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The top stories for 2018
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Wow – 2017 was full of big headlines. Lots of change, and these developments are going to only expand in 2018. Here are the stories that your professors will be talking about in 2018: Donald Trump
Love him or hate him, Trump has made it to his one-year anniversary as president in January 2018. And the Commander in Tweet has put a lot of ideas out there, some coming to fruition, some merely causing controversy or at least conversation. Midterm Elections
In 2018, look for Trump to continue with some of the big ideas he
had put forward in 2017, but he also needs to be more diplomatic. There are midterm elections for Congress and Trump’s Republicans can lose some seats. The Roy Moore
upset loss in Alabama this past December proves that a Trump endorsement on its own doesn’t help a candidate – even in a Red State.
Should you rely on RateMyProfessor? ON DATING
Prof. Robert Cutrera Campus News
This time of year, college students across America plan their schedules. A few serious considerations play a big role in their final decisions: Does this course fit into my major plan? Will I be able to graduate on time if I take this class? And how good is the professor? This last question is often answered by a website called Rate
My Professor, a very useful resource allowing students to analyze their peers’ comments and critiques about a prospective professor. Any student is permitted to contribute to a professor’s profile, whether they are an officially registered member or not, and the interface is user friendly, so you’ll have little trouble finding your school and the professor you’re searching for within a minute. Ideally, the website promotes a great idea:
you’re given the opportunity to look up important qualities about a particular professor, including how helpful they are in instructing your class, the clarity of their lectures and notes or power-points, the difficulty of their grading criteria and, of course, how attractive they are, symbolized by a small or large hot red pepper. Beyond these ratings, each user usually leaves a detailed comment regarding their experience in the profes-
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sor’s class, telling you the grade they ultimately received while expressing their opinion as to whether you should sign up or keep looking for another class.
Unfortunately, the comment section rarely lives up to it’s potential. Give a close look at any professor who has garnered at least a few comments and you’ll usually find mixed results; this is normal, but the quality of the
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negative comments generally runs like this: This professor sucks! So boring. There was nothing interesting about this class at all. The class material was useless. I didn’t like the books we were told to buy, and neither did any of my classmates. And the exams were so hard. S/he didn’t prepare us with study guides or anything and they wouldn’t even grade on a curve. And they weren’t helpful at their office hours.
Though this hypothetical example is a bit more detailed than what you’ll often see, add a few misspelled words and grammatical errors, take away a line or two, and that’s what you get. And do you think you’ll find out what grade they received? Unless it’s an A or B, you won’t see one; and rarely will anyone who gets one of those grades complain in such a juvenile manner.
This makes the website overwhelming, which is a shame: because of the cynicism of some unmotivated students who took a professor’s class just to get the easiest A possible, you may be turned off from a great learning experience. You don’t need me to tell you this is not what college is about, but you’d be surprised to realize how many of your classmates are looking for the easiest, most relaxed educational experience possible.
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If you’d like proof, write down the names of every professor you’ve taken so far in college. You’ll be surprised to see the mixture of reviews a professor you loved got just because they were a hard grader or they assigned too much reading.
The idea of instructor evaluations is not new, as most universities have some kind of evaluation process they provide to students at the end of each semester. It’s a very interesting time of the semester, giving students an opportunity to speak
up and suggest improvements they’d like to see in their academic environment. Something about these kinds of evaluations tend to be taken more seriously; maybe it’s because they are proctored by the university, or students feel that it will reach the ears of department heads through the proper channels. The Internet allows you the ability to make your voice heard at any moment and websites like Rate My Professors especially want strong critical voices to contribute to their page. If you don’t know where to begin, consider what you would say to a professor’s face if given the chance to review them: What suggestions would you make to their approach to teaching? What new topics would you like to see introduced on their syllabi?
No matter what your feelings, make sure to be smart and kind with your observations. There are intelligent ways to express even the most scathing critique, and it behooves you to speak in a manner appropriate to your societal standing. After all, it is a privilege to sit in a college classroom; you should take this privilege seriously by giving a thorough and thoughtful response about your experience with your instructors.
I don’t mean for anyone to disregard this website; as I said, it’s a good resource to use when planning out your future classes. But make sure to be an informed reader as you peruse their database. You don’t want to miss out on a professor who will challenge you and change your perspective and educational path just because some unenthusiastic student who didn’t want to do the required work decided to complain on a website. Robert Cutrera teaches English at SUNY New Paltz.
Take career steps while in college
Gianluca Russo Campus News
The ideal college experience varies greatly from student to student. While partying and having a “good time” often take the forefront for some, others use their time at a four-year or twoyear institution to make large strides in their career. And though college is certainly the time to discover one’s self, make long-lasting memories and friends, and to have fun, those who start their career while still in school have a much better chance at success upon graduating. One of these is Alan Henry, current head of Digital Media and Regional Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld.com. Henry grew up in Thornhill, Ontario, with a strong love and passion for the theatre. Musicals engulfed his life as he devoted many years to perfecting his craft, as both a dancer, singer, and actor. Yet, when it came time to choose a profession, Henry decided that a life on the stage was probably not the best choice for him. Still, though, he needed to ensure that theatre and Broadway were a part of his everyday life in some capacity.
“I've always had a passion for the performing arts, but knew that being on stage probably wasn't right for me in terms of a career. I wanted to do something that combined my interest in business, writing and connecting with people and the performing arts,” Henry said.
Henry decided to attend York University to obtain his Bachelors of Commerce/Marketing. Although it was a major switch from being a performer, Henry knew his love for social media and marketing would allow him many opportunities to stay connected with the Broadway community. When an opportunity arose at BroadwayWorld, theatre-focused website with a
reach of over 5.5 million monthly readers, Henry, in his starting years of college, was determined to launch his career. “I applied as an intern and worked my way up to paid work and eventually a full-time job. I like to think I just worked my way into this position,” he explained.
When asked how he worked his way up with the company, he added, “I think for me it was just a matter of slowly taking on new responsibilities and opportunities. I would make it known that I was always up for more if the chance would ever come up. I had this ridiculous five-year plan to work my way to Broadway — I had it in my head I had to be at a certain level experience-wise by graduation date to get the types of jobs and opportunities I wanted post graduation so I did whatever it took to make that happen. Looking back it was pretty aggressive and unrealistic but somehow I guess I willed it into fruition.”
Henry’s motivation, determination, and talent led him to accomplish his goals. After years of hard work at BroadwayWorld while still in school, Henry grad-
uated last April and accepted a full-time position with the company. Later that year in August, he accomplished another goal was made the move from Canada to his dream home in New York City.
No doubt, however, it was a difficult few years, especially managing his professional work and college life. “Obviously, being a full-time student — balancing my professional work with my academics — could be a challenge, to say the least. I'd be lying if I said my academics didn't suffer as a result, but I think overall it worked out ok.” Although, looking back, Henry is incredibly proud of how far he’s come and is in disbelief that he now resides in New York City working within the Broadway community each day. “It's still hard for me to believe sometimes, but mostly I'm just focused on getting my current work done — inbox zero is a myth, kids — and figuring out what's next for me.” Henry isn’t too sure what the future holds for him, but is excited, nonetheless. “I haven't really given it too much thought. I
decided I'd just enjoy things for a bit and see what happens next. I'd love to do more writing — writing a book has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and so hopefully at some point down the line that's something I can take on. I'd love to produce theatre at some point as well.”
When asked about advice for college students looking to make large strides in their careers while still in school, Henry advised, “There's really no right or wrong way to do anything. I wasn’t great at school (I'm academically hopeless) but I like to think I'm good at my work. It’s very cliché — but just figure out what you love to do and find someone willing to pay you for it. Or something close enough.” Regular contributor Gianluca Russo is a freelance writer who attended Schenect a d y County Community College and now attends UAlbany.
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 3
Meet Tyler, Taylor Swift’s No. 1 fan
Gianluca Russo Campus News
The term “fan” does not even begin to describe Tyler Conroy’s love for Taylor Swift. A singer/songwriter himself, Conroy lives, sleeps and breathes the music of the country icon. Yet, unlike other fans, he went the extra mile and turned his dream of meeting T-Swift into a fabulous reality.
Conroy, 25, grew up in Conway, Massachusetts, with the love of performing deeply ingrained in his heart. “There’s not a time in my life that I don’t remember singing and mainly forcing people to sit and let me sing for them,” he said. “All I ever wanted and still want was to just have an opportunity to show people who I was through music and storytelling. There was just something indiscernible about it that excited me and made me the happiest when I was doing it, and it still does today.”
Although music shaped his pathway for many years, guiding him through low points and highs, Swift is the artist who laid a roadway for the young performer and showed him the person he truly desired to be. His first encounter with her is a story straight out of “Mean Girls.”
“I always say my love for Taylor Swift hit me like a bus because it literally did. It was the summer of 2008 and I was in Hartford, Conn., headed to see a Rascal Flatts concert which Taylor Swift was opening for. I was crossing the street to get into the venue, looking down at my phone, when all of a sudden I heard my friend scream my name and I looked up to see this bus hurtling towards me. As it whizzed past I saw Taylor’s silhouette on the back of the bus and I was like ‘OMG, I should’ve let that bus hit me because I would’ve met Taylor Swift.’” Campus News | January 2018 | Page 4
The near-death experience was only the beginning. Following the concert, Conroy was obsessed; Swift began to fill every moment of his life. “She inspired me so much at that teenage point of your life when you feel so much pressure to figure out who you wanna be. Not only that but she felt so relatable and almost like a friend encouraging me to chase fearlessly after what I loved doing. She’s the reason I started playing guitar because I wanted a way where I could share stories and songs the way she did. She kinda became my religion.”
In 2010, while in high school, Conroy wrote a song about his love for Swift, filming a music video with the help of his friends and releasing it on YouTube. The video soon went viral and caught the star’s attention. “Her team invited me to meet her before a show I was attending and I literally only told her that she had pretty eyes because I was in such a state of shock. She kissed me in the photo, thanked me for making the video for her, and told me to keep making videos because she loved seeing them and loved how happy I looked in them,” he recalled.
Again in 2013, Conroy wrote another song about Swift (writing songs from personal experiences and loves is his thing) and about how she taught him to live life with no regret. The song caught the attention of a radio station that invited him to meet with Swift before one of her upcoming shows. “During the meet and greet, I had Taylor Swift write “fearless” on an index card, which I now have tattooed on my left foot as a reminder to walk through life forward & fearless.”
Swift became a part of Conroy’s life so much that when attending Iona College to obtain his degree in Mass Communica-
tions, he put on a Taylor Swiftthemed musical and launched a social media campaign (very much like his future idol, Evan Hansen, does in the Tony Award-winning musical), garnering attention from Perez Hilton, Playbill.com, NY News and multiple radio stations. Though Swift was unable to attend, she took notice of the performance and invited Conroy to her house for a pizza party (yes, seriously). “She asked me if I ever got the tattoo and I showed her it. She also thanked me for putting on the musical because no one had ever done that with her songs before.”
Flashforward a few years, Conroy wrote yet another song about his love for Swift to be entered into a contest being held by Simon & Schuster. The contest was looking for the biggest Swift fan to be the author of her biography. To no surprise, Conroy won. “I worked on the book with 13 other Swifties, acting as “yearbook president,” while we collectively created this book of our favorite moments from the first 10 years of her career,” he said. “I was traveling to Texas and New York City and meeting hundreds upon hundreds of peo-
ple who all were brought together by one person and I just couldn’t believe how powerful and magically it all felt that one person was the reason for all this, Taylor Swift.”
Writing songs and making videos about Swift became a passion for Conroy as he launched his weekly “Tyvid Tuesday” series which now has over 15 million views. “Aca-Taco Bell,” his most famous series of videos, have gone viral multiple times, in which he sings his order at a Taco Bell drive-thru.
Through the glamour of it all, what ignites the flame in Conroy’s heart for Swift is her message. “I think that she is continually showing others that it’s okay to be whoever or whatever you want to be but to remember that there’s always going to be people who want to bring you down. She’s still teaching that it’s okay to fall for whomever you want, learn from mistakes and keep making mistakes but never the same one twice. She is 28 years old and has created one of the largest empires in the world. If that’s not inspiring to chase after your dreams with all you’ve got then I don’t know what is.”
Valentine’s gift ideas and price limits
Laura LaVacca Campus News
February 14th. A controversial day that some lovingly refer to as Valentine’s Day while others sarcastically (okay, maybe seriously) call Singles’ Awareness Day. No matter your feelings about the holiday, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit $19.7 billion this year. Part of the angst can stem from what to get that new boyfriend or girlfriend whom you’ve only been dating for a short period of time.
“Something they like books, clothes, even dinner,” Christine Moise, Adelphi freshman, offers.
In addition to the typical flowers, stuffed animals and candy, Briana Corredor, 18, suggests a saccharine alternative, “A sweet serenade.”
Long-term relationships can bump gift giving to the next level with jewelry or electronics.
Adding to the anxiety of what to get, is the anxiety of how much to spend. Most college students seem to agree that a range of $50 – 150 is appropriate depending on the level of commitment. Friends and family gifts drop down significantly to about the $10- 20 range.
These include small gifts like goody bags or chocolate bars.
Adelphi University freshman Kerri Hayman advises to have a little fun and not take the holiday so seriously, “Gag gifts! Who doesn’t like to have a little fun? Give a friend a good laugh.”
Aside from tangible presents, excursions are a nice way to enjoy each other’s company and not buy a gift for the sake of it. From dinner to a hike in the park, gifts of experiences are unconventional. One such out-of-the-box experience comes from the fast food chain, White Castle. Instead of pulling through the drive through, the restaurant offers table service this one night of the year –for the 26th year in a row. Tables are adorned with red table clothes, flowers and candles. Reservations are recommended. A burger not your date’s idea of Valentine’s Day? Head to Romance Under the Stars at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space. The night begins among the stars while a jazz quartet hums in the back-
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ground. Then move on to the Hayden Planetarium while an astronomer shares mythological love stories. Frugality your middle name? Try a homemade gift or an upcycled take on a classic.
Freshman Taylor Romanelli agrees, “I kind of love receiving homemade gifts. It shows that that person really cared enough to put in time and effort to make something for me. I wouldn’t mind making a present for someone else because it’s a lot more personal and meaningful,” “Something homemade is much more personal and comes from the heart,” student Danielle Caprio continues, “like a deck of cards with 52 reasons why I love you.”
Caprio is referring to the “love-deck” of cards DIY that is floating around Pinterest. Head to the website for other how-tos.
Not feeling crafty but want that homemade look? Etsy is home to hundreds of homemade creations from personalized picture frames to custom-made.
Companies like Eco-flowers make flowers from recycled materials that don’t require water and don’t die after just a few days. Their website explains that they create wood flowers, paper flowers, corn husk flowers, brooch wedding bouquets, pine cone flowers, and many other materials that are great for the planet. An economical take on a classic. Completely strapped for cash? Keep it simple, Elizabeth Meneses, 18, notes, that “a hug” goes a long way.
Just won the lotto? “A house,” Roy M., Adelphi freshman, deadpans.
“I feel that as long as you make an effort and put thought into the gift, any unselfish human being would appreciate it. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars in order to show someone you care about them,” notes Gabriela Bernabe, 20, a student from Staten Island, NY. We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves…even if it’s not a house. Campus News | January 2018 | Page 5
Top stories (cont.)
Leader Kim Jong-un’s North Korean military made some progress in 2017 with developing missiles that perhaps could reach the USA and other countries, such as South Korea and Japan, and some resolution will surely come in 2018. Even North Korean ally China is enacting some sanctions against the rogue state. This situation hopefully ends diplomatically. Brick and Mortars
Look for some longstanding brick and mortar retailers to finally call it quits in 2018. Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in 2017 and saw sluggish Christmas sales this past year. Sears/Kmart also closed many stores and have been on the brink of crisis for a while. At the same time, virtual stores like Amazon are adding physical presences. They bought Whole Foods last year. Taxes
The Republican majority enacted major changes to income taxes in 2017 that take effect now. Some contend that these changes mostly help corporations, other say it simplifies taxes for average working folks and they should see some savings (at least in 2018 and 2019). In high tax states like New York, wealthier people lined up at town halls at the end of 2017 to pay their property taxes early, as property taxes over $10,000 will no longer be deductible under the new plan. Brexit
The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union early in 2017. The details of the exit need to be hammered out this year and concluded by early 2019. The EU is akin to “the United States of Europe” Campus News | January 2018 | Page 6
and, as the UK is one of its major players, this is a major blow to the EU competing with the US and China economically. Apple
This American tech company was seen as infallible but recent revelations show that the company was purposely sending out signals to throttle older phones. Critics say this was to coerce consumers to buy pricy new phones. The iPhone X debuted at $1000 at the end of last year. Look for class action suits to hit Apple in 2018. If you are an Apple product owner, maybe you’ll see some kind of makegood offer from the company. Net Neutrality
This was a big story in 2017 as the FCC changed rules that will allow Internet service providers to control download speeds. This could affect certain sites and raise prices for premium services like Netflix. However, others feel that there’s nothing to worry about – the market will decide how smoothly the Internet runs, and competition will keep the corporations in check. In 2018, we’ll see how this is implemented. Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency like Bitcoins was a hot topic in 2017. The value of such money skyrocketed and then fell a good deal. Critics say Bitcoins are overvalued, as they are not physical or backed by a government. Some people also use the currency to make illegal purchases or to avoid taxes. Will 2018 be when this currency is legitimized or will there be a big crash? Sexual Harassment
Hollywood is currently going
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through a sexual abuse crisis as more and more victims come forward and bravely say they were propositioned – or worse – by producers and directors in exchange for their acting livelihood. In 2017, there were scores of revelations against industry leaders including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and many others. Look for more revelations in 2018 and for some definitive legal action. Russian Hacking
Last year, FBI Director Robert Muller was appointed to investigate Russian hacking into the 2016 election. Look for his findings this year. Mass Shootings
Domestic terrorism, including Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay mas-
sacre that killed 59 and injured over 500, took a turn for the worse in 2017. Look for the topic of gun control to affect some key congressional races in 2018. Free College
The Excelsior Scholarship hit midway through 2017 and some students were able to meet the deadlines and get “free” tuition at SUNY and CUNY colleges this past fall. This year Excelsior will be more fully implemented, and the maximum income ceiling rises to $110,000, so we should see enrollment booms at our state’s public colleges while private colleges continue to see declines. Perhaps one or two private colleges may consider shuttering. Marijuana Legalization
Massachusetts became the first state in the Northeast to legalize marijuana sales for recre-
ational use in 2017. Shops are now allowed to open in the state in 2018. Look for that state to get some pot tourists from neighboring states and nearby states to consider legalization, as well. Opioid Crisis
Meanwhile, the rise in opioid use is causing more and more deaths, especially in places hit harder by economic downturns. Look for legislation in this coming year to address this issue. “Fake News”
Facebook and other digital services haven’t gotten any better in their promulgation of socalled clickbait. Meanwhile, Trump continues to bait legitimate media by calling them “fake news.” Look for a serious conversation on the topic in 2018. Also, look for more print newspapers – as The Village Voice did recently – to give up.
Israel and the Middle East
Trump declared that the US will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is controversial in that Muslims see this as disrespecting their symbolic rights to the holy city, which traditionally has had not just Jewish but also Islamic and Christian presences there. Israel advocates laud the move as legitimizing the rights for a Jewish state to exist. Will there be more terrorism in the region in 2018 or better diplomacy?
OK, you’ve read this far. Here are some fun predictions: Super Bowl winner – Pittsburgh Steelers. World Series – Yankees! Best Movie – “Dunkirk.”
In any case, make it your resolution to stay abreast of the news in 2018. Your professors will be impressed! Have a happy New Year!
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Campus News | January 2018 | Page 7
When it’s time to go to the tutoring center
Laura LaVacca Campus News
It’s midnight; you’re cramming, writing a paper, or studying for a math test that you’re supposed to complete at your 8AM class. You’re sweating, frustrated and don’t know what to do.
This situation is all too familiar to many college students, and it may be completely avoidable. With the help of the many resources on campuses plus the many educators who tutor students privately, it’s time for students to acknowledge they may need their help.
There are many reasons students should seek out a tutor, and the reasons may be different at different points in their educational career.
“When students don’t know exactly where they struggle, but know that they do, they should work with tutors to identify those struggles and to begin overcoming them,” Professor Jennifer Marx of Farmingdale State College, explains.
Marx highlights the need for students to self-reflect and recognize that they do need assistance. Perhaps students don’t know their problem areas or even understand why they may be struggling; that’s the job of the tutor. Tutors can really shed light on problem areas and help students strategize and focus on the area they need to be putting most effort in. They can point out specifics that students may not even be aware of and can use this information for future scenarios.
“I had a student that came to me saying that she was a really bad writer and kept receiving unsatisfactory grades. She wasn’t a bad writer at all — she just wasn’t aware of the necessity of a focused thesis. She had heard the word but never knew what it
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 8
meant,” Professor Michael Bevilacqua of NCC explains. “Now, she always writes her thesis first and plans the rest of the paper around it.”
Then, there are those students who know exactly what they have difficulties with and may muddle through without any support. Perhaps they think it will get easier or that they are trying their best and nothing will work. This is another perfect time where students should seek out the help of a professional. Marx explains, “When students know they struggle with certain elements, they should work with tutors and identify those struggles to their tutors.”
If students know that they have a hard time with, perhaps, writing papers then there is no reason to work on them alone. When the assignment is given out, students should make an appointment. Writing labs all across the nation are filled with professors who can aid in the writing process—from brainstorming to editing.
Then, there are those times where sporadically students may be puzzled or confused by a certain topic or lesson. Tutors are not just there for students who need help week after week, but also there for support in the spur of the moment.
“If students feel overwhelmed by an assignment or test, they should work with a tutor to break it down, generate a plan for tackling it, and start to form ideas,” Marx offers.
‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’
Of course, this is just one possible scenario. Whether it’s science or philosophy or psychology, the point is students who know their weaknesses should be paying special attention to them and receiving guidance along the way. Professional tutors have many tips and teaching methods to help students improve. To be successful during one’s college career is to anticipate possible areas of concern and navigate possible challenges. As Benjamin Franklin reminds us, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Another reason is that cramming doesn’t pay off. Although tutors are more than willing to help, they are not on standby 24/7:
“Be proactive. Check with your campus about center hours. Check with your tutor about when he/she is available and if it’s okay to send a late email/text when you’re stuck.” Bevilacqua notes, “Make appointments days or even weeks in advance if you know that an assignment is due or a test that will potentially worry you is coming up.”
Tutors on college campuses can be found in the many resource centers from the writing labs to reading centers. Nassau
Community College is one such campus that has specialized labs depending on which programs students are enrolled in. For example, the Basic Education Program has a specialized lab for students enrolled in the program and who need “reinforcement.” Similarly, the math department offers math and computer lab help. The same is true for campuses from Hofstra to NYIT. Students should contact the department directly to find out the services on campus. These are free, valuable resources.
If there isn’t a resource on campus that helps with the student’s problem areas, students should approach their professor for help or even seek an outside tutor. Many educators tutor privately and can be found through local libraries or even online tutoring sites that pair student with educators in their areas. This may be necessary for students who need multiple hours of support a week or even summer help.
College campuses are abundant with faculty and professors who are more than willing to help students succeed…they just have to ask for it.
How the English major can save itself
Darren Johnson Campus News
Oh, woe is the English major – but, frankly, I’m sick of seeing essays in higher-ed newspapers by disillusioned faculty that read like obituaries for the field. How does such griping inspire students — who may love books and creative writing — feel better about this major? How does the whining make parents feel about shelling out $50,000 a year for such study; will they instead steer their children into other fields?
Because English can be a great major – just it has lost its way in recent years. Here’s what went wrong, and how to fix the major – before it’s too late.
First a little explanation – around the turn of the last century, English departments, facing shrinkage, brought writing courses into their realm. By the free-love 1960s, these courses grew to become more creative in nature. A schism occurred – English departments became a mix of introverted booklovers with a Literature concentration, and their less academically inclined distant cousins, Creative Writing concentrators, who aspire to be on the Bestsellers List.
The only real connection Lit and Writing concentrators have is that the latter group should be exposed to classic books. However, what are the odds some 22-year-old is going to write a classic? Why not put the creative writers, instead, in the Business Division, then; because if not critical acclaim, maybe at least they’ll learn to market their work until – decades from now – their genius is discovered by the Lit concentrators of tomorrow.
And that’s the reality English departments need to face – neither Lit nor Creative Writing offers immediate rewards. Studies
say these majors start to kick in salary wise around “mid-career.” But what are they doing for their 22-year-old graduates? Students who have piles of educational loan debt?
When I was a BA in English (Writing concentration) student back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I took elective courses in Journalism, PR Writing, Technical Writing and other practical forms. I also wrote for the school paper.
At the turn of this century, Communications Departments at most colleges started becoming serious – they no longer were satisfied providing a soft, generic major for the football team – and they took over these practical courses. English departments started to shrivel, to the point where only about 4 percent of graduates today earn an English degree (the number was twice as high last century). Students in Communications are not only learning Journalism and PR Writing – they also are learning how to present their work via New Media. They also run the school paper now – school papers used to be a staple of English departments, who dropped the ball with these practical writing laboratories.
The typical professional novelist doesn’t hit until age 40 or so. They certainly don’t hit at age 22. How does the young English grad buy time until then? If he or she has practical training, there’s nothing wrong with being a newspaper reporter, technical writer, copywriter or PR flack until that novel finally finds an audience. But English Departments, largely, no longer are teaching such real-world skills. They used to, once.
Another issue is the homogeneity of English faculty. The basic requirement to teach full-
time in the field now is a Ph.D. in English. I’ve noticed this trend scanning help wanted ads over the years. (I later earned an MFA in Writing and Literature, which used to be billed as a “terminal degree” on par with a doctorate. It’s not usually treated that way, in reality, when it comes to faculty searches.)
Someone who has a Ph.D. in English – God bless them – may be a great student. He or she may have come from a middleor upper middle-class background. He or she may be white. At the very least, such a graduate is a “type,” but more types of teachers are needed. Perhaps some gritty instructors who weren’t typical students, who feel the words they write. Who know how difficult the business really is. MFA students are more often like that – acceptance into such programs is based more on one’s creative portfolio than academic conscientiousness. The MFA needs to again be treated as an equal to the Ph.D., just to help diversify departments. I see movies where an English/Writing professor is the protagonist, say Hugh Grant in “The Rewrite” or Michael Douglas in “Wonder Boys,” and they are portrayed as a bit degenerate, though very passionate about their fields. The archetype of the nonconformist writing instructor used to ring true, more so last century. But such people usually aren’t going to come out of a Ph.D. program. They’d be bored silly in such surroundings.
As far as subject matter goes, we need to read more books from the 20th century and less from previous centuries; just because a book is old doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better than books that came after it. The 20th century has spectacular,
relatable works that need to be more fully explored.
English as a discipline began as the study of entertainment. That’s what books and plays and poems are meant to be – entertaining. But somehow so many departments got stuffy and boring and dry. It seems English no longer is a celebration of quality, exciting writing but, instead, a joyless critical dissection of such works.
English as an academic major can save itself by, once again, becoming interesting.
Students can make the most of this major by taking practical writing courses as electives. Read and write, read and write – that’s the only way to get better. And write in all styles. And write on deadline. And write for New Media.
English should be the study of interesting works of writing – and about you, as a student, being inspired by such works and perhaps attempting to create even better works of your own. The major can be all that; but, meanwhile you should also take some practical writing courses – to pay the bills, in a practical way, 9-to-5, as you read and write creatively nights and weekends. Because there are lots of practical writing jobs out there, for those properly trained. Campus News | January 2018 | Page 9
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Sounding the alarm on school schedules
Siri Fiske Special to Campus News
American schools are raising a generation of dreamers -daydreamers, that is. Fully 10 percent of teenage students say they are "disengaged" and "discouraged" in the classroom. There's a surprising culprit behind this disengagement: the school schedule. Currently, most students shuffle from classroom to classroom with clockwork rigidity, impairing their cognitive development and even compromising their health. It doesn't have to be this way. Students taught in flexible learning environments benefit from improved problem-solving, critical thinking, and social and leadership skills.
Right now, most schools squeeze learning into unforgiving time blocks. With each shift between classes, students lose valuable learning time. And even more time goes to waste as teachers take roll, pass out papers and assign homework.
Worse still, the school schedule bears no resemblance to the real world. Consider how a job would look if it followed the parameters of a school day: Employees would have one hour to work on project A, one hour for project B, and so on -- regardless of the effort required for each task. They wouldn't have any flexible time to attend a lastminute meeting, meet a client or go to a conference. All the while, coworkers would sit quietly while completing their work -- no interaction allowed. That's ridiculous. Yet that's exactly how students are expected to learn. It's no wonder most young professionals give their high schools poor marks on preparing them for the workforce, according to an Associated Press-Viacom poll.
Fortunately, some innovative schools have demonstrated the promise of a more versatile approach to learning.
the ecosystem, Mysa students might be prompted to collaborate on a community strategy for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.
â€˜Most schools squeeze learning into unforgiving time blocks. With each shift in classes, students lose valuable time.â€™
Once they've settled in, students are often subjected to 60to 90-minute lectures. Sadly, most of them will retain just 5 percent of the content teachers impart orally, according to a study from the National Training Laboratories.
Our system's meticulous adherence to schedules hurts students' physical health as well. Students usually sit for over eight hours a day. As a result, their core strength, balance, hand-eye coordination, eye muscle control, spatial awareness and even emotional maturity suffer.
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 12
At my Washington DC-based Mysa Schools, for example, students arrive any time between 8:30 and 9:30 and spend mornings working on core academics at their own pace, according to their own personalized plan.
Teachers act as coaches, guiding students to learn through hands-on exploration. And students are encouraged to teach each other to solve realworld issues. Rather than reading aloud from a textbook about
The Hawken School in Ohio is also using nontraditional scheduling to fuel student learning. The school's "Intensives," allow high schoolers to study a single subject toward the end of each semester. This scheduling lets students cover a semester's worth of material in just three weeks.
Students participating in the entrepreneurship program team up with local startups. At the end of the program, students present their ideas to business leaders, gaining mentors who can help them long after they graduate. That's a far better way for students to learn. Students retain three-fourths of what they discover on their own -- but retention jumps to 85 percent when they pass knowledge to
What's more, students who learn collaboratively improve their confidence, strengthen their communication skills, become more responsible and are more likely to consider different opinions.
It's obvious that the current educational system, with its suffocating, factory-like schedule, is failing students. It's time to embrace approaches to education that set students up for real world success. Siri Fiske is the founder and head of Mysa Schools.
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Emergency grants for CCC students
Cayuga Community College now has additional resources to help students ride out unforeseen financial hardships and emergencies. Students can apply for grants to help cover unexpected expenses, which will allow them to return to their academics as quickly as possible, with the goal of keeping more students on track toward graduation. Donations from the Gerstner Family Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children support the Student Emergency Grant program at Cayuga that is part of a SUNY pilot program with seven SUNY campuses. “SUNY recognizes that students are not impervious to crises and we want to do all we can to support students when a situation arises that will have a
lasting impact on their ability to complete college,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson.
“Many of Cayuga’s students are balancing multiple life priorities while enrolled in college,” said Dr. Brian M. Durant, President of Cayuga Community College. “These emergency grants will be vital to keeping our students enrolled during a time of crisis.”
A Student Emergency Fund Committee will evaluate each application and qualified expenses will be paid on the student’s behalf. Emergency aid will be provided to help students who face an unexpected need, such as medical emergencies, natural disasters, domestic violence, theft, loss of employment, homelessness or threat of eviction. Examples of eligible ex-
penses include rent, utilities, clothing, furniture, medical expenses, back-up childcare, back-up transportation, and replacement of stolen items needed for school. “These funds will increase our resources and support students to increase the likelihood of persistence and ultimate goal completion,” continued Dr. Durant.
“The Cayuga County Community College Foundation is very appreciative to both the Gerstner Family Foundation and Heckscher Foundation for Children, as well as the SUNY Impact Foundation. Their leadership will help
us meet the needs of those students who may not be able to continue at Cayuga because of an unforeseen emergency,” said Guy Cosentino, Executive Director of the Cayuga County Community College Foundation.
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Campus News | January 2018 | Page 14
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WCC hall of famers
The highlight of the Westchester Community College Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Banquet on Friday, November 17, 2017, was the enshrinement of seven new members. More than 100 alumni and friends of the Athletic Department attended the event which included the celebration of the support that a local sports legend has provided to the department for decades. Held at Juliano’s Caterers in New Rochelle, New York, the evening kicked off with former Westchester Community College Director of Athletics Larry Massaroni presenting the Eugene “Buzz” Keefe award to Bob Hyland. Named after the first
9 to 5 by Harley Schwadron
Athletic Director at the college, the Buzz Keefe Award recognizes outstanding contributors to the mission of Westchester Community College Athletics, contributors who may not have participated directly in the program, but without which the quality of the Athletic Department would not be the same. Hyland, a former first round pick of the Green Bay Packers, who won a Super Bowl with the Packers and later played for the New York Giants, has been a great friend to the Athletic Department, hosting numerous events at Bob Hyland’s Sports Page Pub in White Plains over the years. While receiving the award, Hyland spoke about the
rich history of the Westchester Community College Athletic program, as well as many of the individuals involved.
From there, the event featured plenty of story-telling, laughs, and recaps from seven individuals who made significant contributions to the success of the Athletic Department during their storied careers. The Westchester Community College Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 included:
Johnny Jones of Elmsford, NY – former Basketball Public Address Announcer.
Mustafaj of Bashkim Yonkers, NY – former Basketball team member.
Rachel Poccia of Larchmont, NY – former Volleyball, Basketball, Softball team member.
Gus Arzaga – former Bowling team member.
Frank Chousa of Monroe Township, New Jersey – former Wrestling team member.
William Ciccarelli of Fishkill, NY – former Wrestling team member.
Suffolk students aid PR hurricane relief
The Suffolk County Community College Michael J. Grant Campus Food Pantry in Brentwood was the lucky recipient of much needed supplies donated by the Island to Island Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief effort spearheaded by college faculty member Margarita Espada.
Suffolk County Community College students faculty, staff and administration generously volunteered and donated to the Island to Island Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief effort that gathered more than 200,000 pounds of supplies from all over Long Island for Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 16
Joaquin Garcia of Newtown, Connecticut – former Football team member.
Pictured (l-r): Sister Mary Ann Borrello, Suffolk County Community College faculty and Michael J. Grant Campus Pantry Organizer; Margarita Espada, faculty member and Island to Island Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Organizer; Tony Rios, Island to Island Hurricane Relief volunteer; Sandy Leach Island to Island Hurricane Relief volunteer.
VanderWaal to perform
Tickets for Grace VanderWaal’s concert at Mohawk Valley Community College go on sale today at noon at www.mvcc.edu/tickets.
VanderWaal will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21, 2018, in the Jorgensen Athletic and Events Center at the College’s Utica Campus. Admission is $20 for the general public and $15 for MVCC employees. A limited number of free tickets will be available for MVCC students.
VanderWaal, winner of Season 11 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” is a singersongwriter in the truest sense of the term with a distinct knack for capturing emotion with her trademark smoky voice and ukulele. Last week, she received the
Rising Star Award at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards.
Tickets for all Cultural Series events can be purchased in person at the MVCC Box Office, Information Technology Building room 106, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. MondayFriday, and at the College Stores on the Utica and Rome Campuses; online any time at www.mvcc.edu/tickets<http://www.mvcc.edu/tic kets>; or over the phone by calling 315-731-5721. Most Cultural Series events are $5 or less to the general public and many are free. Events include concerts, comedians, lectures, film screenings and discussions, workshops, family fun events, and more. The Cultural Series is brought to you by MVCC’s Cultural
Events Council, in collaboration with MVCC’s Program Board, with significant support from the Student Activity Fee. The series maintains a major social media presence that can be followed on Facebook at “MVCC Cultural Series.” For the complete series lineup and ticket sales, visit www.mvcc.edu/culture.
YouthBuild graduates 16
The successful YouthBuild completers are: Breiana Adams, FaTiMah Be, Khaliq Champion, Rachel Connolly, Sonia Cruz Perea, Darrion Douglass, Zachary Garcia Kenyon, Kimika Garrett, Unique Heyward, Kimia Jones, Aida Molina, Yamilex Molina, Ebae Poteat Shambley, Jaquail Pulluaim, Oreon Strickland, and Darvin Warmack.
Mohawk Valley YouthBuild is a free eight-month program that engages at-risk, low-income individuals ages 18 to 24 who need to complete their high school education and develop career skills. The program prepares students to earn a high school equivalency diploma by successfully passing the TASC exam while developing job skills.
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, NEW YORK Campus News | January 2018 | Page 17
COIL and how it applies to you with students from a different country? COIL gives you that opportunity.
Prof. Steven Levine Campus News
At this time, courses are not designated with a COIL component, but many instructors are involved in the project. If your instructor informs you that COIL will be a component of the course that you are taking, do not make plans immediately to drop the course, but rather be excited about the opportunity to experience many of the concepts that are discussed in your course from an entirely different perspective.
Did you ever wonder, what it would be like to be in a class where half the students were from a different country, and the other half were from the United States? Supposing you were given the opportunity to travel to another country. Upon arriving, you were told that you would be required to take a course, where you were considered to be the foreign student. In addition, the course that you were enrolled in was taught in English, but the students’ primary language was different. What other issues would come into play? The cultures would be different, the ethical values, that were the cornerstone of the way you live your life, would be different. The reality of course, is that for most of us, this scenario would probably never happen.
‘You collaborate with students from a different country.’
How does it actually work? Some courses use the COIL component for their entire course, while others use it for a specific component. If your course is going to use, for example, a particular module, and link it to another course in a different country, that piece would run typically run for 4 weeks. The module would, in most cases, replace a course requirement, such as a research paper. What I have explained so far doesn’t seem like such a radical departure from the courses that are typically offered, until you realize that if you are going to collaborate with students from another country with a different culture, just how is this going to happen? The first issue is communication.
However there is a way to experience this scenario without ever leaving our country. This is where COIL makes sense. COIL is an abbreviation for “Collaborative Online International Learning.” Quite a mouthful. The concept is actually quite simple. Wouldn’t it be interesting if you were in a class, and you had to collaborate on a joint project
Different time zones: how are you going to collaborate either individually as or as a group? You begin to realize that apps such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Voice Thread, and Facebook, will play a significant role. If you are not familiar with some of these, here is an opportunity to expand your knowledge. The reality is that in most cases, you will have to communicate outside your class hours. Since this is a group collaboration, there will be an almost constant interaction between students in one country with students in a different country, This is where the cultural exchange comes into play.
By using this concept, students will have an opportunity to expand their communication skills, as well as expanding their knowledge of the similarities and differences between themselves and their partners in another country.
Steven Levine teaches Accounting and Business at Nassau Community College. He has an MBA from Baruch and has owned his own business and worked for Pfizer and Mobil Oil, as well as very large electrical distribution firms.
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Be vigilant. Rules for dating in 2018.
Gianluca Russo Campus News
The truth has begun to shine on the hidden harassment within the Hollywood community. Starting with Harvey Weinstein, over 50 have been alleged to have sexually assaulted, harassed or raped people they’ve come in contact with over the years. It’s evident that, for these men, money is power, and they use their power to silence those they mistreat.
In a time when these allegations are being revealed each day, it can be nerve wracking to go on dates with people who you don’t personally know. Whether set up through a dating app or a mutual friend, it’s important to know what constitutes good behavior and misconduct on a date. Even more so, it’s vital to know what is defined as sexual harassment and sexual assault, as well as where to go if you’ve been treated in any such manner. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s official website, sexual
assault is defined as “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” More specifically, behaviors that fall under sexual assault include, but are not limited to, attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching and forced sexual acts.
It’s important to know the definition of the word “force.” While force may be through a physical action, it often does not. One may force another to engage in sexual acts through emotional coercion, psychological force or manipulation. Thus, force is not only a physical act: It is often a verbal one. Because of this, the old saying that “no means no” is outdated as sometimes, it may be impossible for a victim to verbally say the word “no” in a compromising or dangerous situation. With this in mind, it is better to to use the phrase “yes means yes,” meaning that consent is only given when there is a clear “yes” given.
Sexual harassment, on the other hand, has a broader definition than sexual assault. It is defined as any unwanted or unwelcome sexual advances, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or asking for any sexual favors. Sexual harassment can occur in any situation or location, whether it be at work, at school or on a date.
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There are many precautionary steps to take before going on a date to ensure your safety and preparedness. For starters, trust your gut feeling. If the situation, location, person you’re with
or any other factor of the date has you feeling uncomfortable or unsettled, remove yourself from that situation. If it seems sketchy, it probably is. On that note, be prepared no matter what, even if the date is at a local spot w h e r e y o u ’ v e been many t i m e s . B e i n g overly prepared is not a bad thing; It can help drastically in situations you never thought would occur. Thirdly, let a friend, family member or someone close to you know where you are going to be and have a safety net, meaning let me them to come bail you out if you send a cer-
tain text or signal. Code words may be your key to getting out of a unsafe situation. And don’t forget that no matter what happens on the date, you can withdraw consent at any time. If you start to feel uncomfortable, you have every reason and right to leave.
‘Sexual harassment can occur in any situation or location.’
It seems crazy that we must so prepared and skeptical when going on dates, but alas, this is the world we live in. Being prepared for any situation will make you feel safe and secure on a date and can help prevent any wrongdoing before it even occurs. Campus News | January 2018 | Page 19
MVCC gamers raise cash for kids
For the fifth consecutive year, the Strategic Gaming Club at Mohawk Valley Community College participated in Extra Life, a nationwide fundraiser uniting gamers around the world in support of the Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network, by hosting a 24-hour gaming marathon that raised $2,100 for St. Lukeâ€™s Hospital.
To mark its fifth year of participation, the club set a fundraising goal of $2,000 in hopes of surpassing previous years â€” and they did it! The club raised $2,100 during last monthâ€™s gaming marathon by holding multiple tournaments (League of Legends, Smash Bros, and Magic: The Gathering) with all entry fees donated, and by selling T-shirts, buttons, pens, and lanyards to commemorate the clubâ€™s fifth anniver-
sary with Extra Life.
â€œIt was our biggest year in terms of money and people, with probably over 100 participants,â€? said Melissa Barlett, Ph.D., Associate Professor in MVCCâ€™s Math and Natural Sciences Department and advisor to the Strategic Gaming Club. â€œThe students really get excited about this event every year, and itâ€™s their enthusiasm to help
raise money â€˜for the kidsâ€™ that makes it a success.â€?
Pictured: The MVCC Strategic Gaming Club presents a check for $2,100 to the Childrenâ€™s Miracle Network at St. Lukeâ€™s Hospital. Front row, from left: Kyle White, Diana Feola, Raymond Kent, Tatyana Harvey, Leslee Waters, Edin Muslic, Antonio Grieco. Back
row, from left: Jon Speziale; Justin Fleming; Justin Moore; Bryant Platt; Trey Cornish; Kevin Kirk, club vice president; Andrew Clanton, club secretary; Chris Abbe, club president; Assistant Professor Amanda Miller, advisor; Assistant Professor Dr. Melissa Barlett, advisor; and Andrea MacDiarmid, CMN coordinator.
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Start planning for Spring Break! Some ideas.
Kaylee Johnson Campus News
If I had to pick one word to describe the average college campus, I would say diverse, not only in regards to race and ethnicity, but also in students’ ages, upbringings, financial states, and interests. Yet, most students can agree that spring break is a time of revival and pleasure. As a student myself, I am keenly aware of college students who fell into poverty’s arms, and others who are on a tight budget. The following vacations are affordable for many, unique, and are universally appealing. Atlantic City
Although you will not be able to jump the waves and tan on the beach, you will be able to walk the Boardwalk and gamble in the casinos (if you are 21+). Many shops are open that time of the year, and the temperatures are sensational. Casinos like Resorts have indoor pools and hot tubs, which in my experience, usually prove to be vacant and serene. If you enjoy old-fashioned Italian food, try Carmine’s in Tropicana. The dishes are served family style, and the waiters always delight with their “mobster” personas and offbeat jokes. If you have a sweet tooth don’t forget to walk across the Boardwalk to It’s Sugar in the mall, or if you prefer a quainter environment, try Lick in Resorts, a personal favorite. And taffy! Another great thing about AC is that you can drive there in just a few hours. Cruises
If you are a college student trying to unwind during spring break, you are probably seeking a bit of rowdy fun. Cruises offer unlimited alcohol packages for reasonable prices. Cruise lines like Norwegian and Carnival are
cheaper than Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Disney, but some of the more expensive cruise lines provide relaxing environments that Norwegian and Carnival lack. When I cruised on the Regal Princess last year, I felt like I was on vacation; finally I was able to breeze through books and bask in the sunlight. Most of my fellow cruisers were elderly, but I did not mind that, since I was with my family, and I am not a drinker or partygoer. While the parties were tame, and the nights ended earlier, I found myself enchanted by the evenings draped in elegance and ballroom dancing. The adult pool was also a huge bonus, even though there were only a handful of children onboard. Norwegian and Carnival, both of which I have cruised on, are quite different, in that they cater to a more diverse audience, and they are twenty somethings’ first choices when they want to party. If you like live music by pools, bars around each bend, and fun clubs I would recommend either of these two. Ultimately, the main goal of cruising is to explore new countries, but it is always more memorable if you savor the journey. Walt Disney World
If you don’t enjoy drinking or partying at all, like me, consider opening your heart up to the childlike wonder that Disney has been providing for decades. Many people have written off Disney as “too expensive,” but the truth is it can be done cheaply, especially if you monitor sales and packages. Also, if a large group of your friends also want to visit Mickey Mouse, rent a large vacation home on the outskirts of Orlando. That way, you save money on food and have some extra space. The Florida Keys
If you prefer long road trips
Atlantic City with close friends, consider driving to the Florida Keys. It is a long drive, but the sea is picturesque and the sand is alluring. You will able to find cheap hotels near the Florida Keys, if you book ahead of time and sign up for sale alerts. Beachfront resorts are very tempting, but they tend to cost a lot more than hotels a few minutes away. Also, plan on bringing a cooler from home and packing your own drinks for beach days. It is important to stay hydrated in the Florida sun, but you don’t want to be robbed for a bottle of water! Las Vegas
Most people have labeled Las Vegas as a wild party destination, and it can be if you choose to engage in those types of activities, but there is also a wide range of activities that appeal to everyone. Museums, resorts, and national parks, just to name a few. Also, Vegas supplies tourists with ideal weather and a dose of essential tackiness. Skiing
The Northeast has plenty of wonderful ski slopes and tubing locations. One resort that I am
particularly interested in is the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. It is owned by the real life Von Trapp family, made famous from the classic movie, “The Sound of Music.” The lodge flaunts its stunning architecture and history, all while having impressive ski hills. Some of the grandchildren of the original family still work there!
Overall, these places have proven to delight, and accommodate everchanging financial states, at least in my experiences. Even trips as simple as Atlantic City have proven to be blissful and relaxing. You can find joy in any trip if you search for it. I challenge you to not compare your trip to other students, whether it is New York City or Athens, Greece. Find personal contentment, and you will surely enjoy your Spring Break. Kaylee Johnson formerly attended Adirondack Community College and now is an Education major at College of Saint Rose in Albany.
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 21
Is texting hurting us academically?
Kristina Bostley Campus News
Today’s generation of students has never known a world without text messaging. Since the first text was sent in 1992, text messaging – or simply “texting” – has become increasingly commonplace with each passing year. Written language has evolved significantly and thus raises the question of what impact the advent of texting has had on both formal and casual written communication.
Data from a January 2014 Pew Research Center study established that a staggering 90% of American adults own a cell phone, and 58% of those communicate via smartphone. In a 2012 study by Pew Research Center, it was found that 83% of people aged 18 to 29 use smartphones, a significantly higher percentage than any other age group. For cell phone users across all age groups, text messaging is the most popular activity they engage in.
Students view casual written communication in a very different way than they perceive formal writing. In fact, a lot of students don’t see digital communication (such as texting and e-mailing) as actual writing. For them, it is simply another way to speak to people that is distinctly separate from formal writing.
The debate rages on whether texting affects literacy, and if so,
to what extent. Text messaging often gets a bad reputation because of the type of language used within them. When text messaging was first introduced, 160-character limits forced users to invent creative ways of getting their point across in a succinct manner. Although it may seem that abbreviations and acronyms slowly crept their way into common vernacular over the last two decades, they were actually utilized long before texting. The first “OMG” was recorded during a conversation between British Navy Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher and Winston Churchill in 1917. In fact, the military used several common
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Campus News | January 2018 | Page 22
abbreviations long before they popped up on a tiny cell phone display. Some of these acronyms and abbreviations have even weaseled their way into the Oxford English Dictionary, much to the dismay of English teachers
cause they’re so used to autocorrect capitalizing and correcting for them, so it’s become a huge problem.” Pew Internet & American Life Project determined that 64% of students admitted that the way they text has had an effect on their schoolwork. College student Jillian Tallent agrees: “I’ve noticed that sometimes I write a paper the way I’d text someone, but I realize it before I turn in the assignment.”
‘A lot of students don’t see digital communication as actual writing.’ and those passionate about the language – and supposed degradation thereof.
Though research has been conducted on this topic, no substantial evidence has proven that literacy is affected by texting; however, inside the classroom is a different story. Teacher Barbara Barbarite feels that acronyms and bad grammar habits are carried from texting to schoolwork, saying, “Their writing has turned into a stream of consciousness because that’s how they text. There’s no structure. I find their capitalization is bad and I’d bet it’s be-
Despite this, texting at an early age can actually aid literacy, challenging the notion that texting is detrimental to students’ understanding of the English language. If the idea of literacy is recognized as the capability to understand and reproduce language in a way that is comprehended by both the sender and the receiver, then the transmission of information is the key takeaway regardless of Standard English spelling and grammar. If this notion is understood, then it is
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plausible that the English language has not decayed as a result of texting, but rather has spawned a sort of sub-language of “text talk” for casual written communication.
It can also be recognized that much of text talk is phonetic, so students still comprehend the words themselves even if they are not spelled correctly inside text messages. Some teachers believe writing, regardless of the students’ use, can benefit students’ comprehension of language. However, it is expected that students refine their writing to Standard English before turning in schoolwork – which raises a valid point. As long as students can differentiate between formal and casual written conversation, the idea that literacy is deteriorating is a moot
point; instead, being able to understand how to use each type of language in its appropriate context is the issue at hand. Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl, acknowledges this concept. “The solution…is not to do away with text messaging abbreviations, but for writers to be aware of the purpose of their writing,” she states.
nificance. Text talk boasts its own rules for styling the English language.
Because nonverbal expression of emotion (such as tone of voice) is lost via written communication, users rely on the use of punctuation and emojis to convey the tone of the text message. Exclamation points are used much in the same way across all forms of writing – to express surprise or enthusiasm. The same goes for question
tion, they are often used at the end of a text message to express sarcasm, anger, or a generally serious tone. Jillian Tallent points out that “Emojis make the text more positive/negative. Using exclamation points makes the text seem positive, using periods makes it seem more serious, and using nothing is just neutral.”
Technology has undoubtedly reshaped the way society communicates, namely among the younger generation. It remains to be determined just how substantial the impact of text talk will be on formal communication in decades to come. In the meantime, the differentiation between formal writing and text talk in their respective environments must be stressed so as to maintain comprehension of each language.
‘Some teachers believe such writing benefits language comprehension.’
Regardless of whether text talk creeps into formal environments such as school and the workplace, it isn’t going anywhere. Awareness of where and how a person uses acronyms, abbreviations, capitalization, and other text jargon is extremely important, but understanding this whole new vernacular in text-to-text communication is of equal sig-
marks, although they may not be used at the end of a text and the receiver would still be expected to answer. But although periods are used to end a thought in formal communica-
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 23
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The final “Guest Professor for a Day” featured Pat Dehner, Director of Training and Development for PC Richard and Son, a leading privately-owned appliance and bedding company based in Farmingdale, NY. The operation has close to 70 stores.
The December 5 program culminated a diverse Fall 2017 lineup of outstanding professionals including Louis Cohen of Nike, Ari Medrinos of Starbucks and Vinny Messina of the New York Islanders Iceworks.
Mr. Dehner focused on the history and humble beginnings of his firm celebrating 110 years. He also discussed how students can plan for their career growth right now. Joining Professor Jack Mandel, who coordinates this longtime program, was Whitney Glass, Club Advisor for NCC Marketing and its members.
Pictured (l-r): Prof. Mandel, Dehner, NCC Marketing VP Brittany Castanio, Glass and other club members.
Campus News enters its 8th year, looks to expand
The first issue of Campus News hit about a dozen community college campuses on Feb. 1, 2010. In the years that followed, the list of campuses has expanded to 37, as most other free newspapers that used to hit these campuses have downsized and disappeared.
The paper survives because it features useful, relevant stories that speak directly to its audience.
Publisher Darren Johnson has a plan to expand the paper to other parts of the country with affordable, exclusive licensing options for higher-ed professionals and/or journalism practitioners looking for an interesting “side hustle.” To learn more, visit www.cccn.us/license.
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Nassau CC gets $100,000 URGENT grant
Nassau Community College recently announced that it has received a $100,000 Regional Economic Development Council grant from the New York State Department of Labor’s Unemployed Working Training Fund for its innovative URGENT (Utility Readiness for Gaining Employment for Non-Traditionals) program.
URGENT was launched in Spring 2017 by NCC’s Office of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning in partnership with the region’s major public and private utilities. It was a program directed to women to assist them into the male-dominated utilities industry. Participants attended 142 hours of classroom instruction, on-site visits and workshops for field positions in the utility sector at no cost. Twenty-one graduates earned two industry certifications: Energy Industry
Fundamentals (EIF) and OSHA 10.
According to Dr. Janet Caruso, Assistant Vice President, Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning, “We are very honored to be awarded this grant. It means that we will now be able to offer two cohorts of the URGENT program — one for women and another for veterans. I am excited to begin planning this new section with our partners as we strive to improve upon our first successful program.” NCC President Dr. W. Hubert Keen noted, “The URGENT program has been a spectacular success and has provided the training and tools necessary for the women students to start a career, to help bootstrap their families into the middle class, and provide well-trained workers for our public utilities. It is
a great opportunity for the women and a boost to the utilDr. Keen ity’s workforce.” added, “The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council has recognized this stellar program which will enable Nassau Community College to expand its training to women and veterans in Spring 2018. The dual goals of the College’s mission to help the community beyond its campus and the industries of Long Island have been achieved in this program. We look forward to expanding our footprint in the area of workforce development with successful programs like these.”
Institute, PSEGLI, National Grid, NY American Water, the Town of Hempstead and the Town of Oyster Bay Workforce Development Boards; and the Nassau County Department of Social Services. For more information about this free career-training program, call 516.572.7487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
URGENT: Women was made possible by NCC’s Center for Workforce Development, the Workforce Development
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Campus News | January 2018 | Page 27
is published once or twice monthly during the school year and distributed to over 37 New York, New England and New Jersey two-year colleges.
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HCCC/Cobleskill offer BBA degree
Herkimer County Community College and SUNY Cobleskill have entered into a partnership agreement to offer a bachelor’s degree on the Herkimer campus, starting in the fall of 2018.
Students will be able to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) through SUNY Cobleskill, on the Herkimer campus. SUNY Cobleskill’s BBA at Herkimer College is designed for traditional students and working adult learners.
SUNY Cobleskill’s BBA program prepares individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to become more effective managers and advance in their careers.
The agreement includes an articulation that allows a transition for seamless Herkimer College graduates with an associate degree in Business Administration, Accounting or Marketing. Other students, who have successfully completed 60 credits, but are not graduates of Herkimer College, may participate in the program with approval.
Community college credits are transferred into the degree completion. SUNY Cobleskill upper-level courses are offered in eight-week blocks on the Herkimer campus, allowing students to complete the BBA in two additional years after gradua-
tion from Herkimer College.
Herkimer College’s President Cathleen McColgin said, “By offering upper-level courses leading to a Bachelor of Business Administration degree right here on our campus, our local residents will have access to a quality and convenient way to continue their education and earn a baccalaureate degree. We are proud to add SUNY Cobleskill to a growing list of four-year college partners throughout the state, region and nation.
SUNY Cobleskill’s President Marion Terenzio said, “I am so impressed with Herkimer College’s student success rankings, so I know when we partner with you, we
SCCC expands automotive technology program
Suffolk County Community College offers an A.A.S. degree in Automotive Technology that is National Automotive Technician's Education Foundation (NATEF) certified and designed to prepare students for employment as automobile technicians and professionals at automotive service facilities.
Suffolk offers four separate automotive programs that includes academic classes and automotive classes that fulfill the requirements to obtain an A.A.S. degree.
The programs offered are the Honda PACT program, the Toyota T-TEN program, the General Motors ASEP program, and the General Automotive ATAC I & ATAC II programs. Subaru was added to the program last year.
“Automobiles are more technically advanced than ever creating an increasing need for highly skilled technicians,” said Suffolk County Community College President Shaun L. McKay who added that the
U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of qualified technicians needed nationwide will rise to approximately 780,000 by the year 2024, representing a 5% year-over-year increase in demand.
“Our students, as we continue to build our program, will be qualified to work in any dealership in the region,” McKay said. ‘We will be the premier training facility in the tristate region.”
will have students who are engaged and who love this place.”
SUNY Cobleskill’s Provost Susan Zimmerman said, “We are excited about this partnership and the value it presents for degree completion. For students who are place bound or for the students who had such a wonderful opportunity and don’t want to leave, this is a great opportunity.”
For program details visit www.cobleskill.edu/herkimer or contact SUNY Cobleskill’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education at 518255-5528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUNY Ulster has been named a Top 10 Military Friendly® School for 2018 with a Gold status. The College has been awarded a Military Friendly designation since 2009. Under Military Friendly’s new specifications, Ulster has moved up to the Top 10 in small community colleges with a Gold status, putting the college in the top 5% of community colleges nationwide who receive a Military Friendly designation.
Ulster is an approved educational institution under the Veteran's Educational Assistance Act (GI Bill) and the Dependent's Act. SUNY Ulster also cofounded the Veterans Consortium of the Hudson Valley for Higher Education. Campus News | January 2018 | Page 29
Is ‘cutting the cord’ worth it?
Darren Johnson Campus News
I have some friends who are cable-cutters — you know, they got rid of Spectrum, Comcast, Cablevision, etc. — but I wonder if it’s really worth it. Let’s break this down: My Deal
I pay about $150 a month for Spectrum (previously Time Warner Cable). With that, I get decent-speed Internet, one cable box with DVR, a phone with voicemail, Disney On-Demand (an add-on), the whole lineup of typical TV channels (maybe a few hundred, but only about 50 actually ever get watched) and two premium channels. The
to still pay about $60 for basic Internet. If one wants a bit more speed, this can increase to $80100 or more. Now, maybe some people might hook into a neighbor’s wi-fi, but most neighbors aren’t so trusting or generous anymore. The Phone
I’ll admit, the landline phone isn’t really necessary in this day and age, and cable-cutters merely use their cell phones. That said, I do run a home business and occasionally have to fax or do phone calls. I prefer the landline — it is 100% reliable vs. my cell phone, which is about 98% reliable. That said, there really is no serious financial advantage to getting the cable company’s phone perk. The Channels
“free” premium channels seem to rotate; I tend to have to call every 12 months and renegotiate. Currently, I’m getting Starz and Epix. The other TVs in the house don’t get much use, so we merely have a coaxial cable hooked into them, which doesn’t cost anything extra. They get all the regular channels. Internet
The cable-cutters I’ve spoken
Campus News | January 2018 | Page 30
No doubt, cable gives you hundreds of crystal clear channels. Thanks to improvements in broadcast quality and in-home antennas like the Mohu Leaf 50, a small, affordable unit that gets signals from up to 50 miles away, a cable-cutter can get 10-20 channels that are usually crystal clear. For many people, this is more than enough. However, the cable-cutters I know usually are adding about $30 in monthly streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu and maybe Amazon Instant or the HBO app. Now, I also have Netflix, and get Instant for free because I am a Prime member, but I certainly don’t rely on these services. More often, I find myself searching Starz or Epix if I
want a movie; they not only have about a dozen live movie channels, but also have more scores movies On Demand. As well, Spectrum also has a channel with lots of free movie options, a la Netflix. Technically, I could go without Netflix, if not for “Breaking Bad” and “Orange Is the New Black” being on there, and certainly I don’t need Hulu. DVR
The cable box DVR has improved a lot in recent years and has a lot of capacity. I use the “find” feature and, sure enough, some movie or TV show I may want to watch will be on some far-flung channel at some ungodly hour. I just hit “record” and get to it later. This is one of my favorite cable features, and I use it all the time. Hulu may have bought the rights to “Seinfeld,” but, big deal — I can DVR the whole series from regular cable, if I want. Intangibles
The cable-cutter has to have all these gadgets and remote controls to make everything work. There’s the device that lets you watch Netflix, Hulu, etc., and then the TV itself is
hooked to some antenna. Surely, the cable-cutter gets DVDs more often, say purchased or from Redbox, so the Blue-Ray player is more prominent. It’s a lot of work to be a penny pincher! In Conclusion
That said, unless having a landline phone is important, the cable-cutter does save money vs. a cable user with the so-called Triple Play, but it’s not a clear victory. How much time is lost looking for remote controls? Driving back Redbox rentals? Cursing the TV because the Game of the Week is coming out fuzzy? And not having access to that new, hip show on some new channel that isn’t broadcast over the airwaves that all your coworkers are drooling about at the water cooler? I estimate the cable-cutter is saving about $30 per month; whether or not that’s worth it depends on how much one loves TV and having a hassle-free experience.
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* June 2010 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce - Projections of Jobs and Educations Requirements Through 2018
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Published on Dec 29, 2017
Published on Dec 29, 2017
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