A conference proposal submitted by Northern Pennsylvania Regional College’s (NPRC) English Instructor, Ben Blood, has been accepted for the national 2021 Teaching Professor Conference held this June in New Orleans, La. Blood’s presentation, titled “Non-Academic Instruction and First-Year Student Success,” focuses on how teaching skills for balancing life in and out of the classroom, in addition to supplemental reading and writing instruction, best serves students who place into first-year support and development English courses.
This topic was developed after Blood’s nearly 10 years of teaching a range of college English courses at various institutions. He noticed that struggling students are often not held back by a lack of intelligence or skills, but because life may become a disruption or barrier to classroom success.
“If I didn’t find a way to mindfully address these issues in my classroom, I was putting the cart before the horse,” says Blood. “This approach is particularly important for the students we serve who are largely first-year students with little exposure to the balancing of college, work, and life.” Blood’s focus on non-academic skills fits perfectly with NPRC’s mission, use of Student Success Specialists, and other efforts to get to know students personally and help them learn to balance college and life.
“I have had many students who return to college at NPRC tell me that they wish they had taken a class that focused on non-academic skills the first time they attempted college because they believe they would have been much more successful.”
Blood joined NPRC in the summer of 2019 from Jamestown Community College and SUNY Fredonia. He has a master’s degree in English with grades 7-12 teaching certification and an emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition. In 2018, Ben received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and the President’s Award for Excellence at Jamestown Community College.