Category Archives: CCC Blog

This page is a resource for community college teacher-scholars working in the fields of world languages, literatures, and cultures. Here we feature faculty-produced content on community college teaching, pedagogy, scholarship, curriculum development, OERs and more—all in an effort to support our colleagues who endeavor to integrate their commitment to disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity in accordance with the access-oriented, teaching-intensive mission of their institutions.

A Review of the “MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI Working Paper: Overview of the Issues, Statement of Principles, and Recommendations.”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
24 October 2023

In response to ChatGPT’s recent influence on higher education, the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Conference on College Composition & Communication (CCCC) joined together as the MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI to provide guidance for their respective members on best practices for integrating generative artificial intelligence (AI) into the classroom. The first result of their collaboration appeared in July 2023: “MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI Working Paper: Overview of the Issues, Statement of Principles, and Recommendations.” I appreciate their working paper for its clear introduction to generative AI and look forward to the future working papers they will produce.

In this review, I will summarize the sections and then conclude with a few tentative thoughts.

I concur with the “Introduction’s” statement that “writing is an important mode of learning that facilitates the analysis and synthesis of information, the retention of knowledge, cognitive development, social connection, and participation in public life” (MLA-CCCC 4). The joint working group came together to write their report because of concerns that these goals of teaching “could be under threat” because of the widespread availability of generative AI (4). As an instructor of co-requisite English classes, Technical & Business Writing courses, and Literature classes, this assertion reflects my values as an educator.

“History, Nomenclature, and Key Concepts”
I find their “History, Nomenclature, and Key Concepts” section particularly helpful. The authors helpfully emphasize that generative AI should not be understood as “the human-like, seemingly sentient AI that is still the stuff of science fiction” (MLA-CCCC 5). Rather, they note that generative AI “refers to the computer systems that can produce, or generate, various forms of traditionally human expression, in the form of digital content, including language, images, video, and music” (5).

They helpfully note that the generative AI that affects much of higher education should be understood as “large language modes” (LLMs) (4). These LLMs function “by using statistics and probability to predict what the next character … is likely to be in an ongoing sequence, thereby ‘spelling’ words, phrases, and entire sentences and paragraphs” (6). The LLMs work because they are programmed with “vast bodies of preexisting content …, which, to some extent, predetermine their content” (6).

The production of text where there previously was none gives the illusion that the LLM is creating content like humans do. However, the Task Force notes that LLMs “produc[e] … word sequences that look like intentional human text through a process of statistical correlation” (6) based on the content that was previously fed into the program. The authors emphasize that although the content produced by the LLMs “mimic[s] the writing of sentient humans,” they “do not … ‘think’ in the way that … takes place in human cognition” (6). Their purpose here seems to be to defuse the concerns of a 2001: A Space Odyssey type of HAL 9000 rebellion against humans!

“Risks to Language, Literature, and Writing Instruction and Scholarship”
The working paper’s next section, “Risks to Language, Literature, and Writing Instruction and Scholarship,” is of particular interest to me. The Task Force is concerned that the ease of producing summaries or paraphrases may impede “critical writing instruction or faculty assessment approaches” (MLA-CCCC 6). They are also concerned with the problem of LLMs making up sources or producing content without verifiable sources (6). LLMs also hide the biases of the content fed into the generative AI (6).

I was impressed at the comprehensive list of 17 bullets that posit the risks to students, teachers, programs, and the profession (7-8). The authors note that students may be adversely affected by LLMs because the generative AI takes the place of “writing, reading, and thinking” (7). They worry that LLMs devalue “writing or language study” (7).

They also note that the addition of AI detection in programs like Turnitin can “alienate” students from writing and learning because of increased technological “surveillance” (7). The Task Force worries that teachers’ focus on LLMs may be at the expense of other aspects of their jobs and at personal/professional cost to them (7).

The “Risks to the [P]rograms and the [P]rofession” section details concerns with challenges previously expressed:

  • the devaluation of writing
  • the lack of resources (time and money) for responding to changes wrought by LLMs
  • the challenge to academic integrity by LLMs that fail to cite or make up sources
  • the potential for inequitable access to technology
  • the variety of responses to generative AI across fields
  • the possibility that contingent faculty will be left behind in training
  • the potential for administrators to exploit workloads. (8)

“Benefits to Language, Literature, and Writing Instruction and Scholarship”
In addition to their list of concerns, the Task Force has an optimistic list of benefits that can be derived from LLMs. Most optimistically, they see the potential to “democratize writing, allowing almost anyone, regardless of educational background, socioeconomic advantages, and specialized skills, to participate in a wide range of discourse communities” (MLA-CCCC 8). They also see the potential for generative AI to speed up literary analysis in scholarship because the “LLMs can detect layouts, summarize text, extract metadata labels from unstructured text, and group similar text together to enable search” (8).

The authors provide another bulleted list of benefits for “language instruction,” “literary studies,” and “writing instruction” (8-10). Below, I will allude to some of the more interesting benefits listed.

Benefits to language instruction include the “creat[ion of] translations that include explanations and wording options” (8). They also suggest that “students can develop expertise … while using generative AI … to produce a rough draft of a translation” (9).

The authors suggest that generative AI can be beneficial to literary studies because the prompts can “respond to specific literary passages as an aid to class discussions” (9). The LLMs “can [be] … use[d] as instruments of creative wordplay” (9). Generative AI can produce text in the style of authors (9). The Task Force states that “basic interpretations of literary texts” can be produced (9). The LLMs can also provide recommendations for other works similar to those under study in a course (9).

The Task Force lists potential benefits for writing instruction, such as “stimulat[ing] thought and develop[ing] drafts that are still the student’s own work” (9). LLMs can help to “develop multimodal writing projects” (9). Teachers can use AI to “demonstrat[e] … key rhetorical concepts” and “provide models of written prose that … highlight differences in genre, tone, diction, literary style, and disciplinary focus” (9). Generative AI can also help students “from diverse and various linguistic and educational backgrounds” by granting them “access to the ‘language of power,'” that is, Standard English (10).

“Principles and Recommendations”
The MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force provides one dozen recommendations for consideration as LLMs increase in influence over higher education (10-11). They are concerned that all full- and part-time faculty should be supported and that writing should continue to be valued (10-11). They encourage discussion of academic integrity that “support[s] students rather than punish[es] them” (10). They encourage critical AI literacy at all levels in higher education (10-11).

Final Thoughts
As I grapple with the influence that LLMs like ChatGPT have brought to higher education, I continue to return to key principles of the teaching of writing instruction: the value of taking writing classes is that they focus on process over product. We teachers of writing focus on the process of writing so that students can produce better products. The entire iterative process of writing (preparation, planning, freewriting, researching, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading) helps students to become better thinkers and communicators.

My greatest concern with LLMs in my writing classes is that they pose a threat to the iterative process of writing. ChatGPT can produce a final product that bypasses the prewriting and revision that makes learning happen in a meaningful way. Tyler J. Carter reminds us that teaching process in writing helps “learners construct new forms of knowledge by integrating what they already know with the kinds of knowledge that they [are] learning in school” (404) and “that knowledge of writing comes out of the individual writer reflecting on their experiences in the world” (405). The writing process emphasizes active thinking and reflection from the first kernel of an idea through the final draft.

Any discussion of generative AI needs to acknowledge the effect that LLMs have on the process of learning. My challenge as an instructor of writing is ensure that LLMs enhance the learning process and help students to think about and understand their subjects more deeply than if they were to write without the aid of generative AI.

Works Cited
Carter, Tyler J. “Apples and Oranges: Toward a Comparative Rhetoric of Writing Instruction and Research in the United States.” College English, vol. 85, no. 5, May 2023, pp. 387-414.

MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI. “MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI Working Paper: Overview of the Issues, Statement of Principles, and Recommendations.” MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI, July 2023,

Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: Colleen Bond’s “A Path Forward: Non-Tenure-Track and Tenure-Track Coalitions”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
14 August 2023

Colleen Bond’s “A Path Forward: Non-Tenure-Track and Tenure-Track Coalitions” appears in FORUM: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty (volume 26, issue 02), which in turn is an insert in the March 2023 issue of Teaching English in the Two-Year College (vol. 50, issue 03). Bond is a “College Professor of English at New Mexico State University-Alamogordo” (NMSUA), a community college in the New Mexico State University System (“Locations”).

Allyship between Tenured Faculty and Non-tenure Track Faculty
Bond’s thesis is, “The only way to successfully address equitable treatment and inclusion for non-tenure-track faculty is for tenure-track faculty (TTF) to serve as advocates for their NTT [non-tenure track] peers at their individual institutions” (A1). She illustrates her thesis by discussing how the adjuncts at her community college, NMSUA, “gain[ed] representation and voting rights both at their local institution and at the main campus” (A3).

Bond insists that TTF can only be meaningful allies if they collaborate with NTTF (non-tenure track faculty) rather than decide what is in NTTF faculty’s best interest without their input: “The goal for faculty with tenure privileges is not to speak for faculty whose position is variable from one semester to another, but to speak with non-tenured faculty in order to reach the desired results” (A1; Bond’s emphasis).

I was not surprised that Bond emphasized the importance of TTF listening and “speaking with” rather than “speaking for” NTTF faculty. Over the years, I have attended, co-organized, and presented on panels devoted to contingency at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention, as well as served on MLA committees with contingent faculty; and I have heard repeated complaints from NTTF faculty that conversations with TTF can turn into top-down (and sometimes condescending) communication rather than conversations among equals. For meaningful change to occur for contingent faculty, TTF must listen to their NTTF peers.

Shared Governance Must Include NTTF
Bond recommends “the establishment of adjunct subcommittees as part of the larger faculty senate or other equivalent governing body on campus” (A1). Bond cites an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) report from 2012 (“The Inclusion in Governance of Faculty Members Holding Contingent Appointments”) to justify the inclusion of NTTF in shared governance: “the basic requirements for and means of participating in governance activities that apply to contingent faculty should be as parallel as possible to those that apply to full-time tenure-track faculty” (qtd. in Bond A3).

Bond notes the irony of shared governance excluding NTTF because they are often the majority of faculty on campus (A3). Bond also stresses that TTF should use their job security to advocate for issues relevant to NTTF with input from NTTF because contingent faculty “may fear retaliation in the form of losing teaching contracts as retribution for speaking out” (A3).

Shared Governance at NMSUA. Bond observes that the path to shared governance for NTTF at NMSUA “began largely because of the issue of self-naming” (A3): “When [Bond] started at [NMSUA], adjunct faculty were designated as temporary part-time; the campus culture referred to [NTTF] as temporary employees despite the fact that some adjuncts had taught [t]here for over twenty years” (A3). A TTF member decided to assist the NTTF in changing the official language about NTTF from “temporary faculty” to “adjuncts”; and out of those efforts, “an official adjunct subcommittee” was formed, which “eventually resulted in a seven-year journey toward adjunct representation” (A3). The conversations on nomenclature ultimately led to “honorific titles such as College Associate Professor [being] awarded based on years of service” (A3).

Shared governance that include NTTF also resulted in revision to the scheduling processes. The college began “projecting course needs a year in advance to reduce the peaks and valleys of semester-to-semester employment. The result has been greater stability with fewer last-minute course cancellations” (A4). Bond notes that the TTF were instrumental in this success because of their access to administration (A4). The TTF chair of “the adjunct subcommittee … petitioned the campus executive officer for the pay increase in conversation with the vice president of finance” (A4).

Bond observes that having TTF on the adjunct subcommittee “gives credibility to its work instead of having it perceived as merely a site for an adjunct gripe session” (A4). The majority NTTF on the adjunct subcommittee ensures that the TTF understand fully the concerns of adjuncts (A4). She emphasizes that NTTF set the agenda of the adjunct subcommittee meetings and reiterates the idea that TTF are “talking not for but with contingent faculty” (A4; Bond’s emphasis). TTF bring the issues to Faculty Assembly, which minimizes risks of “retaliation from institutional stakeholders” (A5). TTF also “negotiate for implementation of the solution by negotiating with division heads and administrators” (A5).

Bond advocates for NTTF to participate on other committees for compensation (A5). A selling point for optional contributions of NTTF on campus service is that “the work [of service] is spread out to more community members instead of landing on the heads of the few TT[F]” (A5). The article’s emphasis is on shared governance, but Bond notes that modest pay raises have occurred for adjuncts since they have a greater prominence on campus with the aid of their tenured colleges (A4).

Similar adjunct activism has occurred at the main campus of New Mexico State University and has resulted in NTTF representation in Faculty Senate (A6).

Final Thoughts
Bond’s article was striking in that it is largely positive and shows NTTF succeeding at participation in shared governance. Bond shows the importance for TTF to listen, support, and advocate for NTTF; however, it also shows the benefits for the TTF–i.e., wider distribution of service requirements, as well as the satisfaction of creating a more equitable and diverse working environment. NTTF participation in shared governance is new to NMSUA, but having a voice at the table gives contingent faculty greater opportunities to make an impact on the campus and also to improve their working conditions. I hope that Bond follows up in several years with another article that contains further examples of NTTF faculty making a positive impact at MNSUA and increasing the rights they hold in shared governance.

Works Cited
Bond, Colleen. “A Path Forward: Non-Tenure-Track and Tenure-Track Coalitions.” FORUM: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty, vol. 26, no. 02, 2023, pp. A1-A7.*vngiq4*_ga*MTgxMzI0NDcyLjE2Nzg3NjI1NzM.*_ga_L5Q68NRK05*MTY5MTk2MjA3NC4xOS4wLjE2OTE5NjIwNzQuNjAuMC4w.

“The Inclusion in Governance of Faculty Members Holding Contingent Appointments.” American Association of University Professors, November 2012,

“Locations.” New Mexico State University, n.d.,

Humanities Leadership Forum by CCHA Deans’ Committee (8/3/2023)

Please join CCHAs Deans’ Committee on 2 August, 2023 3:30pm-4:45pm, for its Humanities Leadership Forum.


This virtual event provides a platform for community college humanities leaders to discuss a range of timely and consequential issues germane to the success of our students, colleagues, and institutions. Our inaugural event will focus on two such topics:

  • The impact of artificial intelligence in the humanities classroom
  • Best practices in leadership development

While the forum will be moderated by members of the Deans’ Committee, it will not comprise formal presentations. Rather, it will center the ideas and questions brought forth by attendees/participants, thus helping us collaboratively cultivate strategies for tackling the myriad challenges we face at our respective institutions.

Participation in this event is free and open to any and all community college humanities deans, chairs, and faculty leaders. Please REGISTER HERE ( or use the QR code on the attached flyer. We look forward to seeing you on August 3rd!

The Archetype of Success: A Reflection on Using Writing Intensives to Boost Morale in Humanities Educators

Karin Yearwood, Morgan State University
14 July 2023

I received the email in late May of 2023. It was an end-of-semester farewell from the President of Academic Affairs that included announcements and some of the regular finishing touches that faculty need to make before figuratively signing off for the academic year. While skimming the message, I took my regular look-for-opportunities approach. Are there new teams, committees, or groups centered on topics that favor my educational forte? What conferences, seminars or workshops are coming up that are free of charge or will be covered by departmental budgets?

As an adjunct English instructor, engaging in these seemingly small-scale options make a world of difference as it relates to discerning the value I have as an instructor in higher ed and my value as a human being. So, when I saw the acronym in bold, and its meaning right after it, I knew I had to apply right away. The Summer Writing Institute (SWI) was held in person at the university I teach first-year composition. It is a one-week opportunity for faculty members of all disciplines to immerse themselves in a supportive and creative atmosphere while they work on manuscripts, proposals, articles, chapters of a book, and other scholarly works. There is also expert guidance from accomplished writers and editors, and of course, the rare experience of faculty of all levels creating in one space. It is as if the cosmos said, Yes, you belong here and yes, you deserve the intellectual nourishment you ordinarily offer your students.

Because I never took part in any kind of writing intensive, there was a frisson of anticipation. Finally, I could actively engage in scholarly conversations while developing my own work of choice. We had free range. I did not exactly know what to create, but I did know I wanted to write a polished piece of content that could be published in a well-known publication. After mentally sifting through topics that I have a great interest in, I decided to write about the archetypal influences on society according to the Western tradition of astrology. In spring of 2022, I received an Andrew W. Mellon grant to develop curriculum for courses in the humanities. My themed unit is titled At the Heart of War, and is centered on the rhetoric of war. Using the archetypes in Western astrology, students study how war is experienced in all facets of life. Concepts such as conflict, aggression, partnerships, harmony, and beauty are studied from students experiences. We also discuss symbolism as a means of making these archetypes tangible. The work is not meant to explore the scientific view of war, but rather an archetypal psychologythe myths, philosophy, and theology of wars deepest mind.

So, I had my topic. But what would I share about it? I think the substantive part of scholarship in the humanities is the marrying of educators passions and their respective andragogical practices. Specifically for adjuncts, scholarship serves as a gateway to additional opportunities within institutions and/or, in my humble opinion, the impetus for maintaining the gusto for teaching full course loads with scant compensation. Adjuncts often receive little to no support or feedback on their teaching, so a space created specifically for progress, improvement, and insight is the ultimate haven to get critiques and support in live time.

Since I was going to use the week to create a complimentary document for my curriculum, I first decided to draft a literature review. Richard Tarnas Cosmos and Psyche and James Hillmans A Terrible Love of War were my two selected works. The review would focus on each authors approach to exploring the human psyches connection to the ethereal. But after carefully writing the abstract, I realized a lit review would be another bland piece of content in the aggregation of humanities discourse. Instead, a journal article that takes each cognoscentis scholarly work and applies it to a topic that is alluring but also pertinent would make a more rewarding feat.

I began to draft my article, Archetypes and Cultural Views: The Path to a Better Baltimore. Scholarly production for teacher-scholars involves a process where they take discourse from where they stand and build steps to a desired outcome whether that be book publishing, articles in publications, additional materials to course instruction, or multi-media products. As a Baltimore native, and contemporary historophile, I find it suitable for me to imagine, research and write on an aspect of the citys history. By doing this, I build a bridge between my work as a teacher and practicing astrologer.

Tarnas work examines the phenomenon of certain planetary aspects and its effects on societal shifts. Moreover, he presents the archetypes of Western astrology in a synchronistic style, identifying patterns of the cosmos. In my work, I answer specifically, how did the planetary alignments during 1960 to 1972 attribute to the decline of Baltimore City? My work focuses on 1960 to 1972 for two reasons: 1) this period is often associated with breakthroughs, rebellions, war, and social upheaval; and 2) Tarnas lays out a great deal of research on major events during this time in human history.

Astrology is a massively complex school of thought and often dismissed by many scholars. But when presented in an interdisciplinary fashion, it is more reachable. In my article, I am working to cover philosophy, history, and sociology as it relates to urban decline. I can use this exposition to make predictions for what the future holds for Baltimore City. Although this is a steppingstone for my personal scholarship, it doesnt scratch the surface of what insight cosmology may offer human behavior. There is mythology, anthropology, theology, psychology, ecology, and medicine that can bring forth new data and new perspectives that have challenged long-established assumptions and strategies of the modern mind (Tarnas 2007). This is what can make scholarship unique and invigorating. The simple decision to act on an opportunity that can open doors and create new avenues to thrive as teacher-scholars.

Higher education in the United States is in a transitional era. Community colleges are not exempt. The definition of scholarly production transforms when we engage our imagination with copious study. When we acknowledge the fluidity in world views, that old cultural vision no longer holds, but the new has not yet constellated (Tarnas 2007). When scholars ideas are palpable and given space for fruition, even in the midst of disoriented creativity. As it relates to traditional forms of scholarship, this is perhaps the clearest, most foundational archetype of success.

Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: Alex Camardelle, Brian Kennedy II, and Justin Nalley’s “The State of Black Students at Community Colleges”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
6 July 2023

In September 2022, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, published Alex Camardelle, Brian Kennedy II, and Justin Nalley’s “The State of Black Students at Community Colleges.” (Throughout this review, I will use “Black” rather than “African American” to align with the authors’ word choice throughout their report.)

As stated on the Center’s “About” page, “The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that creates ideas to improve the socioeconomic status and civic engagement of African Americans” (par. 1). Specifically, their mission is to “provide compelling and actionable policy solutions to eradicate persistent and evolving barriers to the full freedom of Black people in America” (“Mission Statement,” par. 1).

I was unfamiliar with this organization until the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Executive Director Paula Krebs passed along the report after she received it from Howard Tinberg, Professor of English at Bristol Community College. The report is compelling and pertinent enough that I thought I should review it for the MLA Committee on Community College’s Blog page.

The Center’s website “emphasizes high-quality data and analysis” (“About,” par. 4), and their report on “The State of Black Students at Community Colleges” follows through on that research emphasis. Among the 66 sources cited in this report are the following:

Government Sources

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics data, April 2022
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2003–2021 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey
  • U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS)
  • U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

Higher Education News Source

  • Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Non-profit Research Sources

  • Center for American Progress
  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Education Trust in Washington
  • Institute for College Access and Success
  • Institute for Women’s Policy Research
  • National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Scholarly Books

  • J. M. Beach’s Gateway to Opportunity?: A History of the Community College in the United States

Scholarly Peer-reviewed Sources

  • Community College Journal of Research & Practice
  • Community College Review
  • Economic Perspectives
  • Journal of Higher Education
  • Journal of Postsecondary Student Success
  • Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
  • New Directions for Community Colleges
  • Research in Higher Education

University Research Institutes Sources

  • Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Community College Research Initiatives, University of Washington
  • Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, Temple University

The triangulated research methods are quite impressive and help Camardelle et al. to make a persuasive case for reviewing how Black community college students should best be served.

The Problem
The report argues that “while Black students are disproportionately represented at community colleges, the system does not produce equitable outcomes” (Camardelle et al. 3). The authors argue that in a variety of metrics, “community colleges largely fail to deliver equitable results for Black community college students” (9). Particularly relevant, the authors learned that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “Black student enrollment at community colleges decreased by 18%” (7). Diminishing enrollments during and after the pandemic occurred across the board in higher education but is still demographically dramatic and concerning within the context of Black community college students.

The Joint Center’s Recommendations
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies recommends actions that need to be taken at the federal, state, and local levels to improve campus culture and climate for Black students at community colleges:

  • Improve access to basic needs support for Black students
  • Improve access to campus-based child care
  • Strengthen transfer pathways
  • Evaluate community college outcomes by race and ethnicity
  • Make two-year community college tuition-free. (Camardelle et al. 15-18)

The statistics they provide from their research are quite striking. The authors suggest that the problems noted below are systemic problems that need systemic solutions. For Black students to be successful, the conditions for their success need to be cultivated.

Completion and transfer. Completion and transfer rates are concerning. Completion rates show that “only 28 percent of Black community college students graduated within three years” in 2019-2020 (9). Transfer rates suggest that “Black community college students were the least likely to transfer to four-year colleges and universities compared to their peers” (11). As alluded to in the recommendations list above, “[t]hirty-five percent of Black students in community colleges are parents” (8), which can add further challenges to student’s efforts to complete their degrees.

Community college graduates. The report notes that “Black households with workers who graduated from a community college earned nearly $16,000 per year more than Black households without associate degree [2020]”; however, Black community college graduates earned less than white community college graduates (11). Based on research published by the U.S. Census Bureau, Camardelle et al. note that “[a] typical white household with an associate degree holder earned $73,948 per year, while a typical Black household with an associate degree holder earned just $48,724” (12).

Debt. Despite the low cost of community colleges, the authors highlight that, per the U.S. Department of Education, “Black associate degree recipients are more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to take out loans to attend two-year institutions” (13). Although many holders of student loan debt have challenges repaying their debt, “The typical Black associate degree recipient owes 123 percent of their original amount they borrowed 12 years after beginning their degree” (14). This average is concerning and reflects why so many people are disappointed that the United States Supreme Court recently struck down President Joe Biden’s “student loan debt relief plan” (Hurley, par. 1).

Final Thoughts
The Join Center’s report on “The State of Black Students at Community Colleges” is a valuable document to read, particularly in light of recent trends in the political landscape. As we are all aware, the Supreme Court has ended affirmative action in higher education (CBS News). Further, many states with conservative leaders are banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs (Asmelash).

The Joint Center’s September 2022 report was contextualized primarily within the context of post-pandemic recovery in higher education. The authors could not predict the speed at which laws adversely affecting Black community college students would go into effect by the middle of 2023; however, their work resonates strongly in our current political landscape. Camardelle et al.’s conclusions are worth reading and so are the sources they use to draw their conclusions.

Works Cited

“About.” Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, n.d.,

Asmelash, Leah. “DEI Programs in Universities Are Being Cut Across the Country. What Does This Mean for Higher Education?” CNN, 14 June 2023,

Camardelle, Alex, Brian Kennedy II, and Justin Nalley. “The State of Black Students at Community Colleges.” Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 21 September 2022,

CBS News. “Read Full Text of the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision and Ruling in High-Stakes Case.” CBS News, 29 June 2023,

Hurley, Lawrence. “Supreme Court Kills Biden Student Loan Relief Plan.” NBC News, 30 June 2023,

“Mission Statement.” Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, n.d.,

Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: Patty Wilde’s “Composing Addiction: A Study of the Emotional Dimensions of Writing Processes”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
19 June 2023

Patty Wilde’s “Composing Addiction: A Study of the Emotional Dimensions of Writing Processes” (published in volume 74, issue number 1 of College Composition and Communication) is a useful study of students using writing to work through their own experiences of recovering from various types of addiction. Although Wilde currently works at Washington State University Tri-Cities (191), she met the students who are the subject of this article when she worked at community colleges (164). She is interested in how students’ “affective” responses to writing about addiction affect the writing process for them (169-170).

Wilde’s article is interesting partly because she views addiction through the lens of disability studies (166). She “understand[s] addiction as a disorder with mental and physical ramifications” (166). Her view of addiction aligns with a common idea in disability studies “‘that what is disabling about impairments resides in culture rather than in a natural consequence of an impairment'” (Lewiecki-Wilson qtd. in Wilde 166). She recognizes that postsecondary institutions of higher learning acknowledge the problem of addiction but wants more “support” available at the “classroom” level (167). A challenge of supporting students who struggle with addiction is that “substance use disorders typically go unnoticed unless students disclose their status” (168).

Community College Students Writing about Addiction
The three students Wilde writes about (anonymously renamed Sarah, Jack, and Emilia) were in an asynchronous online first-year writing class (170). Sarah (173) and Emilia (177) were addicted to methamphetamines, while Jack was a recovering alcoholic (175).

The students found the assignment valuable to write, both scholastically and emotionally (172-179). Sarah noted feelings of catharsis in writing about her addiction (181). Jack took “literary license” in writing that his children never saw him drunk, though they actually did but were too young to remember it; otherwise, the autobiographical elements were true (177). Both Sarah and Jack had been sober for several years or more when they wrote about addiction, so they had enough distance from the events that they could see their experiences as useful cautionary tales for an audience and share without embarrassment (172-177).

Emilia was “over a year sober” but showed greater reticence in including herself in her writing about addiction, though she did share brief autobiographical information in a draft that only Wilde saw (177-179). Nevertheless, Emilia felt the topic of addiction was important for other people to be aware of (179). She argued that the prevalence of addiction puts a responsibility on community colleges to provide services that help students, such as “specialized counseling, campus initiatives that challenge the normalization of drug and alcohol use, and more capacious mental health services for students” (178).

Taking the class online gave the students a sense of security because they were not in the same room as their peers (183).

Writing, Addiction, and Emotions
Writing about emotionally charged topics is challenging for students. Likewise, reading, commenting on, and grading students’ emotionally charged work presents challenges for professors (183). Wilde concurs with other scholarship on writing and emotions that the challenge is valuable for both students and professors (183-184). Viewing experiences through the lens of emotions is a “‘way of knowing'” (Payne qtd. in Wilde 184). Wilde notes that the students felt that the didactic quality of writing about their experiences helped them to power through any pain they felt in revealing their addiction to an audience (184).

Final Thoughts
Wilde’s article is important to read because I have met successful community college students who have gone through addiction and gone on to thrive in their education. Midland College’s public relations department likes to write inspiring profiles of student success that are generally published on both the Midland College website and in one of the local online news sources. I recommended that they write about two of my former students who were finalists in Midland College’s Nonfiction Writing Contest, held every Spring.

Neither of my students’ award-winning pieces, a first-year composition personal essay and a technical & business writing research report, were specifically about addiction; nevertheless, their experiences successfully overcoming addiction became key features of their profiles (Bell, “High School Dropout Now on Path to Help Others”; Bell, “Student Overcomes Addiction; Discovers Faith, Family and Career”). I had no idea that the students would turn the interview to their successful recovery of addiction, but it was inspiring to read of their successes. Like the students in Wilde’s article, my students saw this article as a platform to inspire others who are going through similar challenges.

Wilde’s use of disability studies, along with theory on emotion and writing, is a valuable reminder that giving students the opportunity to communicate about topics important to them, no matter how painful, can be powerful tools for teaching writing. The students she writes about used their challenging experiences to improve as college writers and to help make sense of their own lived experiences.

Works Cited
Bell, Rebecca. “High School Dropout Now on Path to Help Others.” Midland College, 19 October 2023,

—. “Student Overcomes Addiction; Discovers Faith, Family and Career.” Midland College, 14 September 2022,

Wilde, Patty. “Composing Addiction: A Study of the Emotional Dimension of Writing Processes.” College Composition & Communication, vol. 74, no. 1, September 2022, pp. 164-191.

Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: Amanda Christie and Ann C. Dean’s “Working Conditions for Contingent Faculty in First-Year Composition Courses at Two-Year Colleges”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
1 June 2023

Amanda Christie and Ann C. Dean’s “Working Conditions for Contingent Faculty in First-Year Composition Courses at Two-Year Colleges” complements the work produced in the TYCA Workload Issues Committee’s “White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload.” My review of the TYCA white paper can also be found in this blog (Brown). It is worthwhile to read the TYCA white paper first for the broader issues of faculty workload in two-year colleges and then follow it up with a review of Christie and Dean’s report for further details on the “Working Conditions” of two-year college faculty.

Although Christie and Dean’s report came out in September 2022 in Teaching English in the Two-Year College, I first became aware of their research at the 2023 Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention in San Francisco, California. Christie reported on their published findings during the MLA Higher Education as a Profession (HEP) Committee on Community Colleges’ panel on The Ecology of the Community College Classroom (presider: Grisel Y. Acosta) (“458 – The Ecology of the Community College Classroom”). The presentation was compelling, and it was useful to follow up with the published article after the conference.

Survey and Findings
Christie and Dean assert that their article adds to previous discussions of working conditions of first-year composition (FYC) faculty in community colleges because they emphasize “the knowledge and experience of contingent writing faculty in two-year colleges” (47). In particular, they strive to make the “voices” (47 and 49) of the contingent faculty heard through a survey with 80 questions (51). Between August 2019 and March 2020 (53), they surveyed 100 contingent faculty from each time zone in the United States: “Hawaii-Aleutian, Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern regions” (52). Their questions focused on the following nine categories:

  • Compensation
  • Health Care
  • Office space and technology
  • Evaluation measures within departments
  • Institutional support for voicing concerns
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Transportation
  • Control over curriculum choices
  • Professional future (51-52)

The authors do not follow these categories precisely in structuring the essay, though they are close. The headings below reflect the headings that Christie and Dean use to organize the discussion of their findings.

Compensation. Like most reports on contingent faculty, Christie and Dean find that most contingent faculty have to work at multiple institutions in order to survive as instructors (53-54). Respondents note that “freeway flying” from one part-time teaching job to another “reduces grading and lesson preparation time” (54). Some respondents felt anxious at filling out the survey because they fear the report would paint them as “‘less than professional,'” though the authors emphasize that they respect the work of contingent faculty and want to help improve working conditions through this report (69).

Benefits. Lack of benefits for their contingent academic labor contributes to the high number of courses taught across multiple institutions (55). The authors note that lack of benefits pushes some contingent faculty out of teaching altogether because they need full-time employment in order to have access to necessary health care (56-57). One of the authors, Christie, has left academia because working as an adjunct was not sustainable for the long-term (57).

Last minute changes to employment. Like other reports on contingent academic labor, Christie and Dean concur that adjuncts are often hire very close to the first day of class, which limits preparation time (57-59).

Evaluation. Contingent academic laborers report that they receive minimal feedback on their teaching (59-61). Christie and Dean note that part of the problem of over-reliance on adjuncts means that full-time faculty have heavy service loads on top of “high teaching load[s],” which limits mentoring, feedback, and support of contingent faculty (60-61).

Curriculum and academic freedom. Christie and Dean report that “47 percent [of survey respondents] use a required syllabus, and 46 percent use a required text,” which “can limit flexibility and responsiveness to local student needs” (61). Community colleges aspire to meet students where they are; however, limiting the ability of contingent faculty to respond to their students’ needs through inflexible control over the curriculum inhibits the teaching effectiveness of contingent faculty (62).

Office spaces. Survey respondents believe that office space for contingent faculty is important but not always provided (63-64). The inability to have reliable office space for office hours impedes connecting with students outside of the classroom (64).

Departmental climate. Contingent faculty have some resources for challenges related to teaching. Christie and Dean report that adjuncts often “go to other contingent faculty … or tenure-track faculty” for problems related to teaching; however, competition with other contingent faculty for limited numbers of courses to teach can limit the connections made with their part-time peers (64-65). Interactions with full-time faculty are generally positive, though informed sometimes uncomfortably by “power dynamics” (65). Respondents are ambivalent about “interactions with department chairs,” who can “be unreliable and inconsistent in terms of pedagogical support” (66).

Professional advancement. Some respondents are optimistic that “professional advancement” will happen at some point, while others feel “hopeless” (66). Christie and Dean allude to the “scarlet letter” A-for-Adjunct as a reason for the lack of professional advancement for contingent faculty (see Maisto). For Christie and Dean, the “scarlet letter” of being an adjunct is often a “stigma”: “working as a contingent faculty member is not coupled with positive support and recognition by one’s institution” (67).

Christie and Dean’s conclusions. Christie and Dean recognize that department chairs have little input in determining compensation but hope that they positively impact the “communication and climate” of their departments (70). The authors make an impassioned plea for the importance of contingent faculty in the life of the college:

We argue that listening to the voices of those who teach FYC is crucial for the health of our institutions and the success of students. In sharing the words of our survey respondents, we suggest that colleges can learn from creating a platform or forum for such voices. (49)

Contingent faculty teach an inordinate number of classes in community colleges. To omit them from “departmental emails and meeting agendas about department policies” diminishes the positive impact that they could have on policies related to their students (70).

Final Thoughts
Above, I allude to the TYCA Workload Issues Committee’s “White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload” as a useful companion piece to Christie and Dean’s article. Still another useful source published by Teaching English in the Two-Year College is “The Profession of Teaching English in the Two-Year College: Findings from the 2019 TYCA Workload Survey” by the Two-Year College English Association Workload Task Force (Suh et al.). Christie and Dean explicitly contextualize their work in relation to this piece (49).

Teaching English in the Two-Year College has shown its commitment to issues of contingent academic labor in higher education by publishing yearly one of the two issues of FORUM: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty (“FORUM–Individual Issues”). Comprehensive reports like the one by Christie and Dean, as well as the TYCA reports on workload help show the impact of contingent faculty on FYC in two-year colleges and the challenges they face serving students who seek better lives for themselves through higher education.

Works Cited
“458 – The Ecology of the Community College Classroom.” MLA 2023 Convention, 2022,

Brown, William Christopher. “Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: TYCA Workload Issues Committee’s ‘White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload.” MLA Committee on Community Colleges, 01 May 2023,

Christie, Amanda C., and Ann C. Dean. “Working Conditions for Contingent Faculty in First-Year Composition Courses at Two-Year Colleges.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 50, no. 1, September 2022, pp. 47-75.

“FORUM–Individual Issues.” FORUM: Issues about Part-Time and Contingent Faculty, n.d.,

Maisto, Maria. “Addressing the Scarlet A: Adjuncts and the Academy.” MLA Profession, October 2013,

Suh, Emily et al. (The Two-Year College English Association Workload Task Force). “The Profession of Teaching English in the Two-Year College: Findings from the 2019 TYCA Workload Survey.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 48, no. 3, September 2021, pp. 332-349.

Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: Andrea Parmegiani’s “Using the Mother Tongue as a Resource for English Acquisition”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
16 May 2023

Andrea Parmegiani’s “Using the Mother Tongue as a Resource for English Acquisition,” published as an “Instructional Note” in Teaching English in the Two-Year College (2022), argues that “the use of ESL [English as a Second Language] students’ first languages” should be considered “resources for English acquisition,” rather than an impediment to teaching English (382). He notes that teaching in the primary language of students for whom English is a second language increases success rates (383). Community colleges regularly promote the idea of meeting students where they are, so translanguage pedagogies fit into this ideal. By “translanguage,” I refer to the theory that “boundaries among languages are porous at best, and that in the minds of bilingual and multilingual speakers, their languages form one integrated communicative system” (385).

Linked Courses between ESL and Spanish Departments
At Bronx Community College, Parmegiani helped to facilitate collaboration between ESL and the Department of Modern Languages to create course “cluster[s] linking ESL and Spanish writing instruction” (384). Students, primarily from the Dominican Republic, took a Spanish language class in the hour before the ESL class (385).

Although the Spanish language class primarily eschewed English, the students wrote papers in the thesis-driven American style (385-386). Parmegiani remarks that in their home countries, the ESL students’ prior writing experiences centered on writing “as assessment tools to test students’ ability to repeat information they were expected to learn by rote, rather than as tools for developing critical thinking skills” (386). Writing Spanish language papers in a thesis-driven format at a college in the United States helps students because they are given “the opportunity to use their mother tongue to practice unfamiliar academic writing expectations such as choosing relevant information to support a thesis and to incorporate this information into their essays without straying into plagiarism” (386). These conventions of academic writing are transferable to both academic and professional contexts.

Openness to Language Choices
In Parmegiani’s ESL class, students were expected to primarily use English in person and in writing, though it was acceptable if students used occasional Spanish words “to fill in lexical gaps in case their command of their second language just wasn’t enough to allow full self-expression” (386). Parmegiani modeled this openness to multiple languages when he attended the Spanish class prior to his ESL session and occasionally had to express himself in English rather than Spanish (386). The freedom to express thoughts in Spanish as well as English in the ESL class encouraged students to speak more, which helped them learn more because they were actively using Spanish to learn English (387).

Personal and Academic Benefits
Allowing the mother tongue in an ESL class benefits students on two levels. On a personal level, ESL students can retain a sense of pride in their background (383). Parmegiani understands that the “mother tongue is a fundamental marker of identity and the foundation of [students’] cultural capital” (383). Allowing students to use their “mother tongue” shows them respect and increases the likelihood they will stay engaged with the material.

Academically, “language and academic literacy skills can be transferred from the mother tongue to languages that are learned later in life” (383-384). Parmegiani observed that students in this linked course model “outperformed students who took the ESL course as a stand-alone class” (389). Parmegiani further reports that students in linked courses carried over success to other academic contexts, in that they “performed better in terms of average GPA, credit accumulation, and retention” (389).

Final Thoughts
I found Parmegiani’s “Instructional Note” quite compelling and interesting. I teach Writing classes in Texas and have a significant number of students who speak Spanish. I have enough Spanish-language speakers in my classes that I tell students to say words in Spanish if they are having trouble thinking of the English equivalent because generally someone in the class can translate the Spanish words into English. Like Parmegiani, I have found that this openness to students filling in gaps in English with Spanish makes students more comfortable to contribute to class discussion. I was intrigued to read how Parmegiani took this same openness to multilingual expression and coordinated with colleagues in other departments to make connections across classes.

Works Cited
Parmegiani, Andrea. “Using the Mother Tongue as a Resource for English Acquisition.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 49, no. 4, 2022.

Recent Scholarship on Community Colleges: TYCA Workload Issues Committee’s “White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload”

William Christopher Brown, Midland College
1 May 2023

The 2022 “White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload” by the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA) (published in Teaching English in the Two-Year College; began with a survey administered in Fall 2019 (292). The survey consisted of 39 questions and “included six demographics, twenty-eight closed-ended, and five open-ended questions about faculty work environment, expectations, and experiences” (292). The committee received “1,062 responses,” which focused on “teaching, service, and professional development” (292). The White Paper was written with the goal “to set in motion changes that help two-year college English faculty and their students thrive” (293).

The White Paper is divided into five sections:

  • “What Is the Workload of TYC English Faculty?”
  • “Workload Issues for Two-Year College English Programs”
  • “Workload Standards for Two-Year College English”
  • “Program Strategies for Workload Equity”
  • “Advocacy Strategies for Effecting Change”

I will organize this review to mirror the White Paper’s structure. This review will focus on key ideas, though the full report contains many interesting details that I did not have space to include.

“What Is the Workload of TYC English Faculty?”
The survey revealed that “56 percent” of the respondents were “off the tenure-track, and 44 percent” held “tenure-line positions” (293). The committee learned that “57 percent” regularly teach overloads (293). Seventy-five percent reported “‘a lot’ of autonomy” over their classes (293). However, “little autonomy” is held over course load or the “mode of delivery,” with only “12 percent” having “‘a lot’ of control over their schedule” (294)

In addition to teaching, two-year college English faculty provide a significant amount of service to their institutions. Service is a “defined element” in “employment contracts” for “66 percent” (294). Although some reported that service was not a requirement, “22 percent” still contributed service, often without recompense (294). The TYCA Workload Issues Committee noted that service often falls “disproportionate[ly]” on both English and Mathematics departments because of developmental courses associated with their fields (294).

Professional development is a regular part of “89 percent” of college English faculty’s lives, though “5.5 percent” did not participate in professional development (294-295). The committee noted that “barriers to … professional development activities … were lack of resources (money and time), lack of relevance to their teaching work, and lack of (or no) value attached to professional development by their employing institution” (295).

“Workload Issues for Two-Year College English Programs”
Community/technical college faculty “teach far more students each semester than any professional organization recommends” (295). Two-year colleges require heavy workloads, but faculty often willingly take on overloads “to compensate for low salaries, leading to even higher workloads” (295). Following the trend across all of higher education, full- and part-time contingent labor continues to grow (296).

“Completion agendas” also affect two-year college faculty (296). Some colleges face state mandates to minimize or “eliminate developmental education” and to speed up the process by which students filter through developmental programs (296-297).

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty often maintain even higher workloads because they “serve on hiring and tenure committees; mentor faculty; and lead institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion work” (297).

“Workload Standards for Two-Year College English”
This section offers recommendations for “sustainable workloads” at two-year colleges. The committee recommends equitable pay for “teaching, service, and professional development” (297). Course load should be fewer than “four composition classes per term,” with a “maximum of fifteen credits each semester” (298). The committee recommends that courses should not have more than “twenty students per writing course” or more than “fifteen students for developmental” classes of all kinds (298). Course overloads are discouraged (298). Academic freedom should be the norm for faculty rather than “rigid rules” (298). Faculty should be paid for developing, updating, and reviewing courses (298).

“Program Strategies for Workload Equity”
Two-year colleges should emphasize quality in teaching rather than quantity (299). Faculty at two-year colleges often have the students who are least prepared for post-secondary education, yet colleges create conditions that impede the ability of faculty to help at-risk students because of heavy teaching loads and rigid requirements for numbers of papers and word lengths of papers (299).

Faculty who teach developmental classes often have to revise their curricula based on state-mandates (299). These faculty should be supported in these revisions by taking into consideration the time that goes into updating courses (299).

The committee re-emphasized the importance of academic freedom and instructor autonomy (299). Professional development should be a priority (300).

Colleges should also not use a service model for “program coordinator positions”; instead, program coordinator roles should be part of the budget (300).

“Advocacy Strategies for Effecting Change”
The TYCA Workload Issues Committee recommends “using existing structures in new ways” to improve faculty workload conditions (301). They note that “standing service responsibilities” and “academic councils or senates” can be potentially useful ways to influence policies that affect faculty workload (302). They encourage faculty to embrace “activism” and “collective action” (302-303).

Final Thoughts
One of the key takeaways for me was the challenge of fair compensation for faculty. Faculty at two-year colleges have such heavy teaching loads that their work lives can be taken up with simply trying not to fall behind on grading or trying to keep up with mandates on teaching from the State. However, some of this workload derives from many faculty members’ willingness to take on extra classes to increase their salaries. The report’s emphasis on fair compensation for faculty’s various professional obligations would help them to feel less compelled to take on extra work. Manageable workloads for fair compensation would allow faculty to develop professionally. Improving the working conditions of faculty improves the students’ experience of colleges (303).

The TYCA Workload Issues Committee’s “White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload” is an important document that reminds us that we are part of a larger field with a consistent set of problems across the country. The strategies they recommend at the end have great potential in helping faculty to make a difference at their local levels.

Works Cited
TYCA Workload Issues Committee. “White Paper on Two-Year College English Faculty Workload.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 49, no. 04, 2022, 292-307.

Collaborative ENG-101 Redesign: A Pilot at Monroe Community College

Jacob Bodway, Monroe Community College
1 April 2023

Community Colleges must be the home for pedagogical innovation. The needs of Community College students are constantly changing, and in no other academic setting do we see students juggling responsibilities outside of the classroom (childcare, jobs, family emergencies). Community College educators must adapt to students’ needs by piloting new programs, by freshening their curriculum, and by collaborating on ideas, projects, and initiatives.

The English and Transitional Studies Departments at Monroe Community College (MCC) have been exemplary in addressing students’ needs by building a strong Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), by collaborating on online education and pedagogical practices, and by working on new models for placement. Most recently, faculty members from both departments have collaborated on creating a new ENG 101 Pilot class for students who may have otherwise struggled in a traditional ENG 101 course. The course is capped at 15 students, and the students are receiving more 1:1 instruction and conferencing than what could realistically be accomplished in a 24-student classroom. Even more importantly, faculty are emphasizing reading strategies as a steppingstone for comprehensive writing instruction. Rather than simply assuming that students have college-level reading comprehension, instructors are providing students with refresher lessons that focus on more general reading strategies – previewing, predicting, inferences, and organization – to more granular strategies – sentence structure, thesis placement, annotating, and analysis.

Although this pilot program is still in its nascent stages, MCC faculty are encouraged by this “less is more” approach to teaching English Composition. By slowing down the week-to-week schedule, and by addressing the students’ reading and affective needs, faculty are building stronger bonds with students and are seeing how the reinforcement of certain strategies could help students produce more interesting and creative written work. As this pilot program unfolds, it will be interesting to compare student success rates with their ALP counterparts and to address ways that the pilot could improve with practice. These types of initiatives and collaborative projects are precisely why teaching at a Community College can be such a rewarding experience!