Vice President Ron Natale
Gaucho Gazette > September 2011 > Academic Affairs
Faculty Foster Student SuccessGCC fosters student success is more than a slogan. It is a vision, an aspiration and a goal at Glendale Community College. For me, fostering student success is more than a goal of my position as vice president; it is a very personal endeavor. My success, like the institution’s, is a direct result of our students’ achievements. As a classroom teacher, the successes of my students were associated with individuals. Now, as an administrator, success is presented in an aggregate. So, while I am no longer in the classroom, I still exert influence through the selection and support of faculty.
The faculty of a school has significant impact on the success of students. Everything from the attitudes of teachers to the overall school climate can affect students in conscious and subconscious ways. A positive effect in a school that houses an overall positive attitude may be seen in increasing test scores and in better student attendance. Faculty has a large impact on student success via this climate. Climate is the overall feel or temperature of a school that is a summation of the faculty, students and overall environment. If the staff has a general positive outlook and experience, then that will be conveyed throughout the school. The faculty selected must be passionate about what they do and be able to communicate lessons outside of the normal school day. Great teachers leave a lasting impression on their students and, in some cases, even give students lifelong hobbies and careers. It is the faculty of a school that makes or breaks the clubs and other extracurricular activities, which are integral to student success. Students learn valuable tools, techniques and talents outside the classroom as they participate in everything from Amnesty International to Young Life. I would have mentioned clubs A to Z but we don’t have one that begins with the letter “Z.”
Excuse me for dropping academic titles while I introduce you to the new faculty at GCC this semester. In the Art department, Esmeralda Delaney is teaching ceramics. Esmeralda isn’t new in the sense of never having taught at GCC; she’s been in the department for one-year and one-semester contracts. Last week, she hosted the artists from Mata Ortiz.
Loren Schwarzwalter and Celeste Walls really are new to the college and are teaching Communication classes. If hiring faculty were a game show, then I suggest Counseling made it to the bonus round. Some of you might say that these aren’t new faces and you’d be right. I’ve heard some say Melinda Ornelas has been here forever, yet this is her first year as a residential faculty member. Laura Dodrill just completed a One-Year-Only counseling assignment and Lindra Fishleder didn’t need to move. Now, she just drives to Glendale instead of Scottsdale every day. It’s just my opinion, but I think she’ll like being here. Cindy Ortega is a transfer to Glendale, too, and joins former adjunct professor Gina Desai in the English/Reading department. If you don’t already know Librarian Dede Elrobeh, then you may want to make a quick visit to the library. She was there all of last year.
At the beginning of this hiring process, the math department had a position left unfilled from last year and a significant number of new positions for this year. So, after an extensive and exhausting process, Janell D'Mura, Kristen Jaskie, Brian Karasek and Josh Whitney were selected to join the math team.
My final interview before classes started was Rachael (Shelly) Jenkins for the Nursing program. You may have to visit her during the FYRE meetings because once the nursing folks get involved in lectures and clinical, we don’t see much of them.
The guy with the best name is Keith “Kilo” Watt, who teaches astronomy in the Physical Sciences department. I wonder if his wife is “Mega” Watt…Okay, that’s silly.
Ilder Betancourt Lopez is also a transfer from EMCC but not a faculty transfer, instead from College Research Services. Trish Lavigne is another Psychology hire who is a One –Year –Only, as well. According to one of her students, “She is informative, interesting, smart, and friendly.”
Now, I have to be careful what I say about Administration of Justice professor Jeffeory Hynes. He’s a police commander with the Phoenix Police Department and his associates may realize I sometimes talk on my cell while driving. Really, Jeffeory, this is a very rare occurrence - it maybe happened once.
Another adjunct hired into a full-time position is Aubrei Smith who teaches history and may share what she did over the summer when you see her. She was really quite busy. Also in the Social Science department, Lori Walk is being shared to teach Education and Reading courses. She seems very much up to the task. I didn’t ask her if she preferred Mary Jane or Hannes and I’m sure she would never say.
Finally, Laura Avila returns to a position with which she is very familiar -- teaching nutrition in the Technology and Consumer Sciences department. I noticed quite a bit of hugging the day she returned.
This year, I participated in the selection of 21 new residential faculty. I have already explained to them that they made it through the screening process because they are brilliant, engaging and remarkably attractive. But, that’s not what separated them from the other one thousand applicants. After all, several hundred other candidates were equally as brilliant, engaging and attractive. The final criteria included a desire to be at Glendale Community College, a desire to contribute to student success beyond the classroom and a desire to contribute to the greater college community. There are high expectations for this new group of residential faculty and, with the support we are able to provide, we hope for long successful careers.
Perhaps for the next edition of the Gaucho Gazette, the department chairs will introduce the 33 One-Year-Only and One-Semester-Only faculty who are also contributing to student success this year. – submitted by Vice President of Academic Affairs Ron Natale
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