Saturday, December 7, 2013

Young Theodore has had a fine day

Visits from three fave girlfriends in three consecutive days
Ted is a popular creature, that's for sure

The anti-anti-apartheid right

     See Red Emma’s The Anti-Anti-Apartheid Right & Memory: Reactionary Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry - in Portside this morning.

     Yesterday, at 3:39 p.m., Prez Glenn Roquemore emailed the college community to say:
     We have lowered the flags today in response to President Obama’s recent proclamations.
     We honor Nelson Mandela by flying the United States Flag at Half Staff now until Sunset, December 9, 2013….

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Veterans Center Fubar, part 8: what vets need/want

     Obviously, it’s not for me to say what vets need here at IVC in a Veterans Service Center. I’m not a vet.
     But the Reb and I have spoken to quite a few vets in the last two weeks or so. We spoke at length with one today.
     Here is some of what I believe we’ve heard from them:
  • After all that they’ve been through, vets can have trouble adjusting to the very different life of the student.
  • Vets need a place where they can congregate and meet informally, a "safe" and welcoming place where they can share their knowledge and experience. Vets can help vets.
  • It is possible to create such a place and then to disturb or even destroy its delicate “ecology.” Not everything helpful to vets belongs in a vet center. (Perhaps a full-time counselor is a bad fit in a vet center.)
  • Military veterans don’t take kindly to rude or officious behavior. They don’t appreciate being barked at or belittled. They bristle at what might be called an officer’s attitude.
  • Vets tend to be no-bullshit types. They don’t need dog and pony shows. They don’t want to be put on display by or for anyone.
     Feel free to critique the above “points.” I have no desire to speak for vets. I’d much rather they spoke for themselves.

THE QUESTION: What do vets need/want?

     Military veterans, please leave answers to our question. Tell us what you (i.e., vets) need and want here at Irvine Valley College.
     I’ll post your comments below.
This morning, the flag outside A100 was not at half staff.
Then, suddenly, it was. Go figure.
In response to 1:03 (Dec 6):

Anonymous – 12:55 PM, December 09, 2013
     I agree with you. While I am impressed with most of the officers and careerists I've met, many of the veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan that I've been in contact with have been arrogant and brash. I'm not even certain why they need their own center. Fine, have a veterans counselor, but why can't that person serve in an office with the rest of the counselors? A center just seems to encourage rude behavior and sexual harrassment. And we're supposed to let this continue because of what they've been through? Sorry, no.

Anonymous - 6:27 PM, December 07, 2013

     Well said, 7:26am and 8:20am. The problem as I see it is that there is no one at the District interested in changing anything. They are only interested in their own agendas, pay, benefits, etc. Nothing will change until there is change at the District level.

Anonymous - 7:45 PM, December 07, 2013

Chancellor Poertner
     But it's their jobs to be interested. Surely the Chancellor must have some sense of the mismangement at IVC. 

Anonymous - 8:05 PM, December 07, 2013

     I agree with you that it's their jobs to be interested. What I'm saying is if the mismanagement at the District level isn't being addressed, do you really think anything is going to change at the college level?

Anonymous - 8:30 PM, December 07, 2013

     Well, that's discouraging. Who's in charge?

Anonymous - 9:36 PM, December 06, 2013
    Embarrassing for the administration, 

sad for the veterans on campus. 

sorry guys and gals, you deserve better

* * *
Anonymous - 6:36 AM, December 07, 2013

     While there were problems before, Glen's "fix" only made things worse as does his ongoing unwillingness to address the problems. I thought he was more man than that. But he sends out other people to do what he wants done and then pretend it is going to be all right. I don't know how he can forget his commitments like that. 

Anonymous - 7:26 AM, December 07, 2013

     This problem is like most at IVC - it stems from a lack of leadership, poor judgment, an unwillingness to acknowledge and correct mistakes, a fear to speak out (which has been seen to have real consequences in recent days) - and the total abandonment by the board and the chancellor who seem to be just as willing as Glen to show up to the photo op moments but who have yet to care about the real human consequences of such poor management. While I am disappointed in IVC's leadership, I expected more from the district. Don't they know how to ask the hard questions instead of just accepting the rosy-colored answers?

Anonymous - 8:20 AM, December 07, 2013

Darryl Cox
     The lack of leadership at IVC is the root of all problems here on campus. In regards to the vets, let's take a look at the last few years and the administrations role in what has occurred. 
Recognizing the growing vet population and their needs, the campus encouraged the vets to form a support group on campus. 
The vets were given some space (which was moved from time to time over the years) to meet, study and work together. Darryl Cox oversaw the vets program. Glen spoke of his support for the vets and worked at getting the college recognized as a Veteran friendly campus. About 2 years ago, Richard Morley joined IVC with great promises of fundraising and proposed a "Veterans Angels" gala that was supposed to bring in 300-500 people and $$$ pledges for veteran scholarships. (I still have my Veteran's Angels flyer). The vets were used as the "props" for the gala, yet when the smoke cleared the gala was not much of an event and the veterans never got a dime. A second gala was held again this past year....same result, lots of hype, little $$$ to show for the effort. The veterans even tried to have a car show to raise money, however, Morley got involved, promised to support the vets and then bailed when the bills came in. Unfortunately, Darryl Cox was blamed when the veterans spoke up about the problems. When Linda F came aboard, she quickly displayed her brusque style and issues with Darryl and the vets. When the time came to hire a counselor, rather than select someone on campus whom the vets like and respected, Linda and Glen selected Minkler (this occurred after the second set of hiring interviews). Minkler evidently was not a good fit and that information was passed on the administration, however, bad news is never taken well and the problems continued on. Then Darryl was placed on leave (with no explanation to the vets or the campus) and Linda F proclaiming she was in charge. Since she has been "in charge" the fiasco in the vets center has escalated into the issues we get to read about today. 
What a fine mess we have. 
The bottom line is that we have a lack of leadership, we have people like Linda F, Richard Morley and others in A100 that like Glen, have failed this campus and it's students.
Until we have a leadership change, nothing else will change.

* * *
Anonymous - 1:03 PM, December 06, 2013

VP Linda Fontanilla
     OK, I feel this needs to be said: I don't see why vets, as a group, seem to justify all the adulation and deification that seems to go with the title. We haven't had a draft for decades, and it's obvious that many people join up for the perks and other benefits they think they'll receive, and some go in for the opportunity to be legally ultra violent. I can't think of any conflict since 1945 that was fought in the national interest, so the old "patriotic serving my country" stuff wears thin. At least the Vietnam vets were mostly drafted, so they have more of a claim to sympathy, from my point of view.

 Blast away.

[NOTE: whether any of the above "needs to be said," it does not need to be said here; the idea of this post was to hear from military veterans and what they want. We did not ask for a critique of vets by non-vets. 1:03's perspective certainly is remarkable, though. --RB]

Anonymous - 9:03 AM, December 06, 2013
     The flag should be at half mast. Presidential proclamation honoring Mandela.

Anonymous - 1:36 PM, December 06, 2013

     1:03, what's the point of blasting away? You clearly would not understand and you are clearly not worth the effort.

 Nice troll btw......

Anonymous - 1:58 PM, December 06, 2013

     Would not understand what, 1:03 [1:36]? Please share your special knowledge. Also, please try to understand the difference between trolling and having a discussion, even if you dislike the perspective. 

Anonymous - 2:39 PM, December 06, 2013

     We need Linda to leave us alone and let us be. Darryl is gone, Enrique is gone, Chris is gone. You win Linda, the program is shit now your mission has been accomplished. Keep that freakshow Mark up stairs and let us move on. 

Anonymous - 3:31 PM, December 06, 2013

     Mark has every right to write here, as does any other member of the college community - that's how it works. It helps to listen. Not listening is what created this mess. It is what happens at IVC all too often. 

It also helps to communicate in honest ways so that people might listen better. It doesn't help, IMO, to shout. That makes it hard to listen and often creates a louder response. 

So...what to do now?

Anonymous - 7:09 PM, December 06, 2013
     Mark has every right to write on here this is true. What he does not have the right to do is pretend to be a student veteran and then bash the student veterans he does not like. 
That's how it works.

Anonymous - 9:02 AM, December 06, 2013
     I dont want Chris in the veteran's center, he was not a postive influence.

* * *
Anonymous - 927 PM, December 05, 2013
     I NEED the old center back. The one where Chris and Enrique helped student veterans succeed in the classroom and all around life in general

Anonymus - 7:30 PM, December 05, 2013 [Posted under part 6]
Pres. Roquemore
     This has been embarrassing for a long time – It's just that people are finally noticing it. It's funny what embarrasses you. The marginalization of students that the college has depended on and used for fundraising and PR is embarrassing. The manner in which administrators and faculty are allowed to speak to students (and the vets are students you know) is embarrassing. The process which created, sustained and now is trying to cover up this is embarrassing.
     Besides, there are worse things than being embarrassed – though I don't know how someone can be embarrassed by the fact people are expressing themselves. Free speech. Robust speech. We're taught that this is a good thing.
     Failing to serve the real needs of students in effective ways at the expense of a self-serving agenda is much more embarrassing. That is what has happened.

Anonymous - 2:28 PM, December 05, 2013 [From part 7]
      I want to know how Linda is going to explain the fact that she walked into a top notch veteran program running smoothly and after only being here a year it's completely destroyed. Good hire for VP Glenn, you really hit a home run with that one.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Veterans Center fubar, part 7: Glenn's "military friendly" poster boys respond to the Minklerian narrative

     Last night’s Minkler post yielded a strong response. Essentially, we had presented (what seems to be) Minkler’s side of things, the essence of which is that a disgruntled faculty member (“hey, I shoulda got that job!”) and a core group of unruly vets (“we have created these monsters!”) have “Swiftboated” the innocent Minkler, who is in fact a competent professional with no history of inappropriate conduct.
     Let’s just say that, at this point, we have heard rather loudly and clearly from some irate veterans who insist that the above Minklerian narrative is a complete and perverse fiction:
  • Minkler has certainly not been “cleared” of charges that he behaved inappropriately; on the contrary.
  • Contra the Minklerians, the complaints against Minkler are serious and have necessitated his removal from the vet center; his conduct, especially with women, has been distinctly and consistently inappropriate.
  • Contra the Minklerians, the so-called “core group” of vets have never been accused by students of offensive/unwelcome behavior; they are in fact respected and valued by the IVC vet community; indeed, for years, they have been the administration’s poster boys for IVC vet-friendliness.
  • The so-called “disgruntled” instructor (who filed the initial complaint) would have gained nothing by having been selected for the vet counselor job (e.g., securing the job would have yielded no increase in salary); he/she applied essentially as a favor to the veterans
     At least one veteran with whom we spoke insists that the Minklerian “side” represents nothing less than administration’s outrageous attempt to spin the facts and divert attention from a bad hire (details to come, perhaps) and utter mismanagement of a once-promising center, which, until recently, attracted vets and thus impressed VIPs and inspired donors.
     The latter enterprise, he said, is now in serious jeopardy.

* * *
     For what it’s worth, I have asked around about the allegedly “disgruntled” instructor, and, thus far, I have been unable to find anyone who has anything critical to say about him/her. He/she is a “good person,” they say, not the vindictive soul described by Minklerians.
     Likely, despite HR’s tight-lipped ways, time will tell whose portrayal of “the complaints” about Mr. Minkler is closest to reality.
     At least to a degree, that is likely true, too, concerning these competing portrayals of “the core vets.”
     For now, I’ll simply observe that it is unlikely that Glenn and Co. would consistently rely on these vets for their various vet-friendly dog and pony shows—as, undoubtedly, they have done—if they were indeed the louts and Neanderthals that the Minklerian account describes.

Limber Lou confesses to some confusion about all this talk lately
about Vets. Why, he asks, are there so many Vets at IVC?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Veterans Center fubar, part 6: the "other side" re Mark Minkler

     I have entitled this series “The Veterans Center Fubar.” I still believe that there is a Veterans Center Fubar, but it is no longer clear to me that this fubar is the fubar I originally described.
     I have made an effort to “get the other side” of the alarming story, reported here, about the new veterans counselor, Mark Minkler. The essence of that story, I suppose, is that Minkler is a disastrous hire.* Obviously, there are some who suppose, on the contrary, that he is a good hire, that something else entirely is going on here.
     So what would that be?
     At this point, I have spoken with a number of sources, and I do believe that I am able to answer that question on behalf of Mr. Minkler.
     Here then is the other side, near as I can tell:
     Mark Minkler arrived at IVC (in September) under difficult circumstances. First, there was the hiring process. The search committee had to go out twice to find candidates acceptable to the President. An internal candidate sought the job but did not get it. Instead, Minkler did. 
     Let’s just say that, when Minkler arrived at IVC, some people and their associates were disgruntled and directed their negatory passions at Mark Minkler. 
     Second, for years, young military veterans have had a presence at IVC, but a small core of active and like-minded vets have stood out. Owing to their admirable service and various other merits, this core group, with its charismatic de facto leader—a “big fish in a small pond,” some say—were given a wide berth. 
     —Too wide a berth. Essentially, they’ve been left unsupervised, an unhealthy situation. They’ve pretty much had the run of the place, doing as they please, and Minkler’s arrival yielded, among other things, some long overdue push back. 
     At the vet center, this core group have at times created a coarse macho atmosphere that is unattractive, even obnoxious, to some vets, including female vets. Naturally, addressing this matter is a delicate business. None of us should be surprised that it hasn’t been adequately addressed and that Minkler’s arrival pushed the issue to the fore. 
     When Minkler arrived, some of these vets who worked at the Center had grown accustomed to using the office that had now been assigned to Minkler. Naturally, Minkler asked to use that office. In response, the vets became belligerent. There commenced weeks of hazing—objects removed, curious messages left on the whiteboard, locked doors mysteriously unlocked and opened, etc. They started mispronouncing Minkler’s name or calling him “Stinkler.” 
     Meanwhile, within two weeks of Minkler’s arrival, a faculty member—a certain disgruntled personage—filed a complaint against him. (HR investigated the matter and eventually cleared him.) That was followed by a series of student complaints—all filed by the disgruntled crowd. 
     Contrary to reports, Minkler has not sought to be protected from the vets or to be moved out of the Center away from them. The campus police, concerned about email threats to Minkler, moved him upstairs with the other counselors. In fact, Mark Minkler is well liked by the veterans he has counseled (none of the complainers are in that category). The core group has tried to poison the vet community against him, but it has not succeeded. 
     In truth, Minkler is not the sort to treat faculty and students badly. He has no history of such behavior. 
     The long and short of it is this: Minkler is being “Swiftboated.” He is not obnoxious; nor is he incompetent. He has run afoul of a disgruntled faculty member and some young men who have grown accustomed to unaccountability and who have now encountered someone who is holding them to account. 
     And that’s what this is all about. [END]
     We welcome your (thoughtful) comments.
     We'll sort this out eventually.

   *Readers are encouraged to remember that not all issues regarding the vet center concern the new veterans counselor.

   †Some of these young men had work-study jobs. Then, somehow, they wrangled part-time project specialist gigs that tripled their pay. Some, no doubt, are hard workers; but it is not clear that all of them are.

Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal (Guardian UK)
Maps of neural circuitry show women's brains are suited to social skills and memory, men's perception and co-ordination
…Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women's for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking….

Monday, December 2, 2013

College Official Who Stole $89,000 From Poor Students Learns Punishment (NavelGazing; R. Scott Moxley)
     …After her May 2012 arrest, Anna Catalan eventually admitted that from 2008 to 2011 she used her position as Director of Special Programs inside the Rancho Santiago Community College District to steal federal funds aimed to improve school opportunities for poverty-striken, migrant farm workers and their children.
     According to U.S. Department of Justice records, Catalan--who managed the district's $425,000 annual program--doctored records, including forging students' signatures on checks that she converted to personal use….

Pleased to Meet You

Naissance de "Sympathy for the devil " (one+one... by cinocheproduction

Jean Luc Godard and The Rolling Stones, just in time for the holidays.


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