The Camden Public Library welcomes award-winning author and teacher Ned Bachus for an event celebrating his new book, Open Admissions: What Teaching at Community College Taught Me About Learning. The event will feature an author reading from Ned Bachus, an alumnus of Community College of Philadelphia and former counselor and teacher there. Fostering student independence is a recurrent theme in Bachus’s memoir, Open Admissions, which has been praised by author and Chronicle of Higher Education contributor Gina Barecca as “brilliant, engaging, and instructive . . . both moving and personal,” and described by Roger LaMay as a “love song to the promise and accessibility of affordable education.”
Story after story demonstrates that the resources, guidance, and support offered at community colleges all across the country matter far more than we’ve been led to believe. One of Bachus’s last students–a single parent who as a teenager had been on both sides of shooting crimes–told him, “I’m doing this for my little daughter.” But his success benefits all of us. As Bachus writes, “I taught writing. But really, I taught independence.”
“Every time former community college students return to campus with stories of a higher degree, a good job, and maybe a new address for their family, their teachers know beyond doubt that those students had learned independence,” notes Bachus in his account of teaching at CCP. “On such visits, students and I might have discussed writing or literature, but we surely talked also about independence. It was at the heart of every story about their careers, their children, their plans. Independence means that you can plan.”
A self-described bad student from a working-class single-parent family, Bachus spent his first two years after high school at Community College of Philadelphia. In time, his mother, wife, and son also studied there, and his daughter worked there. After working for nearly four decades at his alma mater, he began the fall semester of 2011 knowing that before its end he must decide if he will take early retirement or remain indefinitely in his dream job.
About Ned Bachus: During his four-decade career at Community College of Philadelphia, Ned Bachus won multiple teaching awards, including the Christian and Mary Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. His fiction has been anthologized, published in literary magazines, and presented at the Writing Aloud Series at Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre, and has earned him fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a residency at Ireland’s Cill Rialaig Project, where he began writing Open Admissions. His Fleur-de-Lis Press book of short stories, City of Brotherly Love, received a 2013 IPPY Gold Medal for Literary Fiction. A singer-songwriter, Ned has had his songs recorded by other artists and performed on National Public Radio programs including “A Prairie Home Companion.” He sings and plays percussion as a member of the Louisiana-style roots rock band Sacred CowBoys.