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December 1989 

President's Message: 


3 Academic Excellence at 
Roxbury Community College 

4 Profiles: Faculty Assembly 
leaders Dr. Raymond Turner 
and Dr. Kyrsis Rodriguez 

5 What is Workplace Literacy 

5 Dean Hazel Bright Addresses 
"Challenges for the 90s" 

6 "FOCUS on the News" 

• New Vice Presidents to begin 
in January 1990 

• Francina Gelzer Scholarship 

• R.C.C. Employees Honored 

• The Express & Expressettes 
begin 89-90 season 

(Cover Photo: Artist John Wilson 
has been commissioned to place a 
sculpture on Roxbury Community 
College's campus. Installation will 
be completed during 1 990.) 

Roxbury Community College 


The Focus is a monthly publication 
of Roxbury Community College. 

Notices, news and items for 
publication should be submitted to the 
President's Office, Room 304, Roxbury 
Community College, 1234 Columbus 
Avenue, Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120. 

Editor: Ricardo Guthrie; 

Staff Writer: Aya de Leon. 

(Photo: Angel Amy-Moreno) 

Greetings to all students, 
faculty, staff and friends 
of Roxbury Community 
College who have been longterm 
supporters of the school. This 
year, we need your help and 
commitment as we've never needed 
it before. 

These are not the easiest of 
times for RCC, but I know without 
a doubt that we have all the ele- 
ments of an outstanding commu- 
nity college, and with commitment, 
we will be able to make academic 
excellence an unquestionable 
reality here at Roxbury Commu- 
nity College. Throughout the 
coming months, I would just like 
to stress the importance of keeping 
our eyes on that goal. Certainly 
our circumstances have not made 
it easy, but in the face of adversity 
from outside our halls, it is impor- 
tant that we turn inward, and take 
care of what needs to be taken 
care of here on our campus. 

We know Roxbury Community 
College students deserve our 
best— and we have so much to 
give. The qualifications of our staff 
are impressive; the credentials of 
our faculty are outstanding. I 
believe in this College. I know the 
potential is here. Why else would I 
have taken this job, despite all of 
the warnings of the naysayers? 
When Thomas F. Welch, Chairman 
of the RCC Board of Trustees, 
called me and offered me this job, I 
said "I accept," prior to discussing 
terms or salary. I took this job 

because I wanted the opportunity 
to work with all of you: students, 
faculty, staff, and community 
members to bring Roxbury Com- 
munity College to its rightful place 
in higher education. I know 
many of you already give 100% to 
this job; but we've all got to be 

I have worked all semester 
seeking support from the commu- 
nity at-large, and I am feeling now 
that we are at a point where we 
will make a breakthrough. The 
initial response from our legislative 
representatives is encouraging; the 
response from private industry is 
also favorable, and I am confident 
that more supporters of Roxbury 
Community College are out there 
waiting to be identified. We at the 
College need to do more in order to 
turn the promises of support into 
concrete resources— the future of 
our institution demands it. We 
have to fend off financial woes 
while continually improving the 
operation of the College. I am 
asking everyone who knows the 
historic mission of the College to 
redouble their efforts to drum up 
support. Let's change the news 
that's being written; let's trumpet 
the success stories that are yet to 
be told, and let's make our voices 
heard up at the State House and 
in the streets. There's much to be 
proud about at RCC, but if we let 
others tell our story then our real 
potential will continue to go unre- 
alized. And that's part of the 
reason why the Focus has been 
produced, and only part of what 
we as a College community have to 
offer to the watching and waiting 
residents of our neighborhoods. 
Let's spread the news: "It's a new 
day at RCC." 

Where there's a will, there's a 
way. If we are all willing to work 
together, we will succeed. 

I recall, recently, a visitor to 
Roxbury Community College 
remarked to me, "What an impres- 
sive campus." 

I replied, "Just wait until you 
see what's going on inside." 

Join with me. I know we can 
make it work. 

. Since 



Walter C. Howard 

I ■ 

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Forum Measures Academic Excellence 

On Wednesday and Thurs- 
day evenings, November 1 
and 2, the College held a 
public forum entitled Academic 
Excellence: Where We Are, and 
Where We Must Go. 

The purpose of the forum was 
to determine the current state of 
preparedness of RCC graduates. 
The forum was designed to provide 
feedback on the development of 
systems to ensure the prepared- 
ness of all RoxburyCommunity 
College graduates to enter the 
workplace and the academic 

During the forum, employers, 
business community leaders, 
administrators of transfer colleges 
and universities, former Roxbury 
Community College students, and 
others presented their views on the 
skills and training of Roxbury 
Community College graduates to a 
panel of educators and community 
leaders. Panelists included Melvin 
King, Professor of Urban Studies 
and Planning, and Director of the 
Community Fellows Program at 
MIT; Sharon McDade, Director of 
the Institute for Educational Man- 
agement at Harvard; Luis Prado, 
Executive Director of La Alianza 

Hispana; Thomas F. Welch, Presi- 
dent of Thomas F. Welch Associ- 
ates; Dr. John Grady, Professor at 
Wheaton College; Dr. Kyrsis Rodri- 
guez, Associate Professor at RCC, 
and Dr. Raymond Turner, Assis- 
tant Professor at RCC; as well as 
Dr. William B. D. Thompson, 
former Acting President. President 
Walter C. Howard acted as mod- 

Speakers addressed the panel 
on matters related to the following 
questions: How well do RCC 
graduates perform in the colleges 
and universities to which they 
transferred? How well do they 
perform the jobs they receive after 
graduating from Roxbury Commu- 
nity College? 

Both evenings were well- at- 
tended by students, faculty, ad- 
ministrators, and members of the 
greater community. While a 
number of businesses were in at- 
tendance, there was a more com- 
prehensive response from RCC 
alumni who had transferred, and 
the college administrators. The 
following schools were represented 
at the forum: UMass Boston, 
Wheelock College, Suffolk Univer- 
sity, Wellesley College, Smith 

College, Simmons College, Salem 
State College, Boston University, 
and Wentworth Technical Insti- 
tute. While the majority of the 
feedback was positive, there were 
specific areas of weakness that 
were identified by the speakers. 
One alumna noted that her prepa- 
ration in Spanish was inadequate, 
and another graduate stated that 
many of his technical credits were 
not transferrable. On several 
occasions, speakers remarked that 
math, science and writing skills 
needed to be strengthened. 

"I think it was a good begin- 
ning," remarked Florence Miller, 
an RCC alumna who spoke during 
the forum, "We needed to have 
something like that a long time 
ago. I think our new President is 
working hard to get things to- 

"I think the forum went very 
well," Dr. Howard said afterward. 
"We heard what we are doing well, 
and what needs work. This was 
the easy part; now we have to roll 
up our sleeves and go to work. 
But I was pleased that so much of 
the feedback was positive. I am 
confident that this faculty has the 
tools to make the adjustments that 
will make RCC the excellent 
college it can be." 

Raymond Turner sets high goals for self and students 

By Aya de Leon 
Staff Writer 

"He's always pushing and helping 
students to understand what he's 
trying to teach." 

"He motivates us into learning more 
about science. " 

The preceding comments were 
written by students on an anony- 
mous evaluation form for General 
Science, an introductory course 
taught by Dr. Raymond Turner, 
Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
and Mathematics at RCC, and 
current Co-Chair of the Faculty 

"I believe in accomplishing 
whatever mission I set out to... I 
have always set and tried to main- 
tain high standards." Throughout 
his life. Prof. Turner has set high 
standards for himself. He received 

his Bachelor of Science degree in 
Chemistry from Brooklyn College 
in New York in 1974, and his 
Masters in Chemistry from 
Fordham University in 1982. 
While studying at Fordham, he 
was a Research Worker at the 
Columbia University Department 
of Biochemistry, and a Senior 
Research Technician at Cornell 
University Medical College. 

After graduating from Fordham, 
he received a full-time teaching 
and research fellowship to Poly- 
technic University in New York, 
where he received a second Mas- 
ters and a Ph.D. also in the field of 
chemistry in 1986. In 1987, he 
began a post-doctoral fellowship at 
the Department of Nutrition in the 
School of Public Health at Har- 
vard, and during that same period, 
he began teaching at RCC. 

"I like teaching because it gives 
one a chance to influence people 
in a positive way. Students, 


particularly traditionally excluded 
people, need positive role models, 
people they can look up to." 

"People who have succeeded 
can come back to them and say 
'let me show you how'.... I try to 
provide them with the tools to be 

(Please see Turner, page 7) 

Kyrsis Rodriguez challenges students to think critically 

By Aya de Leon 
Staff Writer 


"At the end of this semester you 
will have been exposed to organ- 
isms you never knew existed and 
will rediscover others that you 
never paid much attention to. I 
hope that this part of the journey 
makes you keenly aware of the 
world around you and develops in 
you a responsible perspective on 
the importance of every organism 
that shares this planet with us. " 

The introduction to Dr. Kyrsis 
Rodriguez's syllabus for General 
Biology I promises an exciting, 
challenging course; the syllabus 
also reflects Dr. Rodriguez's fasci- 
nation with biology, her passion 
for teaching, her commitment to 
her students, and her love for the 

Dr. Rodriguez, born and raised 
in Puerto Rico, received her Bache- 
lor and Master of Science degrees 
in Biology from the University of 
Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, in 1970 
and 1974. "In Puerto Rico," she 
explained, "It's very common for 
women to pursue careers in 
science and medicine." It was not 
until she came to Massachusetts 
in 1972 for a six week course at 
Woods Hole, that she found that 
"the majority of the scientists were 
male, and the majority of people 
doing research were male." 
Undaunted, she completed her 
Ph.D. in Plant Anatomy and Physi- 
ology at the University of Missouri 
at Columbia in 1982. 

She came to Roxbury Commu- 
nity College in 1983, and was pro- 
moted from Assistant to Associate 
Professor in 1987. "I love teach- 

ing," she explains. "Teaching is 
not a comprehensive enough 
word— I see myself as a learner 
also. I learn something new every 
semester. The reason I am in the 
classroom is to share what I know 
with [students], with the under- 
standing that they will share what 
they know with me. So we are 
both supposed to be teaching and 
learning.... It's a very exciting 
process." The rich cultural and 
racial atmosphere at RCC makes 
teaching exciting for Dr. Ro- 
driguez: "It is a challenge in the 
sense that every culture has its 
own ideas and its own way of 
looking at things. It teaches you 
to look at things in so many 
different ways that it gives you a 
perspective on things that you 
probably cannot get someplace 

She has also worked to make 
science and math more accessible 
to the Latino community at RCC 
by teaching courses in Spanish, 
developing curriculum, and teach- 
ing: Science Workshop for Bilin- 
gual Students , an intensive four- 
week course in the ESL depart- 

(Please see Rodriguez, page 7) 

What is Workplace Literacy Education? 

A recent survey in Massachu- 
setts has found some 
surprising answers to the 
question: "What is workplace 
literacy education?" 

Conducted by David Rosen, 
Roxbury Community College's 
Adult Literacy Resource Institute 
director and Cerci Kale, director of 
the Boston Workplace Education 
Collaborative at RCC, the survey 
reflected the concerns of 27 
workplace literacy programs in 
Massachusetts (a 64% response 
rate). The survey revealed that 
employer-centered needs and 
goals— such as increased job 
accuracy and productivity, em- 
ployee retention and promotion, or 
decreased accident rates— are only 
part of what most Massachusetts 
programs try to achieve. 

Kale and Rosen found that 
nearly all Massachusetts 
workplace education programs 
teach basic skills required in the 
context of job tasks. However, 
these programs also include basic 
skills needed for other life tasks: 
applying for citizenship, knowing 
one's rights and responsibilities as 
an immigrant, home safety, com- 
municating verbally and in writing 

with childrens' teachers, and other 
"life skills." 

Most respondents said their 
programs should be evaluated 
using additional measures such as 
changes in levels of basic skills, 
qualitative and quantitative meas- 
ures of increase in self-esteem, 
increased problem- solving skills, 
entrance into GED programs or 
citizenship classes, ability to func- 
tion in one's neighborhood or com- 
munity, and learner satisfaction 
with classes. 

Respondents stated that defini- 
tions of workplace literacy must 
recognize that many programs 
serve limited English-speaking 
adults who need both generic and 
job-specific ESL. They also urged 
the continued involvement of 
organized labor. The concern of 
unions with rights and responsi- 
bilities of workers must be com- 
bined with attention to quality of 
life issues. 

A narrow definition of work- 
place literacy education was 
largely rejected by respondents in 
favor of elevating student/worker 
interests and goals through this 
field of education. Union and 

employer interests that view liter- 
acy as education rather than as 
merely prerequisite training for 
one's job are critical. Such a 
definition would include basic 
skills which lead to promotions 
and better jobs, as well as to 
increased communication, critical 
thinking, and problem solving 
skills on the job and in the rest of 
the worker's life. 

Copies of the survey are avail- 
able from Dr. David J. Rosen, at 
the Adult Literacy Resource Insti- 
tute, 241 St. Botolph St., Boston, 

Dean Bright addresses 
"Challenges for the 90s" 

"A challenge is an opportunity in disguise. We 
have before us the rich opportunity, well-hidden 
though it may be, to reverse the prospect of a future 
of poverty and hopelessness for thousands of inner 
city children, their families and communities, and in 
the end, our society. We can be the ones to provide 
the personnel who will make the difference in retain- 
ing corporations in the Northeast who will rebuild the 
faltering economy. We can be the ones to augment 
the dreadful shortage of AHANA [African-American, 
Hispanic, Asian, Native American] teachers, scien- 
tists, engineers, and people of medicine. We can be 
the ones to spur the renewed vitality of our educa- 
tional institutions, make them more responsive to 
non-traditional students and in the process more 
responsive to all students. We can be the ones to 
save our colleges. " 

These were the closing remarks of an address by 
Hazel Bright, RCC Dean of Student Development and 
Campus Life, entitled "Challenges for the 90s." Dean 
Bright was the keynote speaker at the opening ses- 
sion of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the new England 
Association of College Registrars and Admissions 
Officers held November 9, in Sturbridge, Mass. 

Dean Hazel Bright addresses Commencement, 1988 


FOCUS on the News 

Fiscal Affairs VP and 
Academic Affairs VP 
begin in January 1990 

Barbara Logan-Stamps was 
recently selected as the VP for 
Fiscal Affairs and will begin work 
January 2, 1990. Ms. Logan- 
Stamps brings 10 years of corpo- 
rate experience to the College. 
Most recently with the Boston 
Company, she holds a Masters in 
Administration (1980) and a 
Masters in Education (1978) from 
Brooklyn College. Dr. Alan Shep- 
pard, a Professor at Fort Valley 
State College in Georgia, was VP 
for Academic Affairs at Fort Valley 
State from 1987 to 1989. He 
received his Ph.D. from Ohio State 
University in 1971, and will as- 
sume his new post January 16th. 

Roberts elected 
Student Trustee 

In October, Darren C. Roberts 
was elected as the student repre- 
sentative to the RCC Board of 
Trustees by the Student Govern- 
ment Association, of which he is 
treasurer. Born in Trinidad, now 
living in Dorchester, Roberts 
entered RCC in the Spring of 1988, 
interested in the field of Account- 
ing. He is an accounting tutor in 
the Teaching Learning Center, and 
is committed to representing 
student concerns: "It is important 
for me to know how our students 
feel about issues on campus so I 
can act accordingly." 



Employees Honored by 
the Commonwealth 

In September, 
Dean Jose de Jesus 
and Dean John 
McGrann were hon- 
ored by the Com- 
monwealth of Mass. 
Employee's Cam- 
paign (COMEC). 

Dr. Walter Howard 
was in attendance 
as the CEO repre- 
sentative of RCC. 
L. Edward Lash- 
man, Jr., Secretary 
of Administration 
and Finance and 
1989 Chair of 
COMEC, presented 
plaques to deJesiis 
and McGrann, in recognition of 
their efforts to raise funds for the 
1988 COMEC campaign. Last 
year, de Jesus and McGrann led 
the fundraising effort at RCC, 
which raised $7,538, almost twice 
the amount of the previous year. 
All of the funds raised were sent to 
charities in the Boston area. 

"Pride in Performance" 

Last September, three RCC em- 
ployees were honored for dedicated 
service to the Commonwealth. 
Gail Cody, Jose de Jesus, and 
Betty Hillmon were awarded 
certificates and engraved marble 
desk plates during the annual 
"Pride in Performance" banquet, 
which was held at the Park Plaza 
Hotel. "It is important that we 

The R.C.C. Express & Expressettes 
began the 89-90 basketball season 
in winning form. Home games are 
held at the Shelburne Recreation 
Center, 2730 Washington Street, 
Roxbury. Pictured at left, the 
EXPRESSETTES (back row): Kathy 
Grannum, Zobeida Lopez, Shawna 
Hicks, Whitney Granger; (front) 
Mandell Perryman, Jemma Owens, 
Pamela Hale, Samedi Morris. At 
right, the EXPRESS (back row): 
Dana Fisher, Benny Bowers, Chris 
Beach and Dave Foy; (front): Steve 
Nicholson, Greg Jackson and Edell 
Howard. (Photos: Abdul Sadik) 


celebrate who we are and what we 
do," said Governor Dukakis, who 
was the keynote speaker. "You are 
the people that are making a dif- 
ference in the lives of our citizens," 
he added. 

Gelzer Scholarship 

Early in the fall, Francina E. 
(Copeland) Gelzer was honored at 
the Harriet Tubman House, which 
celebrated her twenty-five years of 
dedicated service as a librarian. 
The reception was held on her 
birthday and an announcement 
was made that a scholarship will 
be established in her name in con- 
junction with Roxbury Community 

Francina Gelzer has been the 
branch librarian of the Dudley 
Branch Library and has served as 
the district supervisor of seven 
other branch libraries since 1978. 
She began her career as a chil- 
dren's librarian at the North End 
Branch, after receiving her mas- 
ter's degree in library science from 
Suffolk University. "I can't remem- 
ber a time since I was in my teens 
that I did not visualize being a 
librarian," explained Gelzer, "I just 
always wanted to be one." 

The celebration and "Commu- 
nity Salute" came as a complete 
surprise to Mrs. Gelzer, who 
retired on June 30 of this year. "I 
was overwhelmed," recalls Gelzer, 
"I don't think I can ever capture in 
words what the whole affair meant 
to me." 

(Please see Gelzer, page 7) 


f » I 


(Continued from page 4) 

ment, and translating Biology and 
Basic Math materials into Span- 

In addition, she is active in the 
Science Department and in the 
RCC community as Department 
Chairperson-elect for 1990, and is 
currently Co- Chair of the Faculty 

She uses a multi-faceted ap- 
proach in the classroom: "I don't 
just go in there and teach biology. 
I also have to teach them ethics, 
critical thinking, how to relate to 
each other, how to relate to their 
society, how to question authority 
without being abrasive. I ask 
them to challenge me. By doing 
that, I am teaching them how to 
challenge authority in a respectful 
and positive way. 

"And that has nothing to do 
with biology— but they're going to 
need it when they go out there." 

She explains that the method 
she uses for conducting her 

classes is a lecture /discussion 
format. There is a lecture," she 
says, "but the lecture emanates 
from the answers of the students." 
She explains that when a student 
asks a question, she insists on 
using a dynamic process to arrive 
at the answer. "When the student 
asks me a question, I ask ques- 
tions of the student until I get the 
answer from the student." 
Through this interaction, she 
explains, the answer is not just a 
fact to be written down, but the 
result of a process of which the 
student is a part, and the student 
knows that he or she had the 
answer all along. 

While her pedagogy is at times 
nurturing and inclusive, she also 
has a tougher side. She chal- 
lenges her students to think criti- 
cally, to have opinions, and to 
express them. "You don't have to 
agree with me all the time," she 
tells her students, "If we all agreed 
all the time, then life would be very 
boring. But if you're going to 
disagree... you have got to learn 

how to present your argument in a 
coherent manner. If not, I'm going 
to kill your argument." 

She stresses critical thinking 
skills through various methods. 
She explains that she will often 
ask students to write papers on 
controversial, science-related 
topics, and asks that for the final 
part of the paper, they state their 
opinion. "I make it very clear that 
they are not graded on what their 
opinion is, but how well they 
support it. I want them to take a 
stand on abortion, AIDS, lead 
poisoning, nuclear waste, environ- 
mental issues, birth control— give 
me your opinion and defend it— in 
other words, have an intelligent 
opinion." She also asks them to 
give a presentation to the class on 
a topic, after which they are 
questioned by the professor and 
the other students. 

"They have this panic, absolute 
panic, about talking in public, 
but... at the end of the semester, 
they are more confident." 


(Continued from page 4) 

successful. . . . Unfortunately, many 
highly educated people of color do 
not come back and give back to 
the community." 

Dr. Raymond Turner was born 
in Mt. Hermon, a Black commu- 
nity in Portsmouth, Virginia. He 
explains that it was "one of the few 
historically Black neighborhoods 
that has traditionally been Black 
controlled," and that his Carib- 

bean-born grandfather was one of 
the original founders. 

After graduating from high 
school, he volunteered for the 
military and served as an infantry 
soldier in Viet Nam. He was 
honorably discharged, and is 
currently a captain in the Medical 
Service Corps of the U.S. Army 
reserve. He has a permanent 
appointment to the Walter Reed 
Army Institute of Research in 
Washington D.C., as the Assistant 

Chief of Biochemistry in the Dept. 
of Molecular Pharmacology. 

Perhaps what is most impres- 
sive about Ray Turner is the fact 
that he is able to be effective in a 
classroom where students are not 
expected to have any previous 
background in science. 

"I believe that students at RCC 
have hidden potential. When stu- 
dents come with poor grades from 
high school... I convince them that 
people were wrong about them." 

Roxbury Community College 
Board of Trustees 

Mr. Thomas F. Welch, Chairman 

Ms. Eleanor Acheson 

Mr. Leon Brathwaite, Sr. 

Mr. Guy Denlzard 

Ms. Kay Gomez-Young 

Dr. John Grady 

Ms. Deborah Jackson 

Dr. Irene Nichols 

Mr. Luis Prado 

Mr. Darren Roberts 

Dr. Walter C. Howard 


(Continued from page 6) 

Barbara Elam, Co-Chair of the 
Gelzer Community Salute Commit- 
tee explains that "Frankie's [Mrs. 
Gelzer' s] rock bottom commitment 
was to the young people of this 
community." During her 25 years 
of service, Gelzer worked to ensure 
that the library was a vital com- 
munity resource. She feels that 
the library can be an important re- 
source for youth: "I'd rather have 
them comfortable in the library 
than out on the streets." 

The Francina E. Gelzer Scholar- 
ship at RCC was established by 
the Gelzer Community Salute 
Committee, made up of friends 
and colleagues of Mrs. Gelzer, 

including Mrs. Pearl Mosley, who 
works in the RCC Learning Re- 
source Center. Given the mission 
of the College, "RCC was the place 
for the scholarship to be," said 
Mrs. Mosley. She and the other 
committee members were willing 
to donate their time and money to 
the scholarship in Mrs. Gelzer's 
name. "These people came read- 
ily," Barbara Elam explained, "out 
of the love and respect they had 
for Frankie [Mrs. Gelzer]. Every- 
body wanted to help." 

Approximately five thousand 
dollars will be awarded each year. 
Details of the scholarship will be 
finalized through the RCC Founda- 

Faculty member David 
Coleman and Stacy 
Lee Simmons recreate a 
scene from the Roxbury 
Outreach Shakespeare 
Experience's recent pro- 
duction, "Macbeth," which 
was performed at Lowell 
University November 30 - 
December 2, and at the 
Strand Theatre in 
Dorchester, on December 7. 
The Roxbury Outreach 
Shakespeare Experience 
(R.O.S.E.) is co-sponsored 
by Roxbury Community 
College and features 
students and community 
residents in its perform- 

(Photo: Kippy Goldfarb) 


Roxbury Community College 

1234 Columbus Avenue 
Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120 

Address Correction Requested