DWFDW Poll and DeBrief/Suggestion List

Sorry about the delay, everyone. This was supposed to be a Think, Know, Prove post for Saturday, but I went straight to the woods on Friday afternoon, and never had a chance to get it up. Plus, I think I needed the weekend to get some perspective on the week’s events. There were a number of observations made this week in the comments and the posts, but not too much in the way of suggestions. Now, if I start talking about those evaluation forms we were given, I think it might go a little like this:

So, instead, I thought maybe we (HWFC) could just run a little informal poll here and ask for a list of suggestions that we can pass along. The poll and suggestion list will be up all week, but will close on Friday at 5pm.

Suggestion #1: More coffee; less fried chicken in boxes.

7 thoughts on “DWFDW Poll and DeBrief/Suggestion List

  1. I think it would have benefited the Chancellor to hear some of the speakers, particularly Robert Pippin regarding the push and pull of Liberal Arts education and work force training. If she really wanted to understand the environment she is in, she would have been there. Like her or not, the position of Chancellor is a busy one – but, being new to the system and entirely new to academics (versus corporate), I think it would have been useful for her to listen (and learn) about the issues.

    Overall, Robert Pippin was the speaker I enjoyed most and two days of meetings would have been plenty for the requisite bonding between schools — the four day thing…not so much. I have to admit, it was nice to get together with everyone from the district for a day or so – that had merit.

    • I agree. As a first year full-timer, I haven’t experienced an FDW that wasn’t district wide. But I found value in meeting people from other campuses and hearing what they were doing. In fact, a breakaway, or even a plenary session, that specifically addressed the differences and similarities of the different Colleges would have been great.

      I also agree that there were too many days and too much wasted time. The event’s purpose was to ready us for the next semester, but by the end I felt more unmotivated, exhausted, and cheated of time. A better organized two day event is something I would look forward to in future years.

      The breakaway sessions that I attended ranged from (1) adequate, with room for improvement, to (2) entertaining and thought-provoking, but needing more time. Meanwhile, with the exception of Pippin’s and Jenkin’s speech, I found every large group presentation as either (A) filled with vague information, (B) not nearly as important as some breakaway session content.

      I support the goals of Bearfoot’s and Gardner’s Foundations of Excellence, and I look forward to getting involved. However, I found their speech on Friday simply infuriating. I recorded in my notes when they were speaking to specifics of FoE, and when they were just giving us propaganda. By my count, the first 70 minutes were propaganda, and the last 20 minutes we got a brief, if still vague, idea of what FoE actually means. I spent the breakaway session at “part 2” of the FoE talk, which was far more useful. I understand that they don’t have a model to give us, and that their purpose is to help us develop our own model. However, it would have been excellent to see some statistics and diverse examples of changes they have helped assist at other schools. Instead, they gave us lengthy biographies of their experience with education. Look, guys, your biographies are cool and I’m not tryin’ to hate. But nearly everyone in your audience has cool education-related biographies. That’s why we’ve devoted our lives to education, for the most part (and the big bucks, of course). I wanted to know things that will help me become a better teacher, to better assist the specific problems of our students, and to develop a more effective first-year program. Your three biographies were not helpful.

      And as a liberal, I still found it an obviously bad decision to make those political jokes.

      In the end, if it were up to me, I would:

      A) Devote more time to breakaway sessions (increase the time from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes),
      B) Ensure breakaway session leaders are well-prepared, pertinent content, and clear descriptions in the catalog,
      C) Transform the content of most large-group sessions to breakaway (ASL, Jenkins, Microsoft, SENCER, Lynch, Foundations for Excellence)
      D) Shorten the days from four to two
      E) Begin the conference with a Pippin-like keynote, ensuring that we place at the spearhead of our conference a devotion to intellectual development, and save the administrator’s talk for later in the day. This sets the precedent that the duty of the administrator is merely the means toward the end of intellectual development, and not the other way around.
      F) Devote a breakaway session to academic disciplines. It would be great to hear what the other philosophy instructors are doing with their classes, what sort of methods they use to engage their classes on our esoteric texts, and what are their philosophical areas of specialization. I could definitely see us working to give guest lectures at other campuses that speak to our areas of expertise. Sure, I could find this stuff out through e-mail, but I’d really like to meet these people before I let them have my class for a day.
      G) Finally, and most importantly, I wholeheartedly agree with Dave’s first suggestion: more coffee, less cold chicken. It may have been the most insulting moment of the conference when I showed up to lunch and there was a mountain of lunch-boxes all filled with that single, disgusting “choice.” If there is fault in all of my suggestions, then at least give us some healthy eating options, and the coffee necessary to stand the (at best) boring but necessary talks.

  2. I heard a lot of grumbling from faculty during the Foundations of Excellence speech, which did surprise me, because I kinda enjoyed it. Of course, I have met John Gardner and Betsy Barefoot before and sat through a full-day training session with them, so I knew their personalities and had an idea of what to expect. I think that John and Betsy were told that they had to convince us that they were credible so that there would be faculty buy-in for the FOE initiative. Hence, the long, drawn out biographies. And, John Gardner does like to talk…a lot. But, if you’ve ever sat through an HWC or CCC meeting, you’ve encountered at least one person who just likes to hear themselves talk, even if what they’re saying is irrelevant. As for the political jokes – come on guys, lighten up a bit. We can’t take everything so seriously. I think that the FOE speakers got the short end of the stick – they came on the 4th day of DWFDW, we were not given breakfast, we were tired, annoyed and ready to be done. This presentation may have received higher marks if it had been given on day one or day two (before the chicken fiasco, of course – at least the apple and the brownie were good). Anyway, that’s just my opinion.

    We could have done without the HLC presentation and without the SENCER/Service Learning presentation. No one seemed to be paying any attention to either of those. Also, don’t put us in the cafeteria for presentations – it’s never a good idea to have people sitting with their backs to the presenters.

    More coffee and more water. Seriously, the hottest week of the year and all they could give us were tiny bottles of water. They should have had water (and coffee) throughout the day, especially since MX only has one drinking fountain (that I could find) outside the men’s locker room in the basement. And, how can you run out of coffee??? You want happier faculty, load us up on caffeine. (And this is just a personal complaint whenever coffee is served – please offer a non-dairy creamer along with the usual half-and-half).

    Too many good choices for simultaneous breakout sessions on one day, and not enough good choices for breakout sessions the rest of the days. We should have had fewer mandatory sessions and more opportunities to hear from our colleagues.

    The breakout by college was a waste of time. We would have been much better off breaking out by discipline.

    That’s all I got right now. I’m sure I’ll think of more later…

    • “As for the political jokes – come on guys, lighten up a bit. We can’t take everything so seriously.”

      I guess I’ll use that logic next time I make a racist or sexist joke in class. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Suggestion #2: Q&A sessions should be as long as the time given to speakers.

    Suggestion #3: Provide a workshop titled ‘Get to the Point: How To Ask A Direct Question and NOT Alienate the Listeners’

    Suggestion #4: Bring back Robert Pippin

    Suggestion #5: District Wide Faculty Development DAY

  4. 19 votes is a pretty weak sample. We were mocked/discounted for having only 45 votes about DWFDW. There’s no way I’m reporting what 19 people said.

    If you’d like your vote to matter, tell other people to get on and click a button. It’s painless!

    • You may want to place this comment as part of the post. The peeps that ain’t votin’ is maybe the same peeps that ain’t clickin’ to read the comments.

      BTW, to whom would you be reporting? The District? Our FC reps? District FC reps? Board members? It may make a difference to those on the sidelines.

      Would it help if I voted more that once?

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