Three Generations of the CCV Family:
My mother, Brenda Colburn, was an early gradutate of CCV. She also completed Credit for Life/Work Experience, and then went on to JSC
(day program) to complete a degree in Elementary Education. Married, with four children at home, she graduated with a 4.0, and at the top of her JSC class. Years later, she received an Honored CCV Alumnae award from Pres. Barbara Murphy. Now retired, she still hears from former students (sometimes two generations of the same family), that she was their favorite teacher.
My son, Joshua Larose, took courses at CCV & EDP in summers to lighten his course load during his college years. He now has a Master’s Degree, and is the only State Inspector in Vermont for energy audits.
My daughter, Sherry Larose, took one course at CCV to help her decide on a college major. She now has a Master’s Degree and is a Physician’s Assistant at Burlington Community Health Center. She is also the director of Spectrum Health Services for homeless teens. She has a special passion for her refugee and immigrant patients.
I came to CCV as a married mother of two, a college drop-out, working full-time at a minimum wage job. Knowing I was going to leave a dangerous marriage, I arrived on the doorstep of CCV with 15 transferrable credits, where I encountered Joan Kaye, Kathi Rouselle, Maryellen Lowe, Judy Comings, and Penny Ciaraldi. Despite the odds of being a poor single mother, still working full time, with support from my CCV team, I graduated with a 4.0 and was awarded an Alumni scholarship to attend the EDP Program. I graduated with a BA in Psychology, and then a JSC Master’s Degree in Counseling. From there, I earned a Basic Mediation Certificate from Woodbury College. I received a CCV Honored Alumnae award from Pres. Barbara Murphy. Later, I earned a Ph.D. in Education: Leadership for Higher Education. My career has been a combination of college teaching and administration (formally at CCV), and counseling. I’ve taught more than 1,000 students, on-ground and online, and have served too many counseling clients to count. I am currently in private practice in St.Albans and Enosburgh, Healthy Minds: Counseling, Consultation & Education. CCV was, and always will be, my family.
Memories of CCV circa 1983-1999
(With a little help from Dr. Suess’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away”
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose….”
My first memory of CCV was of the large high ceiling classrooms in the Champlain Mill in Winooski, 2nd floor, northeast corner. Mica DeAngelis had asked me if I was interested in teaching a computer class. My total computer experience had been on our family Apple II. CCV was using PCs. I had never used a PC before but I cavalierly said “Yes”. That first semester I spent more time in the computer lab than my students! Talk about a learning experience.
Tim Donovan was then the Northwest Region coordinator and the person most knowledgeable about computers on the entire CCV staff. I learned a lot from Tim while trying not to let on how much I did not know. Tim claims we were only a few steps ahead of our students back then but from my vantage point and skill level, that was being generous. On some days I was only a day or two ahead of my students. In 1983 windows were still things that allowed light into rooms. DOS was the operating system of the day and it had not been designed with humans in mind. Computers were not networked and the World Wide Web (www) was nonexistent. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spam were unheard of. The lab had one computer for every two, sometimes three students, and the software was loaded onto each computer from 3.5 inch disks, one disk at a time. It took for forever when it worked and even longer when it did not. What kept us going was the excitement of the potential these computers held for learning. That and a great little coffee shop on the first floor of the Mill, a small Vermont company called Green Mountain Coffee Roasters that roasted its own coffee beans right in the building. No K-cups back then but did they create a great coffee aroma on the first floor.
In time CCV outgrew that space and moved to Dorset Street in South Burlington. The staff was excited that there was now an Art studio and science lab. No one seemed to notice that the proximity of the computer lab to the kitchen might be a problem. The little kitchen area, comprised of a microwave, refrigerator and sink, was right outside the computer room door. No food or drinks were allowed in the computer lab but that did not stop the inevitable and irresistible smell of freshly popped popcorn from wafting into the computer room during class. I never succeeded in convincing the staff that this was cruel and unusual punishment and that popcorn popping should be prohibited when computer classes were in session.
Meanwhile it felt like technology and software were evolving and changing by the day. We instructors debated which software we should use to teach – Microsoft Works or WORD, or Word Perfect and how much of the Operating System our students needed to know. We each had our own strongly held opinion as each of us had invested a lot of time in learning and developing classes around the software we knew. And, bless him, Tim, the maker of all software decisions, accommodated all of us. Meanwhile every semester brought software upgrades to all the software, changes we had to adjust to. I envied the people teaching English literature. My lesson plans were never good for more than one semester.
“Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.”
Because we were operating a student lab and the computers were not yet networked, there were no passwords required to use a computer. “Logging In” was a concept yet to be created. One day when no one was looking, a mischievous student who was familiar with computers set a password for each of the lab computers. The first class to arrive the next morning, my class, was totally locked out of the computers as we had no idea what the password might be. Eventually we figured out how to get into the computers and to prevent anyone from thereafter setting a password.
As time went on we again ran out of space. CCV moved to Pearl Street in Burlington to accommodate its continually growing enrollment. By now our computer lab had a computer for each student but we were still loading the software one disk at a time, as many as 30 disks per computer, one computer at a time. It took all day if all went well which it still never did of course. Each student saved their work on a floppy disk but their floppy disk went home with them to be used in multiple unknown computers. One day one of those floppy disks came back to the CCV lab infected and in no time the entire complement of individual computers was infected as the first computer to be infected then transmitted the virus to each new disk that was inserted into its disk drive. None of the computers would start. Classes had to be canceled for a day and the clean up and reinstallation process done all over again. Thereafter anti-virus software, then in its infancy, became a mainstay of our software load.
“You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
While the courses I taught were called such sterile names as “Microcomputer Applications” and “Spreadsheets”, I often thought that whatever specific skills I taught about how to use a particular software at a particular point in time as a tool in learning and in life, were not nearly as important as the problem solving skills we all learned in dealing with such wonderful but problematic machines called computers.
Over the course of the 16 years I had the honor of teaching at CCV, there is no doubt in my mind that I learned far more from my students than they from me. Perhaps that is what has made and continues to make CCV so special.
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
A Reflection on Time at CCV
I still remember the day I interviewed at CCV. I was applying for the post of secretary to the Dean. The central office at that time was over the Howard Bank on the corner in downtown Montpelier, and the “lobby” was outside the elevator where a single chair and a little table with a coffee pot were stationed. As I sat waiting, a tiny woman impeccably dressed in shades of grey came out and got a cup of coffee. She sort of stared at me over her coffee cup and, I admit, I was kind of intimidated.
I interviewed first with Bill Stickney and a woman whose name I don’t remember. After I spoke with them, the woman gave me a typing test. I was surprised and amused. I had many years of experience as an administrative assistant and private secretary. It tickled me that they wanted to be sure I could type! The other funny thing I remember from that day was that I never saw the woman who gave me the typing test again. I’m not sure where she came from, but she wasn’t a regular employee in the office!
After my test, Bill came and got me and introduced me to Myrna Miller, the Dean of the College, and, of course, the woman in grey. My heart sunk. I was sure I would not get the job based on the look she had given me in the outer office! We had a nice chat and I went home and told my husband there was no way I got the job. We were just sitting down to supper when the phone rang and Bill Stickney asked me how soon I could come to work. I guess I passed the typing test and Myrna thought I would be okay.
There are lots of early memories of being at CCV. One of the first was that I remember on my first day Bill showed me my office and all it held was a bare desk, an older electric typewriter, and a chair. I found out later that after my predecessor left everything in the office right down to the stapler had been appropriated by other people!
My office was across from Myrna’s and beside one being used by the “two Michaels,” both of whom were working on a “soft money” project. One was Michael Rothschild and the other Michael Billingsley (not sure that’s his right last name; I can picture him but not his name). I do remember the first thing he said to me: “I’ll tell you my fantasies if you’ll tell me yours.” I declined.
Other staff in the Montpelier office … as far as I can remember … were: Tim Donovan, Bill Stickney, Tim’s secretary, Anne Dodge, Nancy Severance, Jodi Coyle, Dick Eisele, Sarah Carter, Roger Cranse, Dawn Anderson (?). I think we had a receptionist, but can’t remember her name. Not too long after I came to CCV, we hired Lois Hanna to be our receptionist.
I remember really enjoying working for Myrna, who was in my opinion, the most sophisticated woman I’d ever known. Sometimes when she was speaking, she would lower her voice making whoever she was talking to lean in closer because you didn’t want to miss anything. I think some people underestimated Myrna because she was so attractive and sophisticated, but underneath she was warm and incredibly smart and capable … clear, I’m sure from the positions she held after CCV.
Here’s another early memory that almost ended my CCV career in the first week. One of the duties Myrna told me about was to be secretary to the Administrative Council. At that time, the Administrative Council met once a month, as did the College Council and the Academic Review Board. At the end of my first week, I think on Thursday, was the first Administrative Council meeting. The members gathered in the big conference room at the front of the building. As far as I can remember, the members were Myrna, chair of course; Peggy Williams, Northern Region Director; Nancy Chard, Southern Region Director; Tim Donovan, External Programs; maybe Roger Cranse; and Bill Stickney. It seems like someone else was there, but I’m not sure who.
Every one was in the room and seated when Myrna and I walked in. We took our seats, I took out my shorthand notebook, Myrna introduced me. Nancy Chard said “First of all, I don’t want that ______ woman in the room taking notes.” Silence fell. I turned to Myrna and remember thinking whether I spent another day at CCV depended on how she responded. Myrna told Nancy she didn’t care what she wanted because she was the Dean and she wanted minutes taken at meetings and that was that. The meeting proceeded, they all went off to lunch together, and I went and bought myself a bunch of lingerie from the little shop across the street. I figured I deserved it.
Nancy and I became close friends and mutual supporters and I felt she was one of the best people at CCV, but we certainly had a memorable first meeting.
My other duties included taking minutes for the Academic Review Board and the College Council.
The big project those first months was the first Title III grant application. There were many people working on this project and this was in the days before computers so it involved hours and hours of retyping pages. I discovered later that my office had a memory typewriter, but it went to OEP before I arrived.
I began at CCV in January. In early April, Myrna and Bill came to me and told me that one of my duties was to organize the annual commencement ceremony … in June! They told me I could form a committee, but with so little time I declined and put the event together myself … as a matter of fact, it was my own CCV graduation! We held it at the Elks
Not too long after I started at CCV some visitors came to the office from other colleges. I asked Myrna what they were doing and she said sometimes staff visited other colleges. Not having any experience in higher ed, I accepted it, but for some reason it made me uneasy to have them there. I found out not long afterwards that I was right to be uneasy. Myrna had accepted a job as President of Monhegan Community College in CT. I was pretty sad. I really enjoyed working for Myrna and admired her. We planned a great going-away party for her at TopNotch Resort in Stowe. It was a memorable event and was the beginning of Bill Stickney’s last days at CCV.
I continued at CCV and the college undertook a national search for a President. Chancellor Richard Bjork chaired the search committee and acted as president for the college until we filled the position, so I worked for him for a while. I remember being a member of the search committee and helping to organize it. One of the late arriving applications was from Ken Kalb and he became one of the finalists we invited to Montpelier to interview with the search committee. It can still remember Ken’s interview. He was very nervous and very sincere. And, he turned out to be the very best choice we could have made for CCV’s first ever president.
I mentioned the Title III application above. Thanks to the intervention of Senator Bob Stafford, CCV did receive the funding, which I think was for three years. It enabled us to expand our operations around the state and, as everyone knows, we finally grew to 12 satellite offices in Bennington, Brattleboro, White River Junction, Rutland, Middlebury, Burlington, St. Albans, St. Johnsbury, Newport, Morrisville, Montpelier, Springfield.
Not long after Ken became president, we learned that we would be moving to Waterbury. I was devastated; I had a small child and the last thing I wanted was to drive an extra half hour to and from work each day. I thought long and hard and decided to give it a try. I hated the drive, but I loved working at the College so much I made the sacrifice.
I was on the “move committee” for the Waterbury change, and I remember the first time we got a chance to look over our new space in Wasson Hall. It was pretty awful with peeling walls and a generally dismal atmosphere. We decided how to allocate space and what we would need. Over the months it came together. We would have for the first time our own Business Office with Stephanie O’Rourke leading the team.
Here’s a strange story about Wasson Hall that most people don’t know. At some point, it had been a residence for nurses doing training at the State Mental Hospital. I had a good friend who was an R.N. and had actually lived in Wasson during her training. It turned out that the room that eventually became my office was her “dorm” room!
I have so many memories of CCV; most of them wonderful, some downright hilarious. Among my favorites were the after graduation parties we used to have at Sarah Carter’s house. The beer would flow and there was so much laughter and camaraderie. Nancy Chard was always a merry prankster and some of our “adventures” are probably legendary at this point. One time I remember we had an Academic Review Board meeting on St. Patrick’s Day and went to the Thrush Tavern for lunch. The place was packed and the hostess asked us how many in our party when we arrived. We told her and she said are you’re the “X” party (which we weren’t), but Nancy immediately said yes and we were seated. Another time, Nancy and I were in the Grand Union in Montpelier for some reason and Nancy wrote a check for her purchase. The clerk asked her for her GU card number and she rattled it off. When we got outside I asked her why she had a Montpelier Grand Union card. She said she didn’t, she just made up the number on the spot. She was a force of nature, a wonderful friend, and I was devastated when I learned she had passed away and no one had let me know. I miss her still.
It’s impossible for me to write anything about CCV without reflecting on the many roles and responsibilities I had while employed there. I grew as a person and as a professional over my 11 years and took on duties as varied as forming the first alumni group with Maryellen Lowe, doing the first non-grant related fund-raising for scholarships and books, doing all the advertising for the twelve sites, working on all the publications, serving on the Gender Equity Committee, planning many graduations, being Clerk to the Academic Review Board, serving on experiential learning assessment committees, to name a few. It was demanding and I loved it.
As I am writing this I’ve realized something. CCV was more to me than a job. Of course it got me started on my academic career with my Associate Degree, which lead to my Bachelor’s degree from Johnson State College, and my Master of Arts degree from Norwich University. All along the way, I felt enriched and empowered and vastly supported by my colleagues at CCV. Their encouragement and their love and respect were priceless. If my personal life hadn’t taken such a turn, I probably would have ended up retiring from the College; but I had to leave Vermont for my personal emotional survival. I can assure you nothing I found in terms of a workplace ever lived up to my wonderful CCV experiences.
Before I finish this, I want to take the opportunity to mention some particular people because, for me, CCV was all about the people.
I’ve spoken about Myrna Miller. She was more than my boss; she was a cheerleader and a wonderful source of encouragement and inspiration.
Dick Eisele was a great friend and we would spend way too much time talking about personal and intellectual development. He was a great help to me when I was working on my BA from Johnson’s EDP, and I don’t know if I ever thanked him enough.
Jean Coletti started at CCV as the receptionist and grew unbelievably while she was there, eventually becoming responsible for the annual commencement ceremony. I became very close to her and hope I helped her along the way as so many helped me.
Ken Kalb was a great boss and a great friend. I’m sorry we’ve sort of lost touch over the years. He was a source of wonderful support and encouragement for me and told me I could do anything; not only told me but made me believe it.
Michael Sawdey was another special person. He was another who encouraged me and I could always feel was on my side. I was so sad when he left.
There are many, many others who will always stick in my mind for the truly great colleagues and friends they were over the years: Pixley Tyler, Kathi Rousselle, Jan Young, Rhonda Barr, May Bottomley, Maryellen Lowe, Bette Matkowski, Sarah Carter, Anne Dodge, Diane Maccarrio, Joan Kaye, Eric Sakai, David Buchdahl, Nancy Severance, Liz Patch. I know there are lots more, and I apologize if I’ve left someone out.
What I’m trying to say is what everyone knows. CCV is more than a College, more than a business, more than an “institution of higher learning.” For those of us who have been privileged to work there, it has been a family in the best sense of the word. We had our ups and downs but the ups far outweighed the downs. It was an exciting time. It was an honor to be a part of it. Thank you, CCV.
Director of Learning Technologies
Reflections on Online Learning at CCV
It was around 1995 that CCV’s President’s Council found itself glumly acknowledging that we could not deliver all of our academic programs to students at all twelve of our academic centers (then called “site offices”). Access has been the cornerstone of CCV’s mission since our founding in 1970 and the primary reason why we chose to bring the college to communities around the state, rather than requiring students to travel to a central campus. But the reality was that several of our academic centers lacked student populations large enough to support course offerings in all programs. It appeared that we would have to warn students of the need to limit their aspirations to certain degree studies or plan on driving long distances to a larger center.
Fortunately, at about the same time, CCV’s Emerging Technologies Committee (ETC) was exploring a new approach to course delivery. Emboldened by the success of the 1992 Virtual Campus project, which brought the transformative communication medium of email to our far-flung college, the ETC decided that it was time to test the waters in the new field of distance education. Honestly, we had little expertise in academic technology, but at the urging of then-Dean of Administration Tim Donovan, the ETC decided to venture a single online course for the spring 1996 semester.
At the time, there were few models to emulate. Blackboard and Moodle didn’t exist as what are now known as learning management systems, and only a handful of colleges and universities had begun to deliver course materials and instruction online. We ended up cobbling together an online course using electronic bulletin board software and a Web page hand built by a tech-savvy CCV office manager named Megan Tucker.
CCV’s first online course was Introduction to Political Science, taught by the late Bill MacLeay. Because we were launching an untried delivery system, we decided to offer the course free to twenty-five pioneering CCV students, supported in the course by CCV academic coordinator and ETC member Dianne Maccario. We were pleasantly surprised by the success of the course, which included a rather daring experiment with a guest “speaker,” Senator Patrick Leahy, who participated in an online chat session with students.
We took the summer of 1996 to evaluate our experiment and plan three new online courses for the fall semester. In addition to a second offering of MacLeay’s Introduction to Political Science, we added an online section of The Constitution, taught by Anne Buttimer, and a section of Science Fiction Literature, taught by CCV academic coordinator John Christensen. Both Anne and John have been teaching CCV online courses ever since—Anne in criminal justice and John in history. In partnership with Megan Tucker, John has been the guiding light of online learning, growing the program from those three initial offerings to what is now the largest provider of undergraduate online courses in the state of Vermont.
Coordinator of Instruction and Advisement
I just retired from CCV, one month shy of 30 years of working hard and joyfully for a college I love. In 1983 CCV’s mission of access, affordability and quality inspired me to leave a cushy job at UVM and make a real difference in the lives of Vermonters choosing a non-traditional path in higher education
I was one of the first coordinator hired to establish a CCV site in Chittenden County. In the spring of 1983 we had about 30 students, tuition was $88./ per course. By Fall 1983 our site in the Winooski Champlain Mill enrolled 250 students. One of my clearest memories is of the first week of classes that fall. I was working late, helping students find their way to their classroom and selling textbooks. We were mobbed and I was very busy. I quickly realized that our largest class, English Composition had more students that we had chairs for. I hunted for more chairs, knocked on the door of our neighbor VSAC looking for 5 or 6 chairs so students could sit down. No one answered my knock. I quickly jumped in my car and headed home, less than a mile away, at home rounded up every folding chair we had and headed back to CCV. Students were still standing in the back of the classroom, I set down the two chairs that I had carried up and asked a student to help me get the rest. Finally the entire class was seated and the class began. That was the beginning of a rapid rise in enrollment where CCV Winooski would become the largest Academic Center in the college. During those 30 years, we would move our site 5 times to accommodate the growth in students, staff, academic offerings and articulation arrangements with other colleges.
Another meaningful memory for me is working on an articulation agreement with the University of Vermont. In those early days CCV was not openly welcomed in Chittenden County. With five colleges in the area, many thought CCV was not needed. Some colleges were concerned we would take their students. Others felt because our tuition was so low and our faculty was all part-time, that we just could not be a quality institution. But we knew we had a place in this arena and we were interested in partnering with those 4 year colleges. We wanted pathways so our students could receive Bachelor degrees. We began a long, two year process, to convince the University of Vermont it was in their interest and the interest of Vermonters, to develop an articulation agreement. I remember one long meeting with some of the UVM faculty. Barbara Murphy, our academic dean, and Joan Smith , UVM’s academic dean, a few members of UVM’s faculty expressed the concern that CCV students transferring into liberal arts majors at UVM would not be adequately prepared for upper level courses. I collected syllabi and course descriptions for over 200 of our courses to persuade them our courses were indeed academically sound and rigorous. The UVM registrar and academic deans reviewed these materials and they conducted focus groups of CCV students who had successfully transferred. UVM researched the GPAs of the CCV transfers. It was determined that our students were outperforming many of UVM’s traditional students! That fall Judith Ramely, the president of UVM and Barbara Murphy, now CCV’s president, signed an articulation agreement that guaranteed admission to the College of Arts and Sciences and UVM opened their doors wide for CCV students who today transfer successfully and easily.
Finally, I want to speak about the coordinator’s role of overseeing faculty and developing and growing academic departments. When I started at CCV I supervised all the academic disciplines. But as the site grew and new staff were hired, I eventually only had one discipline, Art. I had the opportunity to hire and support many talented and local artists who came into the CCV classroom and inspired our students. Many of those early faculty members from the 1980’s are still teaching at CCV today. During those years we built a ceramics studio starting with donated electric wheels and a kiln set up in a traditional CCV classroom. We developed relationships with Burlington City Arts, glass studios, the UVM Photography Coop, the Shelburne Craft School and UVM’s Fleming Museum. Students’ work from many of these classes is now displayed in the halls of our new building in Winooski. One of my favorite pieces was completed by the Fall 2001 Stained Art class. After the 9/11 attacks students in that class finished a group project , a large glass piece that depicts hands cradling the earth. It is breathtaking and represents to me what CCV was about: community building, access. Outreach, and the many talents of our students. I feel privileged to have completed my career in education at CCV.
Site Office Manager, Montpelier
During the summer of 1991, I began my first class at CCV in Montpelier and it was a Microcomputer Applications course. At that time CCV was located above what was known as the Lobster Pot restaurant (now known as Chef’s Table). There were two students to a computer so we had to share and take our turns. During the week, I would come into the center and do my homework and a kind man with a beard would appear and go into an office whose entrance was through the computer room. He would sometimes come out and wander through the room and ask how things were going. Since our text had some errors, I would ask him a question or two and he would give me some assistance.
The environment was always very friendly and folks seemed great. When I found out that CCV gave out a student card for local discounts, I ventured into the front office and asked for a card. Because I have such a difficult name, my card had to be typed more than once for corrections. During my first semester, I noticed that an opening had come up in the front office and I decided to apply because I felt really comfortable in my new surroundings. Somehow I got an interview even though over 80 applicants applied. They remembered me from the class and from having my card done over.
I interviewed with each coordinator separately in their offices after meeting with the office manager and was then asked to take a typing test on a typewriter. I was a little nervous about this because I had injured my right wrist a few days earlier. Unknown to the CCV staff, I had gone to the hospital earlier and was told that I had to have a cast put on my right arm. I took the typing test and then proceeded back to the hospital for my cast. The next day I was offered a position as a Secretary Receptionist and began my position a week later. I then came to find out three weeks after I began work that the nice man who helped me with my homework was really the Regional Director and new boss, Tim Donovan and not just some computer person.
The first week of work was spent reading manuals which I ended up taking home as we were also in registration mode. After a few days, I remember speaking to the manager and saying I did not think I could do the job and remember everything I had read. Joyce Prosser, the office manager, was really upset because she did not realize I had actually read everything. Speaking of registration, it was interesting and unusual.
We did registration by hand, no computers. We had lined cards where the course name, name and instructor were listed. I entered the student name on the card in pencil if they registered but did not pay and switched to pen if payment received. Registration forms were in triplicate on NCR paper and we kept a copy, one went to the student and another to the business office. If the student did not pay or switched we erased or did white out on the card. Textbooks were sold on a Saturday and we stocked shelves and mailed them back if the course was cancelled or extra books.
Classes were held in Montpelier High School, Spaulding, U32, Bethany Church, Kellogg Library, NECI, National Life or anywhere we could find space. If the schools cancelled due to weather or other instances, we were locked out. There were times nobody notified us for early closings and students arrived to a locked building. There was no food or drink allowed in our rental spaces, and AV equipment was not always available. I took one class at Bethany Church was our accounting instructor, Valerie Edwards, taught from the pulpit. If students were taking three or four courses, they could be taking each class from a different location.
Course and student evaluations were in triplicate forms, NCR, paper and were done on the one computer and printer. We would place the NCR paper in the printer and one of us would have to fold the paper as it came off the printer. If it became off track or was a problem, we would have to start from the beginning. Our computer program at that point was done on Word Star. This was an all day procedure for printing, tearing each form, sorting and giving to faculty. At that time, students did student evaluations on what they had learned and their comments in the course in pen. Faculty did their piece in pen and turned into the advisor who read all of them. After they were read, the office had to tear them into their piles, copy for mailing to student, student file, and business office.
Telephone lines were interesting. We had what we called “tin lines” to call other centers. It was a phone call with delayed speech and we were always interrupting each other. The good part was that it was only four numbers to remember. I believe this kept calling to a minimum on time spent speaking to one another. This was a free service.
In the early 1990s, we used typewriters to sent out cards as reminders. You programmed a message onto the typewriter and spent part of the day, hitting a key and it would type the message. It was very monotonous but it worked and you did not have to constantly type.
We were also strong in those days as we carried new loads of computers off the back of a truck and hauled them up stairs. No indoor service in those days.
Around 1993 or 1994, we moved to a new location which was on the Vermont College of Norwich University and had housed the schooling for military cadets. It was new space with lots of classrooms. The interesting part was our move to our new spot. Eric Sakai had a chain saw and cut bookcases from the walls of our old space and we hauled to our new building. This is when I began my role as an Office Manager. We had a week to adjust to our new space and begin registration and get everything unpacked. Money was really tight and we had one fan for the building and it was placed by our copier. We had two TV’s which we carried up and down the stairs as there was not elevator and no funds to purchase anything else. Our desks were ones were folks had to slip into and we had some with desks and chairs.
CCV instructor (and former Coordinator of Instruction and Advisement)
My favorite Christmas gift
Most of the instructors and staff who work for CCV would say that they do it for the students and the mission and not for the money or the recognition; however, it’s always rewarding when we cross paths with a student years down the road and they tell us the difference that one of our classes made in their lives.
This fortunate event happened to me this past Christmas day and I have to say that it was my favorite gift. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays; however, I woke up Christmas morning feeling like I was coming down with a cold. My husband and I opened our gifts and then drove into St. Albans to pick up my Mom at assisted living to bring her back to my house for Christmas. On the way there, we stopped for gas and I went in to get some cough drops. Behind the counter, a glowing face stared out at me. I recognized the face but couldn’t place from where. I have taught a lot of classes at CCV over the past 25 years and worked at other colleges and I remember my students but not always when and where I met them. Juanita came out from around the counter and gave me a huge hug and said, “Your Transitions class made a huge difference in my life. In fact, it turned my life around. I still have the book, Women and self-esteem that you gave us in class.”
Then I remembered who this was and my heart glowed. Juanita was a student in my Transitions class about 20 years ago. She was 100 pounds thinner which she told me was due to a low carb diet she had been on for a couple of years. She was very happy. Her children were all grown up but remarked at the difference this class had made in their Mom’s life. Transitions is a Reach- up program for single Mom’s. CCV had received a grant submitted by David Buchdahl to serve this population of single parents going back to school to receive training for the workforce. I had been a coordinator for CCV in both the Burlington and St. Albans sites and I was hired to administer this program which included designing a life skills class. We discussed everything from self- esteem building, to managing your finances, to how to dress for success. It was a comprehensive program in which we helped students get transportation to college, childcare while in class, clothes they needed for school and work, and whatever else was needed to help them to be successful.
When Juanita completed the program, she went on and took other courses in the medical assisting field, but what was most important to her was that she raised her children, built her confidence, and felt good about herself and her ability to contribute to the workforce.
This made my day and my year. The work we do at CCV is not usually immediately rewarded. We do a lot on faith and a belief that if we keep offering support and guidance in an academically rigorous institution, our students will be successful and happy contributing citizens. I believe this works without always seeing the results. However, it sure feels good when the results are tangible. Thanks CCV for continuing to provide me with a challenging and fulfilling work experience and most importantly, for encouraging the success of all students.
Former Director, CCV Library
With A Little Help From Our Friends
There is a fire burning not far from my home in Prescott, Arizona and the prospects for near-by homes are not very good. Ironically, it is a reminder that once it was ice, not fire, that provided the challenges to life and limb in the fair state of Vermont.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
With a nod to Robert Frost
“Fire And Ice”
When I joined the staff as a Coordinator of Instruction in Brattleboro in 1976,there was, indeed, an icy chill in the air when it came to Considering Community College of Vermont a legitimate college. For one, the College provided no library and research service to students and instructors. Instructional sites were far from each other and during a typical Vermont winter, it was virtually impossible to share information resources in a timely manner. No internet, no e-mail, no databases, but most of all no cooperative agreements with college libraries in the state to provide all Vermont students access to information sources on an equal basis. The challenge: get it together, get people to talk and plan, just get going. Build a state library network.
“How does a campus-free college, which is spread all over the state of Vermont, provide its students with library services? To a large extent, it’s done with wires.” (Dennis Lindberg, Addison County Independent, March 11, 1987) The planning for a state-wide automated library system had begun in 1982 when a system-wide assessment group was assembled by the Vermont State Colleges Chancellor to conduct a detailed assessment of Vermont State College library and information services. How to provide library services to CCV was one of the driving forces in this joint planning project. Membership consisted of representatives from each of the five state colleges, and the assessment process took into consideration the quality and quantity of collections as well as ratings of how they supported each college’s general education program.
The assessment took nearly a year, and in July 1983 the Group produced a 38 page report for the Board of Trustees proving that Vermont State College libraries were weak when compared to ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) standards. (Dennis Lindberg, Vermont State Colleges Library Assessment Report, Waterbury, VT., 1983). The next step was for the Chancellor to appoint a system-wide Task Force on Library Development in the Fall of 1983 to address the following recommendations:
There should be parity between on-campus and off-campus
Programs in requirements for and use of library/information
The system will have a single, joint on-line catalog as one node in a network also including the University of Vermont, Middlebury College and the State Department of Libraries;
Increased reference services will include reference librarians
for the Community College of Vermont (CCV);
A joint serials list will be developed;
There will be a five year coordinated collection catch-up program to add 15,000 volumes per year to system holdings, including small reference collections for CCV site offices.
Costs were projected to be $2.6 million in one-time (capital) funds, and increments to the annual operating budget to total $561 thousand.
Four years later, Community College was able to offer an unusual variety of library services to its patrons. Twelve site reference collections were begun in the spring of 1985, and further developed during the following year bringing the volume total to approximately 7,000 in 1987. These collections were never designed to be mini-libraries to fill all the research needs of students. Instead, they were laboratories for learning library/research skills. (Eileen Chalfoun, “Off Campus Library Services Community College of Vermont,” The Off-Campus Library Services Conference Proceedings, Reno, Nevada, 1986:61). Classes in research and writing skills were held in these reference library spaces. “I saw a student sitting cross-legged on the floor of the resource room studying and thought ‘a real college.’ (Pres. Barbara Murphy, nd) Internally, CCV created small resource rooms in each site with basic reference collections, part-time resource librarians, bibliographic instruction (now called information literacy skills), and soon after computers to access information to SCOLAR (database of College resources.)
Direct reference service was provided to students scattered around the state by means of a WATS line into the office of its library coordinator. No fees were charged to students for this service. Telefacsmile transmission of information from seven site offices to four state college campus libraries was also provided.
IRIS (Instructional Resource and Information System) was a computer program designed to assist the College’s instructors in sharing successful and exciting teaching techniques, classroom materials, exercise, books, videos, films, filmstrips, journal articles, bibliographies, and guest speakers. Each site office library was equipped with a microcomputer, printer and software to enable instructors to access at their convenience.
Of special interest was the bibliographic instruction manual, Biblio-Tech, planned and written by CCV staff in 1985 especially for students in a non-campus setting. The book covered topics such as retrieving and using information, helpful hints for conducting research, information search strategies, computers in the library, research terminology, and library research facilities. The book was addressed to students, and allowed them to follow the steps to doing careful research without the strict guidance of an instructor. In retrospect the strategies introduced the skills now described by ACRL as Information Literacy Standards.
During the academic year orientations and workshops were held to explain the College’s library system. Specific courses in research and writing were listed in the college catalog, and arranged for students. Staff development days were held on a yearly basis. Site Coordinators worked with instructors to incorporate research objectives into course descriptions, and panned formal library instruction periods for students each semester. Information literacy standards remained as the largest goal in library planning, and the staff continued to experiment with ways of providing information electronically without sacrificing the value of close human interaction, and the serendipity of traditional library browsing.
In December of 1986 Vermont’s governor, Madeleine M. Kunin, officially cut the computer ribbon which activated the state’s Automated Library System. This momentous occasion marked a milestone in the joint planning efforts of the Vermont Department of Libraries, VermontStateColleges, MiddleburyCollege, and the University ofj Vermont to bring the on-line catalog and automated circulation to the citizens of the state of Vermont. The governor noted that the “machine age has [sic] begun in earnest.” (“Governor Cuts Ribbon On Computer,” Department of Libraries News, 1987:1). The truth of the matter is that the College could not have come very far without a little help from friends.
In an attempt to improve cooperation among the Vermont State Colleges, CCV’s Library Director served as Interim Library Director of Vermont Technical College. A plan was developed to create a central library in Randolph with a Central Librarian to provide service to CCV students around the state. A well written plan with assessment, goals and intended outcomes was presented to the presidents of CCV and VTC, and tabled for a number of years until implementation became feasible. (1994)
Your droll humor and style
Are a fact plain to see;
You make it fun working;
Filing cards at CCV.
I’m sure you can’t guess
Who wrote this corny rhyme.
(HINT: I’m in the Resource Room
Having a great time!)
So keep those cards and books coming
And the C.O. at bay
And have a fantastic Valentine’s Day!
Anonymous (to this day!)
And this is why CCV is dear to so many, in times of both fire and ice.