Am I Reading This Right?

Did the Board basically fire all of the Presidents of the City Colleges today?

Chicago – To realize its goal of increasing student success and institution-wide accountability, the Board of Trustees of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) voted today to redefine the role of college president at its seven colleges and called for current presidents and new candidates to apply for the revamped position. This is the next step in the ongoing effort to reinvent CCC and hold all faculty and management accountable for the success of the new Reinvention plan…

Today, the Board also approved the hiring of a professional firm to undertake a national search for candidates…

The current presidents have been encouraged to re-apply for the redefined positions. The Board of Trustees anticipates naming its president selections as early as May.

Am I misunderstanding this move? Whaa?

Does anyone have a different interpretation? I’m so confused…

55 thoughts on “Am I Reading This Right?

  1. And are we to assume HWC’s soon-to-be President was interviewed/hired under these new job duties?

  2. This is definitely shocking and I read it in the same way as PhiloDave (which makes me feel smart). I’m wondering what FC4 said/will say about it today. Sadly, I couldn’t make today’s meeting. If Ellen or anyone else from FC4 is reading this, please let us know if this came up.

  3. Yes, I’m reading this the same way too… Doesn’t it sound like the new job descriptions will have “Unquestioning Support of Reinvention” written into them as a condition of employment??? OMG.

    • We once recited this pledge:
      “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
      and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible,
      with liberty and justice for all.”

      Now we’ll need to recite this one:
      “I pledge allegiance to the fact that this is our unified state of academics,
      and to the cadre for which it stands, one district that has done good, indisputably,
      with no limitation on job potential for U…
      who embrace reinvention.”

  4. It sounds like she’s creating a management team to more effectively execute her vision for what CCC need to be. That doesn’t mean I’m not unsettled by the strategy, or that I believe anyone could understand the poetry of what we do on the ground in less than a year. But…it fits…is there really a surprise here?

    • All she has to do is to put three of her people in key positions in each college to have a complete control!

  5. From the beginning I was never opposed to the Reinvention process and still have hopes that it will improve student experiences and educational quality… this move, however, to redefine President’s job description STINKS. It is particularly ludicrous to say that current presidents are “encouraged” to apply: if all of them truly were, they could continue working in their “redefined” positions.
    The big question is: WHAT’S NEXT?

  6. What happen? No longer online?
    District’s Not The Boss of Me
    Putting the VENT in reinvention!

  7. If you ask me, Me, The Lounge seems to be gettin’ the job done. Let’s all stay focused on this medium of communication. United we stand, divided we fall (or get our responsibilities redefined).

    I can’t say the news surprised me. I’d just like to know if this is similar to (or exactly like) a corporate model for making sweeping changes. Anypeep out there know?

    The email makes me think of the line from that recent Tom Cruise movie, “With me… without me… with me… without me…” Insert your own visuals.

      • I do (and am often told that it is), and I think it’s a good thing.

        Better to be understood out loud than to be silent and risk being misunderstood (or willfully misperceived)…

  8. She is insane and crazy.. how could any president feel respected with someone like her being their “boss”…. she never went through the entire search process herself, no one did a credit check on her (she filed for bankruptcy in 2004 – everyone that’s employed at ccc should have a credit background check? Correct?

    VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE… this is the time…

    • Talk all the trash you want about policy, but let’s watch the name calling, please. And, regarding bankruptcy, I know people, good people, who have done the same because of circumstance rather than poor judgment. Not all cases are equal.

      If you’re going to call for a No Confidence vote, let’s make sure it’s based on relevant, meaningful reasons.

      • Understood on the name calling.
        Agreed on the bankruptcy issue, especially in this economy.

        No Confidence needs to be an objective decision, not subjective.

        Now you know who is doing the monitoring, right ME?

      • Sorry to bring bankruptcy up again but that door was opened by background checks for selected CCC employees;

  9. It is my understanding that it is common practice in business to redefine job descriptions and then offer current employees, and others, to apply for the newly defined jobs. This can happen with a merger or re-structuring, and it often happens with a new CEO. I’ve seen this before where most of the employees were hired back – not always in their former position, but they did stay with the company.

    • Thanks Carrie,
      So it is a common practice, outside of our academic circle of employment. At least we know from where it’s coming.

  10. This redefinition of the role of the president is very dangerous – but also understandable from a “business model” standpoint. The presidents will now be judged on very measurable goals – numbers of students who get degrees, transfer etc. This reflects ignorance of the importance of an education. It exemplifies belief in numbers that can be measured rather than important parameters which are harder to measure. It is difficult to measure a students improved ability to think, which is really what employers want. Since that is hard to measure, this policy just tosses it out as a goal, and substitutes something easily measurable and possibly meaningless.

  11. The change of work description for the college presidents to the specific 4 reinvention goals is very ominous because it is going to put a lot of pressure on them to force us to meet these criteria that was presented to the so called task forces as the wisdom handed down from God.
    It directly implies that we will be under pressure to guarantee student success. This slippery road leads down the path to performance related pay!!! OOOPS, there goes our contract.
    Second, our new Laackman is a workforce development guy. I.E., job training will be our new mantra. This is Arnie Duncan’s plan for the Community Colleges. The thinking goes: we don’t need to waste money and resources in getting all these students through a bachelor’s degree when the jobs we envision require only some college courses (i.e., and associate degree). That is the real reason for the push to increase the Associate Degree graduation rate. Friends, this is the first into turning HWC into a glorified vocational school. Have you wondered why this type of President came first to HWC and not Olive Harvey or KKC? Because the plan is for all the colleges. I had the illusions that WC, Truman and us would escape. Silly me.
    One final comment. The reinvention goals clearly express this in their emphasis on a degree of economic value. To hell with Humanities, music, and other educational enrichment areas. All they want is robots. And we will be the workers at the assembly line piecing together these drones.

  12. There has been lots of discussion in the halls and offices of HWC regarding this move by the Crazy Lady in Charge and the enabling board (sorry PhiloDave but that is the kindest description I’ve heard about her).

    One group thinks this means the end of remediation because those students in remediation need more time to get through and do not fit the time constraints which the PTB have decided are a measurement of success. Others say that those in remedial courses will just be passed on so that they can fit into the time frame decided upon by the PTB. Can’t imagine our full-time faculty doing this but I don’t know what our part-timers might feel pressured to do.

    All fear that HWC as a platform for students trying to attain a higher degree will be reduced to a job program and vocational school as stated by Willie Wonka. Higher education would effectively be dead for so many in our urban community. CLIC and PTB need to visit a classroom. This move to a business model should not enter the classroom- the classroom is the only place we are still getting it right.

  13. A new e-mail just arrived in our boxes, FAQ’s about the President blah blah. My question is who wrote the questions? HOw many PR people work at Central now?

  14. In the previous version of the Presidents’ job description, there was no mention of academic objectives. This decision expands the job description to incorporate the following:

    1) increasing the number of students earning credentials of economic value
    Will someone, anyone, please tell me what this means? What is the scoring rubric used to make such determinations? I really really hate to see this codified into a job description when it is an essentially meaningless phrase designed only to be rhetorically unassailable.

    Nevermind. I can’t even go through the other three criteria…too depressed.

    • You are not the only one to wonder. It’s already been requested by a colleague as a topic, so I planned to post it as the Think, Know, Prove question for Saturday morning.

      Maybe someone will have an answer by then…

  15. Is “FREEDOM OF SPEECH” not valid any more? Do we not have the constitutional rights any more?
    When did this happen? Oh no I must have been asleep.
    How on earth are we different from Egypt,Libya and Saudi Arabia?
    Next they will cut off our heads!

    • Is sleep a form of speech?

      I suppose it does tell me something if it happens while I’m lecturing…

    • Speaking of freedoms, I don’t know if everyone has become aware that by order of the District Office our IT staff began installing yesterday software in our work computers to monitor everything that we do. It is the first time I see of any institution of higher education in which this is done to their faculty. I feel it is an attack on my dignity (and of course privacy), but also a direct injury to academic freedom. Clearly they don’t want us to communicate with each other while at HWC regarding issues like what is being discussed in this site. They want to intimidate us. This is bad enough when it is done to workers in private industry, but at a College? Shame on the Chancellor and the Board!

  16. All CCC employees should apply for the President’s job that should keep District office busy for a few months. It is about equal opportunity is’nt it?
    They will have less time to come up with new surprizes.

      • IMHO, the highlights of the Professional Service Agreement:

        The “cost not to exceed $336,000 for the period from February 24, 2011 through February 23, 2012.”

        “Each agreement shall have an option to extend for an additional one (1) year period.”
        KA, KA, KA-CHING!

        “Review resumes of each candidate and determine those meeting minimum qualifications within four (4) weeks of notification by City Colleges of Chicago”
        Not meeting the requirements, but minimumrequirements. Kinda’ like getting those quotes from vendors and then having to go with the lowest bidder. Always works out, right?

        “Re-initiate a one-time additional executive search in accordance with the specification set forth above, at no fee to the City Colleges of Chicago, if the successful candidate leaves the employment of the City Colleges of Chicago within one year of placement”
        At least we only pay once for a position that may need to be filled twice, but why would a top candidate selected from a pool of nothing less than the best of the best ever leave?

        “Source of Funds: Education Fund”
        Is there a non-education fund or any other funding sources?

        If y’all got answers, leme know. Thanks for bringing the document to our attention boss.

  17. Is it true that they are installing software to monitor computers at HWC? @Willie Wonka

  18. It is common in any other professional/educational workplaces? I have read about workplaces where social media is blocked.

  19. Actually, after some light research, it is common. But how feasible is it to block social media at CCC? What would be the exact intention of monitoring as opposed to blocking?

    • Usually these sorts of moves are aimed at either productivity or resource management (i.e., making sure that resources are used for appropriate purposes or preventing their use in ways that hinders productivity–so if people are eating up broadband by watching hulu during their office hours (assuming that they are not engaged in research of some sort), that might be considered to be a counterproductive use of institutional resources, which are supposed to be used for work related activities, primarily if not completely (the line moves a bit depending on the workplace).

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