Archive for February 2, 2012

Faculty Training Opportunity – Online Civility

February 2, 2012


Written by Garret Brand, Professor, Business Department – Online civility is a big issue! Rude e-mails are common. Part of it can be that the student is unaware of their tone, but there can also be defensiveness or a sense of entitlement (e.g. why did you take away my points?).

Some suggestions for:

  1. Angry, Aggressive and Challenging Students*
    1. Engage the student privately and learn about them.
    2. Show that you are willing to listen and be clear and rational in your response.
  2. Responding to E-mails**
    1. Show appreciation for the question and be polite. You don’t have to put up with abusive language, but you can attempt to re-direct the conversation.
    2. Be neutral and non-judgmental. I recall publicly correcting student for their spelling (it was horrible) and it turned out they got the error from my previous post.
  3. Students With Behavioral Issues***
    1. Achieve a balance between asserting your authority and overreacting to student outbursts/provocation. I rarely say that I’m in charge, but I have reminded students that I’m responsible for enforcing course/college policies and that I too deserve civility.
    2. Avoid the smiley. 🙂 If you have a student who is angry about outside issues, feels they are justified about their outrage, or considers it sport to provoke, attempts to be light often don’t work. Be respectful, clear and firm.
  4. Some advice from experienced online faculty:
    1. Be clear about (and consistently apply) course policies.
    2. Don’t let them see you sweat. Avoid telling them it’s your first time teaching online.
    3. Seek to clarify a complaint. A number of times, I’ve read things into a student’s e-mail. I’ve learned to ask if I’ve understood.

In the end, continue to seek input from your peers and try to keep things in perspective. In most cases, consistent and timely responses will calm the storm. Document EVERYTHING and seek support from leadership. Don’t forget that there are resources to help with behavioral issues (see links below).


* McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, 11th Edition, College Teaching Series
** Teaching Online, Draves, LERN
*** Teaching Online, A Practical Guide, Ko and Rossen

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Pass It Forward 2012

February 2, 2012

Pass it Forward at GRCC

Join over 300 of GRCC’s students, faculty, staff, friends on the streets of Grand Rapids to do good deeds for community members, inspiring chain of giving and kindness throughout the city. Friday, February 24th, 2012 is this year’s date for the annual ”Pass It Forward”, ePIFany Now event, hosted by the Department of Experiential Learning.

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Groups of 6-10 participants will give their time to various non-profit organizations or to the community in general to create positive change. The idea is simple: serve others in creative, direct ways and encouraged them to do the same!

Find out more and register at:

Best Practices of Service Learning

February 2, 2012

Please “drop in” Friday February 3rd from 2-4pm in the Center for Teaching Excellence (Room 316 – Main Building) to gather information from GRCC faculty on the best practices of service learning.

Learn about the following topics and more:

  • How to collaborate with Community Partners in developing curriculum and pedagogy?
  • How to connect with other disciplines to collaborate on service learning projects – creating interdisciplinary experiences?
  • What are the key elements of service learning?
  • How does GRCC support service learning?

We will also be using this time to gather your feedback on how to best support faculty integrating service learning.

*This meeting is open to all faculty and adjuncts. Light refreshments are provided.

Two Workforce Training Workshops Open to GRCC Employees at a Discount – Both offer CEUs

February 2, 2012

Two Workforce Training Workshops open to GRCC employees at a 10% discount! Both offer CEU’s!

Dementia Care – Best Practices in Understanding and Managing Behaviors in Persons with Dementia
Mar. 6, 2012
Tue., 5 – 9 p.m.
4 CE’s

Death, Dying, and Bereavement
Mar. 10, 2012
Sat., 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
8 CE’s

See class descriptions and register online at and click on social work. To receive the 10% discount please enter web code grccworks10.

Dr Greg Forbes on Charles Darwin’s Life of Discovery 2/8/12

February 2, 2012

GRCC Professor Dr. Greg Forbes will be presenting a public lecture this coming February 8, 2012 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the GR Women’ City Club for the Center for Inquiry of Michigan titled “Dogma, Doctrine & Deduction; Darwin’s Life of Discovery.”

From the program description: “Nature or nurture? What accounted for the transformation of a young boy “with limited potential and imagination” into one of the most influential individuals in human history? Discover how a young man with a Cambridge Theology education and no formal science education changed the way we view our world.”

More information available here.

GRCC in the News – 2/2/12

February 2, 2012

Grand Rapids Community College students gain free entry to local museums
Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 5:19 PM | Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids Community College wants to instill its students with an appreciation of the arts. So the college has teamed up with the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum to offer free admission for students from now to April, 28. Students can gain entry with their GRCC ID cards.  (More)