Berkshire Community College

images-4I’ve spent Fall 2014 of my sabbatical year from Williams College at Berkshire Community College as Visiting Professor (teaching developmental algebra) and Special Assistant to the President. I went because I had gradually come to feel that community colleges are where education meets the future, with the full diversity of students of all ages, backgrounds, interests, histories, part time and full time, soon to comprise a majority of all American college students. ellen-kennedy-11-2014I went because I loved the president (Ellen Kennedy) for her understanding of the place, her vision for the future, her humble openness in dealing with everyone. I taught beginning developmental algebra (MAT 028)  because it is the most problematic course, the major barrier to students’ making it to graduation, a course in which a third of the students withdraw, a third fail, and only a third pass.

Despite the lack of funds and the challenges faced by students, faculty, and staff, everyone loves the place and its possibilities. It was an honor and a joy to be part of it. See guest blog posts by my generous colleagues Donna Kalinowsky, math chair Nancy Zuber, and Fayette Reynolds.

k10315I had two Williams colleagues and friends down to visit. Ed Burger, now President of Southwestern University, spoke on “The Five Elements of Effective Thinking.Colin Adams did his “Zombies and Calculus“; see his Nova Video 1 and Video 2. I established a high school speakers bureau. I ran a Friends of Math luncheon series. I organized a bus trip of over forty students, faculty, and staff to visit the Museum of Mathematics in New York City. I wrote a Huffington Post blog on “Adding Fractions.”

I was interviewed on Rick Chrisman’s “1350 West Street” local TV show, Part 1 and Part 2.


Derek Carroll describes his path toward a PhD in astrophysics.

Nontraditional student talks about how BCC  has restarted her life.

Engineering student makes a name for himself in the Old Spice ad campaign.

Four students summarize how to study at breakfast.

Deciding to enroll at age 41.

Three Berkshire Community College Ambassadors.

One Comment

  1. Wenhui Chen (Deven):

    Can remember how many times Professor Zuber mentioned how intellectual you are on classes. Really enjoyed the two classes you substituted. I still have the image of a chain of beads jumping off a bowl in my mind. Then it followed by an airplane taking off.(Probably it’s because you said on that class, that’s the most impressive thing you had even seen in your life.)I was lucky had attended most of the evens you organized. If fall semester 2014 is a productive one for me, it’s more valuable and memorable, because of you!