Christine Atkins and Sherman Alexie

A more diverse and inclusive CCC

Dr. Atkins' legacy will be a more diverse and inclusive CCC

Dr. Christine Atkins says all of the rumors are true. Her passion is both contagious and sometimes over-the-top. She marches to her own drummer, and she is not a morning person, which explains why you’re more likely to get an email from her at midnight than at 9am. These qualities are part of why she fits so well at CCC.

“I connect with the students here,” said Dr. Atkins, who teaches a variety of literature courses that cover various aspects of society’s history, including the holocaust, feminism, and racial injustices. “CCC students are edgy, unique, and interesting. They come from all walks of life and bring new perspectives to my consciousness every day.”

Dr. Atkins also picked Corning Community College because of its mission.

“Education is an essential part of democracy, and should be a right for all, rather than just for those who find themselves in privileged situations,” said Dr. Atkins.” I experience tremendous satisfaction and reward when education is used to help all students find success. We do that here, and I am proud to be part of it.”

She would also like to have been part of the Civil Rights and Feminist movements of the 1960s, but was too young to engage. The events did help to shape her values, though.

“My heroes are typically people like the Freedom Riders,” said Dr. Atkins. “People who are willing to put their lives on the line to guarantee the rights of others. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gloria Steinem come to mind.”

Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint – there is always more work to be done, and Dr. Atkins devotes much of her out-of-class efforts to strengthening the diversity at Corning Community College.

“I want CCC to be as open, affirming, and inclusive as it can possibly be,” said Dr. Atkins, who helped open the College’s first Center for Diversity and Inclusion. “Challenging myself to do more for others and for the greater good keeps me happy and energized.”

She also led the College through the establishment of the One Book, One College program, which was launched with Sherman Alexie’s book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The College community has also read No Impact Man, by Colin Beavan, and Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele.