Cabrillo Home | Directory  
Cabrillo College
Marcy viewing San Ignacio Baja whales
Looking for whales in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja Mexico 2007. Photo by Debra Houston

Marcy Alancraig

English Instructor and
SLO Coordinator


“If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. This first thing a writer should be is—excited.”

Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing


I am excited!

I am excited! Excited about teaching! 

Current classes: Composition (English 100, 1A, 1AHonors, 1B, 2, 2Honors) and Creative Writing (English 12A, 14A).

Past Classes: English for the Digital Bridge Academy, learning communities (US Women’s History and English 1A; History, Geology and Literature of Point Lobos and Big Sur), Gay and Lesbian literature.

Point LobosApproach: Students take center stage; based on the latest research on the neuroscience of learning, classes are interactive and hands-on. We go outside, we teach each other, we ask hard questions with no right answer.

Themes: History, literature, anthropology and ecology of the Monterey Bay (English 1A, 1AH and English 100); neuroscience of learning, cetacean, primate, and elephant cognition (English 2, 2H), the creative process (English 1B, 12A and 14A).

Activities: Hikes through the Forest of Nisene Marks or Point Lobos; whale watch trips; visits to the National Steinbeck Center and the SC Natural History Museum; eavesdropping fieldtrips (for fiction writing); re-enactments of scenes in a novel or the internment of the Japanese during World War II, walking debates, presentations, public fiction readings.

Types of paper assignments: Nominate a scientist for a Nobel Prize (English 2) or a local change agent for the English 1A Humanitarian Award (English 1A), write an environmental impact report (English 1A), tell the one story you are not supposed to tell (English 12A and 14A).

Awards: 2009-2010 Hayward Award for Excellence in Education, a statewide recognition of my teaching, contributions to Cabrillo and work with faculty across California. 2016 Floyd Younger Award for Excellence in Teaching, Cabrillo's highest honor for faculty.


I am excited!

Excited about Student Learning Outcomes

I get fired up helping other faculty work with this approach to looking at student learning.

At Cabrillo: Student Learning Outcomes Coordinator, 2002-2007 and at present; director of the Summer Student Learner Outcomes workshops (1999-2002).

Across California:
I served on the Planning Committee of the Strengthening Student Success Conference from 2006-2012. I am a former board memberof the Research, Planning and Assessment Group of California and former chair of SLO Assessment Committee for the RP Group.  Helped to author Agents of Change: Examining the Role of Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Coordinators in California Community Colleges, while serving as a member of Academic Senate of California Community College's SLO and Accreditation Committee. 

I am excited!

Excited about Guided Pathways

I am thrilled to embrace this new approach to community college education which helps students complete their educational goals more quickly. As a member of Cabrillo's Leading from the Middle working group, I have helped facilitate campus activities in 2015-2016 to explore this model through summer institutes, brown bag discussions and flex activities. Guided Pathways asks colelges to re-examine student processes from the students' point of view and reinvent them so they are more useful and streamlined. To do this, all aspects of the campus must work together, which happily demands the creativity and participation of all the excellent staff at this college. Stay tuned for more developments.


I am excited!Excited about the Basic Skills Initiative

I am stirred by a deep desire to serve students with basic skills needs.

A program coordinator for the Basic Skills Initiative (2008); co-edited and wrote portions of the Basic Skills Handbook


I am excited!Excited about Creative Writing

I write stories and poems about listening to the natural world and finding how to live with the wisdom it reveals. 


Recent Publications:

A Woman of Heart, a novel about discovering and healing from family secrets, set in the Petaluma chicken ranching community during the 1930’s, was published in June 2011 by Mazo Publications! 

Contributor to Sisters Singing (2009 Wild Girl Publishing).
Cabrillo’s Porter Gulch Review (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2000).

In progress:

Listening to the Shadows, a novel about a Chinese family living in Monterey in the 1890’s, is almost complete. 

The Whale Singer, a novel about gray whales, is also almost complete.


I am excited!


Excited About Having Fun



Marcy backpackingPhoto by Debra Houston
Marcy in the high Sierra



Outdoor enthusiast, avid hiker and backpacker: the east side of the Sierra and the backcountry of Yosemite are some of my favorite places to roam.  Favorite local hikes: Nisene Marks and Garrapata State Parks, Point Lobos State Reserve, Manresa State Beach and Wilder Ranch.




Marcy and whale Photo by Katherine Sloan
Marcy (in light blue) playing with baby gray whale. San Ignacio Lagoon, 2008







Gray whale lover: ecstatic participant on trips to Baja birthing lagoons to interact with mother and baby gray whales, Earthwatch Institute volunteer to research summer feeding habits of gray whales in British Columbia, intent whale watcher from a particular granite cliff at Point Lobos State Reserve.