Category Archives: student success

Inclusivity – Who is In, Who is Still Clueless

Faulty Assumptions….

I received an insurance notice the other day from a company with whom I’ve been doing business for decades — many decades. What caught my eye was the fact that it was in my husband’s name, not his and mine, not a version of the two, just his – as if I didn’t even exist. (We do not share the same name. When we married and I was asked what my name would become, I wrote out the name I was born with. Yes, it’s a difficult name, but I’m sticking with it.) But to assume that because I am finally (italics, for my mother) married and that all of my business correspondence should now be in my husband’s name is a bit presumptuous. Is this recent? No, we’ve been married 25 years. One would think after 25 years this would no longer be an issue. Haven’t we made more progress socially? I assumed we had. I guess I was wrong.

And speaking of presumptuous: Not only did I receive a notice for insurance that used to be in my name since the late 1980s, when I recently received a health insurance card from my husband’s employer the issuer ASSUMED and put down my husband’s last name next to my first. Excuse me, not only is that not legal, but it is incompetent. I was not asked, and neither was my husband. Please, let me go on — but I won’t.

Are my husband’s feelings hurt because I didn’t take his name? Not a whit. I would never have married him if his ego was so easily bruised.

A Rose by any Other Name

Now, putting assumptions and names aside for a minute, a rose (or Puffin, in this case) by any other name, and all of that, let’s get back to our primary subject DIVERSITY. Diversity is vested in INCLUSIVITY and ACCEPTANCE. What was all that about a name? If you can’t even get that right, how are you going to get any other elements of diversity correct? We are still assuming or presuming wrongly, on some of the most basic things.

I know all of you will do a great job at including a list of everything and everyone that should be part of diversity. I am proud and confident of that statement and will leave you to it – because I’m going for something different.

As an instructor teaching about American and world cultures I am hyper-aware of inconsistencies when talking about culture and people – especially when it comes to research and portrayals of different kinds and types of people.

Researchers have gone into difficult areas of the world in order to make recordings of people’s music they knew nothing about. Unfortunately, at times, that has also included some general assumptions that the people they were studying lacked civilization. In whose world? Who gets to say? Yes, I’m making a broad-based assumption. That used to be a fact more than it tends to be today. I am forever thankful for researchers doing these difficult things, taking these difficult journeys. I just want to make sure that we don’t make assumptions based on “facts not in evidence.”

Let Them Communicate

If we strive to make sure that all groups are included, which is part of my goal, then we need to make sure that all people are respected, as well. It’s not enough that they are in the room. I’ve watched people be placed or allowed “in the room,” and then thoroughly ignored. Not only do these individuals need to be part of the conversation while they are there; but when they aren’t there, the conversation needs to act as if they are. It’s amazing what kinds of insights these individuals can bring to the conversation if only someone would care enough to listen. The scions of culture (okay, I admit to a little sarcasm here), TV, the classroom, film, books, and multimedia, need to refer to everyone in the same manner – – respectfully. That includes written dialogue, how one speaks to others and about others, and doesn’t always go for the punchline – especially at someone else’s expense.

I still hear “you do such and such like a ____________________ fill in the blank for the disparaging remark aimed at gender, ethnicity, age, ability, et cetera. I was watching a favorite movie not long ago, one I’d always loved with dialogue elements at their finest, but I gasped when I heard the expression “Are you learning impaired” as a joke. I was sick with disappointment that one of my favorite screenwriters stooped to such a cliché. As long as people are encouraged to make fun at others’ expense, whatever difference, we will not truly have a diverse and cohesive cohort – whether they are present or not. In the meantime, I will never be able to watch that film again.

Two Difficult Groups

I’d like to leave you with two thoughts, and they don’t have to do with names, but identities; Two groups who are largely ignored, dismissed, and forgotten. They are:

  • People over 50, yes, 50, – the aging population (I know you don’t believe me, but it’s very true)
  • The Cognitively Disabled (I know you’ll believe me on this and you’ll start with .…but – I want you to hold that ‘but’ in.)

Yup, I’m aiming deep. The aging population, in general, is dismissed, mocked, and ignored. The cognitively disabled is a difficult group because every individual is different – differently abled, and different thinkers.

Several Roses in a Cohort

Temple Grandin has a great way of putting those on the autism spectrum (to name only one segment from the cognitively disabled) into a more robust point of view. She believes that it takes someone on the spectrum in order to change and move society through discovery and innovation.

Discovery and Innovation, two of my favorite power words. If you don’t know Dr. Grandin, yes, she’s on the spectrum, as she believes many who have invented and created throughout history have been, you should look up her work in the cattle industry – or on autism. She could have been shunted aside as being different, or seeing things in a different way. I agree with her. Perception or changing perspective can make all of the difference in the world. That has been her métier.

So, two difficult groups that have so much to offer society – still. Don’t assume these individuals can’t do it – assume they can with the right circumstances. I think what surprises me the most is how these two groups are constantly underestimated. How can we let people who are in their prime with their knowledge and their expertise be dismissed so easily. I can only assume it has something to do with guilt by association. No one wants to be old and ignored. No one wants to be young and cast aside, where people are afraid to let them try. I have connections with both of these groups of people and have been watching this for years – trying to keep my finger in the dike. What a waste of their talent. Don’t leave them off the list.

Don’t Leave Them Off the List*

*Many thanks to the (GOP) Group of Puffins who lent their Images for this Writing. (No Puffins were harmed or even slightly disturbed on behalf of this document.)


Faking it

When was the last time you saw a film or television show where someone was supposed to play an instrument or sing well?  When that moment of reckoning occurs I always hold my breath and wait for the tell.  The tell is the point where it is clear that the actor is faking it.  That actor may be faking it successfully or poorly – or, of course, the actor may actually be a musician, as many are, and is not faking it at all.   But if faking does occur, an editor often gets involved to fake it further.  We see, we listen, we constantly assess.

When we assess students isn’t this ultimately what we are trying to determine? Are they faking it, or do they know and understand the material? As a musician, do they know how to play musically or are they simply playing the notes?

When we assess aren’t we also looking for those who fake it well?

One of the jokes among instructors of applied music (performing music) is when the teacher corrects the student and the student says, “Well, I just don’t understand. It sounded perfectly fine in the practice room.”

What that means is that most of the time (not all) the student can’t tell the difference and is, ultimately, faking it.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It?

I remember a student who was excellent at mimicry. I learned never to play a piece for her because she had too good an ear and could fake it. The problem was that she could not read music. She was a good pianist but when asked to play something that she misheard or ostensibly misread because it was incorrect she could not “replicate the results.”

I have tremendous respect for her because she had been playing for many years and had to face the fact that not only was she faking it but she had to face the degree of how much she was faking it. If she wanted to continue lessons she had to re-learn how to read music after many years of classical piano lessons, her chosen genre.

There is a part of me that thinks she always knew how much she was faking it but she had choices moving forward. She could have stayed at the level where she was because she could fool many. She could have gone on her merry way and continued to play the way she did. She could have walked away and given up. Music was not her major so that might have been the easiest choice. She chose instead to go back to the basics and learn how to read music. It was a daunting task and I commend her for her perseverance. It was a lesson in patience because, in this case, one does not fake it until you make it. She’d already been down that path.

Two Studies that May Surprise You

I love surprising students (not that you are students) so I leave you with two listenings of people who are not faking it – or are they? In the first example, Bence Peter’s Fibonacci series moves to a video image which allows him to re-sequence the series so that it can go backward, using digital editing. This video clip often offers my students a new “take” on music and they are surprised because they are hearing something different. If you are using speakers, turn them up. In the classroom, I usually turn off the lights.

The second video clip shows an interesting twist on talking and singing where he includes the spoken word. Is he having trouble or is he faking it? Here is Al Jarreau.


The Big Picture

As another episode of 6 X 6 begins, it is appropriate that we start with the topic of inspiration. If given the opportunity, this idea can momentarily draw our focus away from today’s to-do list and inspire us to look at the Big Picture.

From the Circulation Desk in the GCC Library, I have an amazing view of the Big Picture. If I pay attention, I can watch a preview of the future parading in front of me. It usually begins when a student requests a textbook at the Circulation counter. This simple encounter inspires me to imagine how many people this student will help in the future. For a few seconds, I think about what career she might pursue. The positive effect of this individual’s efforts to study at GCC could someday benefit countless others.

If I expand this Big Picture idea, I realize I play an important role in the GCC cycle of student success. My college experience started at GCC and involved countless hours of homework here in the library. As a student, I was primarily focused on my daily to-do list of assignments. At the time, I did not realize the ideas and inspiration I was developing at GCC would eventually lead me back to work in this building. Now I am proud to be part of the GCC staff. Today on this side of the circulation desk, I have a different to-do list and a more expansive view of the Big Picture. From where I sit, there is no shortage of inspiration.


Impostor Syndrome

In January, Maricopa Community Colleges held the 2020 Faculty convocation.  There was a lot of discussion about student success, supporting our students, and inclusiveness.  I was fortunate enough to present at the convocation and in doing the research I did to prepare for that presentation, I came across some interesting points that I would like to share with you, gentle readers, in my first blog post for the Write 6×6 Challenge.  

I would like to talk to you about impostor syndrome.  

The tendency to “discount or diminish the obvious evidence of our abilities” is called impostor syndrome, impostorism, or impostor phenomenon.   It is an inability to self-assess and is tied to diminished self-confidence and self-efficacy. How did I connect this to the convocation?  Well, we were discussing student success and inclusiveness and my research took me in an unexpected direction.  Impostor syndrome “disproportionately affects women and minority groups,” leading some researchers to identify impostor syndrome as a symptom of inequity. That said, the most recent studies suggest that anyone can be affected.  Impostor syndrome is more common in STEM and male-dominated fields.  It is more common when the person is not a part of a larger group or feels left out of the group.  And, it is a condition that affects some students and some teachers. Mature students can suffer from impostor syndrome, especially if they are first time attendees or have a sense that they don’t belong. Students who suffer from impostor syndrome can struggle with their courses, make poor career choices, and can become socially isolated.  It has even been linked to burnout, in part because “owning and celebrating achievements is essential if you want to avoid burnout”. As impostor syndrome occurs despite external validation and feedback, no one is immune. 

However, my research also found that our institution has the means to support these students academically and personally. Students who are offered support through mentors, professors, and institutional programs, are less likely to experience impostor syndrome.  Building positive relationships with the students has a direct impact on their academic performance, and minimizes the impact of impostor syndrome.  If you see a student who seems to be struggling with the issue of impostorism or find yourself falling into that pattern, reach out for assistance. Don’t try to go it alone.

I don’t know about you, but I have had several students over the years who have clearly fallen victim to the cycle of impostor syndrome.  I wish I had known a little more and had better ideas about how to help them. So, using the information I have found in my research, I have created this infographic to better explain the issues of impostor syndrome and how to defeat the phenomenon. The infographic has clickable elements for even more information. 

In case the embed code doesn’t work, here is the link.

I hope you have found this helpful. As an aside, I am setting a personal goal to create an interactive element, or an infographic, for each of the topics I work on for the 6×6 challenge.  That should make things a little more colorful for me as I am working. Let’s see how I do. See you next week.

A Few Resources Used

  1.  Cox, Elizabeth. “What is Imposter Syndrome and How Can You Combat it?” 28 August  2018. Retrieved from
  2. Ford, Knatokie. “Defeating the inner imposter that keeps us from being successful.” Tedx Talks. 22 February 2017. Retrieved from
  3.  Le, Ling (2019) “Unpacking the Imposter Syndrome and Mental Health as a Person of Color First Generation College Student within Institutions of Higher Education,” McNair Research Journal SJSU: Vol. 15 , Article 5. Available at:
  4.  Mullangi S, Jagsi R. “Imposter Syndrome: Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom.” JAMA. 2019; vol 322 issue 5, 403–404. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.9788
  5. Parkman, Anna. (2016). The Imposter Phenomenon in Higher Education: Incidence and Impact. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice. Vol. 16. 51-60.
  6. Pinto-Powell. “Impostor Syndrome: Not Exclusive to Women.” Inside Higher Ed. 20 December 2018. Retrieved from
  7. Preville, Philip. “How to Help Students Overcome Impostor Syndrome.” Trends in Higher Education. Top Hat Blog.  12 June 2019. Retrieved from
  8. Wilding, Melody J. “5 Different Types of Imposter Syndrome (and 5 Ways to Battle Each One)”  The Muse. Retrieved from
  9. Young, Valerie. “Thinking your way out of Imposter Syndrome.” Ted Archive. 5 June 2017. Retrieved from


Aspen Road Trip to Broward College

Hello again! I am late posting my second college on the Aspen Top Ten Finalists, but better late than never. I am learning a lot in the short bits and pieces of time I am carving out to finish my posts.

This post is about Broward College (BC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Part of the Florida College System, it was established in 1959 and is now a state college offering selected four-year bachelor’s degree programs as well as numerous certificates and associate’s degrees.

  • 52% PT/48% FT
  • 34% Hispanic/33% African American
  • Median age 21
  • 47% First Generation
  • 63,000 student in the District – 13 locations colleges/centers
  • $82 In State Tuition per Credit Hour with fees $118 (online $123)
  • Little to no textbook costs

This year Broward College was named as a top ten Aspen Finalist for the third time. That’s epic.

Broward College serves 63,000 students from more than 184 countries with a strong culture of collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement. The College ensures that students are on the right track to graduation and have what’s needed to transfer to a four-year university by creating clear, career-oriented pathways and mandatory academic advising when students reach certain credit-accumulation milestones.

Joshua Wyner, who is also the author of “What Excellent Community Colleges Do,” commented on the College’s clear, career-oriented pathways and excellent student transfer success as well. “Broward College excels at creating clear pathways for students to complete their associate’s degrees and then transfer to a four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree. Transfer students at Broward are about 50 percent more successful than at the average community college. This success is even more amazing given its diverse student population. Broward College is busting a myth by proving that all students can succeed at high levels.”

You may imagine my surprise when at first look, I wasn’t impressed with what I was finding online, especially the lack of information about Advising. Thanks to spring break and the extra week, I’ve been able to dig deeper and found some wonderful things to share with you.

I wish I had time to write more, but I don’t so I’ll keep it simple. The top three good things about Broward College I learned and believe are what contribute to their success are leadership, culture, and customer service.

A History of Experienced Leadership

Seriously, who gets these kind of experienced, super-qualified college presidents?

• From 1987 – 2004, College President, Dr. Will Holcombe, set a vision and worked to connect with the local community and workforce by developing community partnerships.  Holcombe was a protégée of Dr. James L. Wattenbarger, the architect of Florida’s community college system. He left Broward to become Chancellor of the Florida College System.
• An expert in strategic planning and former President of Ventura College, Dr. Larry Calderon was appointed President in 2004.
• In July 2007, the Chancellor of the Florida College System, J. David Armstrong, Jr., somehow left his position and stepped down to take the reins at Broward College until December 2017. I think Armstrong is the key leader who shaped Broward’s success.

With a strong commitment to the community, a business owner’s understanding of the evolving workforce landscape and the changing role of higher education, President Armstrong has led a redesign of the College to focus on new programs that better address skills gaps for students and employers. Several workforce bachelor’s degrees, for example, have been added in the fields of information technology, nursing, supply chain management, education, and aerospace science.

In a challenging financial environment where colleges face state budget reductions, President Armstrong managed to balance the budget while prioritizing initiatives for student success. This includes spearheading programs that focus on the entire student experience from prospects to post-graduation. While most colleges and universities implemented significant cost increases to students, Broward College under his leadership increased tuition only once in the last five years, maintaining an affordable value and increasing number of programs with no textbook costs.

A Powerful Culture

Broward celebrates students and beyond. Faculty play an important role and the institution is committed to small classes to give each student more individual attention. The student-faculty ratio at Broward College is 25:1, and the school has 35.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. 100% of students were identified with a Pathway and assigned to an academic advisor.

A Place for Everyone

Broward College is committed to fostering a learning-centered community that celebrates diversity and inclusion by empowering and engaging students, faculty and staff.

Student Success is Our Passion

Our mission at Broward College is Transforming students’ lives and enriching our diverse community through academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities.

We approach every day and every student with this in mind. Whether you’re new to college, a lifelong learner or somewhere in between, we are committed to providing the highest quality education that’s affordable and accessible coupled with the support you need to succeed.

One of the pieces of the Guided Pathways model they have down is the link to careers. Check this out!

Broward College Graduates Highest Earners in the State

According to the Florida Department of Education’s recent economic study, Broward College graduates not only meet the demands of the job market, but also make more money their first year of employment, than those completing the same degrees at other schools. The report, which is a result of the partnership between the State of Florida and College Measures, documents the variations in median first-year wages of graduates from two-year and four-year higher education institutions.

The report, which is broken down by specific degree program, documents Broward College associate degree holders as making more money than the statewide averages. The median first-year earnings of associate in arts (A.A.) graduates is $27,712, which is higher than the statewide average of $26,504. For associate in science degrees (A.S.), 84 percent of Broward College graduates are employed and rank number one in income, making $49,970, which is considerably more than the statewide average of $45,060. Associate in applied science (AAS) degree holders, especially those with an A.A.S. in Business Administration, earned approximately $10,000 more than graduates of other colleges.

Old-fashioned Customer Service

As it turns out, I am referring a student to Broward College after learning about their online degrees. I’ve called several times in the past week. The service is genuine and has exceeded anything I’ve ever experienced at any institution of higher education! No kidding! It’s great.

At Broward College, each employee is primarily focused on students’ success and committed to the college’s strategic imperative of Transforming Students’ Lives by Connecting, Challenging, Completing.

Broward College has in place a strategic plan that guides every action of the institution, allowing us all to connect with students, challenge them to succeed and help students complete their academic goals.

All of these elements tie into a motto that has been used at the
college for many years — Finish What You Start.

In case you want to know more, here are some videos and links to keep learning!

Strategic Plan






Changes that Lead to Student Success

After years of doing assessments and submitting the results before the end-of-term deadline, I finally realized I could actually be using the data. I have finally made some consistent changes that have led to greater levels of understanding and success in my classroom. Here are my top three.

Change # 1
Every single Exercise Physiology class starts with music and movement. Not just some classes when I feel like it. All classes. You might be thinking to yourself, “well of course, it’s an exercise class, why wouldn’t you be doing exercise with them?” I am teaching the science of exercise, so they are basically learning anatomy and physiology and how that applies to the acute and chronic adaptations to exercise. So, it is highly plausible that I could lecture for 75 minutes straight. Zzzzzzzz.

But no more! I have physical and visual evidence that my students are more engaged following a three minute bout of movement to music that will last for at least 30 minutes.

Change # 2
I have Included the arts in my sciences. I make my students draw pictures in their notes. The art lovers in class really enjoy this, and the non-artsy people appreciate that I bring coloring pencils and I teach them how to draw in a very simplified manner. I also give them visuals to think about to really break down the parts of their drawing. For example, the cell body of a neuron looks a lot like an egg after you have thrown it onto a hot oily frying pan. And the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) looks just like a lollipop.

It is much easier to review your notes when you have pictures depicting what your words are telling you. Just like I am more likely to read a textbook that has helpful pictures rather than all text and tables.

Change # 3
Less words on slides. I can actually watch their cortisol levels rise when I put up a slide that looks like it has 250 words on it. The serious note takers go into panic, wondering how they will ever jot down all these words. No matter how many times I tell them they have access to the slides, they still feel the need to write everything down, just in case it is on the test. So if you remove all that text and put down two key words that have an emotional impact, they are forced to think for themselves and jot down their own notes.

That is another opportunity to draw images on the board, give examples and simply explain the topic as it relates to their world. Then they give me their examples, we all nod in universal acceptance and we can move on to the next topic. Making an emotional connection will have a greater impact on memory compared to a slide full of words.

So just to recap: move to music for three minutes, encourage the arts, and post impactful words, not paragraphs.


Road Trip to Palo Alto College

First stop on the Aspen Finalist road trip is Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas and it just so happens I have the perfect vehicle for this journey.

Meet Bruiser, our 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa convertible. A perfect Write 6 x 6 virtual road trip ride.

I realize that this is a virtual trip, but I believe in a good soundtrack with some local music to get in the San Antonio mood.

“Jacaranda” by Rosita Fernandez know as San Antonio’s First Lady of Song.

“Honky-Tonk” with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown who began his professional career in San Antonio.

And “Smart” by San Antonio indie girl band Girl in a Coma

Now on to Palo Alto College (PAC) in south San Antonio. PAC is part of the Alamo Colleges District. They serve about ten thousand students per semester, with a majority (78%) Hispanic student population.

I wish we all had more time for a deep dive, but that isn’t my reality. So here are a few things I learned and like about PAC and how they have developed an advising culture to promote student success.

Campus Culture – #PeopleOfPAC

The first thing that I noticed is the campus culture. Check out their Facebook page especially the #PeopleOfPAC. Beto O’Roarke was on campus recently with a huge crowd of students in attendance, there are regular posts with interesting events and speakers on campus all the time. They even have a mini farm where students can have their own garden space. I love this campus already. The affection for the community, students, faculty and employees seems genuine.

Certified Advisors

Yes. Palo Alto College has a certification process and extensive training for their advisors.

Certified student advisors are required to have bachelor’s degrees and go through extensive training called Council on Adult and Educational Learning (CAEL.) The three primary modules for training involve roles, responsibilities, and duties as an advisor; academic advising theory; and academic advising sessions.

The training involves establishing a rapport with a student by understanding gender, ethnicity, equity, as well as conducting mock advising sessions for efficiency.

“That’s part of the whole advising model…but building a relationship with trust is a key aspect of having a good relationship,” said Eloisa Cordova, certified student advisor.

Read more here:

Advising Centers Grouped by Field of Interest

At the Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College, academic advising and career advising build a culture of integrated practices and shared responsibilities. Through collaborative teaching and learning, the advising process empowers diverse student populations to explore and navigate their academic and career pathways. Palo Alto College has three Academic Advising Centers. Each provide academic advising support to new and currently enrolled students.

  • The Business Opportunities Leadership Demand (BOLD) Occupations Advising Center,
  • Service Education Empowerment Diversity (SEED) Advising Center, and
  • the Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Advising Center

The Advising Scorecard (Being Data Informed)

I am getting more and more interested in how we collect and use data to drive decision-making, especially in Advisement, and was impressed with PAC’s compilation of Data. There is a lot of information, so I’ll leave it to you to wander through any of these documents on your own.  I have listed the Data Components of PAC’s Advising Scorecard because it is something I haven’t seen before and find it interesting.

Palo Alto College 2017-2018 Fact Book

Palo Alto College Data Portal

Advising Scorecard

Data Components of PAC’s Advising Scorecard

  • Success Rates: Percent of Caseload that earned an A, B, or C (PGR), Failure Rate, Completion Rate & Withdrawal Rate
  • Semester to Semester Persistence: Students persisting from Fall to Spring or Spring to Fall
  • Fall to Fall Persistence: Students persisting from Fall to Fall
  • Caseload Contact Rate: Percent of caseload that has been advised by Certified Advisor
  • Graduation Rate: Percent of caseload that graduated in a particular semester
  • Early Alert Rate: Percent caseload that had a Level II Early Alert submitted
  • Academic Standing: Percent of caseload in good standing, on probation, or on dismissal

I hope you have enjoyed the first stop on our Aspen Finalists tour. Our next stop is Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Do I hear Salsa music?


2019 Finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

This year for GCC’s Write 6 x 6 I have decided to put together a series of posts based on the 2019 finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. I’ve chosen this topic because I always like to see what high achievers are doing so I can learn from them. My focus will be primarily on Academic Advisement and student support in alignment with Guided Pathways.

Every two years, the Aspen Institute selects ten community colleges who have improved student success rates and ultimately awards one with a $1 million dollar prize. This year’s winner will be announced in April.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes exceptional achievements in four areas:

  • Student learning;
  • Certificate and degree completion while in community college and after transferring to a four-year institution;
  • Employment and earnings rates after graduation; and
  • Access for and success of students of color and low-income students.

Here are the Community Colleges in alphabetical order who made the list for 2019:

  • Alamo Colleges District – Palo Alto College – San Antonio, TX
  • Broward College – Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • CUNY Kingsborough Community College – Brooklyn, NY
  • Indian River State College – Fort Pierce, FL
  • Miami Dade College – Miami, FL
  • Mitchell Technical Institute – Mitchell, SD
  • Odessa College – Odessa, TX
  • Pasadena City College – Pasadena, CA
  • Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom – Lakewood, WA
  • San Jacinto College – Pasadena, TX

These are colleges I’ve wanted to explore but really haven’t had the time. I’m inspired by Write 6×6 and even though I am ridiculously busy, I know this is important so here I am …. writing to learn for myself and anyone else who wants to come along for the ride. All aboard for the Aspen road trip! Buckle up as we head for our first stop at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas.


Unforeseen struggles for my students and I

The beginning of the spring semester started my  7th year here at GCC. The semester started out the same , but I soon found that I was struggling with my college mathematics courses. I had taught these courses numerous times before and could usually anticipate the questions and confusion throughout each topic. This semester I thought would be no different, but I soon realized that many of my students had not taken a math class in 5 or more years and their knowledge about the basics were lacking,  The reason for this change is the way we now place students (High School GPA only). I had to really think about the knowledge that I expect my students to have when they enter my class, but also how I can help them remediate these skills if they are lacking.

I had to go back to the basics and started to explain examples differently, give some in time reviews, extra review practices and give some more ticket in the door and out of the door exercises. I am finding it difficult as the semester continues because I see that they are struggling more and they ask numerous more questions. I am grateful they feel comfortable enough to ask questions, and I am hoping that the extra information I have added to the course is helping them, but we will see.

I am hopeful for them and I will continue to try to support them as much as I can.





Flying Books Deliver Daily Inspiration

This is my reality: All day…every day, books fly through the library and ultimately land in my hands. It’s as if these items take flight from the book stacks and land right on my desk… This experience of coming into direct contact with countless, random books every day inspires me tremendously. I wish I could track how much I’ve grown and learned, professionally and personally, since I joined the GCC Library family. Working in Access Services at an academic library is certainly a dream come true for a bookworm like me. A sample of our library’s extensive collection materializes each day. On every horizontal surface, books perch patiently, inviting me to take a closer look.

The written word speaks to my soul. Spoken words are fine, but reading words on a page transcends an auditory experience. Silent and deep, books change my life, one sentence at a time. Each book feels like a stepping stone. Or maybe more like shells on the beach…I ignore most, but certain gems capture my attention. In the same way, some books go unnoticed while others introduce me to a perfectly-timed message with lasting effects. It’s magical actually.

Momentary, random encounters can yield deep thoughts.
Recently I found the words of Octavia Butler and Brian Bilston.  In the library, inspiration is just a page away…

Refugees by Brian Bilston

They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way

          (now read from bottom to top)