Why I Teach . . .
Dan Rogers, Professor of Speech Communications, Cedar Valley College
I started teaching at an early age. With three younger brothers I often read to them: stories, comic books, the funnies of the newspapers, and signs on buildings we saw riding in the car. Today society would classify my family as ‘economically challenged’. There were long periods without a television in the house. We went to few movies. The mind was our playground and our imaginations fueled creativity. It wasn’t enough to simply read Peter Rabbit, or Hansel & Gretel or Dick Tracy. I added voices, dramatic gestures, and interpretation. I wanted my brothers to ‘get’ the meaning, to follow along and to ask questions. I helped with ‘big words’ and often backed up and repeated material if they didn’t quite understand. It was my responsibility to share knowledge and stimulate mental growth.
When our family moved from Pontiac, Michigan to Garner, Arkansas, I transferred from a metropolitan elementary school to a rural two-grades-in-one-room building. To the other students, I talked funny. I had an accent, a brogue, a different way of saying things. I was laughed at every time I opened my mouth. I could have withdrawn, developing insecurity, a negative self-esteem, forming a phobia of communication. Sadly, many students in similar predicaments develop these detrimental traits. The halls of academia are crowded with students leery of being ridiculed, unsure and uncomfortable, used to rejection and dismissal.
My parents did not allow that to happen. I was encouraged to use my wit and my intelligence to combat ridicule and scorn. My father told me the ridiculing students just didn’t know any better. They were afraid of the unknown and anything or anybody different. My mother encouraged me to ‘be nice’ and ‘be patient’; once they get to know you, she encouraged, they will listen to what you have to say. I was told time and time again that I am important. I am unique. What I have to say matters. Be nice, but be confident. When you want to say something be sure of your thoughts and then be clear.
You know what happened? I thought before I spoke. When I spoke I did so with confidence. If I knew the answer, I spoke up. Because of my parents’ confidence in me, I spoke up more frequently. Soon I was setting the curve, I was raising the bar. The teacher asked me to assist other students. I knew the material, so she asked me to share my knowledge with others. I began tutoring my co-third graders in spelling, reading, and math. Yes, in the third grade I was helping others gain knowledge and gain confidence in that knowledge. When those I helped ‘got it’-when the light bulb went on-they felt better about themselves and I felt a sense of sharing, a sense of pride, and a sense of responsibility. It was just like my desire to reach my brothers. It is the same today.
Does the student leave my classroom and the hold his or her head just a little bit higher, with shoulders little bit straighter and with a look in the eye reflecting self-esteem and pride? That is my goal every day in every class. Give the student every opportunity to reinforce a self-concept based on intelligence and pride. Can the student communicate with peers just a little bit clearer? Can the student apply for employment and express coherent, logical thoughts? Can the student communicate disagreement over a return at a retail store and do so while respectfully listening to the needs of the other viewpoint? And feel good about the process? Can the student critically analyze information from peers and outsides sources? Is the student an ethical communicator using empathy and informational listening skills? I want all those questions to be answered “Yes!” Then my work is complete.
There is one question dominating my teaching approach. Does the student have the tools to communicate more effectively and powerfully, with improved self-worth, in the everyday situations and environment of life? If a student leaves my class with more confidence, pride, and determination than upon entering then I have succeeded.
I’m not talking about peripheral ‘there are no losers-everyone gets a participation trophy’ false accolades. The student has to work at the discovery of effective and successful communication. No one gets it right the first time. Guidance, critiques, encouragement and prompting techniques can hone the student who once was reprimanded for talking in class into the student who now confidently expresses an opinion in class. The phobia of speaking while others are listening, engrained and fortified by a negative self-fulfilling prophecy, has to be turned around, interrupted, and stopped! In my classroom no one is laughing in derision. No one is unfairly comparing in a competitive hypercritical manner. No one has less potential than anyone else in my classroom. Communication starts with respect. With that as a prerequisite communication is far more effective and successful.
My teaching philosophy is simple. Respect the student and encourage confidence. This philosophy guides my actions and is an on-going process. It never stops. I present ideas, concepts, and recommendations that are different and unknown. Students begin leery, afraid, and skeptical. As long as I am nice, patient, and sure of my material, they will listen to me. I can always get better. I must never let up. They teach me. If I listen and observe and understand, then I can communicate my message more easily. If I respect their efforts, the students will make the attempt to understand. And when that spark glistens in their eyes, I see a posture shift, an attitude adjustment, and confidence grow. Knowledge and the confidence in knowing is an incredible tool. I teach confidence. I am proud to teach. What I teach is pride, self-respect and confidence. When students gain their self-worth, they have impressive knowledge and incredible power.
I started young and have no intention of stopping. I am a teacher.
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Joint Committee Reports – November 2012
Academic Freedom Committee Report:
The Instructional Goals and Academic Freedom Committee was called to order at 1:30pm, Wednesday, October 13.
Members in attendance: Mark Skorick (BHC), Melissa Weston (ECC), Margaret Silva (MVC), Douglas Howie (NLC), Rolanda Randle (RLC)
A lively and spirited conversation took place regarding the following issues:
Transition into the new CORE – concern was expressed about the possibility of required assessment and potential implication of teaching to those assessments, as well as possible movement toward standardized assessment for disciplines across the District.
The influence, scope, and role of Curriculum Committees – to what extent will instructors’ roles and prerogatives be compromised by institutional interests and roles?
The need for a chief academic officer in the District, in particular one who champions the best interests of the students, faculty, and instruction.
Further clarification of a District Statement on Academic Freedom
The committee pledged to continue these conversations and to explore ways in which to transition to from conversation to operation.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:00pm.
Respectfully submitted, John Wadhams, Chair
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Communication Committee Report:
Meeting of October 3, 2012 at 2 PM at Hoblizte Auditorium, Bill J.Priest
Chair: Dan Dao
Members Present: Burks, Patti (BHC); Baker, Keith (NLC); Hickerson, Jon(ECC); Kerr, Olivia(ECC); Mikelk, Terris(NLC); Millspaugh, Jennifer(RLC);
Members Absent: Forbess, Ulanda (NLC); Lane, Mark (ECC); Laura Carr(EFC); Siemantel, Jennifer (CVC)
DCCFA Constitution By-laws Pertaining to Communication Committee:
ARTICLE XI - OFFICIAL PUBLICATION
Section 1. The official publication of the DCCFA shall be named by the Council.
Section 2. The purpose of the DCCFA publication shall be to:
a. promote the objectives of the DCCFA.
b. inform the membership of the progress of the work of the Council and committees.
c. publish such information as pertains to the activities of the DCCFA in achieving its objectives and such news as is of interest to the membership of the DCCFA as a whole.
Section 3. The DCCFA publication shall be published under the guidance of the Communications Committee Chairperson and with the assistance of the Communications Committee. There will be three issues per regular semester.
Section 4. The DCCFA publication shall be operated within the budget unless otherwise directed by the Council.
Charge: As stated in one of the six missions of the DCCFA this year 2012-2013, that is, to improve communication between the District Faculty Council and the faculty at the seven colleges.
1. Continue improvement with DCCFA web site, http://www.dccfa.info , in the following areas.
a. In the recent fall 2012 Advance - Return Week Issue, the content of this issue needs to be brought on the current web site. The website needs DCCFA mission statements, Reasons to Join DCCFA, DCCFA Standing Committees, Student Scholarships, Important Dates
b. The DCCCD web site buries documents that faculty cannot find easily, would like this web site to cater to faculty, to include more documents for faculty to download, i.e. sabbatical applications, bank time calculation, Individual Action Plan form, etc.
c. Expand the membership payment online, pilot is RLC FA online payment to accept Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover credit cards. The members will absorb the convenient fee.
d. Continue communication with Political Information Committee about collecting email
e. Promote the DCCFA web site on your campus
2. Advance Newsletter –
a. Agreed that FA Presidents will continue to send out Advance Newsletter to individual campus. Everyone was all right with as PDF and sent out as an attached file.
b. Discussion for more photographic assets or scenic photo of different campus view to include in the Advance.
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Economics and Faculty Welfare Committee Report:
TO: DCCFA Convention
FROM: Tommy Thompson, Chair---Economics and Faculty Welfare
DATE: November 1, 2012
SUBJECT: Committee Report
The DCCFA Economic and Faculty Welfare Committee is composed of the following members: Lisa Ehrich (Brookhaven), Andy Mungenast (Cedar Valley), Patrick Patterson (Eastfield), Bettie Tully (El Centro), Ryan Pettengill (Mountain View), Enrique Chamberlain (North Lake), and Fred Newbury (Richland).
On October 3, 2012, the members of the Economic and Faculty Welfare committee met at the Bill J. Priest Center to discuss the long-term strategy for faculty compensation and benefits. The committee discussion focused on a review of the work of the committee during academic year 2011-2012 and the strategy for addressing the identified compensation elements.
During 2011-2012 the committee work had three (3) phases. First, the committee conducted research on eight (8) comparable compensation systems (Austin Community College, Lone Star, Maricopa, Collin College, Tarrant County College, Houston Community College, Pima, and San Jacinto. The research focused on the number of salary ranges (including minimums and maximums), whether the system included the mechanism to allow vertical movement up a salary range, and the amount of compensation included for horizontal movement from range to range.
The second phase focused on the identification of specific compensation elements and a strategy to approach the elements. The compensation elements included adjustments to the salary ranges, reinstatement of formula pay, a mechanism to provide for vertical movement on the salary range, adjustment of minimum salaries for all ranges, a policy to allow faculty to negotiate salary
above the minimum of 10%, a policy change that allows any adjustment to entry-level salaries to include adjustments for faculty who have been hired prior to the new range, identify how cost of living changes are determined by the district, and a reinstatement of the phased retirement program.
The third phase focused on the approach to achieve the goals. The decision was to request and support a review of the overall compensation system rather than take a piecemeal approach. This approach was presented to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs in a meeting in Spring, 2012 by Lisa Ehrich, Betty Tully, Steve Billingslea, and Ray Attner.
The commitment to this approach of addressing this global compensation structure has been reaffirmed during Fall, 2012. The initiation of the process will be introduced in late Fall, 2012.
Respectively submitted by Dr. Tommy Thompson, Chair of the Committee
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Political Information Committee Report:
DCCFA Political Information Committee Meeting of October 3, 2012
Members Present: Kathy Yates (RLC), Mike Garza (BHC), Jackie Porter (ECC, substituting for Gay Michele), Matt Hinckley (EFC), Jonathon York (MVC)
Members Absent: David McCoy (CVC), Gabriel Bach (NLC)
DCCFA Constitution By-laws Pertaining to Political Information Committee:
• Establish a political database of all DCCFA members to include precinct numbers, state representative and senatorial districts, and U.S. congressional districts
• Establish a similar database of all faculty retirees
• Generate interest in local elections affecting the DCCCD
• Disseminate relevant political information regarding candidates and issues affecting the DCCCD
• Serve as a political liaison to other professional organizations
• Others as assigned by the Council.
Charge: The political information committee seeks to build a database of members’ personal emails and physical addresses to build capacity for DCCCD faculty to advocate issues of interest to community college students at the local and state level.
Emphasize to members that addresses and email contact information will NOT be shared with any political advocacy organizations.
1. Send minutes to 7 Political Information committee reps and 7 DCCFA faculty presidents
2. Get DCCFA membership list from Membership committee (final list available 11/9/2012)
3. Get database established with Communications committee (need by 11/9/2012)
4. Build political information database with personal addresses and precinct number
DCCFA District Faculty Council 2012-2013 Goals - Status Report
The DCCFA District Faculty Council identified six (6) goals for 2012-2013. Our goals are:
1. Retain 90% membership.
2. Continue to address compensation issues.
3. Continue to clarify the role of LeCroy.
4. Promote understanding of the IAP by administrators.
5. Engage in conversation about the place and role of online courses in the DCCCD.
6. Improve communication between the District Faculty Council and the colleges.
Following is a status report on each goal.
Goal #1: Retain 90% membership:
The membership drive for 2012-2013 culminated at the DCCFA Convention on Friday, November 9, 2012, at the Commissioner’s Court. Six (6) of the seven (7) individual college Faculty Associations achieved membership totals of over 90%. When the final tally was computed, the Dallas Community College Faculty Association represented 94% of eligible faculty for 2012-2013.
Goal #2: Continue to address compensation issues:
This is and will continue to be a major emphasis of the Council. During the year, the Council has repeatedly requested a comprehensive review of the compensation system. Based on this review, the Council will continue to address the compensation elements identified by the DCCFA Welfare and Benefits Committee. Specifically,
1. A policy change to allow faculty to negotiate salary above the maximum of 10%.
2. Adjust salary structure to include more ranges with smaller increments between them or increase the percentages between the increments.
3. Reinstatement of formula pay or the adjustment of the salary schedule to include formula pay.
4. A mechanism to provide for vertical movement within the salary range to address salary compression issues.
5. Adjustment of minimums for all salary ranges.
6. A policy change that will allow any adjustment to entry-level salaries to include adjustments for faculty who have been hired prior to the new ranges (new base and vertical movement).
7. Identify how the cost of living changes are determined by the district.
8. Reinstatement of the phased retirement program.
Goal #3: Continue to clarify the role of LeCroy:
The role of the LeCroy Center has been a central focus of the DCCFA Faculty Council. The Council has repeatedly stated that the role of LeCroy is to provide “robust quality of service,” and not be a product competitor to our college online courses or to become the eighth college. In the dialog, the Council has questioned the need for and the role of R2Go courses, the rationale for developing an online degree composed of R2Go courses that compete against college online courses addressing the same degree, and championed the need for Curriculum Committee involvement in the development of courses.
The dialog has been amplified as a result of the SACS reports at various colleges questioning the role of LeCroy and requiring the colleges to clarify this role. As a result, a Service Agreement has been developed identifying the services provided by LeCroy to the seven colleges. The Agreement has been signed by the seven college presidents and LeCroy provost and serves as an element of the colleges’ SACS follow-up reports.
Goal #4: Promote understanding of the IAP by administrators:
In a proactive strategy to minimize grievances and legal issues and put the administrators in the same place---knowledge and understanding of the evaluation system---as the faculty, the District Faculty Council has helped to arrange sessions with Deans and VPs at the colleges. The sessions that have been conducted have been productive and helped to broaden the understanding of the evaluation system, the role of faculty and administrators, and the focus on formative evaluation.
The status of the sessions with Deans and VPs are as follows:
- Cedar Valley---September and March
- El Centro---October
- Richland---Initially scheduled for January 2013 (to be rescheduled)
- Brookhaven---In process
- North Lake---In process
- Mountain View---Chose not to participate
Goal #5: Engage in conversation about the role of online courses in the DCCCD:
Although the Council has not formally begun discussions, on some campuses individual disciplines have initiated discussions on the balance of class offerings…classroom and online.
Goal #6: Improve communication between the District Faculty Council and the colleges:
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College issues are regularly addressed at DCCFA Council meetings and may become agenda items for meetings with the Chancellor and VPs.
Minutes of District Faculty Council Meetings are done and posted in one week.
Faculty Association Meetings are held on each campus. The meetings include discussions of faculty issues at college and district levels.
Two Advances have been published in the fall semester. Within the Council, we have committed to meet our deadlines for newsletters and scholarships.
The Council has been dealing with issues when they arise and addressing them at the appropriate levels; then communicating the results.
Minutes of Treasurer/Membership Committee Meeting
Attending: 10 representatives: Jane Rowe (BHC), Gwen Hester (RLC), Dee Hobson (RLC), Carlos Ojeda (EFC), Mohammed Zouyousefain (MVC), Debby Sutton (MVC), Harry Holden (NLC), Glenda Easter (ECC).
Presiding: John Hitt (DCCFA Treasurer) North Lake College & Benja Allen (DCCFA Bursar) El Centro College
1. Estimate of membership by college
Each representative was asked for an approximate membership total at present for their campus. The combined estimate was approximately 50% of the total faculty. John Hitt asked that he be kept updated every couple of weeks between now and the convention to assist him in building budget. He said the goal for the organization was at least 90% membership. Last year’s membership was 93%. He reminded everyone that a list of members and a check for total membership should be presented at the convention.
2. The Convention
This year’s faculty association convention will be held November 9, 2012, at 2:00 PM in the Dallas County Commissioners’ Courtroom. All treasurers should be there with their membership check and membership list.
3. Campus Reports and Tax Return
This year’s tax return was difficult to prepare and very expensive, due to the mistakes and poor reporting from the campuses. Problems existed for four campuses, running the range from typographical errors to omission of chunks of critical data. Our accountant, Tom Brown, recommended that we have a mid-year report, in addition to the final yearly report, to spot some of these problems early and correct them before it became his job to do so at high expense. Such a report was discussed, and the treasurers were agreeable to do it. There will also be a printed list of acceptable expenditure and revenue categories as proposed by the CPA. John Hitt, Treasurer of the Council, and Benja Allen, Bursar of DCCFA, will work with Mr. Brown and the Council to develop this report and approved categories. The Treasurers will be provided with a copy of the budget, templates for the reports and approved categories as soon as these are finalized for presentation at the convention or approval by the District Council.
John Hitt asked each campus to report on best practices that helped them develop their membership. A number of good ideas were presented. Brookhaven assigns a representative to each area and divides up the list of faculty between them for contact. The BHC president then sees any non-joiners for a little arm twisting. Mountain View sends a letter and brochure to each member, and the treasurer and membership chairs send emails to members to follow up. Those who do not join are given a personal visit. As checks are received, a confirmation email is sent to the faculty member joining, and these emails serve as a check for the treasurer on who has and has not paid. Richland College has a table at Convocation to take checks and encourage membership. They also offer an Early Bird Prize, and the first 10 people to join are entered in the running for this prize. The Membership Coordinators for each area send weekly emails. Richland uses a receipt book for each dues check paid, so a hard copy receipt is kept to form a record of who has joined.
Eastfield College asked for consideration to be given to an electronic form of dues payment. A discussion ensued, including the fact that RLC had piloted such a program previously. As we are one organization, it was thought that something should be done district wide. Credit cards, paypal, and the new square technology for small businesses were mentioned. All of these add cost for service, but most of those present felt that members would gladly pay the cost to gain the convenience of not having to write a check, and that those who were not willing could still write checks. The group feels that this should be pursued by the Council.
John Hitt reminded everyone about the importance of membership, for the influence of our organization on the District and for providing legal defense to qualified members. He reminded the group that except for the first year of a new hire’s membership, two consecutive years of membership are required for legal representation.
5. The treasurers and membership chairs left the meeting resolved to bring our membership into the 90% + level, and improve our reporting structure so that a clear picture of the finances of the campuses and the organization can be presented to the IRS. Treasurers and Membership chairs carry a heavy responsibility, and we will do our best to fulfill it to the high standards of our organization.