The Power of Kindness

When you speak kindly

The words never disappear

Their light surrounds you

~author unknown

Argh! I have written and discarded many drafts now on the topic of kindness in the workplace. It appears this is my week to deal with ideas of compassion and leadership through a lens of turbulence if I want to write anything meaningful. I’m having a hard time of it, but perhaps writing will help me sort through my conflicted points of view.

In my world, Trump is raging like a temperamental two year old on Twitter, my HOA thinks state laws don’t require compliance, and recent changes on campus have left me wondering about college priorities and a changing vision for the Maricopa Colleges that doesn’t seem well thought out or defined. I know my concerns are valid and other than moving to Canada, I need to find a response to deal with all of instability around me, … but through kindness? Really? Maybe. Perhaps I still need convincing.

People mirror emotions of their leaders and more and more people in power right now are sending the wrong message. Violence and hate crimes are on the rise and normalizing “alternative facts” is part of the daily news. It is heart wrenching. But every so often amidst all the ugliness, a glimmer of humanity is sighted and you realize that compassion in troubled times is a thing of tremendous beauty and power … and suddenly you have hope again.

Right now, a little more kindness on campus will do great things for lifting me up and reminding me what a good community we share. Bring it on! I’m ready to share the good vibes right back with you.

Kindly,
Kristin

Because being good matters

Students come here to shine

In them, our fires of knowledge burn bright

Dreams aglow and rising!

Years ago I made a transition into the work of academic advising. It was to be a short layover job of sorts before heading into teaching, but the teaching bug faded and never materialized for a variety of reasons. Advising as it turned out, suited me quite well. I found I loved the combination of helping students pursuing important educational and life goals as well as the constant research and learning advisors need to stay current in a realm of ever-changing academic and transfer information.

Advising when done right takes a breadth of skills and abilities many take lightly. You have to know or be able to quickly access volumes of information. Mistakes on your part cost students time and money. Regretfully, most advisement training is on-the-job learning from mistakes. I quickly learned that to be effective, you have to know a lot, ask frequently to verify when you don’t know something, and find help when needed to aid students in a more holistic manner when they need additional resources.

Most importantly, through advising, I was inspired every day by the stories students brought to my humble cubicle. The single mother with a terminal illness trying to make sure her daughter would be able to get an education and career prior to her death; DACA students looking for a good education in a STEM field with perfect GPA unable to get an Honor’s scholarship or any other for that matter; homeless students who made it through the semester without dropping out despite the barriers. I learned to listen to students and continue to do my best to help them while they are here at GCC. My reward is watching how often a little bit of extra effort on my part often makes the world of difference to a struggling student. And that, ladies and gents, is why I love advising and why I’m good at what I do. Because it matters.

Get your kicks on “Write 6×6”

This is my third year signing up for Write 6×6.  This year I am setting a goal for submitting a full six pieces which I haven’t yet pulled off.  Wish me luck!

Week 1 (Feb. 1-5): Who or What inspires you to do what you do here at GCC?

http://write6x6.com/intro/

WRITE 6×6 INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the Write 6×6 Challenge. Beginning the Week of February 1st, we will begin our writing challenge.

What is the challenge? Well, the CTLE invites you to create 6 pieces of writing, one each week for 6 weeks beginning February 1st. Aside from the 1 post each week for 6 weeks, the only other rule is that the writing must be about teaching, learning and student success. That’s a lot of latitude to write about pedagogy, tools, successes, challenges, or hopes and dreams.

The short term goal of the challenge is to give faculty, staff and administrators a playful space to share and learn and to see what colleagues are doing in classes and around campus. These writings will also be in a place where new and seasoned faculty can easily access them for years to come. The long term goal of the Write 6×6 Challenge is to push faculty, staff and administrators to be reflective practitioners in the field of education and share their reflections with colleagues. While the six weeks of writing may be a start, we hope that some of the participants will continue to write and share their thoughts about the educational landscape.

write6x6_logo_white_bkgndWe will use the internet as a place to write and share the work. The faculty, staff and administrator writing will be magically delivered to the CTLE Write 6×6 blog, and it will be there so that you can read the work your colleagues submit. The CTLE will help you build a place to write from and support you throughout the 6 weeks.

You can see scheduled Write 6×6 trainings here or call us anytime and we will happily make you a master of writing on the internet in less than 20 minutes. And when you run astray during the 6 weeks, we will be available to help you find the right path. Really!

What is in it for you besides sharing your thoughts and ideas with your colleagues? For completing each week, the participants will be rewarded with a variety of awesome gifts (to be determined) To sweeten the deal, we will reward you with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s delivered to your office for completing the first week of the challenge! Adjunct instructors will get to pick up your awesome rewards from the CTLE.

So, are you up for the challenge? We know you are busy. We know you already share your ideas at workshops and at the water cooler. But we challenge you to use sentences as a way to reflect and share your thoughts about teaching, learning and student success with a broader audience. Imagine if 20 teachers, staff and administrators survive all 6 weeks that would produce 120 pieces of writing from GCC Gauchos about teaching, learning and student success! We could use that!

To signup, please email ctle@gccaz.edu before February 3rd or fill out the form below. The first week’s writing is due on the 5th.

 

 

Bring me all of your dreams

American poet and author Langston Hughes photographed circa 1945. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Bring me all of your dreams,


You dreamer,


Bring me all your

Heart melodies


That I may wrap them


In a blue cloud-cloth


Away from the too-rough fingers


Of the world.  

—Langston Hughes

Every February 1st it is my tradition to share a poem and post on the birthday of Langston Hughes. Today, I have good news from Harlem to share as well!  Author and executive director of I, Too Arts Collective, Renée Watson and others in the community has acquired a lease for the historic brownstone where the great poet lived.  As of today, it will serve as a center that offers community programs for emerging artists. A cause for celebration!

Langston Hughes’ Legacy Lives on in Harlem

http://www.biography.com/news/langston-hughes-harlem-home
Today, on Langston Hughes’ birthday, Renée Watson, author and executive director of I, Too, Arts Collective, writes about how the influential poet and activist inspired her to preserve his Harlem brownstone and transform it into a space for the community and emerging artists.
As a child reading the poems of Langston Hughes kept me “away from the too-rough fingers of the world.” In the lines and stanzas of his poems, my grandmother called out to me, my dark skin and crinkly hair was beautiful and the stories of my ancestors were honored. There was strength and resistance, grace and celebration, all there for the taking. I needed that as a child and I believe our young people need that now.

I want young people to have a space where they can process what is happening in our world and I believe poetry—and art in general—can be a place to process, question, and heal. That is what Langston’s poetry did, and continues to do, for me. It has helped me make sense of what is sometimes a chaotic, unjust world. It has inspired me to celebrate the small things, to remember where it is I come from.

This is one of the reasons I launched I, Too Arts Collective. I, Too Arts Collective is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing voices from underrepresented communities in the creative arts. We are dedicated to preserving the legacy of Langston Hughes and building on it by providing space for emerging writers to create. In July 2016, we launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to lease the Harlem brownstone where he lived and created during the last 20 years of his life. Over 1500 people donated to help us secure funding for our first year of programming.

Our name is inspired by one of Langston’s poems where he declares, “I, too, am America,” and talks about taking his place at the table. It is a statement that declares, “I, too, deserve a space, a voice, to be seen.”

We hope participants in our programs feel like they have a seat at the artistic table. Our offerings will have opportunities for beginning, emerging, and professional writers and artists to be involved. We will offer poetry workshops and creative writing courses for youth and adults. The space will also host creative conversations for the community, where guest artists will share works-in-progress and engage with the audience through discussions.

Places hold stories and when we lose sacred places like churches, theaters, and the homes of literary legends, we lose pieces of our collective story. Opening I, Too Arts Collective at The Langson Hughes House in Harlem is about reclaiming space, a way to ensure that Harlem’s literary history—black literary history—will be preserved.

Renée Watson is an author and executive director of I, Too Arts Collective. In July 2016, Watson launched a campaign to lease the Harlem brownstone at 20 East 127th Street where Langston Hughes lived and created during the last 20 years of his life. In October 2016, I, Too, Arts Collective signed the lease for the historic brownstone that had been vacant for years and opened on February 1, 2017 to offer programs for the community and emerging artists.

Article from http://www.biography.com/

 

Speaking Up for Science

Image via Spin (http://www.spin.com/2017/01/protest-signs-womens-march)

Article From The Big Think
http://bigthink.com/robby-berman/scientists-plan-a-march-on-dc-to-speak-up-for-science-and-facts

Scientists Plan a March on D.C. to Speak Up for Science and Facts

There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable. An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.

These are the words written by the organizers of the upcoming Scientists’ March on Washington. The date for the march is not yet set, but it will likely take place, summoning a sea of smart people with a love for science — like you — and the pursuit of knowledge.

The march grew out of a discussion on Reddit, with a private Facebook group and Twitter account launched on Monday, January 23. In just a couple of days, the group had 300,000 members. Their public Twitter account has 288,000 followers and their public Facebook page has 20,832 followers as of this writing. You can also sign up to receive email updateson the march. The organizers are also looking for help.

The scientific community has been under attack for a while now by Christians who take issue with Darwinian evolution, preferring the Bible’s account. And while nobody wants climate change to be real, it is, though some would rather ignore the supporting evidence and overwhelming consensus of the scientific community to reinforce their own denial. There’s a growing cult of ignorance in which people pride themselves on their lack of scientific knowledge, and it threatens to plunge us all into a new dark age.

Nowhere is this being felt more acutely than in the U.S., where the new Trump administration — along with many Congressional Republicans — is firm in its denial of climate change and in their desire to control the national conversation on a range of scientific issues. Through anti-science appointments, the barring of publications from federal science agencies, and the freeze of all research funding, it all amounts to an unprecedented attack on fact-based knowledge. It’s the chilling — and terrifying — first step of a process in which truth can become whatever a group of politicians say it is.

To protect their findings, and the truth, scientists began frantically grabbing and preserving climate change data before the administration came into office. Since the inauguration, employees of muzzled departments have started rogue Twitter accounts as an uncensored outlet for information — unfortunately, many of these have now been handed over to others as employees fear for their jobs.

Caroline Weinberg, one of the march’s organizers, says, “This is not a partisan issue. People from all parts of the political spectrum should be alarmed by these efforts to deny scientific progress. Scientific research moves us forward and we should not allow asinine policies to thwart it.” She adds that science lovers are as welcome as scientists to participate in the march.

It’s not the first time scientists have tried to act as a conscience of a wayward federal government. For example, scientists were key players in the 310,000-person 2014 People’s Climate March. And Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes, speaking to KQED, reminds us, “It is the scientists who mobilized against the arms race in the late 1950s and 1960s. So that tells you how scientists feel now. This is an existential threat.”

 

Warm for the Holidays

Meet Veronika Scott. As a 22 year old Product Design student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Veronica took professor Steve Schock‘s class on Design Activism and it changed her life.

As her class project, Veronika spent hours at a homeless shelter and with the help of their residents, developed a coat that also doubles as a sleeping bag at night and a shoulder bag when not in use.  The Element S (survival),  now called the EMPWR Coat, is self heated, and waterproof .  The coat not only filled a need in the community, but became a way for Scott to improve the lives of others.

Ms. Scott stepped up and decided to do more than help the homeless stay warm in the cold Michigan winters, she began to hire people from local shelters and help them work their way out of homelessness. Her nonprofit organization, “The Empowerment Plan“,  centers around lifting single parents out of homelessness by providing them with training and work making coats.

Over 34 families now have permanent housing thanks to a 20-something with a good idea, and a good heart. Together they have made over 15.000 EMPWR coats distributed across North America.

Good for you Veronika!  Thanks for keeping us all warm for the holidays.

 

Breaking the Glass Ceiling with Dame Stephanie Shirley aka “Steve”

Digital and Entrepreneurial Pioneer/Kindertransport Survivor

If you have ever wondered if you could make a difference in the lives of others, please take a few moments to listen to the story of Dame Stephanie Shirley.  The story of how she was able to build a software company almost entirely with women in the 1960’s is compelling.
http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365863409/
 
Read and learn more about the Dame Stephanie Shirley at these sites.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/secretlife/blogposts/dame-stephanie-shirley/

http://www.steveshirley.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Shirley

 

 

 

Emanuele Fornasier’s Crystal Birth

 

Crystal Birth: A Beautiful Timelapse of Metallic Crystals Forming in Chemical Solutions

Italian chemistry student Emanuele Fornasier also has a knack for photography and spent the last few months documenting the formation of crystals. The result is Crystal Birth, a timelapse of some 18 examples of electrocrystallization, where an electric current is run through a chemical solution, causing metal deposits to form over a period of several hours or days. You can see more of his chemistry and timelapse work on his website.