Friday, September 6, 2013

More Roquemorean OMNISHAMBLES


MONDAY
Anonymous - 9:49 PM, September 02, 2013

     Does this policy apply to student club events and activities? I don't get how we're supposed to do anything with this kind of policy – 90 days in advance? That's the majority of the semester. I tried to reserve a room last spring for an event this fall but couldn't do it that far in advance because the teaching schedule had been finalized...How is this supposed to work? 


Anonymous - 9:52 PM, September 02, 2013

     Sorry for the typos! I meant: "had yet to be finalized." Anyway, the policy is not practical. It also seems designed to create a institution where nothing really happens. 


REPLY: 


Roy Bauer - 10:36 PM, September 02, 2013

     It appears that the "process" applies to everyone, not just faculty.
 

[Read it.]

TUESDAY
Anonymous - 7:09 AM, September 03, 2013

     Only three months in advance? Why not make it the school year. Just put in your requests now for the events you have planned for next year. That will provide adequate time to meet with the appropriate committee(s) to discuss your event and why you need the room.


Anonymous - 11:02 AM, September 03, 2013

     7:09 is on target and correct. With the staff/faculty meeting factor to decide the possibility of having even a small event...this timeline is unworkable. Student life and exciting opportunities spearheaded by engaged faculty and staff are going to diminish. How is this serving students? Three months might as well be a semester. I am very discouraged. 
 



Anonymous - 11:15 AM, September 03, 2013

     This process seems to be designed by people who don't teach or take classes. 90 days? So someone of note is coming to the nearby university in October or November and I just notice it now but want to see if I can lure the fella over here, just for an evening or afternoon, no biggie, just a room with chair – a classroom, already set-up – but OH NO. I can't. And then to make the "requestor" attend a Facilities Use Work Group meeting as a condition!?! (held on Wednesdays no doubt during prime teaching hours). Jeez. I give up.
 



Anonymous - 11:18 AM, September 03, 2013

     While not much happens on campus anyway, this new policy will certainly insure that even less does. Brilliant. 


These kids today.
Anonymous - 11:26 AM, September 03, 2013

     Red tape gone wild.


Anonymous - 11:54 AM, September 03, 2013

     84 instructional days for Fall 2013; 82 for Spring '14. 
 



Anonymous - 12:26 PM, September 03, 2013

     I am sure that this new policy went through the usual channels during its development. You should have lodged your objections then. 


Anonymous - 12:55 PM, September 03, 2013

     It appears that many in the campus community were unaware that as of yesterday no new events may occur until December or for 90 days (at about finals time)
 


Miss Reasonable - 1:08 PM, September 03, 2013

     I am sure there is some kind of misunderstanding about the new policy and who and what it affects. Don't overreact so. Again, I am sure it was thought through carefully and all these concerns were addressed. 


WEDNESDAY
Anonymous - 7:08 AM, September 04, 2013

     Dear Miss Reasonable, thank you for your tongue-in-cheek commentary, I am still laughing!!!!!
 



Anonymous - 8:35 AM, September 04, 2013

     This has nothing to do with department meetings or any other day-to-day type meetings/events. It's about events like the Gala, Astounding Inventions, club day outside groups, or any other event that will use campus resources or require funding. This is a way to insure support and coverage as well as getting a handle on costly events. Especially when they are not well organized or fleshed out by the requestor. Maybe if you had to work these events in a support role you would see the value in advance planning and clear goals. 


REPLY:
Roy Bauer - 12:04 PM, September 04, 2013

     The [original] email refers to "any campus activity" and to "events." It does not distinguish between activities or events.
 


Anonymous - 2:21 PM, September 04, 2013

     Agreed. Original email stated any campus activity and 90 days. 8:59's clarification totally clears up confusion and is very helpful. Thank you. I hope word gets out.


Anonymous - 8:59 AM, September 04, 2013

     8:35's clarification makes more sense than the original email, which had much broader implications: "all events on campus." There was no mention about scope, size or funding. 
 



Anonymous - 6:59 PM, September 04, 2013

     Does anyone know if that fiasco at the PAC on campus today [Wednesday] (it was an outside event) was scheduled 90 days in advance? If so they sure didn't tell anyone...kids were pissed off, late to class, nowhere to park. The cafeteria had a huge line out the door. What where they thinking???? 
Our students (actually everyone on campus) deserve better. 


     [Note: several instructors reported spending nearly an hour looking for parking; some instructors were late for their classes. UPDATE, 9/12/13: This event concerned the "California Corporate College." See here.]

Anonymous - 7:47 PM, September 04, 2013

     What WAS the event at the PAC? The parking was the worst I have ever seen it. Took me over 30 minutes to find a spot at midday. Yes we were told to arrive early last week (thanks for the warning!) but what about the multitudes of part-timers who do not have the same options? WHY does the pumpkin patch have to get set up SO early? THAT certainly impacted the parking situation. WHY do the vendors get to park in the staff lot? WHY do the workers on the bio building get to park in the staff lot? I was nearly late to class. Many of my students were. One emailed me to tell me that he had given up. Several parked across the street. 
 



Anonymous - 7:56 PM, September 04, 2013

     Stories about bad parking at the beginning of the semester are par for the course for college campuses – check the first issue of every college newspaper. Oops! IVC doesn't have a college newspaper! Anyway, but today at IVC was one for the record books. Does anyone do math around here? Can anyone count – number of sections, number of students, number of faculty, number of staff and administrators – then special event people? Then compare to the number of available parking spots? Pretty ugly today. Not funny at all.
 



Anonymous - 9:37 PM, September 04, 2013

     Happy to see someone recognizes the critical dilemma that part-time faculty face when they arrive on campus to teach and find no parking. Yes, the warning was nice but useless for those who teach on one campus and must make a quick commute to IVC. We can't cut our classes short somewhere else because someone didn't do their job here and plan accordingly. This situation is so unprofessional – and so unnecessary. Plan accordingly. Value those who teach the students and allow them to do their jobs. Part-time faculty make up the majority of instructors here.

THURSDAY
Anonymous - 9:30 AM, September 05, 2013

     It is so cliche to complain about parking - but it's a very real problem. How about a little oversight, planning and leadership? Delay the pumpkin patch by another week – whatever $$$ lost would be more than made up by accommodating the needs of both students and staff. 
 



Anonymous - 6:21 PM, September 05, 2013

     Evidently students, faculty and staff were not a priority in comparison to the event. Whoever allowed this debacle to happen has no clue about what goes on at this campus. Hopefully, if anyone (GLENN???) is in charge they will never allow it to happen again. Schedule this stuff when thousands of students are not on campus!
 



Anonymous - 8:55 PM, September 05, 2013

     Of course, the parking snafu is just a symptom of the larger problem: what about the budget? What about leadership? Planning for growth? 
 



Anonymous - 9:29 PM, September 05, 2013

     What was the event that caused such an impact? I couldn't find any announcement. Did they rent the PAC to some private party? 
 



REPLY:
Roy Bauer - 10:48 PM, September 05, 2013

     I believe that a group of insurance people gathered re Obamacare—an event somehow sponsored by, or otherwise associated with, the state chancellor's office. Evidently, these insurance people were advised where to park, etc., but didn't heed the advice or instruction. They'll return in two weeks. At today's senate meeting, VPI Justice was somewhat apologetic about the snafu, saying that they'll avoid such events in the early weeks of the semester in future.
 

 [UPDATE: no, again, the event concerned the "California Corporate College." See here.]

FRIDAY
Anonymous - 6:11 AM, September 06, 2013

     So they are returning in a few weeks. No notice has been sent to the campus as yet. What are the plans to minimize the impact to students, faculty and staff?
Are they coming on a non-impacted (Friday or Saturday) school day? Why is it so hard for our leaders to figure out what actually happens on campus and how to plan for events like this to mitigate the impact
?

Frank Z
Anonymous - 7:25 AM, September 06, 2013

     So when parking services sent out this message last Friday, why didn't they mention the insurance convention? Did they not know? 

"Beginning September 1, 2013, the overflow parking in the Goodwill Lot off Jeffrey Blvd may no longer be available due to a contract rental of the lot extending through the end of December. Please plan on allowing yourself plenty of time to locate parking on campus prior to the start of your first class of the day. The overflow lot behind the Athletic Fields will still be available."

I think it is GREAT that they sent that out (first time ever!) but come on. And why not delay the rental of that field until after the third week of classes? Even without the insurance convention, it's bad out there. 
 



Anonymous - 7:39 AM, September 06, 2013

     Yes, much bigger issues out there than parking (which, of course will eventually ease up though yes it was awful, especially combined with the heat and zealous over enforcement). Whatever happened to [the] welcome to college grace period? Other colleges still have that. It sets a nice tone. The tone this week out there was not nice at all.): the budget and its magical numbers; hiring and its magical numbers. I hear 7 hires now school-wide. How discouraging. I'd like to know how much the college has grown in offering through the years versus how much we have grown with f/t hires. Anyone know? 
 



Anonymous - 8:06 AM, September 06, 2013

     Yes, what happened to last year's dire "fiscal emergency"? Can we take our concerns to the board about IVC's history of under-staffing and its effects on our programs and student completion? I think that might be a way to better publicize our needs and perhaps get some support from above.
 



Anonymous - 8:44 AM, September 06, 2013

     It's nice to know the backstory of the situation on Wednesday. It would have been much better to have been told up front about it. 

Couldn't they see what was going to happen? And if they couldn't, well, couldn't they address it better while it was happening? Make some accommodation? Send out a consoling announcement? 

I swear this is the worse place to work regarding information about issues that really affect the workplace and students. We get blizzards of emails about events, big and small, and tons of self-aggrandizing emails about mostly dubious and occasionally impressive accomplishments but seldom do we get emails informing us about what we really have to deal with in order to do our jobs. And never do we get an "Oops we goofed up, sorry, we noticed you were suffering, thanks for dealing with what must have been a difficult day" email.
 



Anonymous - 8:58 AM, September 06, 2013

     Communication here at IVC is all PR, which lessens its usefulness and accuracy because its goal is to create, sustain and defend an image. Hence, the self-congratulatory, triumphalist tone and the strategic omissions. 


REPLY:
Roy Bauer - 10:28 AM, September 06, 2013

     We discussed last year's fiscal emergency recently here.

Anonymous - 11:07 AM, September 06, 2013

     The failure to acknowledge mistakes leads to even more distrust. Can't they see that? 
 



Miss Facebook - 11:17 AM, September 06, 2013

     The IVC Facebook page shows a couple student complaints about parking this week, including one student who simply stopped trying to find a space the other day. What is notable about the FB page is that no one respond to student complaints about parking even though they respond to other issues. There also wasn't an announcement posted for students to arrive early because of severe reduction of parking spaces. If you're going to have social media - use it. 


FOR THIS POST:

Hot and Tired - 4:23 PM, September 06, 2013

     Ooh, look this just arrived in the email box:

 "As a reminder to all Faculty & Staff – Staff Parking in Parking Lot 9 has available spaces.

 While most Staff Parking areas fill quickly, we want to remind you that Parking Lot 9 has been maintaining 30-40 open spaces since the beginning of the Fall '13 semester. This lot is available to anyone with a vehicle displaying a valid Staff Parking Permit. For your convenience we have attached a map with directions from the two main entrances to the campus.

If you have any questions call 949-451-5200. 

Thank you,

 Parking Services"


     I just want to say, I never saw 30-40 open spaces in any lot anywhere this week - that is, not until about 9 at night when all the evening classes let out, many early as usual (When is that particular problem going to be handled?). I believe LOT 9 is the one I spent quality time in last Wednesday. it has several features I never saw before - dedicated space to the cafeteria staff (only one was filled), several spots fuel efficient vehicles - alas, I was not driving mine that day. Only ONE of these were filled) -and then the rest of the lot was FULL. While there may be 30-40 spaces available in the early morning – NONE were available at high hot noon. When I returned after making the rounds of the other lots, I finally scored a spot in LOT 9 when a construction worker on the new BIO building left for lunch. WHEW. 

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 
(And WHY does the pumpkin lot have priority over our students and staff? It was fine when we were small, but...)

 



Anonymous - 4:43 PM, September 06, 2013

     On Thursday, the IVC Classified Senate President emailed a notice concerning parking on September 17, greatly appreciate the warning.
 



Anonymous - 4:49 PM, September 06, 2013

     What is happening on Sept. 17? Perhaps I should just stay home. Perhaps we all should. Kudos to the Classified Senate President. Why no word from Glen?


Anonymous - 6:08 PM, September 06, 2013

     So, the Classified Senate President, upon hearing that another event (like the last one) was scheduled for Sept. 17th, immediately emailed all the classified staff notifying them. Communication, what a novel concept! I always felt the classified staff were the smartest (and most clued-in group) on campus. Anyone else get an email from their leader? Way to go Vince!
 



Anonymous - 6:12 PM, September 06, 2013

     You don't understand 6:08PM, the other leaders have to go through political channels of approval so they know what they are allowed to say about the event on the 17th. I'll bet by the time they get it all reviewed and approved it'll be Sept. 18th.
 



Anonymous - 6:14 PM, September 06, 2013

     Not worth the hassle...just call in sick.
 



Ms. Communications Major - 6:26 PM, September 06, 2013

     Hey, I know, just an informative email with professional tone: 

"It has come to our attention that the special event held at the PAC last Wednesday, combined with other factors, created an unfortunate crisis in terms of parking at prime teaching hours during the day. This was only made worse by the intense heat. We apologize for the lack of foresight and all parking tickets written on Wednesday September 4 will be forgiven. Professors should be equally forgiving of students who failed to attend class because of an inability to locate timely parking. 

We now realize that in two short weeks, on September 17, yet another event at the PAC is likely to produce a similar situation. We are strategizing about ways of mitigating the impact of that event and will keep the campus community posted.

 Thanks for your understanding."


     You have my permission to cut and paste and press send.

I learned the power of honest, direct communication at community college! Imagine that!




Anonymous - 6:56 PM, September 06, 2013

     I'd LOVE to get an email like that. How refreshing it would be. 

Sometimes the contrast between the chirpy, "triumphalist tone" of the PR missives and my own experience on the ground (shabby portables and classrooms (while nice new ones seem to be empty!), no books in the bookstore, no books or the wrong books for my EOPS students, no parking, etc.) is just too big. 

I'd love an email like that one. It would suggest someone is paying attention. 
 



Anonymous - 7:25 PM, September 06, 2013

     Does anyone believe that Craig, any dean, Glennnnnnnn, or other administrator is going to follow their own dictum?

A Saddleback onlooker with close BOT contacts.
 



REPLY:

Roy Bauer - 9:00 PM, September 06, 2013

     7:25—you have close BOT contacts? Do us "north campus" folks a solid and tell those trustees that we're dyin' up here.


Anonymous - 9:39 PM, September 06, 2013
     “Wouldn't it be pretty to think so?” – a literary allusion that seems suitable. Yes, I think a good start would be an email like the one mentioned above but i am not holding my breath. I have worked here for too long and seen how they operate. Thanks goodness for the students otherwise it would be difficult to put up with this stuff.

SATURDAY
Anonymous - 9:13 AM, September 07, 2013
     I think that the administration doesn't understand the depth of the isolation many staff feel. Because the administrators know what is going on because they sit in all the meetings, they presume we know it too. We don't. Unlike other colleges, IVC doesn't have a consistent system of communication. No newspaper. No newsletter other than Glenn's monthly missive about how wonderful he is. Too many emails which become discouraging to sort through and prioritize so most people just begin to ignore them. Someone should really look at how other colleges do it and develop a plan. A weekly newsletter that arrives on Monday and has all the events tidily included, thus preventing the blizzard of emails? 

Oh and when is that old bookstore trailer going to be torn down? Looks pretty trashy at this point.

Anonymous - 9:16 AM, September 07, 2013

     If I remember correctly, Vince did say in his campus-wide speech he wanted to improve communication, refreshing concept. He cares.

Anonymous - 10:12 AM, September 07, 2013

     That would be great. A refreshing concept indeed. It's almost as if there is this illusion of communication - aka "the blizzard of emails" about events, etc. But we need communication about what really matters. Fewer emails with graphics - more information. An online newspaper with daily, weekly updates - just like other colleges. 
 



Anonymous - 10:30 AM, September 07, 2013

     Still stunned no one thought to tell us (or the students) about the event at the PAC on Wednesday. What a welcome back from Labor Day. 



Anonymous - 11:18 AM, September 07, 2013

     As a classified employee our leadership (Vince and Dennis before him) did an excellent job of communicating and keeping us informed. They actually showed caring and concern for their co-workers. I worked at another college and communication was so different. You could tell people cared about one another...it is not a novel concept, but somehow has bypassed the leadership and administration here. This recent event just put a spotlight on the problem.
 



Miss Bee - 11:38 AM, September 07, 2013

     I have always been impressed by the Classified Leadership and their commitment to the people they represent and the students. They understand what it takes to make the place work -and also take the time to do more than just their jobs. This makes a real difference. 



Anonymous - 11:58 AM, September 07, 2013

     Events like these have always made me wonder about the Administration's obsession with civility. Civility isn't the problem - the lack of real consistent communication and consensus governance is.

SUNDAY
Anonymous - 7:26 AM, September 08, 2013
     Sources tell me that the Wednesday event at the PAC took 200 parking spaces - and also impacted the cafeteria in obvious ways. This will happen again in mid-September, mid-week,- not on a Friday when perhaps we have 200 parking spots to spare. WHY they are not telling us this in any systematic way is beyond me. Early arrival does not cut it for the many, many part-timers who teach elsewhere until they have to drive across the county to make their classes at IVC. And even for the rest of us who have to drop off children at school before we head to campus. 200 spaces. No wonder it felt so awful out there. They should forgive all the tickets written that day. They did it to us. What were students supposed to do? Where were they supposed to go?

Anonymous - 7:56 AM, September 08, 2013

     Maybe the PAC event is what inspired the "new" event and activity policy released last Friday - clearly something went wrong somewhere - but we'll never know because they never tell us anything. They just let it trickle out. So - September 17 - another 200 spaces taken by some group, displacing students and staff during prime teaching times. Even when the semester if underway and some students have dropped, I don't think we have 200 spots free. What are they going to do? Perhaps a "Walk to Work Day."

Anonymous - 9:17 AM, September 08, 2013
     How about a "walk off work day". If the administration doesn't care about the students, faculty and staff, then perhaps we should show our displeasure and just not show up.

Miss Reasonable - 9:30 AM, September 08, 2013

     Now, now, now. Take a deep breath and show up several hours early for your one hour and fifteen minute class. Better yet, take the bus.

Roger Pryor Dodge & Mura Dehn dancing Dodge jazz choreography, New York, 1937. 
Duke Ellington with Bubber Miley trumpet.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tsunami study finds Southern California at risk (LA Times)
A theoretical 9.1 quake off Alaska could flood Long Beach and parts of O.C., and force 750,000 to evacuate.

Alaska Quake Tsunami Scenario Swallows North Orange County Coast and Long Beach: USGS (NavelGazing; OC Weekly)

The Walking Dead


Limited Confidence in Boards (Inside Higher Ed)
     College presidents, particularly at four-year public institutions, harbor doubts about the effectiveness of members of the governing boards, according to a new survey by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed.
     About three-fourths of college presidents said they were confident their institutions were well-governed by their boards, but answers to other questions suggest that confidence is limited at best.
     A surprising number of all presidents would change things if they could and are dubious of some board members: 40 percent of college presidents -- including 68 percent of public four-year college presidents -- said they would replace board members if they could, and 11 percent of college presidents clearly disagree that their institutions are well-governed at the board level.
     Presidents’ view of other institutions’ boards is quite dim: only 3 percent of college presidents are strongly confident American colleges are well-governed by boards….

See also The Seven and their Afflictions

Census Report: Enrollment Fell by 467,000 in 2012 (Inside Higher Ed)
     College enrollment fell by 467,000 in the fall of 2012, according to a Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decline followed substantial increases in previous years. Most of the 2012 decline came from older students (those 25 and older). Their enrollment fell by 419,000.

UC-Irvine to Offer "The Walking Dead" Themed MOOC (Inside Higher Ed)
     The University of California at Irvine, ed tech company Instructure and entertainment network AMC will this fall come together to offer a free, eight-week-long online course based on the hit TV show "The Walking Dead."….

What’s Wrong With Philosophy? (New York Times)
By LINDA MARTÍN ALCOFF
     What is wrong with philosophy?
     This is the question I was posed by journalists last year while I served as president of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. Why is philosophy so far behind every other humanities department in the diversity of its faculty? Why are its percentages of women and people of color (an intersecting set) so out of tune with the country, even with higher education? What is wrong with philosophy?
     The demographic challenges in philosophy should not be blamed on those it excludes.
     And now our field has another newsworthy event: the claims of sexual harassment against the influential philosopher Colin McGinn and his subsequent resignation, a story that made the front page of The New York Times. Here is a leading philosopher of language unable to discern how sexual banter becomes sexual pressure when it is repetitively parlayed from a powerful professor to his young female assistant. It might lead one to wonder, what is wrong with the field of philosophy of language?....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On this day in district history….

John Williams
     SEPTEMBER 3rd. Once in a while, I do a search for anything that happened “on this date” X years ago. My files are extensive.
     Well, 15 years ago, the Irvine World News did an editorial (Sept. 3) called “Another loss for Irvine Valley.” I lost the editorial, so that's two losses.
     On this day 16 years ago, trustee Dave Lang wrote a letter to the OC District Attorney’s office, alerting the DA to an alarming number of apparent illegalities afoot in the district at that time.
     Check it out:
• Trustee Dave Lang’s letter to the District Attorney’s office, September 3, 1997
     To give you some idea of the letter's content, here are the subheadings within it:
  • Campaign Election Violations [Faculty union runs amok]
  • Repeated Violations of the Brown Act
  • Selection Process and Permanent Appointment of Irvine Valley college President [Mathur]
  • Violation of Education Code [re Frogue and his “forum” on JFK’s assassination]
  • Other Internal Personnel and Miscellaneous Matters
     That letter is referred to often in Lang’s depositions in connection with the Brown Act lawsuits of 1997, which make for interesting reading:
• David Lang’s “Brown Act” depositions (Jan and Feb 1998)
     September 3 turns out to be an important date (in 1999) in the saga of Raghu Mathur’s effort to blackball a probationary faculty (IVC’s Jeff Kaufmann) over his participation in the naming of a greenhouse. (There’s a key memo from the VPI, dated Sept. 3). Read all about it here:
• The Pat Spencer Depo (re attempt to fire instructor for naming a greenhouse) - MARCH 3, 2000
     A related depo:
• The Jacobson Depo: re firing an instructor for naming a greenhouse
Costa Mesa Won't Release Records On GOP Chief’s Firm (Voice of OC)
     The City of Costa Mesa is refusing to disclose its event contract with a company co-owned by Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh, apparently citing an exemption under the Public Records Act that's typically used for law enforcement investigations....

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dear faculty: FU

The President
     Gosh, while the college seems particularly interested in giving students what they need (nurturing and valuing, evidently), it appears to have declared war on faculty and their needs.
     On Friday, some of us* received an email, from the Office of the President, that informed us of “new processes for Campus Events.”†
     They are preposterously demanding.
     According to the new process,
     In order to schedule … any campus activity, an IVC-Facilities Use Application Form must be completed and submitted to Facilities. … The form must be completed and submitted … at least 90 days in advance of the event. After submission of the form, the requestor must contact [Facilities] to discuss details, requirements, and answer questions. Facilities will then schedule a date for the requestor to attend a Facilities Use Work Group meeting held on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
Plus:
     The requestor may also be required to fill out additional forms and/or applications…. These forms ... are necessary to fully support your event. Failure to complete all forms in a timely manner may cause your event to not be scheduled or supported.
     —I.e., if you don't fill out all the forms, NO SOUP FOR YOU.
     So let me get this straight. If I want to schedule, say, a department meeting somewhere on campus, according to the new “process,” I am obliged to
• Submit my request three months prior to the event.
• Contact facilities to answer their questions.
Attend a Facilities Use Work Group meeting (which is held on Wednesdays, quite possibly when I teach)
• (Likely) fill out additional forms and/or applications.
     Wow. Three months. Attending a special meeting.
     I guess there’ll be no more events on campus—except those of certain special people.

*A friend who is a department chair forwarded the email to me.
†The email also announced a new process for reserving the President's Conference Room.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The remarkable inferiority of education research

     This morning, I’ve been doing more reading on the poor quality of education research. (Background: The latest from the “experts” (1) and (2))
     It’s pretty damned clear that, for the most part, education research is dreadful, a factoid long recognized but widely discussed especially in the last twenty or so years, as the issue of education reform has heated up, now enveloping higher education.
     What amazes me is that so many of my colleagues are unaware of education research's well-deserved reputation as dreck.
     Recently, I cited some influential works that start with that dismal “diagnosis” and suggests approaches to improving research. But not much has been done about the problem. There's been lots of gnashing of teeth. Some cursory flossing maybe.
     One of the more interesting articles about the poor quality of education research appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education fourteen years ago: D.W. Miller's The Black Hole of Education Research. It's a good place to start if you are among those who tend to take the education "experts" seriously. Do so at your, and students', peril.
     But also check out Carl F. Kaestle's earlier The Awful Reputation of Education Research (PDF).
     Here are some excerpts from Miller's article.

• The Black Hole of Education Research, by D.W. Miller, originally in Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 6, 1999: The Black Hole of Education Research

     …Research on the effectiveness of reforms is often weak, inconclusive, or missing altogether. And even in areas illuminated by good scholarship, it often has little influence on what happens in the classroom.
     All disciplines produce lax or ineffective research, but some academics say that education scholarship is especially lacking in rigor and a practical focus on achievement. “Vast resources going into education research are wasted,” says James W. Guthrie, and education professor at Vanderbilt University who advises state legislators on education policy. “When you look at how the money is channeled, it’s not along productive lines at all.”
. . .
     The research-to-practice pipeline, according to scholars and educators, has sprung many leaks. Governments and foundations don’t spend enough on research, or they support the wrong kind. Scholars eschew research that shows what works in most schools in favor of studies that observe student behavior and teaching techniques in a classroom or two. They employ weak research methods, write turgid prose, and issue contradictory findings. Educators and policy makers are not trained to separate good research from bad, or they resist findings that challenge cherished beliefs about learning. As a result, education reform is often shaped by political whim and pedagogic fashion.
. . .
     A fundamental problem facing the field, says Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, a professor of education at New York University, is its fragmentation among many disparate disciplines, including statistics, anthropology, and cognitive psychology. In education, she says, “there are no common patterns of training. If you don’t have common patterns of training, it’s hard to reach agreement on what research is, much less what good research is.”
. . .
     A growing number of quantitative scholars want to revive a research tradition, prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s, of evaluating classroom practices through randomized tests. …[M]any of them see the clinical trails of medical research as a model for education scholarship. When a drug company wants to test the benefits of treating some new pill, they reason, it finds a group of volunteer patients and compares them to an identical control group. “Why is education research any different?” asks Paul E. Peterson, a political scientist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
     Yet such trials, routine in the sciences, are relatively rare in education research, according to Thomas D. Cook, a sociologist at Northwestern University. He recently found that such experiments have hardly been used to examine the effectiveness of common reforms, including vouchers, charter schools, whole-school reform, and continual teacher training.
     A task force sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is urging researchers to increase the use of random sampling and control groups. Without them, advocates say, no researcher will ever be able to attribute a successful outcome to a particular policy. Any other method leaves doubt about alternative explanations, such as selection bias.
. . .
     Some scholars say that the experimental approach is resisted for ideological reasons. “The whole field of education research is dominated by an orthodoxy that the best kind of learning is the kind that spontaneously emerges,” says John E. Stone, an education professor at East Tennessee State University. The so-called learner-centered approach, he says, assumes that learning will occur when “conditions are right,” so qualitative researchers account for differences in achievement by examining the differences between one classroom and the next.
     Many scholars, financing agencies, and journal editors, he says, would prefer to ignore experimental research, which tends to show that traditional, directed instruction, with drills, lectures, and step-by-step lesson plans, works better than more-spontaneous approaches. By example, he points to a $1-billion federal evaluation in the 1970s of various Great Society programs designed to help low-income students. After most approaches flunked and a method called direct Instruction came out on top, he says, the education field essentially ignored the results.
. . .
     At the nexus of most of those complaints lies the sprawling network of U.S. professional schools that train teachers. Those institutions and departments, of which there are more than 1,700, are responsible for cultivating many of the nation’s education researchers as well as for training most of the public-school educators for whom research is intended. Officials at education schools readily acknowledge that they do a poor job of training educators to distinguish good research from bad, and also of training their scholars to make their findings accessible to practitioners.…

OTHER INTERESTING READS (I encountered this morning):

• The Awful Reputation of Education Research (PDF), Carl F. Kaestle, Educational Researcher, Vol. 22, No. 1. (Jan. - Feb., 1993), pp. 23+26-31. (JSTOR)

• Improving the "Awful Reputation" of Education Research, Gerald E. Sroufe, Educational Researcher, Vol. 26, No. 7 (Oct., 1997), pp. 26-28 (JSTOR)

• Scientific Culture and Educational Research by Michael J. Feuer, Lisa Towne, and Richard J. Shavelson - EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER, November 2002 vol. 31 no. 8 4-14

• The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)

     ...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….

• Beyond awful: rethinking education research, Sarah M. Fine, Apr 25th, 2011. EdNewsColorado, April 4, 2011

     ...Last month, Ednews editor Alan Gottlieb published a commentary in which he shared a vision that can only be called bleak. In the piece, he describes a meeting where education researchers and policymakers sat down in an attempt to reconcile their differences – apparently to no avail....

* * *

Further reading:

Issues in Education Research: Problems and Possibilities (1999), edited by Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Lee S. Shulman

Improving Student Learning: A Strategic Plan for Education Research and Its Utilization (1999)

Education Research On Trial: Policy Reform and the Call for Scientific Rigor (2009), edited by Pamela B. Walters, Annette Lareau, Sheri Ranis

* * *

• Why education ‘research wars’ leave no winners (Washington Post, Feb. 5, 2013)

     …These kinds of sloppy inferences play a dominant role in education debates and policy making, and they cripple both processes. Virtually every day, supporters and critics of individuals, policies, governance structures and even entire policy agendas parse mostly-transitory changes in raw test scores or rates as if they’re valid causal evidence, an approach that will, in the words of Kane and Staiger, eventually end up “praising every variant of educational practice.” There’s a reason why people can – and often do – use NAEP or other testing data to “prove” or “disprove” almost anything.
     Nobody wins these particular battles. Everyone is firing blanks.

• Big Surprise: Yet Another Ed Reform Turns Out to be Bogus (Mother Jones) —By Kevin Drum - Mon Jan. 28, 2013 9:55 AM PST

• More Pupils Are Learning Online, Fueling Debate on Quality (New York Times, April 5, 2011)

     …[C]ritics say online education is really driven by a desire to spend less on teachers and buildings, especially as state and local budget crises force deep cuts to education. They note that there is no sound research showing that online courses at the K-12 level are comparable to face-to-face learning….
. . .
     The growth has come despite a cautionary review of research by the United States Department of Education in 2009. It found benefits in online courses for college students, but it concluded that few rigorous studies had been done at the K-12 level, and policy makers “lack scientific evidence of the effectiveness” of online classes.
. . .
     Like other education debates, this one divides along ideological lines. K-12 online learning is championed by conservative-leaning policy groups that favor broadening school choice, including Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has called on states to provide all students with “Internet access devices” and remove bans on for-profit virtual schools.
     Teachers’ unions and others say much of the push for online courses, like vouchers and charter schools, is intended to channel taxpayers’ money into the private sector.
     “What they want is to substitute technology for teachers,” said Alex Molnar, professor of education policy at Arizona State University....

• Classroom Technology Faces Skeptics At Research Universities (Information Week, February 08, 2013) – Largely, a discussion of “Technological Change and Professional Control in the Professoriate”

     …Professors at top research universities are highly skeptical of the value of the instructional technologies being injected into their classrooms, which many see as making their job harder and doing little to improve teaching and learning.
     That's the conclusion of "Technological Change and Professional Control in the Professoriate," published in the January edition of Science, Technology & Human Values. Based on interviews with 42 faculty members at three research-intensive universities, the study was funded under a grant from the National Science Foundation and particularly focuses on professors in the sciences, including chemistry and biology, with anthropology thrown in as a point of comparison….

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