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Session C8

7th Annual CNM Conference on Teaching and Learning

If You Build It, They Will Come: Improving Retention Through Cultivating Literary Culture at Rural and Urban Community Colleges

Justin Bendell (English, UNM Valencia); Kristian Macaron (English, UNM Valencia); Federico Almarez (English, Doña Ana Community College); Colleen Bond (English, NMSU Alamogordo)

Ocotillo I, 2:00-3:15

Faculty from UNM-Valencia, NMSU-Alamogordo, and Doña Ana Community College are working to develop soft skills and increase retention at their two-year commuter campuses by establishing campus literary culture and building a network of literary campus communities. Why cultivate literary culture at community colleges? How do we sell it to students struggling with job and food insecurity? How do we empower students to tell their stories? How do we justify projects to skeptical administrators, secure funding, and avoid burnout?

Panelists will share their experiences building and sustaining lit journals, reading series, creative writing courses, speaking events, and more. They will also demonstrate how their work helps to develop literary literacy, increase exposure for student writers, develop soft skills (such as communication, adaptability, and interpersonal), and improve student retention. They will detail their experiences, frustrations, and results, and show how other universities might apply these techniques on their campuses.

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