5:58 - I’ve just arrived at the Ronnie Reagan room for the monthly meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees. The meeting’s supposed to start at 6:00 p.m., but the agenda for the 5:00 p.m. closed session—including review of some key 'strators—might slow things down.
Not that anybody is complaining about Gary Poertner’s efforts as Chancellor. On the contrary, I think. But SC Prez Tod Burnett? Some say he routinely oversteps his bounds, authority-wise. He’s done that with prayer at commencement and, most recently, with his odd input re bestowal of honorary degrees.
Tonight’s agenda for the open session is unremarkable. There are two reports: one on yet another “student success” recommendation—something about “incentivizing” students to get their sh*t together or something—and one on the colleges’ foundations, those odd benefactories.
He's got a seriously bad ticker, he has, or so says the vet. But my mom's been babying him, and she's gone totally gaga over the furry little dude. No surprise there.
Today, as per usual, the Bugster was kittening all over their house, but bringing his fuzzy self up against my mom and pop at regular intervals. My mom melted. Dad too, I think.
BOB THE CAT. Here's a weird detail. Yesterday, says mom, a bobcat showed up just outside a back window, silently staring inside. Bugsy immediately hid. Don't know what that was about. You'd think a bobcat would have better things to do.
That Bugsy really zips around. He can be hard to find; mostly, one sees the Boy as a flash of white here and there, he's so fast and small and intent on invisibility. My dad, not really a cat person, says Bugsy regularly "goes nuts" around the house. "That's just his bein' a cat," I say.
|Bugsy and his photonic doppelgänger|
"Well, at this point, the pup's likely to bury you!" I say, trying to be helpful.
PUP FOR POP. I've noticed that Pop is now calling Bugsy "my little pup," only he says it in German, which, as I'm sure you are aware, is the lingo of dogs, especially German Shepherds.
It's pretty clear that, contrary to the original plan, my folks have taken in this little guy for keeps. And that's great.
OK, enough with the schmaltz.
* * *6:13 - OK, there's still no sign of the Merry Boardsters, nor their painted bus.
6:31 - Trustee TJ Prendergast has entered the building. He's got an unseemly strip of fur under his nose. He acts, however, as though everything is normal, AOK.
6:34 - Chancellor Poertner just arrived. [An administrator friend tells me that, when Gary arrived, he was pissed or upset. I didn't notice.] Next: Meldau and Lang. Now Padberg and Milchiker. Now Wright. I figure we'll get started in a minute. Where's Bill Jay?
|Mike, leaving; Gary, remaining: a moment in time|
Milchiker reads an action taken in closed session: 6/0 (Jay absent) rejected claim of student against adjunct instructor.
Invocation: Wright: "Our father who art in heaven...."
Mike Meldau gets a big fat resolution. This is likely to go on for a while.
Poertner: "Mike contributed a lot"; etc. Plaques, applause, etc. "You more than distinguished yourself...."
Meldau: "It's been a real honor...." Etc.
Public comments: no one wishes to speak. Why of course. It's South Orange County.
Meldau: no report tonight
Milchiker: we'll miss trustee Meldau.
(Evidently, Poertner explains to Nancy that she missed some commendations. So Tod Burnett comes up to introduce "our new interim chief of police." Etc.)
Prendergast: Gracious remarks for Meldau. Says he's happy with the election outcome (a reference to Prop 30).
Padberg: there's a pattern in this district: people try to retire but get pulled in again, etc. Congrats to sports teams. Attended the two forums. Very successful. Agrees, should do it twice a year.
Wright: Joins in expressing gratitude, etc., to Mike Meldau. Congrats to winners on our board in election. "My wife was very grateful that I ran unopposed." Attended forums. Etc.
Lang: "adds to the chorus of voices...." Meldau always showed "intellectual curiosity." Lang says he attended the two forums. Well done. Good exchange of ideas. "Happy Thanksgiving."
Park: attended meetings, etc. Congratulated IVC debate team. "My first time voting, very exciting."
Chancellor Poertner: some items tonight: student success task force rec. 3. We'll hear about that. We'll also get some Foundation reports. Look forward to that. Lastly, we'll hear from an auditor, district books.
Advance 6.1: district audit report.
AUDIT REPORT. Deb Fitzsimmons introduces Jim G., the Audit Guy, and he comes up to present audit. He says: No restrictions placed on us. We've expressed unqualified opinion. Basically clean opinion. Letters from us: "our required communication." Key items: managers are supposed to adopt appropriate accounting principles. Blah, blah, blah. We agree with the principles used. And they've been consistently applied.
One critical item: estimates by management. We look closely at those. We look at "notes"--financial statements--many pages. An integral part of understanding statement. Highlights two notes: the "restatement." Construction costs left out, added back in. Also "employee retirement plan." Finally: dealing with post-employment healthcare benefits. "Neutral, consistent, and clear." Did not encounter significant difficulties. Talked with numerous people. We've identified "audit adjustments." Presented to management. It's all in the financial statement. No disagreement w/ management re accounting principles.... Any questions?
Prendergast: refers to a point in report. Not sure what his point was.
Milchiker: describes meeting with audit committee. "I feel everything is well explained and well done."
--No further questions.
|An ineffable disquiet (in my imagination)|
SADDLEBACK COLLEGE: Bob Cosgrove comes up, along with four others (Schmeidler, de Roulet, Choo, and Sheldon).
A math instructor (Deanna) comes up in behalf of SC. (See Overview.) BSI Math tutoring center explained. Unintimidating center. Etc. Just two semesters in. Blah, blah, blah. Testimonials, etc.
Next, an English instructor: Marina ("one name, like Madonna"). (See Overview.) Writing tutor overseer. When she arrived a few years ago, she/they started asking basic questions about existing tutoring. We saw some problems, some good things. Lack of consistency. Applied for BSI grant. Got small grant to run tutoring. Three tutors hired. "Hands free approach"--tutors don't write on student papers. This year, trained 19 people.
Explains different models for tutoring. Helping with the student's paper--that's one way. Their approach: "Student as agent of paper." Only the students fixes the paper. Questions, probing & clarifying. Improve the writer, not the writing. Etc.
This gal has lots to say, and says it well. Nice presentation, though it's hard not to be skeptical of this, or any, model of tutoring. Must be hard to test for efficacy.
IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE: Next: the IVC group. Kathy Schmeidler, IVC Academic Senate Prez, introduces three instructors. (See Overview.)
Brooke Choo: Student Success Center coordinator. We truly want to be a leader in the state.
Dan De Roulet: co-chair, English dept., IVC. Our job to move students through at an "efficient rate." Experimental class.
Joel Sheldon: coordinator, Math Center, IVC.
Brooke: discusses Student Success Center. Also "hands off" approach. Computer lab access. A new center, so getting the word out. Shows "usage snapshot."
Dan: writing and reading Centers. Close together. We're emphasizing "student care."
(--All these people do a great job presenting what they and their centers do.)
We're actually turning away students this semester. Pretty full. All day long.
Joel: describes Math Center.
(I don't blame any of these people, but this has become painful. Not sure why. But please stop. Please. Meldau seems to be the only trustee still listening. Wright seems to be in his own world, far away. Prendergast is, I believe, stabbing himself in the hand. Lang is visualizing a bean in his mind. --Please stop the horror.)
Bob C now says: money comes from the state, and that money is now shrinking. Students are coming to us increasingly without basic skills. Etc.
Padberg: asks for budget total per college. This seems to strike some as an odd question. But Cosgrove has an answer; says "$90K." Schmeidler, on behalf of IVC, says the amount is a bit higher at IVC. Says something about pretzels.
Meldau: are there any "outcome studies" in the field? All this tutoring sounds great, but is it making any difference? Brooke: have been studies for blah, blah, blah. (She seems to be scrambling.) Burnett breaks in to suggest to trustees to "come out and visit" these centers. The discussion is over. Whew.
Second discussion item: foundations. (See Presentations.)
click on graphic
From the IVC Foundation report
A DIP. Morley: shows income and expenses. (See above.) Explains a "dip" during transition to new director. He goes through pie charts, but quickly. Seems to be defending some numbers. But nobody's asking about them.
Shows "financial position." Lots of numbers. What does it all mean? Do we want a profit? Yes. (He's alluding to fact that they're not making a profit, I guess.) But net assets grew.
He stops. It's quite sudden. "Any questions."
Padberg: no questions. Very positive, she says. She moves on:
RICKNER HAS AN AGENDA. Next: Saddleback Foundation. President of Foundation comes up (didn't catch his name). This guy's a relatively strong speaker, but kinda rams things down our throats.
Highlights accomplishments. Student scholarship awards up 46%. It all sounds good.
|"We need to staff out."|
Prendergast: what is your current staff level? A: Three and a half at Saddleback. IVC: two and hiring a third.
Rickner: we'll probably top out at 2 million a year.
Again, he seems to be urging hiring of more staff. Mentions other college that has increased staff. We'll see how they do. If we had a staff of 5 or more, says Rickner, we'd have an income of 3 to 5 million a year.
8:15 - Padberg: ten minute break. I think that's cuz she noticed trustees sleeping and/or slipping into comas.
8:28 - we're back. Now consent calendar. Any items to be pulled? 5.15 pulled, I guess. Other items pass.
Milchiker asks about $18k for In-n-out Burger at IVC Senior Day. Deb Fitzsimmons responds. She says some things, don't know what. Roquemore continues. That vendor, we used 'im six years in a row. (Yeah, six mistakes in a row.) 6,000 incoming seniors. (Hey, isn't that $3 a head? Not much of a deal. Maybe they're including the Bouncy House.) Gotta have burgers, fries for these kids. (Well, he didn't actually say that, but it's the unspoken premise. Gotta grease up these kids or they'll go elsewhere.)
Somehow, such mutterings satisfy everyone. Approved. I'm seriously weirded out. Have I mentioned that meat is murder?
|Mom with her boy Zeppy, about 15 years ago|
6.2 - board policy revisions. Approved.
6.3 - more BP revisions--discussion and approval.
Prendergast: asks about bp3517. Do we have a problem with student organizations, off-campus?
Fitzsimmons: no. "No criminal activity at this point in time."
Lang said something, don't know what, but I'm sure I heard him say "ek cetera."
6.4 Contract with Neudesic, software development
6.5 Academic Personnel Actions. B pulled. I think that was about chair compensation.Wright notes that, in the report, that compensation has not increased. --Yeah, that's why pulled. Unanimous approval.
6.6 classified personnel actions.
Pulls item B1. Unanimous approval.
7.1 board requested reports. Nada
7.2 College speakers. Nada
7.3 Basic aid report. Nada
7.4 Facilities plan
7.5 Retiree trust fund report.
7.6 Quarterly investment
7.7 monthly financial...
7.8 Non-resident tuition....
SC Ac. Senate: Cosgrove raises issue of no office space for part-time instructors. No office hours because no offices.
Faculty Association: Congrats Jay, Wright, Lang. Best wishes to Meldau. Would have endorsed you, dude, but you bailed.
IVC Ac. Senate: senate is working with Pres and rest of college community to work out budget issues, to find reasonable ways to make reductions. The senate is working "consultatively" with administration in general...
IVC Prez: .... Mentions Accred crew that came down. Our report well written. Went well. Blah, blah, blah.
--OK, I'm outa here.