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Meet Your Tenure-Track FA Council Members

Joe Salamon

The MiraCosta College FA is comprised of a diverse group of faculty from all full-time faculty areas: classroom, non-classroom, Career Education, traditional transfer areas, tenured and tenure-track, to name a few….

This week we’d like to introduce some of your tenure-track FA Council members who work hard to support all FA members, and they've answered some questions so you can get to know them better.


Current Tenure-Track FA Council Members

Annie Ngo

Annie Ngo Annie teaches statistics and personal finance in the Business Administration department. She started in the Fall of 2017 and is currently at the end of her 2nd tenure review cycle.

Jake Strona

Jake Strona Jake teaches pre-transfer and transfer level composition courses in the Letters department. He started in the Fall of 2015 and is currently in his final tenure review cycle.

Joe Salamon

Joe Salamon Joe teaches physics in the Physical Science Department. He started full time at MCC in Fall 2016 and is currently at the end of his 3rd tenure review cycle.

Leigh Cotnoir

Leigh Cotnoir Leigh teaches web development, graphic design, and media production in the Media Arts and Technologies department. She started in the Fall of 2015 and is currently in her final tenure review cycle.


What is your background and how did it lead you to MiraCosta College?

Annie I spent about twelve years as a category manager for aerospace & defense and medical device industries. I always loved teaching and was an adjunct instructor in the evenings. Eventually I decided to pursue my doctorate in Organizational Leadership at the University of San Diego. While there, I was a research assistant for the Office of Assessment and Accreditation and the business school, and I was a lecturer for their undergraduate and graduate programs, as well. I also taught statistics at CSUSM and Miramar College. I decided to join MiraCosta’s Business Department in 2017 so I could focus on one community of students.

Jake I am a former MiraCosta College student, and teaching rhetoric and composition is my passion. I developed my passion for the field of writing studies as an undergraduate, and my passion for the field grew as my graduate work focused on rhetoric and composition theory and pedagogy. Inspired by an instructor at MCC as an undergraduate, I knew I wanted to become an instructor at the community college level, not only because I am product of the community college, but also because of the inherent diversity of the students we serve.

Joe Before I got to MiraCosta, I was working on my physics PhD at UC San Diego. Even though my research path was formally spent on general relativity, I spent much of my time on physics education research, which went hand-in-hand with my continued role as a head TA there. The major outcome of that work was our implementation of large-scale flipped classrooms in our lower-division physics courses at UCSD. I grew to love teaching and researching teaching more and more in my time there and decided to pursue such a career full-time.

Leigh Although I was always an artist, I did a lot of things before finding my true passion in teaching web development and graphic design, including working in publishing, getting my MFA in furniture design and multimedia, building exhibitions for the San Diego Museum of Art, and doing system administration and web development for the School of Art + Design at SDSU for over a decade. While doing most of those things, though, I still taught on top of my full-time employment because I am passionate about education. I decided to join MiraCosta’s Media Arts and Technologies full-time faculty in 2015 so that I could teach a broader range of classes and dedicate all of my energy to teaching.


What inspires you most in your interactions with students?

Annie What inspires me most is when I can see students enjoying the learning process. There are moments of struggle, but that makes the moments of achievement even better. I’m also inspired when I see students learn from each other; helping each other and appreciating one another in the process.

Jake I am inspired by my students’ confidence to take intellectual risks and explore new ideas. I am heartened when students, before they know whether or not they will succeed, are willing to experiment, learn new skills, and participate in new endeavors. Their openness to inquiry, optimism, and their generosity to one another motivates me to do the same. Each student’s academic journey has a quality of bravery which continues to inspire me.

Joe I think what inspires me most is the great chance we have to observe our students grow. In our physics sequences, we tend to get a fairly consistent batch of students over multiple semesters, and seeing how students mature both emotionally and academically over that time period is very rewarding. I feel honored to be able to take part in their growth by providing small tidbits of the end, those tidbits lead to tremendous long-term changes!

Leigh I am constantly inspired by seeing student growth. I love the excitement they get when they realize that they can create complex things, the confidence that ensues from overcoming setbacks, and the joy that comes from tinkering. My favorite part of teaching is seeing that moment when students discover that taking time to explore is key to professional growth.


What’s something you think every faculty member should know about the FA?

Annie As a newer faculty member, getting to hear the perspective of faculty from various disciplines at different phases of their career has been educational as I think about my long term goals at MiraCosta. From the way the FA members discuss topics, I can see that they are focused on the best interests for all full-time faculty at MiraCosta. It makes me feel secure that there is a group concerned about our working conditions and fair treatment. There are some aspects I would have never known about that can negatively impact our ability to do our job.

Jake I think one of the main things a faculty member should know is that FA “has your back.” Because FA is comprised of faculty members from across the disciplines and who have a variety of experiences and expertise, it is focused on what is best for the working conditions of MCC faculty. Because it is not aligned with a state or national union, FA is attentive to the local needs and concerns of MCC faculty.

Joe Even though the FA is our faculty representative group for working conditions, many of the issues that have come up in my short time on the council have had a much broader scope and generally intersect with multiple areas of our academic lives at MiraCosta. I really appreciate the bigger picture perspective that everyone brings in to our meetings!

Leigh The MiraCosta FA takes a very level-headed approach to everything that comes in front of it, and the entire full-time faculty at MCC benefits from such sensible advocacy. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when first joining the FA, but I quickly learned that it is fully comprised and controlled by our own full-time faculty members, that it is independent from any state or national unions, and that its decisions are all made by our own faculty with local considerations as guiding factors. It has become clear to me how hard the FA always works to preserve a good working environment so that we can focus on what we’re really here to do, which is teach and build community.


Why did you choose to join the FA?

Annie I decided to join FA because I was a new mother during my first year at MiraCosta and saw how my input helped contribute to the discussion on the needs of our faculty for parental leave. Also, I believed that my corporate experience in negotiating and writing contracts would be a useful way for me to contribute.

Jake I chose FA because I wanted to learn more about how the college works and get a sense of the working conditions of faculty from different departments. I also admire and respect the faculty members on the committee and felt I could learn and grow from them as a professional and a colleague.

Joe I was always interested in the negotiations and legal aspects that FA was involved in in my first year, but I felt that I didn't necessarily have a good understanding of how the college worked. When some open seats for FA became available at the end of last year, I felt that I was ready to join after my year of experience with BPC.

Leigh As a new faculty member, I was really eager to get a bigger picture of how different MiraCosta governance worked, and joining the Faculty Assembly provided that opportunity. I have learned much more about how different college divisions work together, overlap, and what the limitations are of each. My experience with the FA has been very instructive to my holistic faculty experience.

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