October 25, 2010

PCCC Writing Initiative Presenting at TYCA Conference

The Writing Initiative team and WI faculty fellows will have a major presence at the Two Year College Association (TYCA) Northeast regional conference next month. Five members of the PCCC community will be giving presentations.

"Capitol Improvements: The Two-Year College as an Agency of Change" will be held November 4-6, 2010 in Washington, DC. TYCA's regional conferences foster the intellectual and pedagogical growth of English teachers and administrators in the two-year colleges throughout the region.

On Friday, a session on "Writing Connection: Bridging the Gap between High School and College" will be done by Alexandra Della Fera, Elizabeth Nesius, and Ken Ronkowitz.  This presentation is on our Connections program to work with area high school teachers across disciplines to create varied opportunities in writing-to-learn rather than the traditional learning-to-write approach that might apply only to the English classroom.

One of three presentations on Saturday from PCCC is "Collaborative Assessment: Working Together toward Institutional Change" by Elizabeth Nesius and Kelly Bender. Their looks at methods of collaboration for course-and program-level assessment and data-sharing to help both faculty and program administrators. Instructors can improve the WAC elements of their courses without sacrificing content, while still furthering the program mission of helping students to write well and think critically in any discipline. Writing program administrators, on the other hand, can improve both the writing program implementation and the training of its faculty to teach WAC courses. Students will benefit by experiencing WAC courses that are clearly defined, engaging, and optimized for their learning.

Ken Ronkowitz will present a workshop on "Adopting Open Textbooks." Open textbooks are openly-licensed textbooks offered free online by authors. The open license sets them apart from traditional textbooks by allowing users to read online, download, and print. They are also editable so instructors can customize content, cross-platform compatible and work with adaptive technology. This session looks at the how to identify, evaluate, and adopt Open Textbooks, and training opportunities for those wanting to adopt open resources, do peer reviews or open their own writing. Ken is an Advocate/Trainer for NJ as part of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER).

Also on Saturday, Christine Redman-Waldeyer will present on "Public Writing: Linking Journalism, the College Newspaper, and Composition." Teaching journalism is always challenging but more so in a community college setting where students may not be prepared to write academically. It is one opportunity to prepare our students how to research and because students’ work is often “public” because it is tied to the college newspaper it helps students understand accountability, teaches them the need to consider what is libelous, to consider expert opinion, and the need to observe without bias.

TYCA (Two-Year College Association) is an organization under the umbrella of the NCTE (National Council of the Teachers of English) specifically designed for two-year college English teachers. Within National TYCA, there are seven regional TYCA organizations. Each works to foster the intellectual and pedagogical growth of English teachers and administrators in the two-year colleges throughout the northeast region. Our specific goals include conducting our annual conference in the fall and publishing a newsletter, which features members' articles, fiction, and poetry.

October 20, 2010

Workshop: Attacking The Question

PCCC Writing Center workshops are open to all PCCC students and designed to help students become better writers in a variety of situations. All workshops are free and you do not need to register. Be sure to arrive for the starting time as we begin promptly.

Some workshops may focus on the CWE, but all are designed to provide information that applies to writing in other academic settings.

Attacking the Question
Tuesday October 26 at 5 pm and repeated on Wednesday 1:10 in the Writing Center

Ever get an essay assignment from an instructor that seems to make no sense whatsoever? Ever sit down to write a paper only to realize you don't even know where to start? An essay begins with the question or prompt. What is being asked of you? What is required in the answer?

This workshop will teach you how to "attack" an essay starting with the question. You'll learn to decode "professor speak" and figure out what's really being asked of you. From there, you'll learn how to formulate and organize an answer. This workshop is very useful for students taking the CWE to help you determine exactly what a question is asking, and how to go about answering it.

October 19, 2010

Student Writing Contest

Announcing the Writing Initiative's first annual Writing Contest!

The contest will kick off tomorrow, October 20, the National Day on Writing and will continue through November 24. We will be accepting submissions in 4 genres: poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and academic essays.

Judges will choose a first, second, and third place winner, and winners will be announced on December 10. 

All PCCC students are invited to enter!

Submission guidelines:

Poetry                            75 line maximum

Short Fiction                  6,000 word maximum

Creative Nonfiction      5,000 word maximum

Academic Essays          4,000 word maximum

Submissions must be typed, single or double spaced, with no name listed. Your name should appear only on the submission cover sheet. The sheet can be downloaded from this page or picked up in the PCCC Writing Center.

Submissions may be turned in via email at writingcenter@pccc.edu, or delivered by hand to the Writing Center (located on the Paterson Campus, in the library).

At the Passaic Academic Center, entries can be delivered to PAC-113 on Wednesdays between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Submissions will be accepted between October 20 and November 24.

Judges will choose a first, second, and third place winner in each category. Winners will be announced on Dec. 10.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Nesius at enesius@pccc.edu or 973-684-6160.

October 13, 2010

Enrollment Up At PCCC and Most NJ Colleges

Enrollment continues to surge at NJ's  public colleges and universities. Part of that is due to a population bulge and also a poor economy that has served as a catalyst for some people to return to school to improve their employment resume.

The community college growth has been fueled by several initiatives by the Obama administration. People looking to retrain for new careers in this tough economy has been a focus of those initiatives.

Students and their parents are also being much more cost-conscious and are opting for the much lower tuition rates during their first two years of college and then transferring to 4-year schools.

That is one reason why our Writing Initiative has concentrated on the redesign of General Education courses as writing intensive. Those GenEd courses are the ones that will transfer to NJ's 4-year schools.

Here at Passaic County Community College, enrollment has topped 10,000 as a 20-year growth trend continues. The number is 9% higher than last September, said President Steve Rose.

According to Randy Jenkins, Director of Online Learning, online enrollments are up 36% over the same time last fall.

PCCC converted a storage garage on the Paterson campus into six new classrooms and they were immediately filled with classes.

Our newest campus in Passaic which last year "is already at capacity," said President Rose.

In our neighboring county, Bergen County College opened its fall semester with more than 17,000 students as enrollment grew in both its distance-learning courses and its new campus. Enrollment at their new Meadowlands campus in Lyndhurst grew by more than 58% from 2009, and students enrolled in online courses increased 12 percent from last year.

At NJ's 4-year colleges,growth is also the trend. NJ's largest university, Rutgers, has three campuses with more than 56,000 students this year, up from 53,000. The state university plans to add 2,000 more dormitory beds at its main campus over the next two years.

There are about 230 more students this year at Montclair State University which has an enrollment of 18,402, making it the second-largest university in the state.

At William Paterson University in Wayne, enrollment is up 4.6 percent to 11,217.

October 12, 2010

October College Writing Exam Dates

This month there will continue to be WALK-IN testing at the Paterson Campus ONLY.

1) No Appointment is required, but a PHOTO-ID is required.
2) You may appear any time during the time ranges listed below.
3) If you have taken the exam previously, you MUST bring an approval letter from the Writing Center to be allowed to retest.
4) Some sessions times are LIMITED to ONLY 5 seats on a first come, first served basis.
5) ONLY 1 test session per person per month is allowed.

The topic theme for October is "multiculturalism."

WALK-IN Testing Room E215, Paterson Campus 


Oct 16th (Sat.) - LIMITED
9AM to 12PM

Oct 19th (Tue.) - LIMITED
9AM to 2PM
5PM to 6PM

Oct 20th (Wed.)
9AM to 2PM

Oct 21st (Thu.)
9AM to 2PM
5PM to 6PM

Oct 23rd (Sat.)
9AM to 12PM

October 11, 2010

Survival Grammar Is Back

Join in every week for a grammar lesson with these very popular workshops that address many of the grammar issues that students face in their writing.

Each workshop begins with a lesson and continues with interactive exercises to help you practice your grammar and improve.

All PCCC students are welcome, no matter what level. A different grammar topic will be featured every week.

In the PCCC Writing Center
on the main Paterson campus, within the library
Mondays from 5:00-6:00 and repeated (same topic) on Fridays from 1:00-2:00

On the Passaic Campus
room P113
Wednesdays, from 11:45-12:45

October 8, 2010

Portfolio Mentoring

For the 2010-2011 academic year, we have added Professor Anita Kumar as a peer mentor for faculty teaching writing intensive classes.

Anita is full-time faculty in the Early Childhood Education department. She has been an enthusiastic proponent of writing in the disciplines. Though ECE courses cannot be offered under the Initiative as WI courses, she includes many of the WI components in her classes and has been using ePortfolios for two years.

She began using our eFolio product in her classes voluntarily because it was something that education departments at the 4-year colleges do as a regular practice.

Professor Kumar has presented to PCCC faculty at our WI Faculty Institutes. She also did a team presentation in March 2010 at the NJEDge.Net Faculty Best Practices Showcase at Seton Hall University along with Elizabeth Nesius and Ken Ronkowitz. That presentation, "Soft Launching An Institutional ePortfolio Initiative," highlighted PCCC’s decision-making process approach to piloting online portfolios to support student learning and assessment.

This year she was appointed by the Vice President off Academic Affairs, Dr. Jacqueline Kineavy, to lead a study on the adoption of portfolios across the college community. The committee will look at portfolio products, adoption strategies and methods of assessment. The plan currently is to introduce portfolios in the required College Experience course and in the Humanities department.

Because Anita brings a strong pedagogical background to portfolio use and has extensive use in the current portfolio product, we decided she would be an excellent choice to mentor WI faculty in portfolio use during this year.