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STAFF STORIES: Mark Knoernschild

A Personal Memory — Mark Knoernschild

My twenty-five years of teaching English at Fullerton College have rolled by, years dominated by department and division leaders who set great store by the great tradition in education, but also on transformation. Two personalities from then illustrate how a single change can grow. In 1991, Humanities Division Dean Janet Portolan, and the English Department chair Lois Powers recruited me to be the first English teacher in the Puente Project—a transfer achievement program focusing on first generation college students. Well, for me, the result was many rewarding years of extensive training at Puente seminars—all focused on how to help students succeed by having an English instructor team up with a counselor. Today I can see the roots of the Puente Project’s idea of the teacher-counselor partnership constantly helping to shape new projects such as the Transfer Achievement Program and the Entering Scholars Program. Well that is the legacy of the last century—tradition and innovation working together. Way to go Janet! Way to go Lois!

My department has continued to change in other ways over the years: We have had a succession of leaders: Lis Leyson became chair in 1992; John Orr followed, then Phil Mayfield, and Jeanne Costello after him. Each has contributed to our growth and focus. In 1988, the department had something more than 20 full time faculty, and about as many adjuncts teaching together about 160 classes; now there are 35 full time and well over 60 adjuncts teaching 260 or more courses every semester.