We’d like to take a moment and recognize our newest employees to Green River. Please take a moment to learn more about them, in their own words.
Please tell everyone your new title and a little bit about your professional background.
Greetings! My name is Emily Beals, and my new title at GRC is “Accelerated Composition Specialist: English Faculty.” I am certainly excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work! I graduated with my Masters of Arts degree with Distinction in Composition Theory from California State University, Fresno in May 2016 where I was part of a dynamic teaching pedagogy training program. For my three years working on my graduate degree, I was able to work as the instructor of record for numerous transfer-level composition courses, as well as the university’s meaningful Summer Bridge and Early Start programs.
My thesis, The Contemplative Composition Classroom: Ontological Pedagogy for Meaningful Reading and Writing, continues to guide the Contemplative and Compassionate pedagogical practices I implement within each of my classes. This study includes qualitative and quantitative data research from actual composition courses that reveals the incredible benefits of such implementation, especially within the first year writing classroom. By creating these contemplative spaces within the writing classroom, the NCTE’s Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing is advanced in practical and surprising ways. This can especially be seen when examining the Framework’s “Habits of Mind”: Curiosity, Openness, Engagement, Creativity, Persistence, Responsibility, Flexibility, and Metacognition (NCTE 4-5). In fact, the research I’ve done on this topic has led to my more recent and current areas of study: 1. The applications of contemplative practices for the composition instructor, and 2. The adaptation and inclusion of mindfulness-based practices to the grading contract construct.
My academic involvement has provided an excellent platform for social justice activities especially during my graduate school career when I worked as the Statewide President for UAW Local 4123, the union that represents all the Teaching Associates, Graduate Assistants, and Instructional Student Aides within the entire California State University system (24 universities!). During my tenure as the president of the Local, I led the organization of membership to the eventual contract negotiations and implementation of Teaching Associate Tuition Waivers for the Cal State, Fresno campus – a first time in the school’s 100+ year history. This monumental event started a grassroots movement for the inclusion of same policy throughout the other Cal State Universities – a movement that is changing the equitability and fair labor practices for graduate student employees throughout the state. I continue to look for ways I can become involved in the advocacy of equitability and rights especially throughout the academic arena.
What drew you to apply to Green River?
Not only does the job completely reflect me and my experience, but GRC is in the area of the country where my husband and I have been longing to relocate. This is especially true since my youngest son, Tyler, plays football and is attending Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. I’m a football mama down to my core, so being only 3 hours away from him will allow me to attend those games on Saturdays. I could keep listing all the ways GRC drew me in, but, simply put, everything I read about, all the staff I’ve met, and all the students I have been privileged to speak with ALL radiate with the energy and purpose that aligns with my teaching and my personality. I can’t wait to get up there and get to meet everyone!
On the car ride to work, what do you listen to?
What I listen to on my way to work varies greatly on what kind of mood I’m in that morning. Sometimes I prefer silence as I use that time to focus my thoughts for the day ahead; other times I feel like l need to know what’s going on in the world, so I might tune into NPR or BBC News; then other times, I might want to sing my heart out, in which case, you’ll find me listening to (and singing along with) Michael Franti & Spearhead, Train, or Alanis Morissette (Michael Franti is my all-time favorite!).
What was the very first job you ever had?
My first literal job was as a professional singer when I was only 9-years old – I continued singing professionally all my life (but that’s another story and is best told over a few glasses of wine or a couple beers!). My very first traditional job, however, was as a babysitter. Babysitting earned me all my spending money from the time I was 12 until I got my first “real” job at The House of Fabrics – a fabric store in the local mall in Huntington Beach, California, where I grew-up. As an interesting side note, I actually received my very first paycheck as a professional singer when I was only 9-year old!
What about your new position is most exciting for you?
There are so many exciting things about this new position. I should probably say a bunch of pedagogical stuff here, but, in all honesty, the MOST EXCITING thing about it is that it’s actually a tenure track position at an AMAZING college where I know I can learn, grow, and evolve in my teaching and leadership skills.
What is one thing you’d love to accomplish in your first year at Green River?
In my first year at GRC, I’d love to start a faculty mindfulness meditation group AND a student mindfulness and self-compassion group. I’d also like to accomplish a strong start for my first year in my tenure process, gain some insights about how to implement a service-based writing course, and engage in several meaningful committees on campus.
What three accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?
My three accomplishments: 1. My two amazing sons, Garrett and Tyler; 2. Overcoming incredible adversity after the death of my first husband; and 3. Completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees with high honors as a non-traditional student all while raising two children and working several jobs (if I had a 4th – taking a risk on an online dating site where I met my fabulously wonderful current husband of 9 years – without his encouragement I would not have had the courage to complete my degrees).
If your coworkers were to give you an office nickname, what would that be? Why?
(I had to actually ask my coworkers about this one!)
One of my coworkers, who shared an office with me for 3-years and then we continued adjuncting together, always calls me “Mama B.” When I asked him why he calls me that, he responded with this kind remark, “You have a very nurturing spirit and you are always there to listen and give advice to both your colleagues and your students.” Another coworker responded to this statement by saying, “Yep, Jacob has dialed in perfectly to your nickname!” So, I’m sticking with it, even though it kind of makes me feel old, let’s go with “Mama B!”
For Green River’s annual talent show (this doesn’t actually exist), what hidden talent would you showcase for everyone?
As mentioned previously, I was (and occasionally STILL am) a professional singer. What I didn’t mention was that I also play piano and write songs. And, for the record, I think it totally SHOULD exist!
If G.R.E.E.N. where an acronym for something, what would each letter stand for?
G – Green
R – River:
E – Excellent
E – Education
N – Non-stop!!!!