Congratulations to the seven St. Petersburg College faculty members chosen to receive the 2014 John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards from the League for Innovation in the Community College.
The awards will be presented at the Innovations 2015 conference in Boston in March.
The League is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. It hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities.
The 2014 St. Petersburg College award winners are:
Michael R. Gordon
Outstanding Student Engagement (On-Campus or Blended)
Michael Gordon serves as associate professor in the College of Computer and Information Technology. In response to a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor to help the long-term unemployed gain employment, Gordon designed a blended Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate program that can be completed in just one semester – half the time it normally takes to complete the program. The blended format allows the vast majority of in-class time to be devoted to hands-on lab work.
Results have been outstanding, with 80 percent of the first cohort completing the program successfully and 86 percent of these students passing the CCNA exam on their first attempt. Beyond just academic accomplishment, many cohort members have gone on to find employment with local companies like Tech Data, American Computer Telecom, YMCA, NetWolves, Vology and Cisco Systems.
Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib
From left: Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib
Outstanding Student Engagement – Online
Cynthia Grey and Wendy Rib, professors of Veterinary Technology, collaborated to restructure the curriculum for the college’s online bachelor’s degree program in veterinary technology. During this process, Grey and Rib identified a need for a capstone course that spanned two semesters instead of one, and worked together to implement engaging online learning techniques to create a more individualized, learner-centered experience to improve learner outcomes and increase student success. An interactive activity implemented in the capstone courses is the use of the collaborative technology of WebEx, affording capstone students the ability to share their newly created knowledge in a synchronous online environment. To increase engagement, learners attend at least two presentations besides their own and actively participate in a question and answer period.
Other activities incorporated into the capstone experience are the out-of-class mentors and peer champions. Students contract with a mentor outside of the course whom they have identified as having specific skills that will help them successfully complete their senior project. For peer champions, classmates volunteer to support, encourage, and act as a resource for at least one other classmate’s project.
Students also receive individualized guidance from their professors. Both Rib and Grey spend time consulting with each student, usually by telephone, on their progress throughout capstone journey.
Excellence in Student Coaching and Support
Ray Menard serves as associate professor of Natural Science and has worked to help develop students’ technical skills in microbiology research for about seven years. Students visit the lab on their own time to learn the theory behind the techniques they use and gain hands-on experience in performing the experiments that make them successful and better prepared for the workforce. They develop critical thinking skills, learn to work individually and in groups, and also learn about science in a low pressure environment.
Through his coaching and support, students have investigated how spices inhibit microbial growth, and isolated an antibiotic-producing microbe that was identified as being Bacillus clausii. They have performed several molecular and biochemical analyses, and have isolated and characterized both DNA and proteins. The students have acquired good sterile techniques, are able to successfully culture microbes, and also have learned how to analyze the data and format figures and graphs.
Menard’s work with students also provides out-of-class support. In addition to being available to students in his classes to help with research, he also is available to help them with their other science classes. An unexpected benefit is that the students also help each other through questions they have regarding their classes.
Therezita K. Ortiz
Innovation in the Use of Technology
Therezita K. Ortiz serves as professor in the College of Computer and Information Technology and has been a full-time faculty member at St. Petersburg College since 1999. As of Fall 2014, she has taught more than 165 online courses, including Microcomputer Applications, Operating System Security, and Ethical Hacking, Network Defense and Countermeasures. She also has developed courses for traditional, blended and online formats.
Ortiz was the first in CCIT to implement the use of virtual machines for students in her courses. She also implemented the use of LABSIM, a web-based tool that created real-world, high-fidelity lab simulations, for networking, operating systems, Linux and security-related courses. Her use of multiple online communication resources like showmewhatswrong.com has allowed her to generate step-by-step video tutorials as she provides assistance to her students by walking them through particular tasks. This tool also enables the student to generate videos of what they are doing – right down to their key strokes as they work on assignments and projects. This capability is an asset to any learning environment, especially if it is online..
Ortiz holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has held Microsoft certificates and is CompTIA Network+ certified.
Innovative Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching and Learning
Anthony Valentine, instructor of Communications, teaches communication and theater courses at St. Petersburg College. Valentine has more than 30 years’ experience as a professional actor and as an acting coach, including appearances on Days of Our Lives, Miami Vice, Night Court, Cybill and Murder, She Wrote, in addition to numerous professional plays.
He incorporates his professional performance experience into his speech courses by demonstrating to students how speaking in public is a form of performance that is similar to acting onstage. His acting experience helps students with both the performance and the business sides of theater and film, and his research includes acting for the camera based on a model of interpersonal communication, public speaking as performance, and teaching diversity in the classroom.
Valentine holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, a master’s degree in communication/performance and a doctorate in fine art/theatre. He currently teaches Introduction to Speech Communication, Public Speaking, Introduction to Theatre Arts, and Acting for the stage and for the camera.
James A. Wallis
Innovation in the Use of Technology
James Wallis, professor of Natural Science, teaches at the Tarpon Springs Campus. His research background is in the development of science-oriented virtual field trips. His interest lies in developing multimedia presentations that provide virtual experiences that are comparable to those of students who physically access natural habitats, when it is not possible to visit those locations.
Many of the students attending St. Petersburg College cannot attend field trips due to restrictions on their time, such as taking night classes or traveling to locations that are a great distance from the college. Students often are place-bound with respect to engaging in activities, such as field trips, that may enhance the educational experience in the sciences. As an alternative, Professor Wallis has developed a repository of completed virtual field trips (VFTs), videos and images to be used to develop multimedia presentations to support classroom instruction. The images have been collected during trips throughout Florida, Belize and Costa Rica. The repository includes a collection of images that are focused on topics in natural science and ecology. Images are sorted into groupings for quick reference, such as tropical species, reefs, aquatic species, and images of students engaged in science-related activities.
Many of the visuals collected were the result of a grant from the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning to purchase materials needed to develop virtual field trips. They have been housed on Dropbox to allow access to the materials by other instructors who are interested in developing lessons that need relevant visual support. All materials are freely available for use by other SPC instructors to develop classroom support materials. This provides open access to a growing collection of images and video covering various topics. To date, 700 images and videos are available for use in developing classroom materials by interested SPC instructors.
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