a look at faculty activities at colleges around the nation
Entering college for the first time can be a stressful experience for any student. Alvin Community College (Texas) psychology and sociology instructor Jean Raniseski recently published a new textbook for a course that prepares students for college life. Students in the Psychology 1300 course, an student orientation program, began using the book “College Success: Before, During and After” last fall. Raniseski had been writing the book for more than a year.
Some students are required to take Psychology 1300 course in learning strategies when they first enroll at ACC. The course covers a lot information that college students need to succeed with their education. Some of the topics taught include time management, stress management, financial issues and study skills. ACC statistics from the past five years show students who completed the course have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate from college. Raniseski’s book covers many skills such as testing, taking notes in class, time management and much more. The content is written to appeal to young students and includes engaging material such as puzzles and quizzes. Her primary motivation for writing the book was simply that there wasn’t a textbook on the market that was best-suited for her orientation class. The college has also used several different books in recent years. She is already making changes for an upcoming second edition, which will be available to instructors teaching similar courses at other colleges.
Kimberly Granger, associate professor of mathematics at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, is one of four people statewide selected to serve on the Missouri Department of Higher Education Math Pathways Taskforce Executive Committee. The full taskforce is comprised of one member from every two- year and four-year college or university in Missouri. The members will study how gateway math courses align with a student’s academic course of study. College algebra is the historical requirement for most colleges and universities and became the traditional math course to offer in the 1950s to prepare students for calculus. Today, however, most students are in majors that do not require calculus. The taskforce will look at both gateway courses and prerequisite courses to determine math pathways with relevant and challenging math content aligned to specific areas of study. They will also explore how to better integrate academic support with the curriculum to increase student success. Missouri is one of seven states participating in initiatives to dramatically increase the percentage of students who pass gateway math courses. The initiatives are supported by The Charles A. Dana Center for Mathematics and Science Education and Complete College America, a national nonprofit that works with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees, and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.
Russell Redding will leave his position as Delaware Valley College’s (Pa.) dean of agriculture and environmental sciences to become Pennsylvania’s next secretary of agriculture. Chris Tipping, associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Plant Science, will serve as acting dean. Redding was appointed as DelVal’s dean of agriculture and environmental sciences in February 2011. Prior to that, he served as Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture under Gov. Ed Rendell. In addition to serving as dean, Redding taught classes in the graduate policy studies program and worked with students to start Hope of the Harvest, a community partnership, which uses college land to grow food to fight hunger in the local communities. As dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and a member of the president’s cabinet, Redding provided leadership for all academic-related matters including program development, evaluation, faculty development, strategic planning and budgeting for: agribusiness, animal science, crop science, dairy science, environmental science, equine management, food science, food technology, horticulture, landscape architecture, landscape contracting and management, restaurant and food service management, sustainable agriculture systems and turf management. He also provided administrative oversight of the agricultural production enterprises that support the academic mission, including land and facilities used by agriculture students on main campus, Gemmill Farm and the Roth Center for Sustainable Agriculture.