Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SLCC Writing Center Director Wins National Award

Salt Lake Community College Student Writing Center Director Clint Gardner recently was given the Outstanding Service Award during the International Writing Centers Association conference in Orlando.

The award given every four years recognizes people who have made significant impacts in the field of writing centers locally, nationally and internationally. Since the award’s founding in 1984, Gardner is the first recipient from a two-year college. SLCC associate professor of English Tiffany Rousculp coordinated Gardner’s nomination.

Clint Gardner

“What sets Clint apart from other colleagues is his enduring commitment to improving writing, both at SLCC’s Student Writing Center and its Community Writing Center,” Rousculp said for an IWCA press release. “His genuine ability to pursue the collective cause never ceases to amaze me.”

Gardner and other SLCC faculty started the college’s Writing Center in 1990 shortly after he began teaching there. Since that time an estimated 50,000 students have visited the Writing Center.

“There really wasn’t a lab where you could talk one on one with students,” Gardner said. “We wanted to create something where students could come to improve as a writer and succeed as a student. This is a retention thing for SLCC and a learning opportunity for students.”

 Today most of the students seeking help are non-native speakers, often refugees and immigrants, aided by 15 trained, paid peer tutors. SLCC Institutional Research recently compiled statistical data to document its claim, “Writing Center students are much more likely to pass ENG 1010 and much less likely to withdraw or receive an incomplete.”

The center, once tucked away on the second floor of an older building, is now located in a highly visible area on the first floor in the new Academic and Administration Building on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, a location Gardner said has increased its usage by at least 20 percent. His goal is to grow and provide increased access to tutors on SLCC’s other campuses, mainly Miller, Jordan and South City.

“I really want to expand what we’re doing,” he said. “What we do is so important to these students.”

Gardner’s wall full of awards in his office includes the 2012 Ron Maxwell Award given out by the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW). After winning the IWCA award Gardner earlier this month headed to Dubai where he was the keynote speaker at the Middle East-North Africa Writing Centers Alliance. Gardner has also served as president of IWCA and the Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association and he will co-host the NCPTW event in Salt Lake City in 2015.

Former SLCC Culinary Student Wins $10K at World Food Championships

David Grover, a former student of the Salt Lake Community College Culinary Institute, won the World Recipe Champion award last week in the annual World Food Championships.

Grover shares the $10,000 prize with his longtime girlfriend and cooking partner Jamie Boyle of the team “The Half Baked Hippies” after preparing three dishes that wowed judges in Las Vegas. Grover’s team was one of nine category winners who beat out 400 other competitors for a chance to vie for a $100,000 World Food Champion award, which this year was won by a California cook.

David Grover and Jamie Boyle

 Boyle and Grover live in Murray and have been competing in cooking competitions for the past six years in Utah and surrounding states.

“We cook for fun,” said Grover. “It’s not for winning – it’s not for anything other than going out and having fun. It’s our release – it’s our fun time. We aren’t chefs who compete or practice day in and day out in the kitchen.”

Which is why they were “shocked” upon learning they won the recipe category. To advance in the competition the pair made a “Creamy Bacon Stuffed Chicken” and then a “Chile Verde Lasagna.” The winning dish was “Wasatch Back Jack Taters,” using three kinds of potatoes, Wright Brand bacon, Land O’Lakes cream cheese, a blended queso fresco cheese infused with chile verde and cheese from Utah-based Heber Valley Artisan Cheese along with caramelized onions and jalapenos.  The Unites States Potato Board was one of the sponsors of the event and potatoes had to be incorporated into the dishes in the World Recipe Championship.

Grover is the son of longtime SLCC automotive instructor Neal Grover, who as a Boy Scouts leader when his son was little cobbled together items rescued from the junk pile into the best-outfitted camps during backcountry outings with the Scouts. “While everyone else was eating cold cereal, we were eating bacon, eggs, pancakes, and fresh-caught trout with cornmeal breading on the griddle,” the younger Grover said. Grover’s father built the barbeque pit/trailer that the team uses for competitions.

David Grover took classes in the 90s at SLCC’s Culinary Institute and earned a Certified Culinarian certificate, but went on to become a compliance officer for Salt Lake City while Boyle works as a payroll coordinator for the State of Utah. But they’d someday, maybe in 10 years, like to open their own restaurant that offers an “eclectic” menu reflective of their penchant for variety in what they cook.

“That’s what really separates us apart from other people,” Grover said. “We cook what we love and we put our heart and soul into it.”

Scholarship money flows to SLCC from Mexico

Salt Lake Community College is getting a portion of $100,000 in scholarship monies donated recently by the Mexican government.

SLCC is being given $17,500 through the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City to go toward preparing Spanish-language students for entry into the college. The funds, which will be matched by SLCC, come in the form of scholarship grants from the Institute for Mexicans Abroad.

“I’m hopeful that this will have a positive impact for the Hispanic community,” said Diana Harvey, director of SLCC Testing Services.

Harvey said some of the funds are being used to help students with their GED, which can be taken in Spanish. Students will have access to Spanish-speaking tutors, testing officials and academic advisors. Preparation and actually taking the test will be done at SLCC, which she said is a way to show students around campus a bit.

“You can’t do anything anymore without a GED. And we’re looking at it as a way to demystify college for these kids,” Harvey said. “We’re trying to take the scary part away.”

Harvey said helping students obtain some form of high school credential enables them to qualify for financial aid and a path toward a higher education. All they need to get started, she added, is some form of government-issued ID like a consulate card.

Music fills bill in two shows at SLCC’s Grand Theatre

With two shows remaining for the Grand Theatre’s “Backstage at the Grand” series, fans of live music will relish hearing hits from multiple genres.

Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin will perform the songs of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald in “To Billie & Ella With Love” January 8-10, followed by the duo joy&eric January 15-17 doing covers of modern acoustic pop songs.

Located at Salt Lake Community College’s South City Campus, the Backstage concerts feature an intimate seating arrangement on stage around the performers. For ticket information call 801-957-3322 or visit

SLCC Finishes 9th In National Tournament

A determined Salt Lake Community College women’s volleyball team shook off a first-round loss to win three more matches and ninth place overall in the NJCAA Division 1 National Volleyball Championship in Casper, Wyoming.

All Tournament team member Carol Grasso slams home the winning point.

After two sets Saturday it looked like the No. 6 Bruins would roll right over No. 12 Polk State College from Lakeland, Florida after going 25-14 and 25-18. The Eagles fought back for a 22-25 win in the third set after SLCC scored five unanswered points down the stretch.

Carol Grasso’s consistent play resulted in another double/double with 23 kills and 13 digs, followed by Kallie Schmit’s 14 kills and 5 digs. Grasso, one of 12 women to make the All Tournament Team, also posted 4 aces in the first set of Saturday’s match. Mariana Pilon led the team with 16 digs, with Cassandra Fenton pitching in 9, Rachel Davis with 6 and Schmit with 5.

The team celebrates after winning three straight matches to clinch 9th.

SLCC finished the game with a .248 hitting percentage to Polk’s .143. No. 2 seed Blinn College beat No. 5 Miami Dade in the championship game later on Saturday.

The tournament at the Casper Events Center closed out the Bruins’ season, which ended with a 23-10 regular-season record. While in Casper the team lost in the first round to Missouri State University – West Plains, but then beat New Mexico Military Institute, Western Nebraska Community College and finally Polk State.

The team will lose six sophomores, including Grasso, headed into the next season.

The team and cheer squad pose with SLCC President Dr. Deneece Huftalin and Athletics Director Kevin Dustin.