DIANA (KIRCHEN) KELLY
What brought you or your family to Fullerton or Orange County?
My dad was transferred to Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton when it was just getting started, so we moved to Fullerton when I was two years old.
Explain why you chose to work at Fullerton College.
Fullerton College was my “home” college because I had grown up in Fullerton and had been a student at the college (see my Alumni story), so when the opportunity came up to apply for a job as a faculty member, I jumped at the chance! Also—the Fullerton College radio broadcasting program was (and still is) and excellent program which has successfully prepared many students (including myself) for careers in radio.
In what areas of the college were you engaged?
From September 1980 through December 1993 I was a full-time faculty member in the Radio/TV program which included three full-time faculty: one who taught primarily television classes, one who taught both radio and television classes, and me — I taught radio classes. We all taught the “Intro to Broadcasting” class which met a general education requirement for any student, and was a foundation course for Radio/TV majors. As the only full-time faculty member in radio broadcasting, I also taught classes in Radio Studio Operations, Radio/Audio Production, Radio/TV Announcing, Radio Interviewing, and Radio Music Programming. In the summers of 1981 and 1982 we also offered a special travel course: Broadcasting in Britain. We visited the BBC and several local radio stations while travelling in London and England. We also had many outstanding part-time faculty who taught one or two classes in the Radio program while working full-time as broadcasters.
From 1989–1991 I was the first “Staff Development Coordinator” for Fullerton College, following the new Staff Development funding that came from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. During this time I continued to teach one class each semester while carrying out my responsibilities in coordinating the Staff Development program for full-time and part-time faculty and working with Classified (support) staff to support professional development specific to their needs. I conducted many workshops on teaching and learning strategies, provided orientations for new part-time faculty, and made arrangements for keynote speakers for college convocations at the start of each semester. Thomas A. Angelo (known for “Classroom Assessment Techniques”) and Vincent Tinto (known for his work on student retention strategies) were among the speakers who came to Fullerton College.
Describe what the college was like and your principal interests during your year(s) at the college. During your time at Fullerton College, who were people you had friendships with, were inspired by, or in some way made a difference in your time here, and why?
My principal interest when I first started teaching at Fullerton College was radio broadcasting. For the first two years I taught, I continued working part-time on the air at KWIZ-AM radio to keep current in the radio broadcasting field. With my broadcasting faculty colleagues, I went to the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention every year to learn about new developments in the field so I could incorporate this new information into my classes. I was also very involved in our Radio Program Advisory Committee which included a number of high profile radio broadcasters from Los Angeles and Orange County.
Over time, my interest gradually shifted to focus more on teaching and learning and the study of higher education. I started my graduate work at the Claremont Graduate University in 1986, focusing on adult learning and higher education. My Master’s Thesis, completed in 1990, was a comprehensive study of the part-time faculty at Fullerton College, focusing particularly on their professional development interests and needs. This research fit well with my new role as “Staff Development Coordinator” (described above). I continued my graduate work toward my Ph.D. and completed a dissertation about the impact of “Classroom Assessment Techniques” (brief questions and exercises to check on student learning) on adult learners in evening classes and on the faculty who used the techniques. By 1993 when I finished my Ph.D. I had decided to move forward in my career into a new role in administration at another college, focusing on adult and lifelong learning.
What were some of the biggest changes or most significant events that took place during your time at the college?
- March 1984 — My husband and I purchased the new “MacIntosh” computer when it first came out. We wanted to use a computer in developing course materials and handouts, and the Mac seemed easier to use than the Apple IIE that was in the Communications Division office. Before this time, we typed all of our course materials on a typewriter and usually made ditto copies for our students by typing directly onto ditto paper and then running it through the purple ditto machine. The Mac was challenging to use after having used a typewriter since the late 1960’s, but I eventually got used to it. It had a total memory of 125K, used small floppy disks for storage, and included two programs “MacWrite” and “MacPaint.” A couple of years later, we upgraded the computer to 512K and figured that was all the memory we would ever need…
- Fall 1984 — The 1984/85 academic year was the first time tuition fees were introduced in the California Community Colleges. Tuition was $5 per unit, up to a maximum of $50 per semester. Prior to this, tuition was free. As a result of this new tuition, enrollment at Fullerton College dropped 12 percent in Fall 1984, as enrollments also dropped at other community colleges.
- August 31 1988 — The 75th Anniversary celebrations for Fullerton College started, with a variety of events throughout the 1988-89 year to commemorate the anniversary.
- September 1988 — Assembly Bill 1725 was signed into law in September 1988. A.B. 1725 resulted in major changes to all California Community Colleges, including greater participation of faculty in institutional governance. This law also provided a Community College Faculty and Staff Development fund, to be dispersed to each college. Because colleges had to follow certain regulations related to the use of these funds, by Fall 1989 each college needed to select a “Staff Development Coordinator” who co-chaired the “Staff Development Committee” which was made up of all campus staff constituent groups. As described earlier, I felt very fortunate to have been selected for this role.
What advice do you have for our current students?
- Have a goal for your education — a reason for attending college in the first place. “My parents told me to go to college” isn’t a goal! Think of yourself — what career do you want in the future? If you’re not sure, make an appointment with the Career Center to explore career options immediately (in your first semester). Then declare a “major” officially, with your counselor.
- Meet with your counselor to develop a two-year Education Plan in your first semester at the college, outlining what classes you need to take each semester. If you stick to your plan, and complete every class successfully, you will be finished in two years.
- Take advantage of all of the great support services offered at Fullerton College: Counseling, Career Advising, Tutoring, Library, and (most importantly!) the office hours of your instructors.
- Enjoy your time at Fullerton College — get involved clubs, activities, or internships related to your major, meet other students through the student activities, and focus on being a student!
Dates/Years at Fullerton College:
Full-time faculty member in Radio/TV Broadcasting — Sept. 1980 – Dec. 1993
- June 1987 — Selected participant (with Ted Stumpf, Business faculty) for the California Community Colleges “Vocational Great Teachers” Seminar.
- 1988-89 — Content consultant, “The Adult Learner” faculty development videotapes, funded by the California Community Colleges Fund for Instructional Improvement.
- March 1989 — Recipient of the annual Hausa-Fisk Award to the most outstanding student in the study of Higher Education, Claremont Graduate University.
- Fall 1989-Spring 1991 — Staff Development Coordinator, Fullerton College.
- May 1990 — Teacher of Distinction Award, Fullerton Institute of Religion, Fullerton College.
- May 1990 — M.A. Education, emphasis on the study of Higher Education, Claremont Graduate University.
- 1990-91 — Grant received for Practitioner-Based Research Project “The Effects of Classroom Research by Part-time Faculty upon the Retention of Adult Learners” — National Center on Adult Learning, SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY.
- March 1991 — Winner, Annual Graduate Student Paper Competition, National Association of Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors.
- 1991-92 — Grant received from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Fund for Instructional Improvement for this project: “Part-time and Evening Faculty: Promoting Teaching Excellence for Adult Evening College Students.”
- 1991-93 — Grant received from Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Special Project — “Faculty Workshops on Adult Pedagogy” – California Statewide project.
- February 1992 — Selected Participant (with strong encouragement from Jane Armstrong) — Asilomar Women’s Leadership Skills Seminar, California Community Colleges.
- April 1992 — Invited participant, Research Forum of the American Association of Higher Education, Chicago, IL
- May 1992 — Fullerton College Staff of Distinction Award, Excellence in Teaching and Contribution to Field.
- May 1993 —– Ph.D. in Education, emphasis on the study of Higher Education, Claremont Graduate University.
- January 1994 — September 1999 – Associate Dean, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Cuyamaca College, El Cajon (San Diego County)
- August 1996 — Cuyamaca College President’s Award, Outstanding Manager.
- June 1997 — Selected participant, Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
- 1997-98 — Grant received for Practitioner-based Research Project “Adult Learers in Weekend College — A Longitudinal Study over 10 years” from the National Center on Adult Learning, SUNY Empire State College, New York.
- September 1999 — Completed Certificate in Online Teaching, UCLA.
- September 1999 — September 2003 – Learning Development Officer/Head of Lifelong Learning, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland.
- September 2003–April 2004 — Director of the Center for Academic Practice and Student Learning, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
- May 2004–July 2007 — Consultant and part-time faculty, M.A. in Academic Practice program, City University, London, UK
- 1989–2007 — Numerous conference presentations and published articles and book chapters on a variety of higher education topics: Classroom Assessment Techniques, Adult Learning, Adult learners in vocational programs, Underprepared Students, Learning Paradigm, Learner-Centered Curriculum, Weekend College, Faculty Development, Part-time Faculty, Online Learning, Learning Styles.
- September 2007–June 2008 — Dean, School of Liberal Arts, San Diego Miramar College
- November 2009–present (2013) — Staff Development Coordinator, Southwestern College, Chula Vista (San Diego County)