ARC staff apply the book “College Fear Factor” to their students

American River College hosted a discussion for the book “College Fear Factor” on Sept. 23 in the Center for Teaching and Learning room located on the third floor of the library.

The discussion was hosted by ARC English instructor Amanda Corcoran. The meeting consisted of several ARC faculty members from different areas of studies, including interim Biotech dean Ken Kubo.

Corcoran said she read the book last summer, took an interest in it, and decided to host a discussion on the book.

“(‘College Fear Factor’ is) a non-fiction book, based on the author, Rebecca Cox,” Corcoran said. “She spent several years struggling with college students, saying how many of them struggle, based on her research, because they fear failing, due to the disconnection between what college professors expect college to be, and what students expect it to be.”

Corcoran also stated that some of this fear can come from students fear of professors.

“It’s interesting,” she said. “Some of my students feel fearful of failing, and a feeling of not belonging.”

“For example, a student might be sitting in the back, not participating, and the professor might think they didn’t do the reading, but really, they did, they just fear of looking foolish … The book is encouraging instructors to take the student’s perspective and how to help them succeed.”

She reflects the student’s fears to her own, mentioning how it is not only the students who feel fear.

“At times even faculty can feel fearful too, especially when we take on new projects thinking, ‘I’ve got a lot to learn’,” Corcoran said.

The book has a focus on community college students, and Corcoran felt that it is important for her and other instructors. In addition, she mentioned how students can read it too, saying that it’d be interesting to see if they agreed with the book’s focus.

Although only open to faculty for now, Corcoran and the CTL director, Kristen Corbin, are looking into allowing students to participate in the discussion next semester after students have read the book.

Even though Corcoran has not written any novels herself, she has written articles in the past.

“I’ve got a couple of articles years ago from grad school, including a newsletter on the writing center, but not any creative writing. However, my colleagues do, and I admire them,” Corcoran said.

Although the author of the book did not make an appearance to the discussion, Corcoran describes Cox as being valuable to her students.

“She’s delightful, and really focused on the students. Her research is really valid for our ARC work,” she said.

Cox currently serves as the Dean of Education at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia in Canada.

While Corbin had not finished reading the book, she gave her thoughts on it. “I think it’s important that (we) consider our student’s perspective when entering college,” said Corbin about the lessons the book teaches.

Other discussions of the book are scheduled for October and November. Those discussions are closed to students for now, but they will be open to faculty.

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