Sunday, February 3, 2002

ARCHIVES: Red Letters, 2/02

By Red Emma

Editor’s Note: The Los Angeles Times gets hundreds of letters to the editor. Those published indeed represent only a fraction of those received. Through a new Times-Dissent partnership, we’ve secured copies of a few letters recently sent the paper after appointment of Raghu Mathur as chancellor of the embattled South Orange County Community College District. Regrettably, the paper was unable at the time to publish these due to space considerations.

Dear Editor:

Some teachers at Irvine Valley College and Saddleback are naughty. They say bad things about President Mathur. We do not like them. No. Some students listen to them, and then march around the campus, chanting “Mathur Must Go” and cause a lot of trouble, noise and litter. Not us. Some students study the Constitution and get big ideas. No way. No siree. Nope. We are proud of our college and of President Mathur. We have team spirit, school pride, transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Students for Choice
cc: Raghu P. Mathur, Ed.D., Chancellor SOCCCD

Dear Editor:

Arf! Raghu Mathur saved my life. Woof! Raghu is a good master. Bow-wow! Raghu feeds me and lets me out of the garage occasionally. His security stipend from the district saved me from a life in the pound, and still left him cash to spare. When I looked out of my pen into his big brown eyes, I wanted to go home with him. Whenever Kate Clark comes around I bark and bark. Grrrr. “Attack,” says master, “attack!”

“Stipey” the Security Hound

Dear Editor:

Friends, I have been so very blessed to meet many good men and women, including presidents and kings. Raghu Mathur is a good man. I am a good man. I plan to host a special education-themed “Hour of Power” next Sunday featuring my special guests and personal friends: radio personality Dr. Laura, golfer Jack Niklaus, entertainers Donny and Marie, General Colin Powell, and a very honorable man, fellow American and new SOCCCD chancellor, Dr. Raghu Mathur. This event will feature the amazing Crystal Cathedral chorus singing with Donny and Marie, the folding of the world’s largest American flag into a very tiny American flag, putting tips from Jack Niklaus and a stern talk by Dr. Laura (“Ten Things Bad Teachers Do To Their Students When They Stray From Administrative Free Speech Policies”). We will hear an inspiring message from General Powell, who will present a special award to Dr. Mathur, newly appointed chancellor of South Orange County Community College District. As in our special Christmas pageants, during this special presentation, Dr. Mathur will fly like an angel.

Dr. Robert Schuller

Dear Editor:

As a dean at IVC, I want to offer our school’s appreciation for the appointment of Dr. Raghu P. Mathur as district chancellor. While others dismissed me, even suggesting I was a sociopath, smiling toad, neck groper and funny dresser with not a clue about academic protocol, it was Dr. Mathur who recognized my genius. After earning numerous degrees simultaneously and a coupla advanced degrees, and rewriting The Odyssey and The Illiad so that they have better endings, I had everything but respect from my colleagues (or a fulltime teaching job). After years of toil, it was Dr. Mathur who recognized my talent, not to mention my terrific people skills and Photocopy Accountability Management Program. I owe my success—and popularity!—at IVC to Dr. Mathur.

Anonymous Dean

Dear Editor:

We at Nova Southestern University couldn’t be prouder at news of the appointment of our recent alumni Dr.(GRADUATE NAME HERE) to the position of (POSITION NAME HERE). At NSU (“Go Fighting Novettes! Go the Distance!”), we take pride in the achievement of Dr. (GRADUATE NAME HERE), and are proud of our close association with Dr. (GRADUATE NAME HERE). Nova Southwestern University is proud of its low residency, distance-education, pay-per-view and mail order diploma programs, for which we were recently ranked 234 of 234 national universities. We are confident that our recent graduate Dr. (GRADUATE NAME HERE) will more than live up to NSU’s reputation.

Dean, Nova Southwestern University

cc: Dr. (Graduate Name Here), Ph.D.

Dear Editor:

This is a routine administrative request, newly instituted by the office of the chancellor, which SOCCCD attorneys assure me is entirely legal and well within the purview of my official capacities. Please, therefore, forward to me the names of all who wrote letters to your paper regarding my appointment to district chancellor. Disloyalty will not be tolerated. Thank you.

Dr. Raghu Mathur, Ph.D., Chancellor SOCCCD

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

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