Monday, April 29, 2013

April meeting of the SOCCCD BOT: part-timer and veteran all up in trustee grill

IVC's Model UN crew (Stu Frame not pictured)
Will Trustee Jemal start addressing other board members as “Gramps” and “Granny”?

     (See the district's Board Meeting Highlights)

     So, what’s on tap for tonight’s meeting?
     Is the turf war between IVC’s Glenn Roquemore and SC’s Tod Burnett still raging? Has leadership acknowledged—and accounted for—our district’s relatively abysmal Full-time/Part-time ratio (51%) as revealed in the recent state “student success scorecard”? And how account for IVC's stellar 74% English/remedial score while SC and other colleges are in the basement? Can anyone explain why the French and Germans are nuts about white asparagus?
     Yeah, plus:
     Will the board approve $1.35 million just to demolish more stuff at ATEP? And what’s with the increased legal spending by the district? And how come SC is requesting one further full-time faculty hire while IVC is sticking with its super-reduced hiring plan?
     Finally, while we’re waiting:
     Tonight, will Trustee Jemal start addressing other board members as “Gramps” and “Granny”? Will Nancy finally roll her eyes so hard that they just keep on rollin’? How often will Bill Jay snort himself into consciousness? Will Dave Lang finally show us his contract with Beelzebub?....

Trustees Wright, Jay, Jemal, Prendergast, Padberg, Lang, Milchiker
     THE MEETING BEGINS. 6:00: looks like we could start at any time. All the trustees (save the student trustee) are present.

     Called to order: clerk reads out actions taken in closed session: 7/0 vote rescind decision, accept faculty member's resignation; 7/0 vote termination full-time classified employee; 7/0 deny appeal full-time faculty member appeal; 7/0 extend benefits to classified manger; 7/0 request extended leave custodian; 7/0 reject claim William Simpson against district.

A Hollywood moment

     Nancy: these resolutions honor faculty and others. Chancellor and Presidents come down to the podium. Blah, blah, blah.

Scott Fier
     6:05 - Marcia Milchiker reads "classified employee" resolution. Dennis Gordon speaks on behalf of those employees. Photo op. Snap.
     Next: SC prof of the year, etc. Scott Fier, chemistry instructor. How chemistry explores the world around us (and produces meth). Etc. Seems like a nice guy. Nice suit and tie. No meth. Has a funny story. Marcia says something funny. Laughter.
     Now the part-timer, I think. She's got an Eastern European name, and I can't make it out nohow. Tough on students when necessary. Farida Gabdrakhmanova, that's it. Lovely Transylvanian accent.
     SC Emeritus Prof of Year, Melinda Smith, fashion design instructor. Passion for clothing, wearable art. "She's always prepared." Roll call vote (as always). Half the room stood up to indicate they were there to support MS. Loves her students, she says.
Diana Hurlbut
     Next, IVC's professor of the year, Diana Hurlbut. She's funny, unusual, positive influence. Applause. Diana says IVC has always been her favorite among all the colleges she has taught at over the years.
     Mercedes Julian is part-time prof of the year. Highly respected by her colleagues. "I had dark hair when I started to teach at IVC" says the white-haired prof. Laughter. It's an honor, she says.
     Emeritus prof of the year, Annette Hernandez. A professional artist. Encourages students to exhibit, they receive awards. Patient, prepared, stimulating. (Looks like an (attractive) deer in the headlights.) Thanks Dave Anderson for "hiring me." Gracious remarks.
     Model UN team, IVC. Each member introduces self. 2012-3 Model UN took top honors. IVC the most decorated school this year. Competed against 2 and 4 year schools. Zillions of 'em.
     Two advisors. Huge support from IVC campus. Did well in research awards. Great students.
     Student trustee Heather Park. Represented 32,000 students. (For some reason, she's absent.) Roquemore accepts her, um, prize. Suddenly, Heather arrives, breathless, flustered. A Hollywood moment. She's about to break into tears. Photo op. Nice kid.

Public comments:
"We ask that you create the safe haven that you promised."

The Bugster
     Paula Jacobs: Prez of Faculty Association (union). It's part-time faculty appreciation month, according to the CCA (I think). We need to offer competitive salaries, benefits. (Some lonely applause in this big, dumb room.)

     Jason Vespia: former Sgt. Marine Corps, student. You can't imagine the problems vets face going to college after their service, he says. Coming to Saddleback and seeing all the support--never expected all that. So proud and thankful for everyone's efforts. Please listen to the veterans' opinions. Thank you for your time.

     Kyle S: Veteran at SC. Troubling issues. Student Veterans Center is being downsized. We've not been consulted. Students use this space all the time. No room to stand in the office. We've been left out of the planning process for the new center. We've asked to participate. We need more room. This year, we've had two student veterans take their lives. We ask that you create the safe haven that you promised. Thank you.
     Nancy: "we appreciate your bringing that to our attention."

Board reports:
"Attended district-wide forums.
Wish there was better attendance"

Annette Hernandez
     Bill Jay: some of us went to the Foundation event recently. People don't realize the tremendous job the Foundation does. (Annoyingly, when he refers to "the foundation," he seems to be referring to Saddleback College's Foundation.) We've won three national (football?) championships, but we have no stadium. The Foundation is working on that. We'll have a stadium.
     Tim Jemal: was interviewed by the Faculty Association. Appreciated talking to them. Attended IVC Foundation workshop. The IVC Foundation is also very important. With a little effort and focus we can get this foundation to the next level. Attended district-wide forums. Wish there was better attendance. Enjoyed them. Trustees were willing to deal with hard questions.
     Marcia Milchiker: was on Laguna Woods TV, which she likes, she says. Attended the Cali-bug conference (?), sponsored by Blackboard. Free all-day conference. Explained work involved being an online professor. Demonstration of "really good" online courses. Attended IVC British Farce, "Noises Off." "Legally Blonde" (?) at SC. Attended symposium at UCI, literature in Mexico. An interesting and intellectual month for me.
     TJ Prendergast: "Feeling woefully uninvolved; no report." (Groans, laughter)
     Nancy Padberg: attended two board forums. We enjoy them. Would like to have more give and take, participation.
     Jim Wright: Tour of Science/Math building. "It's not in the best of shape." Attended Senior Day for "a half hour." Spoke with Don Bushe. (My eyelids are getting heavier.) Attended a gala, OC School Board. Wants to thank all the outstanding instructors. I know several of them very well, he says. (I think I'm dreaming now.) Enjoyed reading the reports on the veterans.
     Dave Lang: April is always a busy month. Attended forums. Attended lunch for IVC Foundation meeting. Wonderful keynote speaker (unidentified). Congrats to all teachers who have been recognized for their excellence.
Heather Park
     Heather Park: sorry for being "fashionably late." Says her thank-yous, gets all tearful. Amazing experiences, she says, earnestly. I'll truly miss being up here, being a part of this. (Wipes away tears.)

     Chancellor (Gary Poertner's) report: continuing discussion with the board Student Taskforce. #6, professional development. Congrats to Teachers of the Year, and Heather Park. (You've gotta love Gary's minimalism, his refusal to play politics.)

     IVC President Glenn Roquemore: Thanks Heather Park, professors. Yammers about his Greek club. Very proud. On Saturday May 4, we'll have our Jazz picnic. A fundraiser. "The music is always incredible." IVC Bees Garden opened. People got a chance to tour that. Outdoor teaching site for Biology Program.
     SC Prez Todd Burnett: Congrats to all teachers of the year. Good luck to Heather Park. Thanks Dean Nelson and Darryl Cox--job done on veterans report. Fantastic job. Alum of the year: Richard Crawford, who teaches plays for the Washington Redskins. (Uh-oh, football.) Had a special visitor via video: Howie Long, sportscasting legend. Provided a televised welcome. NFL draft: Saddleback College had two top pics. Kyle Long (#20). M. Watson (#42). Fantastic work of SC athletics. This is the time of the year for events. Scholarship ceremony, May 17. Commencement speaker: Dr. Michael Drake, Chance of UCI.
Bugsy, cat
Request for reports? None.

Discussion item: Student Task Force, recommendation 6.
Everyone, not just faculty, will be involved in "professional development."

Farida Gabdrakhmanova
     Kathy Schmeidler, IVC Ac. Senate Prez introduces Kevin O'Connor, Dean of Liberal Arts at SC. Also Roopa Mathur, prof of Business Science/CIM.
     Roopa starts. 6.1, recommendation. Everyone, not just faculty, will be involved in "professional development." 6.2 Will help with blah, blah, blah, basic skills.
     O'Connor: relates his efforts, member of state Chancellor's Committee. Thinking outside the box. Concluded in March. Produced 8 recommendations. (Good Lord, more of 'em!)
     Roopa: reads recs. Gotta promote learning culture etc. Adopt a vision statement. Change name (yeah, that'll do it). Require all colleges to participate for five days of flex. Include all employees, not just faculty. Establish Prof Dev Fund. Establish system-wide advisory comittee. (Not another committee!) Establish strong leadership role for Academic Senate. Establish resource center. Must provide high quality resources.
     What we're doing at the colleges: held joint student success "summits." More summits to come. Some highlights.
Mercedes Julian
     IVC 2 IVC: lecture series by IVC faculty, very successful. Distinguished Academic Lecture Series. Famous social scientist Phillip Zimbardo gave address. How each of us can "become heroes." (Really? Good Lord.) NASA chief historian presentation: "Is that it?" One more: skeptic Michael Shermer: "the believing brain," Thurs., May 9.
     This is mostly Roopa's show. Does a good job.
     O'Connor: the importance of rec 6. Prof devel't is ongoing. It's about every person on a college campus recognizing their role in student success....from a "student success framework." (Is he running for office?Sheesh.) It's important for Prof Dev to have a home and a place. English Dept. at SC has done great work: high school English instructors, SC instructors, together discussed common core standards, skills, curriculum alignment. The read student essays, using rubrics. The recs will go to board of govs next month. Adopted at July meeting. They'll create a legislative packet, presenting it in Nov. Feb 2014: legislation. Perhaps passed, Sept. 2014. Becomes law maybe in January 2015. [I'm doing an excellent job suppressing my cynicism tonight.]

Consent Calendar: pull 5.12. Correction to minutes. Nancy reads Sept 24: funding for "unfunded....liability." Board voted on option 5. Will be entered. Motion, etc. Unanimous.
     Anything else to pull? 5.10 correction (says Deb F). Unanimous vote.
     5.12: they skip this item.

General action items.
Student health fee increase by $1. Unanimous. 
No discussion.

     6.1: Deb F: Student health fee increase by $1. Unanimous. No discussion.
     6.2: district ac. calendar. No comments, questions. Then Wright asks question, wondering about an apparent lack of parallel between semesters. Craig Justice (IVC VPI) emerges, stands at podium. We count finals week (for instruction), he says. So no issue. Nancy: that explains it. Wright: you could have done blah. Craig: that was considered, rejected. Schmeidler: explains preference for approach taken. Counting Mondays. Seems to satisfy Wright. Or no?
     Wright votes "no." All others yes.
. . .
     6.4: One further full-time hire, for speech instructor. Reason: we have a vacancy in forensics program. Important to replace. Approved unanimously.
. . .
     6.6: More board policy review. For review and study. Unanimous.
     6.7: Sabbatical project revision. Change from "book" to "website" (product of sabbatical). Carries unanimously.
. . .
     6.9: Academic personnel actions. Slam, bam, thank-you ma'm.
     6.10: Classified personnel actions. Ditto. Wright asks question about one employee. Carries unanimously.

Other districts do better, moving toward "equal pay for equal work."

     7.2: Wait, we have a speaker. Dr. Susan (Bliss?). Conditions that negatively impact part-time faculty, affect students. According to figures published by state chancellor's office, part-timers teach nearly 74% of classes. (I didn't get the figure exactly; that was the ballpark.) Part-timers paid at much lower pay schedule. Get less than half of full-time pay. Other districts do better, moving toward "equal pay for equal work." Part-timers are hired again and again, for decades. Can be pulled at any time, last minute. Uncertain of reemployment rights. Students should have "full access to their professors," as Prez Burnett recently stated. Of course. In reality, however, students in half of classes have no access--part-timers have no offices, office hours, etc. I've met with students at the library, picnic tables, coffee shop, etc. Many adjuncts cannot meet with students because they dash from college to college. Adjuncts are excluded from decision-making in the departments, schools/divisions. These conditions erode quality of education for our students. Students are the biggest losers. Things must change. We want to increase student success rates. Thank you.

Melinda Smith
     Trustee Prendergast: adjunct position as you desscribe it has been around for a very long time. Will continue to erode? I don't know if I buy that argument. Other districts going to equal pay for equal work? Which ones? Could we see a list? I agree there's a plight. Want to make sure we do it right. (Susan B not allowed to answer, it seems. She attempts to respond, but that doesn't happen.)
     Wright joins the defensive chorus.
     Jemal: I quick quip, then: 73.8% part-time? Wants verification of that figure. In general, there's a recognized need for data. Union Prez Jacobs and Cosgrove make comments. Would love to have clear questions to answer. Will then answer them.
    Cosgrove: speaks to support speaker's complaint: adjuncts don't have keys, etc. Nancy seeks to appease Susan B: will pursue this, look for data.
     [It seems to me that the board was remarkably defensive and testy re the speaker's comment on behalf of part-timers. Not particularly thoughtful, revealing little sympathy. I suspect that we've not heard the last of this.]
     7.3: report on veterans services. Wright "enjoyed" reading report. Very impressive, he says.
     Padberg asks Burnett for response to veteran complaint about space for vet's office. Burnett seems to say he hasn't heard of this. Yes, there are space issues. Long-term solution: wonderful space plan for veterans. I'm surprised to hear that the space has been reduced, he says. It's been increased. I'll ask Dean Nelson to meet with students. Find out what the concerns are. I would hope this process is on the way.
     Jemal: 1,600 veterans? Number mentioned in report. Terrence Nelson comes up. "We use many different figures." So much variance in the data. the gist: available data seems to be hinky. In a given term, 6-700 receiving benefits. Is it possible that the numbers are higher than reflected in this report? Answer: yes.
     7.4: speakers. No comments/questions
     7.5: Fiscal accountability. VC Deb Fitz refers to ed code. District takes responsibility for blah, blah, blah. A slide appears: why be fiscally accountable (a technical notion, it seems, having to do with paying vendors)? Better customer service. Assists smaller vendors. Take full responsibility for issuing non-payroll (vendor) checks. (Good Lord, I have no idea what this means.) Slide: typical check process timeline comparison. Currently takes 8-9 days. Too slow. We need to create implementation plan. Etc. (This is some serious inside-baseball, fiscal-wise.) Shows timeline to do this thing (be "fiscally accountable," new process). "That's all I have." (I think I'm beginning to understand this.)
     Lang: why haven't we pursued this in the past? Asks about any additional costs. Deb: will not create any new staff. Poertner: we haven't had people in our accounting staff interested in doing this. But now we have a person from Coast who used this process. She questioned why we don't do this (getting "fiscal accountability" designation). Prendergast: wouldn't staff person get pay upgrade? Nope. We'd hire an audit firm. Work with accounting staff. Right thing to do (so vendors don't have to wait so long). Some of us think we've "stepped back in time a little bit" joining the district, using old system. Gotta get up to speed.
     Jemal: would eliminate occd audit (?). More inside baseball for bean counters. Another gal comes up and explains that they already do much of this stuff. Jemal: improved timeliness, cost efficiency? Guess so. These gals are all over this stuff. Nuff said. Fitz: we cannot take advantage of vendor discounts under current system. Fitz seems to mean business. Lang: have districts that have used this system run into problems with fraud, etc.? Fitz: not that I'm aware of. Marcia: OC Board of Ed, do they support this change? Yes they do. (This seems to generate mirth.) Only Rancho Santiago is not on board with this in the county. (And us.)
     Nancy: sounds like a great plan. We'll support you. "Not an action item." Will be brought back.
. . .
     Nancy goes through all the reports on the agenda: generally, no comments.

Item 8: reports from governance groups
We would love to engage in a conversation with you about part-timers and their working conditions.

     Bob Cosgrove (Ac Sen, SC): Ac Sen election results. Praises faculties at both colleges. Was there for opening of Bee Garden. "Talked to the queen." (Laughter.) During your trustees forum, we had a forum. Ian Walton (he of the exotic accent) and another speaker came. Communications between deans and faculties. Last Wednesday. Workshops, etc. Will pull together themes, pass on to deans. Important for student success.  Effects students. Golly, Bob sure does go on tonight.
     Paula Jacobs: would love to engage in a conversation with you about part-timers and their working conditions. Very appreciative that we will have permanent facility for FA. Former "faculty club," quips Bob.
     Kathy Schmeidler: Congrats to faculty of the year. "I recommend all of us to you." Kathy Werle will be sorely missed. Kathy S and Urell reelected. We accomplished a great deal this year.
     Peebles: no report
     VC Tech: blah, blah, blah. Bob B. "keynoted" somewhere. Keynoted?
     VC HR: he will "keynote" something tomorrow. Some kinda joke. Laughter. Discussed "transparency" of HR.
     VC BS: May's meeting will be "jam packed."
     IVC Classified Employees senate: Gordo makes Kathy Werle stand up. Applause. Vince Cooper will be new Prez. "It's been fun."
     That was about it.

     Re part-timer complaint: see What the speaker said was true (subsequent board meeting).


Anonymous said...

Someone tell Jemal they would be better attendance at IVC if they would not schedule forums during prime teaching times.

Anonymous said...

What, the health fee goes up one dollar and students aren't up in arms protesting all day?

Why aren't they running to the media, claiming they'll have to either forgo an important textbook purchase or go without meals for a semester or just drop out entirely?

How come Gustavo ain't all over this?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your report. As a PT faculty member at IVC, I can tell you that the conditions that I teach in and the level of pay and lack of benefits (like no health care) while teaching 3 classes of 45 students unfortunately effects my life and how much energy I can invest in teaching. I just wish the administration would open up their eyes and care about the quality of life for their community members. Yeah, and I'd like to go to meetings too but I am always teaching.

Quiet night

And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand Well, ...