HW Faculty Council Candidate Statements (Fall 2016 Edition)

It is my pleasure to fulfill a request put forward by our current HWFC to share the statements of our three colleagues who have been nominated and agreed to stand for election to three-year terms on the Faculty Council. There are two open positions.

I share these in the order that I received them.

Kristin Bivens, Associate Professor of English

This past August, as I started my 10th year at HW in the English department, I took stock of various opportunities I had participated in and others I had not. For example, I served as CAST coordinator, along with Kamran Swanson, for 2016. As part of my CAST duties, I organized (along with Kamran) FDW in August and various CASTivities throughout the spring semester (and now, the fall semester). I think my biggest contribution has been hybridizing and digitizing CAST content and recording CASTpod interviews with and for HW folks.  I was happy to use some of the tech skills from my PhD in technical communication and rhetoric as CAST coordinator and for FDW.

Serving faculty as CAST coordinator was a gratifying experience, but when I was recently nominated for FC, I thought this was another opportunity to continue to serve faculty and faculty interests.  As we approach an important crossroads as a district and college (a new chancellor, a new contract, and re-accreditation), I would like to use my experience (spring 2016) working on an all-District team of English faculty to create a new writing placement. My experience called for skills of argumentation and persuasion to ensure the best writing placement test was chosen for our students. I think my experience on this all-District team will also contribute to serving as the criterion chair for integrity for re-accreditation, as well as your FC representative.

Megan Ritt, Assistant Professor of English

Those of you who know me know that I’m passionate about many things (including Game of Thrones, the Oxford comma, and french fries). Another subject I’m passionate about is teaching and the well-being of our students. A lot of what we can do for them is reliant upon not just our content-area knowledge but also our knowledge of education itself, our academic freedom, and our ability to share in the governance of our school.

I want to serve on Faculty Council because I want to put my passion to good use. As a teacher of argumentation, I will listen to the many disparate voices of our faculty and help us reach informed conclusions. Serving as CAST Coordinator in 2014 and 2015 helped me see the importance of being involved on the school-wide level. I am eager to learn from those who have gone before me and to help provide a voice for the faculty and by extension, our students. If I am chosen to serve on the Council, I’ll bring my passion for teaching, my writer’s ear, and my Oxford commas. Thank you for your consideration.

B. Kamran Swanson, Assistant Professor of Humanities (Philosophy)

The Faculty Council is expected to represent the views of full- and part-time faculty, to support positions that preserve and strengthen the academic integrity of the institution, and to work with administration to foster an environment of shared governance. In my first three years of serving on Faculty Council, I have learned what it means to do this effectively, and I am excited to do so more frequently and effectively for another three years. I feel privileged to work among a community of experts, tremendously varied in their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. I believe that the best version of Faculty Council draws upon these differences, encourages rational dissent, and sets an example for our administration, our students, and our larger community, to exercise a government of free thinkers with competing views. I believe it is possible to do this without losing a clear voice, and I hope my various statements to administration and faculty have demonstrated this over the past few months and years. If reelected to Faculty Council, I intend to continue putting into practice that which I’ve learned before.



CAST Elections, October 10-14

Elections for CAST coordinator will be conducted this week. Ballots and envelopes will be deposited in department offices on Monday afternoon and picked up Friday morning, just prior to the HLC meeting.

This year, we have one choice: Dr. Rosie Banks and Chao Lu have decided to run as a team (this is allowed according to the CAST charter). I have asked nominees to compose a statement regarding their merit and goals, which is provided here:

“The Center for the Arts and Science of Teaching (CAST) has long provided a faculty-driven, faculty-owned space to share best and current practices, new research, and emerging ideas in pedagogy and curriculum development. In past years, we have enjoyed diverse and substantive FDW and academic year programming that has challenged us to grow as educators. Should you accept us as CAST coordinators for this year, we hope to continue and expand that legacy by:

“-extending CAST’s accessibility through podcasting or other programming possibilities,

“-increasing opportunities for exchange with educators in the HWC community and/or in the Chicagoland region who are doing substantive work in teaching and learning, and

“-increasing opportunities for support for those of us currently pursuing degrees or taking courses, thus recognizing the significance of faculty scholarship in teaching and learning.

“-Most importantly, we will welcome your feedback and participation every step of the way.

“Since joining the HWC community, Ms. Lu and Dr. Banks have contributed extensively to the life of the college through our work in faculty committees, developmental education, the union, and administration (instruction). We hope to have this opportunity to work with you as your CAST coordinators. We would be happy to answer any questions you have both during and after this election process.”

CASTpods for Fall 2016

Interested in hearing your colleagues (even if you can’t make the f2f meetings), then please have a listen (if you like) to the fall 2016 CASTpods.

CASTpod #1
In the first CASTpod of the fall 2016 semester, Kristin sits down with John Metoyer. Metoyer discusses his engaging dissertation research. The conversation progresses to wonder about the narrative structures embedded in higher education when it comes to educating for skills for students tacked to particular paths.

CASTpod #2
For CASTpod #2 for the fall 2016 semester, I sat down in my office with reference librarian and fresh-from-his-sabbatical Todd Heldt. We discussed information literacy: what it is, what he did with it, and what you can use it for with your students. I invite you to listen to our discussion and/or visit Todd’s Information Literacy (LIS 101) site.

CASTpod #3
In this week’s CASTpod, Kristin discusses critical reading skills with Dr. Evelyn Murdock. Our discussion presumes critical reading skills are needed beyond developmental courses. During our chat, Evelyn notes to be strong thinkers, students need to develop and practice critical reading and thinking skills. So, are you sold? Of course! But, if you’re not a reading teacher, how do you teach students to read critically? Evelyn discusses strategies you can use to critically engage your students in the readings for your course.

And more CASTpods are to come. These CASTpods will feature VP Armen Sarrafian discussing the HLC visit; Sunny Serres and Jenny Armendarez giving speech tips (for non-speech faculty); Asif Wilson talking about healing and transformative pedagogies; and Doug Rapp providing tips from the writing tutor’s perspective.

The Search for a New Chancellor

This is the position paper delivered to the consulting firm that is spearheading the search for the new Chancellor and Provost, presented on behalf of Faculty Council, and e-mailed to the HWC faculty and relevant parties. I present it in this public forum because I believe statements like this should be public and accessible.

To the Consultants of AGB Search, LLC, regarding the search for the next Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago:

On behalf of the faculty of Harold Washington College, I would like to thank you for reaching out to us, hosting an open forum for faculty and students to voice their input, and requesting a position paper regarding the selection of a new chancellor.

As you have undoubtedly heard from faculty across the district, the relationship between faculty and administration has grown contentious over the past five years, perhaps irreconcilably so with the current administration. The cause of this strain, as you have also likely heard, has been due to a lack of “shared governance.” That in short, our administration has made major decisions with minimal faculty involvement, and as a result our classes and the education of many of our students have been disrupted. This has occurred despite much protest from the faculty, a protest that was consistently met with a dismissive and disparaging tone from district office. Time after time, we saw our administrators declare large changes without prior consultation with faculty; we saw these actions followed by negative consequences; and when faculty strived to correct these actions, we often felt that administration stonewalled and insulted us. We believe that because of this, we may not be providing the same quality of education as we once did for all of our students, even while some of our data points suggest that we do.

From speaking to my colleagues, there are four specific points that arise again and again in various forms:


Check It Out

TONIGHT (and beyond)!

We’re sending you this email because we…thought you would be interested in Project&’s new initiative, Working in America.

One part photography exhibition, one part radio series, and one part public forum, Working in America chronicles the everyday challenges, triumphs and realities of working (and not working).

Working in America opens to the public tonight, Wednesday, September 14 at 6pm at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago–and we hope you will join us.

The free event will begin with a panel discussion led by Alex Kotlowitz, the author of several books including There Are No Children Here. Confirmed panelists include:

Ai-Jen Poo, Executive Director, Domestic Workers Alliance & MacArthur Fellow

Lynsey Addario, Pulitzer Prize-winning MacArthur Fellow, Project& Fellow, & Working in America photographer

Lucia McBath, individual featured in the exhibit, Mother, Gun Policy Advocate & Activist

Roque Sanchez, individual featured in the exhibit, Custodial Worker & Student

Jeffrey McGee, individual featured in the exhibit ,Facilities Manager & formerly incarcerated Drug Dealer.

Gary Bryner, individual featured in the exhibit, Retired General Motors Worker & Union Member, and subject in Studs Terkel’s book, Working.

Guests will then be invited to view the exhibit, which features the photography of Lynsey Addario, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and MacArthur Fellow. The exhibit was designed by Jeanne Gang, also a MacArthur Fellow and Architectural Review’s 2016 Architect of the Year, and curated by Jane M. Saks, the president and artistic director of Project&.

While viewing the exhibit, guests will be invited to share their own “Working Stories,” which will then be featured on our public archive at Working.org. To see a preview of submissions, please visit us on Instagram at @WorkinginAmerica.

Working in America is ultimately inspired by, celebrates, and brings forward the tradition of Studs Terkel and his influential book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).

Therefore, we invite you to tune into NPR on September 25 for our radio series, produced in collaboration with Radio Diaries. The series, which will air on both Morning Edition and All Things Considered, will feature both the unpublished field recordings of Terkel collected for the book and new content collected for Working in America.

To receive the latest updates and exclusive content about Working in America, subscribe to our newsletter. Please be sure to check your email and confirm your opt-in.

We hope that you will join us tonight at the Harold Washington Library!


Jane M. Saks and the Project& team

Project& collaborates with artists to create new models of cultural participation with social impact. We amplify artistic voices that risk, engage, investigate and inspire, highlighting issues at the forefront of our time including: race, justice, access and equity, identity, gender, cultures of violence, human rights, and economic inequality. As we seed chance through artist collaboration, we spark chain reactions and consequences that set cultural participation in motion in ways we cannot anticipate or predict.


FC4 Representative Nominees

As I announced via e-mail last week, we are currently engaged in FC4 representative nominations. We have one position open as Jesu Estrada completes one term. She is eligible to run again, and has chosen to do so. She is joined in the election by Jacqueline Cunningham. I’ve asked them to write up a statement, which you can find below and in your e-mail. Elections will run this upcoming week, from September 12 to September 14. Ballots will be in your office.

Dr. Maria J. Estrada

I have served as an FC4 representative for almost three years.  In that time, I have tried to represent, with the highest ethical standards, the wide interests of the faculty and departments.  I have taken your input and recommendations seriously.  It continues to be important to have a strong voice within the context of Reinvention and changes in our local, state, and national educational systems. At FC4 meetings, I have often been critical and outspoken, always advocating for our faculty interests, whether it be to oppose ill-thought policies or negative changes in our programs.  Likewise, it has been important to support changes that would benefit our students and faculty.  I have also cooperated on committees with faculty across the City Colleges as well as student advocates because I believe collectivity and cooperation produces better work.

Historically, I approved curriculum and courses that would benefit students, back when Faculty Council still had this role.  I was also one of the first faculty members to openly speak out against Biometrics and the privatization of our education both at the Board and meetings across the District.  Part of my FC4 advocacy includes speaking at Board meeting about academic program and policy changes, attending Board meetings to be further informed about campus-wide issues, and participating in actions like informational pickets and town hall meetings to voice faculty concerns. I am not afraid to fight for faculty interests and will continue to do so; however, when I can work with administration strategically and with your support, I will do so, especially if this endeavor furthers our academic interests and goals.  Finally, my door has always been and will continue to be open to your concerns and suggestions.

Jacqueline Cunningham
M.Ed., MA LinguisticsDepartment Chairperson English Language Learning/World Languages

My interest in serving on FC4 stems from not only the issues that we face locally at CCC, but also a triad of policy initiatives coming from Washington DC to the state of Illinois that are already in play, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which affects our future students, the new Workforce Investment Opportunity ACT which is a complete revision of Adult Education, and next year 2018 Higher Education Act.  As a Chicago educator for over 20 years, I have seen the cycles of change in education more than once.  I have also experienced with students the effects of some challenging policies.  The coming few years are going to present policy challenges at many levels.  We need to advocate for our students as these changes occur. I recently returned from Washington DC speaking to our representatives, and I have seen great success locally in holding or reversing proposed changes to programs through advocacy by some of our faculty.  These observations have made it clear that faculty can educate our leaders locally and nationally on the needs of our CCC students and that the faculty are essential to advocating for the needs of all students.  It is up to us.