Michael Bartlett, Sports Column: Runners Aim for Personal Best
Mike Blake, Editorial Cartoon: Babel
Mike Blake, Non-editorial Cartoon: Finals
Current Online, Website
Current Online, Multi-media: Biden visits Longview
Tag Archives: Megan Reinsch
April 21, 2009
December 5, 2008
Cross curriculum reading enhances learning at Longview
Student Natt Fyffe and librarian Candice Baldwin (Bryan Gentry/The Current)
Students may think “The Plague Is Coming” button badge on their teacher’s vest refers to the final tests next week. And the posters freckling the campus with the same message may make some students concerned.
In fact, “The Plague” is coming to Longview next semester, and so far it seems to be taking a firm grip upon the faculty.
The random signs are no need for alarm. “The Plague” referred to is actually the work of fiction by Albert Camus. Next semester Longview will try to bring back a method attempted nearly two decades ago on this campus: cross-curriculum reading. Various professors from many different educational departments have signed on to use this novel in the classroom this spring.
Several ideas were taken into consideration for this project. English instructors Terri Lowry and Jan Rog explain that the idea was largely a move of FLYT, First Learning Year Team, a committee dedicated to making each student’s first year of college a dynamic experience. A single piece of literature taught across multiple curriculums has the appeal of enhancing that first experience for new students.
Choosing the right book proved a challenging task. Lowry said that 20 to 30 professors participated in making the decision. Over the summer all involved in the selection took the time to review the many possibilities. A reasonable obstacle was to find a piece that could be applicable to many departments. About 20 years ago the experimental book was “Galapagos” by Kurt Vonnegut. This time the goal was to choose an even more suitable book.
Literature is important and many teachers stand by that idea. Lowry said, “Literature can be used to explore moral and philosophical questions if used in the right way, such as using fiction to examine the human condition.”
Written in 1947, immediately following World War II, The Plague is a layered book with possibilities for several interpretations. Librarian Candice Baldwin breaks the book into three meanings. First, literally the novel tells of the fatal bubonic plague rising from nature and the responses of humans to natural evil. Secondly, metaphorically the plague is the invasive occupation of Germany in France during WWII. Finally as an allegory The Plague depicts moral evil as a broader theme.
Lowry breaks the summary a little further. “In other words, your action or inaction has moral consequences,” she said.
The book should provoke students to ask if man has a choice in how they live.
Camus was often considered a follower of existentialism. However, Camus defined himself as a supporter of the absurd, the idea that life does not necessarily have an order to the ways in which things happen. It is with this in mind that such an allegorical book offers so much to many areas at Longview.
Several English teachers have signed on to teach this within next semester’s curriculum. In addition, faculty members in several other disciplines have decided to join the project, such as Elliot Shimmel, history; John Church, mathematics, and Brian Mitchell, microbiology.
Church does not yet know how to incorporate the book into his curriculum, but he knows he will be supportive even if it is just 15 minutes of discussion each week. Church sees the importance of literature being taught at college and is eager to have the opportunity to influence and introduce students to classic literature. He feels that college should incorporate literature as much as possible.
Church said, “I hope we emphasize college as a place of ideas not just a place to learn skills for a job.”
Many activities have been planned for next semester to support the novel’s use in many classrooms. Such events include literary critic and discussion, small book discussion sessions, film event, “Plague or contagion” day, and an essay contest offering a $400 scholarship prize.
Baldwin hopes to teach a research class based upon the novel as well.
The economy is taking hits and everyone is feeling the crunch. MCC is no exception, and Chancellor Jackie Snyder has released the news that MCC will be cutting back.
For one cost-saving move, Longview campus students may want to begin bringing light jackets or sweaters to class. The temperature outside has dropped and it is time for the heat to be turned on, but to save a little pocket change MCC will not be turning it up as high as usual. Classroom temperatures are usually maintained between 68 and 72 degrees. By lowering the thermostats by one degree to 67 to 71, MCC can potentially save thousands more to contribute to the deficit.
Currently the MCC fiscal year’s deficit is $3.5 million with risks of becoming $5 million next year. As a result, budget cuts are necessary. MCC has decided to roll back spending by 3 percent across the board, providing an additional $3.1 million toward the current deficit. Each department will feel the 3 percent reduction in their individual budgets, but will have the freedom to choose where those cutbacks will be focused.
Snyder has reassured employees and students that MCC will continue to adhere to its mission, “Preparing students, serving communities and creating opportunities.” While many ideas for decreasing costs and increasing revenues are being examined, reducing current employees is not one. Snyder points out that in order to maintain the solid education MCC provides to students, they must maintain their faculty and make sure the student body is the priority.
Longview President, Fred Grogan echoes Snyder’s comments and affirms that Longview will do its part to cut the budget. Additionally, Grogan asks his staff to keep their minds open to any ideas they may have. Creative plans to get through this financial squeeze are welcomed, and Grogan has already begun discussions with the campus administrators.
In efforts to provide students with knowledge and ability to succeed beyond college graduation, Longview Community College continues to work hard in every department.
The week of Nov. 17 marked the commencement of Global Entrepreneurship Week and allowed Student Employment Services to get the students involved.
An entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages a business or enterprise, often involving much initiative and risk. With this in mind the Kauffman Foundation organized Global Entrepreneurship Week with the aim to “unleash the spirit of innovation.”
Linda Wallis of Student Employment Services said, “The goal was to familiarize people with different types of entrepreneurship and encourage them to take initiative to begin entrepreneurships of their own.”
During the week two events were hosted. The “E-mazing Race” was held on Wednesday, Nov. 19, throughout the campus. The scavenger style hunt required students to roam to various locations and answer entrepreneurial questions. The first student with the most correct answers won.
Winners of the E-mazing Race were Shewan White and Kim Wettstein in first place, Jordan Kleoppell and Rocio Stewart in second and Dameon Tucker in third. Location experts who aided with the event consisted of Keet Kopecky, Casey Reid, Donna Perry, Sharon Pyant and Pam Hensley.
Thursday, Nov. 20, welcomed three entrepreneurs who shared their expertise and encouragement with the students. The innovators were Gail Lozoff of Spin Pizza, local artist Lauren McFarland of Farly’s Art and Longview biology instructor Pat Munn of Golden Retriever Rescue. The speakers brought samples of their businesses such as pizza to eat and art and dogs to entertain. The session was informal, allowing speakers to share but also to answer questions from the students.
For more information on entrepreneurship and ways to be involved, visit unleashingideas.org.
After sleeping with textbooks and hoping for a miracle of absorbed learning, relax, finals are done. The school break may not be a “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but time with family and a “White Christmas,” pending snow, is here. Take time to enjoy the rest, light a fire, grab a book other than those required, or simply pop in a movie.
Even major motion picture companies can recognize the important holiday that seems to explode red and green each December. From the black and white days to the world of Technicolor, there are some Christmas movies that will never be retired.
First step in the holiday movie marathon is being at home. “I’ll be Home for Christmas” is an important promise to make to those you love, no matter what trouble it may take to get there. If the season finds you “Home Alone” however, beware, some goons may find this the time of taking rather than giving.
Speaking of giving, Christmas cannot be left up entirely to the man in red. Gratitude for the working “Elf” is necessary. Besides, without any appreciation for St. Nick you may find yourself becoming “The Santa Clause.” But if that still isn’t enough to make you a believer, just look for the occurrence of your own “Miracle on 34th Street.”
Save everyone the trouble though and avoid being a “Bad Santa.” Make a list and think hard to yourself about “All I want for Christmas.” After all, it would be a horrible plight to be christened “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
The journey of self discovery, both old and new, can also be a wonderful holiday journey. Be open to hear “A Christmas Carol” or two, perhaps one in the company of muppets. Make it a goal to rediscover that indeed “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Spend time with loved ones, be “The Family Man” even if the relatives are comparable to “The Family Stone.”
Finally, wherever Christmas may travel this year, try taking “The Polar Express” to get there. The best Christmas memories always come from “A Christmas Story” you write yourself.
Do not be “Scrooged” by the holidays. Instead, just “Jingle All the Way” to the closest video rental store and grab one of these Christmas titles or any of the many others not mentioned here.