Owner of Salt Boatworks
Head Boatbuilding Instructor Carteret Community College
Morehead City, NC
Adam Parchman and his students at Carteret Community College have been hard at work this semester in the campus’s marine technologies building. Since the fall, the class has spent weekday mornings in shop where they continue to work closer toward their goal of constructing a finished boat hull by this summer. During our second meeting with Adam, we were able to talk about the progress the class has made as well as his unique curriculum and grading rubric he’s designed.
Students in Adams class range widely in age, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they work together as a team. Whether they’re taking the course to land a job in the boatyard, or just picking up a new unique hobby, their love for the trade is the same and reflects in the work they produce. Because students aren’t graded on individual assignments, rather their individual/ teamwork for the day, Adam developed his own grading rubric to evaluate each student’s performance based on the following criteria:
Grading this way ensures all students carry their weight and that no unnecessary work is displaced upon others. Since last semester, Adam was happy to report he’s seen a positive shift in the classes work ethic. “I can take credit for the rutter, not the sails,” said Adam. “I can steer them but what will get them through is the realization that if they work hard, they can do it”. Which led him to have some tough conversations with students in the beginning of the course. “They had passion, and ability, but lacked discipline to motivate themselves individually”, Adam said. His students have come a long way since the beginning, and now all seem to be personally invested in the boat, which has led to better engagement in the project all together.
Because the college doesn’t provide an exact curriculum for its boatbuilding course Adam was given the freedom to create one himself. Since taking over the program last summer, Adam’s worked diligently to compose a curriculum that he feels meets the objectives and needs of the students and what they want to accomplish after graduating the course. Aside from smaller scale individual projects Adam assigned students last semester to get their feet wet, their main objectives have been as follows:
Review blueprints for boat design/ planning
Assembling a strongback and jig (strongback being the part that sits on the floor, square and level, jig being the part that gives boat its shape)
Applying cold molding (multiple layers of thin plywood)
Applying fiberglass to outside, primer, fairing
Rolling boat over upright, glassing the inside of the hull, building out the interior, floor, etc.
Minus the rigging, the vessel should be fully functional and ready to be put up for sale by the end of the semester. Students in the class will have first dibs to purchase the boat, and after that it’s sent to public auction. All proceeds go back into the program where they’re used to buy essential materials the program will need for the upcoming year. We look forward to checking back with Adam and his class at the end of the semester and are eager to see the rest of the progress they make in the coming months.