In the last couple of months we have seen more and more surveys popping up in our inbox. There was the survey about the Inspector General’s Office, about Morale (where are those results?), Lecture capture cameras (ditto), and now Registration. I know many people do not fill out these surveys which I think is a mistake. Consider this, in some small way filling out these surveys is like voting. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about decisions made later. How much happier we all would have been if the powers that be had sent a survey about branding or graduation or most recently, no more spring hires. (Just a side comment- if we are no longer allowed spring hires, does that apply to district too? So, if there is a job opening do they have to wait until fall semester to hire or are they allowed to hire based on need and availability?).
Not to say that a survey would have changed the decisions that the money spenders made, but at least our voice would have been heard. A large complaint about this administration is the total top-down communication. I would like to think these surveys are at least an attempt to give the people who actually work with students a voice. So next time you see a survey pop into your inbox, don’t ignore it, fill it out. Don’t pass up an opportunity to actually communicate back to the powers that be, we have so few opportunities to do so….
So, the first day of this year’s DWFDW is in the books, and I have to say that it went as well and smoothly as last year’s went poorly! I’m sure some of that had to do with the general appreciation for the adjustment down to a two day District Wide event and three days for local business at the colleges–it’s always nice to feel heard.
There were many other things, too, though, that were strikingly different from last year’s event and showed greater understanding of the whole endeavor or improvements with respect to competence with this sort of thing or attention to the things that faculty have been shouting, saying, and whispering over the course of the last year.
For me, at least, it was a significantly better experience in lots and lots of ways, and so I’m sitting here now a bit relieved, a bit satisfied, and a lot hopeful. Among the people I talked to, the sentiment(s) seemed to be similar; nearly every conversation I had gave off a nice kind of cautiously optimistic vibration, which is a nice way to start the year, I’d say.
Kudos to Mike Davis and the whole planning team, I would say (Heather Shevitz had a big role and I know there were a few other people, too, but I don’t know who. Please add any names to whom we can give due credit in the comments if you happen to know them).
How about you? What did you think?
For a long time, before they revamped and expanded and all of that, I was a big fan of sitting at Uncommon Ground (the original on Grace) for extended grading sessions.
I’ll put in time now at The Magic Cup and The Kopi Cafe if I want to stay close to home, and Caffe Cafe if I’m close to work.
And if I have to pick a chain, I’ll choose Caribou.
Where do you grade? And throw in a why if you want to put it off a little longer…
A few suggestions from regular readers flew in “over the transom” as they used to say in publishing circles (at least those in old buildings with transoms):
From Rock’inthashoe: A piece from Truthout.org about what Jill Biden ought to be saying about Community Colleges.
From Assessment Chair Michael Heathfield: An article from Salon that takes a look at Michelle Rhee, business oriented educational reform, perverted incentives, and gives a thorough scolding to just about everyone, including national media (but not, for once, the teachers!).
From Don’s Desk: More good stuff at the President’s Blog, including this interesting research about the effectiveness of lecture for learning (as measured by standardized tests), and an interesting question for those of us committed to active learning techniques. (If I were forced to pose an hypothesis about they whys and wherefores of the research, I’d point to the effectiveness of the technique for that particular measure (tests) and suggest that maybe much that is valuable about the learning (and ancillary benefits–curiosity cultivation/reinforcement, independence, process awareness, etc.) that occurs as a result of other sorts of teaching strategies is missed by that particular measure. I don’t think that most of us would say that lecturing is bad or ineffective, but rather that it is one way, among others, to help students learn and that lecturing is most effective when students have well developed academic and cognitive skills and habits (e.g., note-taking, critical awareness, metacognition) that are better developed through technique rehearsal in structured activities. But that’s me. Maybe you have a different solution? Post it there. And be sure to check out the link on quantum teleportation, too. We live in a miraculous time…
And there was this one from PEARL, too, on Academic Freedom.