2017 CCCSAA Professional Development Conference
Now Accpeting CCCSAA Student Scholarships Applications
CCCSAA Student Leadership Scholarships are now available. As a benefit to your CCCSAA membership, you have the opportunity to nominate two student leaders for a $500 scholarship! The deadline to submit your nominations is Friday, March 24th.
CCCSAA offers annual scholarships to students making a difference on their college campus and in their community through their leadership and involvement. A state-wide scholarship committee reviewed and scored applications, GPAs, leadership essays, community involvement, and a recommendation letter from their advisor. The CCCSAA Student Leadership Scholarships are awarded to currently enrolled Community College students involved in campus leadership. Applicants must be from a California Community College with an Advisor who is a Current Member of CCCSAA. Before submitting, you will need to collect some information from your students so we encourage you to work with your students early so they don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Ten (10) scholarships at $500.00 each will be awarded
Click here for more information
Working Memory and Mind Wandering
Working memory basically amounts to how much information you can hold temporarily in mind – like the five names of people in a group you’ve been introduced to. (Wait, was the first one Jack?) Working memory, as it turns out, has a counterintuitive relationship with both intelligence and creativity.
Intelligence is often equated to the strength of your working memory [Note 24]. People with steel-trap minds – strong working memories – often have the enviable ability to hold many aspects of a problem in their head at once. This leads to easier problem-solving. A person with a limited working memory, on the other hand, must find a way to simplify complex topics to work with them. The process of finding ways to simplify can be tedious and time-consuming. But surprisingly, research has shown there’s a hidden benefit – people with less capable working memories are more likely to see shortcuts and have conceptual breakthroughs. It seems the “smarter” person with large and retentive working memory sometimes has less incentive to see the material in newer, simpler ways [Note 25].
There’s another drawback to having a steel-trap mind. If you can understand something by easily holding ten steps in mind at once, your tendency is to explain it to others in ten-step fashion – even if people tend to become lost after step three. Steel-trap brilliance, in other words, can make it harder to teach others, especially if your steel-trap mind is coupled with a “doesn’t suffer fools gladly” mentality. In Adam’s case, he’s got a teaching advantage. As he notes, once he comes to the point where he understands something, he can generally explain it so anybody can understand it. There are other advantages to having a limited working memory. The ideas you want so badly to hold in mind may float away despite your best efforts – to be replaced randomly by other ideas, thoughts, and sensations. This may sound less than ideal, but this is also what underpins creativity [Note 26]. Poor working memory, incidentally, is often correlated with attention deficit disorder, so if this condition is making school tougher for you, it’s important to realize it also gives you advantages [Note 27].
You may argue that a strong working memory not only helps with problem-solving – it helps as well with getting good grades. But research has shown that there is a counter-correlation between school grades and creativity [Note 28]. The better your grades, in other words, sometimes means the worse your creativity [Note 29]. It may simply be that disagreeable people are more willing to be brats – to throw aside the compliant, deferential demeanor of their more agreeable peers. Looking back at Adam’s wild streak as a youngster, it’s possible that it was just a manifestation of his creativity.
Incidentally, enhancing your working memory can be tough. Exercises to build working memory may strengthen your ability to do that particular task, but they often don’t seem to build the overall capacity of working memory itself [Note 30]. Only one set of programs, those by BrainHQ, seem to reliably increase working memory [Note 31]. This program won’t turn you into a genius, but it does appear to improve memory, processing speed, and general cognition, in some sense stopping or reversing the mental clock as you age. We’ll discuss BrainHQ further in Chapter 8.
Whether the effect is small or large, there appears to be a surprising side benefit from such exercises: They seem to improve mood – decreasing feelings of anger, depression, and fatigue [Note 32]. Rather than dampening the cantankerous amygdala, these exercises reduce activity in the anger-modulating apparatus of the insula. This is a part of the brain that allows us to experience not only pain, but a number of the basic emotions, including anger, fear, disgust, and happiness. Working memory related exercises may give us stronger mental “muscles” for cognitively managing emotional stimuli. Since learning frequently entails exercises like those used to enhance working memory, this may help explain why adopting a learning lifestyle can just plain make us feel better.
The hidden good side of a poor working memory
When you might be struggling to hold something difficult in mind as you are trying to understand it, remind yourself that your struggles may well arise in tandem with your creativity. You wouldn’t want to trade your creative streak, even if it does mean that sometimes you need to work a little harder!
Notes & References
24. Ackerman, et al., 2005; Conway, et al., 2003.
25. DeCaro, et al., 2015.
26. Lv, 2015; Takeuchi, et al., 2012; White and Shah, 2006.
27. Patros, et al., 2015; Rapport, et al., 2009.
28. Simonton, 2004.
29. See Ellis, et al., 2003, who notes: “Agreeable team members, who by definition are compliant and deferent, may more readily accept the opinion of their team members uncritically in order to avoid argument.”
30. Melby-Lervag and Hume, 2013.
31. Smith, et al., 2015 – there’s about a 4 percent increase which, as related research shows, appears to be lasting. A list of up-to-date research publications on BrainHQ’s memory-related programs is maintained here.
Review the CCCSAA's Guiding Principles (DRAFT)
Click here to download the CCCSAA’s Guiding Principles (DRAFT), a document that the Board of Directors has been working on since the start of 2017. The mission, vision, and guiding principles will help future boards lead the association and inform them how to move forward with programming initiatives and partnerships.
We are seeking your input and guidance on finalizing the guiding principles. Here are some questions that will facilitate this process:
Thank you in advance
CCCCO Food and Housing Insecurity Survey
“The California Community College Chancellors Office recently distributed a brief survey to various constituent groups in the system to assess how well students are able to meet their basic needs, including having regular access to food and housing. The survey also requested information regarding college’s readiness to support students in need of these resources.
Predictably, California Community Colleges faculty and staff from across the state, confirm that students are being increasingly impacted by issues of food insecurity, housing displacement and unmet financial needs. Of the 442 system faculty and staff survey responses, 90 percent agreed or strongly agreed that their students were experiencing food insecurity and 93 percent agreed or strongly agreed that their students were experiencing housing instability. Only 20 percent of respondents reported their students knew how to access local resources to address these needs and only 15 percent reported that their campuses were adequately prepared to support their students experiencing food and housing insecurities. Additional survey data indicated that California community colleges are attempting, in various capacities, to address the unmet basic needs of their students by offering a variety of services and resources including:”