Saturday, August 24, 2013

Making sense of the RG Group's curious report


"We believe it is the failure of the field [of educational research] to develop … a [scientific culture] and to forge consensus on such matters as research quality and coordination of perspectives that has contributed to an environment in which members of Congress are compelled to impose them."
1  Not as advertised
     I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s post, which examined—and ridiculed—a recent report, by the RP Group, entitled What students say they need to succeed – Key themes from a study of student support.
     Evidently, it is being passed around as an important tool (data!) within the CC system for improving student success (completion, persistence, etc.).
     Much verbiage in and about the report, including its title, implies that it reveals, in particular, “what students say they need”—that it’s essentially a survey of student opinion.

     (Naturally, one wonders why we would focus on student opinion about their needs. It isn't obvious that they are the best judges of that. This focus seems to suggest that the road to success for the CCs is "giving students what they want." If that's the road we're on, we're in big trouble.)

     One might suppose, therefore, that the RP people found some students and tried to derive from them their views about what helps them (or what would help them) succeed in completing their studies in college.
     But that’s not quite what happened in this study. The students weren’t provided a blank slate and asked to fill it. No, they were given six success factors—“directed,” “focused,” “nurtured,” “engaged,” “connected,” and “valued” (DFNEC&V for short)—and were asked essentially to rank these six (or otherwise opine about them) as “contributors” to “achievement.”
     These “factors” were evidently gleaned from a “review” of the relevant research literature, such as it is.*
     And so this “study” is more theory-laden than one might at first think. It’s not quite the survey of student opinion that it is advertised to be. (Is that a good thing? Not necessarily.)

Those odd bromidular emissions
2 What causes what?
     Today, I made a brief effort to understand this theory, but that only puzzled me further. As we’ve seen, the RP Group seems to say that research reveals DFNEC&V to cause success. But in a shaded section of the report entitled “Defining the “Six Success Factors” (page 6), we’re told that
     A growing body of evidence indicates that strategic supports … can increase students’ abilities to achieve completion and transfer. … The RPGroup’s review of leading studies on student support found that effective support … helps students become [directed, focused, nurtured, engaged, connected, & valued].
     Did you get that last part? “Effective support…helps students become” directed, focused, etc. That is, “effective support” yields (causes) students achieving the six “success factors.”
     (Or perhaps they mean to say that effective support is support that makes students DFNEC&V. Is that what they mean? If so, then they're saying that DFNEC&V causes success.)
     But aren’t these “factors” supposed to cause success? But, here, they are effects, not causes.
     So maybe it’s like this: the “Effective support” brings about DFNEC&V, and DFNEC&V brings about success. Sheesh, I dunno. I’m lost.
Minority report
     Elsewhere, the RP Group, discussing the “research,” assert that it “demonstrates that students are more likely to succeed when they are directed, focused, nurtured, engaged, connected and valued.” The causal claim being made here seems to be: let’s make sure that students are “directed” (etc.) because that will help them become successful. That is, “the factors” cause the success.
     So now I’m confused. Are we supposed to embrace the aforementioned “effective support” in order to have students that are DFNEC&V? Or are we supposed to bring about DFNEC&V in order to cause student success? Is it both?
      Evidently, the “effective support” is something other than (because it causes) DFNEC&V. Just what is it then?
     *And, again, one big question here is: what is the quality of this research regarding "effective support"? (See Re the quality of research in education.) Studies, I suppose. Did these studies involve large or small numbers of students? Were results replicated? Inquiring minds want to know.
     As you may know, in recent years, the issue of study/research quality (low quality and fraud) has roiled the scientific (let alone the education/pseudoscientific) community.
     SEE False positives: fraud and misconduct are threatening scientific research (Guardian UK) and Negative results are disappearing from most disciplines and countries (Scientometrics) and Scientific fraud is rife: it's time to stand up for good science (Guardian UK)

SEE ALSO EdDreck: the so-called experts

Friday, August 23, 2013

The odd bromidular emissions of community college “experts”

From "What students say they need."
 "We accept the diagnosis that a self-regulating professional community does not exist in education."


     I love my cat Teddy, but sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job taking care of the boy. What are his needs? Am I satisfying them?
     I decided to get scientific and just ask him what he needs. I mean, science is about cutting to the chase, isn’t it? And who would know better about Teddy’s needs than the Tedster himself?
     That's logic!
     So I went right up to Teddy and asked, “What do you need, Teddy?”
     Naturally, he said nothing. That’s ‘cause he doesn’t speak my lingo. Adjustments were in order.
     To make a long story short, I started to listen to what Teddy was telling me in cat, and it’s clear—from his consistent felocutions—that he is plainly of the opinion that he needs constant food and play and brushing.
     If you want his opinion, anyway, those are the things he needs.
     Hence, those are the things he needs. Now, I'm feeding him all the time, playing with him all the time, and brushing him all the time. Sheesh.

Teddy
     THE LOGICAL LEAP. I know what you’re thinking. “Hey,” you’re thinking, “that’s not scientific or logical! You’re assuming that Teddy knows what he needs, or at least that his opinion about what he needs is relevant to a determination of what he actually needs! How can you justify the logical leap from ‘he wants X’ to ‘he needs X’?”

     BEHOLD THE EXPERTS. Well, gosh, I think I’ve got an answer for you. Essentially, it's an appeal to The Experts. The community college Experts. And such fine Experts they are.
     As you know, officials and hired experts in the state community college system are paragons of scientific competence and integrity. It's well known. I mean, they’re all about data and evidence, man. Don’t you doubt it, cuz they throw those words around constantly.
     So if they do something, it's ipso facto scientific.
     And, as it turns out, the Experts just did a study that’s a lot like mine! The name of the study report is: What students say they need to succeed – Key themes from a study of student support.
     Let’s call it the “STN” study (for “say they need”). Check it out! It's official!

It can't be stopped. Resistance is futile.
     WE'RE JUST SAYIN'. At first, the title mystified me. Why should we care what students say they need? We want to know what they need, right? Why assume that the students know what they need? Prima facie, it would seem more reasonable to assume that they don't.
     On the other hand, the second part of the title emphasizes, not what students say they need, but what students need. It is, after all, “a study of student support” not a study of “what students think or say they need for support.”
     It's a report motif: switching from "what students need" to "what students tell us they need" and back again. Plus a persistent delightful obliviousness to this phenomenon as any sort of problem!

     THE EXPERTS EXPLAIN. Here’s how the RP Group—the clever bastards who conducted the study—explain their study:
…[W]e gathered students’ feedback on what generally supports their educational progress as well as their perspectives on the relevance and importance of “six success factors” to their achievement. We derived these success factors based on a review of existing research on effective support practices and interviews with practitioners and researchers.
     Here’s what I get out of this particular cluster of words:
• They zeroed in on some students, 900 of 'em.
• They got the students’ feedback on what “supports their educational progress.”
• They also got the students’ “perspectives” (their ranking, I guess) on the importance of each of the “six success factors.”*
     Just what are these "factors"? And where did they come from?
     Answer:
• They consulted the available research on “effective support practices.” [Gosh, I wonder if they asked themselves about the quality of this research? (See Re the quality of research in education.) Is that an uncivil question? I bet it is.]
• They interviewed the researchers and “practitioners” (teachers?).
     But wait! Presumably, the STN study seeks to identify ways to give students what they need. Or do the RP folks really care, not about that, but about what students “think” or “say” that they need?
     Gosh, that would be odd.
     But since these success “factors” are supposedly research- and practioner-based, and since RP didn’t ask the students whether these six factors are true factors (they only asked them to rank them, I guess; the factors as genuine factors were a given), it appears that this whole study presupposes a big chunk of [alleged] knowledge of what supports success and what doesn’t.
     So this isn’t a study to find out what students need after all. We already know that, evidently (namely, the six “factors”). It’s a study to find out what students think of these allegedly proven factors—i.e., how they rank them!
     But of course!
     Gosh, "science" sure can be deep. And puzzling. (Or maybe just fucked up.)
     So, already, I see that I made a mistake in my own study re Teddy. I shouldn’t fret about the link between what Teddy thinks he needs and what he in fact needs. Gosh, no—plus I already know what Teddy needs just by hanging around. I should just consult my inner genius whilst engaging in pseudo-research, sitting in my armchair, recalling buzzwords.
     The only thing to do now is to determine Teddy’s opinion of my list of Teddy’s needs. Yep.
     SUCCESS FACTORS. Let’s return to STN. Just what are these “success factors” that have been gleaned from research? Here’s the list ranked by the students:
Directed: students have a goal and know how to achieve it
Focused: students stay on track—keeping their eyes on the prize
Nurtured: students feel somebody wants and helps them to succeed
Engaged: students actively participate in class and extracurricular activities
Connected: students feel like they are part of the college community
Valued: students’ skills, talents, abilities and experiences are recognized; they have opportunities to contribute on campus and feel their contributions are appreciated
From RP Group's website:
the wheel of need
     (When I first encountered this list—presented with hoopla during a Flex session about a week ago—I thought the speaker was kidding. But no! My manifest incredulity notwithstanding, everybody nodded and stared. Seemingly awestruck, they beheld these curious profundities, strewn across a whiteboard in the dark. "Guess so," I thought.
     (Still, I was puzzled. "How," I asked myself, "can 'directed' by a factor? I guess they mean to say that a student's being directed contributes to success. Oh. They found that to be true whilst doing empirical research, did they?")
     So I gather that, based on research and practitioner advice, we know that, to help students, we need to make sure they’re directed, focused, nurtured, engaged, connected, and valued. (It’s a good thing I’m a trusting soul; I don’t doubt the high quality of research that yielded this list of “factors.” Only a lout would raise questions of quality!)
     (And isn’t it amazing how closely this list resembles the list certain people might pull out of their asses, sitting and thinking in their armchairs?)
     So here’s the news bulletin: our students ranked these research-identified factors. Yes! They put “directed” on top and “valued” on the bottom. Wow. Thank you, RP Group. A good day's work!

     ACHIEVING SUCCESS FACTORS AT SCALE. Let’s return to the RP Group’s account of their study:
… During this literature review [their survey of relevant research, I guess], we paid particular attention to the outcomes different strategies and approaches intend to accomplish with students. By exploring what outcomes these practices aim to achieve—rather than simply documenting how structures like learning communities or student success courses are delivered—we intend to begin shifting the conversation away from how to replicate entire programs to how to feasibly achieve these student success factors at scale.
     Here’s what I get out of this:
• Whilst surveying the research, we focused on the intention (goal) per strategy.
• By focusing on these intentions/goals, we intend to shift (completion efforts) in the direction of “how to feasibly achieve” the “success factors at scale.”
     I wonder what these RP folks mean by “strategies”? These darned researchers tend to be abstruse.
     Well, in context, it appears that “strategies” refers to “effective support practices”—those (allegedly) identified as effective by research, I guess.
     So, again, we see that this study presupposes knowledge of what works and what does not work in fostering student success. There are those “success factors,” plus there are the “effective support practices” that, somehow, connect with those factors. (I guess I’m too dumb to understand the connection. Anybody got it? 'Splain it to me, please.)
     So what then is the point of this study? It’s to determine what students think about that list of, um, factors.
     No, that can’t be right. They just said that they want to “shift the conversation” to achieving these “success factors.”
     Gosh, this sure does seem complicated. That’s because “it’s science”!

     ABSTRUSITUDE. Let’s return to the RP Group’s account of their report:
     As California’s community colleges … respond to the state’s Student Success Task Force recommendations, many constituents are considering how student support can be implemented to improve completion. College practitioners, policymakers and advocacy groups are all exploring how to preserve delivery of existing supports, while at the same time, rethink ways to effectively engage more students with the assistance they need to succeed.
     They must be seriously good thinkers, this RP crew. Their language is so technical, so delightfully convoluted! I wish I could be just like them. I think I’ll start by using the phrase “preserving delivery of existing supports” at the next School meeting.
     Now, despite what your college writing instructor told you, it is in fact a good idea to highlight all the good stuff you’ve got to say with italics or something. Use lots of exclamation points and coloring, if you’ve got it.


     BROMIDULAR PUKITUDES. Essentially, that’s just what the RP crew did in their report. Here are all the sentences that they put in bold face. As you read these Bold Remarks, allow the wisdom and sheer bedazzling scientificness therein contained to ooze all over you. Imagine the unfathomably elevated perch necessary to arrive at these penetrating bromidular pukitudes.
     Ready?
  • …while many students arrive to college motivated, their drive needs to be continuously stoked and augmented with additional support in order for success to be realized. [I.e., when it becomes clear that college entails sustained discipline and hard work, many students lose interest.]
  • …students spoke of their struggles to understand what they needed to do to succeed in college. [I.e., Some students are unprepared for college.]
  • These findings imply that colleges should educate students about how to navigate their community college and thrive in this environment. [I.e., colleges must teach their students how to be students.]
  • … students described how different factors interacted with each other to contribute to their success. [This is flat bullshit.]
  • …they also identified relationships between the factors and noted how experiencing one factor often led to realizing another, or how two factors were inextricably linked to each other. [Good Lord what bullshit.]
  • …colleges should consider investing in structures that connect more African-American, Latino and first-generation learners to existing services. [Structures? —Programs.]
  • Colleges must find a way to provide a significant proportion of these student groups with comprehensive support—at scale. [Big programs.]
  • These findings underscore the importance of colleges promoting a culture where all individuals across the institution understand their role in advancing students’ success. [How 'bout a culture where students do their homework? Promote that.]
  • At the same time, students most commonly recognized faculty as having the greatest potential impact on their educational journeys. [Students see that teachers can help guide them. I did not know that.]
  • This research indicates that because faculty are at the center of every student’s educational experience, they have a significant opportunity and ability to influence their students’ success not just in, but beyond, their own classroom. [Tell 'em "carpe diem." Follow 'em home and say it again.]
  • …now is the time for colleges to redefine support in a way that aligns with what students say they need. [They tell me I'm too hard and demanding, so....]
  • We encourage colleges to use the results from this research when reimagining student support and working to advance the completion of all learners. [I'm beginning to feel the urge to break things.]
  • The RP Group recommends that the primary ingredient for productive discussions is the inclusion of people who interact with students at all points in their college journey…. [Who writes this shit?]
     I want to know. Do others share my, um, bedazzlement?
     And why do I feel such utter despair?

     Scientific Culture and Educational Research (Michael J. Feuer, Lisa Towne, and Richard J. Shavelson, 2002)
     *I've long felt that people who insist on using the word "factor" should receive the death penalty.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

stuff

8/21/13
• Register launches weekly university sections (OC Reg)
     In a move to dramatically expand its coverage of college campus life, the Orange County Register announced it will begin publishing three weekly, stand-alone sections devoted to UC Irvine, Chapman University and Cal State Fullerton.

• Supervisor Janet Nguyen Drew Scrutiny of the FBI (Voice of OC)
     Federal agents contacted a San Diego County-based contractor and another source close to Orange County government regarding Nguyen late last year.

• Outsourcing Public Higher Ed (Inside Higher Ed)
     California lawmaker wants MOOCs and other online providers to help meet student demand, and will encourage -- and some fear force -- public colleges to accept those credits.

In Defense of a Real Education

In today's New York Times (Yes, Rebel Girl gets the paper delivered to her canyon doorstep.  She's old school, very old school.), Michael Roth (president of Wesleyan University) reviews the new book by Mark Edmundson, professor of English at the University of Virginia—highlighted earlier this week by the editor of this distinguished blog.

She recommends the review and the collection of essays with the title "Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education" as a good way into the academic year.

What is it now, Day Three of an unprecedented 18 week semester?

Sometimes in her feverish early semester dreamings, Rebel Girl imagines a book club for the college where faculty and staff and administrators read texts like this throughout the year and get together to discuss them monthly in gatherings where tea and wine flows and the food and talk sustain all in ways that truly help what we do here at the little college in the orange groves.  Could we get some FLEX credit for that?

excerpt:
...Much of “Why Teach?” concerns the impediments to this search. Under the guise of practicality, universities and their “customers” now stress that education should provide a return on investment. They speak of excellence and innovation, and what they really mean is money and notoriety. They talk of a well-rounded learning experience, and what they really mean is checking off boxes denoting that you’ve taken required courses that weren’t too challenging. Mr. Edmundson contends that the “corporate university” has abdicated its mission to confront our prejudices and conventions while inspiring our passions and talents.
He fervently advocates for the transformative power of a true education because he experienced it firsthand. In high school, he cared about football and rock ’n’ roll more than about literature until he was stirred by great teaching and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” “I think that the highest objective for someone trying to provide a literary education to students is to make such moments of transformation possible,” he writes.
This “highest objective” is also extraordinarily fulfilling. “Teachers who have been moved by great works have been moved to pass the gift on,” he says, with a nod to Wordsworth and Coleridge — and to all professors who introduce students to books that have changed their own lives. Art inspires us; teaching changes us.
Mr. Edmundson worries that too many professors have lost the courage of their own passions, depriving their students of the fire of inspiration. Why teach? Because great professors can “crack the shell of convention,” shining a light on a life’s different prospects. They never aim at conversion, only at what Emerson called “aversion” — bucking conformity so as to discover possibility.

To read the rest, click here.

*


Monday, August 19, 2013

The real and the unreal

Coming soon: bulletproof #2 pencils
Last Line of Defense (Inside Higher Ed)
     U. of Maryland at Eastern Shore's new whiteboards double as bulletproof shields. The $60,000 investment is part of a "proactive approach" to safety.

Comes in handy in a firefight
'Real Education' (Inside Higher Ed)
     It’s a question many professors may be asking themselves this month, as they prepare for another academic year: “Why teach?”
     Mark Edmundson, professor of English at the University of Virginia, answers the question in a new book, Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education, out Tuesday from Bloomsbury.
. . .
     Although neither exists in pure form, the predominantly “corporate city” institution is an extension (and a shaper) of “good” high schools, where students succeed by being “all-arounders.” That means getting an "A" in every course, even if it equates to using SparkNotes for an English class in order to squeeze in a session with the math tutor between sports and clubs. Deep engagement of the material suffers, but with a turbo-charged resume, it hardly matters.
     Corporate cities are easy to spot: “Most of the students – and many members of the faculty – are buzzing from place to place, always feeling a bit self-important, always feeling a bit left behind, like that poor rabbit in Alice in Wonderland,” Edmundson says.
ACCJC: proactive attire soon required
     And the people representing corporate cities? They’ll talk “a lot about new computer initiatives, about partnering with business, and about the creation of young leaders. They’ll talk about kids who have hit the Silicon Valley jackpot. …You’ll hear the word ‘excellence’ about a billion times.”
     By contrast, the “scholarly enclave” teems with students “seeking knowledge so as to make the lives of other human beings better.” They’re students who want to become teachers, scientists, soldiers, doctors and legal advocates for the poor because the work matters to them more than the status a title brings, Edmundson says….

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Resources









Mr. Morley's assurances

     As you know, IVC’s Scholarship Program has been under fire in recent years. I won’t go into all the details again.
     One unfortunate incident concerned a student, PT, who, way back in 2012, was selected to receive a Humanities and Languages scholarship, entitling him to $250. Soon thereafter, his name even appeared in the printed scholarship program (May, 2012) as a recipient.
     The problem seemed to concern subsequent stages of the process, for PT never received the money.
     Some of us complained, pointing to the Scholarship Program and the Foundation.
     The Foundation Director, Richard Morley, took exception to this. In June of 2013, he declared that it was the first he had heard about it. That was surprising to many of us. Several in the School of H&L had been plenty noisy about it for over a year.
     Morley claimed that he would take care of the problem (i.e., send the money) right away.
     Well, maybe he did and maybe he didn’t.
     Let’s review the facts, as suggested by a series of emails that I have.

1. Way back in January of 2012 (January 12, 2012; i.e., more than 20 months ago), PT emailed Rebel Girl, asking for a letter of recommendation to the USC Undergraduate Film Program (and one other institution). It was a polite letter from a deserving student. Naturally, the Reb agreed to do write the letter.
     Someone (Rebel Girl?) then suggested that PT apply for scholarships at the college. He did. At some point, PT was selected (by H&L faculty) to receive the Humanities and Languages Emeritus Endowment Scholarship. Apparently, as she would later explain, Rebel Girl sent “several emails over the course of many, many days to ensure the correct scholarship went to the right person” (May 21, 2012). Why would she do that? Because of past screw-ups and irregularities that she did not want to see repeated.
     Nevertheless, somehow, the Scholarship people didn’t get the word. Sheesh!

2. On April 30, 2012, H&L’s Kurt M sent the Financial Aid Director, Darryl Cox, an email belatedly informing him that “the 2012 Humanities and Languages Emeritus Endowment Scholarship Recipient” was PT.

3. Then, less than a month later (May 21, 2012), Rebel Girl emailed Cox, alerting him to some “irregularities.” She explained that, on May 18 (?), assuming that PT had won the aforementioned scholarship—for his name appeared in the printed scholarship program—she sent him a congratulatory email.

     On May 19, PT wrote back, explaining
     “I do not believe I received a scholarship…. My name was in the scholarship program though you say? That is strange because I applied to several scholarships under the IVC site. Was the program just a ceremony because I definitely did not receive any indication that I was in the program.”
     Continuing, she explained that
     This development comes on the heels of the distressing news that one of the two candidates chosen for the English Excellence in Learning scholarship (Moore) did not receive the $1,000 award. Instead that award went to another student who was not even ranked by our committee.
     Rebel Girl ended her letter with this:
     I would like to know who did receive the H & L scholarship–and I would like to know why [P]'s name was listed in the program and why he was not contacted after I selected him. ¶ I would also like to know what if anything can be done to address the wrong that has been done to him and Moore – two very deserving students who have very poorly served by this program. ¶ One wonders what other scholarships these two candidates would have been eligible for or even won in a fair and functioning process.
4. Then, on May 22, 2012, Cox sent Rebel Girl an email explaining that he was “looking into the issue.” He wrote:
     It appears that there was some confusion between the ASIVC Humanities and Languages Scholarships, the English and Humanities Endowed Scholarships and the Humanities and Languages Emeritus Endowment Scholarship. [PT] was mailed the scholarship certificate, however, his name never made it onto the scholarship check list. I will place the $250.00 scholarship check request with the Foundation [my emphasis] as soon as possible. ¶ All of this is my responsibility and I apologize for the breakdown.
     Evidently, during the subsequent year (Fall 2012, Spring 2013), PT never received the money.

     This brings us to a new round of complaints about the Scholarship Program and money provided by the Foundation that arose at the end of the Spring, 2013, semester.
     The complaints yielded a special “debriefing” meeting, held by VP of Student Services Linda Fontanilla in early June (June 6) of 2013, to review the program and the many complaints.

5. I covered the event. In Today's scholarship program debriefing: "It's the first I've heard about it!" (DtB, June 6, 2013), I reported the discussion that occurred. According to my report (which, I assure you, is accurate), late in the meeting,
     [H&L’s] Kurt [M] referred to incidents that don’t help maintain an appearance of fairness and transparency. Last year, he said, a student was informed that he had won a significant Humanities and Languages scholarship, but, to date, he has never received the scholarship.
     Richard [Morley, Foundation Director] then reared up, said it’s the first he’s heard about it. (That’s odd. I’ve been experiencing piercing caterwauling about it for a solid year. Richard really needs to get around, or turn up his hearing aid.)
6. Four days later (June 10), Morley emailed KM, Rebel Girl, and me. He wrote:
     As you can see, the Foundation was never copied on [PT]'s scholarship for 2012. It's not just about turning up one's hearing aid [this, of course, is an allusion to my comment on DtB], it's just not possible to solve problems when one is not aware there is a problem. Nowhere was the Foundation copied on this mistake, until now, or it would have been fixed immediately. ¶ I believe it's clear now that this information did not reach the Foundation. ¶ I am committed to finding [PT], at USC, I understand. However, I can't find a [PT] with any USC connections on Facebook, and there are 17 [PT]'s listed in the IVC student directory. I just don't have a way to contact him right now. ¶ Might anyone have a contact for P? A middle name? student number? Address? Phone? ¶ Thanks. I will contact him immediately and issue the check he deserves. I'm committed to serving our students...and the wishes of our faculty.
     Morley’s assertion that “it's clear now that this information did not reach the Foundation” mystifies me. I don’t know what he meant.

7. About twenty minutes later, Morley emailed again, writing
     I was able to find [PT]'s phone number. I just spoke with him and confirmed with him that he is at USC in film studies. He is sending me his address and we will request a $250 check and get it out to him immediately. ¶ So, not counting the weekend, I believe we solved this problem in less than 24 hours after I was made aware of it. ¶ I hope you all see this as indicative and exemplary of the way the Foundation works, and the commitment I have in serving both our faculty and our students.
     So, at long last, it appeared that the PT saga was over.
     But no.

8. Yesterday morning (i.e., two months later), Rebel Girl emailed PT. She wrote:
…[I] wanted to check in and see how things are going – well, I hope. ¶ I do hope you were finally awarded our modest scholarship offering.
9. A few hours later, PT responded. He wrote:
Interestingly enough, I have yet to receive the scholarship check…. Thank you for your efforts in trying to get the check to me though; I really appreciate it….
10. Rebel Girl has emailed PT again, asking for further particulars.
     Amazing.

Not so fast! Rethinking fall opening

Today's report  — up again USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes LA Times  ...

Invited to IVC—this time a notorious admitted HOMOPHOBE

—Conservative radio host, Michael Reagan


Here at IVC, natch, we have an Accounting Department. It happens to support something called the Guaranteed Accounting Program: GAP4+1.

According to the department website,

This unique pathway program — a partnership between Irvine Valley College (IVC) and Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) — will enable you to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years and a master’s degree with one more additional year (thus GAP4+1).

Among the Master's degrees available through the program, we're told, are "Accountancy and Finance; Taxation; or Accountancy."


We're also told that "The number of students accepted into this program in any one year is limited so be sure to apply early."


Great. The early bird gets the worm.


Evidently, the good people of the GAP4+1 program have recently seen fit to invite someone to speak at Irvine Valley College (in late April): Michael Reagan.




The Republican Party of OC just loves IVC (from their website)

That's right. They've invited Reagan family embarrassment Michael, a man of, let's face it, little or no distinction.


He was expelled from his High School and he washed-out of college. Eventually, he went into clothing sales.


In those early years, he made some curious friends:

In 1965, the FBI warned Ronald Reagan that in the course of an organized crime investigation it had discovered his son Michael was associating with the son of crime boss Joseph Bonanno, which would have become a campaign issue had it been publicly known. Reagan thanked the FBI and said he would phone his son to discreetly discontinue the association. (From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

[“F.B.I. agents in Phoenix made an unexpected discovery: According to records, ‘the son of Ronald Reagan was associating with the son of Joe Bonnano [sic].’ That is, Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and Ms. Wyman, was consorting with Bonanno’s son, Joseph Jr. The teenagers had bonded over their shared love of fast cars and acting tough.” ... "Joseph Jr. was not involved in organized crime, but he was spending time at his father’s home... [I]n October 1964, he had been arrested in connection with the beating of a Scottsdale, Ariz., coffee shop manager. ... Following routine procedure, F.B.I. agents in Phoenix asked agents in Los Angeles to interview Ronald Reagan for any information he might have gleaned from his son. The investigation, after all, was a top priority. But Hoover blocked them from questioning Reagan, thus sparing him potentially unfavorable publicity. Declaring it 'unlikely that Ronald Reagan would have any information of significance,' Hoover instead ordered agents to warn him about his son’s worrisome friendship." - New York Times]

Later, there were legal problems:

In 1981 Reagan was accused, but later cleared of felony violations of California securities laws in court documents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney alleged that Reagan had baited investors into unlawful stock arrangements, and selling stocks despite the fact that he was not legally permitted to do so. The D.A.'s office investigated allegations that Reagan improperly spent money invested by others in a company, Agricultural Energy Resources, he operated out of his house in a venture to develop the potential of gasohol, a combination of alcohol and gasoline. Investigators said they were also checking whether he had spent up to $17,500 of investors' money for his living expenses. The district attorney's office cleared Reagan of both charges later that year. [“The investigators said they became interested in Michael Reagan after being informed that he had steered customers to Mr. Carey {Richard Francis Carey, who "was selling worthless stock,"} had accepted a $4,000 check from one investor, and that, in at least one meeting of potential investors, his relationship to Ronald Reagan had apparently been exploited as a promotional tool for the stock.” - New York Times]
On September 20, 2012, Reagan and two associates were sued by Elias Chavando, a fellow partner, for allegedly withholding Chavando's interest in an e-mail business built around the Reagan.com domain name. In 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Reagan liable for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty. Reagan and his business partners were ordered to pay $662,500 in damages.
(From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

Michael tended to smash things (cars, etc.) in his youth. Well into his 40s, he tells us, he was full of "rage" (owing, he explains, to having been molested) and he treated his family badly.


Then, natch, he found the Lord.


Plus, owing to his relationship to his pop, President Ronald Reagan, Michael grabbed the brass ring and became a talk-show host on one or two right-wing radio networks. Blah, blah, blah, he said.


In his latter-day career as mediocre right-wing bloviater and Pious Christian, Michael Reagan has said some unfortunate things:

In April 2013, in a syndicated column, Reagan accused American churches of not fighting hard enough to block same-sex marriage. He wrote that, in regards to arguments supporting gay marriage, similar arguments could be used to support polygamy, bestiality, and murder.

. . . In June 2008, conspiracy theorist Mark Dice launched a campaign urging people to send letters and DVDs to troops stationed in Iraq which support the theory that the September 11 attacks were an "inside job". "Operation Inform the Soldiers", as Dice has called it, prompted Reagan to comment that Dice should be executed for treason. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a liberal/progressive media criticism organization, asked Radio America at the time to explain whether it permits "its hosts to call for murder on the air".

. . . He spoke out in support of profiling in October 2014. In a piece called Profile or Die, he wrote that it would be left to citizens to defend themselves if there were an attack against them by terrorists such as the Islamic State. (Wikipedia)

Golly. It's pretty clear that Michael Reagan is just another "former total fuck-up, now reborn and pious."


Intellectually, he's a low-rent Limbaugh, and that's pretty low.


I mean, when he gets here, just what is he gonna say? That liberals are evil? That his dad was a saint? That freedom and democracy are good? That you oughta put your life in the hands of the Lord? That you don't need to go to college? That homosexuality is a sin?


Only in Bizarro World would Michael Reagan be judged a good speaker to invite to a college.


* * *

Meanwhile, IVC's Guaranteed Accounting Program folks have only wonderful things to say about the fellow:


Michael Reagan

The eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan and one of the most dynamic and sought-after public speakers, Michael Reagan’s commitments to public service and the conservative vision his father championed are second to none, making him the natural heir to the Reagan conservative legacy. Michael serves as chairman and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which seeks to advance the causes President Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency. Michael’s career includes hosting a national conservative radio talk show syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, championing his father’s values and principles in the public policy forum, commentating and appearing on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Good Day LA, CNN, and Fox News, and contributing to Newsmax Television. Also an accomplished author, Michael has many successful books including On the Outside Looking In, Twice Adopted, and his latest book, Lessons My Father Taught Me.

Well, sure. But he's also the worst kind of insubstantial, opportunistic "celebrity." And he's not an intellectual; he's a propagandist. He's a minor player in our sad era of noisy and loutish conservative anti-intellectualism and demagoguery.


—And he's a homophobe, among other things. Or so he says.


WAY TO GO, GLENN


IVC Prez Roquemore shares Reagan's enthusiasm for the Pussy-grabber-in-chief.

Recent columns by Michael Reagan


ALL IS FAIR IN THE WAR ON TRUMP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, December 13, 2018

…Hillary continues to skate free, unbothered by the FBI or any federal agency for the dirty things she and the Obama administration’s injustice department did during the 2016 election to try to defeat Donald Trump.

But not General Flynn.

His life was ruined by the FBI bosses who set out to nail him – and did….

TRUMP VS THE CRAZIES (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, January 11, 2019

…Some of the country’s most desperate liberals in the media actually argued that the president’s televised pitch to the country for congressional funding for a stronger border fence should not be carried live by the networks.

Why? Because they said the president lies too much and they wanted to be able to fact-check his speech beforehand….

TRUMP SAYS ‘ADIOS’ TO BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, November 1, 2018

…Ending birthright citizenship, better known as dropping the anchor baby, is the most significant illegal immigration reform the President Trump has announced. With a single executive order, he unplugs a beacon that attracts scammers from the world over. He also attacks a visible manifestation of the “foreigners first” mindset that has infected the State Department, and the rest of the federal bureaucracy, since the 1960s….

THE PARTY OF EVIL (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, October 11, 2018

…Now, thanks to the Democrats’ ugly smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh, Republican senators like Susan Collins and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders need security guards 24/7.

It’s not the new Supreme Court Justice who’s evil.

It’s the Democrat Party and the nasty “progressives” who’ve taken it over and are willing to say or do anything or destroy anyone to bring down President Trump.

Maybe this is not something new. Maybe the Democrats have always been this evil….

About Michael Reagan:


A separate peace* (LA Times, August 31, 2004) – by Anne-Marie O'Connor

For years, Michael Reagan, the older son of Ronald Reagan, felt unloved and unwanted. His parents divorced when he was 3. Two years later he was packed off to a boarding school where, he says, he was so lonely he cried himself to sleep. Sexually abused at age 7, he felt shame and self-loathing, compounded by Bible passages that convinced him he would never go to heaven.

He grew up so angry he smashed a childhood bicycle and later took a sledgehammer to his new car. Well into his 40s, his "rage came to a full boil," and he often yelled at his wife and young son.

Then, he says, he found salvation through the love of his family and his "adoption" by God. He embraced conservative values and became a syndicated talk-radio host who today tells listeners: "I am homophobic."….

Roquemore and U of Phoenix

From Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy DtB, 8-26-14

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."

Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.

As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.

The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.

The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.

Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.

No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.

Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature"

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature" May 21, 2013

Delivering factoids for

Turkish anti-feminists

Here’s a curious factoid. I came across the following press release, evidently dating back to April of 2008. It was posted by the “Pacifica Institute,” which has a dozen or so offices, including one in Orange County (Irvine):


Glenn R. Roquemore-Irvine Valley College President Speaks at PI - Orange County

Today Pacifica Institute hosted Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore. Before this luncheon forum in Irvine , New Zealand Consul General Rob Taylor and Irvine Mayor Beth Krom were the keynote speakers. Consul General Rob Taylor spoke about Welcoming Diversity as a Path to Peace and Mayor Beth Krom’s topic was How to Create a Balanced Community. Dr Glenn Roquemore’s topic is the Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education.

Dr. Glenn Roquemore is President of Irvine Valley College….

Dr Roquemore gave very important statistics of the Community Colleges in California….

You’ll recall that, in the past, we’ve kidded Roquemore over his tendency to approach speaking always as an occasion to dispense the merest of statistics as though they were astonishing jewels. "Two percent of our students," he'll say, "sport a vestigial tail." Huh?

What’s the matter with ‘im? Dunno.

But just who are these “Pacifica Institute” people?

According to PI’s website,

Pacifica Institute was established in 2003 as a non-profit organization by a group of Turkish-Americans. Pacifica Institute designs and executes projects covering social welfare, education, poverty, and conflict resolution issues in collaboration with scholars, activists, artists, politicians, and religious leaders-communities….

. . .

The Institute seeks to …[engage] in a variety of civic activities and [seeks to invite] others to generate and share insights, thereby removing barriers to confidence-building and trust….

Gosh, it sounds as though that illiterate pseudo-educator, Raghu Mathur, may have had a hand in writing this stuff.

Elsewhere, PI presents “Frequently Asked Questions about Pacifica Institute and Fethullah Gülen.”

One naturally assumes, then, that Mr. Fethullah Gülen and his ideas are important to PI. Sure enough, in the Q&A, Gülen and his movement are central:

Fethullah Gülen

Q: How is the Pacifica Institute involved with the Gülen movement?

A: Some of the founders and donors of Pacifica Institute are participants of the so-called Gülen, or Hizmet movement. Pacifica Institute was inspired by the movement’s philosophy and goals….

. . .

The Gülen/Hizmet movement is a values-driven social movement and following a philosophy that advances interfaith dialog, education and community service as tools to build a better and more harmonious society. The movement was inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish scholar, author and advocate….

. . .

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen?

A: Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish scholar, preacher, thinker, author, opinion leader, education activist, and peace advocate who is considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential religious thinkers. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide civil society movement, the Gülen Movement, which is committed to education, dialogue, peace, social justice, and social harmony….

Well, I’ve done a little looking, and this Gülen fella is mighty controversial, in some circles at least.

I skimmed a couple of sites, which suggested that Gulen is, among other things, a conservative and a vocal opponent of feminism (although I ask that readers judge for themselves based on his writings--and the writings of his mouthpieces).

So I went to the Fethullah Gülen website. There, I searched the term “feminism” and that brought me to a page with links to various relevant essays, evidently by Mr. Gülen, including The Gülen Movement: Gender and Practice.

I clicked on that. That essay includes this passage:

Although he promotes equality between the sexes, Fethullah Gülen's views on gender can indeed be described as complementary. He sees women and men as having equal value but inheriting different roles and characteristics due to physical and psychological differences. He classifies men as "physically stronger and apt to bear hardship" and women as "more compassionate, more delicate, more self sacrificing" (Gülen 2006: 1). Although he does state that women can be involved in any field of work he idealizes the mother as the pure educator (Gülen 2006: 2) implicitly implying that the man should be the family provider. This may open up for critique on behalf of Western feminists or scholars of religion and gender. According to this relatively new academic discipline[,] gender is a social construction. Human beings are born with different sexes, but social roles and expectations of fulfillment of these are constructed and emphasized by the norms that prevail in society.

Another link takes one to an essay entitled Women Confined and Mistreated. Here are some excerpts:

As a reaction to all the injustice done to women … a movement to claim women's rights emerged, particularly in the West. Even though this movement is considered an awakening of women, it occurred as a reaction and was doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements and ended up in extremism. Although the starting point was to defend women, in time it deviated from the original aim to the degree of being full of hatred towards men and to feeling a grudge against them. The movement named feminism, which was born from the idea of protecting women and providing them with rights equal to those of men, has only left behind longing, sorrow, and wreckage as a movement of discontentment….

. . .

According to Islam, women's role in this world is not only restricted to doing the housework and raising children. In fact, as long as it does not conflict with her primordial nature or with observing religious requirements, she is responsible for carrying out the duties that befall her in every area of society and making up for shortcomings where men fall short in social life. However, this reality was ignored in time, even among Muslims; rough understandings and crude thinking upset this system based on women and men's mutual assistance. After this upset, both family life and the social order were also upset. Different peoples' perception of their own historical heritage as a part of Islam, their seeing and reflecting their folklore and traditions as essentials of religion, and making judgments pertaining to this issue at certain periods all resulted in the usurpation of women's rights; they were pushed into a more restricted area day by day, and in some places they were totally isolated from life without consideration of where this issue leads. However, the source of mistaken thoughts and deviations in this matter is not Islam whatsoever. The mistakes belong to those who misinterpret and misapply the religion. Such mistakes in practice must definitely be corrected.

On the other hand, while correcting these mistakes, approaching the issue from a feminist standpoint will upset the balance again and an opposite extremism will replace the former. For instance, just as it is very ugly to see women as merely child-bearing objects and is insolence towards them, it is equally unbecoming and unnatural to build a society where women are unable to bear and bring up the children they wish for, or for a woman to feel a need to rebel against marrying and to avoid bearing children in order to show that she is not a machine. As a woman is not a dirty dish, her place at home is not confined to the kitchen with the dirty dishes. However, a woman who claims to have no household responsibilities and thereby turns her home to a quarters for eating and sleeping is far from being a good mother, a good teacher, and a good spiritual guide to her children.

Besides all this, it is another form of oppression to make women work under difficult conditions, such as mining and road-building. It contradicts human nature to push women into heavy tasks like agricultural manual labor, or military field operations, and other harsh pursuits, just for the sake of proving their equality with men; it is nothing but cruel torture. It shows ignorance of women's qualities and conflicts with their primordial nature. Therefore, just as an understanding which imprisons women at home and takes them completely away from social life is absolutely incorrect according to Islam, likewise, depriving women of financial support, preventing them from bearing and raising children in security, and forcing women into the labor force to do uncongenial work is also oppressive. A woman, like a man, can have a certain job as far as her (and his) physiology and psychology are taken into consideration; but both women and men should know that a good life consists of sharing and division of labor. Each should assist the other by doing tasks in compliance with their nature.

Yikes.

I’m in no position to judge this “take” on feminism relative to the various Muslim communities (e.g., in Turkey) and the possibility of discourse within them. But it’s pretty plain that Gülen’s philosophy, as expressed here, is antithetical to some of the core tenets of Western feminism, broadly understood. It seems clear that Gülen is not likely to gain many adherents or followers among contemporary Westerners, with their commitment to the ideal of equality, as they understand it at least, between the sexes.

The Wikipedia article on Gülen is alarming—if, that is, it can be trusted. It asserts that

...Gülen's views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, Gülen has argued:

"the man is used to more demanding jobs . . . but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother . . . the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied." [35]

Berna Turam, Northeastern

Wikipedia is quoting Berna Turam, a serious academic at Northeastern U. She herself seems to cite a work from 1996 entitled Fethullah Gulen Hocaefendi ile ufuk turu (Aktuel kitaplar dizisi). It is written in Turkish.

One should be careful to note that the superiority that Gülen is discussing is physical, not moral, or at least that's how I read it. Even so, his remarks are mighty offensive, at least to these Western ears.


Gosh Glenn, you really oughta be more careful who you hang out with. Philosophically, these Gülenites are a problem, at least relative to most of our community on these shores.

I'll see if I can shed more light on the Pacifica Institute and what it means for the likes of Glenn Roquemore and Beth Krom (a Democrat) to be hanging out with 'em.

Votes of "no confidence" - 1999

from the Dissenter's Dictionary, Dec. 3, 1999


MATHUR, RAGHU P.



In April of 1997, in an action later judged a violation of the Open Meetings law, the Board Majority appointed chemistry teacher and campus joke Raghu P. Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. At the time, Mathur had no experience as a full-time administrator. Five months later, through a process that violated board policy, and amid strong faculty opposition, the BM appointed Mathur permanent president. That action, too, was later voided owing to violations of the Brown Act. Two years later, despite his miserable record, which included a vote of no confidence and the palpable contempt of nearly all IVC faculty and staff, the board majority renewed Mathur's contract, giving him a raise and a $200 a month "security stipend."

Mathur was hired as an instructor in 1979, and he quickly established a reputation as a schemer and liar who would stoop to anything in order to secure an administrative position. Owing to his manifest unsavoriness, however, that ambition was consistently thwarted both inside and outside the district.

His intrigues soon gained him the hatred of Ed Hart, IVC's first president. In 1986, Hart retired, and the college adopted a "faculty chair" model, partly for fiscal reasons. Soon, Mathur "ruled" the tiny school of Physical Sciences as its chair. During the "chair" era, he was, without doubt, the chief abuser of that office, engaging in endless machinations while arranging a lucrative schedule that netted him a salary far in excess of the college president's ($124,000 in 1996-7).

During this period, Mathur continued to seek administrative positions. When he was passed over, he played the race card, charging everyone in sight with "discrimination," apparently on the sole grounds that he had not been selected.

Mathur's habit, as chair, of circumventing the governance process eventually yielded an official censure of him by IVC's "Instructional Council' in April of 1994. Earlier, the IC membership had all agreed not to go outside the process--particularly with regard to the selection of the IVC presidential search committee chair. During an IC meeting in March (of 94), Mathur was asked whether, despite the agreement, he had presented a petition, urging the selection of a particular faculty member, to the chancellor. He answered that he had "not forwarded" a petition to the chancellor or anyone. In fact, he had and, apparently on that basis, the chancellor did appoint the faculty member as (co)chair.

When this came to light in April, Mathur was censured. According to the minutes of the April 5 meeting, "Instructional Council had agreed that no one will work outside of the IVC governance structure and agreed-upon processes. They felt that Raghu had lied to the Council...[One member] made a motion to censur Raghu Mathur for lying to the Instructional Council regarding the petition and the presidential search process and for misrepresenting not only Instructional Council, but also the faculty...Raghu Mathur stated that he did not lie to the Instructional Council. He said that he was asked if he had forwarded the petition to the Chancellor and he said he had not. He did admit, however, that he had shown the petition to Chancellor Lombardi...Raghu felt that the members of Instructional Council were making too big of a deal out of the situation...The question was called and the motion passed with 8 ayes, 3 noes, and 4 abstentions."

Classified employees, too, have at times found it necessary to complain about of Mathur's conduct. For instance, in August of 1995, IVC administration received a letter from Leann Cribb, Executive Secretary (and formerly secretary for the School of Physical Sciences), in which she wrote: "Mr. Mathur routinely revises facts and manufactures innuendo to suit his objectives." During the January '98 Board meeting, classified employee Julie Ben-Yeoshua explained that Mathur was the reason she was seeking employment elsewhere: "Since you first appointed Raghu Mathur as the interim president, the atmosphere at IVC has changed drastically; morale is in the gutter...[Mathur's] inability to tell the truth is so natural that I have come to gauge everything he says and writes by believing the complete opposite...."

By the mid-90s, Mathur had come to regard Terry Burgess, then-VP of Instruction, as his nemesis, and, in 1996, he tried to discredit Burgess with the board. In the spring of '96, a student sought to enroll in a chemistry course without enrolling in the concurrent lab, and the matter came before the chair--Mathur. Though the student provided documentation proving that she had done the equivalent work at UCI, Mathur denied the request, whereupon the student asked for a review of the decision by the Office of Instruction. Mathur agreed to go along with the Office's decision.

Later, however, he accused Burgess of signing the student's admittance card despite non-approval by the instructor. Mathur convinced his school to send a resolution of complaint to the board (and also to the senate and the union), appending the student's transcripts, without her permission, an action that violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and district policies. When then-IVC president Dan Larios learned of this, he requested an opinion from the district's attorneys regarding the legality of Mathur's action. The opinion, dated March 18, 1996, indicates that Mathur acted improperly, violating FERPA and board policy 5619. Larios was fed up.

Realizing that Larios now planned to deny approval of him as chair of his school, Mathur, as per usual, scrambled to lobby board members for support. On March 29, Larios met with Mathur; he explained that he had lost confidence in Mathur and that Mathur had better "change." In the end, Larios wrote a memo (May 14) expressing his serious reservations about Mathur's leadership, owing to his repeated circumventing of established processes and his violations of board policy, and placed him on probation. If there were any further violations of process, wrote Larios, Mathur would be removed as chair.

In the meantime, Mathur asked the senate to censure Burgess. It declined to do so, citing Mathur's misdescription of crucial facts. Larios, troubled by Mathur's misrepresentations, sent out a memo explaining that Burgess had in no sense acted improperly.

In December of '96, the Board Majority era began, and Larios sensed that it was time to move on. Normally, the VP of Instruction—Terry Burgess--would serve as interim president, but the BM blocked his selection, and, in March, Lombardi was chosen as a sort of compromise. But in April, Frogue presented another one of Mathur's petitions--this time, an “anonymous” petition urging Mathur's selection as president. On that basis, Mathur became IVC president.

Mathur's outrages while president are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that in the early months of 1998, the IVC academic senate instituted a Special Inquiry into “abuses of power.” By April, it became necessary to abandon the investigation, owing to the number and the complexity of the charges against Mathur. Said the committee’s chair: “It’s like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup…Every time we put an allegation to bed, another one jumps up” (Voice, 5/7/98). Soon thereafter, Mathur received a 74% vote of no confidence by his faculty.

Mathur has sought to rule through intimidation, punishing his critics in every way available to him. In early November of 1999, the IVC academic senate released the results of a survey of full-time faculty (78% participated). 90% disagreed with the statement, "I can express my opinion about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation." The 90% figure will likely go up soon, for Mathur intends to fire an untenured instructor--a critic--for his involvement in the act of naming the plot of dirt next to the Life Sciences greenhouse. It was named the "Terry Burgess garden."


Huge Vote Against College Chief (LA Times, May 18, 2004 | Jeff Gottlieb)

Faculty in the South Orange County Community College District overwhelmingly voted no confidence Monday in Chancellor Raghu Mathur.
Of the full-time professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges who cast ballots, 93.5% voted in favor of no confidence, and 6% were against the union-sponsored measure. One person abstained.
Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 -- 77% -- voted, according to the district faculty association….

Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy - August 26, 2014

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

○ Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."
Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

○ IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

○ Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

○ You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

○ Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.
As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.
The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.
The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.
Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.
No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.
Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix