SJC educators to serve key roles at regional conference

Congratulations to the administrators and faculty members who will serve major roles in a three-day conference in Houston that will attract dozens of college educators from several states to explore the importance of the humanities in higher education.

Twenty-six educators from all three campuses will serve as moderators and presenters for the Community College Humanities Association Southwest Region Conference, which will be held Oct. 28-30 at Hotel ZaZa, located in Houston’s museum district. The conference theme will be “Critical Issues in the Humanities: Past, Present, and Future.”

Furtwengler

Scott Furtwengler, dean of the College’s honors program, will serve as a presenter for one session, and a moderator for another session at the conference. Furtwengler, who holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English, will moderate a session that deals with a key issue among today’s educators — the challenge of reconciling the study of humanities with STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math), which are being avidly promoted in most of the nation’s school systems.

“STEM areas are vital, but they should not be emphasized over and above other skill sets, such as the humanities (or physical education and music),” Furtwengler said. “How often have good ideas gone by the wayside because the person who came up with the idea could not articulate it well, or could not persuade others to buy in to it because his or her argument was not sound?”

Dr. Harris

North campus President Dr. Allatia Harris, one of the conference coordinators, said it’s significant that a large percentage of the presenters and moderators at the regional conference are SJC educators. “We emphasize scholarship at San Jacinto College, and we have faculty and staff who are creative and willing to share the research they are pursuing in their disciplines,” Harris commented. “San Jac is well-respected for the quality of our faculty and the quality of student learning. Taking a leadership role in an organization such as CCHA is a powerful statement about San Jacinto College’s willingness to be recognized on a national stage.”