Faculty-to-Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Shep Shepard

Faculty-to-Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Shep Shepard

FSCJ has the best and brightest faculty who are committed to providing meaningful and rewarding educational experiences for our students.

As a way to continue the 2015-16 theme of “engagement,” Dr. Angela Browning will be highlighting the extraordinary work of a faculty member each month to share his/her teaching and engagement techniques, professional development, community service and unique College contributions.

This month’s spotlight is Dr. Shep Shepard, professor of English at Nassau Center.

Engaging with and supporting students:

“Perhaps the most important teaching change I have made in my 13-year career is when I began using a writing workshop approach to teaching composition. I always enjoyed the atmosphere in the figure drawing and art classes I took at FCCJ South Campus before I went back to graduate school, when students would work at their easels and the professor would go around and provide feedback, sometimes even taking the brush or pencil and adding to the art itself.

“I thus have students draft papers at their computers for every writing assignment, and I go around and assist them, asking pertinent questions, reviewing their outlines and making grammar and syntax suggestions. Often they will help each other as well. This collaborative atmosphere puts many of the students at ease; it also forces them not only to go through the process of writing but to dedicate at least a few hours to their papers.

“I follow this up with peer-reviewing exercises and then encourage revisions, so by the time a final product is composed, the motivated student has something he or she can be proud of and something that testifies to the importance of the writing process, from prewriting through outlining and drafting to editing and revision.”

Reimagining Course Assignments:

“My ENC 1102 course explores the ways American identity is conceived, constructed and reflected in the media productions all around us. We investigate media and culture’s curiously reciprocal relation, and we spend some class time highlighting the ways the limits between entertainment and reality are never easy to identify. To this end, we discuss both traditional entertainment and advertising as well as the self-consciously ironic marketing techniques that play upon the wary millennial consumer’s inherent awareness of advertising to sell ideas and products in ever more savvy ways.

“We also talk about the rise of the antihero on cable and network serials as well as in cinema, the marketing of rebellion, the prevalence of schadenfreude on reality TV and the complicated nature of desire as it relates to gender identity and political positions. We discuss libertarianism, socialism and the entire political spectrum as it relates to the cultural productions we encounter every day, and this gives them a newfound perspective on the ideological clashes that dominate even the most seemingly innocuous shows, movies and video games they frequently enjoy.

“This focus on ideological programming and semiotics affords an opportunity to review the role that external cultural forces play in defining selfhood. Our class discussions can lead to some pretty interesting places, especially when one considers the political repercussions such a radical rethinking of personhood can have (conceptions of justice centered on traditional notions of personal responsibility suddenly appear to be ideological rather than natural or inherently true). Students then use their papers to further explore these issues, writing on themselves as constructed beings enmeshed in a web of social signs and exploring television, advertising and cinema as hotbeds of sociopolitical messages and reflections of American cultural attitudes.”

Engaging with the College:

  • Edited 26th ITL Conference Papers for publication on conference website
  • Co-chaired Letters’ Council/LLC committee for developing shared assessment artifacts for LLC
  • Member of committee for reimagining North Campus Art Gallery/Center for Holistic -Engagement (will be presenting/facilitating Socrates Cafe in March: “Hospitality: Love and Loss in the Great Wide Open”)
  • Developed, with instructional designer Inez Whipple, multimedia lesson/lab on writing for SLS0005 for Open Campus

Engaging with the community:

  • Sponsoring/spearheading the Nassau Center Creativity Collective at Nassau Center (student club for creative writing, filmmaking and sequential art), which will involve helping students produce works over the summer
  • Attended College and Career Night Tuesday with other full-time Nassau Center faculty and spoke to several potential FSCJ students from the community

Other interests:

  • Works as an artist for the comic “Exogenesis,” written by Michael Westhelm
  • Member of the trashy rock band Gluteus Rex

*Tell me about the engaging activities in which you and your students are involved. Email angela.browning@fscj.edu with information about your class or a colleague’s.