Faculty Integrator Spotlight

Why am I a Marketable Skills Faculty Integrator?

Jennifer Allen, History

"I am excited to participate in the Faculty Integrator program because history naturally lends itself to teaching invaluable marketable skills that can be employed in any number of fields. This discipline can help all st​udents improve their data analytics, critical thinking, and communication skills so students are better prepared to enter the workforce and be successful."

Deva Arumugam, English

"I believe most of our students who are first generation college students are wanting a college education to be career ready. To be able to navigate the complex social and market forces of today’s constantly changing job market, I am aware that my students must develop more than just the knowledge base acquired by spending time in the discipline they are majoring—they must become, both personally and professionally career ready. It means having skills that would make them more marketable in the job place. Some of these skills are the soft skills that we so often teach in our disciplines like critical thinking, communication, personal responsibility, teamwork, and social responsibility.

I want to help my students to acquire the necessary skills for their future professional success. Part of career readiness is helping students, to not only acquire these skills, but transfer some of these skills that they have acquired in our college classrooms to the job market. Being part of the marketable skills initiative, allows me the opportunity to gather some resources that would help my students become aware and feel confident to apply these skills beyond the classroom. After all, students are likely to spend more time with me as a faculty than with the academic support professionals on campus. As a front face of Dallas College, I have a lot of influence over my student’s trajectory during and post-college. I am aware of the important role that I play in students’ employability and readiness for the work force. By being a part of this Marketable Skills Integration, I am placing a high priority on my students demonstrating proficiency of cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills. Having students succeed in their pursuit for a better life through education is the reason why I am in the profession I am in. As a faculty of Dallas College, I am proud to be a partner in getting my students career ready and allowing them a future where earning a living wage is a not just a dream, but a reality."

Yan Avram, Math

"I realized that a lot of students are having math anxiety and not knowing the importance of math in a lot of other subjects or even in every day life.

Every student studies at least one course of college level math to graduate with a degree. However, the majority of students question the importance of math. Most students are unaware that math is not just a part of many other disciplines, it is part of everyday life. Mathematics is needed and used almost everywhere regardless of the major. It is used in engineering, science, technological disciplines, and even in art, medicine, etc. Math anxiety affects people of all ages. One research article reported that approximately 93% of adult Americans experience some level of math anxiety. Math anxiety is real. In order to help students overcome the math anxiety and be successful in math, I tried to use as many real-life examples in class as possible. We model real-world problems to obtain meaningful conclusions and statistical analysis of data; always have a positive attitude toward math; believe everyone can do math; encourage students to practice math every day."

Simona Bare, Chemistry

"I analyze the student survey each year and noticed that students on average rated lowest the question “In this course I developed skills that will help me in my future work and career.” When Dallas College launched the Marketable Skills Faculty Integrator program, I was already redesigning portions of my course to make more evident the learning of marketable skills/core objectives. The program, under the excellent leadership of Sharon Manna, provided me with the needed scaffolding and connections to better design my course. I now have a more comprehensive for showing students the skills they learn in my courses and, most importantly, I have all the needed information to connect them with the resources available at Dallas College. The meetings with speakers from various areas of the college where resources for students where highlighted and illustrated have been highly informative."

Christina Fox-Balli, Spanish

"It is an exciting time to be joining the Marketable Skills team. I look forward to helping our students learn how their courses help them become aware, develop, and market the skills in the courses they take.

My path to teaching Spanish courses at the Eastfield campus and online was not a straight one. I started studying engineering and then math. After working in a lab for two years, I decided to study literature in Spanish. After graduating from UT at Austin, I work in graphic design and marketing. Then I was a first-grade bilingual teacher for five year before getting my masters (Texas A&M Commerce) and doctorate (Texas Tech University) in Spanish. It was during my doctoral studies when I discovered my passion for teaching college students. In 2005-2006, I received the Excellence in Teaching Award at the Eastfield campus.

Why Marketable Skills? Teaching at Eastfield with Dallas College is an opportunity to see students learn marketable skills and achieve success. An important part of learning a language is using the skills in real life. It has been rewarding seeing how the students react to integrating marketable skills in their assignments."

Ulanda Forbess, English

"I am motivated first and foremost to help students be successful. That was the biggest reason I became a college professor, to help students learn the skills they needed to be successful, not just in the college classroom, but throughout life.

By integrating marketable skills into the liberal arts curriculum, I am able to help students understand how the core skills of a liberal arts education, writing, research, and problem solving will always be in high demand in the work force, regardless of the job or career they obtain. When students learn skills, rather than focus on a specific career path to a job title, they are being prepared for jobs that might not even exist in today's market. Employable skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and personal responsibility, never go out of style.

The Marketable Skills pilot program is not a shift in curriculum; it's a shift in thinking about the curriculum, and it's exciting to see students realize that what they are doing in the English classroom has benefits for them in the job market. Helping students feel prepared to enter the job market when they graduate is why I am so passionate about incorporating marketable skills in the liberal arts classroom. It's a win-win for everyone!"

Camille Raspante, English

"Each semester, I begin by posing a seemingly simple question to my ENGL 1301 students: Why did you choose to become a college student? Inevitably, and understandably, almost all students respond by telling me about the plans they have for their future careers, not as English majors, but as members of our workforce. Because their career pursuits are what drives my students, I feel it is my responsibility not only to teach them the tools and skills they will need to succeed in college, but also to help them make the connection between what they learn in class and how that translates to tangible skills they will use in the real world. Having the opportunity to help them make those connections is precisely what motivates me to serve as a Marketable Skills Integrator."

Aditi Samarth, Humanities

"Marketable Skills enable students to transfer knowledge into practical skills so that they can apply their academic, theoretical learning to workplace and real-life situations."

Afrin Zeenat, English

"The Marketable Skills Integrator program provided me an opportunity to integrate marketable skills into my coursework more formally and also be acknowledged for doing it. I have always integrated marketable skills into my lectures even before I agreed to participate in this program. The main purpose of English composition classes is to equip students with the requisite skills to apply for jobs, to compose documents while employed, and also to be effective writers in their workplace. While the motivation in integrating these skills was always there, I value the college-wide initiative as it will make our students more competitive and confident in their job search and placement."