Surgical Programs Faculty at Delta College were excited to welcome a new addition to their classroom on April 29 this year. A new lap Surgical Technical simulator will be used by both Surgical Technology students and Surgical First Assistant students. The lap ST simulator will allow students to practice holding the camera for laparoscopic procedures as well as develop hand eye coordination and practice anatomy recognition exercises. This is essential knowledge and skill for Delta program graduates to have so they can assist surgeons with laparoscopic surgery procedures such as as clamping vessels, cutting, suctioning, and suturing. Delta College ST and SFA faculty will also receive special training in order to teach this new technology. Once again, Delta College faculty keep both themselves and their students up-to-date with technology to produce some of the most sought-after graduates in the field. To better understand how this technology is used, watch laparoscopy simulation training videos on the Surgical Science website: Video | LapSim® | Surgical Science
Delta College Faculty often serve in multiple roles at the college, including Crystal McMorris, Associate Professor of English, who is also Advisor to the Delta Collegiate, the student-run news organization that has operated at Delta College since its founding in 1961.
Through her commitment to freedom of the press, Crystal has mentored countless students on to careers in Journalism and Integrated Media, with many of them earning accolades along the way. This year was no exception as work by two Delta College student-journalists earned statewide recognition in the 2021 Michigan Community College Press Association Awards: one for commentary by Velencia Mejia and another for photography by Michael Pieper.
“This was a difficult year for student-journalists, who had to navigate a new way of gathering information during a pandemic,” Crystal said. As a Certified Media Advisor, Crystal’s role is to provide support and advice to the Collegiate staff, who make final decisions themselves regarding content they publish on their web site and social media, exercising their First Amendment rights. The print edition has been temporarily discontinued due to a lack of students on campus.
“Despite our challenges of budget cuts and social distancing, the student-journalists have continued to find ways to create content that engages readers in the Delta College community,” Crystal said. “The staff has shown dedication and creativity during this tough time.”
“I am especially proud of Michael and Velencia for their awards, but the whole staff deserves recognition for keeping the Collegiate going during an unprecedented time, when we could not even access our newsroom.”
The award-winning photo by Michael Pieper captured the action of Delta’s last home men’s basketball game before the pandemic upended college sports, and Velencia Mejia’s humor column offered insight into the life of a pregnant student.
Associate Professor of Surgical Technology Rebecca Hall is both a contributing author and executive editor of a new textbook, The Practice and Principles of Surgical Assisting. One of the nation’s top publishing companies, McGraw Hill, is the publisher. Rebecca explains, “It is being written by surgical assistants to be used by the surgical assisting programs. While McGraw Hill is the publisher, the Association of Surgical Assistants is the sponsor. They will own the rights to the book.”
Since the book is currently only 60% complete, Rebecca explains, it is not yet slated for a publication date. “The publisher needs 80% to begin building the book. I am hopeful the remaining chapters will come in in a timely manner.”
There can be no better authors and editors for textbooks than experienced teachers, especially from such a successful program as Delta’s. Both our students and faculty have much to look forward to when the book becomes available for classroom use.
On March 12, 2021, Professor of Psychology Dr. Ralph Worthing presented the paper “How Political Affiliation Affects Attitudes Toward Mask-wearing, White Privilege, and Systemic Racism” at the annual conference of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, & Letters (MASAL), which was held virtually this year.
Dr. Worthing’s paper was based on an in-class survey research demonstration in his Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 Introduction to Psychology classes. Dr. Worthing asked students to indicate their political affiliation, then rate their attitudes toward wearing masks in public and the social issues of White Privilege and Systemic Racism.
Dr. Worthing opened his presentation with this comment, “A phrase than can make me cringe is ‘research has shown’. Research can be meaningful or meaningless, depending upon the skills and objectivity of the researcher. I like to have my students understand that concept by experiencing the process of research from the ground up. Hence, I engage my students in some type of study each semester. My goal is for the scientific method to become real to them rather than an abstraction.”
What could be timelier and more meaningful than the exploration of these attitudes, which intersect several very real social issues? Dr. Worthing has shared his presentation notes here, which students also read and reflect on to close the loop in their learning experience:
History Instructor Michael Evans is organizing the 36th International Conference on Medievalism to be hosted online by Delta College on November 4-6, 2021. The conference is run under the auspices of the International Society for the Study of Medievalism, of which Michael has been an active member for fifteen years.
“Medievalism,” Michael explains, “is the study of modern responses to, and interpretations of, the Middle Ages. It is inescapable in contemporary culture, from the success of medievalist fantasy television shows such as Game of Thrones and The Witcher, through media comparisons between Covid-19 and the Black Death, to the use of medieval rhetoric and imagery in extremist political movements.”
Even though there are many popular connections with this time in history, Michael says, “the study of the Middle Ages is in decline in higher education, coming under assault in the name of cost-cutting and ‘relevance.'” And yet, given the parallel events occurring in our time, Michael asserts, “This is, therefore, the ideal time to assess the state of medievalism today.”
Michael will also be speaking on “teaching and medievalism” at the online Global Medievalism conference on April 28-30, 2021, organized by the Medieval Studies Group from Unimontes, Brazil.
He is also continuing his research on Isabella Capet, a medieval queen of England, which he plans to develop into a book. He will be presenting papers about Isabella (remotely) at the International Congress on Medieval Studies (Western Michigan University, May 2021); the 10th Annual Kings and Queens conference (University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, June 2021); and the International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds, England, July 2021).
Lifelong Wellness Professor Renee Hoppe says making masks wasn’t something she’d ever thought about before 2020, “but now, making twenty masks or more a week is just part of my schedule.” It all started last July. “I hadn’t taken my kids, ages 4, 7, and 8, anywhere and realized that this virus wasn’t going away. I couldn’t keep us in a bubble forever, but I tried. I knew we would need masks, but how uncomfortable was that?! I had watched the news, and just about everyone I saw wearing them had ineffective, ill-fitting masks, and I wasn’t impressed.”
“I started YouTubing patterns and sewing designs. I went through a few styles before finding a pattern developed by an engineer who created a mask design for kids at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. It’s a 3D style mask, so it doesn’t touch the nostrils or mouth. I could get on board with that, but could my kids? I was pleasantly surprised how well received this design was. Now I was onto something!
“By the end of the week, I had six pattern sizes to custom fit everyone in the family, but I was still pretty slow at making them. I could make two masks an hour on a good day. Eventually, I started turning them out faster and customizing the design. I ramped up my collection of different-sized bendable nose pieces, different colors and sizes of elastic, matching thread colors, sizers, fun fabrics, and several different thicknesses for polypropylene filters to fit inside the masks. Several of these materials were not easy to purchase for a good portion of 2020, but now there are many options for available.
“For anyone who knows me, of course, I’m going all out and probably over the top to make sure the masks I make are the most effective and comfortable they can be. My kids now have to wear them seven or more hours a day, so I was going to give it my best effort. Fortunately, I did pretty good. People would see our masks and notice how well they stayed on and asked where we got them. Plus, the patterns screamed fun, from Baby Yoda to Unicorns to Red Wings – I made them all. The conversation always ended with me offering to make the other person a mask. This caught on like wildfire, and I couldn’t help but to keep offering. I wanted people to be as comfortable as possible and give them options. One of my kid’s teachers loved his mask so much, he said he was going to wear it every day he had to be at the school. Well, of course I couldn’t have that, so I made him twelve more to allow for a variety. I also started using my Circuit and making custom logos and designs on the masks. Oh yeah, I ramped it up a notch to make it more fun for those on the receiving end.
“I have to say, there were lots of late nights trying to stay up with the requests, but it felt good to help out, and I liked the joy it brought people. They were so thankful, just for a mask. The kindness and appreciation keep me going. One night, I sat down and said to my husband, ‘I bet I’ve made over 500 masks already.’ He said, ‘At least!’ It made me feel good to reflect on how many different people were wearing them: schoolteachers, healthcare workers, coaches, players, grandparents, grocery store workers. I thought, ‘I did something good in this pandemic.’ It felt awesome.
“After a while, people would reach out to me and want to purchase a mask. I said I wasn’t selling – I was just making them whenever I had free time for those that needed one. Almost a year later I am still watching JoAnn’s for sales and coupons, so I can continue to sew masks for those that need them. At this point, I believe I am close, if not over, 1000 masks, and I don’t see myself stopping until masks stop being a top accessory when leaving the house.”
Delta College English Faculty walk their talk by having works chosen for publication in the Center for Community Writing 2020 issue of Still Life Art & Poetry Journal. Instructor Donald Winter [pictured], Associate Professor Mark Brown, Professor Stuart Barbier, Professor Denise Hill, and Professor Jeff Vande Zande each submitted poetry to the annual publication which is open to all Saginaw, Bay, and Midland County residents—or to all visitors to the Saginaw Community Writing Center or Bay Community Writing Center. Professor Mark Brown’s poem “Miles” won the distinction of first place in the adult category for Still Life’s annual contest!
Here is a link to a PDF of the journal, which is also available in print at public libraries in the area: Still Life
The call for submissions for the 2021 issue of Still Life is open through July 15, 2021. Visit the Community Writing Center for more information.
During the fall 2020 semester, Associate Professor of Management Dawn Fairchild’s students in Entrepreneurship: Ideas & Innovation course (ENT131) interacted virtually with a team from Soran University in Kurdistan, Iraq where they researched problems and developed an international sustainable business solution in the arts and entertainment industry.
Teams competed against peers to craft sustainable solutions that engaged businesses within their communities using a human centered design approach (design thinking). Through the competition, students developed skills to collaborate across cultures, solve problems, develop innovative business concepts, and cultivate teamwork and leadership skills while solving global challenges at the local level.
There were a total of 26 teams made up of over 500 U.S., Iraq, and Jordan students. Students earned badges throughout the competition to display on their LinkedIn profiles. Badges included:
- Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving
- Cross-cultural Communication
- Virtual Collaboration
- Entrepreneurial Thinking
Judges critiqued the business concepts and prototypes each team submitted. The top teams selected pitched their ideas at the Virtual Global Business Expo in December. The Delta/Kurdistan team received an honorable mention and a runner-up standing. Their final presentation and prototype (they developed a website) can be viewed at youtu.be/npZ_6lItkQw.
In honor of Black History Month, Associate Professor of History Amy French has created a series of short videos on site at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History to review the exhibit Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues! on loan from the Smithsonian.
In this clip, Amy gives an overview of the Pleibol! exhibit: youtu.be/6IfyHV4LFYs
This short recording focuses on a Latino team in Saginaw: youtu.be/jNTqfdnbPYM
Latina women played ball too as Amy reports in this clip: youtu.be/c-PblsJ03r0
Segregation kept many people of color from playing Big League baseball as Amy shows us here: youtu.be/tW29l6N49TM
Amy adds, “The exhibit will continue throughout March, so I encourage you to head on down.”
Here is the Castle’s FB page where the CEO of the museum has been conducting interviews with important people in the field: www.facebook.com/thecastlemuseum
Here is the museum’s website: www.castlemuseum.org/
Dr. French is also the Coordinator of Delta College’s Humanities Learning Center, sharing what Delta faculty are doing in their classrooms, what they are reading, what they are creating, what they are watching, and much more. To get the most recent releases of her interviews with faculty as well as links to other cultural events in the area, follow the HLC Facebook page: www.facebook.com/humanitieslearningcenteratdeltacollege
Teaching in a pandemic has posed countless challenges, but the Delta College Faculty have met these with ingenuity and resourcefulness, even for the most hands-on courses. This is evident in the Electrician and Mechatronics programs, which Associate Professor of Engineering Diane Lobsiger says are primarily being taught in a synchronous format.
“The instructors teach their classes during their normally scheduled times using Virtual Classroom. The students then do their labs individually at home, with guidance from their instructor, using the components that Delta purchased for them [details below]. This has been a team effort to ensure student success throughout the pandemic. Electrical Technology Instructor Matt Bartolowits, Skilled Trades & Mathematics Instructor Jim Krukowski, and Learning Resource Manager Becki Bushong helped in picking out the components that were purchased. Electrical Lab Technician Thomas Eddy and Manager of Library Programs and Services Michele Pratt set up kits in the library to hand out the supplies to the students. They also allow the students to return the kits to the library at the end of the semester, and they repair any damaged equipment.
“Mechanical Tech & Design Professor Matt Eyre was instrumental in selecting and acquiring the Automation Studio simulation software used in several of our courses. Purchasing ordered all of the components for us in a timely manner, so we could continue teaching our classes without any interruptions. Our adjunct instructors have been amazing as they have transformed their classes to online instruction, so our students can continue to progress towards completion of their programs.
“Becki Bushong offered a significant amount of her time in helping to get the adjunct instructors acclimated to online instruction. The support from the administration has been outstanding. Our programs never would have been able to continue through the pandemic without the support of the purchase of this equipment. Most of all, our students have been terrific. The students have adjusted to taking their classes online, and although we would prefer to meet face to face, there is still an abundance of learning taking place. I am very proud of our students!”
And DCFA is proud of this fantastic group effort to keep our students’ academic goals on track!
Delta purchased the following components that allowed the Electrician and Mechatronics programs to continue through the pandemic:
SKET/ET100 Electrical Calculations
- TI-30X Calculators
SKET/ET110 DC Circuits
- Power Supply
- Resistor Kit
- Wire Kit
- Bread Boards
SKET/ET120 AC Circuits
- Elenco Trainers (Power Supply and Bread Board)
- Wire Kit
- Resistor Kit
SKET/ET130 Conventional Controls
- Automation Studio simulation software
SKET/ET122 Programmable Logic Controllers
- Logix Pro simulation software