As we move forward in our ever-evolving world, it's crucial to pause and look back at the milestones we've achieved. One such significant milestone was attending the NCCCSPA Annual Conference, November 1-3, 2023. Today, let's take a journey down memory lane and revisit the insights, experiences, and connections that made this conference a memorable event.
Setting the Stage
The NCCCSPA 2023 Annual Conference, held in Asheville, NC, was a gathering of the best educators in the NC Community College System. With its overarching theme of "Reaching New Heights," it aimed to address the challenges we face as educators and the strengths we have to offer to our schools, our teams, and our students.
Diverse Speaker Lineup
One of the highlights of the NCCCSPA Annual Conference was the impressive lineup of speakers. Experts from across the state shared their experiences and knowledge with all who attended. Notable speakers included Amanda Guy, who showed us the benefits of fun in learning, Becky Howell and Amanda Gabrielle, who delved into the importance of and potential for increased focus on student research, and Paula Teander and Kim Brievogal who highlighted the significance of diversity and inclusion. Each session was a goldmine of wisdom and inspiration.
Conferences are not just about absorbing information but also about forging new connections. The NCCCSPA Annual Conference provided numerous opportunities for attendees to network and exchange ideas. From the Welcome Reception to the Tricks of the Trade, it was easy to strike up conversations and learn from professionals in different areas of the state.
The conference featured both old favorite and new interactive sessions, allowing attendees to explore their chosen areas of interest. These sessions included roundtable discussions and sharing successful tools, and offered a dynamic and practical approach to learning, allowing participants to engage actively.
Reflecting on the NCCCSPA Conference, we are reminded of the valuable takeaways from this event. The knowledge gained, connections made, and insights shared were priceless. It was a reminder of the importance of working together to make the North Carolina Community College system the best learning environment it can be.
The NCCCSPA Annual Conference in 2023 was more than just an event; it was a gathering of minds dedicated to creating a better future. As we continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities of our rapidly changing world of higher education, it's essential to look back at the lessons learned and use them to shape a brighter tomorrow.
The NCCCSPA will be offering its first Spring Virtual Conference on April 12, 2024. Proposals are invited for both the virtual conference and the 2024 NCCCSPA Annual Conference, which will be held November 6-8, 2024.
Please visit www.ncccspa.org to register for upcoming events, apply for conference scholarships, and submit proposals to share your knowledge and experience.
I write this as the newly elected president of this fantastic organization that we call the NCCCSPA. Though we are in the midst of yet another wave of illness that has turned our worlds upside down for nearly two years now, I still genuinely find myself excited for the future. I focus on the fact that our organization is coming out of this two-year hibernation and will again be holding our NCCCSPA Annual Conference this November in New Bern, the “City of the Bears” ( please pardon my dad humor there).
This New Year is bringing a new venue for our conference in New Bern and we need new friends to join us there. I will be reaching out to the Division/Department Chairs at each of our schools and our awesome regional reps will be contacting each you personally as the year goes on. I look forward to recruiting as many new faces as possible to help us restart this fine organization after two lost years, so please get involved.
I have sincerely missed the joyful comradery that NCCCSPA brings. I miss talking with fellow PSY and SOC faculty and learning so much from each of you through professional development that is actually useful and FUN! Let’s create a “new normal” by putting our all into this group that has meant so much to me, and hopefully many of you, over the years. Please reach out to me personally if you want to become more active. Whether you have never joined us before, are a long time member of the family, or are planning on returning after a long absence, I welcome you and look forward working with you in the best organization I’ve ever joined!
How can you get more involved?
Let’s make 2022 a fresh start, but also come back to some semblance of “normal.” I look forward to working with each of you to build on the legacy and foundation that has been laid by my predecessors.
Coastal Carolina Community College
Hello NCCCSPA members and friends!
We are excited to announce that we will be returning for 2022. We've all had a tough couple of years, and we couldn't be happier to announce our 2022 NCCCSPA Annual Conference.
We'll be releasing details as we get them but here is what we have so far:
DATES: November 2-4, 2022
LOCATION: New Bern, NC
CONFERENCE HOTEL: Doubletree by Hilton New Bern Riverfront
The Call for Proposals and Underwood Legacy Scholarship applications are both open and awaiting your applications. We are accepting proposals for Conference Sessions and Roundtable Discussions. Conference registration is open, but the link to make hotel reservations will be coming soon.
Learn more about our upcoming conference, apply for a scholarship, and submit a proposal at: NCCCSPA Annual Conference Portal
We look forward to seeing you in New Bern next year!
NCCCSPA Executive Board
Hello NCCCSPA Members,
It is mixed emotions that I complete this final task as your president. I am grateful for all of the experiences that this position has offered me and I am sad to let this part of my life’s journey end. However, I am looking forward to supporting the great organization in other ways as we move forward.
I have served as your president for almost 4 years – 2 years over the usual term due to COVID-19. I am excited to introduce your new president, Chris Schulte. I am confident that I am leaving this office in good hands. Please reach out to Chris to welcome him in this new leadership position.
Before I go, I want to let you know that the Executive board met November 3-5 to work on gearing up for the next few years. We redefined and redistributed duties of each board position to make the most of our talented leaders. The one thing we still need is member participation! If you are interested in joining the board, please reach out to Chris Schulte. Keep an eye out for the session proposals and submit to lead a session. Or, just join us next November. Whatever you do, we appreciate you!
We are finalizing details for our 2022 conference location now, and hope to have the information updated on our website very soon. Some exciting things are coming!
Looking forward to seeing you in 2022!
Senior Director, Teaching and Learning
Pitt Community College
This is probably one of the most important blogs I will write as president of NCCCSPA. It is also one of the hardest.
In just a few months, COVID-19 forever altered our way of life and left us reeling in uncertainty. Just as we were starting to return to our “new normal,” the killing of a black man at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department thrust institutionalized racism into our focus in ways that has not happened in our lifetimes. As I process all of this, I am going to let the voice of a colleague speak, as he has found words. His summation below touched me, and I hope it is meaningful to you too.
“As a historian, I am constantly looking to the past for context. I guess it’s an occupational hazard. As I reflect on the events of the past week or so, and even longer, I have to consider how change has been painstakingly slow to happen. In seeing the video and image of the police officer’s knee on the neck of George Floyd, I could not help but think of the words of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott decision that African Americans were “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” How were Mr. Floyd’s rights respected? We can make the excuse that the Dred Scott decision was over 150 years ago, but what has changed?
As for the protests since Mr. Floyd’s murder, we need to look no farther back in the past that Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” The letter was prompted by the statement of eight well-meaning clergymen in Alabama, where the ministers, priests, and rabbi urged King to stop his protests in Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 1963. They urged him to be patient and find a better time to protest. King said (and I’m doing him an injustice by paraphrasing--read the two letters, starting with the Alabama clergymen) that there is never a “good” time for action. One can always find an excuse as to why “now” is not a good time. Further, he wrote, “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’” Basically, if those seeking change are forced to “wait” for a more opportune time, they can be delayed indefinitely. Change never comes. Should people be asked to continue to wait? Is there a “better” time to seek change? If so, when, specifically, is that time? Sure, we can say that was nearly 60 years ago, but what has changed?
A few months ago, Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by two vigilantes, reminiscent of lynch mobs in what we thought was a bygone era. The haunting song “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday seems very apropos at this time. Perhaps the only thing about that song that could be changed is that this is not just a southern problem. This is a national problem. It is not a new problem. Racial injustice has been a fact of life in the United States since long before the official founding. Some things may be better now, but things are far from where they need to be.”
Thank you Wes Bishop for allowing me to repost this.
There is never a “good” time for change, but it appears that, perhaps, people are listening now. As we reach out to our students we need to remember that change can be painful and slow, but it must be made for the greater good. We are the change agents and we must do our part. Now is the time.
Even if you did not read this post, listen to the song “Strange Fruit.” It will leave you shaken. It took me two tries to get through it, as it was so powerful.
Happy Gingras, NCCCSPA President
As we wrap-up yet another school year, what comes to my mind are these words from the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it has been.” What started as a normal year turned into something I could have never imagined. I know that each and every one of you have done everything you can to ensure the success of your students while working in the virtual world. For that, I give you an resounding, “Thank you for all you are doing!”
It is easy to feel alone in this new environment – so much is unknown and so much is new. Tasks that took only a few minutes to complete face-to-face now require multiple emails. It can be frustrating, but we will get through this. And we will be stronger and more resilient because of this experience. Please know that the NCCCSPA Executive Board members are here to support you. In addition, our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Please take advantage of the support and knowledge by utilizing our Facebook page for questions and comments. Now is the time to pull together and I cannot imagine a better support group to have!
I will miss you this fall in Asheville, but look forward to better times next year when we can meet again. Postponing the conference was a hard decision for the board to make, but the safety of our members comes first. So, until we meet again, please stay safe.
Director, Teaching and Learning
Pitt Community College
As much as we will miss you all, our executive board has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 NCCCSPA Annual Conference.
This decision comes after much thought and discussion. We feel that a number of factors make holding the NCCCSPA2020 conference impractical. COVID-19 concerns, budget shortfalls, student needs, instructional transitions, and institutional priorities are among the many reasons behind our decision. As always, our members (and your families), students, and schools are our priorities, and we hope that you understand and know that we will miss you all this November.
We are making arrangements for our NCCCSPA2021 Conference, and expect to have things solidified very soon to officially announce the conference to occur November 3-5, 2021 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville, NC. Please tentatively mark it on your calendar, and watch for updates as we have more information to share.
Within the next few days, our website will be updated and applications for conference presentations and scholarships for NCCCSPA2021 will be opened. If you submitted a proposal or scholarship application for this year's conference, you will be contacted directly with further information.
We thank you for your continued support of the North Carolina Community College Sociology and Psychology Association, and we hope that you and your families are safe, well, and coping in this difficult time.
The NCCCSPA Executive Board
As many of us work toward transitioning our courses to online delivery in the wake of the Covid-19 situation, it is more important than ever to know that we are here for each other.
If you need guidance, assistance, resources, or anything else to aid your move to online delivery, please do not hesitate to reach out. We will be happy to help or connect you with people who can.
To make this easier, we have created a group through our Facebook page called NCCCSPA Instructional Support. Please join to ask questions, share your knowledge, and get support as we work to create the best possible learning environments for our students.
Here is the link to the Facebook Group: NCCCSPA Instructional Support
Take care of yourselves, and know that we are here for you!
NCCCSPA Executive Board
Welcome to the end of the Fall 2019 semester! Since it is the end of the semester and course evaluation time, I wanted to share some of my favorites from the Tell Us Your Most Ridiculous Feedback From Student Evaluation responses we received at NCCCSPA2019.
“The room is so cold. I don’t understand why she wants to freeze us.” As if we had any control over the temps in our classrooms. This student should wait until the weather warms up and the temps shoot up into triple digits in the room.
“She makes us read.” Well, now. That is cruel and unusual punishment for a college level class.
“This class is a waste of time…we never cover anything” from the student who was perpetually absent. This is right up there with “Did I miss anything when I was out?” When a student asks me that, I always want to tell them that we sat in silence mourning their absence, but I guess that would come to no good.
”This instructor should be told that there is no R in idea.” I can’t even comment on this one.
And the final one that I will share is this one… “I want to make babies with you.”
So, as you finish up the semester, just remember that absurdity abounds on all of our campuses and take a minute to laugh at it.
I hope all of you enjoy your break and come back refreshed in the spring!
Happy Gingras, NCCCSPA President