Finding Our Role

In 2010, after less than a year teaching at the college level, I found myself hosting a Mo-DEC day at State Fair Community College. My dean, Fran Shafer, had volunteered me to organize the meeting. After a day of collaborative sessions, we met for what was intended to be a time of friendly best practice sharing. Instead, Melody Shipley and Jennifer Dunkel lobbied for a drastic change in the way Mo-DEC operated, not that I knew much about how it previously operated. Later, I would hear the time before this meeting called, “when Mo-DEC almost died.” Melody and Jennifer wanted more involvement from members and a legislative voice. Mo-DEC made changes and grew, but I wasn’t involved in any of those changes.

At the time, I just wasn’t interested in any of those things. I was one of the I-just-want-to-teach-my-classes types.  My dean, who encouraged all developmental faculty to be involved in Mo-DEC, retired, and for a little bit, we ignored Mo-DEC. Eventually, my coworker, Patty Dump, started attending. She was on the council for two years before she started saying, “It’s someone else’s turn. I’m going to retire soon, and this group is important.” This was also the time she started bringing us information about House Bill 1042. By that point, I had grown a little professionally and realized the best instructors have to get out of their classrooms to improve. Patty was starting to win me over. I decided to give it a go with the thought that it was only for two years. Three years later, I’m still attending, and every meeting I join I find beneficial. With Math Pathways, the corequisite model, multiple measures, Senate Bill 997, and now hefty budget cuts, I need a place where I can hear what other colleges are doing.

This November, I found myself back at that 2010 meeting in many ways because Mo-DEC attendance had fallen off and members were discussing the role the group should play. We want to continue to be a voice for developmental education and the students we serve by holding relevant meetings that benefit the members. Developmental educators need each other as sounding boards and supporters. Our next general assembly meeting is next fall on Friday, November 17th, at 10:00 at the Moberly Area Community College’s Columbia Campus. Please consider attending while you are making plans for next year’s travel budgets.  In the meantime, follow @Mo_DECNews on Twitter (tweet at us if you read a great article you think the group would like to see), watch for additional website updates, and let us know how the council can make Mo-DEC as valuable to you as it is to me.

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