Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The appointment of "Bobbie" Jay to the Board

Photo from Lariat
     Re yesterday's board action of appointing Barbara J. Jay to the SOCCCD Board of Trustees:
     I was unable to attend the special meeting (from 2 until 5:30) to interview candidates for Bill Jay’s replacement, but people who did attend have told me the following:

     Only four board members participated in the special meeting: TJ Prendergast (current Prez), Marcia Milchiker, Tim Jemal, and Jim Wright. Dave Lang was compelled to recuse himself because one of the candidates is a client of his accounting firm. Nancy Padberg is still recovering from her injury.
     Barbara “Bobbie” Jay has made it clear that she intends only to complete her husband’s term. She will not run for the office (about a year from now). (She made this point, for instance, during interviews with the FA.)
     Several candidates were interviewed, including a former administrator at OCC and Cal Nelson, a former Saddleback administrator, who, as far as I know, enjoys a good reputation.
     After the interviews, the board seemed somewhat divided about their top pics, but, at one point, TJ motioned to appoint Bobbie Jay.*
     Despite apparent disagreement about the top choice, in the end, the board voted unanimously to appoint Bobbie Jay.
     All deliberations were done in open, which (I’m told) muted some of the discussion and possibly hindered some opining. It was a "strange" meeting, I'm told. Trustees were visibly uncomfortable.
     Jay, I've been assured, is committed to finishing her husband’s job, which she views as including securing a favorable faculty contract.
     By all accounts, Bobbie Jay is a fine and intelligent person and, no doubt, she will make a fine trustee. (She started last night.)

Jim Wright, Bill Jay, Tim Jemal, TJ Prendergast, Nancy Padberg, 
David Lang, Marcia Milchiker
     This morning, the district released the following:
Dr. Barbara J. Jay appointed to SOCCCD Board of Trustees

April 28, 2015 – South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) has selected Dr. Barbara J. Jay to serve as a provisional (interim) trustee for area 3 representing Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Dana Point and parts of Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, San Clemente and unincorporated areas until December 2, 2016. The board made a decision to provisionally appoint a trustee to fill the vacancy due to the passing of Trustee William O. Jay.

Dr. Jay brings a wealth of experience to the board, having owned, operated and managed a local business in south Orange County. She has a D.D.S. from the University of Southern California. Her top priority as a trustee is protect the educational quality at the colleges because she considers that to be the key to a better lives for the South Orange County Community College students.

Dr. Jay is the wife of the late Trustee William O. Jay of the South Orange County Community College District. Trustee William O. Jay was also a former administrator, dean and professor for Saddleback College. Both of their children attended and graduated from Saddleback College.
*The Lariat has a slightly different account: SOCCCD appoints Bobbie Jay provisional Trustee
After ranking their top candidates, SOCCCD Vice President Timothy Jemal made a motion to appoint candidate Bobbie Jay. The motion was seconded by board president T.J. Prendergast and resulted in a unanimous “yes” vote from President Predergast, VP Jemal, Trustee Marcia Milchiker and Trustee James Wright.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The April meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees: Barbara replaces Bill, Jaywise PLUS: Lang makes a dang good point ('bout Nancy) & trustees come close to MEDDLING again (smoking ban: there will be uniformity across the district!)

We're back to seven trustees
See Board Meeting Highlights.
     It’s 6:27 and I’m a couple minutes early. The crowd is thin here in the Ronnie Reagan meeting room. That's odd.
     Aha! Two trustees (Lang & Prendergast) have entered, smiling. The Chancellor, too. The open session will start more or less on time, I guess.
     By now, the trustees must be all tuckered out, what with their special meeting, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:30, for replacing Bill Jay, and then their closed session, from 5:30 until 6:30. Four and a half hours of yackin’ and evaluatin’! That’s enough to puke a dog off’f a gut wagon. But, who knows? Maybe they’ll be all smiles, ‘cause they’ve appointed somebody for Jay's spot and they’re feeling good about it. Could be.
     I think the Faculty Association (union) will be here tonight in large numbers to keep the pressure on the board (public comments).
     There’ll be two reports tonight:
4.1 Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College: Service Area Conflicts between Colleges Report being presented as a result of the Trustee Listening Sessions held at the colleges on April 30, 2014. A presentation on the service area conflicts between the colleges will be provided by the college presidents.
     —This could be interesting. Tod and Glenn have been at war over this for years.
4.2 SOCCCD: BP 4011.1 Process for Hiring Faculty Report being presented as a result of the Trustee Listening Sessions held at the colleges on April 30, 2014. A presentation on the hiring and employment process for full-time faculty will be provided by the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources & Employer/Employee Relations.
    —This too could be interesting. You’ll recall that the current BP resulted from litigation. The Academic Senates sued the district over violation of a state statute according to which this policy is to be mutually agreed upon by the Senates and the district (board), but the board and chancellor had unilaterally changed the policy in favor of administrators and against faculty.

     6:32 - The room is filling up fast. Haven't seen Marcia Milchiker yet, but I do see Wright, Jemal, Prendergast, Lang, and the Chancellor. I'm guessing that Marcia is the only missing trustee.
     Student athletes in red (Saddleback) with "state champions" emblazoned on their shirts are lining the wall behind me and to the right.
     Uh-Oh. Barbara Jay is the new trustee! They've got to be kidding!
     Guess not.
     Up there on the dais/throne, they're giving Babs the secret handshake, etc.

     6:37 - they're reconvening:
     Actions in closed session: no report
     Invocation: Jemal mentions the earthquake tragedy--and the Armenian genocide anniversary. Moment of silence.
"Bobbie" Jay
     The Pledge.
     Prendergast: introduces new trustee (Barbara J. Jay). Applause.
     TJ also moves up the res for the Saddleback College Men's basketball team. Burnet comes up, yuks it up. Wright reads the resolution. Eleven tall fellows take it all in. "The mark of the great basketball team," yada yada. Roll call vote. Unanimous, natch. Burnett: record was 32 and 2. We're proud, etc. Almost a team GPA of 3.0! My God! Our coach is the state coach of the year as well. Big applause. Photo op. Much milling. Off they go, big smiles, wandering into their futures.
     6:45 - TJ comes up to the podium for eight more resolutions. Count 'em, eight! Blah blah blah. The student trustee gets a res. Lots of whereases. On it goes. "Representing more than 40,000 students." Roll call vote. Applause. Photo op. He gives a speech, thanking everyone, etc.
     Others recognized: classified employees (en masse, I guess, for "classified employees week"), Sanjay Gupta, Jack Appleman, Cecilia Kim, Karah Street, Bob Mathews, and Gerald Binder. The classified rep has an entertaining accent—Bostonian? On it goes, one by one. I guess people like this sort of thing. Street says she's happy to be a worker bee and she's going right back to her little corner of the hive. Mathews says he's speechless, but, clearly, he ain't. Makes a point of saying that we've got great leadership in the district. Applause. More photo ops. Binder: talks about his recent blood clot scare. Teaching felons. Teaching adults. "It's been a love affair for me." Keeping his marbles. Binder's got lots to say. Photo op. Kim finally shows up, speaks. Again, has lots to say. She feels really "thanks," she says. Teaches ESL, I guess. Applause. Photo op.
     Next, commendations. Good Lord. Congratulating our journal, The Wall. Burnett explains the journal's many honors. Natch, it is being honored for being honored. Seven or eight students line up, take it all in. "Award winning edition." Each student gets a round of applause and a certificate. (I'm in heck.) Introduces advisor as well. She thanks everybody. The Wall, she says, will keep climbing "higher and higher." Photo op. More applause. Burnett is still beaming. His face is gonna break. Off they go.
     Public comments: one. Claire C-S. "Due to the long hours, we've decided not to make public comments today." We'll be back with them next time.

Board reports:

      Dave Lang: congrats to new trustee, Bobbie ("Bobbe"?) Jay. Thanks student trustee for "excellent" job he has done. Evidently, he's going into the beancounter biz, like Dave. Participated in the listening sessions. Very valuable to me. Personal interaction is important, appreciated. Informs our decision-making.
     TJ Prendergast: ditto, but adds that he attended IVC Foundation Gala. "Yes indeed I did go for more money than the mayor of Irvine." Yuk yuk. (Some kind of beefcake auction, I guess.)
     Tim Jemal: Congrats to "Bobbie" Jay. Turns to Carillo: "don't become a CPA." Laughter. Excited about the state championship; holds up the shirt. Concurs with Lang on listening sessions. Not perfect. Some started faster than others (IVC session finally got going, last 2/3). We take all this input seriously, including board survey, mentioned previously. IVC Foundation gala: this far surpassed the last two galas "by a wide margin." Everyone should be very proud. Congrats to Dennis Gordon, Diane Oaks, C Orlando, et al.
     Jim Wright: Congrats to Bobbie. Warm words for Carrillo (student trustee). Much praise for IVC Foundation gala. "Well done." Men's basketball banquet. Wonderful evening. Student success summit. Listening sessions were wonderful. Well done. We appreciate the comments. Memorial service for Julie Bright. Wonderful faculty member. Celebrated her life, laughter. Thanks four students, Phi Beta Kappa team, etc.
     Marcia Milchiker: welcomes Bobbie Jay. We do good work at the two colleges. Was on Laguna Woods TV, talking about Emeritus, etc. Mentions various things she attended. Bonnie and Clyde musical. Listening sessions: well attended, learned a lot from them. Looking forward to commencements coming up in May. Looks forward to nurse-pinning, etc. Yeah.
     Bobbie Jay: attended the IVC Foundation gala. It was great, fun.
     Student turstee Carrillo: great IVC Foundation gala. Thanks for the invite. Yadda yadda. Advocating for students. Thanks Tere Fluegeman. Thanks Tod Burnett "for being my friend.

     7: 32 - Chancellor's report (Gary Poertner): wants to acknowledge the hard work faculty and classified do. Applause.
     Others: blah blah blah.
     Saddleback College Prez Tod Burnett: chirps forth the usual litany of good news factoids. Chirp chirp.
     Irvine Valley College Prez Glenn Roquemore: bromidular. Good luck to Carillo. Re Foundation dinner. The entire campus came out to "play a role." We went through "two bad years," and people stepped up. Tenured faculty reception, pleasurable. Our men's tennis team went to "state champ." Model UN: fourth consecutive something honor. Points out Kurt Meyer.

First report tonight:

4.1 Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College: Service Area Conflicts between Colleges Report being presented as a result of the Trustee Listening Sessions held at the colleges on April 30, 2014. A presentation on the service area conflicts between the colleges will be provided by the college presidents.

     Roquemore: group formed, "worked through this." Identifies members (most of whom are standing with him), including Carol Hilton, Juan Avalos, Kathy Werle, Linda F, et al.
     Burnett: refers to Listening Session last year. This was mentioned. We sought to resolve the issue. A good outcome. "Wonderful collaboration" between IVC and Saddleback. Six VPs did great work. "Never been dealt with in this district." 1985: a "line was built"(?). Don't know how. Signed agreement today that will make things better.
     Carol H: Back in '85, service areas determined (El Toro Rd.). Resolution in 2012 reaffirmed those service areas. There were different interpretations. Nobody's fault, disagreements. We came together "in spirit of resolving this." We all explained our interpretations. We developed "operational definitions."
     Davit K: services, courses, and programs in two service areas. Exceptions: LB school district. Has to be done in a coordinated fashion. Other exception: El Toro High School, part of SVUSD. Sprawls across both service areas.
     Other concept: "right of first refusal." Two main scenarios: 1: college receives invitation from entity in other service area; first college offers opportunity to other college. If doesn't take it, college can go forward. 2: soliciting invitations. We agreed: we will not solicit in other college's service area.
     Linda F: outreach services. Much like what Davit said.... (This is too tedious for me. Linda F has a coma-inducing yammer.)
     Kathy W: Blah blah blah. (Sounded pretty good, I guess.) If one college gets solicitation/request, and they can't meet it, the other college will be informed, etc. Agreement timeframe provided. Not indefinite.
     Craig J: marketing. Students are not restricted in any way by service areas. Service areas are used for planning for colleges. This agreement goes a long way in promoting planning for marketing. A great step forward tonight.
     Glenn: any questions?
     Prendergast: in El Toro. Saddleback working on an early college program now? Well, says Burnett, the two programs are very different. Prendergast: what about athletics? Yadda yadda. Prendergast seems satisfied by whatever it is that B said.
     Jemal: does this finally put to rest the El Toro dividing line issue? Glenn: ancillary benefits of this process have been fantastic. VPs working with consultant: lots of collaboration. Huge step forward in having an understanding. The answer is "yes." We can revisit this in a year. We might make changes. Yes, El Toro Rd. is still the line of demarcation. It's not a Berlin Wall. It creates dialogue. Jemal: fantastic that there's an agreement. We've had some dialogue recently about another college district [poaching] in our area. How does that fit in here? Glenn: those colleges are violating ed code. Anytime I hear of this, I send ed code to the college president in question. Examples of poaching by other college districts very rare. Our service areas per district are legally defined. Not allowed to poach (nobody used that word, but that's what they're talkin' about).
     No one else wants to ask questions. Next:

4.2 SOCCCD: BP 4011.1 Process for Hiring Faculty Report being presented as a result of the Trustee Listening Sessions held at the colleges on April 30, 2014. A presentation on the hiring and employment process for full-time faculty will be provided by the Vice Chancellor, Human Resources & Employer/Employee Relations.

     8:03 - Bugay moves to podium. The policy was first approved in 2005. Very detailed. We wanted to make revised policy easier to deal with, allow more flexibility. Board has ultimate hiring authority. Etc. Goes through details of how hiring lists are created. Discusses minimum qualifications. All faculty positions must be posted state wide. Intense advertising provided by district. Ideally posted by first week in December. Catching applicants prior to job fair, etc. Lists standard places ads are posted.
     Each year, go to two major job fairs. Posted in registry: 1,900,000 hits (this time around?)
     Search committee: 2/3 faculty, etc. Screening process. Discipline experts screen for minimum quals. Orientation meeting. Interview questions developed. Special testing for applicants common: teaching demo, writing sample, etc. We try to make it content-oriented.
     Scoring completed by each committee member. Chair does not see numbers, etc. EEO rep monitors all committee discussions for "job relatedness." Committee sees final average scores. Committee recommends three finalists. Occasionally, they can't come up with three. Two might be put forward. Three references; reference checks. College President provided unranked list of finalists. Questions approved. President interviews candidate with one VP (can also invite the committee chair). Pilot program: having a third party check references.
     Any questions? Bugay asks Kathy Schmeidler (IVC Senate Prez) for input. "She seems to be at a loss for words." Schmeidler: "I have words." Laughter. Academic Senate is satisfied with revisions. Not perfect, but vast improvement over what we have had. We've loosened up the process. This has been stagnating for too long. Good to revisit, revise.
     Jemal: wants to know how academic senates feel about recommended changes. Supported by both senates. Are there any stake holder groups who dissent? Any group missing who might say something contrary? Bugay: it's really a faculty issue. When you see revised policy, it will be much shorter, much more flexibility. Bugay speaks about issue of getting out these searches early: meeting deadlines is critical.
     Lang: Board approval of listed positions for two years. Presently, there is no limit, says Bugay. We need to have a way to stop the process; time over. Bugay: we had 20 positions go out. One committee found an unimpressive pool. Wanted to go out again. Sometimes you get a small pool and want to go out again. Two years is a window in which we can do good recruitment. Lang: option to invite the chair of the committee. Why wouldn't you want the chair participate? Bugay: the chair is at the first level. Bugay turns to presidents. Glenn R: faculty involved in first level. When it gets to 2nd level interview, different questions. Where candidates may take the college in future? We rank the candidates, then bring the chair in. The chair can bring discipline experts.
     Kathy S: old language was very restricted. Didn't permit Pres to invite anyone but VP. Now, practices did change, informally, but the new AR is clear: more permissive; says it's OK. Not permitted before, and now it is permitted. Kathy S: sometimes the impression of committee and 2nd level interviews are very different. Better if chair was at both levels. Kathy S: first committee hesitant to put up anyone they can't live with. Roquemore asserts much agreement between first and second level in recent years. Wright: I'm glad revised policy is not so rigid. Important to check out references. Sometimes references are very old. Not good. Wright reports, too, that he (as committee chair) was invited by Pres Burnett to discuss his impressions after second level interviews. Bugay: avarage tenure of faculty: 21 years. So faculty have a vested interest in this. Have to work with person for decades. Having a good policy is critical.

     Consent calendar. Anything to pull? 5.1, 5.7.
     Vote on the rest: unanimous.
     5.1: minor correction (Wright).
     Vote: unanimous
     5.7: Lang: approval of speakers. Honorariums. No consistent policy, how much paid. Possible streamlining of the process contemplated by Fizsimmons, etc. Jemal: I've asked the same question. Good thing to look at. Need a policy? (So that issue will come back.)
      Vote: unanimous.

     8:28 - General action items.
     6.1 - unanimous
     6.2 - unanimous
     6.3 - Science building project. Change order. Vote: unanimous
     6.4 - Lang: listening sessions. Colleges feeling they're somewhat ignored perhaps (technology needs). Their needs at college level not met. Not having full input in technology budget that is coming forward. Perhaps we need a report about this. Bramucci explains that there's been a process, colleges have had opportunities to vet the budget, projects, etc. Vote for approval: unanimous
     6.5 - ATEP. First building project. Jemal: money reallocated from branding? What's that mean? Fitz explains. They're using "branding" in an unusual way, not marketing. Brandye Delena comes up to explain "branding." I didn't get what she said and neither did Jemal. Fitz tries again, but it's a no go again. Prendergast: tries to make sense of it. The conversation seems to shed little light on what manner of "branding" is involved here. With some reluctance, they vote: unanimous
     6.6 - computer equipment. They vote: unanimous.
     6.7 - contract with Neudesic. They vote: unanimous.
     6.8 - ATEP land exchange demo project, change order. They vote: unanimous
     6.9 - BPs for review and study. There's a minor correction. Obligation owed to the district. Fitz reads changed paragraph. Lang: move for review and study. Wright: policy for grade grievance. Doing away with BP. Administrative Reg instead: made available to students? Yes. Jemal: will forward a couple of comments, not presented now. Lang: BP re vacancies on the board. Those who participated today (Lang didn't?): is this policy OK? Please think about that. Prendergast: the BP just copies the Ed Code. Vote: unanimous

     6.10 - IVC smoke free district. New fine of $38. Jemal: a new fine. Do we have authority to impose and collect this fine? Fitz: yes. Refers to earlier discussed policy that allows for this. IVC has decided to go with a fine. Jemal: not supportive of difference between two colleges on this matter. Will therefore vote against this. Wright: Saddleback has no fine. We should do the same thing at both colleges. Also: perhaps we can lower the fine? Milchiker: I'm not ready to approve it tonight. How was this decided at IVC? Why same amount as parking ticket? Roquemore: I walked up to a student who was a smoker. Spoke with him about it. OK with policy, but he said put some teeth in it. What we propose here is a very soft process, a learning process. Offenders are first handed materials. Students will have access to ways to quit smoking. A very "academic" process, many steps. It does have teeth in the end. Otherwise, can't enforce it.
     Asks Chief Glenn to come up to discuss. He comes up: Glenn: willful and persistent violators will receive the ticket. Otherwise, can't insure smoke-free campus. I don't want to issue citations, but we'll rarely do so. But if we encounter someone who simply refuses to follow policy, we need to have something in place. Milchiker: I'm still uncomfortable with this. I want to hear more. Hate the idea of issuing smoking tickets. I need to think this through. Chief Glenn: I don't want to be the smoking police. But if we have a policy, we need a way to enforce it. Prendergast: says his wife took test at IVC recently and she was appalled by the smoke and the smokers. If we need to put teeth in, I'll vote for this, he says.
     Kathy S (senate prez): this went through extensive review at both colleges. Went through all the governance groups. The final policies (per college?) had universal support across the district (including variation of two colleges). IVC has discussed this at length. A very soft policy: many warning given before ticket issued. Only in case of repeat offense. This is all part of our internal policy, enforcement. This has gone through all of the governance groups, all the committees. It is your right, of course, to say we shouldn't do it. But in terms of what our college wants: this is what it wants. Thank you.
     Prendergast: I don't think this every came up for review and study. So why don't we amend this so that it's only review and study. The board seems in agreement.
     Lang: very much in favor of this regulation. Will support. OK to delay by one meeting. Greatly troubled by fact that no similar regulation is pursued at Saddleback College. Smokers are affecting others. We're doing this for all the right reasons. Fully support it. Claire: it's not a smoke-free college yet. (We haven't seen the impact of the policy yet.)
     Student Trustee Carillo: "you guys" should study this. Will impact student greatly. A very sticky situation. Students somewhat polarized. Students have "natural rights." It's hard for a smoker to listen to authority. It's a habit. Giving them knowledge is good. Yes, a fine will motivate, but.... You should really talk about this.
     Prendergast: vote: unanimous. (for review and study)

     Jemal: extend meeting to 9:30. Vote: unanimous.
     Lang wants answer to his question (to Burnett). Burnett: It went through our process. Came up with: do not impose a fine. 37 community colleges have smoke-free, but only 11 have fines. Don't want our police to be smoking ticket-givers. We have not implemented our policy yet, so we don't know how student will respond (without the teeth of citations).
     Once again, the board comes perilously close to meddling, of ignoring processes at the colleges.

     6.11 - IVC reorganization. Lang: why so many band-aid solutions to situation? Or is this a permanent solution? Glenn R: this is driven by a vacancy. We have an opportuity to think of "synergism" of moving areas together. The arts: intensive performance program. Huge. We need an administrator focusing on that. Modeled after other colleges that have done it this way. Won't be the last change. We're growing. We're low on dean support compared to other colleges. We're constantly thinking about how to do things better. Wright: how many will new dean supervise? School of Business Sciences small. In business, 13 full time and numerous part-time. No full time in Emeritus. Jemal: Chancellor's opinion? Poertner: this has been waiting a year and a half. It makes sense to me. I support this change.
     No more requests to speak. Vote: unanimous.

     6.12 - paying absent trustees. They always vote for this. Unanimous. And yet:
     Lang: very sympathetic to Nancy Padberg's situation (she is ailing after an injury many months ago). But I'm looking for guidance from HR. Is this the way we would treat any other employee in the district under similar circumstances? Bugay: employees have certain rights: sick days, etc. Trustee situation different. .....
     Lang: its left to us to self-police. We need to hold ourselves to a certain standard. I'm interested to understand best practices in terms of this situation. Bugay: its up to the supervisor. You are the supervisors "of everything here." 
      Poertner: we faced this a couple of years ago with trustee Fuentes. He missed a lot of meetings over a couple of years. I had conversations with legal counsel. How long should we let trustees be absent? Legal response: these are elected officials. Don't remove them easily. Takes a long time. Difficult to do. Could be done. I don't expect Nancy Padberg's situation to last much longer.
     Vote: unanimous

     6.13 - vote: unanimous.
     6.14 - Academic personnel actions. Lang: Retirement of Priscilla Ross. Wants to extend to her my thanks for her many years of service. Vote: unanimous.
     6.15 - Classified personnel actions. Vote: unanimous.
     6.16 - Classified employee layoff. Wright: this was brought up, trustee listening session. Changing from 20 hours week to 40 hours week [vice versa?]. Many expressed concerns. Marcia concurs, was brought up. Why moved from 40 to 20? Bugay: change at ATEP. No need of 40 hours.
     Burnett: not enough work for a webmaster (for ATEP). In the old days, the webmaster did everything. No longer. Industry has changed dramatically. Carol Hilton concurs with Burnett. Website and marketing. Yes, he's right. Vote: unanimous.
     6.17 - Public hearing CSEA - initial proposal from CSEA. Bugay is here to answer questions. Prendergast: now open. Public comments? No. Public hearing is now closed. Further discussion? No. Concluded.

7.0 Reports.

7.1 - Professors of the year.
7.2 - speakers
7.8 - Quarterly Financial Status Report: Lang had a question. Why projections so far off? Blah blah blah

This is closin' down fast. I'm outa here.

Corinthian Colleges closing - also Everest, WyoTech and Heald

You can say that again
The L.A. Times reports:

Corinthian closing its last schools; 10,000 California students displaced

excerpt: "The loans were both the lifeblood and the downfall of the troubled Orange County company. Easy access to student debt fueled high tuition and big profits — until the federal government cut off the tap last year, as investigators accused Corinthian of falsifying job placement rates. Many students, attracted by the promise of higher-paying work, now find themselves with heavy debts for degrees of dubious worth. Many others won't graduate at all."


Sunday, April 26, 2015

How I Got Converted to G.M.O. Food (New York Times, Opinion)
By MARK LYNAS ~ APRIL 24, 2015
     …I, too, was once in that activist camp. A lifelong environmentalist, I opposed genetically modified foods in the past. Fifteen years ago, I even participated in vandalizing field trials in Britain. Then I changed my mind.
     After writing two books on the science of climate change, I decided I could no longer continue taking a pro-science position on global warming and an anti-science position on G.M.O.s.
     There is an equivalent level of scientific consensus on both issues, I realized, that climate change is real and genetically modified foods are safe. I could not defend the expert consensus on one issue while opposing it on the other.
. . .
     The environmental movement’s war against genetic engineering has led to a deepening rift with the scientific community. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science showed a greater gap between scientists and the public on G.M.O.s than on any other scientific controversy: While 88 percent of association scientists agreed it was safe to eat genetically modified foods, only 37 percent of the public did — a gap in perceptions of 51 points. (The gap on climate change was 37 points; on childhood vaccinations, 18 points.)
Chipotle scraps GMO ingredients but cattle 'could be fed GMO feed,' chain says (OC Reg)

Favourite thing on the Internet.
Posted by Swiss Lips on Sunday, March 29, 2015
          "When the Kitty Breaks"

10-23: Brace for the future

Orange County Could See Second Coronavirus Wave by Winter   As a potential second wave looms, some Supervisors continue pushing back against...

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