Welcome back faculty! It was great to see so many colleagues from HWC and CCC. I arrived in time to hear the Chancellor’s prepared remarks. I took some notes and want to share some thoughts and talking points.
First, can I just say, the tone was so positive I had to look around and make sure I was at FDW. Not since Wayne Watson Jr. have I heard so much positive language at FDW. Although, now that I think about it, I don’t think Cheryl addressed us last year. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think Rasmus gave a lovely speech which was firmly in the camp of “too little, too late. “
So, after a brief intro and opening statement, the Chancellor began with a moment of silence for the victims of Charlottesville, WVA. There was an acknowledgement of our own city’s violence and then began the body of his speech with a catchphrase that he stated he has widely used since coming to CCC. CCC is a” breakthrough institution for our students”. It is a “game changer for our students” and allows them a life trajectory which can take them to the middle class and beyond.
He stated that while he may not be at CCC for 20 years, like some of our faculty, he intends to have a lasting impact on our schools. He believes that people come together for a shared mission and he is open to having conversations. He would like to break down the District/Colleges divide. And then he said something which made me actually cheer…out loud… he said each college is unique with its own culture, but we are stronger together: individual colleges AND one City Colleges of Chicago. After Cheryl’s insistence that we were campuses and we should all look alike through logo and personality, how nice to validate the culture we create and encourage our individual COLLEGES in the context of unity.
And then, my faculty brethren, he said, faculty are the key to the success of the students and colleges. What we do matters. He will work with us and develop a cohesive high performing team to support our students and us in our endeavors. Not much applause from the audience here. I think there was stunned disbelief and some skepticism but wow, how great to hear!
After the Chancellor, the Provost spoke briefly and said that City Colleges is more than completion and retention, it was about providing a superior student experiences. From what happens in the classroom, through the development of peer and faculty connections and by having a vibrant college experience, students should have a full experience. Faculty have far greater impact on this experience than anyone else. And faculty are the most important component and he is dedicated to helping us help students.
Two speakers, one fairly consistent pro-faculty message. It was appropriate for the occasion and for the audience. After being dismissed and insulted by Cheryl it was wonderful to hear appreciation and promises of support.
However, while I am wearing my rose-colored glasses for now, IMHO, our new Chancellor already has one strike against him, the departure of our beloved President Margie.
And our Union President, cautiously optimistic, did point out that while the District Leadership is certainly personable, the bar set by Cheryl was so incredibly low, anyone would be an improvement. Still, my optimism showing, if action follows deed, District and Faculty may be able to finally pull in tandem towards the success of our student population.
I would love to hear other’s thoughts about today.