Tuesday, February 2, 2016

OU-C faculty member Debra Nickles participates in language arts education conference

Debra Nickles constantly seeks innovative educational methods.

By public relations student writer Madison Corbin

Ohio University Chillicothe Assistant Professor of English Debra Nickles continuously commits her time and energy to exploring the goings-on of education nationwide. Making it a mission in her career to seek out, sift through and consolidate the very best of educational practices, she exhibits a driving determination to innovate and improve in every classroom she enters.

In November 2015, Nickles traveled to Minneapolis to capitalize upon an opportunity to further nurture this effort.  She attended the Responsibility, Creativity and the Arts of Language: 105th Annual Convention, hosted by the National Council of Teachers of English, a professional network for educators in English K-16. Nickles serves as the university liaison on the executive board of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Language Arts, a branch of the hosting network.

At the conference, Nickles and her colleagues exchanged insights, ideas and pedagogies with an emphasis on college readiness in writing. The academic professionals approached the disparities between high school and college approaches to teaching language arts with the intention of filling in gaps that inhibit student success. As a seasoned examiner of this issue, Nickles submitted to a call for papers pertaining to the topic. She was selected to present about her own work.  

“Presenting on a national level was a great experience,” said Nickles. “Being engaged with so many passionate educators who are meeting the same kinds of challenges that we face here locally was inspiring. We are not alone!”

In October of 2015, Nickles partnered with Professor of English Tony Vinci, Ph.D., to host OU-C’s first College Readiness Forum, a platform for dialogue through which educators from various levels and regions could meet to compare, contrast and explore diverse teaching methods. This event, like the one that Nickles attended in Minneapolis, drew motivation from the challenges that students face in transitioning from high school to college.

Attributing the common struggle to a lacking communication between educators, Nickles, Vinci and their nationwide network of contemporaries are working hard to rectify systemic flaws and enhance students’ experiences in a meaningful way.

“It’s great to be a part of a national community dedicated to bridging the gap between the high school writing curriculum and college readiness,” said Nickles. “Writing is so essential. Bridging this gap will not only save students time and money, but it will also increase the quality of education in freshmen composition classrooms across the country, including OU-C.” 

At the conference, Jason Courtmache, the director of the Connecticut Writing Project at the University of Connecticut, approached Nickles with an invitation to join a new organization focused on college readiness created by the Modern Language Association. Her productivity in the fight against educational inadequacies continues.

Nickles plans to collaborate with peers, incite the input of students and pursue as many advantageous opportunities as possible. With her proactive style of problem-solving and ambitious acquisition of versatile perspectives, she contributes an exceptional academic presence to the OU-C campus.

No comments: