2017-2018 Faculty of the Month

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January 2018 Faculty of the Month

Kerrie-Kawasaki-Hull hugging her dog with one hand.Kerrie-Kawasaki-Hull
Chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee

Here are a few things you might not know about Kerrie:

  • She graduated from a community college before getting degrees from UC Davis, UCLA, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
  • She taught English and ESL for a high school on the Monterey Peninsula.
  • She started teaching full-time at Ohlone in 1992.
  • She has taught all of the composition and reading classes at Ohlone but has mainly focused on teaching Basic Skills composition and reading courses.
  • She co-facilitated Instructional Skills Workshops where she had the opportunity to exchange teaching ideas with many Ohlone faculty.
  • She has been a member of many different committees and hiring committees and currently she is serving on the Basic Skills Committee and is Chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee. 
  • Her students and her colleagues are what she enjoys most about Ohlone.  She says that her students constantly challenge her to be a better instructor, and she learns from them every class session.  And she's inspired by her colleagues in their dedication to and enthusiasm for the profession and for their students and in their creativity in the classroom.
  • Outside of Ohlone, she enjoy spending time with my family (even her teenagers), hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives, taking long walks with her dog, and reading a good book.  She's also a huge San Jose Sharks fan.

Her good friend and colleague Vicki Curtis said this about her:

Kerrie is a great choice for this award because when I walk around campus with her, we never make it more than a few feet before a student stops us because they are thrilled to see Kerrie. I have overheard comments such as-“I miss you so much!”, “You were the best teacher I ever had.”, “I am transferring next semester mostly because you believed in me.” and on and on. These are sometimes recent or current students, but often they are students from several years ago. These type of positive comments are not just limited to students. I hear similar things from faculty and staff members. Kerrie not only teaches her subject matter using her extensive knowledge of English and pedagogy, but she also teaches from her heart. Ohlone is fortunate to have such a dedicated and exceedingly competent faculty member!

Congratulations and it has been a pleasure working with you Kerrie!


Faculty of the Month Archive. Learn more about the Faculty of the Month program.

November & December 2017 Faculty of the Month

Sobia Saleem
A full-time member of the English Department

Sobia has been a part of Ohlone since 2013 as an adjunct, and more recently in the last year-and-a-half, as a full-time member of the English Department. During her time at Ohlone, she says she has had the honor and pleasure to serve on several committees and teams of stellar and passionate people, but the ones dearest to her heart are the Faculty Senate, the International Education Committee, and the Umoja Learning Community.

Some of the members of the Umoja learning community at Umoja XIII.

Sobia says that the moment she was interviewed for an adjunct position at Ohlone, she knew this was where she wanted to work because no other campus she’d worked at had the same feeling of warmth and care for all its family members: students, faculty, staff, and administration. She says she has tried to embody and carry this spirit on by becoming a student club advisor for the Pakistani Student Association, participating in the Faculty Exchange program to learn more about different andragogical styles, serving as an Umoja instructor and mentor, advocating for international students by serving as a faculty mentor, supporting Ohlone students by working with local adult schools, and joining several other programs created with the goal of helping the students succeed.

Some of Sobia’s international student mentees hiking in Hayward.

In working with various teams on campus, Sobia has had the pleasure of meeting some of the best and most dedicated people she knows. She has witnessed faculty discuss and debate major issues in the Faculty Senate while having the utmost respect for one another because it’s understood that everyone at the table cares about student success. Also, she has been humbled to work with the students, faculty, and staff who are a part of the Umoja community—“Together We Rise!”—which aims to foster and enhance the educational experiences and success of African-American students and all students, even if that means sending group messages (very) late at night on GroupMe. She has seen wonderful projects come out of the International Education Committee, such as the faculty professional development Global Literacy Certificate, on which at least ten faculty members from various disciplines collaborated to create modules with the goal of internationalizing the curriculum and promoting multiculturalism and inclusivity on campus. Sobia has found professional peers, activists, and friends in each of these groups on campus, which are each just microcosms of the kind of culture Ohlone fosters.

Some of the creators of the Global Literacy Certificate working hard!

When she is not teaching or working with various groups at Ohlone, Sobia splits her time between volunteering, working out, and spending time with family and friends. For about five years, she has worked with the Lupus Foundation of Northern California, which aims to help patients and their families deal with the debilitating autoimmune disorder lupus through social and education programs. In addition to volunteering, she loves working out and studying krav maga, a self-defense and fighting system that she says pushes her to her limits. The rest of her time is spent with her husband of almost ten years and her three beautiful black cats: Scooby, Sammy, and Billi.

Scooby, Sammy, and Billi being their usual selves.

Congratulations, Sobia—you are a welcome and wonderful addition to the Ohlone faculty!

October 2017 Faculty of the Month

Jim standing in front of the stonehead. Jim Baxter
Professor of Biology and Biotechnology

Jim started teaching at Ohlone as an adjunct in 1996 and was hired full-time in 1999. At Ohlone, Jim is considered one of the founders of the Biotechnology program. He designed and taught the first Biotechnology lab course ever offered at Ohlone and was much involved in developing the curriculum for several of the new courses in the Biotech program. He also was a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant application that was awarded to Ohlone.

Jim and a female student doing experiment in the bio laboratory.Jim was one of the first faculty to put a program, which included several Biotech certificates, through the Curriculum Committee using CurricUNET. He helped develop the first discipline-specific Associates Degree in Biology at Ohlone, where beforehand Ohlone offered only a broad degree in Natural Science. He has also led many Northern California Bay Area Biotechnology Center workshops that Biotech instructors and industry workers frequently attend.

Jim's insect collections.Jim's favorite class to teach is the Biology for Majors course—this is the two-semester course of Principles of Biology. In this class, he has students put together “an insect collection following professional criteria for catching, preserving, and displaying” the insects. He says, “Initially, some students are reluctant—even afraid—to work with insects, but by the end of the semester, many have overcome their squeamishness and turn in spectacularly well-done collections.”

Jim holding his dog Sashka.Outside of Ohlone, Jim is an avid hiker. He, his wife, and their dog Sashka spend most weekends going on five-to-twelve mile hikes. He especially loves the hiking vacations he takes to Colorado and Washington during the summer months. Outside of hiking, Jim enjoys reading science journals and books as well as anything related to history, especially Native American history. He likes to challenge himself by reading texts in German and Russian. He says that even though he is not particularly fast in reading these foreign-language texts, he loves to learn new languages.

Congradulations, Jim! You are a bright example of one of Ohlone's best faculty members!

September 2017 Faculty of the Month

Robin holding the water bottle.Robin Kurotori
PE Faculty
The chair of the Curriculum Committee

Robin joined the Ohlone family in 1981 as an adjunct PE instructor who taught a variety of PE activity classes at a time when community members could take classes for free over and over again. She says this was the best kept secret until Sacramento caught on to it!

She was hired full-time in 2007 to help coordinate the Newark Center Total Health and Wellness Center and the Health and Wellness Program. Robin says she is honored to teach with “an amazing cadre of talented and passionate faculty who support one another and continue to strive for excellence.”

Robin is currently the chair of the Curriculum Committee and says she has experienced first-hand “the truly stellar, hardworking, professional, visionary, and student-focused Ohlone faculty who put their visions into CurricUNET to make Ohlone shine.”

In her free time, Robin loves to swim, hike, and ride her road bike along with spending time with her husband and two dogs.

Ohlone is truly lucky to have such a gifted and talented instructor and leader as Robin!