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PCC faculty selected for national, international workshops

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Eight Portland Community College humanities faculty members were selected by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities to participate in specialized workshops across the world this coming summer.

The faculty members competed against community college instructors and university professors nationwide for these slots and were selected thanks to the CCHA, which is the largest organization representing the humanities for community colleges in the U.S. The organization champions education through creating opportunities for educators and advocating for community colleges.

PCC has sent dozens of faculty to these workshops over the past decade. For example, read about history instructor Charlie Presti’s life-changing excursion to the Alaska Native Cultures Institute.

“They are competing for spots with university professors so that’s an exciting thing,” said Jane Zunkel, president of the Pacific Western Region of the CCHA and a composition and literature instructor at the Cascade Campus. “They try to find a range of applicants with expertise in the field that could gain from specific knowledge of a particular area. That’s important for community college faculty as we are trained to be generalists and this experience allows us to meet with scholars in a specific topic.”

Instructors will gain valuable skills through these scholars that they will implement in their coursework here at PCC. It also can benefit the college community. The visit to PCC by a close Dr. Martin Luther King aide was made possible by a faculty member’s trip to a Civil Rights workshop.

For more details on these programs, visit the websites www.ccha-assoc.org, or www.Neh.gov

The eight PCC faculty selected are:

Tony Greiner, Reference Librarian, Cascade Campus

Greiner will attend a workshop in Chicago titled, “Pullman: Labor, Race and the Urban Landscape in a Company Town.” He is in his seventh year at the college and began his library career at the Minnesota Historical Society, where he first learned of the Newberry Library, a research library devoted to history.

“I’m looking forward to being a student again,” Greiner said. “I also already have tickets to a White Sox game, and hope to do some sight-seeing before or after the seminar, as I haven’t visited Chicago in about 30 years.”

Cynthia Kimball, Composition and Literature Instructor, Cascade Campus

She is attending the “Revisioning the Maya World: New Directions in Scholarship and Teaching” workshop in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Kimball has a doctorate in English from SUNY-Buffalo and is now in her 14th year of teaching at the college. Her goal is to develop a unit on Mesoamerican mythologies to add to her Introduction to Myth and Folklore curriculum.

“I’m excited to see Mayan glyphs ‘in situ,’ to understand the methods by which scholars begin to crack unknown codes, and to hear testimony of those for whom these mysterious writings have come to life,” Kimball said.


Alan Cordle, Reference Librarian, Sylvania Campus

Cordle also will take part in the “Revisioning the Maya World: New Directions in Scholarship and Teaching” seminar in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Cordle earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Library Science at North Carolina Central University. He has worked at PCC for 14 years and currently serves as faculty chair for the library district-wide.

“The Maya World Institute is an amazing opportunity,” he said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to study in three of my favorite countries with the world’s preeminent Maya scholars. I will use knowledge from the institute to develop a one-credit Information Literacy class, centered around 2012 and other Maya beliefs appropriated and mythologized by popular culture.”

Bryan Hull, Composition and Literature Instructor, Sylvania Campus

Hull is traveling to New Delhi, India, for the “The Cultural and Historical Development of Modern India” workshop. Hull has been teaching English and composition for 17 years. A year before starting at PCC, he took a three-month trip to travel northern India – a trip that deeply changed him intellectually and politically – and is excited to reconnect with the country.

“While I am excited to learn from Indian scholars from multiple disciplines, I really cannot know what about the trip will change me,” Hull said. “I have a feeling, though, that something will and that I won’t ever be the same again.”

Kristin Bryant, Composition and Literature Instructor, Sylvania Campus

Bryant will be a part of the workshop “Thomas Jefferson: Legacies and Landmarks Library of Congress” at the University of Virginia and Monticello in Charlottesville, Va. Bryant received a master’s degree in English from University of Colorado at Boulder and a doctorate of Arts from Idaho State University. She has taught at PCC for 11 years.

“I am looking forward to this summer’s workshop, at Monticello and D.C.,” she said. “Jefferson is a seminal, fascinating and controversial person.”

Elissa Rust, Composition and Literature Instructor, Rock Creek Campus

Rust is attending the “Transcendentalism and Social Action in Antebellum America” workshop in Concord, Mass. Rust’s short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Baltimore Review, Orchid, Honolulu Magazine, Prism and Crab Creek Review, among many others. She also works as a mentor to women writers in Afghanistan through the Afghan Women Writers Project.

Marianne Monson, Writing Center instructor, Rock Creek Campus

Monson will attend the workshop “African-American History and Culture in the Georgia Low Country: Savannah and the Sea Islands” workshop in Savannah, Ga. Monson has a bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University and an master’s degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught creative writing classes for PCC’s continuing education program for 10 years and is the published author of several books for teens and young adults.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to visit Savannah and learn about the fascinating history of that region,” Monson said. “I have a strong interest in the Civil War and African American literature and look forward to incorporating this experience into the classes I teach at PCC.”

Esther Loanzon, Adult Basic Education instructor, Southeast Center

Loanzon is headed to Cleveland, Ohio, for the “Passages: Community Memory and Landmarks of Migration” seminar. She has a master’s degree in Psychology from Jesuit University in the Philippines and a Certificate in Human Resource Management at Portland State University. She’s been at PCC for 15 years. Loanzon wants to use what she learns to teach a seminar on Asian migration and immigration and share insights she gains from the workshop.

“It’s truly a great honor to be accepted in the NEH workshops,” she said. “I’ve always heard and read about Ohio as being historically and culturally rich in the immigration patterns. I am very excited to get a hands-on experience and see for myself the evidence of historical and cultural immigration.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Public Relations Manager at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic, Wo... more »