Monday, February 25, 2013

Meeting of the SOCCCD BOT: more than 30 speak in support of Grimm & Boettger

A remarkable crowd, pre-closed session; over 30 speakers spoke for over 45 minutes
(For background: see BOT meeting preview & Lariat highlights Grimm. Essentially, there are worries that one or some of the recent tenure decisions/processes are hinky, perhaps only because the defined process isn't being followed. That, at any rate, has been the point emphasized tonight by union speakers. Meanwhile, many speakers—colleagues, students, et al.—address the manifest absurdity of accusing Grimm of a lack of collegiality. [Evidently, both faculty were tagged, not for poor teaching, but for failures of collegiality.] Much great support for both instructors tonight: Grimm and Boettger.)

5:00 - Nancy Padberg, board president, has called the meeting to order. 30 people wish to speak, she says. (She doesn't seem happy about it.) Nancy orders the crew of 30 (actually, more) to break into groups of 5, come on up. (She calls groups of five at a time.) If you're going to repeat what someone else has said, "well, please do not do that."

Padberg calls five names: "please come forward," she commands
   Andrea: Now at CSLB. Here to support Professor Amy Grimm. She helped me a lot. If not for her, I would have likely changed majors. But I stuck with Art History. She's a very valuable professor. She deserves to be granted tenure.
   Joon Kil: associate Prof, poli sci. Here to support Amy Grimm's tenure. She's the most collegial colleague I've known at IVC. We teach in different areas, but she is a genuine, good person. A great colleague. Outstanding professional.
   Claudia Lee: speaks about program Professor Grimm has started. Amazing info that you can't get from a textbook. Very valuable. Etc.
   Jerry Rudmann: here to support Amy Grimm's tenure decision. I've been an instructor since IVC started. Amy is one of the most dedicated professionals I've ever seen. She's always on campus, working with students, setting up guest speakers, etc. IVC has an honor society that runs a survey. Amy is always in the top group of professors appreciated by students.
   Alex D?: Here to support Amy Grimm. She has always been respectful and kind. Good with staff. Students say she is one of the best instructors they've had.

Nancy officiously reads off the next five names:
   Mithra K: a student at IVC. To speak in support of Susan Boettger (IVC Fine Arts probie). Students adore her. She is kind, helpful, patient. Really cares about her students. She is clear and effective. She has greatly increased my appreciation of classic music. A highly professional member of IVC faculty.
   Michael Cassens: psychology dept. I share a hallway with these two (Boettger and Grimm.) They are clearly strong faculty. Very collegial. To suggest that these people lack collegiality is a gross mis-assessment.
   Bari Rudmann: I retired after 25 years. Still involved in Honors Society. I wish to address collegiality issue. (I look over at board: Nancy is annoyed. The others are hard to read.) Barry tells story of first meeting Amy. Great speaking with her, getting to know her. "Collegial? Absolutely?" She's always been helpful.
   Kari Tucker: Speaking on behalf of Amy Grimm. Her collegiality is under question here. Very surprised. I've worked with many faculty, but Amy's certainly on the top among them. She was great to work with, etc. Gives examples. Assessments, etc. She is dedicated to her students, too. Her interactions are admirable. I often ask myself if I live up to her standard. I'm amazed that her collegiality is being questioned. I wish she were in my dept.!
   Yemmy Taylor: here to speak on behalf of Amy Grimm. We've worked together on the Academic Affairs committee. She did great work. When I visit campus on Saturday, Amy is there. Collegiality? No one is more collegial than Amy. She's more social that we in psychology! She's been an incredible faculty member. A very good person.

Next five called up:
   Pamela W: speaks on behalf of Susan B. Relates details of Susan's efforts and success as an instructor. She is always available to students. She's fair. I have over 30 pages of notes just from her this semester. Her students have won innumerable awards. (Your time is up!)
   Jody Titus: I share the hall with Amy Grimm. Former curriculum chair. She's amazingly dedicated. Writing new curriculum for a new program. Many hours of work, willingness to put in hours. The most collegial person on this campus. I hope you reconsider.
   Tiffany Tran: articulation officer at IVC. Speaks on behalf of Amy G. She did excellent work on curriculum. Strong work ethic. She has earned the respect of many faculty and students. Many have written letters for her. (She reads the names of those who wrote letters. Pretty impressive list that goes on for some time and includes many impressive names.) The trustees seem impressed. (Your time is up!)
   Janice Wyma: I was hired as the first music professor in 1979; retired recently. Was involved in hiring Susan Boettger. Extraordinary candidate. Stellar. Our department has lacked balance, and it was a ray of sunshine to welcome Susan. She's been an enthusiastic colleague. Her tenure review has been shoddily put together. She's fun, courteous, etc. Jan speaks very highly of her. (Padberg: interrupts. Jan finishes anyway, talks right through Nancy's protests. Clash! Whoa!)
   Didn't get her name: on behalf of Susan Boettger. Describes her work with SB. "A joy to work with." Always showed respect. Etc. Always collegial. Never a complaint about her. Smart, musical, modest, a most wonderful colleague."

(Next five:)
   Susan Boettger: for four years, I've worked hard to be the best possible instructor..... (etc.) Describes her credentials. Evaluations of her teaching: overwhelmingly positive. Describes her accomplishments. Seems very impressive.  Presents well.
   Amy Grimm: Prof of Art History. My 4th year, fantastic years. I was hired to teach Art History courses and to build a program. (She describes her success in those areas.) Again, seems very impressive.
   Megan ?: Here to speak on behalf of Professor Grimm. I'm an Anthro major. The classes and programs she's establishing have been very helpful to me with my major. This student is very articulate, impressive.
   Dennis Gordon: Amy Grimm is a fantastic person. I won't repeat what's already been said. He describes first meeting her. Wonderful, personable individual. I was shocked to hear that there's some question about her collegiality. She's very friendly, welcoming. She's outstanding.
   Didn't catch her name: speaks on behalf of Susan Boettger. All students just love her as a teacher, as a person. She's very experienced, a wonderful pianist. She has a great personality, easy to work with. She's an ideal colleague. I've worked with her for a year and a half and I can only say great things.

(The next five; Padberg is pissed that not all five come up right away; urges them to come stand against the wall)
   Didn't catch his name: keyboard person here at Saddleback. Susan Boettger, a wonderful colleague. Easy to work with. Always followed through. We did joint concerts; a pleasure to work with her. She always goes the extra mile, also in community service. She's a mother of three kids, but she spends so much time going extra mile; don't know how she does it. I've been on many hiring committees; I would not hesitate a minute to hire her for a piano position. Exemplary professor of music. What she does is at the level of a major university! Putting IVC and the district on the map. (Nancy interrupts. Time's up!)
   Kathy Schmeidler: today here as grievance chair. It's been a while since we've seen this kind of support for faculty re probationary faculty. I am here to speak on the process itself, in case you think this is about personalities. "The process was not followed." The part of the contract: if unsatisfactory, the TRC will develop a plan of action to address.... To my knowledge, none of this was done. In these cases, these faculty were told of problems late. (Nancy: your time is up!)
   Dave Lang interrupts: let her speak. I'm most interested in process issues. Nancy gives her a "few more seconds."
   Kathy: dean and two faculty on each TRC. Deans are responsible for following the process. In this case, the dean and the upper administration have not done this properly.
   Roopa Mathur: Academic Affairs chair at IVC. Here to speak on behalf of Amy Grimm. She's very professional. Roopa highlights Amy's work on the committee. She was very, very helpful. (Gives examples.) Describes Amy's participation in IVC's lecture series. A talk on Andy Warhol. Was a success, despite an audience of 60-year-olds.
   Antoinette Geldun: I shared an office with Amy. She's wonderful with students, wonderful as a colleague. She's very modest, helpful. Why did this happen? You heard about all the "hallway" conversations. The art department is scattered and doesn't see what she's like. Describes Amy's work; we'll lose our connections with the Getty, etc. (Nancy seems annoyed.) Also, "she always has ginger cookies." (Laughter.)  You couldn't ask for a better person.
   Ann McDermott: I took a piano class with Susan B. The class was fabulous. I've taken courses in many colleges, but this was the best ever. So friendly, patient with all students. What a difference, taking a class with Susan. Goes through various anecdotes. She's so enthusiastic, it's contagious. It would be such a loss, if....

(The last group:)
Lewis Long
(It's now 5:44. An extraordinary display.)
   Lewis Long: past president of the Faculty Association. Here to talk about the tenure review process. The spirit and intent of the process was not necessarily followed in this case. A system needs checks and balances. He describes the process, which he helped develop. TRC focuses on teaching. The role of the VP, the P, the Chancellor. If each of these latter simply forward the TRC assessment, then the process is not being followed. Each of these has a role: to discuss the person's participation at the college level, etc.
   (Nancy: your time is up! Lang: we want to hear more...  Nancy: "One sentence more": )
   ? Kim: speaks on behalf of Susan Boettger. Describes what Susan does, how well she does it. She encouraged me as a music major, "even though I'm not young."
   (Nancy: as the next "Kim" steps up, she says: "looks like we have a relative here....")
   H. Kim: describes her experience with Susan Boettger. Success, etc. Such great teaching skills. "I'm very proud of me that I am her student!" I cannot speak English very well. But she encourages me. She understands students like me. Please support her.
   Lisa Alvarez: I've taught English at IVC for 20 years. Reads letter by last year's part-time teacher of the year. Support for both Fine Arts probies. Impressive letter. (Your time is up!)
   Name?: I'm a student at IVC. A student of Mrs. Grimm. She starts class with, "Dear beloved students." Says it all of the time. She welcomes us. (Speaks in halting English.) I'm very pleased to be in her class. Witnessed student disrespecting her. She handled it so beautifully. I'm very happy to be her student.
   ? G: I have a few unique things to add. I'm a returning student. I have an MA from UCLA, an MA.... I made a career change. She's amazing (referring, I think, to Amy Grimm. Not sure)

   Nancy Padberg: That concludes our speakers: I must tell you that we will not be able to reconvene until an hour and half. So we'll reconvene at 7:30 or so. No sooner.

     The room is amazingly full. There's a celebratory mood among supporters of Grimm and Boettger. Very pleased. Applause broke out here and there during the preceding. This greatly annoyed Nancy. Amy and Susan's remarks received strong applause, which was not appreciated by the Nance.
     Lewis Long and Kathy Schmeidler's remarks were well received as well.

You'll hear from me again at 7:30 or so.


Anonymous said...

Wow! This is impressive! Thanks for the detailed account!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad so many came out to support Amy Grimm. Thanks for posting it as it happened. I will look to your blog later tonight to see what the Board says after closed session.

Anonymous said...

Very proud to hear of the terrific turn-out from across the campus.

Anonymous said...

What a great turn-out. So good that the names of other people were invoked - there were many more than 38 in that room. I hope the trustees could feel it.

Bob Cosgrove said...

I'm exceptionally proud of my IVC colleagues--classified, managers and faculty-- and some SC faculty for the support they gave to two IVC instructors who were recommended not to receive tenure. Colleagues who spoke were articulate, provided very specific examples and were compellingly convincing. Several loud rounds of applause came from the BOT room.

Well done.

Bob Cosgrove
Saddleback College

I fear no fish said...

I'm extremely pleased to know that Lang was concerned about the charges that the process was not followed. Good for him!

Anonymous said...

So very happy with the outcome. However, I doubt their TRC members (whom they will have to continue working with) will be as thrilled. Continue your great work at IVC despite the few, Amy and Susan!!!

Anonymous said...

I am worried about the possibility of a hostile workplace after this - certainly the rebuffed TRC members will be disappointed. I do hope the dean and the senior college admin will set a proper tone of collegiality about this. Still waiting on the congratulatory email from Glenn which will be the first step.

Anonymous said...

I think that congratulatory email is under revision at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Yes 9:05am it is being now says OOPS we f...ed up again and didn't bother to pay attention to what is happening on campus. I did hear that the new sculpture on campus was going to be a horse's rear-end.

Anonymous said...

I do hope that the IVC pres and VP will speak the FA dean about addressing what might turn into a hostile workplace for those two.

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