Non-Measurable Mondays: Call for Short Essays

This fall, the Harold Lounge will host a regular feature every Monday titled “Non-Measurable Mondays.” Each posting will be a narrative, anecdote, perspective piece, or something of that ilk that explores a critical component about our students’ education that has not been (and perhaps cannot be) reliably measured in its fullness. The only problem is, I only have four ideas, and there are sixteen weeks! So we would love to hear some new voices.

If you have the interest to write a piece for this series, please send it to my personal address at kamranswanson@gmail.com.

Eligible Writers: Any CCC faculty, whether full or part time, either from Harold Washington or another CCC institution, is always welcome to post content to the Harold Lounge. We are particularly interested in hearing from adjuncts. Tenured faculty may not make posts anonymously, but one of the HL editors can approve adjuncts and non-tenured faculty to post anonymously. (As an aside, anyone may comment on a post anonymously). If we are in the fortunate situation of having more than sixteen articles, we will figure out a good way to get all of that content on the front page.

If you are a CCC administrator or staff and you have something to share, please send it in, even if its just an idea. For this series, we will value a variety of voices on this issue.

If, by chance, faculty from other institutions wish to post something, we will be pleased to post content that has some value to our institution.

Motivation: The individuals at District who are making and supporting the recent unpopular initiatives are working from a different perspective than the faculty. Though I’m skeptical they all are working with the best of intentions, I’m certain that some of them are, and they are the ones worth appealing to. And I know that some of them read the Harold Lounge and can be moved to consider a good argument.

The world in which they live is one where they acquire an understanding of the academic institution through data and empirical studies. The world of faculty incorporates some of this, but we are largely driven not by numbers, but by the exchanges and experiences we have in the classroom and outside the classroom. Experiences and growth that have not been captured by the numbers, and at least at this stage of in the development of “statistics” itself, cannot be measured.

Yet, faculty understand that many of these non-measurable transformations are critical components to a positive transformative education. As long as the world of District is uninformed about these non-measurables, we cannot expect them to make decisions with those in mind.

Suggested Topics: 
+ What students retain after the course is over, or years after graduation.
+ The experience of being in a commuter school vs. non-commuter school.
+ Conversations, interactions, friendships with students after graduation.
+ Lessons learned from one type of class that helped comprehension in another type of class.
+ Affect of professor morale and well-being on classroom interactions.
+ The life of the adjunct and its affect on the classroom.
+ Anything else you can imagine…

2 thoughts on “Non-Measurable Mondays: Call for Short Essays

  1. Very cool idea! I love it! Right now I’m thinking about my students who talk about what they learned in a Creative Activities class with me, especially during labs, and how they went right home to do that activity with their own children or children in their families…. And then they come back and report how much their children loved the experience… That always moves me and makes my work feel more impactful & simply cannot be “measured”
    Thank you for this. I love the Harold Lounge, always have, always will.

  2. What we value – loving something, being satisfied by something, forging a relationship, being creatively inspired – these are intangible to me, and where I find attempts at quantification falling short. Yet the values themselves determine what we want to see more of, and they decide what we will measure and manage. When there’s common ground on what we value, then there’s only healthy conflict from a common set of good intentions.

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