Monday, January 11, 2010

Last week's winter wonderland - click to forward gallery

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scene of Davidson Hall
A snowstorm covered campus last Thursday.

Classes offered at Franklin easing strain on main campusWith most class sections of required courses packed full on main campus and many of the parking lots in the same situation, the new option for taking classes at Franklin University is proving to be a popular one.

Thirty-four sections of math, psychology, biology, English and developmental coursework are being offered at Franklin University in Phillips Hall, with a first-week enrollment of 342 students, which is more than some of the other established off-campus sites, according to Susan Norris-Berry, administrator of the program.

Phillips hall
Phillips Hall is on the southwest corner of Grant and Main.

“It’s really a nice facility,” said Norris-Berry. “They have good technology over there, and the classrooms are big and bright, plus the parking couldn’t be more convenient.”

“We had planned the class schedule, site specialist and academic advisor well in advance, but the option wasn’t announced to students until the fifth week of Winter Quarter registration. Still, the number of students registered there is very good, and they are still signing up even during the first week of the quarter.”

The arrangement between Columbus State and Franklin is for Winter and Spring quarters only at this point, but the lease may be extended if the enrollment remains high. During the daytime hours, most Franklin classrooms are empty because the majority of students there take evening courses.

Adjunct biology instructor John Cogan was featured in a 10TV story the first day of classes. “I’m excited that we have a small group of students here, which is nice. I’m used to working with a much larger class,” he said.

In Cogan’s class, Introduction to Biological Sciences, student Sarah Hadley said, “I like the fact that classes are small and I can get more attention. It’s really not too far, either. It’s just easy for me.”

Channel Six news also ran a piece showing adjunct faculty member Michael Cotterman’s class. “Each room in which I teach has a computer hooked to a projector system, a Smart Board, as well as plenty of blackboard space and an overhead projector,” he said. “So I can be as low tech or high tech as I want to be on any given topic—and I've already used a bit of everything,” said Cotterman, who teaches pre-algebra.

“I was pleasantly surprised to be met the first day by a representative from the IT Department, who I understand got all the CSCC instructors set up on a temporary password for the day. By the second day, I received my own sign-in information. Our two CSCC personnel at our little front desk are very friendly and helpful,” he added

“I teach Math 102 at 9:30 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday at Franklin U. and would like to comment that I totally like the building, classroom, and friendliness of the staff,” said adjunct faculty David Sarmir. “The classroom is spacious, nicely furnished (carpeted floor), and the podium that I requested was immediately delivered. I hope I can teach additional classes in the future at Franklin.”

“I am teaching one section of English 101 at Franklin this quarter,” said Rodney Spain, adjunct faculty member. “I attended the orientation held in December, and the Franklin managers were very nice, well organized, and customer-service orientated. The facility is clean, clean, clean! One day, a custodian came into the classroom just before my class was to begin and cleaned the chalk board.

“The classrooms are equipped with the A/V equipment needed to teach the class. Unfortunately, computers at Franklin are not available for the students, which is a problem when teaching an English comp class,” he added.

“So far the situation is good. I have no real complaints, although I wish I had a computer lab or computers in the room for students to use,” echoed Rick Wade, an adjunct instructor who teaches basic communication skills.

“I like the facilities and the parking,” said Cheryl Dickson, adjunct faculty in Mathematics. “It is nice not having to drive all over to find a place to park.”

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President’s book discussion group to read “true story”book coverVal’s Book Club will read “Here If You Need Me: A True Story” by Kate Braestrup for their Winter Quarter selection. The first 25 employees to respond by email to will receive a free copy of the book and be enrolled in the club.

The book club will meet on Thursday, March 11, at noon to discuss their reading.

According to, “It may take ingenuity to interest browsers in a memoir by a middle-aged mother who, 11 years ago, was suddenly widowed, then became a Unitarian-Universalist minister, and now works as chaplain to game wardens in Maine. But good memoir writing does not depend on celebrity or adventure.

Braestrup's insightful essays are extraordinarily well written, mingling elements of police procedural and touching love story with trenchant observations about life and death. Alert to comic detail even in grisly circumstances (bears, for example, like to play ball with human skulls), she tells stories of lost children, a suicide, drunken accidents and a murder, always with compassion and a concern for the big questions inescapably provoked by tragic events.”

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Time for the Mid-Year Progress DiscussionIn the context of PERFORMs, the purpose of a Mid-Year Discussion (MYD) is to have a conversation about progress toward completing the key responsibilities, goals, and competencies identified on the Planning Guide and documenting it in the COOL system.
Here are the steps to complete the process:
1. Employee and supervisor have a conversation.
2. The supervisor makes the MYD form available in the COOL system.
3. The employee completes the form and submits it for the supervisor’s review.
4. The supervisor can add comments and submit back to the employee for review.
5. The supervisor will submit the MYD completed.
Directions for the employee are at this link:
Directions for the reviewing supervisors are at this link:

New Hire Mentor Program back for 2010

Susan and Shannon
Shannon Hayes, left, and Susan DiFrancesco, in the Child Development Center where new employee Hayes works.

The New Hire Mentor Program was launched in February 2009 with a group of dedicated individuals willing to help new employees become a part of the Columbus State fabric. Now it’s time to kick off the 2010 program with a group of new mentors willing to share their knowledge and time with recent hires to the college.

“The mentor program has been very helpful to me,” said Shannon Hayes, a teacher in the Child Development Center. “My mentor explained the Wellness Initiative program to me. She also told me about the gym, the new fitness center and how to fill out an application for fee waivers.”

Hayes’ mentor, Susan DiFrancesco, Grants and Loans, said “I thought the program was wonderful. It was a challenge to remember all of the stuff I’ve been exposed to in my 18 years here, though! I got a friend out of the deal, and we now have an agreement to do a monthly lunch.”

The 2010 program will have a couple of changes based on the suggestions of the pioneers of the program, including providing mentor pairs with detailed weekly and monthly activities that may be useful to them.

Candidates for the 2010 New Hire Mentor Program need to have:

• Completed two years of service to Columbus State
• Graduated from Leadership Institute
• Completed the Application and Supervisor Approval form by Tuesday, Jan. 19, and submit them to India Ashley, in RH 115.

Candidates will be notified of the selection results by Friday, January 22.

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English Department to host conferenceThe Midwest affiliate of the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) recently announced that Columbus State's English Department will host the organization's annual conference in October 2011. Assistant Professor Ingrid Emch will serve as Program Chair, and Assistant Professor Deborah Bertsch will serve as Local Arrangements Chair.

At the organization's 2009 conference in October, several faculty members gave presentations, including Emch and Bertsch, as well as Assistant Professors Judy Anderson, Joan Petrusky, and Beki Test; and Angela Palmer-Wackerly and Lauren Stowe, both adjunct faculty in the department.

In addition, Bertsch was recently elected to the Executive Board of TYCA-Midwest and had a review essay published in the December 2009 issue of the organization's journal, Teaching English in the Two-Year College.

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