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.