Joshua Fischer, Writer, Teacher, International Traveler
What years you were on staff and which positions did you hold?
1992-1994. I began as a staff reporter, later to take on the role of Projects Editor. I was editor-in-chief for the 1993-1994 school year.
From which four-year college or university did you graduate?
University of Texas, Austin
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1999. I wrote on a freelance basis for the Daily Texan and the Austin Chronicle. I was also published in the Texas Observer and the San Antonio Express-News.
I was specifically interested in writing about student activism, performance art, alternative media, tenure issues and would eventually spend a semester as an opinion columnist.
The majority of my work centered on the decades-long protests and civil disobedience at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. I travelled with students, community leaders and filmmakers several times to the annual protests, publishing widely on the subject in all of the papers listed above.
Describe some of your past experiences?
After graduating UT in 1999 with honors and as a flag-bearer for the College of Communication, I spent three months traveling in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. (Since that time, I've spent considerable time in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panamá, Costa Rica and Guatemala.)
The Channels inspired me to want to see and experience the world first-hand, and I was a participant on the SBCC semester abroad at Shandong University in Jinan, China in 1994, with Dr. Peter Haslund, where we also visited Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, focused on international relations and cultural studies.
In 2001, I moved to San German, Puerto Rico, where I studied linguistics at the Universidad Interamericana at the graduate level, while supervising the English Language Laboratory there and teaching conversational English. When 9-11 occurred, I returned to the mainland, and ended up becoming an 8th grade language arts teacher at C.M. Eppes Middle School in Greenville, North Carolina. I started a volunteer after school Journalism club, where I oversaw the creation of the first online middle school newspaper in the region. This was a career highlight for me, as dozens of students saw their first chance at publication while in grades 6-8.
I would end up teaching for six years, in North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Subjects included Language Arts, Creative Writing and Journalism, in both regular and alternative schools. I was selected by the ASNE for a Reynolds Scholarship at Arizona State University in 2008, and was runner-up for Teacher of the Year at the Academy of Academics and Technology in Tallahassee, Florida that year.
I plan to return to teaching and writing in the future, but since 2009 have been involved in restaurant management, international traveling and becoming a sommelier.
Why The Channels?
The Channels changed me forever—and in the best ways. It made SBCC my home. It gave me strength, courage and knowledge that no other class offered. It forced me to think critically about my campus, my city, my world and my core values. It gave me an open road to inquiry and discovery, and taught me both difficult and wonderful lessons. It gave me the chance to make my education matter, to publish on subjects that otherwise no one would ever know about. It informed me of my rights as a citizen, my freedoms granted by the Constitution and my greater responsibilities to always consider more than just my own opinion.
We recorded history during our time on The Channels staff. Imagine....in the early nineties, we were writing articles about the advent of E-mail and the science and development of this new phenomenon called the "Information Superhighway," now known as the Internet.
The Channels is a method of self-discovery. To me that is the mission of higher education.
Let's use a very current news story to illustrate the power and depth of student media and publications. In Pittsburg, Kansas, a team of high school journalism students investigated the woman selected to be their new principal, a job that paid $93,000 a year. They discovered glaring problems in her resume and background, which numerous adults overlooked during her hiring process. When these matters came to light, she resigned.
The press is powerful. It demands inquiry and the diligent search for truth, even when people in power would prefer to lie. This process can now begin at the earliest levels of education. The Channels offers a real world approach to the life and heartbeat of the fantastic institution that is Santa Barbara Community College. It offers the chance to dig into the real issues of both the campus and society at large. It propels young writers and journalists to get to know each other, to talk to other students about critical issues, and to enhance the bond between teachers and learners. It holds those in power accountable, and develops the need to unearth the truth.