Your Feedback is Requested

Students evaluate every academic quarter a tenure candidate at Clark College through anonymous surveys. My Dean also sends out an email to tenured faculty to solicit feedback. I’m thankful for both the student and faculty evaluation feedback that I receive. Typically 95% of my students elect to provide feedback. As for faculty, I had 4 of them provide feedback this quarter.

At my last tenure meeting, I asked, “what about feedback from other people at the college and within the community/world at large.” The committee stated that there was nothing wrong in soliciting it and including it in your “tenure binder.”

Given this, I put together a Google Form that I would ask you to complete. You should only submit feedback if my work at Clark College has impacted you, a family member, friend, relative, or whatever in some way.

Here’s the link to the form: https://lnkd.in/gWtUC-yZ

Thank you for taking the time to fill out the form. 

Application for Early Tenure at Clark College Turned Down

This post is not one I ever intended to write, but here goes. I’ve shared a lot about my personal and professional celebrations and challenges I’ve come across and overcome with you. Well, this post is about a professional challenge.

A year ago, when I started my tenure track appointment at Clark College, my Tenure Review Committee suggested that I consider pursuing the option for early Tenure. Early Tenure is part of our union’s contract. I was humbled to hear that my committee recognized my abilities and suggested this option. The committee and I both agreed to go through at least one year of the three-year process.

In June, my committee wrote the college’s Board of Trustees, transmitting their endorsement, my nine years of documented work at the college, and a completed Tenure Achievement Plan.

In early September, I heard back from the Board of Trustees, letting me know that they did not and would not consider my application to grant early Tenure.

Note that within the union contracts language, the Board does not have to consider applications for early Tenure. They can “pass” and not even have to consider it. This decision by the Board decided to in my case. None of my work in the Tenure Binder (portfolio) was reviewed.

I’m disappointed. Back to the tenure “process,” I go where my Tenure Review Committee and the Board of Trustees determine whether or not I’m a good fit to teach there.

Almost nine years of teaching at Clark College

This December will mark nine years of teaching Web Development at Clark College. Here’s a list of things I wanted to share with you about my journey:

  • In the Fall of 2012, I was asked to temporarily fill in for a professor who needed to go on medical leave for six months. Unfortunately, the professor passed away, and I continued teaching on a full-time temporary basis from 2013 – 2020.
  • In the Fall of 2021, I started as a Tenure-Track Instructor
  • Taught 1,500+ students programming and web development
  • Authored and received a grant to develop new course material for teaching accessibility and universal design in web development courses
  • Taught students in the iTech Preparatory program on the Washington State University campus Python, JavaScript, and HTML/CSS
  • Continually gratified hearing from students who get hired in the field of web development and other fields
  • Developed a trusted network of college staff and faculty that I rely upon for collaboration and feedback
  • Spoke at local business and technology meetups and events
  • Spoke at the Washington State School for the Blind about my career journey being a visually impaired individual
  • Two-time winner of the Clark College Exceptional Faculty award (2013 and 2018)
  • Developed and published an Amazon Alexa skill to get the latest news from Clark College
  • Helped Clark develop a campus strategy for universal access and design
  • Department Chair of the Web Development program at Clark, which has a 40% BIPOC student population  
  • Earned 25 industry certifications from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, CompTIA, Techsmith, and the Python Institute
  • Created over 300 instructional videos
  • Teach 13 different courses, including Python, Web and Interface Design, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics
  • An advocate of universal design and accessibility
  • Have taught online courses since 2013
  • Speaker at the 2017 VanTalks event
  • Used the Harvard CS50 curriculum to deliver an intense eight-week course on computer science to students in the Technical and Professional writing graduate program at Portland State University
  • Worked with members of local industry on program advisory committees
  • Implemented instructional practices that promote racial and cultural equity
  • Authored and recorded a course for Lynda.com
  • Recognized by Amazon Web Services as a Faculty Cloud Ambassador
  • Recognized as an IBM Champion for Cloud Computing
  • I’m thankful that my Tenure Review Committee submitted my Tenure Binder for consideration for early tenure in Spring 2020 to the college’s Board of Trustees

Where you can find me at Clark College this Fall (2021)


Mondays

  • 10:00 AM – 12:20 PM: CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming and Problem Solving
  • 1:00 – 2:50 PM: CTEC 122 – HTML Fundamentals

Wednesdays

  • 10:00 AM – 12:20 PM: CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming and Problem Solving
  • 1:00 – 2:50 PM: CTEC 122 – HTML Fundamentals

Office Hours

By appointment 7 days a week. Schedule a meeting with me here https://calendly.com/bruceelgort


Clark College Guided Pathways Videos

Healthcare Area of Study Overview Video 

Transitional Studies Overview Video 

Welcome to transitional studies! In this video you’ll meet our team, hear from students just like you, and learn about our program offerings that include learning English (ESL program), earning your high school diploma or GED, and helping you prepare for college and career through our Career and Academic Preparation (CAP) classes. Reach out to our Transitional Studies staff or the Welcome Center to get started on your journey at Clark College.

MyPlan/Career Services Video 

Explainer Videos on the New Student Portal

Applying to Clark College (State App) 

Paying for College (Financial Aid Options)

The Welcome Center (Meet Enrollment Navigators)

Math and English Placement (The Why)

Culturally Responsive Curriculum Plan

During the spring of 2021, I worked with Clark College’s Adam Coleman and Virginia Kyle on developing a plan to infuse culturally responsive equity-focused teaching and learning practices into our computer technology curriculum.

Below is a list of the courses and the things we will be doing as a result of our work.

Course(s) to be revised:

  • Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (CTEC 121)
  • IT Support (CTEC 104)
  • Introduction to Managed Information Systems (MIS) (CTEC 205)

For each course identified above, describe eight or more specific course content, course activity, and/or course work revisions that reflect culturally responsive teaching principles.

1) Provide Teacher-Narrated Video Feedback for Assignments

  • Using captions and subtitles with video feedback has been proven to be effective in helping students access and process information. This is especially important when considering diverse student populations, including non-native English speakers and those with special needs. The facial expressions and tone of voice go a long way to adding to the meaning of what you are hoping to get across. A student we know of has neuro-issues, and often plays the videos back several times, stating that this is a very effective means of feedback for her. Another example is students who are dyslexic and are constantly on reading overload. This modality gives them a break.
  • Students who are more attuned to aural and visual learning styles, rather than to reading and writing, can more easily process video feedback than the rather one-dimensional presentation of the written word. The video eliminates the risk of misunderstanding based on this cultural barrier and provides a break from the majority of courses that depend heavily on the written word.
  • Teacher presence in the online environment is essential to building a community of inquiry and a sense of connection with the instructor. This is culturally relevant because that connection to the instructor comes into play when the student runs into barriers or difficulties embedded in a cultural issue. They are more likely to reach out to us for guidance if they have that sense of connection person-to-person.

2) Design TILTed Assignments – Transparency In Learning and Teaching

Our intention is to be very clear and transparent about how assignments are relevant to students in their daily lives and experiences, creating assignments and activities with this component wherever applicable. We will encourage students to bring any issues to the instructor so a conversation can be arranged. 

Examples include:

  • In CTEC 121- Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving over a dozen assignments have been TILTed.
  • In the CTEC 104 – IT Customer Service course, we will investigate how different customers (generations) communicate with respect to technology; text, phones, emails, twitter etc. 
  • In the CTEC 205  – Introduction to Managed Information Systems there will be multiple assignments dealing with collaboration that build on each other. This includes setting up teams, creating a Team charter, and working together to create policies and procedures. 

3) Variable Assignment Formats to meet Individual Learning Styles when possible/reasonable

At the onset of the course, provide links to research-based learning styles assessments that offer study and learning strategies based on styles. We will offer learners alternative assignment options that are grounded in their individual learning style(s). An example of this would be a video or audio journal submission as opposed to written.

4) Use of Pronouns

We will ask instructors and students to state their pronouns in course introductions, Zoom, and other venues. We also will include them in the course Syllabus and email signatures.

5) Email Signatures to set at one of welcoming diversity and embracing cultural differences

We will revise email signatures to include quotes about diversity and inclusion to help set a welcoming environment in the early stages of the course.

6) Disabilities and Student Course Introductions

Not all disabilities are disclosed to DSS (Disability Support Services). We realize that all challenges to learning, such as PTSD, anxiety, even autism, are not always documented. We will be direct in asking students to let us know if there are adjustments or additions that we the instructors should be aware of so that we can work together with the learner to provide an optimal learning experience with the most equitable playing field possible.

7) Meeting Students Where They Live: Use an Implicit Bias Test – Harvard Test

Have students take an implicit bias test that allows students to choose from racism, gender, sexual orientation, ageism, ableism, etc. to gauge what biases they may be bringing to an interaction with a customer who needs help with a technical issue. After the test, have discussions about it and the results students each received. Do they think the test results are valid? If not, why? Why is it important to be aware of the biases we unconsciously bring to an interaction? Then shape the discussion as it relates to the topic(s)/industry the course is covering and see how implicit bias is part of it. Not only is this best practice for the course material, it also helps to set a tone of openness and awareness of differences, including an acknowledgment from the instructors that they, too, bring an unconscious bias to their work and are open to discussion and value the concept.

8) Module Exit Slip Surveys

Offer learners a chance to reflect on the coursework in the module every week, inviting comments and suggestions to address possible barriers, such as socio-economic or health.

9) Communicating Across Cultures Film

Have students watch the video “Communicating Across Cultures” film, and then have one or more class discussions about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbIqOaFr5Rg, guiding the discussion to areas relevant to the coursework, For example, we can create some customer service scenarios that present a conflict or challenge based on a cultural barrier then follow with a role-play activity in which students can have a positive experience with skill-building in real-time. We also could brainstorm ways in which technology could assist (or does already) in  lessening or eliminating the barriers. Students can also add to the information from the film, suggesting communication issue scenarios based on their own observations or lived experiences regarding marginalized groups and identities. 

10) Wiki Page(s): Workshops, Events, and Opportunities

Create an ongoing Wiki page of workshops, events, and opportunities around campus that support student diversity, including student panels, speakers, scholarships, celebrations, etc. Students will be invited to contribute to the Wiki page. An example of this would be the panel in May at Clark regarding supporting trans individuals who are Pacific Islanders. These events are promoted each week to faculty in emails and announcements and can be easily copied and pasted into the weekly updated Wiki page. 

Announcing Two New Non-Credit Classes at Clark College

I’m happy to announce two new exciting “non-credit” courses that are being offered this Fall through Clark College that I wanted you to know about!

If you have any questions whatsoever, please get in touch with me.

Where to find Bruce at Clark College Winter 2020

Here are the courses I’m teaching during the Winter 2020 quarter:

  • CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming & Problem-Solving in SHL 125 (Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 AM – 12:50 PM
  • CTEC 127 – PHP and SQL 1 in SHL 125 (Monday & Wednesday 10:30 AM – 12:50 PM)
  • CTEC 270 – Web and Interface Design 1 in AA4 103 (Monday & Wednesday 3:00 – 4:50 PM)
  • CTEC 293 – Web Skills Portfolio (online)

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

  • 9:30 – 10:15 AM in SHL 127
  • or by appointment

Tuesday and Thursday

  • 2:00 – 3:00 PM in SHL 127
  • or by appointment

Bruce Elgort believes…

  • We are our best selves when challenged.
  • Students gain far more from correcting their own answers than from being corrected by the instructor.
  • Learning to learn will help all students pass all their class, and develop their critical thinking skills.
  • All students should pass this class, and the next, and the next.
  • He is not an answer key.
  • If he were to answer “Is this correct?” questions from students, then students will quickly get the message that they cannot trust their own self-assessment skills. This is poor training for success on quizzes, exams, and especially the real world, where there are no answer keys.
  • Learning is slow, takes time and effort.
  • Asking questions is the best way to help yourself, and your group.
  • Knowing why your answer is right is just as important as the answer itself.
  • Answers are best said by students.
  • Instruction should be kept simple.
  • Reflection is the only way to see our larger truths.
  • Activities should be completed by the instructor multiple times.