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CSM Faculty News


CSM Professor Spotlighted by NBC Learn

Bringing History to Life is Easier with Vast Video, Digital Library

CSM Adjunct Professor Larry Brannan discusses George Pullman and the national railroad labor strike of 1894 with his U.S. history class at the Leonardtown Campus. Brannan’s zeal and inclusion of images and newsreel footage, including more than 200 videos in his syllabuses for U.S. history courses, led to his recognition as an NBC Learn “Super User” for December 2013.
CSM Adjunct Professor Larry Brannan discusses George Pullman and the national railroad labor strike of 1894 with his U.S. history class at the Leonardtown Campus. Brannan’s zeal and inclusion of images and newsreel footage, including more than 200 videos in his syllabuses for U.S. history courses, led to his recognition as an NBC Learn “Super User” for December 2013.

When College of Southern Maryland Adjunct History Professor Lawrence Brannan thinks about corporate monopolies in the early 20th century and how he would translate it to his students, he sees a political cartoon of Standard Oil depicted as an octopus.

“This image says it all—the glaring head of the octopus is a barrel of Standard Oil with tentacles stretched out and wrapped around the Capitol building, a ship at sea, a group of industrialists and a state house, with one tentacle reaching for the White House,” Brannan said.

Brannan’s zeal and inclusion of images and newsreel footage, including more than 200 videos in his syllabuses for U.S. history courses, led to his recognition as an NBC Learn “Super User” for December 2013.

“After years and years of history coursework, I have viewed hundreds of photos, video and text on history and government. I have an advantage when trying to make history come alive for my students, but no matter how many adjectives I use, the words sometimes can’t compare to a visual experience for students,” said Brannan.

NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, has digitized more than 12,000 historic stories, images and primary source documents for use by teachers, students and parents.

“Because we have an institutional account for NBC Learn, I wanted to provide a workshop for instructors,” said CSM Distance Learning and Faculty Development Chair Kim Donnelly. “NBC Learn is fully integrated in our online Blackboard service and when I pulled up user statistics, Larry was listed as our heaviest user.”

About the same time Donnelly reached out to Brannan to teach a workshop, NBC Learn announced him as a super user.

CSM students Gary Corley, of Leonardtown, and Ashley Espirita, of Great Mills, find the videos helpful to understanding history.

“I like [the videos] because I’m more into visuals. Also, if I miss something in class, I can go back and watch the video and get a better understanding,” said Espirita who is majoring in arts and humanities.

Corley, majoring in secondary education, agrees. “It is helpful when we watch a video that corresponds with what we are reading in class.”

Brannan has been interested in history for as long as he can remember. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government, and a master’s degree in education counseling from the University of Dayton.

Brannan’s wife of 44 years had not shared his interest in history until he planned a trip to Dodge City, Kan., early in their marriage. “Visiting a place that was the inspiration to the television show “Gunsmoke” helped her connect with the excitement and history of the early West,” said Brannan.

Brannan’s career in teaching started in 1969 with a job in Southhampton County, Va., schools before transferring to Pocahontas County, W.Va., and then Boggs Academy, Ga., a private prep school for African American children. Brannan then spent 27 years in the insurance business in Maryland before returning to his passion—teaching.

Brannan has used NBC Learn for three of his five years as an adjunct professor at CSM. He teaches U.S. history and Western civilization courses and now has a playlist of more than 240 videos and photos.

CSM Welcomes First Women’s Lacrosse Coach

Recruiting for 2014-15 Inaugural Season Begins with Meet-and-Greet May 22

CSM Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Joyce Arter.
CSM Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Joyce Arter.

The College of Southern Maryland is providing women athletes with a strong incentive to start their academic careers at CSM. Women’s lacrosse is being added to the college’s list of athletic programs which include: women’s cross country, men’s lacrosse, men's and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and golf. On May 22, the college will host an information session for the public to introduce the college’s new women’s lacrosse coach, Joyce Arter, and to provide the summer workout schedule for students interested in playing for the inaugural team.

“The community stepped up in a big way to support lacrosse and we are excited for the students who will be able to attend CSM and play Division I lacrosse. Student-athletes are some of our most successful students, and the new lacrosse program will attract more full-time student athletes,” said CSM Vice President of Advancement Michelle Goodwin.

CSM women’s lacrosse will compete at the Division I NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) collegiate level.

“Strong [lacrosse] programs exist in Calvert and St. Mary’s county high schools, and now that lacrosse has expanded with Charles County teams moving into SMAC (Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) competition, the natural progression is to provide the opportunity for students to play at the collegiate level while attending community college in Southern Maryland,” said CSM’s Athletic Director Michelle Ruble. “This spring we added men’s lacrosse and we will add women’s lacrosse next spring.”

Arter is women’s assistant coach at Northern High School, head coach for the Cyclones of Southern Maryland Club and girls’ basketball coach at Northern Middle School. Previously, Arter was assistant coach and head coach of girls lacrosse at Calvert High School, and she served as Special Olympics of Calvert County soccer coach. She is a U.S. Lacrosse Certified Coach.

Arter earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia, a Division I school where she played the attack position for four years.

"We are very excited to have Joyce Arter joining our Athletics team. Joyce will be bringing a great deal of knowledge and passion for this sport to CSM,” said CSM Athletics Assistant Director Sarah Williams. “Joyce has been coaching for five years and at all different levels ranging from middle, high school and clubs and is now taking a step into the collegiate level. She graduated from Calvert High School where she also played lacrosse. I believe with Joyce being a local to Southern Maryland and having coached at the local high schools she is in a perfect position to recruit new players to the College of Southern Maryland."

The women’s lacrosse information meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on May 22 in the Francis P. Chiaramonte, MD Center for Science and Technology (ST) Building, Room ST-143 on the La Plata Campus.

Ruble Named NJCAA Vice President

National Organization Elects CSM Director of Student Life

CSM Lead Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble was named second vice president for women of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
CSM Lead Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble was named second vice president for women of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The College of Southern Maryland Lead Director of Student Life and Athletics Michelle Ruble was elected second vice president for women of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) beginning in August for two years.

Ruble is the eighth individual to hold this position since 1975 when the NJCAA became the nation’s first co-ed collegiate athletics association to form a women’s division.

“I am truly honored to be elected to this position. The NJCAA's mission is ‘to foster a national program of athletic participation in an environment that supports equitable opportunities consistent with the educational objectives of member colleges.’ It will be a privilege to work with the executive committee, national office and board of directors to not only support their mission, but to also assist the organization to navigate through many upcoming changes in the landscape of athletics,” said Ruble.

Ruble was hired as CSM’s head volleyball coach in 1991. She became the college’s athletic director in 2001 and was named CSM’s director of Student Life and Athletics in 2007.

As a volleyball player at Elon University, N.C., Ruble was a three-year captain and an Academic All-American. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Elon and a master’s degree from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

“Participating in athletics, particularly in college, helped me develop critical skills that I use every day. Sports can provide opportunities to learn leadership, time management and communication skills as well as discipline, determination and exposure to working with many personality types,” said Ruble.

Ruble joined the NJCAA board of directors in 2002 when she was elected Region 20 women’s director. She currently serves as the co-chair for the Nominations and Elections committee and is vice chair for women’s lacrosse. Ruble was formerly the committee chair for women’s lacrosse, swimming and diving, and was a member of the executive committee. In 2011, Ruble was named to the executive committee of the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA).

CSM Professor Launches Travel Study Scholarship

Study Abroad Course to Belize Opens New World for First Scholarship Recipient

Swimming among turtles, sting rays and nurse sharks in the warm waters of Belize this spring literally opened a view on another world for College of Southern Maryland student Gian Karlo Santos, the first CSM student to benefit from a new Travel Studies Scholarship.

Santos, of California, Md., who said he has always had an interest in travel, said the group of fellow students in the travel study course worked in teams to identify 100 organisms and record their field observations as part of the marine biology course.

Richard Siciliano, professor of English and the donor and creator of the scholarship fund, said that while the college’s travel studies courses are a unique experience, the courses aren’t inexpensive.

“I started the travel studies scholarship partly to assist students to take part in what I consider to be one of the most valuable educational experiences there is—international travel,” said Siciliano. “Having organized and taught a travel studies course myself (to London, England, in 2004), I know how hard it is for a student to afford a travel-studies course, no matter how valuable that experience might be. It can be expensive particularly for a community college student when you consider it's not just the travel costs, but there's the tuition as well.”

CSM offers a number of travel studies courses to various places including Belize (spring), Ireland and Vietnam (summer). Students register for the accompanying course, such as the marine biology course Santos took, complete academic work before the trip and then get real life “lab” experiences in the country of travel.

“[Biology Professor] Paul Billeter and I have been leading travel-study courses to Belize for CSM for more than 10 years now,” said Carolin McManus, CSM professor and coordinator of the Cultural Studies degree program. “These courses have the highest impact on students' learning and worldview than any other coursework we do. We've weathered a great number of obstacles in keeping the program going, one of which is struggling to keep travel-study activities affordable.”

While the scholarship doesn’t cover all the costs of a travel studies course, it helps offset expenses, said Siciliano, who had the opportunity in 1994 to travel and study throughout the People's Republic of China on a Rhodes Scholarship.

“[That trip] influenced the way I have approached my teaching,” said Siciliano. “So, I'd like to think that a student taking a travel studies class can have a similar experience.”

For Santos, who said he’d like to work for “a big tech company where I can help push and develop new tech projects maybe in another country or market,” the trip was just the beginning of what he hopes will be more world exploration.

“It was fun; I’d definitely do it again,” said Santos, who currently lives in and works at a boarding house for Korean exchange students in St. Mary’s County while completing his associate’s degree in Applied Science and Technology.

CSM’s travel studies program falls under the auspices of the college’s Integrative Learning Center, whose staff has assisted with the bursar's office to restructure fees and offer payment plans for these courses. For information about the program, visit www.csmd.edu/ILC/TravelStudy.html.

“It was a pleasure to watch Karlo engage with the Belizeans, clamber to the top of the ancient Maya temples, and comb the reefs for corals, fishes and sea turtles,” said McManus. “Experiencing his enthusiasm and personal growth is precisely what motivates all of us who work to promote travel-study.”

Early Childhood Educator Receives Faculty Excellence Award

Yvette Dodson Teaches Students the Importance of Movement with Learning

The annual Faculty Excellence Award Honoring Adjunct Faculty was presented to Early Childhood Education Instructor Yvette M. Dodson who is in her 16th year with CSM. “Ms. Dodson has developed most of the materials in the courses she teaches. These courses have been developed and are taught based not only on her experience with children – she’s a mother of seven – but on her research and understanding of 'Brain-Based Learning Theory and Universal Design for Learning,'” said CSM Faculty Senate President Mike Green.
The annual Faculty Excellence Award Honoring Adjunct Faculty was presented to Early Childhood Education Instructor Yvette M. Dodson who is in her 16th year with CSM. “Ms. Dodson has developed most of the materials in the courses she teaches. These courses have been developed and are taught based not only on her experience with children – she’s a mother of seven – but on her research and understanding of 'Brain-Based Learning Theory and Universal Design for Learning,'” said CSM Faculty Senate President Mike Green.

When College of Southern Maryland Early Childhood Education Instructor Yvette Dodson poses a multiple-choice question to the class, instead of students marking A, B, C or D, they answer by walking to one of the four walls in the classroom to indicate which answer they select.

It’s a technique that many teachers use with students from preschool to elementary so as to incorporate movement into the classroom, and Dodson uses the same strategies in her college classes with adults, who range from teenagers to 60-somethings. “It’s all to get your body involved. You have to be committed to your answer when you move,” she said.

Dodson has found that what works with kids works with all ages, and teaching her college students the importance of physical movement in learning can help them handle a host of situations, from childcare to preschool to early elementary education. Basic techniques, from having youngsters simply stand and state an answer to having them walk to a whiteboard, can transform an average lesson plan into one that is grounded in sound educational theory.

“One of my big things now is brain-based learning theory, and part of that is movement and how physical movement increases blood flow in the brain,” Dodson said. “You get more oxygen just by standing up out of your seat.”

A Lusby resident, Dodson, who was announced as the college’s most recent recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award Honoring Adjust Faculty during winter commencement, loves to talk about educational theory, especially when it comes to showing her students how it can help them in the workplace and at home. “One of the big components is connecting educational theory and educational research with the practical usage on a daily basis… [how to] make those worlds connect – what’s learned in school and what you actually do and practice.”

Dodson’s host of life experiences has prepared her for a mentor’s role with CSM’s early childhood students. She is a mother of seven children between the ages of 21 and 4, and she also grew up in a big family in St. Mary’s County. “I’m the oldest of five myself, so I was used to breaking things down for people, the little ones. That really inspired me to teach. It was exciting to explain things that were difficult for them.”

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