Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Voting "no confidence" in SAMPSON & MATHUR


Irvine Valley faculty expresses its unhappiness (OC Reg)

EDUCATION: Poll taken Friday results in overwhelming no-confidence vote against two administrators.
November 1, 2000

The Orange County Register

IRVINE - Teachers at troubled Irvine Valley College have overwhelmingly voted no confidence in the leadership of the college president and district chancellor, some visually demonstrating their displeasure Tuesday by setting up a mock campus cemetery of 80 cardboard tombstones.
            Sixty-five percent of the 112 faculty members eligible to vote cast ballots, with 94.4 percent of those expressing no confidence in Chancellor Cedric Sampson and 90.1 percent saying they had no confidence in President Raghu Mathur, according to a memo from Academic Senate President Traci Fahimi.
            Sampson on Tuesday questioned the legality of the secret ballot and said it was the work of a small number of malcontents hoping to influence next week’s trustee election.
            “This is the same group that has been attempting to keep publicity about our campus bad,” Sampson said.
            A spokesman for the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges said such a vote is unusual.
            “It is a very serious condemnation and looked upon seriously by most boards of trustees,” spokesman Paul Simmons said.
            “The statewide senate voted no confidence in the previous community college chancellor, and he was gone within the year.”
            In 1998, Fullerton College faculty voted no confidence in then-President Vera Martinez, and she left that job six months later.
            Mathur did not return phone calls Tuesday asking for comment. He issued a written statement questioning the motivation for the no-confidence vote, the second in the past year.
            “The educational interests of the students and taxpayers of the South Orange County Community College District are a No. 1 priority for me,” Mathur said in his prepared statement. “An election-time vote instigated primarily by disgruntled union activists is suspect of being in contempt of these interests that I support.”
            At Irvine, faculty members are unhappy that they have been excluded from key decisions on campus, including the selection of the president and the hiring of top administrators. District trustees voted in 1997 to stop paying them for out-of-classroom duties such as serving on academic committees, and a number of long- term employees have left over the past three years.
            “This is a request to the powers-that-be that our views be noted and recorded,” Peter Morrison, the former president of the Academic Senate, said Tuesday. “It has no binding power at all.”
            Traditionally, college campuses are run jointly by administrators and faculty, with the teachers paid to serve on committees that decide, for example, whether to change curriculum or hire a department head.
            The no-confidence vote comes only a week before the general election, when south Orange County voters will decide the fate of two trustees, Dorothy Fortune and John Williams, who voted to appoint Mathur and Sampson to office.
            Williams and Fortune reiterated their support for Mathur, who last year received a contract renewal and pay raise.
            “I think he’s doing an outstanding job,” Williams said. “As you look back over the last year, it’s the same small number of critics.”
            Some employees followed up Friday’s faculty vote with an elaborate cardboard display of tombstones Tuesday, ostensibly to note employees forced out or disciplined by Mathur.
            Irvine Valley students were curious about the tombstone protest.
            “From what I’ve heard, he’s not very good to the professors, especially a biology teacher I really like,” said Leila Nouri. “Even the nurses in the health center are not happy about it. They don’t speak about him fondly.”
            Sampson said the Oct. 12 decision of the Academic Senate to hold a confidence vote was illegal because it was conducted by secret ballot. Morrison said the Senate decided to vote by secret ballot so none of the faculty senators could be personally retaliated against by administrators unhappy with the results.
            The attorney for South Orange County Community College District wrote to the Academic Senate on Oct. 23, threatening to sue over the vote and a potential Brown Act violation.

            “We trust the Senate will take appropriate action to promptly cure and correct,” attorney Lois Jeffrey wrote.

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary