October 15, 2008

Greetings all,

Welcome to a special issue of “What’s On My Mind?” Today marks the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. Wikipedia provides a concise discussion of the origins of this celebration http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic_Heritage_Month – check it out.

As with most things in life, we find individual meaning through personal discovery and reflection. So rather than providing you a list of “famous Hispanics” or “Hispanic firsts,” I thought I would share with you several books that have provided me greater understanding and insight into the Hispanic culture. Enjoy these books – they are all “good reads.”

Two of my all time favorite books are authored by Victor Villasenor – Rain of Gold and Thirteen Senses: A Memoir. Beginning with Rain of Gold, Villasenor chronicles his family’s migration from Mexico and settling in the United States.

If you want to understand undocumented migration into this county from multiple perspectives read Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea. This book chronicles the lives of immigrants from Mexico crossing the border into Arizona from the viewpoints of all involved – immigrants, smugglers, politicians, and the Border Patrol. Your understanding of this very complex issue will be changed.

Finally, read Ask A Mexican by Gustavo Arellano. You will be challenged to think about bigotry and stereotypes head on. Although I have only read excerpts from this book, I found it to be very cutting similar to Dick Gregory’s compelling comedy with a message during the late 1960’s.

Have a great week.

Regards,

Paul Dale, Ed.D.
Interim President

October 10, 2008

Greetings all,

Welcome to issue number four of “What’s On My Mind?” As I have done in each of the three previous issues, I will briefly touch on sights and sounds from the college that touch the themes that are collectively guiding our work this year – leadership for: student success, community building, bringing learning alive and positive social change.

This Week’s Focus – Positive Social Change

So, our vision statement that we collectively drafted several years ago includes this statement “… {we want to} inspire and support all learners to increase their capacity for personal growth and positive social change.” Simply put, positive social change is a hope that our students will leave PVCC with a greater sense of concern for the rights and welfare of others and the desire to make a better neighborhood, a better community, and a better world. Is this too lofty of a vision for PVCC? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it is imperative that students leave PVCC knowing that they can make a difference – that they can make things better. Our students are capable of helping solve complex problems such as global warming, international border conflicts, and persistent illiteracy of the poor and disadvantaged.

Positive social change is not just a student activity – ask the PVCC faculty who last year championed over 100,000 hours of curriculum based service learning. Last week, Felicia Ramirez’s Com 230 class engaged in a project to raise funds for a variety of social causes. Over the last two months the campus has been awash in positive social change activities, including Rock the Vote, Phi Theta Kappa’s Fashion for Compassion, a college blood drive, a BBQ to raise funds for Flood Relief, Michele Marion’s diversity and inclusion programming, and I could go on. Students learn best in compelling situations where context is created through an active search for meaning. Through the lens of positive social change, these conditions are significantly enhanced.

The college will soon be rolling out a Positive Social Change web site where all of our activities will be highlighted – watch for the URL soon.

Quick Updates

Learning is alive and well on campus…ask Lynn McClelland about her student deployed to Iraq who still finished his course incomplete literally from the trenches – a perfect example of the power of the student faculty relationship…ask Karen Kabrich about the magic in her 7:30 a.m. developmental reading class – something is clicking…finally while walking though G Building I saw through the classroom window Larry Burgess’ class with student arms raised and engaged. Ask Larry about his use of practical applications in the classroom…yes you are bringing learning alive at PVCC. Thank you.

Next time you see Fred Reill and Scott Fischer, thank them for their good work keeping the college in good repair. And while you are at it check out their exemplary work to repair and refurbish the water feature in M Building courtyard.

In the next issue of “What’s On My Mind?” I will reflect on the importance of learning outcomes assessment and why this is critical to the work we do and not just an exercise for accreditation purposes.

Have a great week.

Regards,

Paul Dale, Ed.D.
Interim President