Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today's forum

     YESTERDAY, I heard tell of a “forum” to be held at the college this week. I took a quick look at my emails, and I couldn’t find announcements about any forum, at least not any sent recently.
     Then, this morning, at 8:09, I received an email from President Roquemore, explaining that this very day there would be an open forum from 1:00 p.m. until 2:30. (The forum will be repeated tomorrow morning, from 10:00-11:30 a.m.)
     OK. I guess they don’t want lots of people to show up to these things. What’s the point of announcing a forum on the day that it’s held? And the A100 lobby might be OK for B-Day celebrations, but it isn’t suited to forums, that’s for sure.
     And, as usual, the forums are scheduled during teaching prime time, when most of us teach. My teaching schedule conflicts with both forum times. As usual.
     Rebel Girl and I decided that we should attend as much of this thing as possible, and so our plan was to high-tail it over to the A100 “lobby” right after our 12:30 classes—which would be at about 1:45. It was a good plan. After all, the forum was scheduled for 90 minutes, and so, with any luck, we’d be able to attend half of the thing, despite missing the first 45 minutes.
     So, today, at the end of my Philosophy 2 class, I headed over to A100 and walked inside. I came upon the forum all right. It was like a wax figure exhibit. No, it was as if everyone had taken a sedative, the way they sat peacefully in their chairs, eyes drooping, and the way that Glenn or somebody murmured almost insensibly.
     I noticed that fewer than 40 chairs had been set up.
     After about ten minutes, Glenn commenced trying to end the program! “Well,” he said, “thanks for coming….”
     --Luckily, Kurt had a question. Something about the controversial topic of full-time faculty hiring this year. Originally, we were supposed to hire ten faculty, but then we got that weird news early in the Fall—something about how there was this pattern of revenue continuing to be flat and expenses gradually creeping up. For some reason, this trend, which evidently was clear for quite some time, produced a kind of emergency, and, in response, Glenn panicked and started talking like, well, there wouldn’t be any faculty hiring this year, that’s for sure.
     Maybe you’ve heard of this “shared governance” thing. Yeah. It’s like Glenn isn’t supposed to make unilateral decisions about important things. There’s supposed to be input and collaboration and such with “governance groups”—the faculty, the classified, students, those geese out on the lawn, et al. So, when it became clear that Glenn was backing off of the faculty hiring plan, right away, faculty leadership reared up with, “Hey, dude! Who are you to make this unilateral decision to toss faculty hiring before the fiscal emergency gods?”


     To make a long story short, Glenn backed off some, though, really, he seemed to be stalling for time. Obviously, if we waited long enough to decide on these hires, it would be too late to advertise and such, and so things would go Glenn’s way, the unilateral way.
     But, before that, it was decided that a new committee would be created in which various shared government reps would think really hard about raising revenue and lowering costs. The committee would issue a report and then decisions could be made—not unilaterally and in a panic, but carefully, thoughtfully, sharedly.
     Meanwhile, Glenn really dropped the ball, slowing the process whereby HR down at the district is told that we’re going to pursue some hires (something we can do even if, in the end, we decided to pull the plug on some of the hires). And so, to their horror, during the between-semester break, faculty leadership learned that Glenn had done absolutely nothing to let HR know that we might do some hiring. Thanks to the immediate outcry, the situation was addressed and so, belatedly, HR got the word about five possible hires. The upshot: if we pursue hiring, we’ll do so at a disadvantage relative to competing colleges, who, obviously, desire to scoop up the best instructors out there on the market. They’re advertising earlier than we are. They’ll be hiring before we do.
     Thanks, Glenn.
     Well, anyway, Kurt asked about the faculty hiring situation, and he got some mumbly-mouthed answer that clarified little or nothing. Later, a friend who had attended the entire forum opined that “these people aren’t really into the Q and A thing, are they?” They’re more into the “we’re here to tell you here’s the way it is” thing.
     Another friend said that, during the forum, he had asked about the possibility of expansion or improvement of services to deal with, well, crazy and dangerous students--a real problem here at IVC. He got some hemming and hawing, I guess. The person up there on the hot seat was desperately avoiding saying, “there’s no money for that,” I guess.
     Pretty soon, Glenn shut this forum thing down—just after 2:00. So much for that 90 minutes.
     Rebel Girl and I wandered over to the “refreshments” area—a plate of cookies plus two beverages: a hideously sweet, sticky, red punch plus icy lemon water (that's good). We talked with a certain faculty member whose job was recently saved from the machinations of dastardly people, owing mostly to the sheer incompetence and cluelessness of, well, Glenn & Co. As we talked, we noticed people wandering into the building late, hoping to join the forum. But they found us and the beverages and the plate of cookies and an empty “lobby” instead. We smiled.
     Rebel Girl just called and reminded me that, at some point, Glenn said something about how it’s OK if we hire late, cuz there are so many people out of work.
     Yeah. Good thinking. It's a good thing you're in charge.

9 comments:

  1. I was wondering where everyone was! Will tomorrow's end early too? Perhaps they should tell people that.

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  2. "So many people out of work" - Thank you very much, socialist peoples republic of Kalifornia in Sacramento!

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  3. I heard that one of the newly tenured faculty has been (previously) denied the ability to teach in the summer and barred from certain classes by the dept. chair. But is it the chair who chooses which faculty teach which classes or is it the dean to retains the right of assignment? In our school it is the dean. Maybe someone can ask that question today...Maybe someone (Glenn? Craig?) can talk to the dean of that school.

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  4. Yes, I showed up just a bit after 2 and it was all over. I try to make an effort to attend events when I can (I teach) but it really helps if the correct time is publicized. I hope this won't count against me in my tenure review.

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  5. Class assignments work this way (I think) - chair recommends - dean decides. The dean often accept recommendations but can go her (or his) own way too. In our dept., it is a collaborative process between all parties. It usually works out quite nicely but we are nice people.

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  6. Can someone give a report about today's forum?

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  7. Just got back from Thursday's forum. It ended at 11:27. I counted 23 people in attendance. The panel comprised 8 people, including trustee Marcia Milchiker

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  8. They finally sent out the congratulatory email!

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  9. Ultimately it doesn't matter that we are hiring late and left with the least competent candidates, because Rocky and Bullwinkle, who can't recognize and couldn't care less about competence, make the final decision based on political, controlability, or family considerations. From their perspective, the less competent and experienced, the better--especially when hiring administrators--because then the new hire, having no idea what to do on the job, is completely dependent on them. Look at the current crop of deans. They dare not even go to the bathroom without getting Justice's permission. This is how control freaks work. Power is everything to them. Competency, the students? Never enters their minds.

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