“make lemons out of [DWFDW] lemonade”

Yes, to borrow the innocent, yet powerful, quote from PhiloDave’s daughter, I’d like to create this open post and keep it running all week in some way or another to focus on POSITIVE outcomes from Faculty Development Week. (OK, you can list concerns too.)

With Day 1 Day 2 underway, what will you or what have you done with your lemons?

Thanks for the input everyone! Here we go with Day 3 4 the last day of events! It will be short. Possibly sweet?
Last chance to leave a comment before the post leaves the main page. (Thanks for keeping it at the top Dave!)

Small hint to the timid and shy: You don’t need to leave an email in order to comment. Just a name. Silly, outrageous, and creative appears to be the fad.

20 thoughts on ““make lemons out of [DWFDW] lemonade”

  1. Thanks for the open thread, Ivan. Good idea.

    I will start it out by saying that, if nothing else, the DWFDW that we got is a far cry better than the initial proposal. Like Realist, I have some issues/questions about what is coming (e.g., what’s with the Pearson showcase?), but I’m happy that Family Day isn’t part of it. I’m happy that we got a day at our own campus, and I’m really happy that it was the first day. I think that was smart. I’m happy that we’re going to see a philosopher talk, and I’m happy that there are a relative variety of topics and presenters. I’m happy that electronic grade inputting training is included, too.

    To be honest, I’m still reeling quite a bit from John’s retirement announcement, and I’m a bit disoriented by the speed and breadth of structural and philosophical changes being made/proposed and a bit suspicious of the fact that they seem to be occurring as the “plan” is developing. The longer we go without hearing about what needs and problems have specifically been identified and what the strategy, and opportunity cost, is for solving them, the more skeptical and resistant I feel about the whole thing.

    Still, credit where credit is due–this program is a lot better than what I feared it would be. That’s a start.

  2. Dear Diary,
    Day One came and went without much of a problem simply ’cause our HWC admins, John, John, and John, had a good idea that keeping the presentations short and sweet would serve us (the faculty) best. I too am sad 😦 to know that John is leaving soon. No not young John, President John, I mean soon to be retiring John. Oh, dear diary, thankfully after the 16th of this month all will go back to some semblance of normal, yes?
    The presentations were worth my time. I think I’ll be visiting the Wellness Center soon IF, as PhiloDave stated, these CCC and HWC changes begin to occur as the strategic/short-term/long-term/mission critical plan is developed. Dear diary, I may need some legal help too. Just kiddin’ 🙂
    As for the time to prepare for the semester, bigum KUDOS to HWC for providin’ us with it. Shore came in handy, although I am still in need of more.
    Finally, Dear Diary, I know I’m a day late on this entry but it’s been hot and I’s tryin’ to get as much summer in as I can before I have to go to MX the rest of the week. More to come. Good lemonade today. Well planned. Today, I give DWFDW four out of five lemons (that’s a good thing by the way) for planning, organization, and giving faculty time to get back to busy-ness.
    Who knows what tomorrow brings…

    • While today was easy to take, keep in mind that no fewer than three more days remain!

      On a somewhat negative note (sorry!), I think NADE rep Lisa Cole is a bit confused about NADE. It is, after all, the National Association of Developmental EDUCATION, not Developmental STUDENTS. A large part of our mission is to provide a program for adults (with H.S. diploma or GED) who do not academically qualify for college level courses. The primary concern of NADE (well, at least that was the case years ago when it was founded) is the existence and strategies of those programs. Ms. Cole would almost have us think a “developmental student” is one that should be nurtured throughout her or his academic career, and that’s just not the case.

      • OK, breakout session goal: define DEVELOPMENTAL, STUDENT, and EDUCATION.
        Talk amongst yourselves…

  3. Dear Diary,
    Day two of DWFDW has now come to a close.
    The day started out well. Big Kudos to OUR HWC faculty and staff for getting the program designed and printed. Shore was helpful, although I would have liked an iPad; it would have saved on printing costs and it would have given me somethin’ to do while the monologues were in session – but I digress; apparently equiping faculty with technology ain’t in the busy-ness plan at the moment. Speaking of technology, why are we still struggling to use Powerpoint, I mean, it is old technology, so why must we embarass ourselves by demonstrating how well we CAN’T use it with a remote. I’m confused diary 😦
    Stay positive and focused…
    It was good to hear from our new leaders, Chico and the Gal. I say this with respect diary. I don’t want to mispell any names. They have a vision. This is good. Although, during the Q&A session it appeared that they REALLY need to think this through before making bold statements. Diary, I was glad to see faculty respond with such enthusiasm for education. Personally, I would have cancelled/postponed the HLC presentation in lieu of more Q&A.
    Two BIG thumbs up for our guest speaker today, diary. That’s right, IMHO, he was great. I believe what the Dr. was trying to say was that English needs the Humanities, not the other way around. I’ve gots to watch Mr. Holland’s s Opus and celebrate. I hope a transcript of his speech makes it into the next bored report, er, I mean, board report. (See what I mean about my typos diary?) More time should have been made available for Q&A for our guest speaker.

    I’ll stop here diary. Day 2 goes down with 3 out of five lemons (and that’s only because The Philosopher saved the day!). Brochures looked great. Faculty were great; they were left wondering what C defines as REMEDIAL. Maybe Chico and the Gal went back to headquarters to pow-wow. I’ll wait for an answer. We’ll see if the lines of communication are truly open as we continue to “re-invent” ourselves. Time was a problem, diary. More Q&A would have been appreciated. It appears faculty, pe’fers to talk with C instead of C talking down to faculty. Oh yeah, and I guess I ‘herd’ too much about “job training” and nots enough about “educating”. I thought we were trying to GUIDE our students to THINK CRITICALLY, not TRAINING them to wear horse blinders? Next thing you know it diary, we’ll become an employment ageny!
    We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’ll sleep knowing that today’s guest speaker saved the day. Kudos to those who brought him to our stage!

  4. Dear Diary,

    Overall it was a very informative day. Since I have to do a self study for my department, I really appreciated the guidance and general explanation offered by Dr. Taylor of HLC. Kind of helped me who is real green to conceptualize the process.

    Thought the Chancellor actually gave a good speech. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what I could get through the grapevine this past year and actually they were pretty straight up about what unifying the system means and the reality of where the process is. I think we are still trying to figure out how to protect student FA$, and no I don’t think the plan has been fully formed since actually the priority has been on placement. Why did no one really ask about that? That’s the buzz that’s the happening.

    Gotta agree about the whole job emphasis being a bit much though. If our students are thinking critically and are well rounded I think they can get the jobs. The workplace wants problem solvers, that’s what critical thinking creates and that’s what we do, but students see certificates as a pathway to jobs. Maybe the focus should be basic certificate to AA/AS/AE etc degrees as pathway to BA/BS to MA/MS i.e don’t emphasize the small stuff focus on the big picture with students.

    Overall a very good day with a Great philosopher speaker.

    One beef though. I wish ALL the faculty had stayed until the end of the last presentation. Yes, I know there was much to be desired in both information and presentation style from the speaker, and I know it was late. Still, with new leadership that we generally seem to have the utmost respect for, it would have been a symbol of support for our new leader who arranged it for us to tough it out.

    Yep, it was a good day. I will remain positive, cos negativity just brings me down.


    • I agree that more people should have stayed until 3, but after that I can understand why folks had to leave and assume they had good reason to do so (e.g. walking a dog, picking up kids from childcare, etc.). As with many conferences, we weren’t as on time as we should have. As was mentioned in another post, the intro for Dr. Pippin was quite long thus cutting into his time. Transitions proved to be very difficult for our crowd, especially when we came together as a large group. Hopefully, today they just start when they say they’re going to start. We’re adults. Those of us who care can make sure to get to where we need to be when we need to be there. Aa for John Taylor, though I appreciate the info, I wish it had been a bit more engaging. Also, given that we just went through the process, it didn’t seem necessary to provide this for the entire CCC faculty. A breakout session may have been a better option. I would have preferred more Q & A time, but that’s just me.

      • I am writing this while I listen to day 4’s sessions. I can do this because I know what is interesting and meaningful to me and my work and what is not. Some of these large group sessions have not had ANYTHING to do with me and I have decided to use my time multitasking.
        I find it much more distressing to know that many of our colleagues have pulled the old “sign in and take off” technique that several faculty use during registration. I find it equally distressing that so many people got out of this completely. I actually met someone on Monday who told me his whole department was excused for Tuesday’s sessions because they had department work to get done. Guess what? We all have department work to get done.
        I am hoping that there will be some way to give feedback about this week that will be considered thoughtfully, especially if this is going to be an annual event.
        Can we talk about that lunch on day 3?

        • Thanks for that. I agree. I was also a bit disheartened by the massive amount of chatting during the service learning session. Though it wasn’t necessarily of interest for everyone, we, as faculty, should show a bit more respect or, IMHO, just get out of the room or building and chat (this is, sadly, a phrase I have uttered to chatty students a few times over the past few years). We’re better than this.

          The chicken yesterday was pretty horrendous and I too hope we will be able to give more feedback from the vague evals that were given to us.

  5. So here’s my two cents. As many of you know, I was a bit embittered going into this given that CAST spent a good amount of time getting ready to set FDW into motion locally. As the summer went on and I traveled and relaxed, my bitterness waned as I removed myself from Chicago and CCC life for awhile. Now that I’m back, I’m fighting to quell my previous feeling and make lemonade out of lemons, though I prefer iced tea (mmm or mint tea actually, in Morocco, where I was for 5 days this summer, it accompanied each meal; sorry for the Homer Simpson moment. Anyway…). Given that I missed our graduation, yesterday was only the 2nd time I’d heard the chancellor speak. The first was the mandatory math meeting on a Wednesday in the middle of the semester about what you may ask, developmental mathematics and technological fixes. It was interesting reading the Sun Times article and hearing our Chancellor and Chairman of the board (I should stop using this term; he’s not Sinatra though I haven’t a clue if he can sing; he has a lovely speaking voice though. He sounds a bit like Eugene Levy.) talk about remediation. I’m curious to see how that all pans out especially given our end of the day NADE presentation. As for the Q & A, I did find the boos and hissing a bit off-putting though I can completely understand them and in my head I was booing at times. The frustrating part about the new direction for CCC is the lack of info right now. I understand that they want to involve faculty (let’s hope this occurs in a productive way; right now I’m being as optimistic as possible), but I wish that they had a little more information. Yesterday speeches and QA were synonymous to the times that I’ve walked into the classroom half prepared, feeling it out as I go. Though great things can come from this openness and vulnerability, this can lead to unease, tension and frustration. Clearly the Chancellor has a vision. I’d like to see it fleshed out a bit more. All of this aside, the Q & A was particularly frustrating given the fact that the “answerers” used the usual political dodging and spin techniques in which they just repeat the same answers in different ways over and over again hoping to satisfy the “questioners”. No disrespect to our Chancellor’s humble beginnings at Olive Harvey and her myriad accomplishments as a result of this but she needn’t answer 75% of the questions by alluding to this. I digress.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Pippin’s speech though it wasn’t for everyone. There were several dissatisfied individuals around me not at all interested in what he was saying, or possibly in the manner in which he was saying it. Having a place in my heart for philosophy, I really enjoyed it and his message was loud and clear, in stark contrast to the pre-lunch message. Maybe in 5 years, someone who shares Dr. Pippin’s vision would get the coveted pre-lunch slot (like an opening plenary). Instead, he was slotted at a time where there would be less people (including upper administrators) there to hear it. And so it goes. Let’s see what today holds. There’s no dearth of breakout sessions today. It’s a bit overwhelming.

  6. Dear Diary,
    Sorry to get around so late regarding Day 3 of this exercise/experiment called DWFDW. It was a mixed bag of sorts for me. Wednesday’s guest speaker, the Researcher was good, almost as good as the Philosopher. I appreciated his presentation and it makes me want to do some data collecting in an effort to do more for our students. Once again the Q&A was too short, but boy oh boy, the Researcher really was doing his best to empower us to make changes at our local colleges. Great presentation.
    Here’s the bad news diary 😦
    One: I did not see Chico and The Gal at today’s events. Not sure if they were meeting with Da Mayor and CPS officials to iron out the self-created remedial problems. Maybe they’ll have some info for us on Thursday or Friday. It is their event ain’t it?
    Two: I was highly disappointed to see a handful of my fellow faculty members interacting with laptops, smart devices, and newspapers (you know who you are T.L. with your face in the Sun-Times funnies while our presenter was talkin’ ’bout the needs of our students) instead of focusing on the presentation. I do not know if they were bored, trying to show their disinterest in the topic, or being multi-taskers? Either way, the least we should all be doing is giving our full attention to all presenters and their presentations. Maybe our faculty was folowin’ the lead of our admins? Don’t know, but it was disheartening to say the least.

    With regards to the District OIT presentation, yes, tech news and their presenters can be very cut and dry; but at least they are talkin’ about a vision and not a ‘re-invention’. We’ll see what comes of their goals. They remain empty until action accompanies the words. For now, I will continue to work from home on a computer that I know will handle my needs. Darn shame, but thems the facts. BTW, what up with that poll stuff? I guess I’ll have to ignore the ‘no cell phone policy’ in my classroom and throw out the clickers we deemed so necessary to augment student engagement? Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing at C? I gots more out of the 4-minute video than the texting experiment? I’ll leave it at that before my lemons go sour.

    Speaking of tech and stuff, I heard and observed a few things about the break-out sessions:
    A. Not enough time
    B. Not worth the time
    C. Well worth the time
    D. Room wasn’t big enough
    Not sure how C will evaluate the “success” of these break-out sessions ’cause the survey was an honest joke. They should’a run it by the Researcher from some quick critique. How do I know what session was worth my time? I didn’t attend them all, so there’s no way to compare. How ’bout a line for general comments?
    Sorry, diary. I know I need to stay positive.
    Hmm, let’s see… oh yeah, we had lunch. Better to be fed twice in four days than not at all…

    On to the last presenter. Mr Microsoft Live was enthusiastic. Sorry diary, that’s all the good I got on his presentation. Too much talk about “leverage” and “free” and “cloud” left me wondering if:
    A. Has District, oops, sorry MathArt, has C already made a decision on this?
    B. Ain’t nothin’ free baby! There’s always a cost associated when academics partner with corporate entities. I just afraid we’ll pay for it, or worse, our students will be asked to pick up the price of Chico and The Gal goin’ to bed with Bill and Melinda Gates.
    C. If faculty are forced to use the Microsoft platform, what about students who are ‘pose to be gettin’ Gmail? How does that work? Hello right hand, may I introduce left hand to you before we both take the wheel and run this vehicle into oncoming traffic?
    Oh yeah diary, what happened to all of the faculty that were ‘pose to be at this presentation? From the looks of it, about half of us were present and the other half decided to show our Provost why we need to be treated like students with attendance issues. Shame, shame, on us. I can understand it if we were asked to be present until 2pm and the presentation ran past the allotted time, but that was not the case.

    All in all, diary, I have to give Wednesday’s experience 2 out of 5 stars. Highlights – The enthusiasm of the main presenters. Lowlights – lack of meaningful substance and relevance (NOT including the Researcher) for faculty and lack of participation and focus by faculty.

    Dear diary, I hope others share their thoughts on the break-out sessions. We’ll see what Thursday brings…

    • With respect to faculty, I agree on some points and disagree on others. I’ll admit that I was tempted to leave before the Microsoft presentation given my strong disdain to most things Microsoft, but I stuck around for the reasons you mentioned. Others did not do the same and that is a shame. But with respect to faculty doing other things while presentations are occurring, that’s a different story. I think multi-tasking is a way of life these days. Though I’m not a huge fan of it when I see students doing something else during class, I’m often impressed by their ability to jump right into the conversation despite the fact that it looks like they haven’t been engaged. I’d consider myself guilty of this during 2 of the 3 big talks but I was still well aware of what was going on. In fact, working on the jumble and crossword helped me to ignore the massive amount of chatting from faculty about unrelated matters (though I did engage in some subject related chatter during the researcher’s presentation but that’s b/c he stirred things up, making me think that DWFDW would benefit greatly from some scheduled time to reflect and chat with faculty about the presentations before moving to others). Sadly, Realist, some faculty will be model students at PD ops whiles others will not be. It is ultimately their choice, just like our students.

      I was also a bit disappointed by the absence of Chico and “the gal”. I saw it as a very disrespectful move that they couldn’t even make an appearance (correct me if I’m wrong).

      As for the breakout sessions, the timing was tricky as was the space and room changes. I enjoyed my 2 breakout sessions but fear that with technology, for the most part, I like to be able to do my own exploring and experimenting. This was not necessarily an option during a 45 minutes presentation.

      Back to Microsoft…I’m a mac guy. He mentioned a few times that it (outlook or the other “gizmos”) integrate with windows. I need to look into this more deeply. Those of us with macs often have some trouble with these types of changes given that they’re not always mac friendly. We’ll see how that pans out. Personally, I think that a majority of what the rep showed us can be done nearly equivalently in googledocs. We’ll see.

      All in all, day 3 was interesting. Oh, I almost forgot. The morning tech presentation was an interesting experience. Despite his attempts to be engaging, the faculty was having none of it. Had he shown the video at the start, he may have hooked a few people in. Sadly, the content was not too interesting. Also, the ppts are getting a bit tiresome, especially given the busy-ness of many of them. I may need to abandon my back row seat today in order to get more out of them. As for the cell phone poll, I thought students now need to have cells in class given our emergency notification system. My larger concern for this as a pedagogical tool is that our students have bills to pay. Though many providers include unlimited textings, several do not. The students (or someone) have (has) already paid for the class. Can we, in good conscience, ask them to shell out more money for this, albeit cool, technology.

  7. Can’t find my diary. I think it went a hidin’ while I was away at Thursday’s session.
    In any case, here are my observations from today:
    The brown bag lunch session was neither a success nor a failure. At least we got to eat what we wanted to bring. (Did anyone get sick from the chicken that was left sitting out in the open for an extended period of time?)
    Our first speaker of the day, Buckley DoLittle, had little to offer in the way of new news. I was partially pleased that he admitted to have spoken with C and that the lines of communication will be open. Proof will be in the puddin’. Here’s what I gots to say about him and to him:
    1. Don’t try to be funny Buckley DoLittle! Your humor is either crude or disrespectful. I don’t want to know about your past. Did you want to sexually harass women when you joined the ranks? Are you glad, disappointed,or frustrated that there are now laws in place to protect the dignity of others?
    2. So we have union committees that were put to sleep for the past number of years and NOW is a good time to give them new life ’cause you say so? Sorry is suppose to fix this blunder. Are you kidding me? So, you decide what is best for union members if it is part of your personal agenda? This is no way to preside over a union.
    3. Hip-hip hooray for DoLittle since, according to him, he forced a contract down the throats of C and union members?!?! How much longer do we have to hear that this is and was a good thing ’cause it aint! Talk about setting precedent for future negotiations. THERE WAS NO NEED TO RUSH NEGOTIATIONS! Do us all a favor and stop, stop, stop pretending to have had a crystal ball regarding the collapse of the economy. We didn’t get lucky! That tune is wearing old. We were rushed into signing a half-baked contract that you and Wayne Whats-his-name kept taking out of the oven while we were left in the dark. The grim reaper (Da Mayor with a Sox hoody over his head and baseball bat autographed by Ozzie) will come a callin’ in 2012. Mark my words DoLittle…
    4. You still appear to be talking down to the union members that elected you. Case in point: A question was asked towards the end of the presentation to which you stated, “I thought I made myself clear but I’ll repeat myself again.” I gots no problem with the statement and you wanting union members to listen attentively, but ITS ALL IN THE TONE! Respect is a two-way street. Change the tone and don’t send the signal that we’s all ignant for wanting clarification. Do your elected job with humbleness and humility.
    5. The Top Ten Ways to Get Tenure in the City Colleges that you provided is a joke. Tell me somethin’ I wasn’t told by admin and faculty who hired me or somethin’ that ain’t in the faculty or employment manual. Number 10 reads like I need to be the office servant with regards to being “a team player”. Shall I run their copies, bring cupcakes, and polish their shoes too? I ain’t in it to be a team player. I’m in it to teach and improve the quality of education for me and my students.
    6. So how does the union plan on keeping me informed after today? Snail-mail? email? Texting? Blogging? Twitter? webpage? Remember, the focus this week has been on TECHNOLOGY. Let’s “leverage” some of these tools and not become empty “silos”. Start a Local 1600 “cloud”. Let’s do something together, DoLittle.
    7. This will be the last comment. To all of our non-tenured (and legally unprotected) faculty:
    NO MATTER WHAT ANY UNION LEADER OR MEMBER TELLS YOU, DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT USE THE PHONE! Always leave a paper trail. Use email. If DoLittle asks you to call, kindly say thank you and communicate via email. This way you get it in writing. Contact your local chapter chair and copy DoLittle. There’s a reason we find amusement in playing the phone game, but it ain’t funny when your future career is on the line.

    I’ll stop there and let others have their say about the Civic Engagement session. I really wanted to walk away with something sweet. Sorry it’s nothin’ but sticky stuff. 2 out of 5 lemons today.
    Not sure what Friday has in store for us. If you can multitask, then go for it.
    I’s doin’ my best to stay positive and focused. I have appreciated being with my fellow faculty members. At least I have a good idea of what community is all about.

  8. With all due respect to our colleagues who worked hard to put together a big event, and with all due gratitude for their hard (and free) work…

    raise your hand if you heard a “horror story” about someone who was assigned or directed to present this week with very little direction or clarification on the topic and little or nor initiative on their own part…

    So far, I’ve been to two workshops and heard about a third where the first thing the person presenting said was, “I was told to be here and do this, but I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to be doing” and I know about a fourth speaker who found out she was on the schedule for Friday on Wednesday.

    I’m getting more disappointed by the session. Admittedly, I’m going to more sessions than I would have if they were still optional and hosted locally, but given the content, I’m getting much less accomplished than I would have otherwise…

  9. I popped in to the “Now is the time to think about tenure” Faculty Panel session, only to discover that a faculty panel did not exist. Someone then ran around the building collecting a panel and brought in two administrators who really knew nothing about the current tenure process and two still untenured faculty. Totally disorganized day in my opinion.

  10. Day five. I’m tired. Can’t find Diary. Was glad to see fellow faculty members this week. That was a good idea. IMHO, this event/experience was too long by about 2 or 3 days. I hope C has a better idea as to what we educators really want to know and need to know IF there is to be a future DWFDD (District Wide Faculty Development Day).
    DWFDW gets 2 out of 5 lemons in the area of logistics/organization, relevant topics, and lack of participation by those who led the charge to gather for a week. 5 out of 5 lemons for those who attended and then jumped on The Lounge to read and write. 5 out of 5 lemons for The Philosopher and The Researcher. They have recharged my brain cells for this upcoming Fall semester.

    I highly encourage you to share your comments ANONYMOUSLY. Go on. Do it ONCE and you’ll see how powerful and addictive it can become. 🙂
    Let your voice be heard! Peace y’all.

    • I agree – way too long. If I had to sum up each day in one word, this is what I’d say:

      Day One: Boring
      Day Two: Better
      Day Three: Pointless
      Day Four: Overkill (and not even any muffins to sweeten the deal)

      2 days of this was plenty, especially since most of the breakout sessions were on day 2. Why didn’t they have us break out by discipline instead of by college? Wouldn’t that have better served the “unification” agenda? They’re afraid to give the departments too much power is what I think – if we unite, we can conquer.

      I found it a little bit obnoxious that MX’s brand new Mentoring program for untenured faculty was brought up so many times (not sure if anyone else noticed this), but that our administrators never bothered to point out that HW has had a formal enough mentoring program in place since 2006. (This really is just my college pride talking).

      Well, I don’t know about you guys, but this week has not excited me about the new semester as it was supposed to do. I just feel kinda exhausted.

  11. My “Twitter-sized” impression of the week (i.e. 140 characters):

    1 week, 24ish hrs of PD-like activity,time I may never get back,not a complete waste but not completely worth my time,next yr’ll be better

  12. Three final days and three consecutive plenary sessions we should not have been forced to sit through: The John Taylor talk that should only have gone to campuses undergoing NCA review, the Sencer et al talk (spare us!), and the first year student nonsense (what does a “first year student” even mean at our campus!?). I guess I should be thankful the NADE session was only for HW. Is there not a program in the nation that HWC does not feel it has to commit to?

    But I am, … anonymous

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