Get Published

Red Rockets

Most seasoned veterans of CFCC are aware of Portals Annual Literary and Arts Magazine.  But for newbies like me, I began to wonder why I kept seeing red rockets (see below) in flight on inconspicuous walls and bulletin boards around campus.  Curiosity led me to the English Department’s webpage and… “voila!” Suddenly, I was immersed in beautiful works of art and literature created by Cape Fear Community College’s pride and joy – the students. With an online archive dating back to 2004, anyone can get their fill of poetry, fiction, essays, art and photography.

In The Beginning

The origins of Portals began in the late 1990’s as a small xeroxed “handout”, if you will, of student pieces. A collection of their hard work throughout the semester, a keepsake.

[Fade to black]

In comes Margo Williams, English instructor, who gave new life to Portals.  Margo, with the help of another instructor and a couple of student interns published an online version of Portals in 2003.    With a vision and a school grant from the CFCC Foundation, Margo brought the magazine (in classy black n’ white fashion) to print in 2004.

It Takes a Village…

As the  revitalized literary and arts magazine gained popularity and status, Williams recruited fellow English Department members to the Portals team. One can imagine that publishing a magazine is no easy task.  The 2010 issue, headed by Meredith Merrill, had a grand total of 32 members of faculty and staff (12 English department and 20 CFCC faculty/staff recruits) who collaborated to get 1000 copies into print. Editors, editorial assistants, judges, art and photography editors,  layout and design. Merrill lead the committee from 2005-2010 and is due some serious credit for securing additional funding and increasing readership of the magazine.  Heading up the 2011 Portals Committee is the beautiful, talented writer/instructor, Jada Ach. She has what it takes to coordinate something of this magnitude, passion and youth.

…And an Artist

Does the image below  look familiar?  It should, it’s everywhere–and catchy. You can’t help but stop and admire the eloquent selection of font type, object placement and color scheme.   This year’s flyer was designed by one of CFCC’s most talented artists (who just happens to be on our payroll), web designer, Justin Floyd. Justin has designed the Portals flyer for the past 3 years. Fan-tas-tic design? Yes.

The Good Stuff

To publish a magazine you need content.  The English Department has done an unbelievable job of encouraging students to submit a piece of their work.  As added incentive to “get published”, cash prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place writing pieces and if your photograph gets selected for the cover art…100 bucks. And if that isn’t enough to entice the students, new this year is the Louise McColl Award for Literary Excellence (350 smackers!)

Faculty and staff, feeling left out? There’s even a separate category for us! $100 award for a writing piece. Sorry Charlie, we’re too late for this year’s entries, the deadline was in November 2010.

Over 300 pieces of literature and art were submitted for entry this year.  Entries must adhere to strict guidelines and are only accepted through an online submission form. All submissions are directed to a special Portals Groupwise email account.  The entire process is cyclical in nature.

Bring It

This April, the awards ceremony for Portals will be held in Tabitha’s courtyard.  The ceremony includes readings from winners, a performance from CFCC’s orchestra, light refreshments and a jolly good time.  Bring yourself and a friend and support CFCC’s most talented writers and artists. I know I’ll be there on a lovely spring day. :)

PC versus Mac…how ’bout a VC?


The Business Technologies Department is without a doubt up-to-date with current technology trends.  Melissa Watson, CIS 110 & 111 instructor, is the MVP of the VCL at CFCC (how are those acronyms for ya’?).

Virtual Computing Lab, or VCL,  is just that, a computer lab our  students can access from home.  North Carolina State University, who houses the project, has partnered with community colleges in NC to spread the use of the program.

With student enrollment approaching 600 for  CIS 110/111 distance learning sections for the year, Melissa Watson recognized a need. Students who “do not reside near the campuses or who use a Mac computer are now provided with an opportunity to use a computer from home that includes all the software required for their courses without having to travel to one of the school’s’ Learning Labs”, states Watson.

Recruiting the help and expertise of both Dom Friant (IT Services) and Pat Hogan (Business Technologies Chair), Watson has successfully provided students with access to 20 virtual computers.

How does it work for students?

  1. Head to the lab! Turn on the PC or Mac and head to the VCL homepage to login.
  2. Make a reservation  Strictly on a first-come-first-serve-basis, students reserve an environment (ex: WinXP), date and duration for use of the virtual machine.
  3. Transform At the time of reservation the student’s computer is literally transformed into a CFCC image while running the app.

For more info on the Virtual Computer Lab go to or contact Melissa Watson at

Faculty! Staff! Do you know of any technological  awesomeness on our CFCC campuses? Email 

Have a couple minutes? Make sure to check out the kickoff post “Let’s get things started” to get you in the mood. :)

New spotlights posted Thursday of every week.

Let’s get things started…

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

From, “185 voices from 12 countries join a choir that spans the globe: “Lux Aurumque,” composed and conducted by Eric Whitacre, merges hundreds of tracks individually recorded and posted to YouTube. It’s an astonishing illustration of how technology can connect us.”

CFCC Sea Devils, are you ready to “connect”?