections

I’m always telling students in my college success classes how important it is to make connections.  Research shows that students who make connections in college – including with other students, instructors, a career interest, or a club – are more successful as evidenced by higher gpa and improved retention/graduation rates.  Those connections are important even after you’ve graduated…and been working for decades.

I have maintained a relationship with a student I had in CPD150 three semesters ago (we’ll call her Maria).  One assignment in our class is to register for the following semester. I helped Maria choose her classes based on how she was doing in her first semester and her career interests.  Turns out we got over-excited about her first semester success and she failed two classes her second semester. She re-enrolled for the following semester, but given her lack of a clear career goal starting talking about taking a break from college.

Still Maria perseveres and we continue to meet.  She’s gotten a job on campus and developed a relationship with an academic advisor.  This time around, I took my own advice of using the connections available by suggesting Maria and I meet together with the advisor to help Maria choose classes for Fall.  The advisor is one I talked with when she was a student and so we already have great rapport for working together.  Together, the three of us came up with an academic and career exploration plan that Maria expressed excitement about and with which we are all on board. Hopefully, with this new plan, Maria will improve her gpa and stay in school until she finishes a credential.

I’m so grateful for the connections I have with colleagues on campus as well as with students. In my small way, I hope those connections make the world a friendlier, more educated, and more peace-filled place!


WEEK 5: The “One Thing,” Before and After

Welcome back to Week 5 of “The One Thing You can do to Raise Enrollment,” a six week “how-to” series.

Let’s review the steps so far:

Week 1: Google yourself.
Week 2: Quotes – their power to connect.
Week 3: How to get a rep.
Week 4: Your face.

Are you working in higher education because you want to effect positive change in the world?

Are you unhappy with declining enrollment?

People shopping around for colleges and classes have more access to more information about you, and your competitors, than ever before.

Would you describe yourself as helpful?

What if there is one SMALL thing you can do to make it easy for students to choose you (and thus GCC)? The employee bio page is by far the most under-exploited opportunity available to intentionally connect to students during the decision making process.

Providing students with what you want them to know about you works to develop positive preconceptions about you. Conversely, do nothing and you risk falling off your potential students’ radar completely, and losing them to a competitor.

The “One Thing” is deceptively small, yet powerful.

How it works: When students can relate to what they see and read on your employee bio page, they feel immediately connected to you.

(Before we proceed to the “Before and After,” my apologies to Marty Reker. We have never met. You were randomly chosen to be a part of this process because your name appeared in a recent college press release.)

Marty’s employee bio page BEFORE:

Marty’s employee bio page AFTER:
These elements compel students to choose you. But why?

These elements work to build not only your reputation as a competent instructor, but also builds the perception of a shared identity between you and the reader. Feelings of having a shared identity holds a powerful and influential sway over the reader.

Robert Cialdini is recognized as one of the top authors in field research on the psychology of influence. In his most recent book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, he shares newly published research results: people develop powerful feelings of unity the more they identify with you. “Anything that is self-connected gets an immediate lift in our eyes. Sometimes the connections can be trivial but can still serve as springboards to persuasive success.”

When thinking about what to put on your employee bio page, don’t be stiff – be relatable.

So, after 5 weeks, you now know almost everything you need to know about the “one thing” you can do to influence the student decision-making process, raise enrollment, and raise GCC’s reputation in an increasingly crowded marketplace: Take control of the persuasive, engaging power of the employee bio page.

Now what?
Come back for our final installment in WEEK 6: Now what? The “One Thing” and the final step.

Make sure you’ve done your homework:
Week 2: Quotes – their power to connect.
Week 3: How to get a rep.
Week 4: Your face.


Reprogramming the Video Game of Life

This week’s topic is about dealing with difficult situations. Here are my thoughts.
1. Breathe.
2. Perspective. It’s just a giant video game and it can end any time you choose to switch off or reprogram the game.
We all have the ability to reprogram the video game of life.
I often hear people saying that we are living in trying times and that the world has gone crazy. My dad, who turns 88 this year, constantly reminds me that nothing has really changed. He has lived through World War II and all of the craziness of the 20th Century.  Dad insists that the only thing that has changed is that we are getting QUICKER access to MORE news and EVERYONE’S opinion.
I hear things like “people nowadays are more divided.” What does that mean? Is that someone’s opinion after spending an hour reading commentary on a social media post?  Maybe people have always had differing opinions?
I was driving home in the rain on Tuesday night after my evening class, thinking that I was really tired of the rain. It had been raining for most of the day. It was cold and damp and made for dangerous driving conditions. Everyone I spoke with on Tuesday was ready for the rain to stop.  I could easily come to the conclusion that “people are really affected by the weather these days.” Maybe people have always been affected by the weather?
When it comes to difficult situations, we have many choices in how we react. We do not have to react with the masses.  We can make up our own mind about what is going on in the video game of life.
If we allow a situation to make us angry to the core, that is a choice. We could also choose to ignore it, but that may not help deal with the problem. I believe it is optimal to examine the problem from all sides, removing bias and ego, and seek to learn all perspectives. Take a seat at the proverbial table and simply listen for a while. No judgement.
Getting emotionally upset about a difficult situation leads to a release of hormones that are not kind to the body over the long haul. Cortisol, for one, helps the body lay down fat cells. I do not want any additional assistance with accumulation of a spare tire!
I also do not need a constant supply of adrenaline. Let’s save the adrenal glands for the saber-tooth tiger events. Constant stress wreaks havoc on the brain, seriously affecting cognition and memory.
Armed with this health knowledge, I CHOOSE not to get emotionally involved in difficult situations. I do not let matters of the mind wreak havoc on my body.  Instead, I seek to offer compassion to others who may be suffering due to the same problem. If you listen and allow people to talk, you can help break down barriers and lighten the load for everyone.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make a personal observation that “everyone seems to be united, compassionate and caring these days.”  Reprogram your video game of life so that you get the best results for all players.
Difficult situations seem less difficult when viewed through the rose colored lens.
That’s how I choose to see it.

Difficult Situations: Black Panther Edition (Non-Spoiler)


Wakanda Forever
Me doing the Wakandan greeting. Wakanda Forever!


My husband and I have seen Black Panther twice. It was great and I walked away with many takeaways. Here was one of my takeaways:

When faced with difficult situations it is imperative that you do not face them on your own, but that you have people that you trust surrounding you, supporting you, and backing you up when you need it most.

T’Challa, the Black Panther, faced several problems throughout the movie, but one specific problem almost cost him everything. One of the things I noticed about the movie was that T’Challa had a circle of support when he faced the problems. There was his general/second in command Okoye, the love of his life Nakia, his sister Shuri, his keeper of traditions Zuri, and the list goes on and on and on. Ultimately, it was the efforts of the collective few that helped T’Challa face adversity in extremely dark times. T’Challa’s father encouraged his son to surround himself with great people, and you clearly saw the reason why.

When you are faced with a difficult situation rally your circle of support together for the support that you need. Facing adversity on your own can be exhausting and draining and lonely. I know, because I have chosen that route in the past. When I went through chemotherapy and radiation for non-hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008, I only let a couple of people in. I felt my experience was my experience and that it was private and I didn’t want to let people in because I didn’t want them to worry. I wanted to protect others from the experience. I didn’t share the details of that experience with others until 2015 at the Ignite GCC event.

I have learned from that experience. Facing difficult situations requires strength from the self, but also the support of others. I pull strength from the self by focusing on optimism, positivity, spirituality, and a belief that everything will eventually work itself out. The strength I pull from others comes from my circle of support which includes the love of my life, mentors, colleagues, and friends. My circle includes people I trust, who support me, and have backed me up when I needed it most.

My question to you is who is your circle of support? When times are tough and uncertain and dark, who do you turn to? How do you get back up when life has punched you in the face and has left you on the ground watching and waiting to see if you dare to get back up again? Rally together a circle of support to help to rise after the fall. The encouragement you receive from your circle can inspire you, motivate you, reinvigorate you, and challenge you to keep moving forward.

T’Challa is a great hero. He has integrity and he represents all that is good in the world and the leader that many of us aspire to be. He also had a circle of support that really contributed to how he was able to face difficult situations. I encourage you to form your circle of support so that you can get through your difficult situation or be ready when the situation presents itself at your door.


Week 4: The “One Thing,” and How to Influence Assumptions

Welcome back to Week 4 of “The One Thing You can do to Raise Enrollment,” a six week “how-to” series.

Data is a powerful thing: It can confirm our assumptions as well as confound them, as in the story I shared in WEEK 1.

WEEK 2 empowered us upon learning that, when it comes to students choosing YOUR classes (and thus GCC), leaving choice up to chance is not our only option.

In WEEK 3 we covered how reputation is the most important factor in influencing people’s choices, and the importance of making our achievements public to enable people to make informed choices.

This week, let’s talk about your face.

Face Facts: Numerous published studies provide countless evidence to support the fact that, when viewing a photo of a stranger’s face, it takes us less than a second to formulate an impression .

Assumptions about the character of the person pictured are formed quickly.  One Princeton University study published by the Association for Psychological Science is a great example:

“Willis and Todorov conducted separate experiments to study judgments from facial appearance, each focusing on a different trait: attractiveness, likeability, competence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness.” The results? Of all the traits, trustworthiness was the one participants assessed most quickly.

We cannot escape the fact that photos influence choice, so we will harness this fact and use it to our advantage.

Fear not – the good news is, people want to see trustworthiness and competence in your face, not a glamour shot.

Consider the following photos of these notables: Albert Einstein, Delores Huerta, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Conrad Wolfram.


The reasons for not wanting to post a photo:
  • I’m not photogenic.
  • I don’t like the way I look.
  • My face will break the camera.

 It’s not about vanity. It’s about character. It’s time to embrace the powerful sway your photo can have upon a stranger’s choice.

The employee bio page is the most underestimated tool available to you. A photo of your face, backed up with a personal quote, your areas of expertise, and a list of your achievements works to establish YOUR personal reputation while raising GCC’s reputation.

By doing this “One Thing” you enable the public to make an informed decision to choose… you.

WEEK 4 Homework: Because you are your own worst critic, your homework is to recruit friends and family to help you sort through photos of yourself to find one that captures the characteristics of trustworthiness and competence. The photo chosen by others just may surprise you.

TIP: The size of the photo on your employee bio page is 280×280 pixels. Make sure the photo your choose is cropped as a perfect square.

For tips on how to choose a photo, read Lydia Abbots’ 5 Tips for Picking the Right LinkedIn Profile Photo.

If you can’t find a photo, a GCC photographer is available.

Come back for WEEK 5: The “One Thing” Before and After

“You’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”