New grading system takes CCC by storm

Many students may be wondering why the scores on their testes and quizzes aren’t matching their GPA. Unbeknownst to many students the numerical changes are due to the new grading system Cumberland County College has implemented in 2009-2010 academic year.

The new grading system is based upon the traditional letter grades, with the addition of pluses and minuses.

According to the student handbook 2009/2010, the letter grade “A” is considered to be superior and holds a weight of four points. In descending order the grades decrease by 0.3 with an “F” being the lowest grade weighing zero points.

The college incorporated the new grading system to keep in acordance with other surrounding colleges, according to Jacqueline Galbiati, Interim Vice President, Academic Affairs & Enrollment Services.

The provisions and decision of improving the grading system was a joined effort between the deans, instructors, and other staff members. The college believes that the new grading system better defines students’ efforts.

“The new grading system is a more accurate indication of where students are at that time,” said Sharon Kewish, English teacher.

With the newly added pluses and minuses, students can track their actual progress.

“It’s an upgrade for students to see their grades,” said           Yasmin Gonzalez

According to Michael Mills, English teacher, with his experience when teaching at Rowan University gives an unrealistic expectations; some students believe that with the new incorporated pluses they are entitled to receive them, but when their actual grades are calculated many of them receive a minus.

The new grading system has evoked a number of mixed feelings. Some students are confused on the actual usage and are afraid of the negative affects the new system will have on their grades.

“I think it’s a waste of time. It’s going to bring down a lot of students GPA”, said Frances Gonzalez.

The actual numerical grades measured by the new pluses and minus are up to the individual instructors and how they evaluate their students, according to Adrian DeWindt-King, Ed.D project Director, college bound Stem program.

“I think the new grading system is unfair. It helps those who are doing well, but what about the ones who are struggling. We are no longer in elementary school, so we should not be graded by a plus or minus.  We are all here to do well; just give us the solid grade we earned” Said Amber Parrish.

“We do not offer a C minus because it won’t transfer, so why don’t we do away with D’s also”, said Mill’s.

For the students who are working their hardest and are making good grades the new grading system will lend them the extra  one or two points needed to land the A or B+ they well deserve .

“I like it better, because it shows if you’re doing better instead of just seeing a B” said Nick Cervini.

The new grading system better assists instructors and students in evaluating the efforts put into earning their degrees and better serve the community with higher educated people.

Alleged gunshot on campus

From Staff reports

Vineland Police responded to reports of a shot fired on Cumberland County College’s campus the evening of Thursday, November 19.

The incident occurred as spectators left the men’s basketball game against Camden County College.

“People were walking to the parking lot and a fight broke out,” said CCC Safety and Security Director Phillip Cecola.

After police broke up the initial altercation and made an arrest, several other fights broke out.

“Police cordoned off the B, C and D lots and were asking people to leave,” Cecola said. “There was a noise and it was reported as a gunshot.”

According to Cecola, no gun or shell casings were found during or after the incident.

After the incident, admission to men and women’s basketball games was restricted to CCC and visiting team students and employees. Only current students and employees displaying valid identification cards were allowed to attend. A limited number of guest passes were also provided to the teams’ coaches to accommodate friends and family of team members.

Additional security measures included a fully staffed campus security presence and crowd control assistance provided by the Vineland Police Department. Until further notice, four uniformed Vineland Police officers will be present at all home games. Two will be stationed at the entrances to the gymnasium, and two will be circulating outside on the grounds and in the parking lots.

“Had there been no incident, we would have had to come up with a policy because we were out of seats for the game and we couldn’t have people standing all over,” Cecola said. “Students would have had first preference either way.”

The incident closely followed a false hostile intruder alert that went out at 1:58 on Tuesday, November 17th. Cecola said the false alarm was the result of a training mishap with the college’s web-based alert application.

“One of the operators was training, but they weren’t in training mode,” he said. “She didn’t know she was live.”

An “all clear” message was sent approximately two minutes   after the original alert, but problems with the message delivery system caused some students and staff to get both messages simultaneously or in the wrong order.

“The system isn’t meant to work that way. It’s not meant to have two messages back-to-back and that’s how the message got garbled,” Cecola said. “Plus, we’re at the mercy of Verizon, Sprint and all the other service providers.”

The false alarm did provide an opportunity to assess the alert system. Many of the students and staff who were in class during the alert were unaware of it or unsure what to do. Many were in class and had their mobile devices turned off.

“With a hostile intruder, we’re trying to reach the 300 to 600 people on campus,” Cecola said. “These messages go out to 5,200 people. We need some kind of audible alert to reach people on campus,” Cecola said. “Still, it beats the old way of going building-to-building.”

Cecola also pointed out that the alert raised some of the issues unique to a hostile intruder scenario, which is different from a fire or bomb scare because evacuation may not be the best course of action.

“All the buildings here are independent and there’s no way to just lock the front door,” he said.

PTK inducts 93 new members for fall 2009

By DIANA RUSSELL
Staff Writer

Ninety-three students were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa on November 1, 2009.
The solemn hour-long ceremony took place in the Luciano Theatre with family, friends, and faculty in attendance.
“You are the cream of the crop according to our former president,” advisor Sharon Kewish told the students prior to the ceremony.
Andrew Benfer, president of the Rho Gamma Chapter, welcomed the inductees and gave a brief background of the organization. Phi Theta Kappa was begun at Stevens College in 1918, and is now part of 400 two-year colleges worldwide. Students must have 20 credits and a 3.5GPA to be eligible.
Interim President, Dr. Thomas Isekenegve, congratulated the students.
“You are a testimony of achievement,” he said.
He encouraged the students to go on to a four-year college and come back to Cumberland County to make a contribution.
Professor John Lore shared a Zen saying, “How can one beam alone support a house?” Since it can’t, he encouraged the students to take the time to appreciate the visible and invisible beams that have supported their academic achievement.
“It has taken family members, spouses, teachers, your fellow students, custodians, cafeteria workers, administrators and countless others,” Lore advised.
The Phi Theta Kappa officers explained the symbolism of the Phi Theta Kappa emblem that includes the head of Minerva, the Goddess of Learning. With raised right hands, the inductees recited the oath of membership. Advisors Sharon Kewish and Karrol Jordan called each new member up on stage to sign the Phi Theta Kappa membership book. Dr. Isekenegve gave every new member a hearty congratulatory handshake.
Refreshments were served following the ceremony for the students and their guests. Millie and Joy Bai, sisters from China, provided musical accompaniment on piano and violin throughout the ceremony.
The name Phi Theta Kappa is taken from the initial letters of the Greek words meaning wisdom, aspiration, and purity. The colors are blue for scholarship and gold for purity. The organization is founded on academic excellence and dedicated to servant leadership. Members are eligible for exclusive scholarship opportunities, totaling approximately $36 million, to attend four-year colleges and universities.
According to the Phi Theta Kappa information brochure, “the mission of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.”
The Cumberland County College Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Rho Gamma, began in 1970. Over 1,000 students have been inducted. Professor Sharon Kewish has been the advisor for 34 years and Professor Karrol Jordan is co-advisor.
“Rho Gamma is hoping to become a five star chapter,” said Kewish. “We are currently on level three or four.”
To be considered a five star chapter, Rho Gamma must meet a certain number of activities and attend state and regional meetings in addition to working on campus and in the community. The national chapter sets the criteria as a way of fostering competition and to encourage members to be actively involved reported Kewish.
Members of Rho Gamma are part of the Adopt-a-Road project. Twice yearly they clean up trash along College Drive. In the fall, members make donations to the Cumberland County SPCA, and this year, they adopted three families for the CCC Thanksgiving Basket drive. As part of Project Graduation’s Feed a Body/Feed a Mind, new or slightly used children’s books were collected and distributed to Big Brothers/Big Sisters for the holidays. During the Spring Semester, a canned food drive will take place.
Members also raise funds for the CCC Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship through a two-day bake and gift sale just before Thanksgiving and Easter, and by recycling water bottles and soda cans year round. In 2009, Phi Theta Kappa initiated Project Smoke-Free; a debate to change the campus to a smoke free environment.

Cross Country

By DIANA DE HARO

Staff Writer

This year the men’s cross country team ran all the way to Nationals. Although they weren’t victorious in the Nationals, they won everything up to that point. “The National Championship Meet is an open meet for all NJCAA Div. 3 schools that wish to participate. We consider it an integral part of our schedule.”

Cross Country is not necessarily looked at as a team sport, but as John Burkhart explained, they work as a team during practices and motivate each other during the race. “The presence of our teammates [during the race] motivates us.”

There were only two members on the men’s team from last year; Josh Smith from Millville and John Burkhart from Vineland. “I definitely do feel I improved…I won two medals and I placed at several races [top 15],” said Burkhart.

“The motivation for next year’s team will be to look back on the accomplishments of this past year,” explains Coach Marketto.

The women placed 17th of 23 schools participating. There was only one returning member from the women’s team from last year: Candace Brown from Vineland.

Coach Marketto has been coaching for a little over thirty years. His coaching career started back in 1979. Four years at Gloucester County and seven at Buena Regional. He also coached at Sacred Heart, Ocean City and Regional Triton. Eight of those years have been spent coaching Cumberland County College crosscountry team. “He really knows his stuff and his workouts are put together really well,” said John Burkhart.

New Assistant Athletic Director

By BRANDEN COLUCCI
Staff Writer

Since the summer, Cumberland County College has been trying to find a replacement for a new assistant athletic director. It has been an ongoing process with many applicants applying for this position at the college.
The new assistant athletic director was finally announced. His name is Robert Amundson and he started on November 30, 2009. He graduated from Vineland High School and was an adjunct for sociology as well as the assistant baseball coach here at Cumberland County College. His other coaching positions were at Rowan University and Lehigh University. He was also an assistant football and baseball coach at both colleges.
Joseph Hibbs, Executive Director of Student Life and Campus Services, discussed how the ongoing process went and how his department found the right person for the position. “The process was good and now done,” stated Hibbs. “The process moved very quickly since the summer and interviews started in September. The person was hired in October with over 100 applicants for this job position.”
Hibbs also described how the process took place and how everything was developed in a professional and timely manner to get this done by the middle of the fall semester: “We developed a time frame that would get us to the October board meeting. We did advertisements for the job, reviewed applicants applying for the position, and conducted swift interviews.”
The assistant athletic director has many jobs and duties to be taken care of during every semester. “The responsibility for the Student Life Programming like Fall Fest, healthcare, and recreation sports like trips,” said Hibbs.
Hibbs also discussed other duties of the assistant athletic director, “like scheduling events for teams, eligibility, and monitor student athletes.” The assistant athletic director also helps out the Director of Student Life, Kellie Slade.

Parking Problems for Students with Disabilities

by DIANA RUSSELL

Staff Writer

Handicapped parking on campus is often a problem for students who have a physical disability. In a random survey on campus, students reported that parking was difficult if they did not arrive early for classes.  This was especially true near the Academic and Fine and Performing Arts buildings.

Wayne King, Director of the Success Center, was not available for comment. Dr. Sandra Vaden, Director of Planning and Research, provided these statistics.

“In the fall 2009, 159 students identified themselves as disabled.” Disabled is identified as having a hearing, speech, visual, orthopedic or other health impairment or a learning disability, Vaden reported.

It should be noted that not all students who have a physical impairment use handicapped parking.  Some rely on family members to drive them and others use the public transportation system.

Superintendent of Facilities and Grounds, Anthony Abriola, reported that the college is ADA compliant.

“The code requires that the college provide a total of 24 accessible parking spaces.  The college has a total of 51 spaces, and 34 are van accessible which is 25 more than required by code.”

While handicapped parking spots appear to be adequate, they are not always located in areas that are convenient for students.

“I don’t mind walking,” said Roy, a freshmen who depends on two arm crutches to get around.  “It becomes a problem when the weather is bad.  Then I worry about slipping.”

Roy takes two classes in the Academic Building.  There are only four handicapped parking places next to this building.  There are six spaces adjacent to the FPAC. Lots A-E and I-K have two to four handicapped parking areas in the front of each lot, and there are five  one hour spots outside the Enrollment Center.  Another ten spaces are reserved behind the Paul Navone Healthcare Education Center. None are located in lots G or H, and lot F is gated.

Abriola admits that parking can be tight on days where special events are taking place at the college.

Another student, Amy, does not have a problem finding a spot but it is often on the opposite side of campus from her classes.  Because she has Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is difficult for her to walk a distance.  She recently underwent hip surgery and relied on a wheelchair and crutches to navigate the campus.

Philip Cecola, Director of Safety and Security, advised, “If a student needs an escort, they can contact security. If the timing is right and a buggy is available, we will help a student out even in a temporary situation like being on crutches for a few weeks.”

What angered students who need accessible parking is the lack of consideration from others who use these spots for their own convenience.

Several anonymous students confirmed parking in handicapped spots when the weather was bad or they were late for class.

It angers Amy when she sees students using handicapped parking spots as a pickup or drop off spot.

“I’ve asked them to move.”

Margaret, who is disabled due to a back problem, has parked illegally because she could not find a handicapped parking spot next to the Academic Building. She received a ticket from campus security.

“I’m spitting mad,” she said. “There were three cars without handicapped stickers in the spots I needed.  They did not get tickets.”

The Vineland Police Department regularly patrols the campus.  If a vehicle does not have a handicapped license plate or placard, the parking fine is $250 for the first offense and another $250 for the second offense along with 90 days of community service. Vehicles are also subject to towing.

Class Cancellation Options

by BETHANY ASKINS

Staff Writer

On a daily basis, students’ classes are cancelled without notice. Students said that when a class is cancelled they either love it, hate it, or have mixed feelings about it. Some students are happy when a class is cancelled because it gives them extra time to do what they did not get done the day before, or they can just relax. Other students are upset because they feel as if they are not getting the full class experience they paid for.

Most students questioned agreed that they loved when a class was cancelled, but those same students also agreed that a notification system warning them that class had been cancelled would be helpful.  Instead of posting a notice on the door, a telephone call, email, or text message sent to students would save money, gas, and time.

Alyssa Gradel said, “I love when class is cancelled although we should have an email sent to us prior to cancellations. I don’t want to waste my gas going all the way to class when I could be sleeping!”

Teachers  and  students felt that class cancellations were not beneficial because the teachers get behind schedule, and the students are not getting everything they paid for. A cancellation here or there may not hurt a student, but for some it is crucial that they get the full class experience. Rich Whilden commented on his class cancellations.

“I like when class is cancelled, but in the end, it does not benefit me because that’s one less day I have to learn.”

Students felt that Cumberland County College could improve the class cancellation system by sending out a prerecorded message to all students affected by the cancellation. This would be a tremendous help as well as a cost saving measure.