Organization site - Winter 2001
By Carroll Ferguson Nardone
For most of us in education September is the beginning of our New Year and January does not hold the same symbolic pressures of resolution making as it does for the general public.
We get the chance to do our "New Yearís" resolutions many times a yearóeach time we begin a new semester. So this January is no exception.
I find myself reflecting on the coming semester promising myself that I will spend more time reading for pleasure, that I will return student papers and projects more quickly, and that I will never wait for deadline pressure to force me into action.
So far, Iím up to date on grading papers (that the first set has yet to arrive is just a minor detail; it still feels good knowing that I donít have student papers silently nagging at me). As for reading for pleasure, I havenít even browsed the local bookstore lately and as you can probably guess, this article should have been finished far before this eveningís looming deadline.
Thereís an old saying that the three best things about teaching are June, July, and August. While I agree itís nice for those of us in higher education to choose a 9-month work year if we can, I think itís even better that weíre able to reinvent ourselves each 16-week period.
What other job not only allows but extols "do-overs"? What other job allows us to remain experts in our field while still maintaining our status as students? And we are all students. We are students of our classrooms, places where our students can often teach us as much as we teach them.
We are students of our discipline, always looking for where we are headed and where the field is going and how we can best help our students get where they need to be.
This issue of the Journalist can help with all these roles we play as the articles and book reviews are particularly apropos for a January/new semester issue. Theyíll help us to reflect on how important our relationships with our students are.
Students can do a lot without us given todayís technology but itís evident that teachers can still provide information no piece of instructional software can.
Itís pleasing to learn that research supports what many of us who teach journalism have always known: the skills we teach reach beyond the "how to" and often time lead to life changing experiences. And with all the criticism the press has received in recent months, itís a real pleasure to read tales from the front lines, stories that remind us about the importance of what we do.
Itís also important for us to keep examining issues such as Freedom of the Press. While so many may take it for granted we should always be reminded that what seems a given can often be taken. Fitting right in with the new semester-reinvention theme, book reviewers help us think about our course content in new and insightful ways as they introduce us to new food for thought.
On a different note, during January we can look back to our national meeting in conjunction with the College Media Advisors last November and reflect on how important that relationship is to our CCJA membership who attended. We also look ahead to our meeting in conjunction with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication next August.
I continue to encourage our membership to participate in both these conventions and take advantage of what both these groups can offer us. Participating with CMA and AEJMC can help round our approach to the field. Watch the upcoming CCJA newsletter for information about CMA and AEJMC meetings and information on ways that you can contribute to the association. Make plans now for Washington, D.C. in August and for New Orleans next fall. We need to everyone at these meetings so that we can continue to grow and fulfill our organizational mission.
Happy New Year and happy reading.