Archive for the ‘faculty’ Category

Child's Play

Kevin Grass
Child’s Play, 2013
Acrylic on panel, 60 x 44 in.

The new exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art celebrates the creative and wide-ranging talents and accomplishments of the St. Petersburg College art faculty.

The show demonstrates the commitment and dedication of the arts faculty to art education while also displaying high standards for their own artistic development.

One work in the exhibition showcases faculty members in another way. The painting Child’s Play by Kevin Grass, show here, features images of arts faculty members from the Clearwater Campus: Jonathan Barnes (on the ladder), Kim Kirchman (in the swing) and Frank Duffy (in the blue shirt). Kevin Grass’ wife Michaela Oberlaender (in the tree) teaches art history classes at the college.

The exhibition opened the week of March 6 and continues through April 20.

The exhibition features works by full-time art faculty members Jonathan Barnes, Barton Gilmore, Kevin Grass, Marjorie Greene and Kimberly Kirchman.

Participating adjunct faculty are Linda Berghoff, Frank Duffy, Ya La’Ford, Francesco Gillia, Barbara Hubbard, Elizabeth Indianos, Susan Johnson, Chris Otten, Rebecca Skelton, McKenzie Smith and Joseph Weinzettle.

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RajaramDr. Lakshminarayan Rajaram, a math professor on the St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs Campus, recently received a prestigious Hind Rattan Award for 2014 in recognition of his outstanding teaching/research services globally and achievements in the fields of biostatistics, mathematics and public health.

This award is given to distinguished non-resident Indians who have made exceptional contributions to society through their achievements in their respective fields. This honor is bestowed by the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) Society of India, an organization under the umbrella of the Government of India.

Dr. Rajaram was one of the 25 recipients selected from the worldwide Indian diaspora by an advisory board that includes former Prime Minister of India. He received the award from the Central Minister Tariq Anwar at a gala ceremony during the 33rd International Congress of NRIs in the historic Ashok Hotel on the eve of Republic Day in New Delhi. Dr. Rajaram also participated in the Republic Day parade celebrations as a special guest of the NRI diaspora.

As an invited faculty and a keynote speaker, Dr. Rajaram teaches highly intense courses and workshops in research methods, clinical research and statistical methodologies as applied to clinical and public health research in countries such as China, Ecuador, India, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and West Africa.

Before coming to SPC in 2000, Dr. Rajaram worked as a biostatistician in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, in the Clinical Research Division of a pharmaceutical company, and the Institute of Aging at the University of South Florida.

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In a report from WFLA.com, SPC Professor Adrian Tillman, a practicing software engineer, shared information about how cell phones can be tracking where users have been without them knowing it.

“We live in an information society now and information is everywhere,” Tillman said in a the report. “It’s a beautiful thing, but at the same time you have the gift and you have the curse.”

Tillman, who is at the Tarpon Springs Campus, teaches classes in computer and information technology and has been developing large scale software systems across many different industries and platforms for the last 10 years, according to his faculty page.

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Dr. Jennifer Haber, SPC Communications FacultySt. Petersburg College communications professor Dr. Jennifer Haber received a national award for using social media and technology to engage her students.

Haber is the 2013 recipient of Crestron’s Summum Bonum Award. Latin for “the highest good,” the national award is presented to teachers with a track record of improving student achievement and making a difference in the lives of their students.

A national provider of classroom equipment, Crestron will present Haber with a plaque and a check for $2,000 at an event on the Tarpon Springs Campus on Jan. 15, 2014.

“Technology is everywhere and evolves constantly,” Haber said. “As educators it’s important that we keep trying new technologies that can help our students be better learners.”

Haber finds time to learn about and test new technologies by utilizing the resources and expertise her campus Instructional Design Technologist (IDT) provides.

“Jennifer is always reaching out to explore new ways to solve challenges with technology,” said Karen Hesting, Tarpon Springs IDT. “She is not just adding technology to make her course shiny. She is doing it to help her students succeed.”

Each term she picks one or two new technologies to learn about and decide if they will help her students be more successful. This term it was Facebook groups and ANGEL rubrics.

Facebook Groups

FacebookOn Facebook, students not only are responding, but also are initiating conversations on content and reaching out to her and other students.

“It’s not about being complicated or overly techie but about knowing your audience and learning how to communicate with this generation where they are at,” she said. “I login to ANGEL maybe once a day to check for student communications. Facebook notices on my phone are an ongoing conversation with my students. I want them to know I am available. It’s not like I respond instantly all the time. But when I can and it matters – I do.”

Dr. Jennifer Haber Facebook conversation

Sample Facebook Group conversation with students.

ANGEL Rubrics

ANGEL 8 includes a grading rubric that connects to drop boxes, discussion forums, and essay type assessment questions. Check out a recent Technology Project and the Rubric developed for the assignment.

Top Tech Tools

Here are a few of Haber’s top technology and social media picks and how she uses them:
Top Tech Tools

  1. ANGEL rubrics – for grading
  2. Google Voice – for communication
  3. Facebook – for discussion
  4. Twitter – for content/readings
  5. SnagIt – for paper review
  6. Turnitin – for paper review and plagiarism detection
  7. YouTube – for content
  8. Camtasia – for content

WITS Blog Resources

Awards and conferences

In addition to the recent Crestron award, Haber also received the CETL Critical Thinking Grant (2012) and Travel Grant (2013). Funds from the travel grant were used to present at the Sloan Blended Learning Conference in July 2013 in Milwaukee, WI. She also attended the Campus Technology conference this summer in Boston.


Dr. Jennifer Haber has been teaching at SPC for 15 years, full-time for the last 12. Her educational background is in teaching and technology. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in English from the University of Florida and University of Central Florida respectively. Her Ph.D. is in Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. At home, she is a soccer mom with two children ages 8 and 11. She loves to travel with her husband and children and has a goal for her children to visit all 50 states.

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Lauri KingLaurie King, ethics professor at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus, recently placed fifth in the 2013 USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals Time Trials. In the world of cycling time trials, this is a prestigious race for the best in the nation.

King started out mountain biking and moved into time trial riding a few years ago.

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The college honored nine professors emeriti at its fall faculty event on Aug. 15, the Tampa Bay Times reported. “We are the inheritors of a lot of community goodwill, a strong reputation and professional respect, and it comes from the people we are thanking here,” President Bill Law said in his keynote address, the article reported.

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Linda Yakle

Humanities professor Linda Yakle three times has walked El Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain. This summer, she taught her online humanities class as she made the 500-mile trek, bringing the experience directly to her students.

Here, she shares some of her experience and why she thinks such projects are important to expose SPC students to the greater world.

In Her Own Words: Linda Yakle

I first traveled the Way of St. James, or the Camino as it is called, in the year 2000. If you have seen the film The Way, this is the pilgrimage route portrayed in that 2011 film. The route began as a sacred journey in the Middle Ages and continues to be popular today for travelers from across the globe.

First Camino pilgrimage
Date: 2000
Distance: 300 miles

I had been talking about it in my humanities courses for years and thought it was about time that I saw it firsthand. I also wanted to do something special for the turn of the millennium, and I could think of nothing better than walking across Spain. In 2000, I traveled with a friend and started in Burgos, Spain, giving me a 300-mile walk. The experience transformed me, and I vowed to return again every 10 years.

Second Camino pilgrimage
Date: May 2011
Distance: 500 miles

So, in 2011, I made my second pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, the final destination on the Camino. This time it was to celebrate a landmark birthday. I traveled with Robin Jensen, one of our SPC speech faculty, and my best friend from graduate school, Casey Blanton, who also teaches humanities at Daytona State College. We started in Roncevalles, a traditional beginning point in the Pyrenees. Robin and Casey had obligations which required that they leave the Camino near Burgos, but I walked on alone for the remaining 300 miles, covering 500 miles in about six weeks.

An opportunity to bring the Camino to the classroom

When we returned home, Robin Jensen and I learned of a teaching grant sponsored by SPC’s Faculty Governance Organization. We applied with a proposal to bring the Camino to our courses by traveling it in summer 2013 while we taught. We won! Later Robin had to drop out, but my professor friend from Daytona joined me.

Third Camino Pilgrimage
Date: May-June 2013
Distance: 500 miles

We departed from Burgos on May 14. It would take us over three weeks to go from Burgos to Santiago.

Pilgrims set out on this journey for various reasons: religious, more broadly spiritual, psychological, cultural, physical. In the cafes and the hostels, other pilgrims will ask why you are traveling the Camino. I always struggle with the answer.

I started my first pilgrimage as a humanities teacher who wanted to see all the sites of the Middle Ages and who wanted to walk in the footsteps of pilgrims a thousand years ago. But after walking 11 -14 miles for 30 days, every day, carrying a 20-pound pack on your back, it’s nearly impossible not to be touched by the experience in other profound ways.

And now that I am older, I find that I also do it as a sort of physical challenge, like so many baby boomers, to try to deny the inevitable aging and prove that I can keep going with the best of them.

My immediate goal was to bring all those experiences as best I could to the SPC students enrolled in my online Western Humanities I course. I know from my classroom experience that the idea of the Camino is very engaging to students. I hoped to transfer my own enthusiasm for the Camino to the learning process by sharing the cultural and personal experience of the Camino through online photographs, blogs, videos, discussions and chats.

It wasn’t always easy, particularly working with the technology from a backpack in rural settings. But in the end, I think both the students and I had a wonderful experience, as we witnessed cultural history together on the ground in its original settings rather than through texts.

I also wanted to spark an interest in international travel for our students and encourage them to travel, maybe even with one of our international education programs. To that end, I personalized the course quite a bit, sharing not just humanities-related material but my personal experiences as well, sharing everything from photos of my food to videos of us walking down the actual pathways.

The enthusiastic reaction to the actual travel experience far exceeded my expectations. I learned that our students long to leave the classroom, to explore the world, to experience learning first hand.

This summer, Dr. Law, who has been a pilgrim on the Camino himself, made possible a highlight of the trip for both me and the students. At the top of one of the mountain passes, Cruz de Fero, pilgrims leave a small stone or other object of personal significance in thanks and in tribute, as travelers have done at this site since ancient times. Today, the number of stones has created a small hill topped by an iron cross. Before I left, Dr. Law sent me a small SPC pin, which I left at the top of the hill on behalf of myself and my students.

There are many ways to do the Camino. As pilgrims say daily, “Everyone walks his own Camino.” I choose to carry everything I will need in a backpack, walk between 11 and 14 miles a day and stay most nights in hostels for pilgrims called albergues. Many pilgrims walk much more than this daily, closer to 18 miles a day. Some pilgrims book pensions and hotels along the way rather than staying in hostels. Some have their packs shipped ahead. It’s the journey and not the process that counts.

This won’t be my last Camino. I am already thinking of my next route. Maybe one day, my students will be able to make the journey, too.

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About 800 faculty and staff members kicked off the new academic year at St. Petersburg College’s annual Fall Faculty at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg Aug. 15.

This year’s theme, World of Opportunities, highlighted the college’s efforts to bring more global experiences to students both in the classroom and beyond.

See a photo gallery of the event’s activities on the college’s Facebook page.

The program included updates from Faculty Governance Organization president Rich Mercadante and from Eric Carver, lead faculty associate for the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

New faculty members and those who have received continuing contracts also were introduced and recognized, along with the winners of the League of Innovation Excellence Award.

Faculty accomplishments from the year and instances of global engagement also were listed. Read the entire 2013 Fall Faculty program.

Stories below highlight the 2013 Professors Emeriti, global initiatives and SPC President Bill Law’s keynote address.

Watch the entire video of Fall Faculty.

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St. Petersburg College honored nine Professors Emeriti for their contributions to the college at the Aug. 15 Fall Faculty event. Read their stories and share your congratulations on our SPC Faculty blog.

“We are the inheritors of a lot of community goodwill, a strong reputation and professional respect and it comes from the people we are thanking here,” said President Bill Law in his keynote address. “Many of you will have your turn, hopefully later rather than sooner, and we thank you very much.”

The Professors Emeriti for 2013 are:

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The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art honors the innovative work of St. Petersburg College educators from various academic departments who collaborate with the museum to enhance students’ learning experiences through the arts. The following is excerpted from a recent exchange with Juan Flores, Associate Professor of Communications at SPC.

LRMA: Juan, please share with our members how you first began working with LRMA and what this experience has been like for you as an educator.

JF: I teach English as well as Developmental Writing. Writers need a concrete topic from which to work deeper, more abstract thoughts. Study any of the works from the great writers and you’ll note the deeper, more abstract and philosophical thoughts made their way from visual, tangible topics – people, places and things – though all are characteristically molded from the deep stuff, the deeper matters of life.

When I first walked into the Leepa- Rattner Museum of Art, I knew I had a means for teaching writing. Art – visual, tangible Art (with a capital A) is like
this: It is a perfect medium for teaching writing. An Art piece has a creator, it has
a history, it has theme, direction, color, form, shape, drama, irony, even rising and falling action; moreover, it is a conduit for revelatory thinking – highly interpretive, spiritually and dynamically crystalline in sensation. LRMA – on a college campus – is nothing less than a host of these ideas.

You want deep, thinking in student essays? Then begin with the concrete stuff that really matters, and that comes from visual, tangible Art. Students want to write about deep stuff; they want to expand. They just need a special place and the accoutrements for doing it!

LRMA: Give us an example of how you utilize museum resources in your classes.

JF: Students work and write out a basic description of their selected art. That’s basic, but from there research begins. Students do historical, biographical, and even some focused study on the particular genre of art from which their piece comes. From knowledge concerning historical and biographical background, students then begin to single out a theme that the art piece possesses. This means that students will identify and synthesize certain abstract and concrete symbols within the painting or sculpture — often coming from its historic context. This also includes any ironic use of contrasting colors and images. This teaches students that various forms of art — whether visual or literary — are quite nearly the same. From that vantage point, I can more easily move into the interpretation of literature; hence, we move from the concrete to the abstract.

LRMA: The development of critical thinking skills is considered an essential component of a complete education. How does the museum experience contribute to the development of these skills?

JF: I always thought it interesting that the word critical is rooted in the Greek “kritike” and how wonderful that our students are coming to understand this concept, within a Greek community where our campus is situated. To critique means to analyze and to appreciate (something) for the mechanical and spiritual values it possesses. To critique means that one must approach the topic as if approaching a mountain or a gust of wind—to feel it and understand it means you have to stand there, be there right with it! To employ the skill of kritike means that a student must conjure up his/ her ability to distinguish, discriminate, separate and analyze. Michael Polanyi, a great philosopher, chemist and writer once wrote, “We cannot understand the whole by simply viewing its parts, but by viewing the whole we can understand the use of its parts.” Art at LRMA embodies that thought. The experience is both inductive and deductive. That’s critical thinking!

LRMA: You were among a group of our teaching partners who were invited to meet with representatives of the American Alliance of Museums during a recent site visit at the museum. What were you most proud to share with the visiting team about the work you and your students have done at the museum?

JF: With help from my department, I put together a compilation of student essays from one semester—probably over a hundred pieces that were bound and ready for AAM’s look-see. What I was most proud of was the passion and meaning-making that our students showed in the renditions of their selected pieces.

LRMA: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

JF: LRMA is a wonderful place for learning: large, spacious rooms incredibly loaded with the stuff of sensation and impression, boards for chalking and talking provided, books, and teaching docents. It is, quite literally, what a learning environment should be.

The museum offers a membership program. Learn more about membership levels and benefits on LRMA’s website.

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