Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Be A Peer Mentor at NCC!

During the 2015-2016 academic year, the First Year Experience Committee of the Academic Senate, through its Peer Mentoring sub-committee has been working to 'pilot' a new program that pairs NCC student peer mentors with NCC 101 students and their instructors.  There were five peer mentors during the fall 2015 semester and again five peer mentors for the spring 2016 semester.  Preliminary results show that having a fellow student peer mentor work with new/transitioning students in this way has a positive impact on students' experiences in the course and at NCC!

The interested students applied for the peer mentor program to the sub-committee, which reviewed applications and academic transcripts and then conducted interviews.  The students selected were then paired with a NCC 101 instructor and class whereby the peer mentor and faculty member would begin meeting and planning on how to best work with the students in the class. 

The selected students are encouraged to attend an orientation/training session before the semester begins.  They are also expected to meet with their NCC 101 instructor-partner to regularly assess how the students are progressing and to plan for class sessions and upcoming events.

Peer mentors often help to promote NCC's student events and activities, assist students with navigating the campus, provide helpful tips to succeed in college, and even present on some relevant topics and share personal experiences and advice.

If you would like to apply to be a peer mentor and/or would like more information about this new and exciting initiative, please check out the 'Be A Peer Mentor!' link within the FYE Committee page on the website.  Applications are being accepted for fall 2016 peer mentors until 5/11/2016.  For more information, please contact Dean Dave Follick in the Admissions office at 516-572-7346 or at

We hope you will consider applying to be a peer mentor and help other NCC students!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stopping Bullies in Their Tracks

If you've never had a brush with a bully, consider yourself lucky.

But consider yourself unusual, also, for most of us have had at least some encounters along the way with people who thought it was cool to push others around.  Using an arsenal of "weapons" (fists, taunts, threats, rumors, gestures, online posts, etc.), bullies have been tormenting people for ages--on junior high school bus stops, in high school locker rooms, at parties, in workplaces, on Facebook pages, or pretty much anywhere else those with crummy egos act out.

While being bothered by bullies is never pleasant, most people manage to handle their situation without too much drama.  They change their routine, report the problem to someone who can intervene, or adopt behaviors that minimize contact with the toxic personalities plaguing them.

But not everyone copes successfully.  People harassed by bullies sometimes do desperate things, like running away, dropping out of school, or even taking their own lives.  And on occasion, victims sometimes try to turn the tables on bullies, lashing out at those who've hurt them, often with tragic consequences. 

If there's any good news about bullying, it's that the world has at long last recognized its seriousness and begun to take action.  Anti-bullying campaigns are the norm at many schools, elementary through high school.  Since bullying is also part of higher ed's landscape, many colleges also address the topic.

Nassau is no exception.  Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the Tower (11th floor), NCC's "Conversations about College" series will present a program devoted to understanding and responding to bullying.  The session will be presented by Craig Wright, NCC's affirmative action officer, and will focus not only on why bullying happens but what people can do about it.

Even if you're not being bullied, you should make it your business to attend.  Chances are you'll hear something that will add to your understanding of this shabby behavior--including why people become bullies in the first place.  More importantly, you'll come away with some strategies for helping others (especially those being targeted) stop bullies in their tracks.

There's no place on college campuses or anywhere else for that matter for people who take pleasure in menacing others.  But the only way the bullies of the world will behave differently is if the rest of us let them know their antics won't be tolerated.

So stop by the Tower tomorrow and learn what you can do.  Putting a stop to bullying is everyone's business, including yours and mine.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sleep-Starved Zombies

Feeling kind of worn out lately?  Wishing you could find some time to catch some shut-eye?

If so, I'm not surprised. Ever since classes started in January, you've probably been pedaling nonstop, logging in long days and shortchanging yourself in the sleep department.

Now it's March--the first day of spring!--and you're dragging.

No mystery why you're bushed. At 18 or 19 (or even twenty-something), who doesn't feel invincible, convinced you can do everything--work tons of hours, stay out late, fill up your plate with classes, keep that band/ball team/business going, or do whatever--without ever giving your body a break?  No time or need for sleep and rest, despite what all of those old folks (parents, professors, etc.) are constantly urging.

But even people brimming with energy and youth can wind up in a bad spot if they burn the candle at both ends.  Increased risks of colds, viruses, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure--all are byproducts of being exhausted all of the time. Studies documenting the tired state of college students (the most sleep-starved group in America, some believe) also link a lack of sufficient sleep to anxiety, impulsiveness, diminished concentration, memory and learning problems, impaired thinking, and--you guessed it--lousy grades.

Worst of all, students who are sleep deprived often don't even realize that nodding off in the middle of the afternoon isn't the norm.  They're so used to being exhausted that they can't imagine anything different.

This isn't a way to go to college, much less live your life.

To be sure, no one's asking you to quit your job, dump your friends, give up all of your outside interests, or turn your life upside down just to add a few more hours of zzz's to your weekly routine. Life is to be lived, after all, not slept away.

But if you're walking around yawning all of the time, if you're struggling to stay awake in your classes, if the face in the mirror each morning resembles a sleep-starved zombie (you know the look), time to pay attention.

Adding even a little more sleep to your life can make all of the difference.  And since there are no classes at NCC this week, now's as good a time as any to get reacquainted with your pillow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March Madness in Alabama in 1965

It’s March, and if you’re reading NCC’s common reading by the same name, March, do you know that there are a few important commemorative dates in the month of March?

For instance, last week, March 7, marked the 51st anniversary of the first historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. On that day activists, led by Josea Williams and John Lewis, 
co-author of the book, March, began their non-violent demonstration marching to the capital of Alabama to meet with Governor George Wallace. They were protesting attempts to prevent African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. The marchers did not get very far that day. They were stopped on the now-famous Edmund Pettus Bridge by armed state troopers who ordered them to turn around. The state troopers then stormed the protesters, injuring dozens, including John Lewis, who was clubbed unconscious. The day became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Commemorative dates continue in March. March 21 will mark the 51st anniversary of the third attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, this time with Martin Luther King leading the way. This march was successful and was completed 4 days later on March 25, when over 3,000 marchers listened to a rousing speech by Dr. King in Montgomery.

If you haven’t already done so, pick up a copy of March and read about this extremely important time in U.S. history and learn about an issue that is still relevant today: Civil Rights.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Did you remember to set your clocks!?

Forget 'day light savings' time...
it's time to set your watch for
Wednesday, April 13th, and
the 1 month countdown to the

First Year Experience
2016 Day of Service!

Be on the lookout for emails and signage announcing this
wonderful annual event now in its 4th outstanding year!

Information about registration and participation is coming soon.

If we all work together we can make the world better!

Monday, March 7, 2016

No Joke

Hard to know why, but some people still think of sexual harassment as a joke.

I was reminded of this sad fact last year when the subject came up in one of my classes and several students (all male) said they wished they could be hit on by a beautiful woman. They seemed surprised and a bit skeptical when I pointed out that sexual harassment was more about power--specifically, the abuse of it--than sex.  They also seemed oblivious to the fact that harassers often do serious damage to their victims' confidence, self-esteem, and overall emotional and physical health, and that victims of this disgusting behavior have often dropped out of school, quit jobs, and had their lives derailed.

So for the record: sexual harassment isn't a joke.  It's a serious violation of a person's civil rights. And it's illegal too.

I tell you this because this is Sexual Harassment Awareness Week at Nassau.  Over the next few days there'll be a number of talks and discussions devoted to educating students about this important topic.

On Tuesday, March 8, Anita Hill will speak at NCC at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. in the College Center's Multipurpose Room.  Hill is a legal scholar, author, and law professor, but she's maybe best known for having testified before the U.S. Senate in 1991 about having been sexually harassed by then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.  Though Thomas denied the charge and was subsequently confirmed to the High Court, Hill's testimony raised the country's awareness about sexual harassment and its impact on victims.

Anita Hill

Besides Hill's talks, this week will feature other important programs. On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in the College Center, Affirmative Action officer Craig Wright will talk about what students need to know about sexual harassment--what it is, what forms it takes, and how students can respond if they feel they're being targeted.  Later that day at 2 p.m., there'll be a discussion of a PBS documentary, "Rape on the Night Shift," which focuses on the harassment, including sexual assault, of immigrant women and others who feel powerless to complain.  And at 3:30 p.m. (also in the CCB) there'll be a panel on the subject of student-faculty romantic relationships, an issue that has (on other campuses) sometimes led to harassment charges.

Why should you go to these programs?

Several reasons.

First--and maybe most importantly--sexual harassment occurs more often than most people think. Though stats vary from one study to another, some believe that more than half of all female students experience some form of harassment during their college years.  Though male students report fewer instances of harassment, they too can be victims--and sometimes are.  Since sexual harassment can affect pretty much everyone, it's in everybody's interest to know about it.

We also need to be aware of harassment for another reason.  Discussions of this topic can raise awareness about our own behavior, especially actions that we might think of as harmless but that could make others uncomfortable. The jokes we tell, the offhanded comments we make, may not be intended to offend, but they might, at least under certain circumstances.  Discussions of harassment (in all its forms) make us think about our own behavior and its impact on others--always a good thing.

Finally, knowing about harassment might make it easier for you to recognize when it occurs in school or work settings.  Even if you're not the one making someone feel creepy, it's on you--and all of us--to work toward eliminating a behavior that violates people's rights and makes everyone look shabby.  On the subject of harassment, there's no looking the other way.

So get educated! Take yourself to at least one of these programs over the next few days.  It'll raise your awareness, make you more informed, and stretch you as a human being--a win-win situation all around.