About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.

The One-Minute Paper

A Valuable Classroom Assessment Technique for College Instructors

I realized that I have made no less than three references to this concept without explaining it.

Here is the explanation that I have owed you.

Angelo and Cross, in their book Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (see References page), describe what they call the Minute Paper.  While many authors cite their work, I honestly don’t know if they were the first to write about this assessment tool.  They may have been.  The Minute Paper has been I have adopted by thousands, make that millions, of teachers under a variety of names like One Minute Paper, One-Minute Paper, 1 Minute Paper, and Fred.  Okay, I am kidding about “Fred,” but there are a lot of free spirited, nonconformist instructors, so it may have happened.  “Students, before you leave take out a blank sheet of paper.  I want you to do a Fred.”  I wonder how many students would return for the next class.  Anyway, I prefer the term One Minute Paper (OMP), and that will be my default nomenclature.

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The 5th Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People addresses an important aspect of interpersonal communication.  Covey begins with a claim that really applies to me.  He says, “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice.  But we often fail to take the time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first,” (p. 237).  As with Covey’s other habits, this one has some unique applications for college faculty members.  I will begin with one of the most important things college instructors need to understand about understanding.  Covey doesn’t cover this.

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Introduction to the 6th Habit – Synergy

The 6th Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines synergy as the “interaction or cooperation of two or more agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”

Putting this in the context of college instruction, Dr. Paul (that’s what they call me around the college … to my face that least 😉 ) defines synergy as “the cooperation of students and their instructors to enhance student learning beyond what could be achieved by students or instructors alone.”

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The 6th Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors


Introduction to Synergy

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents Synergy as the 6th Habit.

In the introductory article I posted Friday, I gave a dictionary definition of synergy, which was the “interaction or cooperation of two or more agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”

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Stephen Covey’s 7th Habit of Highly Effective People

Did Abe Lincoln think of it first?

When I think of Stephen Covey’s 7th habit, Sharpen the Saw, it reminds me of the famous Abraham Lincoln quotation:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

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The 7th Habit of Highly Effective College Instructors

Sharpen the Saw

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey shares his thoughts about leading a well balanced life.  This is what “Sharpen the Saw” is all about.

As I read and reread the chapter entitled “Sharpen the Saw” I pondered how I was going to make this real and relevant for college faculty.  What am I going to say?  It could be a short article.  It may be difficult for me to provide the 1,500 to 2,000 words you normally see in my articles.  What?  Did I hear someone say that would be a good thing?

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How to Find an Adjunct Teaching Position

I chuckle a bit when I think about job postings for part time college instructors that call for two years prior teaching experience. It’s the chicken or egg thing. Which comes first? You mean you can’t get a job teaching unless you have had a job teaching? Well, I am being a bit facetious, but the question remains, how do you get a job with little or no prior teaching experience?

The Perceived Quality of a College Instructor

Think about the best college instructor you ever had. What was special about him or her? How do you match up to that standard? More importantly, how do your students and your college administrators judge your quality?