Thursday, August 23, 2012

Faculty Senate honors outstanding colleagues

Gail Beckwith and DSC President
Carol W. Eaton
Daytona State College’s Faculty Senate this month honored four educators and one staff member for outstanding achievement and service to students.

Gail Beckwith, an administrative assistant in the School of Mathematics, received the Faculty Senate’s Instructional Support and Encouragement Award, which recognizes career employees and administrators who demonstrate exceptional responsiveness to faculty needs.  This award recognizes those efforts that demonstrate an understanding and concern for the challenges faced by faculty as they strive to meet the complex educational needs of both the institution and the students. These efforts will be demonstrated in a variety of ways as demanded by the individual circumstances. Beckwith was cited for ability to solve problems, navigate through bureaucratic channels and enhance morale.
Lakisha Holmes
Lakisha Holmes received the Les Simons Award for Student Advocacy. The School of Mathematics instructor was recognized for her exceptional commitment to student learning and success outside the classroom. A 2010 graduate of the college’s Master Faculty program, Holmes this year administered a $864,637, five-year National Science Foundation STEM Community Scholars Program grant, now in its third year and designed to encourage undeclared students to enter science, technology, engineering and math programs. She also presented on the college’s STEM initiative at this year’s annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges, and was an advisor for Step Team student organization.

Gabi Booth
Gabi Booth, associate professor in the School of Mathematics, received the Dr. James R. Johnson Award for Teaching Excellence. Booth has taught mathematics at Daytona State since 2005 and also has served as a mathematics specialist in the college’s Academic Support Center for 10 years. During last spring’s fourth annual Academic Excellence Symposium, she was a featured presenter on using the online communications and conferencing system Adobe Connect as a teaching and learning tool. Adobe Connect is being widely adopted by college faculty for its ability to create a more accessible learning environment for students, featuring audio and video-based lectures, text-based chatting, group sessions, faculty collaborations and virtual office hours.

Dr. Casey Blanton
Dr. Casey Blanton, senior professor of English and chair of Learning Communities/QUANTA, received the Dr. John J. Guthrie, Jr. Award for Research and Professional Development. The award recognizes scholarly efforts that contribute to the body of knowledge within an academic discipline. Last year, Blanton was among the co-founders of the Center for Interdisciplinary Writing and Research. This multi-institutional collaborative publishes the Journal of Florida Studies, an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study and appreciation of Florida. The journal features research articles, but also includes poetry, fiction, photography, and other digital arts.

Dr. Andrea Reese
Dr. Andrea Reese, chairperson of the Honors College and assistant mathematics professor, received the Faculty Advocacy Award, which recognizes those whose efforts demonstrate commitment to faculty issues and the desire to foster a professional, ethical environment conducive to high morale and professional excellence. Dr. Reese is a past treasurer of the Faculty Senate and member of the college’s Planning Council. She also served as a member of the 2012 Academic Excellence Steering Committee and as a facilitator for Master Faculty.

Outgoing Faculty Senate President and Assistant Math Department Chair Barry Gibson also was honored for his past year of service. 

History professor publishes first fiction novel

Doug Giacobbe
Doug Giacobbe, associate professor of history at Daytona State College, recently published the action thriller “By Unknown Means,” the first in what will be a series of fiction novels that draw from his more than two decades in law enforcement.
Featuring protagonist Special Agent Michael Calloway of the United States Customs Enforcement Unit, the e-book, available on, is set in South Florida and the Bahamas during the early 1990s smuggling rampage of the Columbian cocaine cowboys, Jamaican posses, and other drug entrepreneurs.
Giacobbe joined the Daytona State College faculty in 2001 after serving 24 years as a narcotics investigator, detective and internal affairs investigator with the Miramar, Fla., Police Department. He retired at the rank of major and commander of the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.
“By Unknown Means” is his first attempt at fiction writing, which he began while he was a police officer in 1991. While the novel is a rather quick read, Giacobbe noted it was not a quick write. “Between work, moving up in the ranks of the police department and my increased responsibilities, plus childbirth and then switching jobs, finding the time to sit down and write was at times difficult,” he said. “On the positive side, however, while I started out with a plot in mind, as the book slowly developed, I was able to improve the storyline by pulling from my experiences. Some of the characters are based on people I have known and worked with, without a doubt.”
Giacobbe said the book will soon be available in paperback, and the second of what will be a trilogy is in the works.
Giacobbe teaches courses in American, American maritime and American military history. He holds two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Florida Atlantic University.
Will his venture into the world of fiction writing lure him into retirement from teaching? “We’ll see,” he said with a chuckle. “It has definitely become a passion.”
More information about Doug Giacobbe, author, can be found at Or, find him on facebook at

DSC Foundation to kick off fall WISE program

From healthy living to Florida history, politics and astronomy, the Daytona State College Foundation’s Wisdom in Senior Education (WISE) program will feature something to suit everyone’s interests when it kicks off its fall season beginning in September.
Volusia County Property Appraiser Morgan Gilreath will headline WISE’s first program on Tuesday, Sept. 11, representing DeLand’s three Rotary Clubs, which joined forces to organize the first Volusia Honor Air program flight.  Their mission: to escort area World War II veterans, free of charge, to the new World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. as an expression of the community’s gratitude for their service.  
On Tuesday, Sept. 18, Diana Fish will present on Florida Hospital’s global initiative to build relationships with hospitals and medical clinics in developing countries, helping people in the grimmest of situations.
Other presenters scheduled this fall include Dr. Mikelle Streicher, who will help attendees navigate through the complexities of Medicare rules on Oct. 2; Barbara Kelly , whose presentation on the Florida Heritage Crossroads is slated for Oct. 9; Daytona State’s own Dr. Perry Ballard, who will analyse the national and local elections on Oct. 30.
Unless otherwise indicated, all WISE presentaions will take place at the News-Journal Center, 221 N. Beach St. in Daytona Beach, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Find a complete listing of Fall 2012 WISE presenters on the Foundation’s website.
The Foundation created the WISE program to provide continuing education and cultural enrichment activities to senior members of the community. Since 2009, WISE’s membership has grown from its original three founding couples to an association of more than 250 patrons. WISE is open to anyone age 50 or older.
For more information, contact Kent Ryan, (386) 506-4425, email:

Notables. . .

Dr. Debra Woodall
Dr. Debra Woodall, assistant chairperson of Daytona State’s Institute for Marine and Environmental Studies (IMES), recently returned from a trip to Washington state, where she assisted with debris cleanup from Fukushima tsunami and nuclear power plant failure. No tax dollars are dedicated to cleanup of Washington’s beaches. It is left entirely up to volunteers. Woodall found much of the tsunami debris entangled in seaweed and kelp, including rope, fishing nets, kitchen storage-type items and plastic bottles. Although much has already been collected along Washington state beaches, data indicate that the largest amount of tsunami debris continues to move within the Pacific Ocean's current and is due in October. Find out more about her trip on the IMES Facebook page. Learn about how you can help with the debris cleanup at
Vida Renaud
Vida Renaud, staff assistant for Global Education and Affairs, has been named Spring 2012 Employee of the Semester by the Career Employees Association (CEA). The award recognizes the efforts of college Career Employees who go above and beyond in carrying out their work responsibilities. As an administrative assistant for Global Education and Affairs, Renaud helps guide and manage scores of international students who enroll at Daytona State each year. Awarded during spring and fall semesters, recipients are nominated and selected by their peers and receive a certificate, a free lunch at Café 101, and their picture and nameplate in the CEA display case located in the Wetherell Building.
Dr. Les Potter, chairperson of Daytona State’s School of Education, was recently elected to the board of Burns Science and Technology Charter School located in Oak Hill.  The k-8 tuition-free public charter school first opened its doors a year ago under the leadership of Dr. Jan McGee, retired middle school principal and former faculty member of the University of Central Florida. Burns is a STEM- focused (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) school that enrolls students from throughout Volusia County. “They are cultivating STEM teaching and learning, as educators believe it is a top priority in American education,” Potter noted. “In order to prepare students for success in the 21st century, today’s students must be able to think critically, work collaboratively and master an ever-growing area of skills.”

John Connor
College of Education Professor John Connor was recently appointed to the advisory board of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER). The primary mission of the organization is to create awareness and help colleges identify, create and/or repurpose existing open educational resources, such as textbooks, as well as to improve teaching and learning and make education more accessible for all learners. Being an advisory board member affords Connor an excellent opportunity to help shape the support  this national organization provides to the college open textbook community.
Pinnacle Award – The college’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter has won a national Pinnacle Award. Chapter advisor Ted Wygant, professor of art appreciation/art history, received notice Aug. 15 of the award honoring Daytona State’s PTK chapter for increasing membership by 25 percent over last year. The accomplishment earned the chapter five Membership Scholarships, worth $55 each for International Membership fees for new inductees.
PTK’s national Center for Excellence praised the achievement: “By spreading the word about the Phi Theta Kappa Experience, you are impacting lives and helping students succeed. Congratulations on your Pinnacle Award.” Wygant thanks everyone involved at the college, making special note of Lori Lemoine’s work to generate a mass electronic email to new PTK candidates.