Friday, December 13, 2013

They need a clue

Glenn's crisis in confidence led to a brief exercise in gravitation
     ANOTHER FINE MESS. I spoke with the Academic Senate President, Kathy S, yesterday. It turns out that President Roquemore has been on fubar patrol again, for he has inserted himself in the faculty hiring process, creating a mess.
     More specifically, he has unilaterally altered faculty hire job descriptions, adding “Ph.D.” or “Ed.D.” as desired qualifications.
     Why is that a problem? Normally, the addition of "doctorate desired" in a job description does no harm and can do some good. But there are some disciplines in which search committees can find themselves overwhelmed by unfortunate applicant pools when a doctorate is listed as a desired qualification (as things are, of course, applicants with doctorates are not excluded as long as they meet the minimum requirements).
     For instance, college writing instructors are largely MFAs (MFA = Master of Fine Arts) and MAs, not Ph.D.s. An English Ph.D. can be focused, not on writing instruction, but scholarship in some particular area—e.g., Romantic Poetry, Elizabethan Literature, etc. There are exceptions, but community college English departments are generally hurting, not for Romantic Lit scholars and the like, but writing instructors. If one adds “Ph.D. desirable” to a position advertisement, one is liable to get many scholars among applicants who are not particularly strong composition instructors. As you can imagine, that can be a problem.
     And what are applicants to a "sign language" instructor job supposed to think when they learn that a doctorate "in sign language" is a desirable qualification? Doctorates are not generally offered in sign language.
     So it's a done deal now. Glenn has f*cked up once again. Why did he make these changes without informing anyone? Why did he fail to run his innovation up the flagpole first? Such are the questions that the Ac. Senate prez told me she would ask the benighted fellow. (She didn't call him that.)
     Another problem, of course, is Glenn’s inclusion (as a desired qualification) of that notoriously dubious degree—the administrator’s degree par excellence—called the Ed.D. Imagine a pool of applicants with some minimal background in English or writing instruction plus one of those curious Ed.D. degrees. I can imagine such a group excelling at “instruction” in anti-writing, anti-thinking, or, say, advanced mind-numbing gobbledygook. I cannot, however, imagine them actually teaching kids to write or think.
     Gosh, thanks, Glenn. We really needed another fubar.

     PRICKLY ADMINISTRATOR. —Speaking of Ed.D.s….Recently, I posted a “profile” of IVC’s semi-new VP of Student Services, Linda Fontanilla—someone who has popped up a lot in recent, um, stories. In my profile, I relied on material readily available online, especially a profile provided by the college itself about 17 months ago. (I found other profiles—from her Cuesta days, etc.—that were composed, it would seem, by Fontanilla herself.)
     She's POed.
     Admittedly, I did do a little digging to discover the year in which Fontanilla graduated from high school. (I found her photo in the 1968 McLane High School Yearbook.) Women do sometimes get touchy about their age, and an identification of Fontanilla’s high school graduation year implied that particular factoid, more or less. But Fontanilla’s age is pretty readily available online, for those who care about such things. (I don’t.) (BtW: she's 39.)
     Or maybe her recent spasm of peevitude was inspired by something else I wrote about her. (See “profile.”)
     So, anyway, imagine my surprise when, on Tuesday, I attended the Scholarship Workgroup, chaired by Fontanilla, and, at the end of the meeting, she goes out of her way to say something like, “Anybody want to ask a personal question, just in case there isn’t enough information about me out there?”
     I'm pretty sure that was meant for me. (When, earlier, she entered the room, she immediately gave me a lingering stink eye. So there you go.)
     Golly. Mighty prickly, if you ask me.

     MONDAY'S BOT MEETING. Do consider attending Monday’s board meeting. (The open session starts at 5:30 p.m.) Make a public comment! Or talk to the trustees during their inevitable break.
     They need a clue, they really do.


  1. I understand that the person who did the signing for the Mandela ceremony was the first to apply for the position. He has an EdD in Sign Language; no doubt he's a strong candidate!

    1. One searches in vain for any sense to be made of this comment.

  2. I don't know Fontanilla, but it seems that this district is a particularly odd place to choose to work if one has a thin skin.

  3. What this shows is Glen's utter contempt for faculty and either his profound ignorance of or profound disregard for the disciplines. A Ph.D. for sign? A doctorate (or Ed.D. ?!?) for basic skills composition? Does he even know what we do in the classroom? I bet he won't do this to his pals in Business when they post their position in Real Estate - just watch.

  4. I think 7:22 is alluding to the fake signer at the Nelson Mandela memorial service.

  5. Roy, you are a hoot! Prickly is such a nice description. I guess you didn't feel the warmth and collegiality in the room. Typical that Linda would make an "aside" comment our administration will never tackle or discuss an issue head-on. Next time do the DeNiro routine with Linda..."You lookin at me?" and see what happens.

  6. The advance degree that Glen added is also problematic because it is listed FIRST on the list of desirable quals and must be considered in the interview process. Of course, I am beginning to think that Glen's meddling in these job announcements is just leftover from his previous meddling in other recent job announcements where he has tried his best to tailor job announcements to fit his handpicked applicants. The guy can't help it. Too bad for those applicants who imagine a fair hiring process.

  7. The hiring process is a joke and everyone knows the administration folks in A100 get to hand pick their friends. So much for transparency! I just feel sorry for all those who spend so much time on these committees or applying for a position that has been pre-ordained before the job announcement is made. What a complete waste of time....the admins should just be honest and state that they selected the person they feel they can work best with and not bother with the hipocracy of a fake hiring committee.

  8. I had a fun time at the Christmas Party in the PAC!

  9. Yes, they need a clue--the board, that is. IVC employees need to fill out the surveys they were emailed and insist that the results, including all written comments, be compiled by a neutral third party and presented in their entirety to the board. The accreditation commission should also be clued in to the fact that the president and VPs don't practice the "civility" and "safe harbor" gospel that they preach and write about in their glowing self evaluations.

  10. Becareful Roy, next thing you know Linda will get you fired and give Mark Minkler your job. Then Minkler will tell all the other faculty he was brought in "clean things up" because you were out of control

  11. "Prickly" to describe Linda? Evidently you are not an English professor, otherwise you would know you don't add the letters "ly" after a descriptive noun.

  12. prick·ly
    covered in prickles.
    "masses of prickly brambles"
    synonyms: spiky, spiked, thorny, barbed, spiny; More
    resembling or feeling like prickles.
    "his hair was prickly and short"
    having or causing a tingling or itching sensation.
    "a dress that was prickly around the neck"
    synonyms: tingly, tingling, prickling More
    (of a person) ready to take offense.
    liable to cause someone to take offense.
    "this is a prickly subject"
    synonyms: problematic, awkward, ticklish, tricky, delicate, sensitive, difficult, knotty, thorny, irksome, tough, troublesome, bothersome, vexatious More

  13. Thanks Roy, looking forward to seeing you there Mon night. Are you going to speak? We certainly wish you would.

    1. Well, Miss M, my speaking would do no good, I think. It could do some harm.

  14. Here's a more current photo of Rocky skydiving:

  15. Not even an ABD?


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