Friday, February 15, 2013

On the moon

Rebel Girl
Rebel Girl
IVC on the moon
...All to the tune of Where is My Mind?
In a taxi, Berlin, 2011
A friend posted this. Funny.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Laser Road? Not so much!

     At today's meeting of the IVC Academic Senate, members of the Rep Council, of which I am one, were informed that, at a recent meeting of the College Deacons (or whatever it's called), a vote was taken concerning the name of the soon-to-be-constructed south (Barranca) entrance of the college.
     And thus it was, we were informed, that the college settled on "Laser" Road.
     "But wait a minute," I said. A few years ago, unhappiness with the IVC mascot—the goddam Laser—led to the formation of a committee charged with finding a replacement nickname/mascot. Besides, I said, the college used to own a laser, about which it used to make a big freakin' deal, but we sold the dang thing years ago. So our college is vehemently post-Laser.
     That "new mascot" committee seemed to fade away, but the problem—our laser mascotry—remains. Naming the new entrance "Laser Road" will, I said, cement the college's misbegotten laserhood.
     Kathy S, the Academic Senate Prez, agreed that this road naming move, if it stands, will yield laser permanence. Kathy then said she made precisely my point (about our efforts to de-laser) at the Deacons meeting. But, she reported, IVC's Director of Marketing—aka Glenn Roquemore's flack, Diane O—declared that the mascot change committee is dissolved and there's no chance we're gonna change our mascot.
     I said something like, "Um, who is Diane O to make that decision?" Pretty soon, several other members of the Rep Council piled on. David, our Recorder, normally a mute presence, made some dry remarks about the difficulty finding a suitable mascot for "a beam of coherent light." Just what would that be? he asked.
     Meanwhile, Steve noted that many among us are embarrassed by the Laser. The "word on the street," he said, is strictly negatory, laser-wise.
Beam of coherent light
     I do believe I made a brief pitch for the IVC chipmunks. Or maybe it was the "bobcats."
     Somebody said, I think, that the Laser is plainly a stupid mascot. Then Steve muttered about a conspiracy to maintain the "laser" name/mascot that seems to stem from a dark place, a place of power. Some people nodded gravely. Nobody laughed. I laughed darkly to myself.
     Eventually, Kathy suggested that we place this matter on the agenda for the next senate meeting. Meanwhile, she would advise the powers (and flacks) that be that this anti-Laser move is afoot.
     She seemed pleased.
     I know I was.
     "Dissent the Road." Yeah, that's the ticket. Imagine!
The IVC Duck-Rabbits!
Lasers, lasers,
Fast, I reckon!
Hundred an' 86 
thou per second!

Lasers, lasers,
Industrial cuts!
The sun shines brightly
Out of our butts!
Yay Lasers!
Or the Chipmunks

Impressive laser show
     From Red Emma’s CALLING ALL HEROES!, Dissent the Blog, October 16, 2005
Lasers, lasers, we’re all right!
We’re a coherent beam of light!

Got no football, got no team!
We’re a bright red laser beam!

Pass that photon! Stimulate emission!
We’re on another PR mission! 
The Irvine Valley College Fabulous Victorian Babes
Vision correction! Muscle repair!
Remove unsightly body hair!

We’re the district that hates the Spanish!
Our mascot makes glaucoma vanish!

Who’s the district that had the Denier?
And a Chancellor who’s still a liar?
The IVC light sabers

Lasers, lasers.
Go laaaaaaaaaasers!

Dave Lang sometimes voted fairness!
Now he votes to keep his Chairness!

Fool, this ain’t no low-enrolled school!
It’s an expensive hi-tech tool!

Put on your goggles, cover your cornea!
We was number one in California!

You think right now your eyes are burning?
Wait till we use Distance Learning!

BLIND YOU!  [My personal fave. —RB]

Attack the Senate and governance shared!
Keep the faculty stupid and scared!

2, 4, 6, 8!
WASC will not accreditate!
Irvine! Irvine! Irvine!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No, she didn't get $35,000. And, yes, IVC faculty are informed that "they" hate the color red

     TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTY-FIVE. I have a heretofore reliable IVC source who told me something, not long ago, about a certain bumptious instructor, who has been, among other things, the chief organizer of IVC's sculpture "invitationals." According to the source, that instructor received $35,000 for her efforts regarding the latter, and so I reported precisely that. (Well, I reported the conversation in which that info was provided.)
     Since that time, however, I've not been able to find any documentation of that expense. This (see graphic below) is all that I've been able to find concerning pay re the "invitationals" by searching the district's BOT meeting agenda archive:

     Well, $2k is a far cry from $35k. So we hereby retract our earlier assertion and apologize for our error.
     In the course of seeking info about expenses re IVC's "Biennial Outdoor Sculpture Invitational" (BOSI), I did come across various expenses that appear to be part of the effort to solicit submissions by sculptors:

     —I guess $1,000 for an ad in a magazine is normal. Is that right?

     SEEING RED. A group of biology faculty have been meeting with the district/college team that is responsible for construction of the new Life Sciences Building, which is materializing on the south end of the campus.
     As you know, recently, faculty were told that the red accents inside the building had to be removed and replaced (with black, evidently) owing to the fact that, well, red is Saddleback College's color. IVC's color is blue.
     Everybody knows that. (So why is the PAC red again?)
     Bio faculty met again today with the usual district/college suspects, and they pressed for the rationale for prohibiting red in the new building. Once again, reference was made to Saddleback College's ownership of red. But they were also told that "every other user group" on campus has (in the past, I suppose) objected to the color red. (?)
     I was not aware of this.
     This bio crew is the only one who actually likes the color, Bio faculty were told.
     And so, today, Bio faculty were informed that, since "faculty" have expressed their wishes re color—they dislike red—that color must not be permitted in the new Life Sciences Building.
     —Yeah, but what if the actual occupants of the Life Sciences Building—namely, the Bio faculty—like red? What difference does it make that other faculty don't like it?
     Doesn't matter. Faculty have expressed their desire. End of story.
     When the Bio people pressed the matter further, they were told (by a certain head of Facilities): you don't want the President to get another black eye, do you?
     Another black eye? What was the first one for? And who gave it to 'im? The faculty I spoke to today didn't seem to know.
     Evidently, since the meeting, there's been some speculation about that. Remember the generous amounts of red once featured inside the Administration Building—i.e., A100, Glenn's personal Etch-a-Sketch? He changes it every couple years or so. Right now, it's a big empty space surrounded by offices. Crazy, man.
     I'm told that, at some point, Glenn had workers color the floor red. Some say he got grief for that. Is that true? Dunno.
     Sounds like a likely IVC story, though. It's pretty f*cked up.

The big empty. Formerly red?
Yep, red.

Seeing Red

Elevator in BSTIC

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Local Officials Join Activists in Caution Over San Onofre (Voice of OC)
     At a packed public meeting Tuesday, officials joined environmental activists in calling for a trial-like hearing before the idled San Onofre nuclear plant is allowed to restart….

Dorner manhunt: Confusion over whether body was found (LA Times)

IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: Clip, pin or magnet backing? Let's spend money on name badges!

An air of professionalism
     Is there no end to the cleverness that can be found here at Irvine Valley College? Apparently not!
     Since the fall semester, the campus community has been fretting over a projected deficit, owing to rising costs and flat revenue. For months, we’ve been scratching our noggins and performing painful Vulcan mind melds to find ways to raise moola and lower costs.
     And so, naturally, in the middle of all that, our colleagues over in Business and Fine Arts—an already storied bastion of professionalism and joie de vivre (hehe)—were sent the following fabulous one-time offer:
A certain élan
     We have an opportunity to order name badges for the Faculty and staff in Business Sciences, Fine Arts and CTE. You may find these a convenient way to introduce yourself and IVC to other attendees at conferences, meetings, networking functions, exhibits and other events. There is a certain élan with a name badge, providing instant introduction with an air of professionalism.
Instant Introduction
     The design will be something along these lines:
First Name
Full Name
     If you are interested in ordering a name badge, please let me know by this Friday, February 8th…. And note the quantity of badges you would like and your preference for clip, pin or magnet backing.
BREAKING! Suspect Believed in Burning Cabin Navel Gazing
     Christopher Dorner is dead, it seems

Take the A.P., But Do Not Pass Go

The credit granted—or not granted—for  high school Advanced Placement scores has appeared on the meeting agendas of nearly every college governance group and committee on which Rebel Girl has served during the last twenty years, with the exception of the Commencement Speaker Task Force (but don't get her started on that one or she might suggest an exam would be an appropriate selection tool).

Recently, proposals have arisen once again regarding just how much credit should be given for certain scores on the A.P. exam. These proposals suggest more is better than less and advocate adjusting our current policies to be more generous with units and course credits granted. The idea is that the AP exams save deserving students tuition as well as time and quickly moves them through their high school education.

This topic reminded Rebel Girl of recent articles she has read which suggest that the nationwide trend is different and so, she offers one here:

Dartmouth Stops Credits for Excelling on A.P. Test

" Concerned that Advanced Placement courses are not as rigorous as college courses, Dartmouth has announced that it will no longer give college credits for good A.P. scores, starting with the class of 2018.
Elite institutions like Dartmouth have long discussed how to handle the growing number of freshmen seeking credit for top scores on A.P. or International Baccalaureate exams. Dartmouth changed its policy after an experiment measuring whether top A.P. scores indicated college-level competence.
“The psychology department got more and more suspicious about how good an indicator a 5 on the A.P. psych exam was for academic success,” said Hakan Tell, a classics professor who heads Dartmouth’s Committee on Instruction, so the department decided to give a condensed version of the Psych 1 final to incoming students instead of giving them credits.
Of more than 100 students who had scored a 5 on the A.P. exam, 90 percent failed the Dartmouth test. The other 10 percent were given Dartmouth credit.
A follow-up effort produced even worse results, Professor Tell said. “We looked at the students who failed our on-campus exam but decided to enroll in Psych 1, to see whether they did any better than students who had never taken the Advanced Placement class, and we couldn’t detect any difference whatsoever,” he said."
This echoes a study from a few years back, published in Inside Higher Ed and elsewhere:

from Advanced Yes, Placement No:
According to research presented Friday in St. Louis at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: AP courses -- whatever their merits -- may be poor substitutes for college courses in the sciences.
The study looked at 18,000 students in introductory biology, chemistry and physics courses in college. The students were at 63 randomly selected four-year colleges and universities and their performance in the courses was correlated to various factors. The researchers found that students who had taken AP courses -- even those who had done well on the AP exams -- did only marginally better than students who had not taken AP courses. Other factors, such as the rigor of mathematics taken in high school, were found to have a strong impact on whether students did well in college-level work in the sciences.
"Our survey, the largest ever of its type, suggests that AP courses do not contribute substantially to student success in college," said Philip M. Sadler, director of science education at the Harvard University-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a senior lecturer in astronomy at Harvard. "Even a score of 5 on an AP test is no guarantee of a college grade of A in the same subject," he said...
...But while AP may function well as enriched content, it doesn't equal college-level work, Sadler said, and shouldn't be promoted as such. If the College Board wants to promote the AP curriculum as a way to allow students to receive credit for some college courses, Sadler saw two options: Make the tests significantly more difficult, or create new scores of 6 or 7, above the current top score, and let only the absolutely top performers with such scores earn college credit. Either way, he said, his research suggests that the vast majority of those now achieving scores indicating that they have done college-level work shouldn't be receiving such scores.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Accreditation process angers students

     HIT ACCRED SNAFU. Today, I noticed this article in last week’s edition of the Lariat.
     Nope, it’s not an article about clueless students loutishly complaining about the college’s ongoing efforts to comply with the Accreds' latest draconian and perverse stipulatitudes. It is, rather, an article about students signing up for Saddleback College's Health Information Technology (HIT) Program based on the college’s promise to get the program accredited (by the AHI-MA) asap—and then finding, at the end of their two years, that the accreditation didn’t happen and, as a consequence, they can’t take the all-important Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam to become, um, HI technicians, I guess.
     It sounds like it isn’t the college’s fault.
     Check it out.
     PUNK'CHEW'ATION. An editorial about gun control graces the top of page 2 of last week’s print edition. Online, the editorial is sensibly entitled The issue with gun control. For some reason, in the print edition, the same editorial is entitled:
Gun control is it Effective or not?
     Where's the colon? I think these kids think that punctuation is optional. Some of my students eschew periods. Some don't capitalize the first word in a sentence. Lots of 'em are into comma splices, run-ons, and sentence fragments. (I love writing, in red: "In college, you are expected to punctuate and to write complete sentences." That always makes me smile.)
     Well, if that title isn’t enough to puke a dog off of a gut wagon, then the editorial’s last paragraph is:
     Although the [Obama] proposed ban on military-style assault weapons and magazines that hold 10 rounds or more is unreasonable and ineffective, the 23 executive actions that President Obama signed on Jan. 26th are well-researched and provide real solutions in prosecuting and preventing gun crimes.
     I guess somebody told this kid that you’ve got to end your essay with one of those formula theses that embraces Pro “yet” grabs a big chunk of Con, too, like: “although I’m a Nazi, I really love my Jewish friends”—that sort of thing.
     As my old pop would say, upon reading this kind of editorial, "I don't know whether to shit or go blind."
Duck Rabbit
     QUACK QUACK. Allow me to make my peevishness complete. Also in last week’s edition: a Lariat staff writer offers a piece entitled, “The benefits of eating your veggies,” which sports such sentences as: “Organic foods are defined as foods that are produced using methods of organic farming….”
     Since the Lariat is, after all, a college newspaper, I feel compelled to point out that the self-help guru that the Lariat writer promotes and celebrates—Kris Carr—is, in fact, a loon caught in a highly remunerative and enduring Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc moment: I was dying of cancer, and then I ate my veggies and embraced positivity, and now I live; therefore veggies and positivity cure cancer. QED.
     But, as Lisa Roney has noted,
[Carr’s] focus is all on nutrition, yoga, support groups, and can-do attitude. However, H.E.A.R.D., a support group for this and other vascular cancers, notes on its webpage that, due to the variable rate of tumor growth in [her] cancer, “Some cases are totally asymptomatic (no adverse symptoms) for more than 15 or 20 years”....
     I'm all in favor of vegetarianism. I've been some kind of vegetarian (mostly) for more than 30 years. But quackery is quackery.
Feb 11 updates on Christopher Jordan Dorner manhunt
  • $1 million for info! And that’s just from the LAPD!
  • An independent review of Dorner’s dismissal under way
  • More than 700 tips since Sunday
  • Riverside County DA will seek the death penalty
  • Nope, Dorner not at Lowe’s
  • Nope, Dorner not in Big Bear
  • Nope, Dorner not under your bed

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary