SFCC English and Communications departmental Winter newsletter

The following newsletter from Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico is from December 8, 2023:

The holidays are upon us, and the SFCC English and Communications departmental winter newsletter is here! Please read on for information about this past semester’s initiatives, projects, and new partnerships, as well as a list of department faculty’s noteworthy accolades in 2023. Wishing you and yours a safe and pleasant winter break ahead—Kate McCahill, Department Chair, English and Communications  

Departmental Updates, Projects, and Initiatives in 2023 

We welcomed two new full-time faculty this semester in the English department—Genevieve Betts, MFA, and Joseph Klemens, Ph.D. Dr. Isabella Bornet, one of SFCC’s longest-standing and most beloved professors, has announced her retirement as English faculty. We wish her the best as this new and exciting chapter unfolds. Three cheers for Genevieve, Joseph, and Isabella!  

Our department received the “2023 Overall Best Assessment” award at this semester’s inaugural Assessment Honors. We were recognized for our “clear details and information in the narratives in Assessments, checking all areas, and providing information that is pertinent to the learning outcomes.” The award was bestowed by Dr. Ruthy Watson, Director of Assessments, Program Review, and Special Projects.   

English faculty applied and were approved for Title V funding to transition an additional 10 courses to open educational resources (OER), thus ensuring free textbook usage for scores of students this spring and beyond. English and Communications faculty have transitioned dozens of sections to OER in recent semesters. Special thanks to the members of the SFCC Library for their support of faculty moving to OER. 

English and Communications has a new website! Developed this fall, the site provides information about the EdReady assessment tool, ESL/ELL courses in the English department, contact information for our faculty, and much more. The site’s contents are presented in both English and Spanish. Special thanks to Ben Lauer for his site development expertise. 

In partnership with SFCC’s PILAS program, our department is now offering paid internships for writing students with the Santa Fe Reporter, the Santa Fe Writers Project, and Southwest Contemporary Magazine. Students earn college credit towards their Creative Writing degree or certificate, plus professional experience, important industry connections—and pay! We’re grateful to Louise Majorey, Dr. Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos, and the community organizations with which we’ve partnered for their guidance, enthusiasm, and support. 

We’ve formed a new English and Communications Advisory Board to help boost enrollment and expand opportunities in English, Communications, and Creative Writing. Members include Dr. George Gamble, outgoing SFCC Board Chair; Julia Barnes, local attorney and mediator; Adele Oliviera, writer and Santa Fe Public Library Board member; and Diego Gomez, author and NMSA educator. Special thanks to Austin Eichelberger, English faculty, for spearheading this important effort. 

Reading events by SFCC faculty, including members of the English department, punctuated the fall semester. We began with the Faculty and Staff Reading during convocation week, co-hosted by Creative Writing and the SFCC Library. In October, we celebrated the release of this year’s Santa Fe Literary Review with a hybrid reading event in the Visual Arts Gallery. Genevieve Betts and Austin Eichelberger, both English faculty members, hosted public readings of their original creative work. Our faculty’s creative endeavors were also profiled in Pasatiempo, with features showcasing the Santa Fe Literary Review’s release as well as Genevieve Betts’ new book, A New Kind of Tongue, and Austin Eichelberger’s novel-in-progress, The Longdream.   

English and Communications faculty conducted a professional development workshop about AI and ChatGPT in the classroom. With the support of SFCC librarians, we covered how to detect AI in student writing, how to engage and inform students where AI is concerned, and how to develop class policies surrounding AI-guided writing. We also developed a living repository of books, websites, and articles to educate and empower faculty.  

We piloted a new partnership with SFCC tutors, formally embedding tutors in ENGL 100, 110L, and 1110. Tutors visited our classes and engaged with our students both on-ground and online. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with the tutors for years to come! Special thanks to Robert Gutierrez, Kathryne Lim, and Michael Hendricks for their flexibility and enthusiasm.  

The SFCC Library and Creative Writing are excited to announce The Writing Generation Series! This free online series is open to the public and will consist of two types of events: readings by New Mexico writers and creative sessions when attendees will be given writing prompts and time to write. Our first event will be a reading by Janna Lopez, Santa Fe Poet Laureate program ambassador, on January 24, 2024, which will be followed a week later with a creative session on January 31, when Janna will share her creative approach of self-conversation with our attendees. On May 1, we will finish the first semester of the series by hosting an online reading for our participants from the previous events as they get the chance to share their work. Stay tuned for more information – we hope you’ll join us! 

Finally, we piloted two new dual credit courses through Santa Fe high schools—a creative writing course at NMSA taught by Liza Stewart, and an English composition course at Monte del Sol taught by Liz Tidrick. We’re eager to extend our dual credit offerings to more programs across the City Different, and we’re grateful to Marcos Maez and Niki McKay for their guidance and support in forging these important new partnerships. 

Faculty Accomplishments and Achievements  

Genevieve Betts, English faculty, celebrated the 2023 release of her second collection of poetry, A New Kind of Tongue, published by FlowerSong Press.  

Austin Eichelberger participated in the Community of Practice for ChatGPT, put on by the SFCC Library, which was fun, enlightening, and granted access to information about how to use ChatGPT in the classroom and how to recognize the limitations to help ensure assignments can’t be completed by ChatGPT. Another session will be offered in the spring, and faculty are encouraged to sign up! Sarah Hood or Val Nye can provide more details.  

Andy Lovato, Communications faculty, has taken on the role of Chair for the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission. He’s also host of the radio show “Our Santa Fe” on KSFR (101.1 FM). Tune in on Thursdays from 6:30 to 7 PM.