Back Story with Joan Goldstein: The Truth About Community College Students

January 4, 2010 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

posted by Joan Goldstein ’67, sociologist and educator

When Princeton TV30 Public Access invited me to host and produce my own show, I was excited about the idea of creating a public forum on social issues that would reflect both national and local concerns. I decided to call the show “Back Story with Joan Goldstein,” and my very first show focused on the healthcare debate. It was the fall of 2009 and I had recently attended a Town Hall meeting in Middletown, New Jersey held by Congressman Rush Holt; the conflicts I had observed were intense. On the show in October, my invited guest was Barry Rabner, President and CEO of the Princeton Healthcare System, and he was an excellent and knowledgeable guest. The station provided me with a round wooden table on the set, in the style of “Charlie Rose,” according to George, the station manager. I was off and running. This very first show was voted “Show of the Week.”

For my second show, I decided to focus on education – more specifically, community college education – and invited current students in my Social Problems course to join in. I have been teaching Sociology at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey for the past 16 years. As a 1967 graduate of Bank Street College, I have learned to apply the concepts of progressive education to this level of learning, and it has proved quite exciting. My guests were self-selected members of my two sections. Out of 63 students, four wonderful and diverse students were able to commit the time to tape the show and then join me as my guests for pizza at Princeton’s famous Conti’s afterwards. George has provided this website for viewing that show: www.vimeo.com/7642654.

Working with students in a Chinese school

I had decided to look at the stereotypes applied to community colleges and their students based on the recent TV series titled “Community.” Not only is the show offensive in their depiction of students and faculty, but they tend to give the wrong ideas about who does attend college and their dedication to attaining a degree. As you can view on the tape, my students hold down jobs, are highly intelligent and hard working, and have ambitions to contribute to our society as teachers and nurses. These shows were able to be viewed three times per week for over one month on TV 30, and in an arrangement with MCTV26, on the college’s station three more times per week. Some of the staff on campus who had seen the show stopped me one day to share that they had seen students around campus for years, but realized that they didn’t know anything about their lives. In 2010, I intend to have more programs on education and invite more students as guests. Everyone deserves to have their voice be heard.

Joan Goldstein, Ph.D., is a professor at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. She hosts Back Story, a monthly forum that explores current issues of the day, both national and local, with guests invited for their expertise or particular viewpoints. Her next episode was “The Future of Newspapers” with editors and publishers of local papers as guests. The show is broadcast on public access television in Princeton, NJ and also online. All of the episodes can be viewed here: www.vimeo.com/videos/search:back%20story%20with%20joan%20goldstein

Entry filed under: community, dialogue, diversity, equity.

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