Diversity Statement

Introduction

It is safe to say that I have been involved in education at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate school, from middle school robotics classes to facilitating teacher professional development. My main focus over the past 15 years has been community college students, but I have also had lots of experience with professional educators, graduate students, and the K12 population. I work well with people from all walks of life and celebrate the diversity of ideas they bring to the classroom. I have learned more than I ever imaged from these people and in almost every single class I have ever taught, I can honestly say “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”.

 

Community College

I have been teaching in the California community college (CCC) system since 1997. One of the things that I love about the CCC system is the diversity you find in the classroom. Because California has an open enrollment policy, anyone has the opportunity to attend community college. I have often said that teaching community college is like teaching K-1. It’s the portal to higher education for many people. What happens here will impact the rest of their educational experience. They will decide if this is something they can do or they will decide that they aren’t cut out for it. For many it’s the first time they’ve stepped inside a classroom in decades and they don’t know if they can do it, but they are determined to try. Others are on a fast track to somewhere else and are surprised to find that they like where they are after all. Every semester, I have had at least one student who cried and many who were scared to death, and some who sat back and dared me to teach them. Every year I wondered how I could reach the ones who seemed unreachable, and I grieved over the few who were lost. My job is to help them connect to their passions, to connect to each other, and to help them develop and connect to a personal learning network outside of the classroom walls. It is a job that has me constantly learning, changing, and refining what I do.

 

Educators

Haiku LMS Workshop - Riverside August 2011In addition to my “day” job, I have been teaching educators about technology for almost as long as I have been in the classroom myself. I served as a distance education mentor for the California Virtual Campus (CVC) grant program and was asked to be on the Region IV advisory board. I helped design courses for our campus online teaching certificate and helped many instructors take the leap from bricks & morter classrooms to a new paradigm in online education. I have taught online teaching pedagogy and technology classes through CVC and @ONE. Much of my mentoring work has been through online workshops and classes, but once in a while I have the treat of facilitating face-to-face activities. This past summer I developed and delivered an on-site CMS Bootcamp workshop for the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP) that involved K12 teachers from all over the southern California area. These activities are always wonderfully fulfilling and I almost always manage to work LEGOs into the lessons (you’ll have to ask me about that!).

 

Graduate Students

Although the majority of my experience in the last decade and a half has been at the CC level, I have had the opportunity to teach in several university education programs. The opportunity to teach graduate students working on their masters in education, learning technologies or technology management has been one of my most challenging and rewarding experiences because I have had the opportunity to teach for programs that are transformational adventures for the students who go through them. This affords an opportunity to influence the people who have a direct connection to the classroom. I help break down their assumptions about learning and push them to be reflective educational and technology leaders. They push me to be at the top of my game and to research and develop learning activities that will help facilitate the journey they are on. It’s a win-win situation that is lots of fun to participate in!

 

K12 Kids

Finally, I have had broad experience working in the K12 arena. I have been active in the schools my eight children have attended, and have been serving as the teacher-selected liaison to the school board for an independent charter school since 2009. I was a substitute teacher for three years before accepting my first faculty position. As a college professor, I have been heavily involved in community outreach to local K12 students through activities like high school classroom visits and digital high school classes; the Expanding Your Horizons conferences to expose girls to science, technology, engineering, and math careers through female role models; middle school robotics workshops to excite kids about learning in a very hands-on, active environment; and events like our annual “I Can Go To College” visit where I have the opportunity to engage 400 local 5th graders for the day. I have tons of respect for what K12 teachers do in the classroom day in and day out!

 

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