Faculty and administrators at Truckee Meadows Community College led four professional development sessions at the national conference of The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) that took place from March 12–15 in San Francisco.
Professors and officials who gave presentations at the Conference are the following:
- Barbara Buchanan, PhD, Vice President of Academic Affairs
- Jill Channing, PhD, Dean of Liberal Arts
- Thomas Cardoza, PhD, Humanities Department Chair
- Cheryl Cardoza, Faculty Senate Chair, English Professor
Cathy Brewster, Professional Development Manager, also attended the Innovations Conference in San Francisco. Dr. Channing looked forward to attending and presenting at the Conference with colleagues.
“An important question in higher education is ‘How can we innovate to better student success?’” Channing said. “I think it’s about continuous quality improvement—improving my own leadership and supporting the faculty, encouraging the people I work with to feel empowered in what they do.”
Dr. Channing said that it is important for college professionals to attend national conferences, but also to bring back fresh ideas to their schools.
“I’d like to bring back something to share with colleagues, and at department meetings,” she added.
Thomas Cardoza agreed.
“The energy that I get when people are enthusiastic about an innovation—it’s like traveling in a way—seeing different places is like discovering the different ways that professionals approach problems,” he said. “We often underrate the impact of enthusiasm in education.”
Sessions Cover a Wide Array of Topics
In the summer, Dr. Buchanan led a committee of faculty and staff to form a learning commons model in the Elizabeth Sturm Library. She will be presenting at the Innovations Conference about her work on the project.
The committee traveled to academic libraries in Nevada that demonstrated a learning commons model, and examined best practices for student-centered learning environments. They then collaborated with Library Services, the Tutoring and Learning Center, and Information Technology to create a commons environment at TMCC’s Library that integrates tutoring and supplemental instruction with information literacy and research.
"Let’s Build a Learning Commons" is the title of her session.
“TMCC highlights collaborative efforts to merge tutoring, library services, and information technology in a centralized and visible location,” Dr. Buchanan wrote for the conference program schedule. “We describe challenges and successes, knowing the key benefit is the blending of services into the heart of the institution.”
Dr. Channing presented a workshop entitled "This Is All Your Fault: Coping with high conflict behaviors." Additionally, together with Thomas Cardoza, they will host the session, "Learn (nearly) Everything About Leadership from World Literature."
They will measure the leadership traits using the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) "Leadership Competencies Categories." Masterworks chosen illustrate through a narrative how leaders grew and developed.
“Leaders are human and learn from their decisions,” Channing said. “They become better leaders over time.”
This was Dr. Cardoza’s first conference at The League and he was excited to lead the literature-based mini-course.
“Leading yourself is the first step to leading others,” he said.
Cardoza examined Gilgamesh, the lead character of the Epic of Gilgamesh, a lengthy work from Babylon, believed to be ancient writings brought together and edited by Shin-Leqi-Unninni, with possible additional contributions by Unninni and several other unnamed authors.
“Gilgamesh starts out as a bad leader—arrogant, loud and entitled, engaging in violence for its own sake,” Cardoza said. “When faced with a crisis, he learns to love other people and ends up leaving a legacy of empathy. It’s really a human story, he learns wisdom through adversity.”
Dr. Channing talked about Beowulf, an epic poem thought to have originated in early Germanic culture about 400 as an oral narrative, reworked and supplemented by many authors across the span of six centuries.
“Beowulf is a great example of a leader in world literature because he’s got a lot of confidence and can back that up with intelligence, skills, good communication and altruism,” she said. “He ends up laying down his life for his people. It also emphasizes how being able to communicate is a big part of being a leader.”
Channing, Buchanan and Cheryl Cardoza presented a workshop "Gateway Courses: Success or Else."
Data from research studies confirm that students who take their English and math core classes first are experiencing more success with their later courses. The smaller class sizes that are possible at a community college, and cost-effective tuition, together create a setting for students to be even more successful in completing their core classes.
TMCC has offered some innovative ways to schedule and package core, or gateway, course requirements that have raised student persistence and success toward completing their degrees.
“TMCC has developed multipronged approaches to ensure gateway English and math course completion,” Buchanan and Cardoza wrote for the conference program schedule. “The session covers the College’s successes and strategies for overcoming obstacles.”
The League Is International
The League for Innovation in the Community College was formed in 1968 by B. Lamar Johnson and about 12 U.S. community college and technical college presidents. It is an international nonprofit organization.
It’s mission is to further innovation at two-year higher education institutions, and The League works with corporate partners and a core of college members to publish online resources, conduct research, and host conferences and professional development institutes.