Dissent the Blog is a lot of things, but, to me, it is first and foremost a watchdog. There isn’t a heck of a lot of internal watchdoggery in this district, that’s for sure. And there is no effective external watchdoggery. The Accreds? It is to laugh. The press? They're a skeleton crew on a sinking ship.
There's DtB. We’re a scruffy little Chihuahua, yapping in the corner.
We’ve got full-time jobs as teachers, and so it isn’t easy keeping DtB going. We do the best we can.
We have “friends” (who are sometimes unfriendly) who just don’t get the watchdog thing. They keep coming at us with “don’t say that! It’ll hurt the college!” or “Who the f*ck do you think you are!”
Well, sure. But the problem is that people with power will make mistakes and, beyond that, they will do things they shouldn’t be doing. We understand about mistakes. We’re all human. But sometimes the only way to get powerful people to stop doing things they shouldn’t be doing is to drag their hinky endeavors into the light of day, cuz you can’t appeal to some of these people with reason or morality or decency. Hey, don't think I haven't tried.
(Remember those "Brown Act" lawsuits? Wendy and I (et al.) didn't just suddenly sue the district. We came to the board and apprised them of their error. We explained how they could fix it. They stared. Then they said "fuck you." And consider this "prayer" lawsuit. Did we (I joined the effort recently) just up and sue the district? Hell no. We made efforts to moderate the board's behavior over a period of several years. The board resented our persistence, our criticisms. So what did they do? They laid on the religion even thicker. It was that same "fuck you." --People With Power, man. Just try to reason with 'em. See what you get.)
I don’t want to hurt the college or the district. But there are people with power who think they’ve got Gyges’ Ring. And they do things, man. There’s nothing unusual about this. It is the way it is. You can try to work with these people and, sometimes, they’ll cooperate. Most often, though, they’re just gonna do whatever they can get away with. They change only when you bring their actions out into the open--or smack 'em over the head with a lawsuit. (Remember the senates' "hiring policy" lawsuit? Same thing.)
So let’s talk about this “Lutheran high school” business.
It all started like this, see. On Thursday, F, a historian, walked over to my office and asked about a history course being taught at a Lutheran high school. What’s that all about?, he asked. I’m in the senate, so he figured I’d know.
I didn’t know. Increasingly, things go on that seem to operate below the radar. I couldn’t recall anything about it. I looked up the course on the online schedule, and there it was, apparently a regular 3-unit history class, taught by one of our adjuncts.
I did a little research on this Crean Lutheran South High School and found pretty much what you’d expect to find. “Decidedly Christian, Distinctly excellent.” That’s how they describe themselves. OK.
On their webpage, they trumpeted their arrangements with Irvine Valley College (and Concordia U, which is Lutheran). They said, “CLS and IVC offer a partnership that provides Crean Lutheran students the opportunity to take college courses at IVC, at no cost, to bolster their academic resumes.”
When I had a little time, I researched the history of Crean Lutheran South (CLS), and I learned that it was largely bankrolled by John Crean, the founder of Fleetwood Enterprises. I recalled that Trustee Tom Fuentes had some sort of association with Fleetwood, and so I dug that up. The story of Fleetwood’s rise to the top, Crean’s acrimonious exit, and Fleetwood’s slide to the bottom seemed interesting to me, especially given that Crean was a local character and one of the right wing movers and shakers of OC. Plus I always enjoy adding pieces to the enormous jigsaw puzzle that I call the Fuentesphere, a sprawling rogues' gallery—Carona, Rackauckas, Street, Schroeder, et al.—punctuated with the occasional decent dupe.
To me the issue here, if there was one, concerned the apparent fact that we were using CLS as a site for instruction. These Crean courses did after all appear in our schedules of courses — without apparent restriction or qualification.
(As it turns out, their inclusion there was a mistake. They are in fact courses that IVC has contracted to offer at Crean, for Crean students, paid for by Crean.)
Still under the (I think reasonable) impression that IVC’s Crean courses were regular offerings, I posted the story, gently (yes, gently) raising the question of whether it was appropriate to use a Lutheran high school as an off-campus site.
Then the shit hit the fan. Friday morning, I got word that the paragraph about Crean and IVC was “wrong.” Well, yes, there was a problem, for the post proceeded on the assumption, inspired by the college's own published schedule, that they were regular offerings.
Throughout the day (Friday), I made changes to the post, setting the record straight, but noting the schedule snafu. I would get word that the changes were “OK” with administration.
That annoyed me. This whole business was caused, not by my poor reporting, but by the rather massive error of publishing a schedule of courses that included “contract ed” courses that are NOT open to the community to take. As usual, I got the feeling that my real sin was shining a spotlight on something that normally chugs along quietly, unnoticed, unexamined, like our "early college" program (though, with some effort, the latter has finally come under scrutiny).
They don't want no stinkin' watchdog stirring up dust.
Over the years, we’ve not been pure, watchdog-wise. That’s all down to me and not my partner, the Reb, who, re monitoring the Powerful, is all watchdog, zero puppy. I’ve often sat on “stories” (i.e., held back reports). I have tried to compromise with certain faculty leaders and administrators about our watchdoggery. I’ve bent over backwards for them.
Now, that would be tolerable (to me, not to Reb), I suppose, if these people were to appreciate the nature of the sacrifice we are making and the position we are in. But it seems that they don’t. Again, yesterday, I found myself getting the word from on high that my corrections and deletions were acceptable to them, as though I had entered the scene only to paint erroneous pictures.
Well, that’s just bullshit.
The college is pissed because we’ve shined a spotlight on a hinky corner of their operation. Noting that the IVC’s Crean courses are “contract ed” settles one issue. But there are other issues here. There are facts, simple incontrovertible facts, not opinion, that are, well, unfortunate. If some of us in the college community had been included in the decisions about this program, we would have said: don't go there. This is trouble.
These facts. Now, just why shouldn't I state them?
[Note: (1) I am NOT stating them and have not stated them. I have, however, contacted someone with the VPI's office. (2) N.B. In my view, this "episode" points to the folly of administration's new practice of leaving faculty out of the loop, as they seemed to do in the case of the "early college" program. If this Crean business were to have been pursued with normal faculty involvement, none of the unfortunate circumstances/facts would have arisen.]
Pics: taken today at Jan's
Thank you, Chunk. Over the years, the fair shake you have so often given this college and district has sometimes actually revived my old love of IVC. About your current post, I have a couple of questions that I think any department chair would ask. How is it that the thinly disguised F did not know that HIST 20 and 21--6 units of osh--were being offered at this off-campus site? And if these units do not represent osh taken from the department's allotment for the semester, who is paying the adjunct? And if the adjunct is being paid from a pot different from the instructional budget, is he held to the 9-unit limit?
3:30 PM, December 19, 2009
Yes, whose dime are we spending here? And why? Where is the Academic Senate on this: Saddleback just went after HS students taking classes without paying.
Please note that an instructor who regularly teaches History for IVC (Hist 1) teaches Poli Sci (PS 1) over at Crean HS - curious discipline shift.
B. von Traven said...
3:30, I just got home. I don't have an answer to your questions, though, as I explained yesterday, our courses at Crean are "contract ed," which means that Crean, not the taxpayer, pays for them. ¶ At some point, a request went out for volunteers to teach at Crean. Adjunct faculty got this email, but possibly all faculty did. This, of course, is not the same thing as running this arrangement past the academic senate. I don't recall it being presented there, but it is possible that it was and I missed it somehow. We'll see.
Someone is pulling something here - the question is just what and why.
Who is in charge of articulation now that Kate Clark has retired?
Do the instructors who teach Contract Ed need to be credentialed or qualified in the same way we are? or are there difefrent standards? I expect if the courses are being offered for college credit need to be taught by instructors who meet the same standards otherwise the courses are worthless - in terms of college credit anyway.
9:14 AM, December 20, 2009
B. von Traven said...
The standards depend on the courses. It appears that the courses offered at Crean are transferable (i.e., "credit") courses, and so the usual standards apply. In fact, the instructors sent to Crean by IVC are part of the existing pool of instructors at IVC, and so they are prima facie qualified. All is well unless Crean starts assigning these instructors courses that they are not qualified to teach--e.g., if a historian, who is qualified to teach transferable history courses, commences teaching, say, transferable econ courses.
But CREAN should not be assigning instructors to courses - that something that IVC (chairs and deans) should do - RIGHT????
Roy, the entries to your blog have been and are remarkable. We applaud you for the questions you have raised, the research you have done, and the closer to the truth on a number of issues that never would have come to light that you have delivered to us. We are not "community" colleges any longer. The transparancy that would be wonderful if our District and college administrations shared matters that affect the intergrity of the colleges. We are fortunate to have not just a philosopher who teaches that subject but a man who practices philosophy--the pursuit of questions, the answers of which might improve the quality of our lives and the work we do. Community bespeakes a communion between and among the members of it. We have very infrequently found that in the SOCCCD. That does not mean that we can't get better at becoming a community. I hope that we do. Thank you, Philosopher Roy.
Something is fishy. Generally (generally, not all - take the Jesuits for example) parochial schools have their own standards of behavior one must observe - some of these would be at odds with the academic freedom we enjoy. Keep barking.
8:29 AM, December 21, 2009
Who IS in charge of articulation? I can't find anything on the website about who took over from Kate.
B. von Traven said...
9:27, I believe that Tam Do is our articulation officer. I'm not sure what would be gained contacting Tam, however. This semester, near as I can tell, qualified instructors are teaching the IVC Crean courses. I'm told, however, that universities sometimes balk at college courses offered at high schools. (I'm not sure if this is a significant concern.) But, as I have said, in this case, IVC (adjunct) faculty are teaching the courses. My understanding is that this "program" (if that is the term for it) is being run out of Dave Anderson's office. [My source: two of our Crean instructors. Anderson--a nice guy--is the Director of Extended Education.]
Sorry to be stupid BUT who's assigning the adjunct instrcutors to these courses? The dept. chairs or Anderson or both? Who decides if they're qualified to teach the college credit classes? Faculty or admin? Why would someone who teaches history at IVC teach Poli Sci at Creaon?
B. von Traven said...
10:24, with regard to your last question: someone with a masters in history can, I believe, teach political science courses if they also have a bachelors in political science (I looked up the rules). Whether the instructor to whom you are referring has the requisite BA--well, I just don't know. Further, I would think that the relevant IVC dept/school (faculty/dean) would determine whether a person with these credentials should be teaching one of our Poli Sci courses. Re your first query: As of this moment, I don't have a clear picture of who was involved in assigning faculty to Crean courses. My communications with some of our Crean instructors makes clear that the man with the answers is Dave Anderson, Director of Extended Education (at IVC). He would know about Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 (see online schedule).
Master’s in political science, government, public administration, or international relations OR
*Bachelor’s in any of the above AND Master’s in economics, history, social science, sociology, any ethnic studies, JD, or LL.B. OR
*The equivalentFrom Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges, February 2008
B. von Traven said...
Above (at 10:04), I wrote: "I'm told, however, that universities sometimes balk at college courses offered at high schools." I checked my notes, and I should have said that universities sometimes balk at college courses offered at high schools that are not open to the public. One of my sources, who is very reliable, seems to think that these courses are NOT open to the public, but only to Crean Lutheran students. But, again, I do not know whether this is a significant concern. No doubt experts do know.
10:42 AM, December 21, 2009