COUNSELORS DESPERATE TO KEEP "FACULTY" DESIGNATION!
NOT MUCH ROOM FOR BOOKS AT THIS COLLEGE!
CONTINUED ROQUEMORIAN RACK & RUIN!
SCENE: BUILDING A200, SOUTHEAST CORNER:
|IVC's new mascot: Mr. Moldy|
“You’ll be getting an email soon explaining that Building A200 has been inspected and they’ve found some more mold. They found mold in this office (she points to the office next to mine, which houses a couple of Spanish instructors, who are present). You two will have the option of moving out temporarily to another office while the problem is addressed.”
And so on it went. We were a little puzzled. For instance, why would they find mold there and not right next door, in our office, where actual pools of water used to form in the corner during storms?
After a few minutes I interrupted her and asked, “Did they hire a blind man to do the inspecting?”
Miss Zendy (she of the Anthro digs) was there, exuding dubiety. I exuded amusement. We were all exuding something. The building, of course, exuded spores.
One denizen of the moldy office got caught up in the practical question of whether to move out of her office. Her pronouncements seemed to take most of the oxygen out of the hallway.
I changed the subject: “So why exactly should we trust these inspections? They realize—don’t they?—that, at this point, their assurances mean nothing to any of us?”
|A200's last mold episode was pretty serious, back in 2005. Actual mold (but on pie).|
Update (8:33 p.m.):
“Miss Zendy,” who is running for office (73rd Assembly District), has gone even more public about the A200 mold fiasco. Her Facebook page now sports the following remark:
Black Mold at IVC update: After some insistent, pointed emails and personal contacts, the entire A200 building was tested for mold contamination. Apparently, when one classroom, A205, tested positive for black mold contamination, we were informed that the entire building was tested and it was only one classroom that tested positive for black mold contamination.That did not turn out to be the case. Once the issue was pressed and the entire building was actually tested, another classroom tested positive for black mold and a faculty office tested positive as well. We were informed that it is a "tiny little bit" of black mold. There will probably be more classrooms and faculty offices closed as the testing continues.A "tiny little bit" of black mold is kind of like "one termite."[Naturally,] We have not received any communication from the administration other than classrooms are closed, faculty offices are closed. My request for Union intervention was met with "file a workers comp complaint". Nobody is addressing the larger issue: What about our students? What about students who do not have health insurance and cannot file workers comp complaints? My students are my daughter[s].
IVC Administration dithers and blunders as always. There's been no communication with anybody (aside from the informal hallway announcement mentioned above, which was much appreciated by all).
Earlier today, I did notice that another classroom has been closed. Still, we hear nothing.
Earlier today, I did notice that another classroom has been closed. Still, we hear nothing.
COUNSELORS' DEATH GRIP ON WOMEN'S STUDIES. Lately, there’s been a bit of noise in the hallway concerning IVC’s so-called “Women’s Studies” (WS) program. I decided to do a little digging about the status quo at IVC.
Years ago, nobody really wanted WS, and so it was pretty much orphaned and WS half-assery was the predictable result. We in the School of Humanities and Languages had an interest in WS (see footnote at end), but we knew that that sort of program needs a strong champion, and nobody in our school (until recently) was prepared to sustain a fight.
Back to now. The first thing I noticed about WS at IVC is that the program is housed in the School of Guidance and Counseling.
Guidance and Counseling? Who would suppose that counselors are qualified to teach a subject like Women’s Studies? “Academic Planning,” “Stress Management,” “Introduction to Assertion”—sure, I get why they teach those things. Counselors are no doubt really good explaining to students how to get to their classes on time. (“Be sure to purchase a reliable watch. Secure it firmly to your wrist.”) But WS involves history, literature, philosophy; it demands argumentation and criticism. What do counselors know about any of that?
Nothin', near as I can tell.
The college website explains that “The [current WS] curriculum includes courses designed to provide students with assistance and support as they examine career choices and goals. Students investigate feminist theory and consider alternatives for men and women in our culture.”
As an academic, when I think of WS, I think of all manner of theorizing and reflection against the backdrop of history and the usual intellectual concerns: what are “gender” roles/norms and how do they come about? Is it possible to critique them? What has been the fate of women in our history? What does history teach us?
|The counselors' contribution to the college community is subtle|
But the above verbiage seems to emphasize, not criticism and theorizing but, rather, the peculiarly practical: career choice and the consideration of “alternatives,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.
What do the counselors have in mind by “alternatives for men and women”? They wouldn’t be so utterly benighted—would they?—to be referring specifically to, oh, gay and lesbian lifestyles?
In any case, given the vague verbiage, how are we supposed to tell?
In IVC’s course catalog, WS courses are explained thus: “Students investigate feminist theory and consider alternatives for men and women in our culture.”
There they go with “alternatives” again. What on earth are they talking about?
“Upon completion of the women’s studies program,” we’re told, “students will be able to … identify connections between specific people, groups, events and ideas and larger sociological, psychological, historical and gender studies specific themes, developments and topics.”
Huh? Identify “connections” between “people, groups, events and ideas” and “larger … gender studies specific themes, developments and topics”?
That's gibberish. Words and phrases pulled from ass and splattered upon page.
The college website announces that Guidance and Counseling offers three WS courses:
• Women's Studies 10: INTRODUCTION TO WOMEN'S STUDIESNaturally, the links don’t work.
• Women's Studies 100: AWARENESS OF THE FEMALE EXPERIENCE
• Women's Studies 120: WOMEN/CAREERS AND LIFESTYLE
The current IVC Course Catalog does describe a WS 10 that is indeed entitled “Intro to Women’s Studies”:
This course … reviews the history of the women’s movement and examines the development of women’s power and autonomy through the prism of feminist theory and practice. The course examines the role of gender in a range of societal contexts and issues, including sexuality, relationships, work, health, religion, and violence against women….(Those pesky counselors: writing isn’t their strong suit, it seems.)
I can find no WS 100 in the course catalog. (Which “experiences” did that course highlight? One wonders. I cringe.)
I did find a modified (or alternatively titled) WS 120:
WS 120 - Women and WorkAs a kindness, I will refrain from making the obvious points about the thinking and writing displayed above.
. . .
Do you choose your work or does it choose you? This course briefly explores the history of work. It will focus on gender issues as they influence work choices students may make. It explores workplace social elements of work [sic] such as sexual harassment and leadership. Women balancing work and family will also be explored….
I found a course in the catalog not mentioned by Guidance and Counseling’s list of courses:
WS 20 - Women in Contemporary SocietyThat last sentence is a doozy. It makes two assertions:
. . .
This course explores the experiences of women and the perspectives women have on their lives. It focuses on how gender is constructed, how people learn to become women and men and how major social institutions (i.e., work, school, and the family) can reinforce gender roles. It then examines how women and social movement groups have sought to change gender relationships in the United States. The course emphasizes the importance of personal reflection and encourages students to link personal experiences to broader trends in gender experiences….
• The course emphasizes the importance of personal reflectionThe first assertion is awfully vague. The second assertion borders on the unintelligible. What is it to “link” one’s experiences with “trends” in “gender experience”? --Linking experiences: a fun new game for the whole family! And just about anything can count as a "link"! Zany! Wacky!
• The course … encourages students to link personal experience to broader trends in gender experience
I guess they’re not into writing (or, anyway, good writing) over in Guidance and Counseling.
They sure are into squawking, though.
Recently, a member of the Humanities and Languages (with the backing of her department and School)—a terrific new hire—asked to meet with G&C; at the meeting, she dared suggest the possibility of locating the WS program in the Humanities—an academic area often associated with WS, gender studies, and the like. (The Social Sciences also commonly house such programs.) This could be done, she said, in a manner that preserves existing G&C WS courses.
|The "links" don't work, natch|
To her astonishment, she was met with manifestly specious arguments and utter hostility. So unreasonable were the G&C crew, that she's decided to drop the subject at least until she's tenured.
What's the hostility all about? I'm told that the counselors are afraid that they’ll soon be recategorized as non-instructional. (There are such moves afoot statewide, evidently.) And so, one might speculate, G&C is desperately hanging on to anything remotely academic that they presently “own.”
Even if they are utterly sans clue.
And, judging by the above, they are.
Luckily, the college has a program realignment policy, developed by the Academic Senate after the "Art History" debacle about ten years ago.
Eventually, we'll turn to that process. Let that decide.
[Counselors, please do respond in your new sub-collegiate manner. Bring it on.]
* * *
|Nearly a quarter century ago, depictions of the upcoming and much-needed|
"Humanities Building" hung on IVC walls.
But here we are in 2013. Naturally, Roquemore and his crew have made big noises to the effect that the faculty (who will occupy the building) have been regularly consulted during the entire process!
If so, such consultation has been a pretty unhappy experience, at least thus far. We've reported this previously.
Here’s the latest. Turns out that our new offices will require furnishing that does not comprise regular desks--or bookshelves of any significance. Nope. There won’t be much room for books, it seems. CORRECTION: a very reliable source informs me that no decision about these furnishings has yet been made.
|Coming soon: the new-and-improved A400|
|A400: 2nd floor|
|Faculty offices (detail)|
|Detail of single office: chairs and "desks" [proposed]|
Rooms: about 11' X 12' (almost 12 X 12)
Bookcases: 30" X 72" (i.e., 2 1/2 feet by 6 feet)