Saturday, July 9, 2016

Green party's Jill Stein invites Bernie Sanders to take over ticket (Guardian UK)
     Stein, expected to become the party’s nominee at its August convention, says she has invited Sanders to collaborate: ‘Everything is on the table’

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Why Academics Were Ignored (Inside Higher Ed)
An often anti-intellectual campaign to leave the European Union triumphed, leaving scholars in Britain wondering why so many appear to distrust them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sharon Van Etten - Don't Do It live in Paris at Le Point FMR

Clinton Goes Tuition-Free (Inside Higher Ed)
She proposes that public higher ed be available without tuition for all families with income of up to $125,000. She would also set three-month moratorium on repaying federal student loans.
… A Clinton campaign official said that the plan came out of Clinton's recent meeting with Sanders, and their discussion "about how best to promote the issue in the party’s platform and ensure it remains a core issue in the general election debate."….

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Special Board meeting: Fitz as Acting Chance is rubber-stamped

     [Looking back, this post seems to me to be overly snarky toward Mr. BB. I like his playing. Like his musical choices. OK? Pace BB.]
     TUESDAY EVENING, 7:29 - Just got here. Only six people be lurkin' in Ronnie Reagan Hall—all administrators, ceptin' for me. We're just waiting for the board to emerge from closed session and announce—whatever. The Prez of Saddleback is on the agenda. So is the Chancellor gig.
     Obviously, there's no tellin' when the trustees will finish their deliberations and come out to announce their decisions. Back atcha after a while. (Administrators, left to right: BB, DB, DF, [and, over at the right] GR & LF, murmuring.)
* * *
     7:50 - Suddenly, board prez Tim Jemal emerges, stage left, and says, "Debra Fitzsimons, can I talk to you a minute?" She follows him through the door.
     8:00 - no sign of Fitz. They got her!
     Just now, BB went out to his car to get his ax. He's playin' it, unplugged, with LF & DB in his apparent thrall. Little Wing, eh? —Meanwhile, GR is way off to the right, playin' his Rickenbacker iPhone.
     8:18 - Just as things and shapes slowly become visible in the darkness, BB's unplugged guitar noodlings have slowly become a racket in my head in this empty hall. His watery strumming almost prevents my reading—about Pythagoras, Descartes, Heraclitus, and about similar such (in Nicholas Rescher's "Anecdotes").
* * *
     8:23 - All beings, it seems, either are or are very close to being, some version of Gregor Samsa—a cockroach, or a double clutch transmission, or something even more horrible.
     Me, I seem to myself at times to have become a hideous, subhuman, memoryless biped, i.e., one who can be told, very clearly, "X, Y, & Z"—only to find oneself, seconds later, unsure whether Y was included in this telling, or whether X was denied or affirmed. —Whether, indeed, anything was said by anyone at all.
     Dang! I'd rather be a cockroach.
     Yesterday, a friend called me, and we discussed district issues. As he spoke, I thought of an important question. It was damned important. When he at long last ceased speaking, I started to raise my question, but it was already gone. Huh? It was no use tryin' to fish it back neither.
     "My mind," I said to him, "is a sieve."
* * *
     That danged BB: he's off in his unplugged little musical world. Now he's singing! Meanwhile LF and DB ignore him, deep in conversation, but I ain't listening. Nope. Don't wanna know.
     I think BB's doing "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom" (John Lee Hooker).
     8:42 - Suddenly, as if to counter BB's caterwauling, LF starts playing some pop song on her iPhone. I can't place it. It's odd somehow. Eventually, she turns it off, causing BB to launch into further solipsistic warble und strum. He's ignored by all—except me, I guess—but he's happy, like some little kid with his toy car.

     8:46 - Can't seem to read my book. I hear: "Soul Man" (Steve Cropper). Then "Listen to the Music" (Doobie Brothers?!). Now "El Paso" (Marty Robbins). Then "Over the Hills and Far Away" (Led Zep). Meanwhile LF murmurs and Glenn surfs.

     9:00 - It's 9:00 p.m., and we're useless. We have all turned into, not pumpkins, but drooling zombies or worse. No sign of Fitz. No sign of Jemal. No sign of life. What the hell are we doing here, anyway? It's some kinda hell, as usual. At least they aren't handing out prizes like they always do. That stuff is Rod Serling meets the well-meaning-yet-hideous Den Mothers and their hungry Weblos.
     9:10 - Nothing, really, is at stake for me tonight. I only wish to learn what will be. But, for these others, I think, it matters plenty. Are they vultures? Hopefuls? Dutiful underlings?...

     Prendergast, Poertner, Jemal and Wright climb back into their seats. Kinsler, the lawyer, is leaving. He waves amiably, despite his lawyerosity. Some gal—another lawyer?—is also leaving. (I spotted her Merc out in the parking lot. Vroom.) Lang is on the phone with Jemal.
     OK, what next?
     9:13 - Whitt and Milchiker join the others, taking their seats. Lang is on his phone in Iowa, countin' beans in his head.
     JEMAL: reconvening from closed session. Wright will read out actions taken by the board:
     Wright: one action, 7-0 vote, approved appointment of Debra Fitzsimons as Acting Chancellor, subject to approval of mutually agreeable contract. 
     Nothing else to report.
     —Good grief! That's it? Could they have done less? I don't see how! Maybe they shoulda reaffirmed Gary's retirement while they were at it!
     Wait! Did this episode really happen?
     I'm so outta here.

Agenda for tonight's special meeting of the board (re Chancellor)

The meeting (July 5) starts at 7:00 p.m.
The board will meet in closed session but will
emerge and publicly announce its decisions, if any

Monday, July 4, 2016

Awkward: discussion of IVC's budget at the June 27 meeting

IVC's Davit Khachatryan
     At the board meeting, a budget crisis was announced/explained (—a crisis especially concerning future budgets; the current budget is OK, owing to various ad hoc fixes). It is caused, evidently, by increased costs plus increased spending on salaries/benefits. Trustee Lang was annoyed: did we understand that the salary/benefits upgrades that we approved would yield this situation? Why then did we take those actions? Here's the exchange, verbatim:

     Lang to Davit K: [Following up on one of Marcia’s points:] I’m also very concerned about the fact that you are basically reflecting a budget that shows no capital outlay, no reserve for economic uncertainty—and I’m just wondering how we got there.
     Davit: The reserve for economic uncertainty for IVC historically has been about $1 million dollars. That’s been our internal college’s approach and policy… This year, in order to balance the budget, we had to eliminate that reserve to be able to balance it. …The salaries and benefits and income [undecipherable] we got…We were able to balance it without the reserve for economic uncertainties. In addition to that, we had a smaller amount of capital outlay, which was about $160,000, that we needed to zero out as well to balance it. It’s been a struggle this year. It’s been kind of a difficult task to do that. If you look at the budget message, we had to take some steps, make some assumptions to be able to balance it. It’s probably been one of the most challenging budget times for me since I started in 2004, 2006 at IVC.
     Lang: are you anticipating that you are presenting to us, hopefully, a very conservative picture that will ultimately be better when we have final budget numbers?
     Davit: I would say that this is a realistic budget. There may be some things that do change between now and the final budget–we’ll have to see what the state … budget has for us—there may be hopefully some positive surprises. The information that we have right now makes me believe that this is the most realistic budget we have as of right now. And we had to, for example, make assumptions about some salary savings. It happens every year, year after year, so we built in about $300,000 in savings into the budget, which is kind of unusual for the district, but I know that the state, that is a regular practice….
     Lang: OK. I’m not trying to put you in the hot seat, Davit, because this also applies to Carol [Hilton] as well, I think, and that is, did we know this would be the result when we went into [contract] negotiations this year? Did we know that this was going to be what, where we are at now?
     Davit: we have a five-year budget projection model, every time there’s new information that comes up we do a projection for the next five years. We monitor the effects of, if different decisions or news coming from the state or locally and we discuss it locally and present it to the president, and I think that information has been communicated as well.
     Lang: OK, ‘cause, I don’t remember that conversation. Thank you.
     Fitzsimons: we provided fiscal team’s recommendations on financial trends and provided that to the board during negotiations. Multiple times. And I can provide those memos again if you like.

     (For streaming video of the June 27 board meeting, click here. Then scroll down to the "video" button for the June 27 meeting. Click that. Then, at left, you can "jump" to any place in the meeting, e.g., item 6.1 [Tentative budgets].)

Access to streaming video of the June 27 board meeting

El Toro a century ago
     Someone has emailed me to provide a LINK that works for streaming video of the June 27 board meeting. Click here. Then scroll down to the "video" button for the June 27 meeting. Click that. Then, at left, you can "jump" to any place in the meeting—e.g., the discussion of item 6.1 (tentative budgets) or 4.2 (proposed stadium project).

Slide used during presentation of item 4.2 (Stadium project)

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