GCC professor uses ‘action research’ assignment to contribute to communities

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Glendale Community College professor Theodore Hibbeler is using his teaching platform to contribute to local communities by assigning “action research” assignments to his students about issues they’re passionate about in their communities.

Professor Hibbeler is an english professor who introduced action research to his class with the intent of improving some aspects of his students’ communities. Hibbeler did this by assigning a final project where students had to find a national issue, and localize it to their communities.

When students discovered what issue they wanted to help with, they began researching and thinking of ways to provide solutions to the problem. This included interviewing people who have experience with the issue or someone who is in charge and can make a change, like a legislator or principal.

When students finished their action research, they were instructed by professor Hibbeler to make brochures, which included information about their issue, and where someone can help or can get help. They handed out the brochures to students at GCC to raise awareness on their issues.

Students thought this was a great way to bring attention to issues in their communities.

“The flyers that were handed out helped raise awareness to many issues that the students in his class felt need attention,” Kyle Key, a student in professor Hibbeler’s class, said.

Students also said they think that professor Hibbeler is not only helping the communities, but also the students themselves.

“He’s helping the community by teaching the students to try and make an impact on their community and people around them trying to help them become caring young adults,” former student Brendan Pettit said.

Professor Hibbeler was born in Iron Shell Family from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He grew up in a small city in Nebraska called Hastings, which only has a population of about 25,000 people. He received his BS degree in education from the University of Nebraska and his Master of Teaching degree in English from Hastings College.

Professor Hibbeler also coached football, basketball and track at St. Francis Indian School in South Dakota. He helped kids excel as student-athletes at St. Francis Indian School for 10 years, until he moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

It was at this time when he became the director of the Native American Education program at Phoenix Union School District for 20 years. Professor Hibbeler’s program helped develop a program during those years called “The Hoop of Learning Program” which according to the Hoop of Learning page on the Maricopa Community Colleges website, helps American Indians transition into college.

He then retired from the school district and began teaching classes at Phoenix College and Glendale Community College. This is when he began his “Action Research” assignments for his classes to teach his students that they can make a change in their community. He wants his students to know that they can be the change in their communities and in people’s lives.

Professor Hibbeler said that the goal of this assignment isn’t just for a grade or to test the student’s knowledge, his goal is to try and make students understand that they can have “a chance to effect positive change in their communities,”.

Not only does professor Hibbeler make an impact on the community, but his students as well.

“Professor Hibbeler was one of my favorite English teachers. I would say that his impact on English 102 was great”  Carlos Butron, a former student of professor Hibbeler said.