Monday, April 14, 2014

The College Faculty Crisis (NYT editorial, 4/13/14)

     The public colleges and universities that educate more than 70 percent of this country’s students were burdened by rising costs and dwindling state revenues long before the recession. They reacted by raising tuition, slashing course offerings and, sometimes, by cutting enrollment.
     They also cut labor costs by replacing full-time professors who retired with part-time instructors, who typically have no health or pension benefits and are often abysmally paid, earning in the vicinity of $3,000 per course.
     The part-timers are often considered “invisible faculty,” because they rarely participate in academic life and typically bolt from campus the moment class ends. That researchers still know little about them — or how well they do their jobs — is especially startling given that a little more than half of all college faculty members are now part-timers, and they far outnumber full-time faculty members on most community college campuses.
     The portrait of these instructors that emerges from a new study by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, a research center at the University of Texas at Austin, is alarming. The report, based on survey responses from more than 71,000 teachers, found that part-timers face many challenges. Because they are treated almost like transient workers, they are given little reason to make an investment in the institution.
     They often learn which courses they are teaching just weeks or even days before the start of the semester, so there is almost no time to prepare. They often lack office space or administrative or technical support and are rarely given any guidance on how to do their jobs effectively. According to the report, they are implicitly told: “Just show up every Thursday at 5 o’clock and deliver a lecture to your class. Give a midterm and a final exam, and then turn in a grade, and the college will pay you a notably small amount of money.”
     The colleges expect little of these teachers. Not surprisingly, they often act accordingly. They spend significantly less time than full-time teachers preparing for class, advising students or giving written or oral feedback. And they are far less likely to participate in instructional activities — like tutoring, academic goal setting or developing community-based projects — that can benefit students.
     This situation is terrible, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds whom community colleges typically attract. On those campuses, nearly two-thirds of the students arrive needing remedial instruction in math, English or both, and often lack the basic competencies they need to move beyond remediation to a degree.
     The community colleges have to do a better job of screening the part-time instructors they hire, and developing their skills, which means providing mentors and career paths that give them the opportunity to engage with campus life.
     All of this will require more money for higher salaries and professional development. College degrees worth having don’t come cheap. Public officials who determine community college budgets should know full well that colleges, like other institutions, only get what they pay for.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"What are you gonna do? Put us in cages and let them throw peanuts at us?"

 

from yesterday's New York Times:

Frank Bruni: The Water Cooler Runs Dry
If you’re closing in on 50 but want to feel much, much older, teach a college course. I’m doing that now, at 49, and hardly a class goes by when I don’t make an allusion that prompts my students to stare at me as if I just dropped in from the Paleozoic era.

Last week I mentioned the movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Only one of the 16 students had heard of it. I summarized its significance, riffling through the Depression, with which they were familiar, and Jane Fonda’s career, with which they weren’t. “Barbarella” went sailing over their heads. I didn’t dare test my luck with talk of leg warmers and Ted Turner.

I once brought up Vanessa Redgrave. Blank stares. Greta Garbo. Ditto. We were a few minutes into a discussion of an essay that repeatedly invoked Proust’s madeleine when I realized that almost none of the students understood what the madeleine signified or, for that matter, who this Proust fellow was.
And these are young women and men bright and diligent enough to have gained admission to Princeton University, which is where our disconnect is playing out...
To read the rest, click here.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Academic freedom forum, November, 2003


     I came across this cover I made for a DVD (that I edited) of a forum on "Academic Freedom," presented by the IVC Academic Senate back in 2003. The forum was a huge success.
     Ah, the good old days!
Anaheim police dog Bruno recovering after emergency surgery (OC Reg)

Monday, March 31, 2014

The March meeting of the SOCCCD BOT: sunshined contract for the glowing greenies

Board Pres. Prendergast
     See Tere's Board Meeting Highlights
     It's 6:02 and there's no sign yet of the trustees. More in a minute.
     Earlier today, Chancellor Poertner sent out an invite to the district community to attend the upcoming BOARD FORUMS. These forums will be special, evidently, cuz administrators and managers aren't supposed to show, allowing employees to "speak freely." Something like that.
     I don't think that's gonna work. Employees, especially classified, are pretty scared at IVC. In any case, the turnout at IVC will be shitty as always. Meanwhile, at Saddleback, the usual suspects will line up to explain that they're "pleased as punch" about things at the college. Golly, we just "count our lucky stars" each day, they'll say.
     I noticed that two instructors will receive recognitions tonight: one from Saddleback, the other from IVC. And they're both named Pestolesi. Obviously, we've been infiltrated by the Cosa Nostra.
     Things are jumping tonight at the Ronnie Reagan meeting hall cuz the faculty union has encouraged members to show up with glowing green shirts (emblazoned with "faculty united") to support the contract. I wasn't sure how to regard this fluorescent crew as I passed through them into the hall. They studied me in silence. I smiled awkwardly. I don't seem to share their chirpy, glowing spirit.
     6:08: aha! Gary Poertner just showed up. Now Prendergast and Jemal have entered the room. Meanwhile, the union crowd is still caterwauling in the back of the room. Yackety-yak.
     Wright and Jay have joined the others. Lang too. Where are Nancy and Marcia?
     Looks like between 20 and 30 glowing green faculty are in the room, giving it a faint lurid cast; and they're yuckin' it up pretty good back there. There's Nancy! The show will begin any minute now.
     6:14. There's Marcia!
     6:15: A silence falls over the room. It begins. Actions taken in closed session: Marcia: 7/0 vote for unpaved unpaid leave of absence for faculty member at SC. --That's it.
     Paderg offers an invocation: "Dear Lord..." She mentions Washington State and that lost Indian Ocean plane, I think.

     Public comments:

     Paula Jacobs: Faculty are here in support of the "sunshine proposal." Introduces negotiators: Lewis Long, Bill Billingsly, somebody, Susan Bliss, Jenny L, Teresa S, Samantha V. Applause.
     Blake Stevens (?): I'm here as dept. chair. Back in 2009, we renegotiated chair compensation. Still waiting for that. He's joined by four or five faculty.
     A part-time faculty member speaks: we're concerned about student success, she says. I have several students who are veterans. One came to me and discussed his failing assignments. He told me his story. He has PTSD. He broke into tears. Haven't seen him since.
     She makes a plea for equal access to faculty for all students. (I think this is about more office space for part-timers.)
     Next: resolutions. Marcia calls up Denise I., 2013 district service manager employee of the year. Marcia reads the resolution, which is pretty detailed. Gary P seems enthusiastic about this; he's got a skip in his step. Marcia mentions this gal's "contagious laugh." Outstanding to this district, she says. Roll call vote of trustees. Marcia shouts her "Aye" into the mike, waking everybody up (me anyway). Gary: she's a wonderful person to work with. Her work is of a high quality, and everybody loves her. --Her husband is told to stand. Applause. Photograph. Applause. Denise is cool: she sits right down. Thank you, Denise.
     Roquemore and Burnett come up to honor the Pestolesi couple. Evidently, Mr. "Pesto" was recognized by the U of Hawaii, and so he'll now be recognized for that recognition. Roquemore fumbles with some Hawaian lingo. Tom ("Pesto") helps out and they manage a few laughs together. They're a comedy team. Tom has led the Lasers to state championships in volleyball, says Glenn. Congrats to Tom. Glenn hands him a shitty little document. Glenn next hands Tom a "warrior paddle," lined with shark teeth, given to him by the folks in Hawaii. Several waves of applause.
     Next, Diane P comes up, an altogether more sober soul, it seems, and Burnett goes into overdrive. Yes, these two are married, he says. Diane is a nursing professor. She too got some recognition from the U of Hawaii. (Go figure!) She was on the national championship team in volleyball back in her Hawaii years. Her various honors are listed. Her document is also shitty, but it has a spiffy red border. Photo op. More photos. More palaver.
     Burnett refuses to sits down. Now he recognizes the Saddleback College "Wall," a literary journal. It got a prize from some national group. (Of course, IVC used to have an award-winning journal--the Ear--but it died from lack of support.) The editor-in-chief comes up: he has a difficult Russian name. Others are pointed out in the crowd: various editors. Lots of applause. Big photo op.  The faculty advisor insists on speaking, offers up several "thank you's."

     Board Reports:

     Bill Jay: I'm really pleased that you presented your sunshine package today. I hope things go well. It's difficult [for us], because board members are "stuck right in the middle." I encourage everybody to work hard on negotiation. (Bill's an old union dog. He occasionally barks and howls. Then it's back to sleep, unless someone mentions a stadium.)
     Tim Jemal: "there's nothing wrong with what you said," retorts Jemal (in response to Jay's remark that he'll get into trouble for saying that union stuff). Refers to a trip to Washington, D.C. Presentation of technology tools used to increase student success. 52 Attendees. We put a powerful face forward. We're putting ourselves in a position to receive funding, recouping costs. Also attended Life Science Building opening. (I've gotta say: this Jemal fella is working out fine. He's nothing like ol' Sleepy or Grumpy or Benedict A.)
     Marcia Milchiker: we do great work in this district: great faculty, classified staff, et al. Wants to thank everyone who sent messages when "my mom passed away." Mom took all of the Emeritus classes. She loved poetry, played piano. Marcia attended SC Senior Day. The Wall is the #1 literary magazine in the nation, she chirps. Imagine that! She did the zip line with the Boy Scouts somewhere. (Everyone paused to visualize this alleged zip lining that Marcia does all over the globe.)
     Nancy Padberg: attended Life Sciences Bldg. dedication. The art was amazing! A beautiful building. Toured SC automotive program. Crank cases and such.
     TJ Prendergast: also attended Life Sciences Bld. dedication. Gold certification. Countertops made of pressed paper and epoxy. Tiles: recycled materials. Really impressive technology and design. Created a very artistic structure. I share "The Wall" all the time with colleagues at work. People are amazed by the quality of the work.
     James Wright: I attended a number of events, including a SC basketball game. Attended veterans program at SC. Well-attended: 40-50 students. Every day there are 22 suicides of veterans! Attended college-wide forum. Very well done. Life Science Bld. opening. Congrats IVC and SC for their debate teams. Both have received honors.
     Dave Lang: dedication of the new building at IVC. Kathy Schmeidler provided a "personal tour." Very impressive. Audit meeting. We are blessed with "incredible financial talent" in this district, he says. (I think he was referring to himself.) Thanks Paula Jacobs for explanation of shirts: no, not Irish soccer team.
     Student Trustee David Robinson: agrees with notion that we need space for part-time faculty to meet with students. Item 6.12--thanks for leadership for recognition... smoke-free district. (A new smoking policy will be brought forward tonight.) Consider the health and safety of students. Adopt this item. (That got 'im some applause from the greenies in the audience. A rare sign of life!)

     Chance. Gary Poertner: tonight, more of our ongoing presentation of what's being done for student success. Tonight, an IVC report about basic skills writing and math, ESL pathways to success. 2nd report: financial aid, requested by Marcia M.
     IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore: re the dedication (of the Life Sciences Bldg). It used to be 10 years between buildings. More frequent now. Thanks for your support. New format for high school senior day. Over 2000 students attended. This year, we focused on workshops.
     SC Prez Tod Burnett: Foundation gala coming up in two weeks. Get your tickets. Entrepreneurship competition at UCI. OC Career pathways partnership...blah blah blah. Active Shooter incident exercise with law enforcement at SC. Simulation and training. The exercise received national attention. (Tod loves when that happens.)

     Board requests for reports: one from Dave Lang: OPEB trust fund management. Unanimously approved.

Hey, a board policy demands it!
Discussion item 4.1: data-validated approaches to fostering student success. IVC faculty come up for this.
     Four faculty: but Kathy Schmeidler introduces three faculty.
     Summer: Acceleration at IVC, pre-college writing. Started in the Fall of 2012, part of the Cal Acceleration Project. Piloted two experimental classes. A completely different style of teaching. College level right from the start. The students go forward with work, are assisted by workshops along the way. Addressing stress, anxiety, unfamiliarity with college culture. Shows photos of students in class activities. We do have early data re success rate. 82% of accelerated students passed the class (in one semester). Compare that to control: 52%. Also tracked students who went on to take Writing 1. Very successful. IVC has shared its program nationwide.
     Lan Pham was supposed to show up to explain similar program in math. But he hasn't showed, so Kathy explains the one math slide. The data are similar to what Summer presented re writing, says Kathy. A great success here too.
     Jeff Wilson and Rebecca Beck come up to explain ESL efforts. ESL courses parallel the English basic skills courses. There are seven levels, and students can progress through them during the year. Students are reassessed each semester. Students who can progress quickly are not hindered. The focus is on "Academic English."
     Kathy: "don't I have fantastic colleagues?" Applause. K discusses common threads in the three programs. Any questions?
     Marcia M: excellent presentation. Marcia explains what happens to your brain when you learn a new language. (It was a bit creepy.) Who are these ESL students? Which countries are they coming from? Etc.
     Jeff: yes, you delay Alzeimers by five years by learning a language. Many are from Iran. I also get people from Ukraine, Africa, Spain, Korea, China, etc. Age? Huge cross section. Rebecca: I had a 92 year old student recently. Pretty diverse group in Irvine compared to other areas.
     Applause. The presentation was a success.

4.2: financial aid services report. (Requested by Marcia M.)

     Linda Fontanilla, VP of SS at IVC, speaks. Joined by Christian Alvarado (from SC) and Ruth Higgins, acting Financial Aid director at IVC.
     Financial aid goes back to Johnson Administration, 1964. Part of "Great Society" legislation. Application used (FAFSA).
     Alvarado and Higgins: presenting overview. Higgins reviews the process. Blah blah blah.
     Pell grants: $5,646 maximum.
     Federal student loans:
     Subsidized: max $4500
     Unsubsidized: Max $6000
     Work Study, etc.
     Next: state financial aid. Blah blah blah. BOG (Board of Governors) waver, Cal grants, Chafee grants.
     These folks are reading their presentations. Pretty dry. Less than compelling.
     Then: institutional aid: i.e., scholarships.
     They present "cost of attendance," with community colleges once again revealed to be a bargain.
Blah, blah, blah
     Chart with applications vs. recipients. Increasing tremendously over four years.
     Re default rates: IVC and SC are below national averages. We don't encourage students to borrow, so that occurs at a low rate.
     Blah blah blah.
     Finally it comes to an end. Pretty freakin' dry, man.
     Jemal: what's the percentage of students on some form of financial aid? Answer: around 30%. Usually a Board of Governors fee waver. (Nancy seems to be giving Jemal flak for asking questions. What's that about?)
     Jemal: so we discourage students from seeking student loans? He got a mixed answer. Jemal is concerned about saddling students with loans with high interest rates. Glad to hear we don't steer students in that direction, he says eventually.
     Marcia: mentions her involvement in scholarship programs outside the district. Happy to learn about our financial aid department at the colleges. How many years are BOG wavers available to students? Cal Grants limited to four years. Do you tell students to wait until later to pursue theser? She had lots of questions.
     Alvarado: no time limit on BOG fee wavers. On the other hand, students who go on academic probation, starting in Fall, will lose BOG. Yes, if they use up the money for Cal Grants at CC, they can't use that later. Just four years. Etc. Marcia seemed satisfied. She too is glad that we don't have lots of students getting loans.
     In the end, the presentation seemed successful, mostly owing to the Q & A.

     Consent calendar: 5.1, 5.10, 5.14 pulled by Wright. Anything else? No. Voted on Consent Calendar: unanimous.

5.1: need of a mere clerical correction. Approved unanimously.
5.10: technicality: "life sciences" typo. Approved unanimously.
5.14: why have prices gone up so much? Fitzsimmons explains. Brandye mysteriously appears at the "podium." She's quite magical. And she's pretty damned cheerful. Lang: shouldn't we quit this vendor given this increase? Brandye: no, not an increase. It's an increase in quantity (of waste). Everybody's happy, and Brandye magically disappears.

6.1: public hearing. Temporary adjournment. IVC Lighting Retrofit for "Roadways, Walksways, and Parking lots project, energy service contract." Good grief. D Fitzsimmons rattles through some stuff, but it's too painful to think about. Any questions? No. Meeting now OPEN. Any public comments. OF COURSE NOT. (Oh, the bovinity!) Now closed.

6.2: resolution energy services contract .... Passes unanimously.

6.3 (the last of the light retrofit stuff). There's a replacement page. Brandye magically appears again, stage right. Two small corrections made. They go forward with vote: unanimous.

6.4 CCCT board of directors elections. Any nominations? Wright mentions 8 he voted for. Any objection to nominating these 8? Lang offers his list, which is somewhat different. Never heard of any of these people. Inside baseball. Padberg moves to accept Lang's list, which has two differences from Wright's. Jay seconds. They vote: unanimous. (What was that all about?)

6.5: they vote to pay Milchiker for missed meeting. They always do that. If you're gonna be hinky, you should do it quickly, sans fanfare.

6.6: unanimous.

6.7: another change order re IVC Life Sciences Bldg. Unanimous.

6.8: SC technology equipment, etc. Unanimous.

6.9: Agreement to purchase HP computers, etc. Unanimous.

6.10: server and storage replacement: unanimous

6.11: life science bldg notice of completion. Unanimous.

6.12: board policy revisions: Kathy Schmeidler asks to speak: re BP 180 ("BE CIVIL!'"), proposed policy re "respectful interactions". When it came to IVC academic senate... In our opinion, this does not belong as a board policy. Can be used to squelch discussion. A second paragraph was added, but we still rejected this as a BP.  Yes, we approve of this process whereby review of policies goes through the various units, etc. No problem with that. But we do wish to say that we continue to believe that this should be a motto or something, not a bp. I've been asked to make this statement as clearly as I can.
     Jemal: what's the impetus for putting this on now? A: Review and study. Fitzsimmons: minority opinion by IVC Academic Senate. Other groups did support this.
     Padberg: perhaps make modification. Perhaps we should apply this to board members. Response: already applies to them. Nancy: perhaps so. She reads it as "we're directing." Fitz: that was the intent, that it covers the trustees too.
     Student trustee Robinson: brings up smoking again. Supports new policy on that. A step forward.
     Jemal: no policies on cash handling? Fitz: no.
     Prendergast: On the smoking policy. Prendergast mentions that something other than tabacco can be put in "electronic cigarettes." Fitz: it's the device, not the content, that's regulated. Oh.
     The vote: unanimous.

     6.13: Emeritus institute. Reorganization. Wright has some questions: how come? Really no costs? Clearly there will be new costs.
     Burnett: we meant no cost to the general fund. Didn't mean to say no cost. Those costs would happen anyway. We're increasing our partnerships with K-12. AB86 mandate. Burnett uses the word "synergy" several times, and so I'm tuning out. Gotta do this to keep Emeritus strong, says Burnett. (Gosh, he said "synergy" again.) Wright pursues line that this new dean has a much smaller workload compared to other deans. Burnett: nope, it's huge. Wright continues to be the board contrarian, but that's probably a good thing. They vote: Wright is the only "no" vote.

6.14: Faculty union proposed contract. Accepting for review and study. vote unanimous. (The green people--the remnant, anyway--now exit the building.)

Quietly peevish
6.15: Academic personnel actions. Lang: this deals with the effects of the reorganization (Emeritus?)--upgrade to dean. Vote: unanimous.

6.16: Classified personnel actions. No requests to speak: unanimous.

6.17: Sabbatical rescinded. Approved.

Reports: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4-- no comments

Lang: you got Scott Lay to speak at commencement (he asks Roquemore)? Good choice.

7.4: Lang: substantial drop in IVC reserve balance. Is Davit (IVC Budget dude) here? What's that about? Use of matching capital improvement funds was one thing cited. Fitz comments on behalf of IVC: two factors. Local match for basic aid. Also: positions funded owing to enrollment growth. Lang: non-resident tuition is significantly up? Roquemore: about 700 right now. Will that counterbalance? Yes.

Governance groups reports:

     SC Ac Senate: blah blah blah. Happy about consideration of smoke-free policy. Will attend state academic senate plenary.
     Faculty Association (union): 5,6, and 7% increases in faculty salaries across the state. She mentions that she has green shirts for trustees. They're not exactly jumping for joy.
     IVC Ac Senate: yes, we'll be sending reps to state academic senate plenary too. Etc. Also supports tobacco ban.
     --I'm outa here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


"Presence of the Lord" is by far my favorite Blind Faith track, and I recommend it to you. It was first recorded in 1969, but done here in 2007 with two key members: Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A blast from the past (a song about Raghu)



     From the popular musical, "'Goo' means 'shit' in Hindi!,"* offering a slightly fictionalized account of the life of Raghu P. Mathur in song:

You Did a Raghu Thing (2000)

What’s that stuff across the floor?
What’s that shit upon my door?
What’s this memo over here?
And that crap right under there?

You did a Raghu thing
You did a Raghu thing
You put that shit up on my door
You did a Raghu thing

You been lyin’ like a rug
You been dressin’ like a thug
What’s that guff you’re givin’ me?
So you bought a Ph.D.**?

You did a Raghu thing
You did a Raghu thing
You put that shit up on my door
You did a Raghu thing

I saw you grabbin’ someone’s plant
Saw you grinnin’ at the bank
You put a stink into my world
Don’t you point that thing at me

You did a Raghu thing
You did a Raghu thing
You put a stink into my world
You did a Raghu thing

Good people tellin’ me
Also Glenn is tellin’ me
Everybody listen up!
Everybody listen up!

You did a Raghu thing
You did a Raghu thing
You did a Raghu thing

*I looked it up. I had referred to Mathur as "Goo," an allusion to Mr Magoo, for quite some time without realizing the meaning of "goo" in Hindi. What a bonus!
**Yes, I know. An Ed.D. isn't actually a Ph.D. But who wants to sing about Ed.D.s?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tiny chance of a BIG freakin' wave

Lucy Jones
     Today, our sometimes pal Matt Coker posted about the “tsunami risk” in Huntington Beach: Earthquake Experts: Huntington Beach Tsunami Risk is Very Real (NavelGazing).
     According to Matt,
     If you live in Huntington Beach, and especially along the coast there, you'd be wise to figure out a quick route to reach higher ground.
     That's the advice of Lucy Jones, Southern California media's go-to expert on earthquakes and tsunamis....
     You remember Lucy Jones. She’s one of the two or three inevitable experts who shows up on TV news after each significant earthquake, at least here in the southland.
     Hey! DtB has been on the case, tsunami-wise, for years. And, Matt, the danger doesn’t exist only in Surf City! It exists along the whole OC coast.
     Just sayin’.
     Check out especially our first post, back in 2006, which unearthed a state-sponsored report that discusses the small possibility of a big cataclysm, owing to underwater landslides on the east face of Catalina Island. Evidently, there's evidence that such landslide-generated tsunamis have occurred historically.
     But don't worry. The slow "wave" that will engulf the region owing to global temp change will do its worst long before this locally-caused tsunami is likely to ruin anyone's day.
     I'm always lookin' on the bright side.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CSUF students to pay 'success fee' (OC Reg)
     Cal State Fullerton students, starting in the fall, will pay a “student success fee” each semester earmarked for such things as technology upgrades, expanded library hours, increased course availability and improvements to athletic facilities.
     The CSUF fee will start at $60 in the fall on top of tuition. By the fall of 2016, the student fee will be $181 a semester….

Lisa Lei: Citizen Anteater (OC Weekly)
     The UC Irvine activist is facing possible expulsion and criminal charges, but she's not backing down

Monday, March 24, 2014

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Five years ago today: SOCCCD, the "Wagner/Fuentes show"

March 24, 2009: meeting of the SOCCCD BOT: He hoied my polloi: notes on Tuesday's board meeting, part 1
hoi polloithe masses; the common people. Hoi polloi is sometimes used incorrectly to mean ‘upper class’—that is, the exact opposite of its normal meaning.
     I showed up to the March 24 board meeting about ten minutes late. Before I even sat down someone whispered to me that something was up with the board and its devotion to religious invocations, for, just then, Board President Don Wagner had shared a “Hopi prayer” instead of the usual “Dear Heavenly Father” stuff. I’m told that the room grew particularly solemn and quiet during Don’s brief detour through the multicultural spiritual universe.
     Were they waiting for a bolt of lightning?
     During her report, trustee Marcia Milchiker expressed her enthusiasm for some campus event that included a “Flamingo dance.” This no doubt pissed off the Andalusians in the audience. (It's flamenco, not flamingo!)
     For his part, Chancellor Raghu Mathur blathered about a letter from former bigwig Diane Woodruff. Evidently, she had gone out of her way to praise the work of IVC’s Bill Hewitt as a “valuable member of the consultation council,” whatever that is. (Something in Sacramento, I think.) He also noted the new signs at Saddleback College, which are “easy to read.”
     Just then, someone grumbled to me that some of this new signage is misspelt. (For years, the A300 building at IVC sported the label “Humanites.”)
     During Don TaylorDavid Gatewood, and Randy Peebles’ presentation concerning “Career Technical Education Programs” at the three campuses, Taylor and Wagner exchanged delightful banter regarding St. Ronald Reagan (aka "he who must be invoked every 15 minutes"). I didn’t quite catch it, but I assure you that it was amusing beyond words, judging by the uproar.
Don's new spiritual advisor
     Taylor provided a brief account of the history of community colleges, starting with the Smith-Hughes Act, I think. Yeah, schools were recognized as necessary to produce good workers for the factories, yadda yadda yadda. A turning point for cc's occurred just after WWII—because of the GI Bill—he said, and we seem to be at another crossroads today.
     "You probably don't want to go into print journalism," he said.
     Some students showed up with a PowerPoint presentation describing a proposed IVC Recycling Complex. It was one of those student things that is supposed to bowl over the adults in the room, but, in truth, the trustees were only mildly impressed, and Tom Fuentes seemed unpleasantly scoffular about this proposed intrusion by government into the private sphere (as they love to say in Right-Wing World).
     Student trustee Hannah Lee once again enlivened the discussion with a daffy remark seemingly provided by writers for Fox television: “Thank you for an AWESOME presentation!” she said.
     Apparently, the packet of info re the Recycling Complex made mention of international students, and, natch, this was detected by the ever-alert Mr. Fuentes and his sophisticated xenophobic radar. It turns out that international students are very restricted in the kinds of work they can do on campus, and this center would provide jobs that fit the bill perfectly.
     That seemed to assuage the Fuentster.

     eSCHEDULES. Tom pulled an item from the consent calendar: renewal of a contract to print and email class schedules.
     This, said Fuentes, is unnecessary. After all, didn’t his neighbors tell him that they get this schedule and immediately toss it in the trash? Well, QED!
     Tom seemed to suggest that members of the community can simply go online, register, and find the classes they want without all of this mailing of schedules. Plus, he said, we just got through agreeing to a generous faculty contract (aka "an obscene waste of taxpayer money"), and so we ought to find ways to save money somewhere.
     Harrumph!
     As I reported on Tuesday, trustee John Williams judged this proposal to be a “great idea.” Maybe, he said, we could mail little postcards instead! But Nancy Padberg rolled her eyes as per usual and then demurred. I think she mentioned her neighbors, too. Anyway, sending these schedules increases enrollments and is great marketing, she said. Tom's idea sucks.
     Dave Lang seemed to side with Fuentes and Williams, though he seemed unprepared to support an immediate decision. He favored further study. I mean, maybe we can determine the potential effects of this approach, he said.
     Don Wagner naturally “echoed” what his pals had been saying. But Bill Jay suddenly (well, no) looked both discomfited and elderly. He mentioned his neighbors and family members and their love of mailed schedules. Plus “Emeritus” students are “forgetful,” said he, "as I am."
     He declared Mr. Fuentes’ proposal to be “penny wise and pound foolish.”
     Hannah Lee expressed a “student’s perspective”: “I just go online,” she announced perkily. Everyone stared at her absurdly young and perfect face.
     Fuentes noted that some other districts had made the change. But he seemed to see the wisdom of “further study.”
     Now, during much of this, Saddleback College’s Academic Senate President, Bob C, had his hand in the air—to no avail. At one point, sensing that the discussion was winding down, I raised my own hand and pointed at Bob, at which point Mr. Wagner spun around and roared that, yes, “I see you, Professor Bauer” and goddamit I don’t need the likes of you telling me what to do!
     Well, that was the gist of it. Evidently, even before I dared to raise my hand, he had been whipped into a state of abject peevitude because several persons had signaled to him that, um, what about Bob?
     He now bellowed that he would get to Bob later—maybe—after the board was finished discussing the matter!
     Tsk, tsk. How very undemocratic. He had hoied my polloi.
     Eventually, Chancellor Mathur, his nose a stinky deep brown, effused about Fuentes’ proposal and commenced talking about ways to “implement it.” But Bill Jay then reminded everybody that older folks “are not computer literate at all.”
     A truer thing had never been said (I'm thinking of my own elderly parents).
     Eventually, Bob C was permitted to speak. He noted that there is a survey done every other year and it has indicated that 63% of our students are brought to us via the mailed class schedule.
     In the end, the matter was tabled.

What if they gave a democracy and nobody came? 
Board meeting notes, part 2


     [Continued...] Eventually, the board arrived at items 6.1-3, which concerned our district’s benighted ATEP campus out there in Tustin where the Marines (et al.) used to dump carcinogens onto the ground every five minutes for forty years. As things stand, ATEP is an acre of cool looking Art Tin-canno buildings right along Redhill, where kids/adults learn how to work various kinds of technical whizbangery.
     Yeah, but what about the other 67 acres?
     ATEP 2.0 was once supposed to be a center for “Homeland Security” training. Then, I think, it was supposed to be a center for the study of gizmology (well no) and Young Republican Hoofers 'n' Crooners (yes, sorta). Anyway, in recent years, efforts have been made to work with Money Men (and Money Women I guess, though I never seem to spot any of those) to create a film and TV pre- and post-production complex and underwater basket-weaving appreciation module.
     For a while, the “Camelot” people seemed likely to put this thing together, but they turned out to be Money Men sans Money. Nowadays, there are two bigtime developers in the running (they seem to be avec money), and they’re still talking about that Film and TV studio, which, I'm told, is desperately needed in OC. One wonders why these Money People need us, cuz leasing property has got to be cheap in OC by now—I mean, what with the country hitting the skids and all.
     In the meantime, the City of Tustin is essentially a crew of hayseeds who keep falling off of a turnip wagon (see Albert Camus' “Myth of Turnipus”)—and those people are pissed because, way back in the 60s or 70s, they were slated to get their very own community college right there where the Tustin Marketplace now stands, but then that wily old Irvine Company arranged one of its slick deals to avoid paying taxes by giving away that orange grove upon which IVC now sits.
     So there you are: Irvine got the community college, and Tustin got IKEA. Ever since, Tustinistas have resented IVC and Irvine and their high-handed ways. The hayseeds who run that town (they’ve got names like “Lou Bone”) have been pounding their little fists and stamping their little feets to turn ATEP into “Tustin Community College.” But that just ain’t gonna happen (it would be contra state rules, given proximity of other CCs, e.g., IVC).
     I’m told, though, that the Tustin people have decided at long last to make nice. Don’t know what that’s about.
     So, on Tuesday, the legal eagles of the bigtime legal firm that is advising us re ATEP (think of the money they're making!) showed up to explain a series of “resolutions” having to do with environmental impact reports and "conveying" the property and defanging the toxins. Something like that.

PUBLIC HEARING:

     The way this went down was interesting. Board Prez Don Wagner recessed the regular board meeting to go into a “public hearing” regarding this complicated ATEP stuff. (A meeting within a meeting! How cool is that?) Then he asked if any members of the public wanted to speak to these “resolution”/ATEP issues.
     Anyone?
     At that moment, the spiffy and spacious Ronald McDonald Room was as quiet as the Gipper's tomb. Not only did no one want to speak, nofreakinbody showed up!
     I enjoyed it immensely.
     So Don looked out at the sea of nothingness and went forward with the damned resolutions.
     He made a big deal of asking for public comments twice. I could tell that he was awfully proud of himself for this supererogatory CYA.
     If any Tustinistas were there, I sure don't know about it.
     Later, the board got to item 7.1, “ATEP Developer Selection.” The “principles” of Hudson Capital, LLC and Cyburt Hall Partners were there to “discuss their credentials” to complete ATEP 2.0.
     That’s when Tom Fuentes manifested his fear of ATEP turning into a production facility for porno most foul (PMF). It was kinda like that scene in Dr. Strangelove when Herr Doktor Peter von Sellers explained the need for a rigorous repopulation program, post apocalypse.
     Creepy, man.
     What about “violence and vulgarity?” asked the violent and vulgar Mr. Fuentes. We don’t want a “fox in the chicken coop,” he said.
     But the foxes explained that their vision of ATEP involves pre- and post-production, not big fancy soundstages and partings of the Red Sea. As things stand, businesses in the OC have no place to go for commercials and reality shows and Tony Robbins' chin and whatnot, and this facility would be just the thing.
     Fuentes yammered for a while about our securing the 68 acres of the old helicopter station as a fine “peace dividend garnered for us by this man over here.” Fuentes turned around and gestured at the name “Ronald McDonald” on the wall. (Well, no. “Ronald Reagan.”)
     I’m not making this shit up.
     “Every six months,” continued Tom, there’s s strike in Hollywood, and, hey, in the SOCCCD we’ve got union teachers (he grimaced and snarled à la Tasmanian Devil). He wondered if the latter dastardly crew would “cross the union line.”
     Well, the Money Men essentially explained that Fuentes doesn’t know what the f*ck he’s talking about. Market-related work doesn’t stop just because of strikes, they said. “The entertainment/marketing business goes on,” they said, no matter freakin’ what.
     OK, whatever. No decision was made.
     That was about it, I guess.

Friday, March 21, 2014

'Science Guy' Bill Nye gets a rock-star reception at Cal State Fullerton (OC Reg)
...Nye believes a rapidly growing population is one of the biggest problems the planet faces. He said an answer is raising the standard of women and girls around the world. Why? The more educated and successful women are, the fewer children they will have....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Conviction


     This update was sent our way this afternoon by a dear friend, one of Mikel's former professors:

Joseph Robert Suess Convicted of Murdering Popular IVC Student Mikel Anthony Williams (OC Weekly)

     Excerpt:
     The fatal stabbing of 55-year-old Mikel Anthony Williams struck a chord at Irvine Valley College in 2012. After a rough life--Williams' mother and brother were murdered before him--he seemed to have turned his life around after getting a college education at IVC, moving into housing nearby and trading bus rides for his own car.
     On Wednesday, his killer was convicted of first-degree murder and now faces 76 years to life in prison at a scheduled May 23 sentencing hearing in Santa Ana….
     Thanks to Matt Coker and the OC Weekly for following this story from the beginning.
     To read the article in its entirety, click here

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Lokl nooz

Lariat

Protest breaks out in SSC quad (Lariat)

President Obama to speak at UC Irvine graduation (OC Reg)
     President Barack Obama has accepted UC Irvine’s invitation to speak at its class of 2014 commencement ceremony June 14 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the White House has confirmed.
     “We are thrilled,” said Chancellor Michael V. Drake.
     The university has been courting Obama since last spring, and Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham flew to the White House two weeks ago with nearly 10,000 letters and postcards “from Anteaters of all stripes – students, faculty, staff and alumni,” requesting the president’s presence....
State auditor: For-profit college regulator should be shut down (OC Reg)
The state agency that regulates small private colleges and career schools has so consistently failed to protect students that legislators should consider shutting it down, the California state auditor concluded in an audit released this week….

This Just In: President Obama to speak at UCI Commencement


Los Angeles TimesPresident Obama to deliver UC Irvine commencement address



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

At IVC: international students, job descriptions

     At IVC, “administration,” headed by the visionless and unacademic Glenn Roquemore—the sort who surely would (if he only could!) trade in, say, Humanities for new lawn furniture—approaches the college’s fiscal affairs with hysteria, incompetence, and unabashed philistinism. We’re pretty used to it. (We’re starting to hate the Chancellor and the BOT.) Hence, when administration started making noises about expanding the International Students Program, some of us wondered if this was simply a meretricious moola grab, just the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from Team Roquemore. Would it be good for the college and good for international students to expand the program? We worry that, at those nasty secret confabs deep in the blue and grey corners of A100, they're not bothered by such questions; instead, they mutter, “More revenue? Yeah. Expand the goddam program.”
     Well, the Academic Senate, that ship of fools of which I am a longstanding crewman—which still sails as though anyone (and, in particular, Roquemore) notices—has been on the case, carrying on a discussion for months on the pluses and minuses of such expansion.
     The upshot of this discussion? –The Int’l Students Program brings in big bucks. But, as things now stand, many of our international students arrive utterly unprepared for college level courses (in English). Hence, they waste time and by the time they’re on track, their three-year stay is over, and they head home, having failed to achieve their desired goals. So, sure, expand the program, but only after we’ve rethought our support of these students, which, as things stand, is subpar and inadequate.
     And remember: these students and their families are paying big bucks for this service.
     Can you imagine Glenn Roquemore attending to this unpleasant message, taking it to heart? Nope.
     Near as I can tell, senators seem to accept the above negatory assessment of existing int'l student support. The senate has yet to way in on this expansion, which looks like it’s going to go forward whatever the senate or anyone else may think about it. Will support for Int'l students be increased? Well, I guess we'll see.

     As you know, faculty endlessly grumble about how hires are pursued at the college (part of the problem seems to be HR down at the district). I’ll have an update at a later date.
     But I will mention some peculiarities of at least one current job search: for Assistant Dean of Financial Aid and Student Support Services [AD-FA&SS]. (See here.)
     That's Darryl Cox's old job, more or less. You remember Darryl.
     Consider this job’s title. Wouldn’t someone applying for the “Assistant Dean of Financial Aid and Student Support Services” position naturally assume that they are applying to be the assistant to a dean—namely, the dean of FA&SS?
     But, in fact, there is no dean. This “assistant” would in fact be in charge of FA&SS. The AD-FA&SS will answer, not to a dean, but to the VP of Student Services.
     I’m thinking this is no way to write job descriptions/titles. Maybe I’m off base here. Lemme know.
     Here’s another problem. The job’s advertised “summary description” begins thus:
To provide leadership to plan, develop, organize, schedule, implement, direct, improve and evaluate the financial aid, veterans, scholarship, ambassador, outreach, and other assigned student support services programs, operations and activities at a community college….
     So the job entails “providing leadership to … develop [etc.] … the financial aid, veterans, scholarship, ambassador outreach [etc.] … programs.” Isn't that quite a lot? And how is it that an administrator in charge of financial aid is also in charge of the veterans program?
     In fact, however, things have changed, and this assistant dean (who isn't really an assistant to a dean) is no longer in charge of the veterans program—just the financial aid of veterans.
     I wonder if applicants will mind that the description is, well, wrong?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

For-profit college accused of coercing students into costly loans (OC Reg)
     ITT Technical Institute, the for-profit college chain, has long promoted its pricey courses as a path to a higher-paying job and a better life.
     But for many of its students in Orange County and across the country, that dream became a financial trap, according to a lawsuit brought by federal regulators….

The miraculous Sarah