CAST Events

Shared by request:

 

Colleagues,
 
Start the new school year off right with some new technology tips for your teaching toolkit. CAST is proud to sponsor two exciting events this month for faculty members!
 
iPad Training: Friday 9/12, 9am-4pm
Learn new ways to use the iPad to improve your teaching experience (for a full list of topics, see attachment). Attendees will receive a stipend of $25 per hour for the 6-hour workshop and must attend the full day. Attendance is strictly limited to 20 faculty members, so sign up today! RSVP here: RSVP for iPad Training 9/12. For more information, contact Kevin Smith, Larnell Dunkley, or Chao Lu.
 
Blackboard Conference: Friday 9/26, 9am-3:30pm
Learn new techniques and share ideas with colleagues! Workshops will be graded by difficulty level to provide a comprehensive experience for all users. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP by Mon 9/8 using this link: RSVP for Blackboard Conference 9/26. For more information, contact Megan Ritt or Andrew Cutcher. (We also need presenters! Sign up via the RSVP link).
 
Thanks for reading! See you at the CAST kick-off meeting next Thursday 9/11, 3:30-4:30pm, room 1046.
 
Best,
 
Andrew Cutcher and Megan Ritt
CAST Coordinators

 

Can You See the Future?

Both Ephrem and Ivan have been after me over the last couple of weeks to set up another Football Picking Contest and I aim to please (where I can), so here it is.

The site is called “Office Football Pool” but this is just a contest, not a pool. It is free to join and your ‘winnings’ will be entirely ego related. Once upon a time I made certificates and offered non-valuable prizes, but I’m about five years behind on that so you’ll have to come up with your own reward if and when you win.

Once you go to the site, you’ll have to set up an account (unless you have one from last year), but it’s free and easy. Also, like last year’s, you’ll be picking against the spread and earning points based on both the correctness of your picks and your confidence ranking of them (earning 14 points for the pick you are most confident about and 1 for the pick you are least confident about).

Good skill to you!

Hot Take on the New Bookstore

So, I’m a fan. I helped a couple of students work through the process during registration, and I liked what I saw.

I like the look of the interface, I like that students can use their financial aid vouchers and buy their books with a click or two. As a faculty member, I like being able to snoop into the reading lists of other classes (both other philosophy classes at other colleges and across departments at our own) without having to use the clunky PeopleSoft thing. And, best of all, I like not sending our students to a bookstore that I thought was ripping them off, even for used books. I always liked Hector and found him helpful, but the prices at Beck’s were frequently outrageous.

So, in short, it seems like a big improvement. Kudos to anyone and everyone involved with the decision.

On the delta side of things, I (and another colleague) have noted that WAY fewer students have their texts in hand on the first day of class than when there was a physical bookstore. I have a theory as to why. When students have selected their books and are checking out, they get three options for shipping (Expedited, Standard, and something else) and each shows a range of dates. The range, though, is not standard. So the expedited option one might say, expected arrival 8/26-8/29 and cost $52 in shipping, while the standard option said the expected arrival was 8/28 to 9/6, but only cost $15. The student, then chose the standard option and said, “Well, it’s way less, and it’s only two days later.” In other words, she only looked at the first number of the range, rather than considering the possibility that she might be waiting for her books until almost the third week of class. After we talked about it, she said, “It all comes out of my aid, right?” and I nodded and she selected “Expedited.” I know to double check the second date of that range because I have messed up so many times on my own orders. Even though I buy a lot of used books on Amazon, even now I end up sometimes hoping to get them in a certain time frame and grinding my teeth for misreading the shipping information.

It’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out and whether (as I fear) many students, even more than usual, will have to struggle through the first few weeks of class while waiting for books to arrive.

I have also found it interesting to watch as the prices and used/marketplace book availability fluctuates from day to day. Four days ago, a book for one of my classes (one I hoped to start with) was only available as New ($28) and it said, “On Backorder 1-2 Weeks.” But when I looked on Sunday, there were copies available under “Used” and “Marketplace” that were half the price of the new one. Then today, it only shows New as available and it is listed again on backorder. So, a student who times their order right, can save a lot of money. Possibly.

That’s what I’ve noticed anyway. Anyone else?

 

 

Monday Music

Happy first day of school. Let’s try to make a better world, shall we?

Make Peter proud today. For the kids of Ferguson, MO, for the Jackie Robinson West kids and their families, for everyone with grief this morning, and everyone with joy…teach somebody something today, huh?

Condolences

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you all the news of Peter Bernardini’s passing.  No words can express the extent of the sorrow that I feel over his loss.  Peter was a student in several of our classes, he was a support for our students with disabilities, a gifted actor in our theater productions, and a dear friend to many of us here at HW.  He will always be remembered as a warm, gentle, genuine, loving young man. 

Please show your support for Peter’s family through their website: gofundme.com/pray4pjb

 

We will update as possible with information regarding arrangements.

Peter Bernardini

Dear Colleagues,

This wonderful young man worked in the Disability Access Center at Harold Washington for many years, before recently leaving to pursue greater plans. He was also a student here, taking classes periodically from the Fall of 2003 through the Spring of 2012. You may have also seen him walking through the halls with a smile on his face and a warm “hello” to everyone he passed.

On August 14th, on his way to a new life in Portland, Peter’s car was rear-ended by a semi. He is on life support in Wyoming. His family is asking for prayers and positive thoughts for Peter.

A webpage has been set up in case you would like to make a donation to support his family as they have traveled to be by his side. Faculty Council members will also be collecting cash donations and sending your well wishes along to his family.

http://www.gofundme.com/pray4pjb

 

Thank you,

The Faculty Council

Theresa Carlton (Math/CIS)
Jessica Bader (Art/Architecture)
Molly Turner (English)
Jennifer Armendarez (Speech)
Chao Lu (Math)
Kamran Swanson (Humanities)
Michal Eskayo (ELL)

Food Tomfoolery on Eleven: Considerations for Consideration

On Tuesday, faculty will come together at 30 East Lake Street for HW Faculty Development 2014. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, our excellent CAST leadership, Megan Ritt and Andrew Cutcher, have arranged (like John and Gitte in the past) for boxed lunches. Only on Friday will we have to brown bag it. And, I’m not complaining. Food is expensive.

I’ve written a few posts this year, and I’ve mentioned how grateful I am for the sabbatical I have been on and the research I have been able to undertake and write about. I am grateful for past (and current) union leadership who have laid the groundwork for the concentrated (and paid) professional development sabbaticals provide. I would not have been able to eat without earning my salary while on sabbatical.

On Monday, August 25, I, like my colleagues, will greet new students, and in my ENG 101s, I will use the course I designed two years ago. The theme of the course is food, and in it my students begin by learning about food deserts in Chicago. No, not sweet desserts that follow a meal, but food deserts–the places in the city of Chicago that Mari Gallagher made noticeable with her research.

Ever hear of a food desert? A food deserts is a place where access to fresh produce and meats, like those found in a supermarket, are miles away. You might live in one. Our students live in food deserts. Our employees live in food deserts. Regardless of access to food, or even with access, some people can’t afford it.

In 2013, the Mayor’s office released data suggesting that 400,000 people in Chicago live in a food desert with the nearest grocery store 1/2 a mile away. And still, putting grocery stores closer to those who live in food deserts doesn’t put money in their pockets to buy food. I’m sure the content of this post comes as no surprise to most, especially educators in the CCC system.

If you’ve read your CCC e-mail recently, you may have noticed the announcement regarding stolen lunches on the 11th floor. In the e-mail, it states, “Please be aware that theft is an offense punishable by termination,” and while I agree with the e-mail, I found myself wondering, or better yet trying to understand, why someone would steal food from the break room?

If whomever is stealing food is hungry, then stealing the food isn’t the crime. If a member of our HW community is hungry, what can we do about it? What should we do about it? What can we do about it? We can be complacent, and we can enforce rules that deny the nuances of the situation, or we can see this for a problem that plagues our city and our college and strive to solve the problem. We can start in our own community at HW.