Think, Know, Prove Graduation Post: Debriefing the (Ceremony/Debacle?)

This morning, I looked back in the archives to the discussions about last year’s graduation to see if I could figure out why there’s such incredible apathy about this year’s, and, well, let’s just say that it’s pretty clear now.

Too bad.

Anyway, for the 35? 50? faculty who went–what did you see? And for those who went and those who didn’t:

What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?

3 thoughts on “Think, Know, Prove Graduation Post: Debriefing the (Ceremony/Debacle?)

  1. I thought the Valedictorian speaker from KK was awesome, Hyman has been working with a speech coach and the mayor was a hit with the students. I was unhappy that he ended his speech talking about how he hoped graduates from the Kellogg institute, University of Michigan and other schools would open businesses in Chicago and know they had an educated job force from City Colleges to work in their factories. Nothing wrong with working in a factory but given the Chancellor had just mentioned her own rise from City Colleges (of course) one would think the Mayor would get that our students comprise every level of society, career, and education in Chicago and may actually be the ones opening the businesses and hiring the educated workforce.

    So, apparently there is a bit of a boycott going on by faculty regarding the combined graduation. I understand that this combined graduation is ultimately not as meaningful to the graduates, families and faculty as individual school graduations. The survey taken earlier this semester of students about their preferences for combined/individual ceremony was very clear. Our students want their own graduation. I hope that this can be a reality for them next year.

    I left after the Mayor (volunteered and froze in the parking garage, completely different experience from last year). I could have left when the hour long procession began but I wanted to see the speeches. Our distinguished professor sat with our students- which was probably the coolest place to be- along with some other faculty. Not sure how they rated but if I had walked with faculty I would have much rather been seated with our students then along the sides.

  2. Being among the students was kind of cool, I guess, but we were packed in pretty tight out there, and I still have a headache from reading of the names (I could hear them this year–we were right beneath the speakers, but it was painfully loud). Plus, mostly people were on their phones throughout. I have some hilarious/horrifying pictures of the view from the floor at the moment of the “official conferral” of the degrees, but am happy to report that the ceremony came in UNDER the four predictions I solicited at the (hour and six minutes late) start.

    My own takeaway from the Mayor’s speech is that he doesn’t really understand the City Colleges. Looking around at the people around me, I didn’t see many “kids,” a word he used at least 9 times. During that part, I received a text from a colleague who was watching online saying, “Has anyone mentioned our students’ average age to the Mayor?” Apparently not. I was also annoyed when he said something about how it’s a beginning and now they can go out and get a job (totally paraphrasing–I already had a blistering headache by then and I was probably paying more attention to the clock–I’d predicted 11 minutes (loser).

    “Ummm…” I thought, “A lot of our people have jobs they want or jobs in fields they want or…” well, you get the picture.

    And the “doubling down on our kids” stipend…I’m sure I don’t understand it, but let’s try a thought experiment with what I do understand:

    Assume that we have a whole mess of students who actually go out and get the kind of new job that he suggested they might–a career job, a degree based job. Let’s assume that the average salary for those jobs is somewhere around $35,000. (Maybe that’s too high–you can do the experiment with your own numbers if you’d like). The promise was that the city would pick up the first four weeks of salary if the company hired one of our graduates, right? That there’d be a $2 million dollar fund to provide for that. So, a $35,000 a year salary, divided into 26 pay periods comes out to $1346 per pay period; multiplied by four that would be $5284 payed by the city per hire. Which means that a $2 million dollar fund will pay for about 379 students’ first four weeks.

    We handed out 3300 Associates Degrees this year.

    How, exactly, is that a “doubling down” on our students?

    And don’t even get me started about the part on how the graduates from the U of C and Kellogg and blah blah blah (read: them) will start the businesses in Chicago because they have an educated work force (read: our students)…

  3. Perhaps the Mayor should be College President for a day( and attend classes) at each of the city colleges so he can have a “realistic” picture of the city colleges and not make speeches of mediocrity to CCC students while elevating U of C,Kellogg programs/graduates.
    The Mayor and other CEO’S have been “principal for a day at CPS schools.
    Time for a reality check Mr. Mayor!
    We have students who are professionals taking our classes.
    How about motivating our students to have loftier aspirations rather than accepting what many of them are currently doing anyway.
    Did Bill Gates,Steve Jobs etc. have Ivy League or Ivory Tower degrees?

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