New community college team

This forum is for anyone seeking advice on starting a collegiate team, branching out into new types of tournaments, or other "how-to" aspects of collegiate quizbowl.
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tiwonge
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New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:54 am

How different is quiz bowl at a community college than at a 4 year college, especially when there is no local community college circuit? I imagine that the fact that students are usually present for just two years presents a challenge (less time to develop them).

How do community colleges qualify for NAQT's CCNCT?

And what can I do to pitch quiz bowl to both community college students and community college administrators?

(There are a few community colleges in the area: Treasure Valley Community College, College of Western Idaho and College of Southern Idaho. People in the TVCC student activities sounded interested, and invited me to set up a table for their student organization fair. I haven't heard back from anybody at CWI (which has a very successful debate team, so it seems that there should be administration support for something like this) or CSI yet.)
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Re: New community college team

Post by jonah » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:00 am

tiwonge wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:54 am
How do community colleges qualify for NAQT's CCNCT?
The tournament is the Community College Championship Tournament, or CCCT. Qualification to it works pretty much analogously to qualification to the ICT: it takes place via a sectional tournament (CC SCT).
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Re: New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:06 am

Ah, thanks. It looks like the nearest CC SCT to this area is Stanford.
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Re: New community college team

Post by jonah » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:10 am

tiwonge wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:06 am
Ah, thanks. It looks like the nearest CC SCT to this area is Stanford.
That was the case last year, but might not be the case this year: if you want to host one, just let us know at hosting@naqt.com.
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Re: New community college team

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:52 am

Hey, Colin!

I'm glad you're getting a CC team going in the Northwest. There are plenty of big differences between the university circuit and the CC circuit. To wit:
I imagine that the fact that students are usually present for just two years presents a challenge (less time to develop them).
--Hahahahaha! Sorry, not laughing at you, really, but this is a major misconception about CC progression. At Valencia College in Orlando, where I've been the last 25 years, and which won the inaugural Aspen Institute Award for Best CC in the nation back in 2013, about 34% of degree-seeking students who began in 2013 had earned an AS or AA degree by 2018. That's about 1/3 in FIVE YEARS!!!! And we're among the best in that measure. Some of this attrition comes from people who move or drop out or transfer without degree, but as far as we can tell that's just another 30-40%. Our students have jobs, kids, ailing parents, financial issues, you name it.

But aside from getting into all that, just know that you're likely to have players for 3-4 years, and NAQT allows three years of participation in SCTs/CCCTs for that reason. And that's important because of this next big difference:

--Your players are highly unlikely to have ever played or maybe even heard of quiz bowl. This is getting a wee bit better for us in Florida as the HS circuit gets more active, but the vast majority of HS students who play quiz bowl are high achievers who won't go to a CC anyway. So you're going to be starting from scratch. Definitely start with NAQT A sets or the old collegiate novice sets or even "regular" HS sets to get them going. Which leads to the next point:

--CC players need a lot of nurturing early on, as it's not uncommon for them to think they're not good enough for the game or that the questions are too hard. Stuff we take for granted that "all freshman would know" (who's this Gabriel Garcia-Marquez? Piet Mondrian, what the hell?) will likely be alien to them. So I hold practice in a room with a PC connected to a projector so I can take a lot of time to do impromptu "lessons" on things as they come up. And I also do lots of more formal 10-15-minute mini-presentations on areas like 20th century art or Southern writers or Latin American authors. E-mail me at cborglum at valenciacollege dot edu if you'd like me to send you any of those (and that invitation is to anyone else reading this).

--As to getting a new program going, be sure to make friends with the student activities administrator at your college. It's not uncommon for folks in those positions at schools that have never had quiz bowl to be a little (or a lot) resistant, but be nice and solicitous and maybe show them information about thriving CC circuits (like Florida and Alabama) or media articles (I have some). And emphasize the academic connections the game has to curriculum. If they're really resistant, as we've seen at some Florida CCs, try to gently go over their heads. Get the VP of Academic Affairs to see the game as interesting, and if and when you have a team going, see if you can get on the agenda of the college's board of trustees to make a presentation, especially after a successful tournament. The BoT people are usually community leaders who love a chance for a photo op with high-achieving college students. Did your team beat Stanford's E team at a tournament? Don't mention the E part--just note that YOUR KIDS BEAT STANFORD (sorry, Stanford, just using an example). That kind of marketing hustle helps a lot early on.

Anyway, that's enough for now. I'm happy to help as you get it going. Good luck!
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Re: New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:10 am

ValenciaQBowl wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:52 am
Hey, Colin!

I'm glad you're getting a CC team going in the Northwest. There are plenty of big differences between the university circuit and the CC circuit. To wit:
I imagine that the fact that students are usually present for just two years presents a challenge (less time to develop them).
--Hahahahaha! Sorry, not laughing at you, really, but this is a major misconception about CC progression. At Valencia College in Orlando, where I've been the last 25 years, and which won the inaugural Aspen Institute Award for Best CC in the nation back in 2013, about 34% of degree-seeking students who began in 2013 had earned an AS or AA degree by 2018. That's about 1/3 in FIVE YEARS!!!! And we're among the best in that measure. Some of this attrition comes from people who move or drop out or transfer without degree, but as far as we can tell that's just another 30-40%. Our students have jobs, kids, ailing parents, financial issues, you name it.

But aside from getting into all that, just know that you're likely to have players for 3-4 years, and NAQT allows three years of participation in SCTs/CCCTs for that reason. And that's important because of this next big difference:
ValenciaQBowl wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:52 am
--Your players are highly unlikely to have ever played or maybe even heard of quiz bowl. This is getting a wee bit better for us in Florida as the HS circuit gets more active, but the vast majority of HS students who play quiz bowl are high achievers who won't go to a CC anyway. So you're going to be starting from scratch. Definitely start with NAQT A sets or the old collegiate novice sets or even "regular" HS sets to get them going. Which leads to the next point:
That's actually not much different than here at BSU. I think this is the first year we're getting (hopefully) a player with some high school experience.
ValenciaQBowl wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:52 am
--CC players need a lot of nurturing early on, as it's not uncommon for them to think they're not good enough for the game or that the questions are too hard. Stuff we take for granted that "all freshman would know" (who's this Gabriel Garcia-Marquez? Piet Mondrian, what the hell?) will likely be alien to them. So I hold practice in a room with a PC connected to a projector so I can take a lot of time to do impromptu "lessons" on things as they come up. And I also do lots of more formal 10-15-minute mini-presentations on areas like 20th century art or Southern writers or Latin American authors. E-mail me at cborglum at valenciacollege dot edu if you'd like me to send you any of those (and that invitation is to anyone else reading this).
Yeah, I was thinking that this might be closer to coaching a high school team in this respect. (And maybe they'd be more open to direct coaching/teaching than university students?) This might be the hard part, though, because TVCC is an hour away for me, and I'm not going to be able to make that drive on a regular basis to coach. I'd have to find somebody more local who can do that, and maybe supplement it with some online coaching or mentoring. (CWI is feasibly close, and CSI is about 2 hours away.)
ValenciaQBowl wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:52 am
--As to getting a new program going, be sure to make friends with the student activities administrator at your college. It's not uncommon for folks in those positions at schools that have never had quiz bowl to be a little (or a lot) resistant, but be nice and solicitous and maybe show them information about thriving CC circuits (like Florida and Alabama) or media articles (I have some). And emphasize the academic connections the game has to curriculum. If they're really resistant, as we've seen at some Florida CCs, try to gently go over their heads. Get the VP of Academic Affairs to see the game as interesting, and if and when you have a team going, see if you can get on the agenda of the college's board of trustees to make a presentation, especially after a successful tournament. The BoT people are usually community leaders who love a chance for a photo op with high-achieving college students. Did your team beat Stanford's E team at a tournament? Don't mention the E part--just note that YOUR KIDS BEAT STANFORD (sorry, Stanford, just using an example). That kind of marketing hustle helps a lot early on.

Anyway, that's enough for now. I'm happy to help as you get it going. Good luck!
Thanks for your help. I think that if I can get something started at one school (maybe TVCC), it might make it easier to get something started at the other two schools.
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Re: New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:15 am

The Student Activities people at TVCC said that (at least as far as travel goes, which is all I mentioned), clubs are self-financed. If they're traveling, they'll have to raise their own money. I don't know how easy it is to try to get some funding from the administration for things like tournament fees.

CWI has a successful debate program, so I assume there's some sort of funding available there? I think CSI also has a debate program, although not as successful.
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Re: New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:54 pm

So I set up a table at TVCC's Campus Fair today, and got 17 names on my sign-up sheet. Of these names, I estimate maybe 4-5 of them are really interested. Which is enough. There was definitely a wide skill level. Lots couldn't answer the novice high school questions I was reading, but there were a few who answered at least the lit and history and science questions (I didn't try art), and one even powered a question.

To what extent will they need a coach? Are community college teams going to be able to coach themselves? I'm willing to drive the hour to TVCC maybe once a week, at least for a while, and maybe help them, coach them a bit, help them run practice, and then let them run their own a second day of the week.

(Also, apparently their clubs *can* apply for funds, so that problem is not as bad as I thought.)

I worry that the turnover is going to be high enough that it might be a good idea to have a permanent presence on campus, guiding and coaching and maintaining the team. But I'm not sure.

The Student Activities people I've talked to have been very helpful and interested about this, so I think I will be able to get support from that end, at least.
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Re: New community college team

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:07 am

Good work, Colin!

I think brand-new players would have a pretty hard time coaching themselves and getting better, though if they're motivated they could get by. I think if you were able to go down there once a week for even two-three weeks you could model how to learn from reading practice packets, how to divide subject area learning among players, etc.

But what I wonder is whether they'll be "allowed" to coach themselves. At the very least I would imagine that the college's student activities people would require a faculty sponsor to make the club official (those are certainly required in Florida, anyway). I suppose such a person could be a completely disengaged figurehead who just signs off on paperwork, but obviously finding a faculty member who might be interested in showing up to practice at least for a couple hours a week would go a long way to ensuring the club's long-term health.

You've probably already done this, but if not, talk to the student activities director at TVCC about how they go about finding faculty sponsors for other clubs. They can probably send an e-mail to faculty gauging interest, and maybe find out if some faculty member at least played HS quiz bowl or has some familiarity. What we've (kind of sadly) found here in Florida is that when there's not an actually motivated faculty member, one can often persuade a tenure-track instructor (or an adjunct who wants to get on tenure track) to sponsor the team as a way of building her/his resume and tenure portfolio.

Good luck!
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Re: New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:19 am

One of the people who signed up yesterday is married to a teacher. (I don't know if he's full-time or not; TVCC requires that the sponsor be full-time.) That might be an option. (The BSU club president's father teaches there, too, but he is not full-time, so we can't use him.)

It certainly would be better to find somebody who is interested in quiz bowl and motivated, but until then, a placeholder will work.

I was thinking (just now) that maybe if we have some sort of campus intramural tournament (and involve faculty?), that might be a way to raise awareness and also find a faculty member who might be interested.
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Re: New community college team

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Oct 01, 2019 12:34 pm

Demos of the game of any type work really well for me. I get people each year just by setting up in a public space (a plaza or quad or busy walkway) with the buzzers and getting folks to stop by. The buzzers themselves are actually quite a draw, as kids (well, kids to me) want to play with them. But a formal demo/intramural match is good. Maybe invite student government officers and other clubs, too?
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Re: New community college team

Post by tiwonge » Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:02 pm

That's what I did at the campus fair. I brought the plunger-style Zeecraft buzzers because they're more fun to use and had some novice high school questions. Most of the people who came by tried them out, and most of them put their name down. (Now, whether they come to meetings or practices is another question.) But I can also suggest to the club members to do this again at some other point later in the semester.
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