When Kathleen Kimber began teaching at Genesee Community College nearly eight years ago, she never anticipated the role technology would play in her career as an Associate Professor of Spanish. Kimber recently earned national recognition for her innovative use of technology at the College. She was one of ten finalists for the David R. Pierce Faculty Technology Award 2005, an annual award presented to just two community college instructors nationwide who demonstrate leadership and creativity in the use of technology while working to provide educational opportunities to underserved populations.
"I never anticipated how extensively we would be using technology in the language classroom when I started at Genesee," said Kimber. "When we received a Title III federally funded grant to create a computerized language lab, I investigated what was available and what the possibilities for the future were."
Kimber's interest in technology motivated her to help secure the Title III grant for the state-of-the-art language lab and work to acquire the latest hardware and software. She views this technology as an important resource for both students and instructors.
"Through the creation of the language lab I was motivated to find ways technology can be used to support student success and expand the boundaries of the language classroom," she said.
With state-of-the-art technology available to her, Kimber has done far more than just incorporate these tools in her classes. She captured the attention of her peers and administrators as she worked to create her own interactive educational resources using the technological tools she helped bring to the College.
After judging commercial textbook materials and software to be unsatisfactory, Kimber taught herself how to use the College's WebCT course management system, Respondus quiz creation software, and web page development to create her own educational tools and resources, such as grammar quizzes that provide immediate feedback to students.
In an effort to link foreign language study to career opportunities, Kimber designed a web-based interactive module for students of criminal justice. "Putting it in Context: Spanish and Criminal Investigation" can be accessed by the public at the following Internet location: http://www.genesee.edu/resources/language_lab/spanishcrj/. The site, which is popular with students, includes interactive video and audio exercises created by Kimber.
Fellow language instructors have also benefited from Kimber's technological prowess. She created a WebCT template for Spanish and assisted in the creation of a template for French. Her peers utilize these templates for quizzes, cultural assignments, and useful Internet links. They also use her WebCT-based Faculty Exchange Course, a unique virtual hub that provides a variety of Spanish and French course information and outcomes.
Kimber's exemplary use of technology made her a clear choice for the nomination by Genesee Community College President Stuart Steiner. "Kathleen is a passionate champion of the benefits of technology in teaching," said Steiner. "She integrates the technologies into the curriculum, shares her insights with colleagues and inspires her students to utilize the technology and succeed in their studies of foreign languages."
Kimber plans to continue developing new ways to utilize Genesee's technology to offer educational opportunities beyond the walls of the College and to remain on the cutting edge. "Next year I will be offering a Spanish course through point-to-point technology for the first time. We will be linking a live class in Batavia to Lakeville and Arcade Campus Centers through Internal I.P," she explained. "In addition, students will be completing lab assignments through the WebCT course management system. I also have plans to create some Internet storyboards to help prompt students to create language spontaneously by using visual cues."
Steiner considers Kimber to be a vital resource to the college community. "It is her creativity, enthusiasm, and drive that have been pivotal to the ongoing success of the project." It is no surprise that Kimber was also a recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004.
Kimber earned her Master of Arts in Hispanic Literature from Indiana University and her Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Potsdam. She resides in Rochester, NY.
The David R. Pierce Faculty Technology Award is sponsored by Cisco Systems, Inc. and the American Association of Community Colleges, a nonprofit organization that provides a collective voice for community colleges nationwide.