Engaging Student Opinions Without Imposing Your Views

By Martha Thompson

Having passionate debates is nothing new to any college campus; however, helping students engage in discussions about controversial topics in a way that your own opinion does not shut down the dialogue can be a bit of a challenge in its own right.  Maybe it is the therapist in me or the part of me that has always liked a good debate.  My mom thought I was going to be an attorney.  I enjoy facilitating in class discussions on many topics, including those that have been near and dear to our very own students, such as the protests on campus last year.  In training to become a therapist, one strives to be open, empathetic, authentic and nonjudgmental while clients share everything from the most mundane to bizarre and even horrific stories.  These same qualities help in the classroom when talking about everything from theories to politics and current events. Personally I am a fan of using a few techniques from Drs. Miller and Rollnick, the founders of Motivational Interviewing.

In 1983, the first journal article about Motivational Interviewing (MI) was published in Behavioural Psychotherapy. The research focused on problem drinkers’ motivation to change and resistance to change.  MI has become very popular when investigating all types of motivation, change, and human behavior.  A quick Google search will produce more than three million hits.  I tend to use a few strategies from MI in the classroom when moving the conversation towards controversial topics or in order to increase the depth of a discussion.  The spirit of MI is to be person centered, allowing for very direct challenging without imposing your own values or judgments.

O.  Open ended questions–Asking students to elaborate is a great way to get the ball rolling on any topic. “Tell me what your thoughts are” or “Give me some examples” are two of my favorites. If the students are slow to start, try having them talk to their neighbors or in small groups and come up with an idea or two to share with the whole class.  From there you can ask the class what their thoughts are. This will move the conversation forward and create depth.  It also makes it easy for us to use some of the steps below all while keeping our opinions to ourselves.

A.  Affirm–We all like to hear the words “Good job!” Even a simple head nod or “Tell me more” will show the students you are encouraging them to share.  As a result, you are setting the stage for others to engage when they may not normally speak up.  Affirmations help students to see you are open to their opinions and viewpoints without sharing your thoughts on a topic.  This is especially important when creating a safe space for students to talk about sensitive or controversial topics.

R.  Reframe–Using this technique in class discussions can be tricky.  Our goal is not to change a student’s view or opinion but to help them see many sides of a topic, as well as understanding the breadth and depth of issues.  Instead of pointing out the opposite view when reframing, try asking students to explore other angles or sides of a given argument.  A good follow up here is another open ended question such as “Let’s explore how that would look from the other side” or “How does that apply in the real world?”

S. Summary –  Pulling many ideas together and making meaning out of them can be a challenge in its own way.  Reflecting the ideas of the students by saying things like “What I hear you saying is . . . ” allows for clarification and highlighting of key concepts.  I will at times summarize the key points the class made and then have the students rank them in order of importance or relevancy to the topic at hand.  Using affirmation and open ended questions fits right in line with summarizing their ideas.

Open ended questions, affirmation, reframing, and summarizing–OARS.  The OARS steps are not new to us individually; however, using them together gives us focus and some structure when handling difficult or intense class discussions.  The order does not matter as much as watching how you deliver your messages, ask your questions and prompt the students for follow up.  Remember, when you are up a creek without a paddle or you find yourself having an interesting conversation, you can always remember your OARS.

Miller, W. R. (1983). Motivational interviewing with problem drinkers. Behavioural Psychotherapy, 11(2). 147-172.

The Things That Matter: What a WWI Cartoon Can Teach Us About Assessment

By Kevin Pry

We’ve all had our frustrations with collegiate assessment processes—how to assess, what to assess, when to collect data, what kind of data to collect, how to interpret data collected, and how the hell to find the time to do all these tasks, and in a manner that can lead to practical results. Consultants and other experts tell us assessment is necessary to improve our programs; accrediting organizations and governmental bodies demand that we produce it to justify our methods and our budgets, and administrators swear by it (and, if the truth were known, also swear at it.) Most of us on both sides of the process slog through the  assessment trenches, hoping that by soldiering on our end result will have some lasting effect on our work and institutions, but many of us despair along the way—how can we possibly make our assessment—or our demands for them—worth  the sacrifice of time and energy involved?

I’ve been in the middle of my department’s annual assessment process, going down that long, long trail a-winding while fighting the usual classroom and rehearsal battles to stay effective. In an infrequent moment out of the firing line, I turned for momentary relief to the work of one of my favorite cartoonists, the legendary British WWI artist and infantry officer Bruce Bairnsfather, and ran across this classic darkly humorous take on the way assessment was often conducted in the British Expeditionary Force of the Great War:

cartoon

cartoon-text

Haven’t we all been in Colonel Fitz-Shrapnel’s place? We’re fighting like hell to carry out our primary function, things are going like hell (and sometimes to hell) all around us, and out of seeming nowhere we’re politely invited (notice the word “please” at the opening of G.H.Q.’s “request” for data) to ignore the current difficulties and dangers and carry out an assessment that looks from our dugout in the front lines to be both immaterial and irrelevant.

At the risk of analyzing the comedy right out of  Captain Bairnsfather’s classic squib, let’s wonder why at the height of the bloody fall offensive G.H.Q. may want the information about the tins of raspberry jam* at this particularly inconvenient moment:

  • Could G.H.Q. be checking to make sure that the right supplies are reaching the Colonel and his unit? That sufficient resources are getting to the people who most need them?
  • Is G.H.Q. concerned that important resources are somehow being diverted from where they really need to be going to wasteful and low-priority parts of the front? Is G.H.Q. about to divert our allotment of jam to some other outfit?
  • Are the folks at G.H.Q. under pressure from the War Cabinet to justify the expense of putting lowest-bid contracts out for a variety of jams to ensure that frontline soldiers don’t have their morale undermined by monotonous rations?
  • Is someone at G.H.Q. looking to make up some impressive documentation to prove that their clerkly function is vital to the war effort and thus deserves recognition, reward, and promotion?
  • Does G.H.Q. want to reserve all the raspberry jam for its own use?
  • Is Col. Fitz-Shrapnel’s outfit getting more than their fair share of the raspberry jam?

Some—though not all—of these motivations may be useful and warranted, but from Col. Fitz-Shrapnel’s viewpoint, understandably obscured by the falling debris from his rapidly-disintegrating dugout roof, General Headquarters’ request at this dangerous and busy time is absurd, prompting  these complaints:

  • Who gives these orders, anyway?
  • Who in his outfit has seen any kind of jam except plum-and apple since the start of the bloody war?
  • Why hasn’t the Colonel been told the “why” of this particular data collection? Why the secrecy about for what the data’s being collected? Is there a raspberry-jam procurement scandal that needs to be hushed up?
  • Why is this urgent? Is the jam poisoned/? Contaminated? Are we all about to get dysentery?
  • Why hasn’t anyone up the chain of command given any reason for requiring the information, nor explained how the data might lead to better decision-making and allocation of resources that would directly benefit the Colonel’s outfit—that the Colonel’s battalion might get more raspberry jam?
  • Why has no one up the line bothered to tell the chaps in the front line how raspberry jam fits into the “big picture?”

Denied any context, Colonel Fitz-Shrapnel and his lads will just shake their heads in disbelief at the polite request— and question the motives and sanity of those at G.H.Q.; if the front line fellows survive their current situation or are given some timely support and relief, they might have time to comply with the data collection directive, but without explanations of the relevance of and the use to which the data will be put, why should they be enthusiastic about the task placed before them?

So, what’s the takeaway from Captain Bairnsfather’s minor masterpiece for those of us in the assessment trenches? Open and transparent communications about assessment tasks, communications which keep everyone informed on an equal footing, will go a long way to remove the suspicion the front line has of Headquarters’ motives and will earn G.H.Q. better and more informed cooperation from the folks at the sharp end of things. If we can openly discuss why we want the assessment information and demonstrate how its collection will be used directly to benefit, and not punish, those from whom it is collected, we might just get out of the trenches alive—and end up with more raspberry jam.

*Raspberry jam was very scarce on the Western Front in the first half of WWI.

A Long Walk in Spain: Student, Scholar, Pilgrim

8b-day-2-walking

By Holly Wendt

In early June, I embarked on a ten-day International Faculty Development Seminar titled “Modern Debates along an Ancient Way,” thanks to generous support from Academic Affairs. The seminar centered on the history and culture of the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrimage route that is still very much in use today. I set out on the journey as a scholar seeking material to enrich my courses and to help me develop new ones, but the Camino is accepting of diverse persons and encourages them to accept diverse roles, and so I found myself wearing multiple hats.

The Camino de Santiago—the Way of St. James—has many arms, many long-established routes. The focus of our pilgrimage was the Camino Frances—the French Way. From one of the traditional starting points, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees, the Camino Frances stretches more than five hundred miles across northern Spain on its way to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, a small city in Galicia. Most contemporary pilgrims, absent illness, injury, or side-treks, complete that portion of the Camino in a little more than a month, averaging around twenty-five kilometers per day.

Our route stood much abbreviated; we flew into Madrid, participated in a brief orientation there, and traversed the central portion of the Camino—from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos to León to Ponferrada to Pedrafita do Cebriero to Sarria—by bus, stopping along the way to visit important sites, museums, and churches, and to enjoy evening lectures from experts on the Camino. From Sarria, we began our walk, completing roughly seventy-one of the final one hundred kilometers on foot and entering the holy city beside many pilgrims. But the point of the Camino is not mileage. The point of the Camino is communitas: the spontaneous community created by pilgrimage, regardless of the motivations for beginning the journey.

The explanation of communitas was made most clear by our visit in León with the Association of the Friends of the Camino, an organization of volunteers who help to maintain the Camino and who serve at the public albergues that house and feed a large portion of pilgrims each year. Additionally, the Friends went much out of their way to build a sense of community with us, though we were only with them for an evening, not only sharing information, gifts, and a magnificent spirit of bonhomie, but also an impromptu tour of some of León’s medieval walls and a rooftop view of the cathedral at night. That is the Camino. At each turn, even and especially on the remote, wooded portions of the Camino, where one’s path frequently crossed with other pilgrims’ with whom the only shared language was the ubiquitous buen camino!, there was community. In that, I found myself feeling most like a student, engaging with that learning edge: not walking in silent (easy, comfortable) individual contemplation but interacting such that it was impossible to ignore the stories of fellow pilgrims, even when the story could only be told in a few gestures, an upturn or downturn of the mouth.

In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the inimitable Wife of Bath is among the many famed pilgrims to have traveled the Camino de Santiago, and though the text doesn’t specify whether she went overland or by sea (the traditional Camino Inglés), she visited the shrine of St. James. Fittingly, while I was on the Camino, I was able to view a reliquary of the English St. Thomas Beckett, whose Canterbury Shrine was Chaucer’s pilgrims’ destination. The reliquary was housed in Burgos Cathedral, and I was able to take a photo to bring back to my English Literature I students as clear evidence of the trade and transport of relics and the medieval popularity of pilgrims, but more importantly, I was able to speak a bit about the nature and contemporary relevance of such a journey, even if my own participation was brief.

My own participation, too, was tantalizing, and one of the frankly inevitable outcomes of the seminar is a desire to return, ideally with students in a short-term study abroad course, and encounter the act of pilgrimage again. In the meantime, my IFDS experience has manifested in a variety of scholarly and creative works, including two conference proposals and a short story. The conference proposals, in particular, consider the necessity of engagement with the world—and with the individual self in the world—and how that engagement is both necessary to creating world-ready students and to creating a campus community that can teach and support those students. All of these are things discovered along the Way.

Buen camino!

 

Fact Checking, Not Fear Mongering

By Sally Clark

The issue of “fact checking” exploded in the media before the first presidential debate. The two campaigns vehemently disagreed about whether the debate moderators should fact check the candidates in real time. Janet Brown, the executive director of the commission that organizes the debates, told CNN’s Reliable Sources that it is ultimately up to the “independent, smart journalists” that have been chosen to moderate to decide how to handle it. And yet, the considerable lack of responsible, timely fact checking by the media throughout this election cycle has contributed, in part, to a proliferation of untruths and ratcheted up fear mongering across the nation.

False claims and factually challenged information are not new to politics, as we well know, but we currently seem to be barreling down a misinformation superhighway on a party bus. And it is so easy for us to join the party – see something that feeds into our particular source of outrage, hastily click a share button to send the item to all like-minded “friends” without substantiating the claims, and we are right on board. Mother Jones’ recent article, “The Fear-Hate-Anger Click Machine,” calls it “the reign of the rage-share.” Unfortunately, we have all seen the polarizing impact on public discourse. Public calls for people to fact check before they share have had less than stellar results. For example, the Santa Monica Public Library encouraged people on Facebook to check snopes.com (among other sources) or ask a librarian before posting information. This generated an immediate cynical response about the unreliability of snopes.com. Ironically, the evidence provided to substantiate this statement was a satirical article claiming the CEO of Snopes had been arrested for fraud and corruption.

It is clear that we, as educators who work to facilitate information literacy, can play an essential role in turning around this growing perpetuation of false information. We have the opportunity to help our students directly apply the informational skills they build in our classrooms to the world around them. We can emphasize that finding and considering authoritative sources on all sides of the issue, recognizing authorial bias, requiring factual support and evidence, and applying all the other good tenets of critical reading and thinking, are important to becoming a global citizen. We can remind them of the responsibility that goes with sharing information – we need to be sure of accuracy and truth. In doing so, we can also check ourselves, for the immediate lure of the share button can charm us all.

In addition, our progress with inclusive excellence is reliant upon adherence to informed truth. Diversity of well-informed thought promotes healthy dialogue; fear-mongering diverts and denigrates it. The more we filter out harmful misinformation, the stronger and healthier we will be as a learning community. So, as we navigate these challenging, divisive times, our encouragement of responsible, informed sharing will serve us all well.

Engaging Students in Research

By Courtney Lappas

At LVC, we strive to provide students with an education that does not merely introduce them to vast bodies of information with which they must become familiar, but also endows them with the ability to approach with confidence that which is not yet known.  B.F. Skinner once said that “education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”  Many of the facts, figures, and methodologies that we teach our students will be rapidly forgotten or become obsolete as scientific, technological, and theoretical advances propel our disciplines forward. What cannot be forgotten or become obsolete, however, is the ability to think logically, the capacity to ask and answer significant questions.  These skills are not innate.  They are learned through experience, and a central component of these experiences is the opportunity to conduct original research.  By engaging students in research, we provide them with a vehicle for personal and professional growth–to become “world-ready.”  Many of our students publish peer-reviewed papers with faculty members and present research projects at local, regional, and national conferences. Through these experiences, students learn to be critical thinker who are persistent, resourceful, and objective.

Mentoring undergraduates is not easy.  To the contrary, it is often difficult.  It requires significant time outside of our already heavy teaching load, and may even impede our own scholarly endeavors. It is, however, an integral component of our role as educators, and can be exceedingly rewarding.  I have observed a student beam with pride at a national meeting as he realized that our poster, which bore the LVC logo, was sandwiched between those that bore the emblems of Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health. I have watched a student excitedly rush into my office to show me the journal issue in which our research paper was published.  And I have seen summer research students begin the fall semester with a new found sense of confidence and purpose.

LVC is not unique in its efforts to engage students in research:  liberal arts colleges across the country offer similar opportunities.  This fact does not diminish our efforts, but rather underscores their importance.  The opportunity to participate in research experiences is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity if our students are to be “world-ready,” able to compete in the job and graduate school markets.  If we truly seek to empower students to pursue a life of learning, citizenship, and success, we must continue to teach them.

Leveling the Playing Field by Using Assistive Technology

At the risk of giving away my true age (which a lady never tells by-the-way), I remember saving information to 5 ¼” floppy disks rather than the Cloud, wasting hours playing Pac Man, not Pokémon, and the excitement of beaming information with my PALM Pilot, instead of Instant Messaging.  I’ve always been fascinated with personal devices that could help keep me organized, make my workload less cumbersome, and just simply give me access to information on the fly.  Some days, I’m not sure if having technology so readily available is a curse or cure; but I do know there are devices and applications that I’d find very hard to live without.   I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t use some sort of personalized technology consistently, on a daily basis.  Whether it’s smart phones, GPS apps, or Fitbits, most of us rely on technology to simplify and enhance our fast-paced, social, and informational lifestyles.  Apple coined the phrase, “There’s an app for that” with release of the iPhone 3G in 2009, and now owns those five little words with a U.S. Patent–boasting over $20 Billion in gross revenue from the App Store alone in 2015.

Now imagine having a disability and reliance on those apps and technological gismos is not a choice, but your means to survival.  According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, anywhere from 9-11% of undergraduates served by post-secondary institutions have a disability that significantly impacts the ability to learn.  These are the students who may take twice as long to read a chapter in a textbook, and then have no idea what they’ve read after struggling through each paragraph.  These are the students who take medications for a chronic health impairment that impairs their ability to capture key points from a course lecture.  These are the students whose inability to spell makes writing an essay for their FYE course about as enjoyable as a root canal.

College is the time for these students to prepare for the workplace, where there will likely be no extended time to complete projects, no volunteer note-takers, and no one reminding them of meetings or appointments.  However, assistive technology can take the place of these things—mitigating the effects of the disability and helping students become more independent learners, and later more independent employees.

Students with disabilities can learn how to use assistive technologies such as text-to-speech software that reduces the amount of time to “read” an assigned chapter.  Speech-to-text apps that allow a student with dysgraphia to get his thoughts onto paper.  Voice-over applications that allow a visually impaired student to navigate CANVAS. And even a smart pen, not much larger than a Sharpie, assists a student with ADHD to focus during a lecture while writing, recording audio, and then bookmarking notes for retrieval later while studying.  Each of these items, and many more, do not provide an unfair advantage to students with disabilities, but rather level the playing field where persons with disabilities can compete in today’s world—a world where nearly everyone is already using technology to his or her “advantage.”

At LVC, assistive technology is not just for the disabled community.  Any student, faculty, or staff member has the opportunity to explore assistive technology via short-term loan from our AT Lab housed in the Center for Disability Resources—a place where you can learn more about the technology that is helping our students and maybe even inspire an idea or two to add to your instructional repertoire.

And if you still have a solar powered calculator in your desk drawer—stop by the AT Lab.  We probably have “an app for that.”  If not, I’ll loan you my abacus.

Dr. Dawn Showers is the Director of Disability Resources at Lebanon Valley College  dshowers@lvc.edu

 

Why Global Education Matters at LVC

Global Learning and Engagement

by Treva Clark

Global Learning is a holistic, educational process that develops one’s knowledge about the world, advances one’s curiosity about the world’s diverse cultures, enhances one’s intercultural competencies, and demonstrably embraces the values endorsed by inclusive excellence.  Fully consistent with and inextricably linked to Lebanon Valley College’s (LVC) commitment to deliver a transformative education built on the liberal arts,  global learning is essential to the development of students who think critically and creatively across boundaries, who solve complex problems, who communicate effectively, and who value differences among human beings.

To fully embrace global learning and engagement at LVC, it must be understood that global learning is much more than study abroad, languages, and exchange programs.  While all are necessary components of a comprehensive global learning campus strategy, LVC stakeholders must acknowledge that in order to succeed professionally, students in all disciplines will face mandates to thrive in environments defined by cultural interdependence, diversity, and rapid change.  To fulfill our mission and maintain the health of the institution, both financially and philosophically, LVC must place a new emphasis on the indispensable techniques achieved by understanding multiple global perspectives of the human experience.

Global learning is a process comprised of many parts, players, and variables requiring the intentional coordination of resources aligned with both our institutional goals and the shifting market conditions.  While initiatives have been successfully implemented at LVC in support of global learning across multiple disciplinary and institutional boundaries, the absence of coordinated implementation and disparate programming have limited their effectiveness to transform the institution.  We are now compelled to leverage successful programs that exist at LVC and transform others in order to achieve the outcomes consistent with our re-envisioned future.

As articulated in Envision 2020, LVC is committed to being student-centered, learning-focused, and outcomes-based.  In order to fulfill these promises to our students, faculty, alumni, and the broader campus community, we are obligated to advance global learning and engagement throughout the institution in curricular as well as non-curricular ways, with the assignment of appropriate and sufficient resources, to the pursuit of specifically defined institutional goals and objectives.  Without this, we simply will not prepare our students effectively nor achieve the standards of inclusive excellence we espouse at LVC.

Global learning and engagement is possible at The Valley … but only with a shared commitment to its value, purpose, and benefit as part of the LVC educational experience.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, p.4).

What is mindfulness?

The practice of being mindful involves paying attention to the present moment and being in a non-reactive state—meaning that there is no judgment about the right or wrong ways to feel about the events we are experiencing. When we are mindful, we stay in the present moment without rehashing the past or living in the future. When we pay attention on purpose, we have a “conscious direction of our awareness” in the present (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p.4).

Why does LVC need mindful education?

The current generation of emerging adults (18-29) report high levels of stress, significant levels of anxiety and depression, and a host of physical and mental health problems that range from sleep disturbances to suicidal and self-harm behavior. Additionally, American workers in all fields report a high prevalence of stress-related physical and mental health problems, especially those who face emotionally demanding and challenging circumstances—circumstances that exist in all institutions of higher education (IHE’s).

In the past 20 years, there has been an exponential increase in the appearance of the words “meditation,” “mindfulness” and “yoga” in peer-reviewed journals, many of which demonstrate that mindfulness produces a host of positive outcomes including, but not limited to, reduced stress and negative emotions, reduced depression, improved focus and attention, increased empathy, reduced obesity, and overall enhanced well-being. Benefits of learned mindfulness skills are experienced in as little as 8-weeks of practice; some report overnight relief from a few practices (Ragoonaden, 2015)

Because of the evidence of the far ranging benefits of mindfulness, a growing number of institutions of higher education (IHE’s)  have incorporated a contemplative, secular mindfulness dimension within their curriculum including the University of Virginia, Redlands, Emory, Brown, Rice, Amherst, Smith, Michigan, Naropa, etc.. These IHE’s   incorporate mindful practices throughout the organizational culture.  They recognize that professional success within the high performing culture of the IHE, and the world of work that awaits graduates, demands that we provide the tools for faculty, staff and students to focus on self-care that enhances workplace productivity and well-being.

Presidents Innovation Fund to Introduce Mindfulness to LVC

            During the 2016-2017 academic year, programming will be undertaken to introduce mindfulness into the campus culture. The first phase will primarily target faculty and staff. The goal is to prepare participants to bring mindful education into the classroom and cocurricular environment—phase 2. A second goal of phase one is to enhance faculty and staff work satisfaction and productivity—another byproduct of mindfulness.

To achieve phase 1 goals, friend of the college Michael Carroll, author of Awake at Work (2005) and The Mindful Leader (2008) the will kick-off the effort in mid-September with a keynote event. This event will be followed with both fall and spring CETL workshops as well as a one-day mindfulness retreat.

Although the benefits of mindful practice are well established, successful integration of these practices into the college culture and pedagogy requires a commitment to practice.

Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it (Salzberg, 2010).

All mindfulness programming sponsored by the Presidents Innovation Fund will embody a commitment to practice.  Please join us in the effort to make LVC a more mindful learning community.

References

Carroll, M. (2005).Awake at Work: Facing the Challenges of Life on the Job. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications.

Carroll, M. (2007). The Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation. Boston, MA: Trumpeter Books.

Ragoonaden, K. (2015). Mindful Teaching and Learning: Developing a Pedagogy of Well-Being. New York: Lexington Books.

Salzberg, S (2010). Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation. New York: Workman.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994).Wherever you go, there you are. New York: Hyperion.

 

LVC Welcomes New Faculty

LVC welcomes 14 new faculty and teaching fellows for the 2016 – 2017 academic year. What follows is an introduction to each in his/her own voice.

Rachel Albert, Assistant Professor of Psychology:   I received my PhD in Perception, Cognition, and Developmental Psychology from Cornell University in 2013. I am thrilled to join the faculty here at LVC after 3 years of teaching psychology in Wisconsin.  My teaching interests include child and adolescent development, the psychology of language, general psychology, and research methods.  My research focuses on communication between infants and their caregivers. Specifically, I examine how infants transition from babbling to producing their first words. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy swimming, skiing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and keeping up with my two young sons.

Terrence Alladin, Teaching Fellow, Criminal Justice:  I earned my B.S. at St. Francis College, my M.A. from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and my Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University.  I teach courses in Criminal Justice and Public Policy, including Introduction to Criminal Justice, Research Methods, Statistics, Social Problems, Policy Analysis and Legal Procedures.  My research, focused on issues of incarceration and criminal justice system policy, has appeared in peer-reviewed outlets such as Professional Issues in Criminal Justice and Prison Journal.

Daniel Clark, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology:  I am excited to join the biology faculty at LVC. I taught previously at LVC as an adjunct professor, at Penn State, and at Brigham Young University in Utah. For the last three years, I have studied hepatitis B virus as a post-doctoral fellow at the Penn State Hershey Medical center. Prior to that, I studied the genetic basis of lupus at BYU, where I earned my Ph.D. I enjoy reading, cooking, religion, and encountering new people and ideas. I am a Capricorn and my favorite color is blue. I reside in Hummelstown with my wife and three young boys.

Jaime Fetterow-Alderfer, Teaching Fellow of English:  I am joining the English department at Lebanon Valley College after teaching at Penn State Brandywine for the past 4 years.  I’m a native Floridian and a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism.  I spent close to 10 years as television journalism, including 4 and a half in Harrisburg as the weekend sports anchor/reporter at the CBS affiliate.  I moved to the Philadelphia suburbs after my husband was relocated.  I have a 5-year-old daughter, Alexis, who will start kindergarten this year and who has already declared she wants to be a teacher.  I dabbled in PR and freelance writing before landing in academia.  I hold an M.S. in Mass Media Arts and Journalism from Clarion University.  I have taught newswriting classes and a variety of mass media classes.  I look forward to advising students who write for the La Vie Collegienne.

Eva Goedhart, Visiting Assistant professor of Mathematical Sciences:  I am originally from the Netherlands but spent the majority of my life living in Virginia and Pennsylvania. I am joining LVC after teaching a year at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. I earned my Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. My research focuses mainly on algebraic number theory, but I am always exploring new fun ways to play with Diophantine equations. Outside of mathematics, I love to spend time camping and hiking with my family, crocheting, and cooking amazing locally-grown food.

Valbona Hoxha, Visiting Professor of Biology:  I am a native of Albania. I teach developmental biology, cell and tissue biology, and general biology lab. I am interested in the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that regulate the mating behavior of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

Michael Hadary, Artist-Teacher of Studio Voice and Musical Theatre: I am thrilled to be joining the music faculty at LVC. Currently, I am working on my MFA in musical theatre vocal pedagogy at Penn State under the tutelage of Mary Saunders-Barton and Dr. Norman Spivey. I have completed degrees from NYU (MM) and James Madison University (BM), both in vocal performance. Previously, I had the privilege of teaching full time on the faculty of Valdosta State University in Georgia. I have a wife, Lyndsey and we have a little dog named Knuckles. I grew up in Arlington, Virginia and look forward to meeting the rest of the LVC faculty and staff. Go Flying Dutchmen!

Patrick Jasinski, Visiting Professor of Physics:  Hello, I am the visiting assistant professor of physics for the coming academic year. I have a master’s degree in physics from the University of Delaware, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Drexel University, where my work was in computational neuroscience. Before my current appointment, I was an adjunct professor in the Mathematical Sciences department, and before, that I was a full-time stay at home father for my son Darius, who is now in kindergarten.

Cona Marshall, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies:  I hold a Master’s of Theological Studies and a certificate in Black Church Studies from Vanderbilt University. This theological background complements my doctoral studies at Michigan State University in Black Studies and Cultural Rhetorics, informing my research project “Is God Sexist?: Black Women’s Preaching Rhetoric.” I have taught first-year writing for nine semesters and served on the First-Year Writing Committee. I was on the committee for MSU’s first conference on the responsibility of teachers in the wake of racial violence and was also named this year’s Scholars for the Dream Awardee by the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Andrew Milosz, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy:  I earned an M. Biomech. Engineering degree from the Technical University of Warsaw, Poland; an M.Ph.Ed. from the Physical and Health Education College, Warsaw, Poland; a B.S.PT from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; and a DPT from Arcadia University, Glenside, USA. I am certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (McKenzie Institute International) and Massage Therapy (Canadian Massage Therapists Alliance).

I teach the fundamentals of human anatomy, physiology, and human movement and also assist with differential diagnosis and clinical interventions labs. My research interests include headache prevalence and post lumbar fusion rehabilitation interventions. Clinical practice areas include manual therapy, pain management rehabilitation, and in-patient physical therapy.

Veronica Rodriquez, Teaching Fellow of Spanish: I earned my B.A. in Enseñanza de Lenguas Modernas (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla), M.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures (University of Delaware), M.A. in Spanish Literature (University of Maryland-College Park), and Ph.D. in Spanish (University of Wisconsin-Madison). My doctoral dissertation explores cultural artifacts prepared by a group of privilege indigenous intellectuals in their native language: Nahuatl. Following this line of research, I participated in the recently published anthology Narradores indígenas y mestizos de la época colonial (siglos XVI-XVII), zonas andina y mesoamericana, co-authoring the article “Domingo Francisco de San Antón Muñón Chimalpáhin Cuatlehuanitzin (1579-1660).” In the classroom, I am a dynamic educator who encourages my students to embrace the process and opportunities that come with learning a new language and expanding their cultural understanding.

Theresa Rosenberg (“Terri”), Visiting Assistant Professor of English:  I pursued my love of languages as an undergraduate, culminating in a Bachelor’s degree in Russian Literature at University of California, Irvine (’94). Peace Corps seemed like the obvious next step in my life plan, and I spent two years in Poland (1995-1997) teaching English in a local high school and travelling Eastern Europe.  At that point, I knew I needed more education, and I chose to mesh my love of languages and teaching by completing a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics at Ohio University (‘99). Through the years, I have taught English, ESL, and Linguistics at Ohio University, Michigan State University, Northern State University, and Brevard College. I also spent two years teaching home buyer education for Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing in Ethete, WY. Life finally settled me and my family of five in Central PA.  My husband is a Regional Conservationist for USDA/NRCS in Lebanon, and I have three very active girls (ages 7, 9 and 11).  This year, I will be teaching first year writing courses at LVC including English 111, English 112, and FYE 111.

Elizabeth Sterner, Assistant Professor of Chemistry:  I received my Bachelor’s of Science in chemistry from Creighton University and my Master’s and PhD in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, followed by time as a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  My research specializes in designing and synthesizing new high-performance polymers and understanding how molecular structures give rise to macroscale properties.  I also have extensive experience in community outreach.

Erin Ulrich, Clinical Assistant Professor & Education Coordinator, Athletic Training: I began my career in athletic training at Eastern University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science followed by a Master of Science in Athletic Training from California University of Pennsylvania.  Since becoming an athletic trainer, I have accumulated over 16 years of clinical athletic training experience in various settings including division 2 and 3 colleges, junior college, high school, outpatient clinics and camps.  I provided coverage for the 2000 Men’s Olympic Gymnastics team during their summer training prior to their departure for Sydney.  I have taught in the fields of both athletic training and exercise science at Montgomery County Community College, Waynesburg University and most recently as adjunct faculty in the Physical Therapy program at Lebanon Valley College.  My past and current research includes aquatic therapy, functional movement dysfunction in relationship to injury prevention and the “hot topic” area of concussions.  As Head Athletic Trainer, I collaborated with various departments, committees and students on campus to develop relevant research studies and create new policies and procedures based on current best practice recommendations in order to optimize the student experience at Lebanon Valley College.  I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with colleagues and students in my role of Clinical Education Coordinator of the Athletic Training program.

Bringing Back the Blog

Welcome to the start of the 2016 – 2017 academic year!

Many of you may recall that a few years ago, the Academic Affairs Division published a weekly blog called “Academic Affairs Weekly.”  Last fall, a small advisory group of faculty recommended we return to this practice, giving LVC educators an opportunity to share their insights, expertise, or reflections on matters related to pedagogy, assessment, College initiatives, and contemporary issues affecting our campus and communities. (Of course, we don’t want to limit ourselves to those topics, but they represent some of what we hope to address.)

In addition to this blog, “Faculty Voices,” we have a blog dedicated to faculty scholarship and another for news about faculty engaged in the community.  These blogs will be updated weekly and serve as a vehicle for informing colleagues about what faculty are  doing in their disciplines and communities.

Submissions to “Faculty Voices,” “Faculty Scholarship,” and “Faculty Engaged in the Community” should be made to Ann Damiano, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Submissions are due every Wednesday for the following week.