Professional Activity/ Self- Assessment
As I contemplate my personal growth and development at Salt Lake Community College I will continue my research on critical thinking. This interest continues to occupy my mind because I teach students who are not prepared for college and my charge at the College is to help them to succeed in reading and writing. In our SLCC core values we are reminded “We learn as a college by building outstanding educational experiences. We value fresh thinking and encourage the energy of new ideas.” Critical thinking is an essential underpinning needed to develop strong reading and writing. Several quotes articulate my thoughts well:
Research confirms that all can read but there is an enormous difference between those can read, those who can read and comprehend, those who can read, comprehend, and think critically about what they are reading, and those who can think critically and also write.
For example, recently I had a particular student named Pamela who entered my course by way of Reading 900. I wrote “It is very obvious she has spent her whole educational experience being passed from grade to grade. She is sweet, kind and wants to be a preschool teacher, and her demeanor reflects the maturity of a very young middle school student. As we complete this semester she is just beginning to think deeply, however, she is still unable to write more than a few linked sentences that reveal critical thinking. I will continue to study using the apprenticeship approach to assist students similar to Pamela starting on day one using small group activities and individualized instruction.”
Additionally, I am very interested in how reading and writing are taught in developing countries around the world. As I find pertinent research I use it to understand students who enter my classroom from many places around the globe. This curiosity and interest stems from my mission to South Africa where I taught basic reading and writing skills to township teachers who had an eighth grade education, but taught high school students. Do I have students entering my courses who are woefully unprepared? Yes! Names of individual students- Charles, Deng, Adahl, Mohammad, and Hien and many others I have taught, push me to find the best ways to activate their critical thinking and learning.
Lastly, I am very focused on inclusion in my classroom and this is also one of our core values at the College. I have had many rich, positive, enjoyable and unique, as well as some negative experiences of being excluded based on my religion, skin color, sex, age, and having been raised in a very large family in California. Because of these experiences I have an innate sensitivity and compassion for those who are judged harshly.
I have a rendition of Norman Rockwell’s famous melting pot piece hanging in my office. The saying at the bottom represents all the research that I have studied-every culture and society in the world has a saying similar to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This quote governs my classroom setting. I teach the students how to engage and enjoy working with fellow students who do not look or act the same as them, and there really is enough room for all of us.
National Association of Developmental Educators (NADE). This conference informed me about accelerating learning for developmental students and I was introduced to pedagogy to meet those needs. Additionally, as developmental educators at SLCC, we were recertified and reapproved by NADE. We submitted our extensive self-study of informed developmental education best practices. This recertification is now part of the accolades in the SLCC English Department.
Southwest Area Developmental Educators (SWADE) is where I learned different ways to approach revision work for my students. I also gained much from a presentation about respect of cultural differences in the classroom setting. As a member of our department Inclusivity and Diversity Committee, I find this is crucial to successful teaching in the classroom.
Literacies and Rhetoric Conference was held at UVU. The presenters taught me more about the current status of reading and writing in context of American culture. This conference was the catalyst for the text we are reading in our Literacy Circle. The book is called Literacy and Learning by Deborah Brandt and it reflects on writing, reading and society. The book helped us better understand the dynamic nature and challenges of the economic and social landscape for which we must prepare the 21st century learner, our students. It is this text that prepared us to present at TYCA 2018.
“An Evening with Blake Mycosis” He is the founder and chief shoe giver of Tom’s Pioneer of the ‘one for one’ business model. The presentation was held October 20, 2016 as part of University of Utah Social Entrepreneurism Coalition. I was invited to attend by Dean John Mc Cormack.
Learning Assessment Techniques: How to Integrate New Activities that Gauge what and How Well Students Learn November 17, 2016.We were provided with a framework to better identify goals for our students, along with strategies to help them achieve their goals. I have implemented these activities in my courses.
Utah Women in Higher Education, The Art of Possibility: Twelve Best Practices presented by President Deneece Huftalin. This seminar was a good reminder of what we are capable of doing as individuals and as a group. Dr. Huftalin is a dynamic example of positive thinking. The participants at my table professed to be quite negative but practiced seeing the cup as half full.
I will attend Utah Women in Higher Education 2018 in late September. The conference is under the direction of Dr. Susan Madsen of UVU Ethics Department. XXXX
How to Use Your Classroom Data for Your Own Research at SLCC FTLC. Part of our FTLC Courses and one of the best classes I have taken. I took this class because we had begun teaching English 990 which is an integration of reading and writing, and I wanted to evaluate student learning. I was taught how to measure what my students were learning by using the objectives. I also learned how to develop classroom rubrics and create a critical thinking rubric.
Initially I had two semesters of input to access, analyze, and evaluate how well I was teaching my courses by objectives. Using what I learned from this seminar, I now have five semesters of well-established data. This personal research in the form of Exit Interviews, really works effectively to focus on high impact practices.
I presented at TYCA in the fall of 2015. The presentation was titled Teaching Students from Developing Countries. Based on my experiences teaching in African countries, I shared Barriers to Learning: Self-Guided Active Learning Stations, Overview of Strategies and Selected Best Practices, and case studies.
College Learning and Reading Association at Weber State May 2016. A new twist for me was to have a husband –wife team from BYU working on a research study and later a book. They , asked those in the class to send them their findings from a ten question inventory. Their inventory was published in the CRLA fall 2016 edition.
CRLA May 2017 Drop the Mic and Mining Your Course Objectives (see PowerPoints)
Utah Higher Education: What is an Educated Person Conference held October 2016. At this conference I learned how we use general education to link courses in the form of ideas and critical thinking skills. The overlapping, sharing, advancing, and supplementing of ideas really impressed my thinking. The best learning is integrated. Thank you to Dave Hubert for the invitation.
Corporate Alliance As a part of my professional development, I attended the fall 2015 and spring 2016 Corporate Alliance Conferences as a business owner speaking and interfacing with my peers. However, since my major career goal is to prepare students for the workplace, I am immensely interested in what industry leaders think we are doing right and what we need to improve in higher education. I have this conversation with each industry leader I meet.
Corporate Alliance Conference, September 2016. At this conference I had a chance to hear from many industry leaders and decision makers. Since I want to link my teaching with the real world of business and I listen to what top personnel discuss the needs for graduates of higher education. In my teaching I am mindful what I am learning hence, I apply the concept of alignment (specifically, the alignment of course objectives, outcomes, assessments, and activities).
Corporate Alliance 2017. This conference was developed to encourage each participant to examine their talents and abilities. We also studied the art of negation with a well-known exercises in negotiation from Harvard Business School.
Corporate Alliance 2018. I went to Mexico to work at a large orphanage. Children in the facility ranged from newborn to seventeen years old. As in my experience in South Africa, many children are part of the system because their parents are unable to care for them. There is no foster care system in place.
My heart ached. It ached even more when after playing an important soccer game with the older children, we realized their most prized possession of the orphanage was suddenly gone forever. The soccer ball was tucked under the seat in our van and the designated person forgot to return it. Hence the soccer ball end up far away in San Diego.
The larger purpose of this setting was to define who we are: our priorities, goals, and what we are about, and the setting of physical hardship helped me to determine them.
Eighth Annual Rocky Mountain Economic Summit held in Idaho, July 2016. Because I am a teacher and a business owner I attended this forecast meeting because it impacts how I spend time preparing my students for the workplace environment. It is also very helpful to know what we ae doing well as educators and where our weaknesses are. I have a passion for positioning the community college as the core and engine of economic and workforce development, and I will do my part in my courses.
"Writing Our Stories: Supporting Native American Student Writers" September 2018 See power point
Navigating Transitions Finding New Paths, Passions, and Purpose Organized by Utah Women & Leadership Project, Utah Valley University on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. I have attended several of Dr. Susan Madsen’s presentations. She opens doors for women of all ages as the most renowned scholar in our state. I am particularly impressed with her outreach to young women. Her conference this year was designed to teach high school age girls how to assert themselves, set goals and achieve them, and create paths for lifelong learning. The information presented reinforced what I am teaching students in my classes.
Hogan & Sathy: Promoting Equity Through Inclusive Teaching Practices was held in fall 2018 at SLCC. This was one of the best presentations I have been too. I was pleased to recognize that I use many strategies to promote equity in my teaching and in my classroom. I was also surprised that colleagues from other disciplines in my small group didn’t see the need to develop more equity to assist those in their classes. One informal take away for me was to teach my students to use their established array of learning strategies to help themselves in courses such as biology. They must think about their own metacognition and learning in a content area.
Instill a Critical Mindset Dr. Heather Collins is an instructor, biostatistician at Medical University of South Carolina, and postdoctoral researcher in brain imaging. I attended her professional development webinar on the science of critical thinking and how to your help students move beyond just Googling information to thinking analytically. Amen! This was good!!
McGraw-Hill Developmental Education Advisory Board 2011-2017 I participated in regular monthly scheduled conference calls with the product managers of McGraw Hill products for Reading 990 and the transition to IRW. I also evaluated reading pilot projects.
Later I worked with product managers to evaluate McGraw Hill Connect IRW software.
Professional Memberships and Journals
Professional Development and Professional Evidence
Current College Professional Service
Membership and Journals