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2003-2004 Innovation Abstracts



Vol. XXVI, No. 15
May 7, 2004

“Getting Them Excited the First Day,” by Alice Reinke, Karen Kemp, Rod Somppi, and Paul Johnson, members of the Curriculum and Technology Planning Team, at Confederation College (CN), describes the results of a collegewide strategy for getting all students off to a great start—first-day activities that keep them coming back for more. Classes focus on answering the usual first-day questions, faculty and staff team up to get students connected with the college and with each other—sound engagement with individuals and programs that continues to promote improved academic success and retention.

Vol. XXVI, No. 14
April 30, 2004

In “Making the Research Paper Relevant,” James Mayo, Assistant Professor English and Foreign Languages, at Jackson State Community College (TN), challenges the value of the traditional academic paper and offers another approach–students conducting research on topics and about questions that they want to answer for themselves. They play a proactive role in developing the research question and then going about answering it, driven by their own curiosity or “need to know.”

Vol. XXVI, No. 13
April 23, 2004

Wade Tarzia, Assistant Professor of English, at Naugatuck Valley Community College (CT), describes an extraordinarily successful approach to getting students involved and excited about active research–in “‘Playing in the Mud’: Teaching Goofy (or Otherwise) Personal Research.”

Vol. XXVI, No. 12
April 16, 2004

“College 101: Helping Dislocated Workers Transition to College,” by Angela Oriano-Darnall, doctoral student in the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin; and Joan Williams, Vice President for Student Services and Athletic Director at Southeastern Community College (IA), reports on a highly successful college initiative to inform and welcome new students to college. Retention and academic success data challenge traditional notions about what orientation sessions should do and demonstrate what orientations must do , especially for today’s first-time college students!

Vol. XXVI, No. 11
April 9, 2004

In “Make Connections! Bonding Freshmen, Student to Student,” Kay Dean Bethea, Writing Instructor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College–Jefferson Davis Campus, describes Connections, a mentoring program that combines sponsors, mentors, and students for improved student retention.

Vol. XXVI, No. 10
April 2, 2004

In “Making Biology Lab Lovable,” Wei Zhou, doctoral student in the CCLP, and Dee Silverthorn, Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, describe a successful strategy for developing students’ multidimensional skills required in future professional positions–strategies that break from tradition, requiring critical work before the lab begins and building on critical student portfolios.

Vol. XXVI, No. 9
March 26, 2004

In “Abolishing Late Registration,” Hank Dunn, Vice-President for Student Services, and Anna Mays, Director of Student Success Services at Sinclair Community College (OH), describe the development, implementation, and outcomes of a revolutionary plan to eliminate the student casualties caused by traditional registration policies.   Improved registration policies improve retention and student success.

Vol. XXVI, No. 8
March 12, 2004

In “Effective Collaborative Writing Assignments,” Bob Hurt, Professor and Department Assessment Coordinator at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, describes a collaborative process in which students best learn from each other to improve their individual compositions.

In “Building Student Accountability in Group Work Through Student-Generated Criteria,” Lauren Servais, English Instructor at Cascadia Community College (WA), describes a process for helping students take ownership of their own assessment via collaborative efforts and built-in accountability strategies.

Vol. XXVI, No. 7
March 5, 2004

Alicia Ellison, Librarian, at Hillsborough Community College (FL), shares tips for ensuring that students’ library assignments are successful for everyone involved–including what to avoid and what to include in planning, collaborating, and “friend-making”–in “Positive Relationships for Productive Library Assignments.”

Vol. XXVI, No. 6
February 27, 2004

In “A Practical Approach to Preventing Plagiarism,” Jennifer Dorhauer, Professor of English, and Crystal lee, Library Faculty and Director of Library Services, at River Parishes Community College (LA), describe a collaborative research project that has improved students’ abilities to locate and use information, and to respect the intellectual work of others.

Vol. XXVI, No. 5
February 20, 2004

In “Academic Coaching: A New Approach to Supporting Student Success,” Thomas Greene, CCLP doctoral student at The University of Texas, describes an academic coaching program at Lake Tahoe Community College (CA), modeled after the corporate world’s “executive coaching” strategies, to better serve at-risk students.   Coaches, counselors, and students collaborate for improved student success with personalized services.

Vol. XXVI, No. 4
February 13, 2004

In “Community Colleges as National Partners,” Solomon Iyobosa Omo-Osagie II, Associate Professor of Politics and History at Baltimore City Community College (MD), seeks to entice students into more critical analysis of government in action with public policy option, studying policies from practical perspectives.

“Some Thoughts on ‘Interactivity,'” by Bill Waters, Director of Staff and Program Development at Pensacola Junior College (FL), explores some responses to a student’s question: “What am I doing here?” The concept of interactivity, or information exchange, is spilling over into our traditional views of “on-site” and “distance” learning.

Vol. XXVI, No. 3
February 6, 2004

In “Student Perspectives on an Educated Person,” Alice Williamson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Sussex County Community College (NJ) describes an opportunity to answer students’ eternal question: “Why do we have to take this course?” Read about how turning the tables on this question paid off.

Adriana Palacios, a doctoral student in the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin, describes College Jeopardy, a college’s highly successful outreach strategy for increasing 10 th -grade students’ interests in going to college, in “Financial Aid for 30: Engaging High School Freshmen and Sophomores.”

Vol. XXVI, No. 2
January 30, 2004

In “A Teacher Training Academy,” Toni Holloway, Project Leader for the Teacher Training Academy at Mountain View College (TX) and Allatia Harris, District Director of Faculty Development and Core Curriculum Evaluation in the Dallas County Community College District (TX), describe a model one-stop shop for student services, including support networks and academic tracks, and a strategy for identifying and training potential teachers to fill a critical shortage in area public schools.

Vol. XXVI, No. 1
January 23, 2004

In “Florida Construction Institute: Putting Students on the Fast Track for Home Building Jobs,” Edythe Abdullah, Downtown Campus President, and Donald Green, Executive Vice President for Instruction and Student Services at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, describe an innovative program that combines work and training for students, and offers an effective, financially sound approach to training students for fast-growing, stable occupations.

Vol. XXV, No. 29
December 5, 2003

In “Learning the Lessons of History,” Marjorie Berman, Department chair of Humanities, Social and Behavioral Science, and Cynde Simms, Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Red Rocks Community College (CO), describe student-centered exercises that, among other important lessons, help student focus on important themes in history, use a variety of materials to support concepts, and learn how history influences their own lives.

Vol. XXV, No. 28
November 21, 2003

Lynda Dodgen, Professor Sociology at North Harris College (TX), describes an important lesson in library skills, in “An Introduction to the Library,” that incorporates research and computer activities to improve students’ abilities to search for and competently use academic and personal-interest information.

Vol. XXV, No. 27
November 14, 2003

In “Allowing Our Students to Sing Their Blues,” Cinder Cooper, English Instructor at Tri-County Technical College (SC), describes several strategies for helping students examine their own and others’ life experiences through action journals and “life effects” compositions–encouraging realistic connections with the global community.

Vol. XXV, No. 26
November 7, 2003

In “Writing Is a Key to Learning,” Doug Baker, Associate Professor of History at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, describes a research paper assignment that develops students’ writing skills and offers them opportunities to discover history’s fascinations for themselves.

In “Improve Student Learning the Old-Fashioned Way: Have Them Read the Textbook,” Daniel Maher, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, describes a successful strategy for getting students better prepared for classroom discussions–text notes.

Vol. XXV, No. 25
October 31, 2003

Stuart Tichenor, Instructor in Communications at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee, pokes good fun at students’ tendency to rely on the spell-check function and describes useful exercises to alert them to its hidden dangers. “Using Spell-Check to Relieve the Monotony” is a fun read about students’ experiences and strategies for avoiding some common problems.

Vol. XXV, No. 24
October 24, 2003

In “Teaching General Ecology Where It Belongs–In the Field,” Joel Zachry, Senior Affiliate Professor of Biology at Pellissippi State Technical Community College (TN), describes a unique course in general ecology that is taught totally in the field–Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Students participate in a variety of park activities and learning opportunities, learn “outside the box,” and open doors and imaginations to possible employment futures in state and/or national park professional services or in other park-related careers.  

Vol. XXV, No. 23
October 17, 2003

In “Service Learning Opportunities: Linking Past and Present,” Michael E. Long, Instructor of History and Political Science at Pasco-Hernando Community College (FL), shares successful service learning programs currently being offered at four community colleges in Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, and Florida. Focusing specifically on some successful and popular historical preservation components currently being added to established programs, Long describes opportunities for students to help preserve and revitalize their communities, while learning about critical links between events of the past and the impact that history has on today’s world.

Vol. XXV, No. 22
October 10, 2003

Ronald Suciu, Instructor of History at El Paso Community College-Northwest Campus (TX), writes in “Beyond the ‘Measurable’ Objective–Feeling,” about the benefits of sharing personal experiences in appropriate and well-timed fashion to capture students’ attention and imaginations.

Vol. XXV, No. 21
October 3, 2003

John Shiber, Professor of Biological Science at Prestonsburg Community College (KY), in “Scared Stiff: The Fear of Algebra,” shares the elements he has identified as critical to reducing the anxiety that students experience in approaching and in required math courses (a critical course for students enrolled in his chemistry classes, in particular). His observations and recommends steps for improving student performance are drawn from responses to questionnaires completed by high school and college student cohorts, and college faculty.

Vol. XXV, No. 20
September 26, 2003

In “Responsibility in the Classroom,” David Sack, Professor of Mathematics at Lincoln Land Community College (IL), shares some eye-opening experiences that led him on a path toward becoming a better instructor, including changing some of his approaches to instruction and clarifying the focus on student responsibilities for their own learning. He reports that the results of these relatively few changes have been remarkable.

Vol. XXV, No. 19
September 19, 2003

In “Teaching a Web-Based History Class,” Jamie Karmel, Associate Professor of History at Harford Community College (MD), shares the steps taken and lessons learned in designing and conducting a distance learning course in history–including building the course, uncovering critical information about students, and identifying important elements of keeping online students committed and successful (and thus, as an instructor working more successfully toward reducing the high dropout numbers of students currently enrolled in college online courses).

Vol. XXV, No. 18
September 12, 2003

In “Introducing Writing Concepts Through Class-Building,” Dana Washington, an instructor of English and developmental studies at South Arkansas Community College, introduces her writing classes to a template that serves them well throughout the semester. Her goal is to reduce their anxieties about writing and get them acquainted with classmates simultaneously.

Vol. XXV, No. 17
September 5, 2003

Lawrence Brandyburg, Associate Professor of Sociology at Tomball College (TX), challenges faculty to remember what inspired them as students and put those inspirations to work in their own classrooms. In “Sociology Inspired by History,” he describes putting students in charge of some important, potentially eye-opening, learning of their own.

Jerry Clavner, Professor of Social Sciences at Cuyahoga Community College (OH), shares the 10 tips for becoming a good student that he hands out to students on the first day of every course he teaches, in “How to Favorably Impress the Instructor.”

Vol. XXV, No. 16
August 29, 2003

In “Student-Produced Newsletter: Serving Novice Journalists and the College Community,” Denise Barks Richter, Instructor in Communications at Palo Alto College (TX), describes the schedule and assignments shared by three communications classes in which students are engaged in reporting, writing, and editing experiences. Students report that the hands-on team effort prepares them for real-world demands of future employment and internships, specifically in their chosen field of public relations.