January 25, 2012

2012 Diana Hacker TYCA Outstanding Programs in English Award

Passaic County Community College's Title V Writing Initiative is the winner of the 2012 Diana Hacker TYCA Award for Outstanding Program in English for Two-Year Colleges and Teachers!

PCCC's “Increasing Achievement and Program Completion through Curriculum Reform” program has been selected as the exemplary program in the category of Fostering Student Success.

As stated on NCTE's website, "The Diana Hacker TYCA Outstanding Programs in English Awards for Two-Year Colleges and Teachers is given annually and honors two-year teachers and their colleges for exemplary programs that enhance students’ language learning, helping them to achieve their college, career, and personal goals."

The awards focuses on programs—broad initiatives—rather than single classes or classroom strategies. Programs may be exclusive to the discipline of English or work in combination with other disciplines, college services, or community and workplace groups." Each year submissions are evaluated and up to four awards are given.

The Writing Initiative at PCCC program is being honored "for the creative response to the challenges of educating two-year college students and for demonstrating professionalism in the commitment to educating diverse student populations."

 Winners are deemed to have the following:
  • thoughtful responses to the educational needs of diverse students
  • creative and innovative strategies that solve problems and provide solutions which go beyond the usual borders and cross traditional lines
  • success in meeting goals documented by both evaluative qualitative and quantitative research
  • exemplary programs that can be shared so that other teachers and colleges can benefit by adopting or adapting them
  • collegiality and collaboration among those who participate in or are affected by the programs
  • sensitive to the educational, cultural, ethnic and business community
  • pedagogy informed by sound language theory and practices. 

The Title V Writing Initiative team includes Greg Fallon, Associate Dean for Learning Resources and Project Director Title V, Ken Ronkowitz, Director of the Writing Initiative, Elizabeth Nesius, Writing Center Coordinator, Martha Brozyna, Writing Center Educational Specialist and Ken Karol, Technology Resource Specialist.

Fallon, Ronkowitz and Nesius will receive the award at the 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) on March 24th in St. Louis. In addition, the winners will be published in the journal, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and regional TYCA and NCTE newsletters.

For additional information on the PCCC Writing Initiative   www.pccc.edu/initiative

January 23, 2012

The PCCC Writing Center Is Open

Spring flowers are still a few months away, but the PCCC Writing Center in Paterson is open for the spring semester.

Students who are currently in or who have taken WI (writing intensive) courses are welcome to make appointments for help with their writing assignments and support for their WI classes.

The Center also supports students who are preparing to take the College Writing Exam this spring.

Take a look at some of our online guides to services:

January 19, 2012

Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards

Ginsberg at the Great Falls, Paterson

The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards are sponsored by The Poetry Center at PCCC, and honor Paterson poet Allen Ginsberg’s contribution to American Literature.

The first prize winner will receive $1,000; second, $200; and third $100.

The entry fee of $18 covers the cost of a subscription to The Paterson Literary Review, in which the winning poems will be published. The submissions deadline is April 1.

Winners will be asked to participate in a reading to take place in Paterson’s Historic District.

For guidelines and an entry form, go to www.pccc.edu/poetry or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Maria Mazziotti Gillan,
Executive Director,
Poetry Center,
Passaic County Community College,
One College Boulevard,
Paterson, N.J. 07505-1179.

Be sure to mark envelope with the contest name.

January 13, 2012

Paterson Literary Review Award for Lifetime Service to Literature

The Poetry Center at PCCC has announced that Grace Cavalieri, Stanley Barkan, Jim Haba and Vivian Shipley are the recipients of the 2011 Paterson Literary Review Award for Lifetime Service to Literature.

“Each of the winners has dedicated many years to serving the needs of writers and to bringing other writers to national and international attention. In doing so, each has contributed greatly to literature and enriched the lives of readers everywhere,” said Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Executive Director of the Poetry Center.

For bios and more info go to www.pccc.edu/poetry.

January 12, 2012

The Great Falls

Not far from our Writing Center at Passaic County Community College is Paterson's Great Falls which have recently become America's 397th national park. The National Park designation makes the 35-acre site eligible for federal funds.

The 77-foot waterfall in downtown Paterson is second only to Niagara Falls in terms of water volume east of the Mississippi River.

Alexander Hamilton (lieutenant colonel in the American Revolution, confidant to George Washington, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and first Secretary of the Treasury) formed in 1792 an investment group called the Society of Useful Manufactures (the “SUM”) whose funds would be used to develop a planned industrial city that was later to be known as Paterson.

Hamilton believed that the United States needed to reduce its dependence on foreign goods and should instead develop its own industries. The industries developed in Paterson were powered by the 77-foot high Great Falls of the Passaic, and a system of water raceways that harnessed the power of the falls. The district originally included dozens of mill buildings and other manufacturing structures associated with the textile industry and later, the firearms, silk, and railroad locomotive manufacturing industries. In the latter half of the 1800’s, silk production became the dominant industry and formed the basis of Paterson’s most prosperous period, earning it the nickname “Silk City.”

 Take a look at the Great Falls from a webcam view via EarthCam and the City of Paterson.

January 5, 2012

It Is All About Disruption

Over the break, I was reading The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out . Not exactly beach reading, but I didn't get away to any beaches, so...

It is co-written by Clayton Christensen, which is what initially caught my eye. He is considered "the father of the theory of disruptive innovation."  His previous books include The Innovator's Dilemma, which examined business innovation, and The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators.

The Innovative University is an analysis of the traditional university we know to get at its "DNA" which then leads to how (and why) higher education needs to change to have any future success.

From the book jacket:
The language of crisis is nothing new in higher education—for years critics have raised alarms about rising tuition, compromised access, out of control costs, and a host of other issues. Yet, though those issues are still part of the current crisis, it is not the same as past ones. For the first time, disruptive technologies are at work in higher education. For most of their histories, traditional universities and colleges have had no serious competition except from institutions with similar operating models. Now, though, there are disruptive competitors offering online degrees. Many of these institutions operate as for-profit entities, emphasizing marketable degrees for working adults. Traditional colleges and universities have valuable qualities and capacities that can offset those disruptors' advantages—but not for everyone who aspires to higher education, and not without real innovation. How can institutions of higher education think constructively and creatively about their response to impending disruption?

Throughout the book Christensen and Eyring show what it takes to apply Christensen's acclaimed model of disruptive innovation to a higher education environment. The Innovative University explores how universities can find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions and thereby save themselves from decline

Disruptive innovation is a term coined by Clayton Christensen to describe a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.

Some examples of disruptive innovation would include cellular phones disrupting fixed line telephony, the traditional full-service department store and doctor's office being disrupted by online and discount retailers and retail medical clinics. Christensen also sees an earlier disruptor of the four-year college experience as being community colleges.

I agree with him that companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ lives change - newer phones but customers who don't want to upgrade yet - and so most organizations end up producing products or services that are actually too good and too expensive for many of their customers. But I don't think that model works for education.

In education, customers/students innovate faster than the schools. They have the technology in their hands before we have it or a way to use it in our classrooms. And yet, schools continue to charge too much for an inferior product.

I wish I believed that education was consciously opening the door to “disruptive innovations,” but that is not what I see.

Clayton Christensen is Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. Although he has had health issues the past few years, he continues to write and I discovered that he has a newer book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, out that I will need to order.

It seems that in education, Christensen and the other authors are pointing to "student-centric education" as the disruptor of our current "interdependent curricular architecture." Much of that is made possible through technology.

He has written about online learning for student-centered innovation and many educators and institutions will be pleased to hear that disruptive technology/innovation in education can help create a new market and value network.

They will be less pleased to know that it eventually goes on to disrupt the existing market and eventually displaces it.

Disruptive ideas improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect. Those ideas will be designed for a different set of consumers. They will probably lower the cost in the existing market.

That might translate into the new, improved School 2.0 for Student 2.0. And all at a lower cost. But who will be providing that education? Harvard, Rutgers, NJIT, Passaic County Community College, MITx, University of Phoenix, The Open University, Google, Facebook or some new entity that doesn't even exist today?

Cross-posted from Serendipity35

January 3, 2012

Institutionalizing the Writing Initiative at PCCC

During Year 4 (2010-2011), the Writing Initiative had a focus on the institutionalization of the Initiative efforts beyond the end of the grant in Fall 2012.  Determining how the Writing Initiative efforts will continue once grant funds are no longer available and what resources, personnel and services the College is willing to support are our primary concerns during this fifth and final year of the grant.

We have met or exceeded the goals set forth in the grant for Year 4 and implemented some activities that were not part of the original grant but have been warranted by circumstances and opportunities. For example, the expansion of faculty professional development by joining with the College Writing Committee in offering Roundtables, the continuation and expansion of the Year 3 “Connections” and additional support for the College Writing Exam (CWE) are all extensions of the original goals.

The Writing Center has been booked fully for the current staffing and hours the past year.  The original intent of the grant was that the Center would transition from a potential client base of about 1000 students who have taken a WI course to serving the entire college-level community of approximately 4000 students at the three campuses.

The College’s Academic Council Constitution went through a revision this spring and changes to committee duties currently performed by Initiative staff members indicates one direction the College is likely to take after the grant.

The Initiative team has created a best practices sustainability plan that examines the mission and objectives, personnel, and budget concerns for the Writing Initiative, and we will be posting information about that plan in upcoming post here.