Thursday, October 16, 2014

But the “telephonic narration” never came

     Back on the 7th, we were informed about the coming “Great California ShakeOut.” In an email (from theVPI, I think), we were told:
Major earthquakes may happen at any time, nearly anywhere in California. Help us keep our students and community prepared and safe by encouraging participation in this year’s Great California ShakeOut statewide annual earthquake drill. At 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014, millions of Californians will practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” along with millions of others in many other states and countries….
     There were instructions. Before the drill, we’re supposed to read stuff about how Cal is earthquake country, etc. Then we’re supposed to explain to students what they can do when an earthquake hits: drop to the floor, that sort of thing.
     “When the drill begins,” we’re told, “loudly instruct your students to
• Drop to the ground now, before the ground jerks strongly and throws you down.

• Take Cover under something sturdy to protect yourself from objects being hurled across the room. Or stay low and protect yourself from flying objects with your hands and arms.

• Hold On to your shelter or hold your position until the shaking stops.
     OK. Then it says:
Once the telephonic narration is over, all buildings will be evacuated….
     Well, anyway, I kind of forgot about the drill when I got to the college this morning, though I had read through the instructions and was prepared to tell the students to drop and grab onto something, etc.
     So, just after 10, the buzzer (loud!) went off. Students looked amazed and bewildered. I told ‘em to drop to the floor and hang onto something. They resisted. I had to insist. They kept giving me this look: “Really? You’re not kidding?”
     Nope, not kidding. Over the din, I explained that the exercise is a good thing. Everybody should be prepared for the Big One, which is bound to come.
     The kids complied. I was impressed. I told 'em they look good down there.
     I told ‘em about how stuff would fly around in a real big quake. You don’t wanna be hit by that clock over there and the glass over here, I said.
     Meanwhile, that buzzer sounded.
     BUT HERE'S THE THING: the “telephonic narration” never came. I kept waiting for it. Nope. Nothin'.
     After a bit, the students started to look at me for direction. “Now what?”
     I said, “We’re supposed to get directions over the phone. Doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.”
     I’ve been through this before. During the last ShakeOut (I’m in room A202), the phone refused to utter a sound, though we were told it would, and so, afterward, I complained.
     Wasn’t fixed, I guess.
     So, again, over the din, I explained that the Big One is REAL and it is important to stop and think about it before it happens, get prepared for it. Get a kit for your car. Coordinate with friends and loved ones pre-earthquake. Etc.
     I was pretty compelling, I think. I meant everything I said, and students saw that.
     But that telephonic narration never came.
     So, whatever.
     Have a nice day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Steam heat!

Rebel Girl's own camera failed her today so here is a stock photo of cleanliness.  Come to A-200 and see for yourself.
Today it was brought to Rebel Girl's attention that the A-200 restrooms, usually bio-hazards by mid-morning, had been, by dawn's early light, power-washed and steam cleaned.   They are now gleaming - even the stalls where visible dust had been rising for some time now like distant storm clouds on the horizon.  Colleagues, staff - and yes, students, told her all about it.  (It's really something when your students speak to you about the restrooms.  Just sayin'.) She had to go see for herself.  She tried to take a photo, but somehow clean is much more difficult to photograph than filth.  You'll have to see for yourself.

So many thanks to those who labored on this project.

For your enjoyment below,  "Steam Heat," a clip from the unlikely pro-labor musical, "The Pajama Game."  "Fellow union members, that's what we're doing: getting HOT!"


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The office furnishings imbroglio

     As you know, for years now, IVC faculty have been consternatin’ and peevin’ about the planning and construction of new buildings—the latest being A400, the new home of Humanities and Languages (and Social Sciences), scheduled to open in a semester or two.
     It’s a repeating cycle. At first, Brandye and the architects (and, at IVC, the unpopular Director of Facilities/Maintenance, John Edwards) show up making big happy noises about a new era of faculty input. “You’ll have input at every stage!”
     But that always ends up seeming like a sack of hooey.
     Consider the case of A400. Recently, faculty were informed that, in order to save money, the Director has decided that the college must stick to the established “standard,” according to which only designated shitty muted colors will be allowed and furniture options will run the gamut from A (odd1) to B (odd2). (Never mind that faculty have at no point been consulted about any college standard.)
     A particular sore point was the discovery that A400 planners were proceeding on the assumption that there will be no office bookshelves, or that the bookshelving will be highly limited.
     That inspired some serious gnashing of teeth among Humanists, boy. “Don’t these people know what a college is!” we thundered. WTF!
     As usual, President Roquemore has only made things worse by seemingly positioning himself on both sides of the issue and writing confusing clarifying blatherings.
     It’s the same old same old here at IVC.
     We’ve been told that there’ll be no faculty desks in the strict sense of desk. Nope, there’ll be deskesque flat surfaces, sans drawers, held up by two legs.
     Some faculty have been carpin’ that there’s no need for all this. Why not just lug over the desks we’re using now? Why do we have to spend money on this odd, Spartan desketry?
     In the midst of all this drama, "word" is that, according to the district, we'll be spending about $25,000 per office for furnishings.
     $25,000! And for what?
     The “standard” desketry for the new A400 offices is mighty pricey, it seems. The desk “legs,” we've been told, are about $700 per pair. And the deskular surface (sans drawers) that those legs will be holding up is about $1,100. That’s nearly two thousand bucks for deskus minimus simpliciter!
     How’s that possible?
     We’ve been considering the possibilities. Some suggest a visit to IKEA. Some sense a boondoggle. Some suggest that, um, maybe those are the list prices, not the real prices!
     We’re trying to get the facts. We'll get back atcha.
Andrew C. Jones Faced Racism as Coast College District Chancellor: Rancho Santiago Chancellor 
     …In the email to [CCCD chancellor] Jones, [RSCCD chancellor] Rodriguez called Coast trustees "dysfunctional" and said he was "disgusted with that board and their passive aggressive racism."
. . .
     In his own email back to Rodriguez, Jones thanked his fellow educator for the support--but did not acknowledge the racism chatter.
Michael A. Harris dies at 92; journalist's stories led to Brown Act
(LA Times)

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