Local and national trends highlighted with speakers and panelists from across the country
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Not all students who seek to attend college are ready for college-level courses. Students who require additional preparation for college-level English and math classes may enroll in developmental classes prior to moving into collegiate courses.
Recently, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College hosted a Developmental English Redesign Symposium on this “hot” topic. The symposium, sponsored by publisher Bedford/St. Martin’s, was designed to share information about different redesign initiatives for Developmental English programs by showcasing local and national trends in this arena.
The symposium featured keynote speakers, a panel lunch with North Carolina faculty who have successfully implemented redesign, and breakout workshops with topics related to redesign.
“It was an honor for Rowan-Cabarrus to host this symposium. Not only did College faculty and staff get to hear firsthand from experts in the field of developmental reading and English, but we also played host to many important one-on-one discussions between practitioners about the best ways to engage students in developmental reading and English courses,” said Jenny Billings Beaver, chair of English, Developmental Reading and English and ACA (academic-related) courses at Rowan-Cabarrus.
Keynote speakers contributed a mix of research-based and practical solutions.
“One thing I like to suggest is that instructors make their seminars theme-based,” said Dr. Norman A. Stahl from Northern Illinois University. “Basing the course on a theme helps students bring in prior knowledge and experiences. This intertextuality is especially important when you are working with students who might already feel nervous about the course. I reiterate to both instructors and students – difficulty in reading is not a failure.”
A lunchtime panel allowed the audience to hear firsthand from experienced faculty about what has worked best in their developmental English classrooms.
“I really believe in pulling in relevant topics to class readings and discussions. I bring in articles outside the textbook to help students stay engaged and connect with the material,” said Shauna Moser, developmental reading, developmental English and ACA instructor at the College.
Other speakers included Dr. Jeanine L. Williams from the Community College of Baltimore County and Taffy Graham and Rhonda Hollaway from Stanly Community College.
“I am proud that the College was selected to host this symposium. Making sure all of our students get what they need is part of our ‘meet them where they are’ philosophy,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “While it’s not possible for every program, our overarching goal is to be available and accessible to students. That’s why our students can now earn 14 degrees completely online. It’s why the GED classes are offered morning, afternoon, evening, online and at multiple locations across the College’s service area.”
For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).