Saturday, November 30, 2013

Late November musings: remembering a veritable ruseological polymath, the Napolean of Slime

Turkey, oven, electrocution, slit throats
     1. ORWELLIAN CHOWDERHEAD. Early Wednesday afternoon, the IVC community received a chirpy “Thanksgiving” message from President Roquemore.
     Good for him, I guess.
     It contained the usual bromides (plus some Board brown-nosing).
     It also included an Orwellian element: “I am thankful for health [sic] of our institution and district as we work together with transparency and collaboration.”
     That reminds me of one of Raghu Mathur’s favorite ruses, the "false paper trail" gambit, which we explained in Dissent 19 (2/1/99):
     It works like this: you write someone, misdescribing some event (or including some lie) the acceptance of which by others would be to your advantage. When the letter’s recipient, who is in a position to know the truth about the event in question, fails to correct the distortion (as is likely, for he naturally feels that he has better things to do), you then cite the letter as proof that an independent witness to the event (namely, the letter’s recipient) views [the event] just as you [want them to]. Voila!
     I offered this example:
     In March of last year, [IVC President Raghu] Mathur received a letter from State Academic Senate President Bill Scroggins that essentially rebuked Mathur for his self-serving revisionism in a letter to Scroggins that referred to an earlier conversation. Scroggins wrote
     “Your letter inaccurately attributes your actions...as based on my advice. As you very well know, my advice to you was to meet the legal requirements for effective academic senate participation...The Academic Senate Vice President...was a party to our telephone conversation and will confirm that this was my advice to you.”
     Of course, ruse-wise, compared to Mathur, Roquemore is a pipsqueak piker; the former was and is a veritable ruseological polymath, the Napolean of slime. In this instance, the latter is thinking, I suppose, that if the Accreds (and others) see these uncontested references to “transparency and collaboration” (T&C), well, then, they'll think that there must be a whole lotta T&C goin’ on!
     Chowderhead.

     2. PHILISTINES. I went to my bro’s family’s Thanksgiving Day extravaganza yesterday (enormous turkey included; my folks brought a ham; meat, meat, meat). I love his family, especially the kids, but, gosh, next time I’m bringing a pair of Sony MDR-NC200Ds (noise-cancelling headphones). Between the caterwauling, colliding kids and skunky, skittering canines, I don’t think I heard a word anyone said to me. I do believe I suffered PTSD by the end of the evening.
     Later, at dinner, I compared my niece Natalie—she very nearly had a tantrum over some trifle—to the ill-tempered kid on the old Twilight Zone episode, the one who turned "bad" people into jack-in-the-boxes—whereupon some old guy (ex-military) complained loudly about how lousy TV is today. "Crap," he called it. I looked at him and said, “Really? In my opinion, we're experiencing the Golden Age of TV!” Horrified, he responded with a round of sloppy, beslobbering harrumphitude, which was immediately accompanied by my father’s similar jowl-jiggling stylings.
     It was hopeless. Mine was a vegeterarian comment in a meat-eating conversation.
     I thought, but did not say, “Philistines.” In fact, I said nothing, 'cept, "Breaking Bad was good."
     Years ago, I recommended to my folks that they watch Mad Men. Thought they'd like it. They saw one episode and declared the show to be "immoral." (And yet my folks aren't prudes: you should see my dad's callipygian sculptures; he's an "ass" man, he is.)
Biting and scratching; the price of love
     3. THE CAT. Former Smiths frontman and vegetarian, Morrisey, has criticized President Obama for chirpily participating in the usual anthropocentric atrocities of this time of year. No doubt, every idiot in the world has opined thereof.
     Meanwhile, an old friend wrote me about her new appreciation of The Cat:
     I am now officially a cat person. Olie curled up by the fire and simply demanded that I stop my nonsense. Totally irresistible.
     I, too, feel especially appreciative of my own cat, young Theodore, who routinely demands that I cease my bookish ways and just play with him, an enterprise that starts with the flying of fake birds and increasingly culminates in his pouncing upon my left forearm and tearing and biting it to pieces (I protect myself with a towel, but with limited success).
     “You silly, flesh-eating cat,” I say.
     Despite these entertainments, he’s a remarkably sweet cat. He's a good influence on me. He's calm, patient, good.
     And he’s seriously charismatic. He has numerous female admirers, namely, every woman he ever meets, darned guy.
Young Theodore, resting 
Young Theodore, yawning
And be transparent, too!
     4. CONVERSATION. Visited my folks at lunch today. Showed ‘em a website, called Big Think, that I thought they might want to explore. I explained it to them.
     They stared at me, uncomprehending.
     I grabbed their laptop (I bought it for them a couple of years ago) and showed them the site. We watched a video by an academic nutritionist, who remarked on vegetarian and nonvegetarian diets. (My folks are fully loaded with opinions about diet and health.)
     My folks stared at the screen and said nothing.
     “She’s giving you an overview of her understanding of what we know about diet and health,” I said. “And she seems to know what she’s talking about. She’s at New York University.”
     To use one of my dad’s own expressions, he stared at me blankly, as though he “didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.”
     My mom commenced making an irrelevant comment about the nutritionist’s age. The theme from the Twilight Zone played in my head.
     OK, I moved on to a video about education by psychologist Laurence Steinberg (Temple U). This particular video concerned the topic “Why Some Races Outperform Others” (see).
     I love what Steinberg has to say. My folks, however, didn’t seem to know what to make of it all. It's as if I were showing them a video about the life of the aphid.
     I do wish they’d use their laptop and surf the web once in a while. But, after years of my and my sister’s encouragement, they seldom do. They can barely turn their TV on and off. About once a week, they call me, saying, "The TV stopped working." I go down and fix it for them.
     There's never anything wrong with it. My dad seems to press buttons randomly and is inevitably puzzled by the results. In silence, I watch him fumbling, struggling. There isn't much I can do.
     Finally, I found a video about “public art” and played that. (My folks love art; they're potters.) An artist was explaining some of the limitations of public funding of art and the need for the public to catch up to the “conversation” going on among artists.
     Detecting my folks’ incomprehension, I briefly touched on some of these themes, especially the point about “conversation.”
     My dad thought a bit and then said, “You know, down at our studio, you don’t want a lot of conversation. Can’t get anything done.”

     5. GAGA. Check out this cool video:



The Bauer kids, recently, in the old studio

Friday, November 29, 2013




Stars in their Cleveland hometown, unknown elsewhere (except for the minor national hit "It's Cold Outside"), the Choir played an accomplished, if a bit anachronistic, British Invasion-influenced pop/rock in the late '60s. The Mersey-mod hybrid "It's Cold Outside" went to number one in Cleveland in 1967. The group was then picked up by Roulette, but a couple of subsequent singles were subject to inappropriate material and over-production, and stiffed. Obscure and unissued material by the Choir is beginning to appear on CD, and reveals them branching out from power-pop to encompass progressive sounds as they changed personnel in the late '60s. Members of the group later played in the Raspberries, and the Choir is still fondly remembered in Cleveland for their strong and melodic original material. 
—From All Music

Thursday, November 28, 2013

IVC Employee Survey (Don't be a turkey)


     I'm told that all participants in the survey receive a free turkey.*

    *A voice in my head told me that. So I'm guessing it isn't true. But who knows.
    If you take the survey today, do try to resist the urge to get all thankful. You get to be pissed, even on Thanksgiving Day. I know because a wise old Turk told me so.

Dad and his "avocado crew"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The SOCCCD BOT selects its management philosophy

Oddly, in our district, the piñata tradition is strictly binary.

The Veterans Center fubar, part 5: administration's dog and pony show


     We’ve been talking with more veterans on campus. And we’ve reached out to various others, including Minkler himself.
     One fellow, an active member of the vet community at IVC for some time, offered this picture: that the prominent players among vets are “good guys,” though some do have rough edges. A few are not without “ego,” evidently. For this and other reasons there have been some tensions and conflicts.
     On the other hand, such difficulties have not precluded the formation and persistence of a fairly close vet community, a group that enjoys genuine camaraderie.
     We asked: How do you feel about IVC administration?
     This vet is pretty cynical. The administration, he says, seem always to use the vets for “dog and pony shows.” They’re always smiling at us and showing us off at events, but one gets the distinct impression that they’re mostly about good press, photo ops.
     They do seek to attract more veterans in the competition for them with other schools. But they don’t seem to understand that lots of vets need more than an office to pick up forms. Especially combat vets.

Glenn leads by example.
     Our vet seemed to say that, where the rubber meets the road, IVC’s administration doesn’t seem to care much about IVC vets. And, now, things are pretty f*cked up.
     What about Minkler? What do you make of him?
     He’s a "snake," said our vet.
     And President Roquemore?
     Our vet has been observing the situation for some time. He offered this assessment: Roquemore seems to want to be the guy who comes around to smile and shake hands. But he hires people who seem to do dirty work. He obviously wants that work to get done. But he doesn’t want to do it himself.
     He mentioned Fontanilla.
     What about Darryl Cox?
     Loved ‘im. All the vets loved ‘im.
     Have you spoken with him about his getting axed?
     Nope. They (HR?) told us that we weren’t ever to communicate with Darryl. They told him the same thing.
     And Darryl’s shit is still sitting on his desk.
     As we’ve reported recently, there are those, including reliable sorts, who know Minkler and who have a favorable impression of him.
     Nevertheless, he’s been moved out of the Veterans Service Center and located elsewhere. Why?
     You’d think we’d hear from administration. Some kind of explanation.
     Well no. It’s IVC, Jake. Expect to hear nothing.

Nobody could find parking.
There was a dog and pony show. The dog seemed ambivalent.
A disturbing silence permeated the grounds.
Inexplicably, a helicopter appeared.
Nothing was explained; no one was warned.
Eventually, the dog wandered home, having been abandoned
on the grounds with an old biscuit and a surly cat.
The “Fubar” series:

• The Veterans Center FUBAR, Part 1 — or "Why do the Veterans hate the veterans' counselor?"*
• The Veterans Center FUBAR, part 2: protection!
• The Veterans Center FUBAR, part 3: a room of one’s own
• The Veterans Center fubar, part 4: another side?
• The Veterans Center fubar, part 5: administration's dog and pony show
• The Veterans Center fubar, part 6: the "other side" re Mark Minkler

Monday, November 25, 2013

The November meeting of the SOCCCD BOT, live and direct! Briefly clucking and gobbling, then heading home

Turkey
     Be sure to also read Tere's Board Meeting Highlights.

     NO PLEASURE. There are those who insist that all human action is self-interested. The proof of this, they say, is that, when we get what we want, we feel pleasure. And whenever we do anything, we obviously want something. Thus, to do something is to seek pleasure.
     To all this I say "Humbug." For I wanted to come to this meeting. I did, after all, go out of my way to travel here, disturbing a perfectly nice moment with my cat Theodore, who was happily attacking my forearm with his needle-like claws--our standard form of entertainment on wintry nights. And so here I am, having fought Marguerite traffic, my arm barely bloodied, my interests definitely flagging.
     And so I wanted to be here, and here I am, and yet I am certain that no pleasure is about to be had. Not by me anyway. On the contrary.
     My motivation to show up to these absurd meetings has hit an all-time low. Long gone is the kind of sulfurous fun one might enjoy watching Tom Fuentes make ugly faces at liberals, real or imagined, in the room & world. —Or the delight one would feel upon seeing Don Wagner's bottle of sneer and peeve building pressure in someone's direction—a state inevitably culminating in bloody Neanderthalic pouncification and predation. Oh, the humanity!
     It's 6:08, and there's no sign of trustees. The audience is pretty light—why would it be otherwise? And here I sit, disappointing young Theodore, a personage of far greater estimability than any trustee for hundreds of miles around. Certainly, he's more perceptive. And he's not blinded by a sense of importance produced by having tens of thousands of morons voting for whatever incumbent is available.
     I'm being much too negative. This board is, as I've often declared, the best that the district has ever seen. Yes. On the other hand, previous boards comprised Nazis, rednecks, and massive gas bags, floating stupidly in the sky. And that's just John Williams, who, thank God, finally popped and got boxed up and carted away.
     Lately, this board and their Chance have blathered about their unparalleled labors bringing about civility and warm-and-fuzzitude throughout the district. They have relied on such sure-fire means as threatening to write up anybody who says anything negative. (That was Glenn's idea, but it got nixed.) They're still trying to get a "civility" board policy passed, but the senates are still carping. My own view is that a kind of incivility should be encouraged. After all, somebody's got to compete with the ruthless bastards who run things up in IVC.
     6:22: Aha! the trustees have appeared, and some of 'em have strange growths under their noses! I'm trying to read their faces and body language, but that only makes me think of some depraved version of the Brady Bunch.
     So far, we've spotted three trustees: Lang, Wright, and Prendergast, the latter keeping his nose warm with that Movember growth. —And Gary. Lang seems to be counting beans, privately. Prendergast looks grumpy and furry.
     Aha! Bill Jay has tottered in and has landed in his chair. And now Marcia and Nancy! The end is near! James Wright is now wandering back to his seat. The only trustee unaccounted for is Tim Jemal, the fellow I like to call the Spirit of the Mere Possibiility of Intelligence. Natch, that one's a no show.

IVC Model UN team. One wonders what it's like to be
an act in Glenn's perpetual dog and pony show
     6:29 They've started the meeting.
     Actions reported. Leave of absence approved for somebody, classified. Also amended: somebody—a noneducational manager, I think—gets to be fired if they agree to a one-year contract. Something like that. Golly.
     Bill Jay does a moment of silence for the people of the Phillipines. Dave Lang leads the Pledge, a bean quietly falling from his fingers to the floor.
     There are no resolutions, but there is a commendation. Glenn Roquemore presents the Model UN team of IVC, which recently excelled in some way. Each member is handed a certificate or something. It's the usual thing. On it goes. Nice kids, I'm sure. Tere takes a lovely pic, struggling to get all fifty members in one shot. (Well, there're about fifteen.)

     Any public comments? OF COURSE NOT. WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT?

Only males gobble
     6.1, 6.2, 6.3 advanced: independent auditors.
     Deb Fitz introduces somebody who introduces an auditor. A blond gal. "A very positive audit result." Financial statements of the district. Blah, blah, blah. All of the funds of the district, but also fed and state funding. Several auditors' opinions. Auditors offered "unmodified" opinion, which is really good, evidently. They tagged the district on "one minor" item. An auditor bumped into Dale C, I guess. Blah, blah, blah. Financially, we're on an upturn here in Cal. We did not have any concerns. Some positive trends going on. Could pay down something, make a contributiont to something. You're in a "sound condition." Questions?
     Lang: congratulates staff. Have done an excellent job, making sure our financial statements are terrific, etc.
     Motion, etc. Unanimous approval. That's 6.1. They move on to 6.2. Same thing there. Some recommendations for the foundations, however. You can read them. No questions. Approval carries unanimously. They do 6.3 also. Something about OPEB trust. Fitz asserts that we got an "unqualified opinion." That's good. Unanimous approval.

     Board reports:

     Bill Jay: "no further comments, thank you." (Gosh, has he uttered a single word yet? Oh yeah, he introduced that moment of silence.)
     Marcia Milchiker: recommends new online format of agenda. (She's right about that.) Did lots of usual things. Legislative Task Force meeting in Fullerton College. Working to help veterans: better opportunities, etc. Saddleback College Veterans Center dedication: "heart rending." We had "several" BOT forums.
     TJ Prendergast: attended IVC veterans ceremony. Always a pleasure to celebrate the veterans. Forums were well attended, especially here at Saddleback. Good discussion at both sites. He commented on his mustache: Movember, etc.
     Nancy Padberg: I attended the forums, veterans events. Worked with audit committee.
     James Wright: K-12 partnership breakfast at SC. Paramedic graduation at SC. Attended both Veterans Day ceremonies, etc. Attended district forums: "those are good events." He looks forward to them. Football games. (By now, half the room is snoozing.) Last thing: community college league of Cal convention in Burlingham, CA. A wonderful event. (If you say so.) Chancellor Bryce Harris gave a wonderful report on Cal CCs. We need to "stay focused." The Bacc. degree. We need to study possibility of CCs offering these, I guess.
     Dave Lang: no formal comments, but wanted to wish everyone a good Thanksgiving.
     Student trustee Robinson: congratulates various winners of this and that. Mentions that his father served as Air Force Captain during Viet Nam "conflict." I think this kid hopes to run for office some day. D'ya think? He looks like he lives in a poster.
     Chancellor Poertner: wants to reiterate forum comment: the climate in our district, a vast improvement from where we were in the past. Particularly important as we try to move forward. Urges continued work. Board continues to have high level of interest in student success.
     IVC Prez Roquemore: thanks trustees for attending Vets day ceremonies. Our keynote speaker was trustee and veteran James Wright. (Kiss, kiss, kiss.) Also, IVC is now offering "freshman advantage," colloborating with our sister college. Matriculation program.
     SC Prez Burnett: very pleased to report SC approved year-long efforts to create success committee.  (Yes, pleased as punch.) Bring our college together to move on student success. Thanks board for attending veterans celebration. Thanked board for "terrific" board forum. Very positive. Lots of good questions, dialogue. Administrators and managers went through training recently for emergencies. Coming events: Feast of Lights with our choir and orchestra, Dec. 7-8. Next board meeting: official groundbreaking of new Science Building. Happy Thanksgiving.

Board requests for reports:

Females are called hens; they cluck
but do not gobble
     Milchiker requested report and so did Jemal (security cameras?). Approved unanimously.

     5.1 Consent Calendar. Anything to be pulled? Apparently not. "This must be a record," said Nancy.
     Naturally, carries unanimously. "Wonderful," says Nancy.

     6.4 - Contract with Neudesic. Wright asks question about wait lists. Being redesigned from the ground up because earlier incarnation "did not meet expectations." Approved.
     6.5 - Board Policy revision, etc. For review and study.
     6.6 - Board Policy revision, etc. Approval. Carries unanimously.
     6.7 - Academic Personnel Actions (this is interesting). Bugay makes some corrections. Refers to replacement pages. Prendergast makes a point of clarification. Approved unanimously.
     6.8 - Classified personnel actions. Prendergast: asks about Richard Morley. Is this in line with the presentation we had before, restructuring the foundation to bring in more people to generate more funds? Is this related? Roquemore looks worried: yes, related, but there's a lot more to that. Strategic planning work. Refers to pp. 20 to 25. SC has already gone forward with this. Standard in the state to have this title/position. —There are no other questions. Approved unanimously.
     6.9 -  Request to rescind sabbatical for Lisa Davis Allen. No comments or questions.

[It's 7:05]
7.1 speakers
7.2 basic aid
7.3 projets for local funding
7.4 retiree trust fund
7.5 monthly financial status report
7.6 quarterly investment
7.7 non-resident tuition.
Reports from constituent groups:

Wild turkeys can fly; domestics are too fat
     SC Ac Senate: no report
     Faculty Association: no report
     IVC Academic Senate: leaders of academic senates of both colleges attended statewide plenary meetings.
     Peebles: Tustin Ranch Road opened on Sunday. People seem pleased as punch to hear about this. We've made good progress on demolition. Hydroseeded. Spaces to develop, retangular spaces. (Gosh, he's got lots to say.)
     VC Tech Bramucci: alignment of forces on completion agenda. Want them to be aware of what we are doing. We've been going around to see folks at state and fed level. Lots of speaking, oh good. Lots of meetings. Buzz, buzz, buzz. Student software programs.
     VC Bugay, Human resources: two reports on training. Tenure review process. Upbeat blarney.
     VC Fitzsimmons: Blah blah blah.
     Others: Blah blah blah.
     I'm outa here. 7:14, p.m.

The Veterans Center fubar, part 4: another side?

     Any intelligent denizen of IVC confronted with two possibilities—that, owing to their usual abysmal incompetence and utter unsuitability for higher education, Glenn Roquemore and Co. have made a total mess of things, or, alternatively, that they have made sound judgments and have thereby produced an essentially sound state of affairs—would, owing to that intelligence, confidently wager that the former is afoot and the latter is a mere possibility. It is with this reasonable and widespread prejudice that we at DtB were confronted, last week, with sometimes angry, sometimes sober, but consistent accounts of the grotesque misbehavior and incompetence of one Mark Minkler, the newly-hired veterans counselor.
     Still, though it is hard to make one’s lips say it, it is indeed possible that the usual suspects are in this instance largely innocent and that Mr. Minkler is not the lout he has been described as being.
     We at DtB are in the habit of reporting stunning fubars and then inviting and permitting alternative perspectives and criticisms of our reportage. And so, when, as usual, we went out of our way to invite perspectives running contrary to the story we were telling (we did that last week*), we naturally supposed that those sharing that perspective would do so. And when they did not (yes, we received the usual unhelpful charges that we were being unfair; but where exactly the unfairness lay was, as usual, unspecified), we naturally, though perhaps erroneously, concluded that there simply are none who share the contrary perspective. And this, of course, can seem to be evidence that, for once, there is a controversy for which there is only one side worth stating, and we have stated it.
     But it is important to remember that Irvine Valley College is an odd place, for it is populated, to an unusual degree, by trembling employees who live in mute silence about all things wrong, ridiculous, and regrettable. This (often) unseemly Irvinean diffidence and abject ridiculosity is usually attributed to fear: of retaliation from superiors (Craig, et al.), of being perceived as “uncooperative” and “uncivil.”
     It is also attributable, I suppose, to sheer unmitigated Republicanism, with which far too many citizens are afflicted in these parts.
* * *
     To my amazement, recently, I have at long last encountered the other voices, though I generally had to go out of my way to find them.
     One source, a reliable person who is admirably tapped into the goings on of this campus, suggested to me that, in their experience, Mr. Minkler has never exhibited the boorish and disturbing behaviors that have recently been attributed to him.
     This report, in itself, does not go far, but my source went further. According to the source, it is indeed true that formal complaints have been made against the new counselor, and at least one of them has been investigated. In the case of the first complaint, however, the investigator found the accusations to be less than credible.
     Again, that, in itself, if true, does not go far. But my source went on to explain that at least some of the complainers seem connected to each other, and that the prime or initial complainer seems to be in a glaring conflict of interest (for reasons I feel uncomfortable sharing). That is, among some of these complainers, one can identify a motive to find (or exaggerate) Minklerean misconduct beyond the existence of actual Minklerean misconduct.
     I have heard other reports, too—of Mr. Minkler’s seeming outstanding reasonableness in at least some settings about subjects about which such reasonableness might be unexpected.
     Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not reversing what we thus far have reported. It seems clear at this point that the development of the Veterans Service Center has proceeded less than optimally. Some administrators appear to have handled a bad situation badly.But it is beginning to appear that, in this case, as in so many others, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle between two seemingly incompatible accounts coming from two mutually-hostile parties.
     I wonder whether, in this instance, DtB has heard only “one side” of a genuine two-sided controversy.
     Please let us know what you think. And do try to be helpful and not simply to vent or rage or spew.

   *Last week, I wrote: "I have said this many times before and I will say it again: those who wish to provide an opposing view should simply provide it. If an alleged fact is not a fact, they should simply say that and make their case. Further, they can contact me—I make no secret who I am or where I can be found—and I'd be happy to listen to you and even to provide you an opportunity for an written response. I have often done that over the years."

The “Fubar” series:

• The Veterans Center FUBAR, Part 1 — or "Why do the Veterans hate the veterans' counselor?"*
• The Veterans Center FUBAR, part 2: protection!
• The Veterans Center FUBAR, part 3: a room of one’s own
• The Veterans Center fubar, part 4: another side?
• The Veterans Center fubar, part 5: administration's dog and pony show
• The Veterans Center fubar, part 6: the "other side" re Mark Minkler

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

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

Goals and Values and Twaddle

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

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

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

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

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

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary