New staff draw advice from student panel

 

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PHOTO BY JORDAN BARTH
Professor Thurman speaks to staff and panel members.

BY JORDAN BARTH
Managing Editor

On Thursday, Nov. 14, Dr. Bette Simmons, Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management, held a student-driven forum for faculty and staff who are new to CCM.

She described the forum as her “second favorite,” with the first being the discussion she leads. Her thoughts generated giggles from those in the crowd.

“This session reminds me why I get up everyday,” Simmons said.

Students in the panel included leaders of well-known campus clubs with various ages and maturity levels. Diego Arenas, Carlos Herrera, Jonathan Solondz, Teresa Mendoza,, Nick Cirillo, Angelique Onorati, and many others were given the freedom to be completely honest and forthcoming in providing their thoughts.

One of the first questions asked was “Why CCM?”

“I came here a week after graduating high school … had a lot of autoimmune disorders,” Raziel Franchi said. “CCM goes above and beyond the requirements of the state law.”

Franchi went on to praise the CCM faculty and staff for their handling of students who have disabilities.

Nick Cirillo, president of the Student Activities Planning Board, spent about nine years as a bartender in Miami between high school and college. He characterized his experience as it being “not the life that [he] wanted to live.”

 

Jonathan Solondz, a biology major on campus “came from a big university and transferred after [his] first semester.”

He went on to praise CCM professors for understanding his strengths and weaknesses and the benefits of small class sizes.

“I appreciate it when professors spend time with me,” Angelique Onorati said.

Referring to faculty and staff, “What could we be doing better?” Simmons asked the panel.

“Just be mindful of the student’s life outside of school and keep smiling,” Cirillo said.

“Don’t be afraid to tell the students to shut up even though they are paying,” Franchi said.

One statement generated a lot a buzz amongst the panel members that came from one of their own. His statement contrasted the majority opinion.

Dr. Loryn Keating, recently hired assistant professor in chemistry, asked about the role of cell phones in the classroom. She previously taught at Union County College. She has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

He prefaced by agreeing that it was rude and disrespectful to have your phone out but challenged the audience to look at the situation differently.

“You are obviously not connecting with the student in some way,” he said. “They are finding that using their phone is more interesting than what’s going on in class. So there is some disconnect happening along the line here.”

The panel member then recommended ways to integrate mobile devices in the classroom using applications to increase class participation.

Simmons elaborated on the panelist’s opinion with the different technologies on the market. She alluded to the work of Dr. Maryanne Garbowsky in her work integrating the devices.

Professor Alexis Thurman, chairperson of the mathematics department, added to the discussion by saying, “If it doesn’t keep you alive, you don’t need it.

Thurman challenged professors to want students to attend their class in an impassioned speech.

“It is my job on Monday morning, to make sure students understand,” she said.

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