Tag Archives: community college

My electronic portfolio

Holy cow, this was a lot of work.

Thanks to all who sent along testimonials to my service. Really, really helpful.

It’s done.

And you can read it here if you like. I cannot imagine why you would unless, like my dean, you have to. But you can. Comments welcome.

Wish me luck.


I need your help

OK, I know this is a strange request. But help me out here.

I teach at a community college. Pretty much everything about being at a community college is halfway between K-12 schools and four-year state institutions. The teaching load, the expectations of academic freedom and important to this request, the tenure process.

Finishing up my third year, I am exiting my “probationary period”. To complete this process, I need to assemble a portfolio. The specs on this portfolio are pretty loosey goosey. My dean (brand spankin’ new) is open to an electronic portfolio that demonstrates (1) teaching effectiveness, (2) professional development and (3) service. So I’m doing that, rather than a bunch of paperwork.

And for service, I want to make the case for service through engagement with the larger community (rather than through claiming to have sat on a bunch of school committees, which frankly I have not done).

And I believe a compelling case could be made by a collection of short testimonials. This is where you come in.

If I have written, said or asked something that had an effect on your classroom practice, would you please state that briefly and specifically and get it to me by email? mathematics (d0t) csd (you know what symbol goes here) gmail (dot) com.

I imagine a collection of these will be persuasive, no matter how small the impact is for any individual. I imagine that if I can get a dozen of these, themes will emerge and I can take it from there.

I plan to copy and paste—editing for grammar, spelling and punctuation, but not for content—and then provide some commentary around the collection.

I am not above the practice of twisting arms, but please don’t make me do that. If something springs to mind, shoot that email (or heck, I can even work with a tweet!) now.

It will even (especially?) be helpful if we have never met in person. Or if you have never commented on my blog. Maybe I don’t even know you exist (but probably I do).

Thanks in advance.


Whoa there!

This just in from the Sweeping Generalizations Division here at OMT. On a recent  Minnesota Public Radio show,

[S]cholar Susan Jacoby, said it isn’t right to say people are either college educated or not because a lot of people have some college experience, likely from a community college, but they never finished their degree. “One of the things we’re leaving out here is that we’re a country in which a majority of people are not four-year college graduates,” she said. “One of the things you have is a big middle, that’s gone for a year or two of very bad community colleges. That, while they might prepare you for a job or they may not, you’re not learning very much in them.”

I picked this up from the website summary. I’ll need to listen to the feed, but this last bit appears to be a claim wholly unsubstantiated by evidence. Must the opposite of anti-intellectualism be snobbery?

Addendum: If these issues are close to your heart (as they are mine), it’s worth the seven minutes of audio linked below. In particular, graduation rates (and other measures of success) at community colleges come into the conversation. This got me thinking about the fact that community colleges, by definition, have open enrollment policies. A huge part (but not all) of the population attending community colleges consists of students who would not be admitted to a standard 4-year state institution. In what sense is it fair, then, to compare graduation rates at community colleges to those at 4-year institutions? We certainly should have some measures to understand whether community colleges are being successful, and whether they are improving. But the idea that graduation rates at community colleges should be in any way comparable to those of 4-year institutions is silly. And when those rates are substantially lower, it is absurd to offer this as evidence that the education being offered at a community college is subpar. Such claims can be rephrased this way: Students at community colleges are failing at courses the four-year universities wouldn’t let them take. We give students a shot; you reject them. How is this evidence of subpar education?

7-minute follow up conversation on MPR