Carl James Grindley
It has been very exciting to shepherd this year’s edition of Touchstone through publication, especially since the process has been more inclusive than ever, with new people joining the editorial team, and existing colleagues taking on additional duties. On the behalf of everyone involved, we would like to thank the authors--who represented nearly every department on campus: Business, Education, the Library, Humanities, Mathematics, Language and Cognition, the Natural Sciences, and the Leadership Academy. With such a wide range of contributors, it is not surprising that this issue of Touchstone features more cross-collaboration between departments than any of our previous issues.
We would like to recognize the support of the following individuals: Dr. Carmen Coballes-Vega, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs; Dr. Christine Mangino, Acting Associate Dean of Faculty and Curriculum Development; Professor América Trinidad, Chair of the Professor Magda Vasillov Center for Teaching and Learning; department chairs, who have always been so wonderful in encouraging their faculty to offer not only their research but their support; and our reviewers, Dr. Richard Gampert, Director of Institutional Research, and Professors Robert F. Cohen, Ruslan Flek, and Kate Lyons. Finally, we would like to offer a special thanks to Professor Jennifer Tang who coordinated the review process, and Professor Catherine Lewis, who has taken on the special role of Touchstone’s new designer, typesetter and production coordinator. Her efforts are greatly appreciated.
Our opening article is by the Professor Magda Vasillov Center for Teaching and Learning’s Assistant Director, Ms. Sarah Brennan and the Library’s Professor Jennifer Tang. In their work, they consider the use of social media as a tool for student retention through e-mentoring.
Continuing with technology, Ms. Brennan teams up with Professor Sandy Figueroa from the Business Department and Professor Sherese Mitchell from the Education Department to examine the expansion of instructional and online classroom technologies. Reporting on the good work of the Online Facilitator Investigation Group, the authors suggest some new strategies for ensuring student success in online courses.
Next, Natural Science Professors Julie Trachman, Nelson Nuñez-Rodríguez, Flor Henderson and Yoel Rodríguez team up with the Library’s Professor William Casari and Mr. Jason Libfeld of The Leadership Academy to discuss service learning as it relates to helping to keep The Bronx green.
Mathematics Department Faculty are well-known for their proactive stance towards not only serving the needs of remedial students, but also bringing their students the latest in technological advances. In a collaborative effort, Professors Alice Welt Cunningham and Olen Dias work with Professor Nieves Angulo to examine the impact of small-group homework-completion tutoring on students in Math 10 and Math 20.
The Humanities Department’s Professor Ian Charles Scott then gives us an examination of how he began to draw and paint the renowned Scottish poet George Mackay Brown. Professor Scott urges us not only to deliberately seek out our inspirations and influences, but to immerse ourselves in the study of our disciplines, working on the technical aspects of our craft.
In the first of two review articles, the Library’s Professor William Casari, our College’s archivist, examines one of the South Bronx’s most troubling memories, the fires of the late 1970s. Professor Casari does a wonderful job condensing a very complex and controversial part of our city’s history, and showing us how the events of our neighborhood shaped the city’s overall political fabric.
Although all of our contributors are cherished, special recognition this year has to go to our colleague Hector Lopéz who has published in all four editions of Touchstone. Professor Lopéz has used Touchstone as a way to develop his ideas, and prepare them for publication in refereed academic journals. Indeed, his article in the first edition of Touchstone was later published in the Texas Business & Technology Education Association Journal--a refereed publication. This year, Professor Lopéz has contributed an insightful review article on occupational stress and burnout in academia, and would like to urge all faculty members to consider submission to Touchstone as an ideal way to gain valuable feedback from colleagues.
Next, the Natural Sciences Department’s Flor Henderson discusses how small groups of students can work together in the Biology Lab to complete much larger projects cooperatively. Professor Henderson is able to offer her readers some great ideas on improving student learning and retention with a special focus on addressing some general education core competencies.
Finally, the Language and Cognition Department’s Chair, Professor Robert F. Cohen, offers us a reflection on his years of teaching English as a second language. Professor Cohen helps to close out this edition of Touchstone by teaching his readers how language learning is experienced by our students.
Carl James Grindley
The Department of English
The Department of Language and Cognition