Educator selected to author prestigious ‘Cross Papers’
06.22.2015 | By Rob Vanya
Dr. Karen Hattaway, right, is shown with Dr. Laurel Williamson, deputy chancellor and president of San Jacinto College, who describes Hattaway as a faculty leader who takes on difficult challenges. Photo credit: Amanda Fenwick, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
Dr. Hattaway’s scholarly essay will help shape teaching strategies around the nation
San Jacinto College veteran educator Dr. Karen Hattaway was recently selected by the League for Innovation in the Community College to author the prestigious “Cross Papers #18,” a scholarly, in-depth monograph that will help to shape teaching strategies in many of the nation’s community colleges.
The format for the Cross Papers was established by K. Patricia Cross, a retired educator and scholar of educational research who wrote the first seven issues. Since the release of the inaugural issue in 1997, the Cross Papers have been designed to provide faculty with a body of useful, proven, practical strategies they can use in their classrooms to help improve their own teaching and their students’ learning.
In her “Cross Papers #18,” Dr. Hattaway, an English professor at the San Jacinto College North Campus, used the example of student interaction with traditional and new-media “texts,” explaining that to become successful learners, students must not only manage texts in many disciplines, but also create their own “texts” to master and apply concepts in all their courses. The word “texts” in the context of her scholarly report refers to various educational tools and resources. “Students create their own ‘texts’ as they develop reports, diagrams, video and visual communications, as well as the traditional kinds of academic texts, like tests,” commented Dr. Hattaway. “The point is that a text is a basis for learning – a book, a biology specimen stretched out on wax, the Periodic Table, patient charts, the operation of a diesel engine, a completed weld. All of these are the ‘texts’ that are involved in a student managing information gained in a class to become the knowledge that he or she develops to support the skills of investigation, reporting, and critical thinking that each student needs to take away from our campuses.”
Dr. Hattaway’s essay encourages faculty inquiry groups to provide opportunities for instructors to research, collaborate, develop, and evaluate ideas and practices designed to help students engage meaningfully with subject matter in the courses they take.
Dr. Hattaway was glad to contribute to the Cross Papers body of work because of the personal benefit she has gained from the writings. “I have read and incorporated many techniques and methods from past Cross Papers into my own teaching,” she remarked. “My goal (with Cross Papers #18) is to contribute to this tradition by offering sound ideas that can translate productively into engaged teaching and learning.” In addition to authoring “Cross Papers #18,” Hattaway presented her work during the League for Innovation’s recent 2015 national conference in Boston.
Her personal teaching philosophy centers on creating a better future. “I am a teacher because teaching creates a healthy future by encouraging students to build skills for work, learning, and thinking that will shape tomorrow,” she said. “Teaching is the only profession where what is created never goes out of style or wears out. Education is forever.”
Dr. Hattaway holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Missouri, a master’s in English from the University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in English from Rice University. The longtime North Channel area resident began teaching at San Jacinto College in 1969, and is one of the founding faculty members of the North Campus.
“We have always known that Dr. Hattaway is one of our most innovative and dedicated faculty members,” commented Dr. Laurel Williamson, deputy chancellor and president of San Jacinto College. “Now we know that the nation sees her in the same way. To be chosen to author one of the Cross Papers is an incredible honor, an achievement that few attain.” Dr. Williamson further describes Hattaway as a faculty leader who takes on difficult challenges and who understands that creating an environment of student success is a dynamic combination of teaching and direct support for the student. “I have learned much from her, and our discussions about the changing landscape of education and the demands of our profession are always lively and enlightening,” Dr. Williamson said. “I am glad to have a colleague such as Dr. Hattaway.”
About the League for Innovation in the Community College
The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. CEOs from community colleges comprise the League’s board of directors and provide strategic direction for its ongoing activities. With this core, and more than 160 corporate partners, the League serves community colleges around the world by hosting conferences and institutes, developing print and digital resources, and leading projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.