Pierce College News

February 28, 2008

Pierce College students to do stream restoration March 1 at Puget Creek

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 3:37 pm

A group of environmentally minded Pierce College Puyallup students will be at Puget Creek in Tacoma on March 1 helping restore a section of the creek with guidance from the Puget Creek Restoration Society.

The students will be adding native plant species and removing non-native species from noon to 3 p.m. Detailed driving directions to the site are available on the Puget Creek Restoration Society’s Web site at www.pugetcreek.org.

The Associated Students of Pierce College Puyallup, Erika Odem, college outreach coordinator, and Sydney Boyle, student representative for environmental concerns, are organizing the volunteer project.

“We’re going to be helping put gravel on the trails to make them more accessible and replanting native vegetation, so it’s a really important project for us,” Boyle said. “Some teachers are even offering extra credit for students who participate, so we’re hoping we get a good turnout.”

According to Scott Hansen, founder of the Puget Creek Restoration Society and a Pierce College alumnus, such creek restoration projects are critical to salmon habitat. Last year, 980 volunteers donated 7,640 hours of labor to the society and its work.

“It’s extremely important that we restore salmon streams and wetlands, and make things better for the humans who use that area for recreation,” he said. “Salmon is a very important issue in the northwest, as is the outdoors. It’s an important part of life here and we want to make it more enjoyable.”

For more information on this project, contact college Outreach Coordinator Erika Odem at (253) 864-3223 or Student Representative Sydney Boyle at (253) 864-3166.

For more information on other Pierce College student programs and activities, call (253) 840-8487 or visit www.pierce.ctc.edu.

February 27, 2008

Learn how to raise thankful children March 7 at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 4:33 pm

LAKEWOOD — No parent intends to raise a spoiled child, but in an age of abundance, how can it be avoided? Well, never fear, parents and teachers. There is help available.

Candyce Lund BollingerCandyce Lund Bollinger, a parent educator and counselor from Olympia, is scheduled to speak at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 7 in the Olympic building, Room 283 (the music band room). The interactive presentation is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Bollinger, an accomplished speaker and mother of four, will discuss the dangers of overindulgence and give parents the tools necessary to know when meeting a child’s needs crosses into overindulgence. Her strategies for raising thankful children in this culture of abundance are applicable to children of all ages.

ordine a buon mercato viagra on line
ordine a buon mercato viagra

“Our children are so overindulged right now. It’s a huge issue for every child everywhere,” said Krissy Kim, an instructor in Pierce College’s Early Childhood Education program, which is sponsoring Bollinger’s visit. “We’re thrilled to bring her here to speak on this important issue all parents and teachers are facing.”

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom is located at 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood. For driving directions and parking information, visit the Pierce College Web site at www.pierce.ctc.edu.

For more information on Pierce College’s Early Childhood Education program visit its Web site at www.pierce.ctc.edu/early-childhood/ or call (253) 964-6696.

February 15, 2008

No time to lose: 30-minute film making in PC's Movie Making I

Filed under: General — Pierce College at 4:16 pm

Call it the ultimate quick-draw challenge: make a complete movie from scratch in 30 minutes or less, ready for the screen.

On Feb. 12, a dozen students in Fred Metzger’s Moviemaking I class at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom took on the challenge of scripting, shooting and editing a coherent film in half an hour, and then putting it up for view and critique by classmates. The “winner” of the extra-credit project was to get the rest of the class as a film crew for the next project.

All that the students knew was they were to film something. At precisely noon, Metzger announced, “The topic of your film is ‘What really makes me mad.’ You have 30 minutes, to the second. Go.”

Fred Metzger describes the 30-minute movie assignment.

At Metzger’s injunction, most of the students jumped up with their film partners, grabbed their video cameras and scrambled out of the room, tossing out ideas as they scampered down the hall.

All but two students. Metzger pointed out a pair who did not rush out of the room at the starting mark, Laura Gamache and Laura Kempton. Instead, they huddled up around a piece of paper and spent a few minutes sketching out ideas, getting a rough outline. Metzger predicted that Gamache and Kempton would have a good shot to win the day’s competition, because they took the time to draft a rough narrative before ever picking up a camera.

Laura Gamache and Laura Kempton, right, edit the rough footage of their film.

“I used to have a big sign up here that read, ‘Story should dominate technique.’ The most important thing is to get a good narrative, which enables the filmmaker to tell a good story. It’s the same thing that’s been going on since cavemen sat around the fire telling stories — there’s an art to it. … Actually, this class is a creative writing class, except instead of pen and paper we’re using a camera. It’s important for students to understand that this is not a technical class, but a humanities class.”

The moviemaking program, in its current shape, is in its sixth year at Pierce College. Metzger, a long-time theater and speech instructor at the college, said he was inspired to build an integrated, humanities-based moviemaking program in the late 1990s. He read a film industry writer’s column about the falling price of mid-grade video equipment, a development the author thought could make video cameras the everyday writing tools of the populous in the 21st century. Metzger had had similar thoughts, and in 2001 he began to integrate the original film program with the college’s theater offerings.

Making the final cut

With time waning, Metzger started a countdown with five minutes to go. The last pair finally came in, and realized there was no way they would get their raw footage edited. The problem? “We thought we’d have plenty of time, so we went out to lunch,” they said with a wry smile and a shrug, plugging their camera into the computer anyway.

With less than a minute to go, two teams were putting the final touches on their movies. Gamache and Kempton fed their video out of the computer and back onto tape, while the team of Greg Head and Andrew Hilzendeger were still clicking away with the mouse and stared to look worried.

Fred Metzger helps Greg Head with a detail during the editing process.

“I don’t think we’re going to make it,” Head said, as Metzger launched into his “10 … 9 … 8 …” count. Kempton began jabbing at buttons and hollering at her camera (“C’mon! C’mon!”), which had rewound the tape, but was still grinding away with its eject mechanism. Finally, in an act of desperation just as Metzger reached zero, Gamache grabbed the still-struggling camera and set the whole thing on Metzger’s desk. One second later, the tape popped out. They won by default.

Kempton and Gamache produced a short tale of a student (Kempton) driven into a fit by a classmate (Gamache) obsessively clicking a ballpoint pen. The 60-second movie was nicely framed with both a single shot title and end credit. Lots of close-ups and interesting angles led to praise from Metzger: “I like it a whole lot. They executed a story that was detailed and specific.”

Head and Hilzendeger told the story of a man (Hilzendeger) frantically searching a building for a bathroom, only to find it in the nick of time … out of order. Classmate Bryan Wilmott said, “That was awesome! I loved the ending — totally unexpected. I can’t believe how good that was for the amount of time you had.” Metzger noted the use of long shots in the movie, which led to a discussion of zooming techniques.

Nathan Burt connects his camera to the computer to download footage.

Other discussion topics included character conflict and resolution, syncing audio and getting clean cuts. In the end, Gamache and Kempton were applauded for winning the competition, and were asked what was the toughest part of the project. Kempton had a ready answer: “Just getting it done.”

Pierce College parent education program celebrates 35 years with open house, concert

Filed under: General,News releases — Pierce College at 10:17 am

The Parent Education program and its cooperative preschools, in operation for 35 years at Pierce College, will celebrate with an open house and children’s concert March 1 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Puyallup campus College Center’s multipurpose room. After a meet-and-greet session with snack, including several children’s activities, musical guests Rich and Robin will entertain both young and old at 3:30 p.m. with traditional children’s songs for kids age 2-8, and audience-participation singing and dancing is encouraged! Also, anyone who participated in one of the college’s preschools in the past is welcome to stop by.

Cost for the concert portion of the program is $5 for a parent-child, or $10 for a family of three or more. For more information, contact Virginia Davis at (253) 840-8445. To request disability accommodation, contact the Access and Disability Services office at least 10 days in advance at (253) 964-6468 (v), (253) 964-6228 (tty), or dssaccess@pierce.ctc.edu.

February 8, 2008

Pierce College District announces new Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of its Foundation

Filed under: General,News releases — Amanda Haines at 9:54 am

PUYALLUP — A veteran of the state’s community and technical college system, Suzanne “Suzy” Ames has been named the new Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the Foundation for the Pierce College District.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity,” Ames said Thursday. “I think Pierce College is in a great position to move forward and strengthen ties between the college and the community. I’m excited to be part of the process.”

Since 2004, Ames has been the director of communications for the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. She launched the first strategic, statewide communication plan for two-year colleges and worked extensively on the development and implementation of communication and marketing plans in order to secure increased financial and political resources for the entire 34-college system.

Prior to that, she worked for four years as the director of communications and marketing at Cascadia Community College in Bothell, where she earned numerous awards for her work, including the 2004 Communicator of the Year award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.

Ames’ experience, connections to the statewide college community, and energy will be vital as she steps into this new, groundbreaking position at Pierce College. As the Vice President of Advancement and the Executive Director of the Foundation, Ames will provide executive leadership, vision and strategic direction, while developing comprehensive resource and marketing campaigns and communication plans.

“Her primary objective will be to propel the college into the future, deepening our ties to the community and enhancing the educational opportunities for our students,” said Pierce College District Chancellor Michele Johnson. “I am honored to welcome Suzy to our Pierce College team. I have the utmost confidence in her ability to bring about great change and to further us in the direction of our mission and vision.”

Ames will continue her work with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges through the end of the current legislative session. She is scheduled to begin work at Pierce College on March 31.

February 7, 2008

Participation in learning is just a click away in Khalsa's classes

Filed under: General,News releases — Pierce College at 4:16 pm

Wielding stylish white remote controls, Leon Khalsa’s psychology and sociology students at Pierce College Puyallup are tuning in to a new way to actively engage with the learning process, provide immediate feedback for their instructor and even get a glimpse into the minds of their classmates.

After viewing a video of Palestinian and Israeli students talking together at a conference, Khalsa's students respond to a survey question with their iClicker remotes.The system Khalsa is trying out this quarter for the first time is called iClicker, a plug-and-play remote computer polling system designed especially for classroom use. Khalsa projects a slide with a question — such as ‘How well do you feel you understand the concepts of Chapter 7?’ — students “vote” for one of five options with their remote controls and the class gets immediate, charted responses, from both the shier students in the room as well as the usual extroverts.

“This is as close to 100 percent participation in the classroom as I’ve ever had,” Khalsa said. “As an instructor, I get feedback in real time and that gives me a close read on what students need now, to leave the day’s class with the knowledge and information they should have.

“This technology allows for participation by every student, regardless of how shy he or she may be. And the students take to this technology without a hitch — it’s transparent to them,” he said.

“I think it’s cool,” said Amanda Wheat, one of Khalsa’s psychology students. “I think of it in the same technological vein as (unrelated Apple products) iPods or iPhones. I wish I had one at home. It’s very useful when the graphs of our responses come up, and you can see what others thought about something.”

A colleague at an Arizona university who studied immediate feedback systems in the classroom suggested the iClicker to Khalsa. He said the most important thing iClicker does is enhance classroom interactivity, sparking discussion on topics students have responded to with the remote.

Leon Khalsa listens to a student respond to a question.“This technology allows me to do better what I already do: maintain an active exchange in the classroom. Passive learning is weak learning. Active learning leads to much better retention for the student,” he said.

Judah Heimlich, another of Khalsa’s students, said at first he wasn’t too sure how much the system would benefit the class, “but it’s really interesting. You see the active interaction we get by using the iClicker four or five times a class,” Heimlich said of the iClicker’s role in facilitating discussion. “It shows what everyone is thinking.”

The psychology instructor, 54, has been with Pierce College nine years and in that time, Khalsa has noted that for a variety of reasons, many students have a hard time speaking up and saying one of two statements: “I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand that,” and “Excuse me, but I have a question.” He said his initial impression is that the iClicker system seems to eliminate much of the fear of asking those questions out loud, in front of classmates.

Khalsa also said the value of students being able to immediately see a graph of the class’s responses cannot be underestimated. Students get a chance to see where everyone else is at regarding a given question.

“… If half of the class answers 20 percent or not at all to whether they understand a key concept, they not only see that they’re not alone, but get some social validation. It also allows me to react on the fly, either reviewing the material immediately, or planning to do so in our next class,” Khalsa said.

Initially, Khalsa only used four options per poll, A through D, feeling that five might be too many gradations of choice. But inevitably, he said with a smile, some clever student would always push the E button. Of course, with each iClicker sporting its own unique identification signal, Khalsa knew who the comedian was.

The iClicker system consists of a USB-interfaced base receiver (right) and the student remote.One unintended benefit of using iClicker in the classroom has been a decline in students coming in a bit late or leaving a bit early, Khalsa noted: students must pick up their iClicker remote at the beginning of class and wait until the end to return it to its case.

“Basically, I’ve had very high participation and zero complaints. It took less than a day to set up the equipment and get things running well. It’s easy to use, practical and efficient. For very little additional effort I get much greater feedback,” he said, all the while providing a deeper — and more participatory — learning experience for his students.

February 4, 2008

Kenyan dissident writer to discuss literature, society

Filed under: General,News releases — Pierce College at 3:37 pm

Rescheduled from last month, Pierce College is pleased to present renowned Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o, who will discuss literature’s place in society and read from his book “Wizard of the Crow” March 5 at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Pierce College Puyallup library. A book signing reception will follow the program.

Ngugi, currently a distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine, was born in 1938 into a large peasant family. He lived through the Mau Mau War of Independence and became sharply critical of the inequalities and injustices of Kenyan society during the Moi regime. Ngugi was arrested and imprisoned without charge in 1977 and only freed after an Amnesty International campaign secured his release a year later. He resumed his writings and his activities in the theater and continued to be an uncomfortable voice against the Moi dictatorship, which led to a forced exile of 22 years.

Tickets are $7, and admission is free for Pierce College students. To order tickets or request more information, contact the Student Programs office at (253) 840-8416. The event is sponsored by Pierce College Puyallup Student Programs and International Education. To request disability accommodation, contact Access and Disability Services at least 10 days in advance at (253) 964-6468 (v), (253) 964-6228 (tty), or e-mail to dssaccess@pierce.ctc.edu.