Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Technical Assistance shindig

Went to the "Technical Assistance" shindig yesterday/last night. Tables were configured in a big square (with one end open) and the various constituency groups were seated around it. There was a weird little audience zone facing into the open part of the square. Woodruff of the CCLC and Walton of the state senate used a podium which poked into one corner of the square. From 3:00 to maybe 4:45 Woodruff and Walton held forth with big picture concepts about shared governance--although they pointed out that "shared governance" is not a legal phrase and its somewhat misleading. Well, CCLC's Woodruff made that point, cuz she represents trustees, and she's a subtle enemy of the concept, near as I can figure. (Nice lady though.)

Man, that Walton has one exotic accent. I think he's a Scot, cuz I overheard a brief discussion he had with Fuentes, who asked if he was Irish, I think. "Nope," said Walton. A Scot. Or maybe a Druid. My hearing isn't too good.

Woodruff was the slicker of the two, but both did a good job, I suppose, spelling out the nature of "governance" in the community colleges. No surprises, although Woodruff seemed to cherry pick to emphasize that the Board is the ultimate decision maker and entities such as the academic senate are mere "advisory bodies." Walton--and especially faculty who engaged in a brief Q &A--made clear that, in fact, the academic senate (and other bodies) are more than mere advisory bodies. Consider faculty hiring procedures, etc. In that area, faculty are equal partners, though no one dared say quite that.

After the brief Q&A, there was a break; then, at 5:15, the more interesting half of the presentation commenced. The various groups got up to offer their "three suggestions." Well, almost nobody stuck to three, and so, by the end of all this yammering, there were maybe 100 "ideas." It looked pretty hopeless, given all the suggestions and their genral goofiness. "Respect others." "Emphasize the postiive." "Just say 'no.'"

I've gotta go, but I'll just mention that Trustee Fuentes was the standout trustee, if standout means "obnoxious." That was mostly because Trustee Wagner had to go, starting about 6:00. He took his new beard with him.

Classified and especially faculty reps did a great job contributing to discussion. Very impressive. Hooray for the A-team.

Much more later. (I'm hoping to fashion some interesting audio clips.)



Anonymous said...

Wow, Chunk, you really put in some hours covering this stuff.

Do you get FLEX credit?

Or at least a sombrero?

perplexed said...

Chunk, can you or anyone explain to me why they would use the term "technical assistance" for what sounds like an attempt (at least a nominal one) at mediation or conflict resolution? "Technical assistance"? HUH??????? "Human Resources" is a bad enough term, but must we humans be turned into objects at every turn? As so often when I navigate your lovely blog, I am dumfounded at entering the twilight zone without notice. Thank you for any light that you can shed, and for all of the light that you do shed already. I'm a big fan.

Chunk Wheeler said...

Dear Perplexed:

Imagine a world very like the one we call "normal." In this world, occasionally, someone will ask you for your chimp, whereupon you are expected to fork over a speck of lint from your classroom ceiling.

I used to ask such questions as yours.

Our college has "Honors" courses. There are no special entry requirements. They're just called "Honors" courses.

I remember I colleague who took a sabbatical. His sabbatical project? Visiting all of the major golf courses in the U.S. No one batted an eye. (Well, I did.)

We have an illiterate jackass in our district. He thinks he's clever when he says, "When you point a finger at someone, three fingers point back at you."

They call the fellow "Chancellor."

So, what was your question again?

perplexed said...

Oh, dear. I am so sorry to hear
it, Chunk. It must be harrowing
to pass from your existence on the other side of the looking glass out into the rest of
the world and back again each day.
You all seem to be handling it very well, though. Perhaps they should call that fellow canceller (of academic standards).

Chunk Wheeler said...

"Canceller Mathur." Hmmm. I like it.Thanks!

Chunk Wheeler said...

"Canceller Mathur." Hmmm. I like it.Thanks!

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