By CCWeek Staff  /  
2016 October 24 - 04:44 pm

Faculty Lounge

A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation

Brian Rucker, a history professor at Pensacola State College (Fla.), gives a fresh look into the Civil War era and how the war impacted so many lives in his latest book, “Mine Eyes Have Seen: Firsthand Reminiscences of the Civil War in West Florida.” In this 140- page volume, Rucker compiles personal narratives of military and civilian citizens who participated in Civil War activity in the Florida Panhandle. Many of these accounts are eyewitness recollections from people who left behind details not found in the official military records. Historic photographs, sketches and maps in the book also shine light on this tumultuous time in American history and its impact on West Florida. Having authored and edited dozens of books and articles related to West Florida history, Rucker says the inspiration for this publication came about unexpectedly. “While researching another project, I began reading through old Florida newspapers of the late 1800s and early 1900s and discovered a lot of interesting Civil War veterans’ reunions, where the elderly participants began to reminisce about their participation in area battles and military actions,” Rucker explains. “They were presenting fresh details not found in the official military records, and at times offered a more human face to the war. So, I began to collect and edit as many of these accounts as possible, ultimately producing this volume.” Clearly a labor of love, “Mine Eyes Have Seen” holds some stories that are particular favorites for Rucker, such as the section where two people are describing the same battle, but with different viewpoints and interpretations. “There is also a great account of a spy who was captured at Fort Barrancas and hung! But he was cut down at the last moment, survived, and became a preacher.” Rucker relates. “I like the fact that these voices of the past are not major military or civilian figures, but mostly average people who survived a horrendous national upheaval and were able to recall their ordeals many years later.” A PSC alum, Rucker earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of West Florida and a doctoral degree from Florida State University. He joined the PSC faculty in 1996 and is a member of the college’s prestigious Academy of Teaching Excellence.

Community College of Allegheny County (Pa.) adjunct faculty member Bilita McIntosh has been awarded the title of Ms. Pennsylvania Plus America 2016. She will compete for the title of Miss American Beauties Plus Elite Queen at the national pageant in Atlanta, Georgia. McIntosh, a computer science instructor at CCAC North Campus and a CCAC alumna, is dedicating her year of service to promoting her personal platform, “Beauty and Brains, Intelligence is Beautiful.” “With all the negative things going on in our society, I wanted to find a venue to encourage and promote education,” said McIn tosh.

“CCAC helped mold and shape me into a professional and a socially conscious member of society. I hope that students see that if I can reach my dreams and goals, they can, as well.” The Miss American Beauties Plus Pageant recognizes women who are active in their communities, families and careers. The nationally recognized, platform-based pageant is committed to promoting full-figured women who have distinguished themselves through leadership, education, the arts, volunteerism, cultural involvement and advocacy.

Michael Peterson just started his second year teaching math at Las Positas College (Calif.) in Livermore. When he’s not in front of a classroom explaining the concepts of algebra and calculus, he's often seated at a harpsichord practicing for his next concert, for Peterson is also a virtuoso harpsichordist and specialist in early music from the 17th and 18th centuries. “I am continually impressed by the multiple layers of talent demonstrated by the academic staff at Las Positas College, which extends far beyond their ability to teach,” said LPC President Barry Russell. “Michael Peterson is yet another example of this and we are very pleased to have him on our staff.”

Peterson's interest in the harpsichord was launched more than 15 years ago, when the then-teenager tried out his piano instructor's harpsichord, a stringed keyboard instrument in which the strings are plucked to produce sound. It dates back to the early Renaissance period in Europe and was widely popular from the 16th to the early 19th century, until it was replaced by the piano. The harpsichord was revived in the 1990s for the performance of music by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as some contemporary pieces. Peterson pursued his love of the instrument and graduated with honors in harpsichord performance from Stanford University under the tutelage of Elaine Thornburgh, a celebrated American keyboardist. He went on to receive a diploma from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he studied harpsichord with Dutch keyboardist and conductor Jacques Ogg and basso continuo with harpsichordist, organist and conductor Patrick Ayrton. Peterson's personal harpsichord was made in Amsterdam.

“It was constructed in 2014 and shipped to California as cargo on a KLM flight,” says Peterson. “It's a large harpsichord that's sometimes difficult to transport for concerts, but is otherwise a real pleasure to have and play.”

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