Advice for Rahm: Lay off the Unions and the People

This wasn’t goin’ to be the post for the day but when I went online to grab the link I wanted, I ran across this headline: Emanuel: 625 city worker layoffs if union won’t accept reforms

I’ll try to keep it short and offer some advice. Per the article, our new mayor is threatening the unions with layoffs IF they don’t meet his demands. Well, it wasn’t stated that way. Part of the article reads, “He insisted that job cuts will not be necessary if organized labor will “be my partner” on $20 million in work rule changes …”

Here’s my advice:

  1. Have a nice long talk with the old mayor, not the unions. He got us into this mess. Partner up with him and solve your problems. Internally.
  2. Stop making unions out to be bad guys. A signed agreement is a signed agreement. Honor it. It was in your office when you got there. Show decency. Show respect. Give it and you’ll get it.
  3. Be honest. You want money, not partners. There’s a former mayor out there with a nice circle of wealthy partners. They’re “worth” talkin’ to.
  4. Stop humanizing this inhumane demand for moey. Going public with this threat… it’s embarassing.
  5. Learn how to manage my 26 yearly contributions to the city. Either that, or let me operate in the red as long as the city does.
  6. Afraid to bite the hands that feed you? Go talk to your business partners. Tell them to cut their salaries and profit margins for the sake of balancing a city budget. What’s wrong? They bite back?
  7. Stop bullying the working class of this city. We’ve given. You’ve taken, and you’ve mismanaged. How is that our fault?
  8. Can you be civil and reasonable? I feel like I’m witnessing a hostage negotiation.
  9. Have you given that zero-based budget thing a try?

What’s the mission behind the call for submissions?

Here’s the specialannounce email we recently received (I made some modifications to the format) followed by my comments:

June 27, 2011 
Dear Colleagues:
We are busy preparing for the annual Faculty Development Week.  This year we’ll be hosting a 2-day event, scheduled for August 8th and 9th at Malcolm X College (1900 W. VanBuren).  Attendance is mandatory for all full time faculty members. So put those dates on your calendar.

Faculty Development Week will feature several interesting and enlightening concurrent breakout sessions. This is where we need your help.
Call for Submissions:
Academic Affairs is calling for submissions for general sessions during faculty development week.  All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a session by filling out the following form:
Submissions will be reviewed, accepted, and scheduled by a committee of faculty and administrators in early July.
Deadline for session descriptions: 5:00 PM, Sunday, July 3rd.
Several interesting submissions have come in already, and we are excited about having a broad palette for offering professional development.  Sessions may include information on pedagogy, technology, tenure projects, lab activities, and safety, to name just a few. As always, we look forward to the start of another academic year together.  If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
Mike Davis
Associate Vice Chancellor for STEM

My comments:
It may sound like I’m splittin’ hairs, but I’ve got to say what I’ve got to say.
Who’s deciding on the topics? I ask ’cause, to be honest, I didn’t hear good things ’bout last year’s sessions and I’d like to know the rationale for pickin’ this year’s selections. No offense, but planning could have been better last year and I’d like for us to learn from our mistakes, rather than repeat’ ‘em. IMHO, looks like we might be headin’ towads the latter than the former. Bein’ honest, while I drink out of my half-full cup.
I know seminars I’ve attended in the past plan their sessions without my input, but this is different. We are being asked to help. Says so in the email. I just think the askin’ should have come sooner. This is suppose to be OUR development week (well, two days). It’s either going to be a spectacular two days at MX, or we’re going to have faculty running for the (out)doors. Again. (Peeps gave a new meaning to the word breakout. HA!)

Speakin’ of peeps, what do ya’ll think? What are you interested in learning during these first two days of FDW? What kind of sessions do you look forward to attending? What’s going to keep you inside the building rather than outside? What would you consider to be a waste of your time? What would be worth your time? What say you?
Give Mike (a former peep) some input.

Quiet as it’s kept: new provost candidate to be announced at next board meeting

Well, that’s the news as I heard it via an email exchange between FC4 and District HR.

Apparently, a provost search was conducted and completed, and a candidate for the position will be recommended to the board at their July meeting.

Given that the provost’s purview will encompass all academic/curricular activity at CCC as CCC’s putative academic leader and given that shared governance has been on the discussion table between faculty leadership and District this past academic year, it seems odd to learn about a new provost candidate and a concluded search in a random email.  Of course, it also seems sad (to me) that this happened over the summer after all the talk of transparency and trust-building, but I digress. . .

So, I ask the following questions and welcome any answers:

1) When did the search begin? How long did the process take?

2) Were faculty included in the search process?

3) Were District faculty council, local faculty councils, and appropriate union leadership included in the search or notified about the search?

4) Regarding the search itself, how many applications were read and how many candidates were interviewed?

5) If neither faculty at large nor faculty leaders were notified or included, who was included on the search team?

6)What board rules or by-laws governed the selection and search process for this relatively new position?

Again, any answers to these questions are welcome.

Partial Closure to Completion. Maybe.

Have a read of Don’s postings regarding Completion on his blog. To date there are three posts related to completion. As he has stated, “The discussion of completion has been fruitful.” Agreed Don. Let me chime in with the last of my two-cents for now and to also address some related issues.

First, it’s been a most wonderful pleasure to have this interaction with you. I had no intention of taking the discussion this far, yet the results have been a good learning experience. I’ll need some time to digest the NY Times article and the report. I’ll add it to my summer readin’ list. I rather not give an incomplete response now. I will say that I agree on this: Education matters. A good quality education. Not completion. Not retention. Not success. Not quantity of graduates. Simply, a good quality education. (“…there are valid alternative means to any end, as well as valid alternative ends in themselves.”)

Second, I read some of the comments left on your blog related to the ratings game and your tenure as our HWC president. For the record, I am not out to get you and I’m not tryin’ to be a bully. I’m simply writing away on my own virtual desk (thanks to the owner of this blog) and voicing my concerns. I am practicing what I preach in my classroom: Be objective, understand others, observe and ask questions, think critically, and respond with support for your words.

Third, you’ve not heard the last of me. I’ll continue to be critical of our college and our district. I will not stop making observations. I will take what I hear from my fellow faculty members (peeps) and question the institution that is suppose to be a model of academic integrity.

Related issues:
1. If we are a community of thinkers, why can’t we meet the educational needs of our citizens? What’s wrong with us. By us, I mean everyone from the Chancellor down to the new adjuncts. We’re like chefs teaching students how to bake a pie without knowing how to measure ingredients. Good luck completing that dessert.
2. We are seen as a melting pot of experts in so many fields when it comes to applying and receiving funding and accreditation from our many sources, yet we are seen as a boiling pot of trouble when it comes to the retention and success of our students. What gives? Can we have some consistency?

I’ll stop here. For now. I’ve got more in store. I may respond to future posts on your blog or I may just create a post from scratch based on what’s happenin’ aroud HWC and/or CCC. Depends on how complicated matters may get.

Summer Music – Vol. 2

The Summer Music editions will feature ‘old school’ tunes to invigorate, educate, and perhaps instigate thought for those who will be involved in the Summer edition of our great  and mighty Reinvention plan.

This post continues to go out to those directly involved with “reinvention”. I won’t stop believin’ that reports are comin’. I’ll be searchin’ in the night if I have to. I just hope I don’t end this summer music edition singin’ the blues.

This post also goes out to Don. Don’t you stop believin’ in your potential to be the best just ’cause some small-town blogger in a smoky filled room went on and on about your post. Don’t stop.

That  Reinvention blog? Don’t ask. Still can’t leave a comment.

T-K-P Summer Weekend 2011

No, it’s not the usual TKP, this is the ‘where you TRAVELIN’, where you KICKIN’ it, and why dont’s you POST it‘ edition. Where do you find yourself this weekend?

Are ya comin’ or are ya goin’? Been somewhere or done that? Let us know. This is the weekend before the big July 4th weekend. What up? Check in! (BTW, did ya’ know Christmas is just 6 months away?)

Phriday Photo of the Week

Photo of the week will be a summer phriday pheature where I’ll offer an image taken with my phantastical camera phone. The photos will range from phunny to thoughtphul with a sprinkle of phoolishness. You are welcomed and encouraged to provide a caption to compliment said photo in order to keep that mind thinkin’ critically while you’re away from the college.

In my mind the story went like this: Thomas needed to blow off some steam. Thomas left home, got lost, and found himself on the wrong side of the tracks. The Metra bar cars showed him a thing or two. Then the CTA trains took him to places he’d never seen before. When he hit the Loop, Thomas threw caution to the wind. Thomas really liked it when kids weren’t watchin’ his every move. In short Thomas chugged and got tanked! Then Thomas was found. I snapped this photo as he was being taken to an undisclosed rehab location.

If you have a photo you’d like to share, send it to

I’ll post anonymously or otherwise; you tell me, and I’ll do it.

CPS: Chicago Political Schools

This one goes out to our CPS peeps. I feel your pain. I’m reading the article from the Sun-Times titled 1,000 CPS teachers protest canceled raises while execs get higher salaries.

The one line that gets me reads as follows:

“…board members voted to pay new Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard $250,000 a year, make him eligible for up to $37,500 a year in performance bonuses, pay him $30,000 to move his family from Rochester, N.Y., and give him a free car and driver for school business.”

I need some help here. I thought cuts were being made because there was a lack of funding from the state. If that’s the case, does the salary of this individual come from a different funding source? Does any peep know?
If all slaries of CPS employees are comin’ out of the same pot, then I think we have ourselves a problem here. How can you tell CPS teachers there is no money and then turn around and have your actions demonstrate otherwise? I don’t get it.

Later in the story, it reads:

“Officials called the quarter-million-dollar base salary “on par” with most similar-sized districts.

 So if this is CPS’s “business” philosophy, wouldn’t CPS want the salaries of their teachers to be on par with similar-sized districts?

I add up all the words from the article and it only confirms that children and faculty are nothing more than pawns in the world of chicago school politics. This line only confirms it for me:

“Emanuel endorsed the new salaries as well as a decision to give Cawley, a Winnetka resident, two years to meet the city’s residency requirement instead of the normal six months.”

Ya think 20 newly hired HWC peeps will be granted a similar extension by the mayor?


Just in case you don’t check your e-mail

In case you missed this announcement…check out the forward message from Mike Davis.

For those of you who already expressed interest in doing a session, please consider submitting your idea for the 2 days of district-wide FD.   We need to ensure that those 2 days are worthwhile.  Obviously, some sessions are better suited for a district-wide FD than others.  If you do submit your session, please let me know.  I’m assuming the role of point person between district and local.  I’ll bug those of you who expressed interest in a separate e-mail within a day or 2.  We’ll need to firm up a schedule at HW.  If you have an idea for a session, but didn’t complete the survey that I sent before the end of the semester, please let me know so I can add you to the list of possibilities.

So here are a few overdue details.  I was waiting for the call for submissions before sending this e-mail.

1) There will be 2 district-wide days at Malcolm (Mon and Tues 8/8 and 8/9).  The programming for those days has not been determined but the days will last from 9-3:30
2) There will be 3 local FD day at HW (Wed-Fri. 8/10-8/12).  The days will run from 9-3:30.  Wed. and Thurs. will tentatively consist of various breakout sessions (possible concurrent) on a variety of topics.  Friday will include a larger meeting likely with Pres. Laackman and then, most likely, time in departments.  Nothing is set in stone.
3) Nothing is set in stone with respect to programming.  That is what we need to figure out.  If you’re interested in working on this with me (I know of a few people already) please let me know.  I’m hoping to do most of this work via e-mail and perhaps some other form of technology (chat, skype, etc.)

Thanks for reading.  Look out for more details when I have them.  I’m very excited for FDW this year and am looking forward to working with several of you to make it fantastic.

Chris Sabino
CAST coordinator
Assistant Professor
Mathematics Department

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “specialannounce” <>
To: <*>,<*>, <*>, <*>, <*>, <*>, <*>, <*>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 10:33:19 -0500
Subject: Faculty Development Week — Call for Submissions


June 17, 2011



Get ready for the annual Faculty Development Week.  It promises to be an enlightening and engaging event and will get us ready for the new academic year. 


This year we will host a 2-day event, tentatively scheduled for August 8th, and 9th at Malcolm X College (1900 W. VanBuren).  Dates and times will be finalized and confirmed shortly.  Attendance is mandatory for all full time faculty members.


Day One (August 8th): 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. Faculty Development Week begins with addresses from administrative leadership and a keynote speaker, followed by a breakout session.


Day Two (August 9th): 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. The second day of Faculty Development Week will be comprised of a series of concurrent breakout sessions.


Call for Submissions:  This is where we need you to get involved. Academic Affairs is calling for submissions for general sessions during faculty development week.  All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a session by filling out the following form:


Submissions will be reviewed, accepted, and scheduled by a committee of faculty and administrators in early July. 


Deadline for session descriptions: 5:00 PM, Sunday, July 3rd.


As always, we look forward to the start of another academic year together.  If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.




Mike Davis

Associate Vice Chancellor for STEM, 312-553-2773

Rating the ratings game

First of all, sorry for the late post today. I guess you could say I was out yesterday enjoying the longest day of the year. Enjoy the official Summer Season!
(BTW,the amount of sunlight begins to decrease between now and December 21.)

Now, on to today’s post:

Now that you know why I gave our president 4 stars, I’d like to ask, “What criteria did you use to rate our president on that poll from last Friday?” If you didn’t vote, what criteria would you use to rate our president? If you don’t think ratings are any good, why not?

It appears that some of y’all have two-cents to contribute. Remeber you can post without revealing your name on this private blog. It is not maintained by HWC or CCC. As PhiloDave has stated before, this is his blog and you are free to post what you want.

Later peeps!

Responding to our HWC President

For those of you just arriving to the Lounge, this post is a reply related to the poll which was a quick response to Don’s reply of my initial post to his initial post (confused yet?). [I've also made some changes to the inital post that went live before I had completed my revisions.] In case you still need the link to Don’s post, here it is: First 90 Days.

The poll is closed and the results are in. As you can see Don, I wasn’t too far off on my general assumptions. What does it all mean?
I. Don’t. Know. What I do know is that I want to clarify what my rating means and reply to your post.

That whole rating thing was not the emphasis of my post. In fact, it was more of a passing thought. It was a way to give you an immediate impression of what I thought about your presidency in a short and simple way. (I do the same with the movies I watch and rent from Netfilx.) To elaborate on those stars, here’s what I think ’bout you as our HWC president.

I have heard nothing but good words about your tenure at HWC. I have seen you in action. I attended one of your open meetings. You are quite the visible and vocal leader. While I may not call you ‘one of us’ yet, you are well on your way to being ‘a true HWC member’ (I’d like to state peep, but that’s reserved for my fellow faculty members, sorry). Based on what you’ve done in such a short period of time, you should be impressed with the 4 stars. I don’t think you need to do more. I think you are doing enough, and then some. (I know how moms can be, so go ahead and share this post with her, it should put you both at ease.)

I have appreciated the change you’ve brought to our institution. Although you were hired  by our chancellor, you’ve really done quite a bit to step out of her shadow to understand our community. I appreciate reading what you have communicated to our chancellor. It’s reassuring to know how much you value faculty and students.

Before I move on, let me thank you for your reply. I’m not trying to butter you up with my comments. I wouldn’t do that to nobody just to make them feel good. It doesn’t solve a single problem. I am being honest and in the long run, I’m sure you’ll appreciate it.

On to other matters from your post…

“As one may expect from my background, I believe money is the lifeblood of any organization.”
This is one of the reasons I didn’t go with the full 5 star rating. Perhaps we will disagree on this matter. I believe students  are the lifeblood of any educational institution. If we build a successful community college, students will come and money will follow. Right now, I believe the cart o’ cash is pullin’ the chancellor’s corporate agenda. I don’t want that agenda to derail our HWC mission.
We can not and should not think of ourselves as a corporate organization. We should identify ourselves as an institution of higher learning. I don’t agree with the wholesale changes we’ve had to endure as a district of community colleges. They have been business-oriented, corporate-driven decisions that have lowered the morale of our faculty. (Perhaps I’ll have empirical data to support this observation when the results of Metoyer’s survey become available.)

I disagree with the chancellor’s statement regarding the need to change the perception of our institution. I’ve been so interested in knowing if maybe her perception was “given” to her by our now defunct mayor. I’ve been wonderin’ how could she knew SO MUCH about CCC to come in and make these drastic changes. This strikes me as odd and unusual.

This is where I tip my hat to you Don. You didn’t come in making similar and drastic changes. You came in to listen and learn (that was two stars right there!). You have made it a point to get to know us and be a true member of the HWC community. You have, so far, made informed decisions.

Regarding the faculty hires, there’s still that board approval that’s necessary before we can pat ourselves on the back. I’ll thank you and the chancellor when we have these new faculty members in our classrooms. (You’ll also hear from me if they are not given clear guidance on the tenure process.)

“And no, I did not sign up for increasing the graduation rate. I signed up for course success and retention as my measures of accountability. “
I’m with you on this. That’s why I believe the graduation ceremony was nothing more than a circus act. What were we celebrating that night? How it started and how it ended were two completely different stories. Course success and retention are fine measures of accountability. However, we at HWC, need to clearly define success and retention instead of having district do it for us. If a student who works full-time and takes one class (English 100) this semester and is encouraged by their academic success to take another course the following semester (English 101), wouldn’t that qualify as retention? They may not need to graduate or may be unable to do so. Does that make them a failure? Wouldn’t it be good to talk about our students before collecting data that makes them out to be a bad statistic? How many non-completers do we have? How many completers?

Completion matters, but one solution does not fit all of our students. It’s not that easy and quick to solve. That’s why I still question graduation. We didn’t celebrate the success of all students. We narrowed our vision of success for one night and it ended on a sad and lonely note. Most of the completers were gone by the time the last name was called. Do we hold the chancellor accountable for the number of students who did not stay and complete the ceremony? Do we hold her accountable because it was not a successful evening? Do we hold the chancellor accountable for not retaining these students from start to end? If you believe it would be unfair to do this to the chancellor, then isn’t it unfair to do this to our colleges and faculty?

It’s complicated Don. I hope I’ve made myself clear. I give you five stars for your willingness to listen and learn. I’m trying to do the same.

As I’ve stated before on this blog, if my assessment is wrong, I will apologize. If others can inform me and fill in the blanks, I shall humbly listen and reinvent my tune.