Owen Cherry/ The Mainstream Tratz asks Libby Fregoso (left) and Kylie Merlino (right) questions in Spanish during class. Spanish instructor uses unique teaching method to increase student language acquisition Learning a language can be hard, but it shouldn’t be boring. That’s why Nicholas Tratz, the Spanish instructor at Umpqua Community College, takes a novel approach to language learning. The fundamental difference between standard language teaching and Tratz’s approach lies in the distinction between learning about a language and acquiring a language. “Acquisition is when a student’s mind has actually taken in the words and phrases of language and made sense of them,” Tratz says. “ThisRead More →

Owen Cherry / The Mainstream Chemistry professor discusses common obstacles and success strategies for chemistry students Joseph Villa, who has a doctorate in analytic/environmental chemistry, has been a chemistry professor at Umpqua Community College since 2014. Villa spent 13 years studying chemistry. Here he shares some of his educational story with insights on how to succeed as a chemistry student. What drew you to study chemistry? Up until the 10th grade I was convinced I was going to be a child psychiatrist. That was what I thought I wanted to do. But in 10th grade I took a biology course with a really great teacher,Read More →

Photos: Owen / Mainstream Bananas may soon be only a memory for consumers around the globe. The arrival of a deadly fungal banana disease in the Americas led Colombia to declare a state of emergency in August, according the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture. Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States with annual banana consumption more than doubling that of apples and oranges combined, according to U. N. statistics. But the United States favorite fruit snack may disappear entirely because no treatment for the disease has been found; fungicides are ineffective. The fungal disease has caused widespread destruction on banana plantations in Asia,Read More →