About Us


The Community Book Connection

The Community Book Connection (CBC) is a college-wide, interdisciplinary reading initiative dedicated to promoting a culture of discussion and debate at the Community College of Baltimore County. We are committed to creating stimulating and relevant learning opportunities and co-curricular programs that make CCBC an exciting place to be, both inside and outside the classroom.

Each year we democratically select a book that we recommend to the entire college community. We encourage faculty and staff from many different disciplines and program areas to adopt the book for use in their courses and initiatives; we offer workshops, trainings, and grant-funded projects to help faculty develop their skills as culturally-responsive, student-centered educators.

To further enrich the educational experience, we invite any member of the CCBC community to organize a program centering on the themes of the book. In collaboration with internal and external partners, the Community Book Connection sponsors a wide variety of events, such as keynote lectures, panel discussions, debates, poetry readings, field trips, workshops, student presentations, theatre performances, dance and musical performances, art exhibits, fundraisers, service learning initiatives, and many other types of programs.

In our fifteen years, we have teamed up with the Office of Student Life, the Office of the President, the Office of Intercultural Engagement, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leadership, the Institute for Social and Economic Justice, The Womens Studies Club, the Progressive Student Alliance, the Rainbow Club, the Environmental Club, Global Education, International Education, the Fine and Performing Arts, the CCBC Contemplative Circle, and many other groups.

Funded through the CCBC Office of Instruction, the Community Book Connection is open to all students, faculty, staff, or administrators who would like to get involved, whether by proposing a book, teaching the book, hosting a program, or attending an event. The vast majority of our events are free and open to the public.

The goals of the Community Book Connection are to enhance student and community learning, to strengthen our common human bonds; and to demonstrate the many ways that classroom learning is deeply connected to social issues in the broader community.

Who We Are

The Community Book Connection was originally launched in 2006 by a small group of dedicated CCBC faculty in the humanities and social sciences who were inspired by the idea that classroom learning is linked to real-life social concerns, and that community colleges can offer students access to the same high-level educational and cultural opportunities that their counterparts in four-year public institutions enjoy.

The program continues to draw its vital strength and energy from innovative faculty and staff who are fully invested in the progressive, democratic mission of the open-enrollment institution. Through our reading choices, curriculum, extracurricular programs, and partnerships we strive to demonstrate the vital, exciting connections between literacy, education, cultural competency, and social justice.

As an academic program, the CBC provides support, encouragement, and a sense of community for creative-minded educators who are passionate about literacy, student-centered learning, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

We believe that we are all learners, and that a transformational education is a critical factor in creating a just society in which human creative potential is fully realized. We believe that engaged reading, discussion, and debate continue to play a central role in a liberational education.

We invite you to share your talent and ideas and to become involved. Contact anyone on this list below to ask questions or get more information on the Community Book Connection.

We invite you to share your talent and ideas and to become involved in the program. Contact anyone on this list below to ask questions or get more information on the Community Book Connection.

Community Book Connection Leadership and Subcommittees

Director, Professor Lauren Pollak

Essex Coordinator, Professor Ingrid Sabio-McLaughlin

Dundalk Coordinator, Professor Lauren Pollak

Westside Coordinator: Professor Lakshmi Rajkumar

CBC Online Curriculum Coordinator and Book Selection Coordinator, 2021: Dr. Cristina Cardona

Book Selection Committee

Solicits book proposals from the CCBC Community year-round. Vets roughly 15+ books during the summer. Meets, discusses books, ranks, and narrows the list to a short list to be put to a democratic vote by the entire community in October. Each member of the committee is asked to propose one book per year.

Cristina Cardona, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Book Selection Coordinator

Nina Brown, PhD, Professor of Anthropology

Mary Elizabeth Gore, MS, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Kimberley Hannah-Prater, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies

Kim Jensen, PhD, Professor of English, Co-director CBC

Kris Messer, MFA, PhD, Assistant Professor of English

Patricia Quintero-Hall, D.P.A., M.ED., M.A, Coordinator of Intercultural Engagement, Dundalk

Ingrid Sabio-McLaughlin, MA, Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies

Debra Sambuco, MLS, Collection Department Librarian

Cheryl Scott, Ed. D., Professor of English

Alyssa Simms-Clark, MA, Assistant Professor of Academic Literacy

Ann-Marie Thornton, MA, Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Avery Williams, MA, Assistant Professor of Academic Literacy

Jill Burke, MLIS, Reference and Instruction Librarian

Lakshmi Rajkumar, MS, Instructor, School of Math and Sciences

Nadine Henry-Thomas, DNP, RN, PCCN, Assistant Professor of Nursing

Anne Roberts, Assistant Professor, English

Pedagogy & Faculty Development

Solicits and awards annual pedagogy grants to full-time and adjunct faculty in a competitive process that recognizes research-based, high-impact curriculum. Makes these lesson plans and curriculum available to CCBC community via CBC Website and email. Successfully helps to recruit full-time and part-time faculty in many different disciplines to use the book in classes.

Meets with department and school coordinators, chairs, and deans to help develop the program. Develops collaborative relationships across disciplines. Creates trainings and workshops to encourage successful, innovative, and appropriate use the book in a variety of disciplines. Implements professional development opportunities for faculty who use the CBC Book. Encourages CBC faculty to present at internal and external conferences. Collaborates with PRE to develop tools to gauge success of students who are exposed to CBC as a high-impact practice.

Lakshmi Rajkumar, MS, Instructor, School of Math and Sciences, Co-Chair

Cheryl Scott, Ed. D., Professor of English, Co-chair

Haleh Azimi, Ed. D, Associate Professor of Academic Literacy, Co-Director of ALP

Stacy Hurley, MSW, LCSW-C, Adjunct Faculty of ACDV 101 and Single Step/CASE

Lindsay Lassen, M.Ed. Assistant Professor of Academic Literacy

Lauren Pollak, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of English

Jackie Scott, M. Ed., Associate Professor of English

Cristina Cardona, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Online Coordinator

Events and Programming

Oversees the coordination of a wide variety of programs and events all relating to the themes and topics of the annual community book. The committee meets in spring to share ideas and begin planning process. Each member of the committee participates in co-planning at least one event, trip, project, or initiative per calendar year. Members of committee help identify institutional and community partners and seek collaboration across schools, disciplines and campuses. Members help to publicize our programs on campus and in the community.

Kim Jensen, PhD, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Chair

Jean Boggs, MFA, MLIS, Reference & Instruction Librarian

Artraelle Boyette Kelly, Med, Assistant Professor, School of Technology

Nina Brown, PhD, Professor of Anthropology

Nicole Buckingham Kern, MFA, Gallery Coordinator, Art, Design and Interactive Media

Cristina Cardona, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Science

Heather Foss, MA, Assistant Professor of ESOL

Zachary Hartley, MFA, Adjunct Professor of Theatre

David Hewitt, MFA, Assistant Professor of English

Maura Hill, MA, Associate Professor of English

Natasha Howard, PhD, Assistant Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Kendrick Kenney, MA, Program Coordinator of Digital Media

Carr Kizzier, MFA, Associate Professor of English

Trisha Kyner, MFA, Associate Professor, Art, Design, and Interactive Media

Julie Lewis, MFA, Professor of Theatre, Theatre Coordinator

Kris Messer, MFA, PhD, Assistant Professor of English and ALP

Tara Meyer, MA, OIFSP Case Manager, Human Services Counseling, Adjunct Faculty

Nellie Pharr-Maleta, MA, Director of International Student Services

Lauren Pollak, MFA, Assistant Professor of English

Matthew Palumbo. M.A., Concert Manager

Amy Pucino, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology

Patricia Quintero-Hall, D.P.A., M.ED., M.A, Coordinator of Intercultural Engagement

Lakshmi Rajkumar, M.S. Instructor, School of Math and Sciences

Ingrid Sabio-McLaughlin, MA, Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies

Morgan P. Slusher, PhD, Professor of Psychology

Precious Stone, MA? Associate Professor of Communication

LaRonika Thomas, MFA, Adjunct Professor of Communication

Jessica Walton, MFA, Associate Professor of Art, Design, and Interactive Media

Renuka Purimetla, ACDV Instructor, Sign Language Interpreter

Student Engagement & Activism

Lauren Pollak MFA, Assistant Professor of English, Chair

Jean Boggs, MFA, MLIS, Reference & Instruction Librarian

Susan Delker-Grauel, MA, Department Chair, Academic Development

Stacy Hurley, MSW, LCSW-C, Adjunct Faculty of ACDV 101 and Single Step/CASE

Tara Meyer, MA, OIFSP Case Manager, Human Services Counseling, Adjunct Faculty

Patricia Quintero-Hall, D.P.A., M.ED., M.A, Coordinator of Intercultural Engagement, Dundalk

Renuka Purimetla, ACDV Instructor, Sign Language Interpreter

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee

Patricia Quintero-Hall, D.P.A., M.ED., M.A, Coordinator of Intercultural Engagement, Co-Chair

Lauren Pollak, MFA, Assistant Professor of English

Kim Jensen, PhD, Professor of English and Creative Writing

Dennis Seymour (Eastern Band Cherokee), PhD, Dean Emeritus

Ingrid Sabio-McLaughlin, MA, Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies

Amy Pucino, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology

Myron Strong, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology

Ingrid Sabio-McLaughlin, MA, Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies

Jhane Cummings, Assistant Director, Student Life – Civic Engagement

Esther Dabipi, Coordinator, Upward Bound

Renuka Purimetla, ACDV Instructor, Sign Language Interpreter