Want a peek at the CCHR? See the teasers below!
The Community College Humanities Review Journal
The Community College Humanities Review (CCHR) journal, published biannually by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA), has gone through an extensive redesign and reevaluation of editorial content. Along with the publication’s historical penchant for outstanding peer-reviewed scholarship, CCHR is now publishing essays on pedagogy, faculty profiles, book reviews, columns, fiction, poetry, and first-person reflections on life as a community college humanities professor. Further information on our Submission Guidelines below.
For “conventional” humanities disciplines such as history, philosophy, literary studies, composition, comparative religion, and ethics, CCHR provides the latest in research and pedagogy. The publication also leads the charge in expanding the definition of what studying the humanities may come to mean in the future. CCHR intends to explore, from a humanities perspective and with the intention of building bridges with other disciplines, such subjects as climate change, income inequality, environmental racism, terrorism, sustainability, media literacy, and biotechnology.
With expanded editorial content, CCHR is better able to serve CCHA’s members, as well as reach the larger higher education humanities community. CCHR is the go-to for the past, present, and future of humanities education in community colleges. Since the re-launch, CCHR has assumed its position as the signature publication of the Community College Humanities Association and be a welcome and important contribution for any individual and/or institution where the humanities are taught or explored.
Get the Community College Humanities Review Journal (CCHR) delivered to your library; it’s easy to do! Masyn Phoenix, Library Director at Tillamook Bay Community College, is here to tell you how just how easy it is. “Subscribing to the Community College Humanities Review is easy. Just ask your friendly neighborhood librarian to subscribe for you through EBSCONET. ISSN# 0748-0741.” Thanks, Masyn!
Want a peek at the CCHR? See the teasers below!
Sydney Elliott, Editor
The Community College Humanities Review is published by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA). The goal of the journal is to highlight the scholarly and creative work of community college humanities faculty. The editor encourages progressive approaches to writing about the humanities in community colleges, welcoming but also questioning conventional subject matter while inviting community college humanities faculty to take a fresh look at, for example, culture, the environment, the politics of food, climate change, genetic engineering, whatever new challenges a humanities mindset may help, in an integrated approach with other disciplines, to solve. The Community College Humanities Review strives to be the go to publication for community college humanities scholarship and creativity.
Please query CCHR’s editor, Sydney Elliott, at email@example.com. Submissions will only be accepted through email in MS Word, 12 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced, left justified, with one-inch margins and page numbers in the upper right corner. There should be no headers or footers. CCHR rarely accepts any work over 7,000 words. Most texts should fall between the 2,000 – 7,000 word range. For additional format requirements concerning research submissions, see below.
CCHR accepts well-researched articles by community college humanities faculty. Along with the above writing guidelines, scholar writers should follow MLA format and use endnotes (not footnotes) when necessary. Please restrict the number of explanatory or digressive endnotes that are excessively long. Limit the total number of endnotes to bibliographic references. Use superscript Arabic numbers in text, avoid the use of other symbols like asterisks. Embed tables, figures, charts, graphs into the narrative as close to the in-text reference as possible. Limit the number of appendixes.
Essays – CCHR accepts well-written personal experience and critical essays as well as long-form, literary journalism written by community college humanities faculty. Essays on novel pedagogy and teaching experiences are encouraged.
Profiles – Creative profiles in the long-form tradition should focus on community college humanities faculty or those who are in some significant way associated with community colleges.
Interviews, in Q&A format, will be accepted as long as the interview subject has particular relevance to the teaching of humanities in community colleges. Please query Editor Sydney Elliott.
CCHR accepts well written short stories of any genre, generally 1,000 to 7,500 words. Higher consideration is given to quality writing and the ability to tell a good story. Both character- or plot-driven stories welcome for review. CCHR publishes one short story per issue, more depending on the discretion of the editor. Send your best work. No previously published material. Yes on simultaneous submissions.
Poets may submit up to five poems in any form. Publication design guidelines prohibit the guarantee of poet-designated line breaks. We’ll do our best to accommodate. Thoughtful, imaginative poems should resonate. Send your very best work. No previously published material. Simultaneous submissions are ok.
Subject to the editor’s discretion, The Community College Humanities Review accepts photography by community college humanities faculty. Photos may need to be conducive to the thematic content of a particular issue.
In This Issue:
Barry Alford & Keith Kroll:
“A New Humanities for the Post-Pandemic College”
Community colleges have spent the last four-plus decades selling their students the narrative that a job was the most important thing for them to pursue. Turns out jobs are controlled by other people: a political and economic elite, who can yank jobs away at any time or send their employees out to get sick or die for their profit. While most of America suffered and lined up for hours to get food during the worst stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, while over forty million American workers filed for unemployment (Romm), the wealth of the nation’s billionaire class rose by more than 34 percent (McCarthy). While the executive class worked from home, “essential” workers shuffled through virus-infected warehouses, meat packing plants, nursing homes, and factories so the privileged could stay safe. The economy they had been pushed into collapsed (again) and the “education” they received did little to prepare them.
In response, the primary focus of education in America can no longer be as the handmaiden of consumer capitalism. It is time for the focus of education to be democracy, including how to democratize schools. It is time to stop acting as if the sole purpose of an education is a way to a marginally improved economic position in a capitalist system that is unfair, unbalanced, out of control, and killing us and the planet. It is time to realize that “the sickness is the system” (Wolff). It is time for a gut-check of our values and ethics and not just more STEM compliance with the status quo. Of course, people should be technically and scientifically literate, but they should also be literate in the values, practices, and challenges of living in a democratic society. They must learn to participate in and direct that society.
The education required for such a society was described in Higher Education for American Democracy (Truman Commission Report), the 1947 initiative created under President Truman. In the report, the authors described the democratic and civic intent of higher education and envisioned a “community college” that provided two years of a tuition-free education necessary for citizenship in a democracy: “The social role of education in a democratic society is at once to ensure equal liberty and equal opportunity to differing individuals and groups. . .” (Vol. 1, 5). They argued: “General education should give to the student[s] the values, attitudes, knowledge, and skills that quip [them] to live rightly and well in a free society” (Vol. 1, 49). Community colleges—which enroll close to 35 percent of undergraduates and a high percentage of low-income and race/ethnic minority students (Community College-FAQs)—have failed to live up to such a mission. Instead, the very thing John Dewey warned about in Democracy and Education has happened: For community colleges, education has “become an instrument of perpetuating unchanged the existing industrial order of society, instead of operating as a means of its transformation” (204).
Historically, we have tended to treat democracy as a formal arrangement of institutions, laws and protocols, technological advancement, data collection, and marketing. But the current crises call for a democracy of personal value, dialogue, and engagement. Without a robust educational focus on what values and ethics are required to live in a multicultural, multi-racial, and environmentally sustainable democracy, this current moment of opportunity will be squandered. As the U.S. emerges from the pandemic, we have a chance to not only reimagine the world we live in but the way we teach about and construct that world. In this space, the humanities have an opportunity to move away from canonical restrictions toward a public dialogue about how we have made and are making the narrative of what Harari calls our “imagined order.”
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“Necessary Lessons: The Teaching of Unspoken History”
December 28, 2018, was the day I learned the true definition of lynching. I was in the Baltimore Washington International airport waiting for my flight to Atlanta. I was en route to the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery and was mapping out the plan for the next three days. Reading through all of my notes and ideas for my visit, I opened a report on Lynching in America that I downloaded in preparation for the trip. This was not by any means light reading, but very few things that have peaked by interest in the last ten years would be categorized that way. It’s a running joke in my family that if anyone has questions about the death penalty or racism to ask me, and I can give them five to ten books on the topic. All of the books are bound to make you sad, and I talk about the topics in such a nonchalant way.
Teaching courses on race, culture and issues of inequality over the years, I learned that those topics are what students wanted to talk about because no one else was talking about them. The Lynching in America report defined terror lynchings specifically, so I backtracked and wanted to truly understand the difference. When I read the definition of lynching (violence performed by a mob for an alleged crime without due process of law), I realized that for many years I had the visual images of lynching—from Jesse Washington to Emmett Till—etched in my memory. I could not forget the images, and little did I know that the next three days would pull at my heartstrings in a way that would lead me to create a powerful experience for colleagues and students less than six months later.
The flight to Atlanta was a breeze, and the two-hour drive from Atlanta to Montgomery was my introduction to the Deep South. As I passed signs on the highway that pointed to landmarks commemorating the Confederacy, I knew that my experience was about to get interesting. I debated if I wanted to add those sites to the plan that I mapped out weeks earlier and decided that I did not want to give my energy to those spaces on this trip. In hindsight, that was the best decision that I could have made because, by the next afternoon, I found myself riddled with so many emotions about Alabama, being black in America, being an educator and possibly making the wrong move while being black visiting Alabama with my black husband.
During my planning, I kept referring to the National Memorial of Peace and Justice as the “lynching memorial,” and it wasn’t until I booked advanced tickets that I realized there were actually two places that I needed to visit; both were created by the Equal Justice Initiative. I started at the museum around 9:00am on December 29th. It took me about 2–3 hours to work my way through the information. Logistically, the layout of the museum became the layout of the course. The Legacy Museum was phenomenal, and I have yet to experience any educational space like it in the United States. I took notes, about everything, because I could not take pictures. There was so much that I did not know but vowed to teach after learning about it. My favorite part of the museum were the video rooms that highlighted each “era” from lynching to mass incarceration. I learned the most about the inner-workings of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and all of the work that went on behind the scenes to ensure African Americans could still make it to work, but that they did not spend any money on public transportation.
After a break for lunch, I moved on to memorial. The morning of the scheduled visit, I left the hotel early to map my path for the day. During that time, I drove close to the memorial, just close enough to see where I could park and I noticed three things in that short time frame: the memorial was the most beautifully disturbing piece of architecture that I had ever laid eyes on, and there was another brand new building right across the street. I wondered what they were adding to the site. I did not even assume that the building was affiliated with another organization, I just assumed it was a part of EJI. The reason for this, which is the third thing I noticed, was that almost every other building looked dilapidated surrounding the memorial, almost to the point where you had to wonder if the creation of a beautiful monument might spark some sort of gentrification or rehabilitation in an area that looked forgotten. Driving through the streets of downtown Montgomery felt eerie.
I spent more time than I thought I would in the memorial. I was mesmerized by the way the pillars that represented bodies hanging during a lynching began to rise and the floor descended beneath me—it simulated a lynching. The pillars represented counties and states and names were engraved on every single one. Names and dates were on them. I immediately searched for Maryland. Maryland was not innocent by any means. Then came the plaques that framed a portion of the memorial and aligned the walls on the left and right. Each plaque had a description—the “reason” or justification that lynching were carried out. For example, “he annoyed a woman, so she decided to have him lynched”; “a family, including children, was lynched because of something the father did”; “a black man beat a white man in a race and the white man got mad, so the black man was lynched.” At the end of the walls lined with racist rationale, there was a beautiful water fountain and green space that fulfilled what I believed to be its purpose: it calmed me in a way that was necessary, but only temporarily.
Rebecca M. Duncan:
“Community Colleges: The Gateway to Freedom or Fast Track to Nowhere”
On April 10, 2019, approximately fifteen hundred community college instructors and administrators met in Montgomery, Alabama for a rather remarkable event: the first ever state-wide professional development day, requiring attendance for all full-time faculty of the Alabama Community College System. Guest speaker Dr. John Roueche, the Sid Richardson Regents Chair Emeritus and Director of the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin, proclaimed, “We are not teachers of history, or of mathematics,” he stated. “We are teachers of real, live students.” A significant portion of the day was spent in groups organized by academic specialization (math, English, art, sciences, etc.), health professions (i.e. nursing, dental), or career technical programs (barbering, HVAC, robotics, culinary, etc.). The press release explains, “The smaller group meetings focused on implementing key course competencies into all ACCS courses as well as discussions on current trends and best practices within each discipline.” Heralded as “Alabama’s gateway to first-class, affordable education and technical training to compete in a constantly evolving workforce,” Alabama’s twenty-four community colleges are touted as benefiting 168,000 Alabamians by its partnerships with businesses and industries throughout the southeast.
While it all sounds incredibly positive, reports came back of colleagues sitting around conference tables eyeing each other nervously, some with arms folded, and some openly and easily agitated. Why the tension? In the session I attended, it was plain that there were those present who were skeptical, even defensive, as if we were being asked to justify the value of our programs to a business-minded chancellor and board of trustees only interested in how to fast-track our students into the workforce. While the discussions occasionally digressed to complaints about students who did not take their Fine Arts elective seriously, not studying for tests or doing homework, the emphasis on critical thinking and communication skills through a study of the arts surfaced and was reinforced. Finally, someone (that I gladly cannot recall enough to identify) spoke the subtext paralyzing our task: “You know this is all about justifying the arts to an administration clearly focused on workforce development.” Silent assent followed; then some muttering ensued. The group leader refocused our attention on completing our task, and we were dismissed. I left the meeting somewhat ambivalent: I enjoyed meeting some colleagues from around the state who love the subject matter that I do; but I was dismayed at their apparent inability (or unwillingness) to articulate the value of their courses to those who have other academic or professional interests or priorities.
In the small HBCU (Historically Black College or University) community college in Birmingham, Alabama where I have taught English and Humanities for the past ten years, there is pride in our dual mission to provide high caliber vocational training and to transfer students successfully onto four year institutions to pursue advanced degrees. Lawson State Community College proudly claims, “It’s All Here!” Yet, the pressure is on from the ACCS system, not only to increase enrollment, but to improve pass rates and increase completion rates, in an effort to move students more rapidly into the job market. A 2014 study done by the Community College Research Center, based out of Columbia University, looked at three states, Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana, that, ahead of Alabama, had moved to performance-based funding and experienced some troubling consequences. Among those mentioned were selective recruiting, raising of admissions requirements, reducing degree plans, and reducing time in developmental classes. The report notes, “The second most commonly mentioned unintended impact of performance funding was weakening of academic standards.” The impact was especially felt among those institutions with open admissions, i.e. community colleges, because students enter the two year schools less prepared. Raising admission requirements is not an option for an open admission school; furthermore, reducing developmental classes, designed to help under-prepared students bridge the gap to college-level course work, undercuts those students’ chances to catch up on the skills needed to be successful in college and in the workplace. That is unless, perhaps, the goal is not to offer them the same quality of education that their counterparts receive the first two years at a university, but to simply train the students vocationally for a trade. If so, there is a deep-seated history in this tension between job training for the masses and limiting higher education to the culturally and privileged elite that has pervaded America’s increasingly prosperous, but materialistically-motivated society, at the expense of ethics, morals, and the general well-being of its citizens. This paper will parallel the historical battle for a classical education for newly liberated African Americans during Reconstruction against the pressure to focus only on industrial and agricultural jobs with that of the academically and vocationally unprepared students in the twenty-first century who look to community colleges for economic advancement with, perhaps, short-sighted vision.
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