Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quantum U of Chiropractic? — No red flag here!*

    On thing for sure, Irvine Valley College isn’t the kind of workplace where worrisome events and actions are explained. Administration isn't into "transparency" here. Quite the opposite. Things are left unexplained; some things are 'splained with 'splanations that seem distinctly “south of true”; and, in this 'splanatory vacuum, people run around campus with strikingly differing takes on what’s going on. It's a hell of a way to build community.
    Back in October of 2010, the campus was abuzz over the apparent “firing” of Kathleen Schraeder, the dean of Mathematics, Science and Engineering. Now, Schraeder wasn’t perfect—her particular eccentricity involved a lack of tact—but many of us were impressed that the best and the brightest among that motley crew of math/science faculty seemed to respect her and to be loyal to her.
    Then, suddenly, word spread that Schraeder was fired over some less-than-flattering comment she made, at a Bio School meeting, about the President’s wife’s cake. No doubt there was more to it than that, but some of the President’s public remarks about the incident were contradicted by faculty (who were present for the offending remark). In the end, nobody seemed sure just what happened to precipitate Schraeder’s exodus, and there was much whispering that the Prez and his VPI totally mucked up Schraeder’s firing to boot.
     As usual, people were left in the dark; suspicions and skepticism prevailed. There are numerous versions of the “de-Schraeder” story. They're all pretty wacky.
    In December (of 2010), it was announced that Bill Kelly, former SOCCCD Vice Chancellor, would temporarily fill in as dean. Kelly had served as Dean of IVC’s School of Math and Science from July 2004 to 2007, so he seemed to be a good choice.
* * *
    Well, Schraeder’s permanent replacement has now been hired. According to the “feature story” of Irvine Valley College's house organ, “the President’s Open Door,”
…Dr. Lianna Zhao [is] the new dean of Mathematics, Science and Engineering. Dr. Zhao has over 20 years of full-time post-secondary teaching experience, 14 of them in the California Community College system….
    I’ve already heard good things about Zhao, and one reliable friend assures me that she’s good. Still, I was taken aback by what I learned of her background in Roquemore’s chirpy “open door” story:
Dr. Zhao began teaching at Capital Institute of Medicine in Beijing, China, where she served as a full-time assistant professor from January 1983 to September 1985.
    I looked into “Capital Institute,” and nothing negative seems to pop up (it looks positive). But then there’s this:
In the US, she first worked as a part-time teaching and research assistant with assignments in biology and zoology at Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, Louisiana, from 1985 to 1988. [This is also where she got her MS.] She continued her teaching career as a full-time faculty member for Quantum University School of Chiropractic in Pico Rivera, teaching human anatomy, physiology, and nutrition from 1994 to 1997. From 1997 to 2003 she was a full-time professor teaching biology, chemistry, human anatomy, and physiology at Imperial Valley College near El Centro.
    NLU ain’t impressive, that’s for sure. (I looked it up.) And, let’s face it, Zhao's Imperial Valley College gig is nothing to write home about. I think they’re so hard up down there that they no longer require hires to speak any known language.
     But the real doozy here is the in-between institution: Quantum University School of Chiropractic [QUSC] (in freakin’ Pico Rivera).
     I couldn’t make up a worse sounding school.
     “Quantum” is a word that has come to signify “pseudoscience”—when, that is, it is appealed to outside the setting of atomic physics. And “chiropractic”? Don’t even get me started.
    "Well," you say. "Don’t be unfair. Maybe this Quantum University is all right after all."
    Nope.
    I did a little looking and it turns out that QUSC is part of (and may well be identical to) something called Quantum-Veritas International University Systems (QVIUS). You can read all about the dismal history of QUSC/QVIUS here:

History of (1) The University of Pasadena, (2) Pasadena College of Chiropractic, (3) Southern California College of Chiropractic, (4) Quantum University

    The upshot: Quantum U is one of a series of half-assed alternative medicine institutions (first in Pasadena, later in Pico Rivera) guided by “vitalists”—practitioners on the seriously flaky end of the alternative medicine spectrum. –You know, the end populated by homeopaths and believers in mysterious, unverifiable, impercetible occult forces and entities.
    Not only that, but the damn place seems never to have enjoyed accreditation, at least not during Zhao's stay. Earlier, it had secured quasi-accreditation—with the flakier of the two Chiro camps (just imagine!), which promptly went kaput, leading to nonaccreditation, unseemly scrambles, closures, toga parties, and whatnot.
    I think the place regrouped in an apartment above somebody’s garage.
    OK, so our Ms. Zhao got one of her degrees at one of the lesser Louisiana institutions (yeah, Louisiana, where education is priority 12); then she taught for four years at a flakoid chiropractic/vitalistic college that got its ticket pulled; then she taught for a while amongst the cactus and rattlesnakes of El Centro.
    She may be great anyway. I guess it’s possible. But I haven’t seen worse paper on a hire since Howard Gensler, former administrator of obscure (and troubled) "Northrop U." (Gensler was Raghu Mathur's curious choice to serve as IVC Dean of the School of Humanities and Languages; he flamed out amid the "Howard Hilton" fiasco; now, he's a tenured load at Saddleback.)
    One more thing: starting in 2004, Zhao quit teaching and went into administration at Imperial. She became a chair. Then in 2010 she became a dean. And now she’s at IVC.
    I do wish her the best of luck.
    Who knows.

*Tea Partiers, this is irony. I'm saying that this should have been a red flag. Got it?

13 comments:

  1. You crack me up, bVt! I actually went and watched the netmeeting with Schrader, and I have to say that she did nothing wrong; it was basically others poking fun at the wife & the cake, and Schrader was just laughing along with them. So I don’t believe she was canned over that. Must have been something else… As far as Zhao’s credentials; it does seem awfully suspect and quite laughable. Thanks for doing all that research, now only if the people making the hiring decision could’ve done that?

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  2. You are NOT cheering me up.

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  3. Hey, its a quantum leap of sorts!

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  4. maybe she can refer you to a good chiropractor. You said you were "OUT with a messed up back."

    http://dissenttheblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/inquiring-minds-wanna-know.html

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  5. Tell her not to buy a home in OC. I wish her luck.

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  6. How can we watch the netmeeting?

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  7. Aw, jeeez it was so long ago. Someone gave me a link where it was uploaded and I watched the hour-long video. I recall it was not netmeeting, but something similar where it’s automatically uploaded to some educational site. The video I saw was with the life sciences people where Roland was in a remote location and the rest were at IVC with Schraeder. It was mostly mundane with the exception of Roland flipping the bird. That was about it. As I saw, others were cracking all the jokes & Schraeder was just laughing along, but also trying to keep everyone focused on task.

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  8. Yes bvt, go git yer free adjustment!

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  9. Truly shocking! And another thing: Zhao starts with Z, which rhymes with T, which stands for "trouble!" Yes, we've got Trouble, with a capital T, right here at IVC!

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  10. Who was on the search committee? What were they thinking?

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  11. Well, I have to say after a long while in Orange County away from the Imperial Valley, I too had to go back to Imperial Valley College to get into it's nursing program. I had Zhao as a professor of physiology and also knew her as an administrator. In my opinion, she is not the best professor and lectures ad nauseam to the point of making students fall asleep. That said, she was a good administrator at Imperial Valley College. Many of the faculty have also said she is a very good administrator. Her leaving is no real fault of her own, but due to mostly budget cuts and her ambition. Last year, the outgoing dean created new division head positions while eliminating some clerical staff to balance the budget. Many students as well as faculty thought this was ridiculous since they also saw more budget cuts coming and could not rationalize it. The flip side to this argument is that the outgoing dean wanted to make it easier for faculty to aspire to higher admin positions. Faculty is being overworked and taking professors into admin positions would necessarily make them take on more class loads. Dr. Zhao wanted to move up into administration as teaching, as I felt, was not her cup of tea. I asked her once when she got her admin job if she would go back to teaching to take some of the class load off her faculty. Her curt reply was that teaching was not in her contract. So I wondered, as many of the students and staff did as well, how long are these newly created admin jobs going to last? Well...now we know. After Zhao's departure this summer, her position has not been replaced. I doubt that it will as budget cuts continue to worsen. And that's my 2 cents. I wish her the best and I ask that you all embrace her as an administrator.

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  12. Good to hear that she's been a good administrator at IVC south

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  13. Aw, jeeez it was so long ago. Someone gave me a link where it was uploaded and I watched the hour-long video. I recall it was not netmeeting, but something similar where it’s automatically uploaded to some educational site.

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