Annie Wagganer, assistant professor of sociology and coordinator of the honors program at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, was named the 2019 Cross Papers Fellow by the League for Innovation in the Community College.
As the winner, Wagganer received a $2,000 stipend to support research and writing of the 2019 edition of the Cross Papers, which are published annually by the league. Wagganer then presented her paper at the 2019 Innovations Conference this past February in New York City. Wagganer’s paper is available for purchase on the league website.
“It was a profound honor and quite a humbling and rewarding learning experience,” Wagganer said. “The most meaningful part of presenting at the Innovations Conference was the interaction with community college colleagues around the country. Their engagement with this topic was quite encouraging and it was a pleasure to hear how they work toward combating bias and increasing inclusion on their campuses.”
In her paper, Wagganer discussed how a wide variety of biases can undermine student belief in their own ability to succeed in college, how community colleges serve as a bridge to four-year institutions and to specific careers for a diverse student population. She offers community college faculty across disciplines and teaching modalities a framework for designing learning experiences that allow for all encourage students to see themselves as expert learners capable of achieving academic and career goals to succeed in college.
“College success can be undermined by beliefs, whether actual or perceived, that students are incapable of learning, underprepared, or otherwise not ‘college material,’” she said. “Community college faculty, therefore, have a unique opportunity and obligation to cultivate lifelong learners who persist through adversity and adapt to new contexts.”
K. Patricia Cross, after whom the fellowship is named, is a scholar of educational research who has explored adult education and higher learning. Supported by a gift from Cross, the league seeks to continue her legacy of professional development focused on community college teaching and learning. Each year this fellowship is awarded to a different practitioner.
Since the release of the inaugural issue of the Cross Papers in 1997, community college educators have used these monographs as tools for stimulating discussion, providing orientation and training to new faculty and staff, rejuvenating veteran employees, and designing successful practices and strategies for reaching the diverse groups of students who come through the open doors of community colleges every day.
A call for proposals for the 2020 edition is out. Submit a proposal for the 2020 Cross Papers Fellowship.