Mary Huber's remarks to us about SACC after attending her first SACC-fest
- Mary Huber is an anthropologist who works as a senior scholar with the Carnegie Foundation and is responsible for much of the Carnegie Award process. She attended our SACC-Fest '07 after hearing much about us during the past year's events. So I asked her to give us her observations and suggestions and here they are:
----- Original Message -----
From: Huber, Mary
To: Mark Lewine
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 7:39 PM
Subject: RE: glad that you came to SACC
I'm so glad I was able to get to the conference. It was a delight. Here's what stood out for me:
1) The attention to place. Asilomar was a GREAT choice, because it's a state park with deep local roots itself. But then to bookend the conference with Ohlone presentations, punctuate the evenings with talks on local architecture and local history, and devote a day to traveling to those places--all this was truly memorable.
2) The attention to time: It was not rushed! Plenty of time to wander around, and talk to people at meals, think, etc.
3) The attention to teaching: Really, virtually every paper in the panel sessions touched on issues in teaching and learning anthropology--or anthropologically interesting topics (like your colleagues' presentation on kinship care). And the papers were GOOD. I also really liked Adrienne Zihlman's update on new fossil finds and what they might mean. I think if I had any other suggestion, it might be a few more papers that addressed "problems" in student learning (or teaching) and addressed them more explicitly as problems: i.e. with attention to how other people are solving them, some of the literature that might shed light on them, etc. I guess what I'm saying is a little less "this is what I'm doing in my course or program" and a little more scholarship of teaching and learning.
4) The attention to each other: There was a great sense of people caring about each other, enjoying each other's company, knowing each other---all without seeming to cut off newcomers. What I couldn't tell is whether there's enough cohesiveness among the newer members to keep things going as older members retire. This is where I see a membership question: are you grooming new people for leadership in the organization? And, yes, can you grow and bring in new people without losing too much of the flavor of the group. I can think of one other group a little like this, that I believe has managed to keep its soul while getting bigger (at least to judge from what people say....) so perhaps it can be done.
Also, I think that there's still a lot to do to raise the profile of cc's in anthropology. Wonder if there might be a way to put together a special section in American Anthropologist with short articles by some of the SACC folk (older and younger) on teaching in cc's as a career, addressing some of the questions people have about what kind of anthropological life it's possible to lead in those settings. How it's changing. Diversity within the sector. Value of community-based work for anthropologists and students.....etc.
OK. Great to see you again! And thanks to you, Rob, and everyone for their hospitality.
And we'll keep in touch....In addition to your issues, I'd like to put my article on applied anthropology on our agenda--trying to find an angle which won't necessitate me figuring out what everyone else doing applied anthropology is actually doing!
All the best,
From: Mark Lewine [mailto:mlewine@...]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 6:32 PM
To: Huber, Mary
Subject: glad that you came to SACC
I am sorry to have missed you that last morning as I had to leave at 8am to catch my airbus transport! I really had no idea that it would take 12 hours to get home-it seems to get worse each year. I would love to get your impressions as an experienced observor of the SACC fest and family, as we tend to think of it, and any suggestions you might have to improve it. I personally am interested in finding a way to exploit (in the most positive sense) my national recognition at such an ideal time in my career so that I could nurture positive change for community college education and its place in the system through a few more years of work. I've thought of the League for Innovation, AACC, Dept. of Ed., etc.
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