When Debbie Nutt was acting as Activity Director for Whatcom’s Title III grant some years ago, she designed and implemented hands-on training for faculty and staff, which included helping them design their own Web sites. One faculty member, in picking a background for her site that she really liked, soon found out the background she’d picked was actually an “illegal plant.”
“Debbie, in her real subtle way, mentioned that there were lots of backgrounds to choose from and never made this individual feel embarrassed,” said Becky Rawlings, human resources director, in a written remembrance she was to give at Nutt’s memorial service on Oct. 31. “She was so professional and provided options that were much more appropriate.”
Nutt, who most recently worked as associate registrar at Whatcom, died from cancer on Oct. 21 at age 59. She was remembered by those who knew and worked with her as a kind and professional woman.
“She was a quiet leader who was extremely focused,” said Rawlings. “Any project that she was given to do, she met the challenges. When I talked to employees about Debbie, there was incredible consistency in describing her: classy, humble, quiet, modest, a great sense of humor, an excellent teacher and someone who could do anything.”
Mike Singletary, registrar, has worked at the college since 2008, and described Nutt as a coach, mentor, and teacher who had lots of patience and was “very supportive” to new staff, he said. “She was a great resource because she had worked in different areas on the campus.”
Nutt started at Whatcom as a business student in 1984, and began working for the college as a business lab assistant in 1986 while continuing her studies at both Whatcom and Western, Rawlings said.
She worked as an instructional technician in the business lab before taking her first full-time position with Whatcom in 1989 as activity director of a Title III grant, which she worked on with Judy Hoover.
In 2002, Nutt became the Associate Enrollment and Information Services Director, and had worked as Associate Registrar since 2006.
“She was a very wonderful person,” said Vivian Hallmark, who knew Nutt for 20 years and worked with her in the registration office. “Classy lady, professional—treated students, faculty, and staff all the same—very helpful to all of them. She wrote down everything, and made things very easy for people to learn.”
Hallmark said that she and Nutt would often talk about their children, who were about the same ages, as well as baking.
“Debbie was a great baker,” she said, adding that Nutt used to bake pies with her husband for several area restaurants, including The Cliff House, as a side business venture. Hallmark also touched on how knowledgeable Nutt was in the advancement of technology at the college, working with the Title III grant and also helping work in the IT department on Web sites.
“It was really nice working with her,” she said. “It’s very hard to lose a person that has a lot of knowledge about the college, and it’s gonna be very hard to replace her.”
College asks faculty to develop an instructional preparedness plan
By Emily Huntington
Last fall, Barry Maxwell, a political science instructor, had kidney stones, and was unable to administer the final for his classes. This fall, Tim Watters got pneumonia and was in the hospital for a time.
What happens to a class when the teacher can’t teach?
Maxwell, one of four division chairs at Whatcom, explained that because it happens so rarely that instructors are out for more than a couple days, the college doesn’t have a more strategic plan. If an instructor is sick, he or she can either cancel their class, or trade favors with another instructor. Sometimes, they will call Western and see if any professors have time to teach a class.
“It’s trickier when you don’t know how long they’ll be gone,” Maxwell said. The college has never had to refund students’ money due to classes being canceled – even when an instructor dies.
Harold Helton, a history professor, died in the middle of a course last winter. What happens then is much like what happens when an instructor is sick indefinitely. Because there are so many instructors who can teach a variety of subjects, it’s never really difficult to find a replacement. Since there are so many history professors, they were able to substitute another teacher and keep the class going.
In Maxwell’s case, if no one had been able to administer the final, he would have given his students the benefit of the doubt and graded based on work turned in throughout the quarter. The hard part, he said, would have been the oral presentation, because a substitute wouldn’t know his students and it wouldn’t be fair to give that responsibility to a stranger. Luckily, Maxwell recovered and was there for the last day of classes.
The college is asking faculty to complete an “Instructional Preparedness Plan” for each quarter in the school year in the event of a campus closure or excessive flu related absences. Such a plan would indicate how teachers would communicate with students, and how they would provide instruction – whether it be via e-mail, Moodle, or some other technology. The college is also hiring additional staff as needed for student and faculty training and tech support. Teachers are encouraged to get necessary training, inform students of the plan, and then test out the plan with students.
The Campus Christian Fellowship club, which is divided into cores or smaller bible study groups, offers Whatcom students a peaceful outlet from schoolwork and an understanding of who they are. Theresa Studley, a core facilitator who leads the group, said the Christian Fellowship club is open to people from all types of backgrounds and beliefs. Anyone can come.
“We would love to meet you, and get to know you,” Studley said.
Sitting in a circle, the girls’ core is at ease with one another and very comfortable talking about Jesus. The club members took turns choosing a food that described their life situation and relationship with Jesus. Rosie Farris chose pizza, because of the variety of different toppings.
“It will all come together, the cheeses and sauce help to balance everything out,” she said, comparing the food to how Jesus helps her.
Club member, Elizabeth Thomas, chose M&M’s. “God is the shell,” she said. “He helps me find the silver lining.”
The club broke into smaller groups and spoke about the account of Peter, and what they thought his relationship was with Jesus. They seemed open to opinions and conveyed no hints of judging.
Studley said the Christian Fellowship club is about spending time getting to know each other and building relationships with the community. “We are a small group,” she said. “Open to anybody who is interested in exploring Jesus and the Bible.”
Sarah Deasy, a core facilitator, spoke of the club as a great place to find community and to get plugged in.
Bible study and worship meetings are held at Western’s campus every Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. in Arntzen Hall 100. They are comprised of students from Whatcom, Western, and Skagit colleges, adding up to about 400 people.
The club also offers classes held on Western’s campus such as “Gospel of John,” and “Sex in the city of God,” which is about exploring sexuality from a biblical perspective.
Outside events, such as work parties, is when the club does various services for the community, such as volunteering for the Lighthouse Mission for a weekend.
The Christian Fellowship club members said they strengthen the community ties by helping those in need, providing satisfaction and completeness within themselves.
“When we look at Jesus Christ’s life and how he reached out and met the needs of others around him, we want to do the same,” Studley said.
The Christian Fellowship club wants everyone to feel appreciated. One way they do this is by making cookies and passing them out to Whatcom instructors just to thank them. They also participate during Whatcom’s activities fair, by making pancakes for whoever is hungry.
The Christian Fellowship club also host dinners every Friday at 5p.m. at 1210 High St. These are gatherings of friends and members who come together to have a wholesome environment of social interaction with those seeking Jesus or with those who have already found Him.
The girls’ core session ended with a with a group prayer. They prayed for each other with folded hands, heads down, and eyes closed for peace, good health and asked to be filled with the spirit of joy.
“Sometimes people think they have to clean up their life before they can come to God or check out a Christian community, but Jesus says, ‘Come as you are,’” Studley said.
The Campus Christian Fellowship club meets by the fountain for the first 10 minutes to pray first, then heads to Pavilion 102.
Girls Core meets Tuesday, 10a.m. to 11:30a.m., and Wednesday, 1p.m to 2:30p.m.
Guys Core meets Tuesday, 12:30p.m. to 2p.m., and Wednesday, 9:30a.m to 11a.m.
Swastikas, racial insults, sexist comments. All of these have appeared as graffiti in campus restrooms, particularly in the men’s room in Syre and Laidlaw.
Graffiti has been an issue for many years on Whatcom’s campus, said Brian Keeley, director of facilities. Found in both the men’s and women’s restrooms, graffiti is mainly seen in the men’s and consists of any words or images etched into the bathroom walls.
“It varies from childish poems, to very serious racial rhetoric,” said Leon Scott, a student who is also part of Whatcom’s safety committee. The graffiti often involves chain messages between students who are trying to get their point across to others.
An example is in the upstairs woman’s restroom in Syre, where a chain conversation took place about how the world was going to end, even bringing Jesus into it.
“I’m not against expressing yourself, just don’t do it where you’re not supposed to,” said Nancy Khoury, a Whatcom student. “It’s stupid.”
“Some of the graffiti is nasty, but some of the graffiti are downright hate crimes,” said Carl Adams, maintenance supervisor for the facilities department at Whatcom, in an e-mail. He added that restrooms are not the only places graffiti is dealt with.
“We deal with classroom desks being written on all the time,” he said. Study carrels (partitioned study areas) in the library are also vandalized.
Keeley said it is difficult to prevent graffiti. “The most effective method of graffiti control has been to clean it up as soon as possible,” he added.
“When the graffiti is etched into a surface, the school has to prep and paint the partitions or walls,” Keeley said. This process is usually completed during the summer, but the school is currently working on the stall partitions in the men’s restrooms in Heiner.
Adams said that working on the partitions is not only an on-going process, but also a major undertaking due to the time involved in sanding, masking, and painting them.
He also mentioned the issue of replacing supplies that have been carved into, such as paper towel and toilet paper dispensers.
Even with the new paint, Adams said the men’s room in lower Syre was recently defaced in two different areas, forcing it to be re-painted yet again.
“We didn’t even have our masking removed,” he said. “I could write a book on how many hours have been wasted on covering graffiti.”
As for when the painting will be completed, Adams had a simple response: “That’s a loaded question,” he said. “We are just trying to keep up with the worst of it.”
Keeley said that if any student is found to be vandalizing school property, they will be expelled and charges brought against them.
“Students need to know that we all have a responsibility for campus safety and the respectful use of the college property,” he said.
If students see something they feel is concerning or destructive, they can report it directly to the administrative services office in Laidlaw 144, or by calling 383-3350.
The official student newspaper of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington