Bienvenido, Chancellor Salgado – Adelante!

So, we have a new Chancellor.*

Meet Juan Salgado–this interview from The Reader, published shortly after Chancellor Salgado was named a MacArthur Genius grant recipient for his work in community advocacy is a good place to start. Salgado is clearly connected to the city power networks and Mayor Emanuel–he also serves as a Commissioner on the Park District Board. Yesterday, I heard some grumblings about him as “anti-union” and guessed that it was related to his leadership of a couple of charter schools (and that seems to be the case–apparently he put up some resistance to one of his schools’ attempts to unionize, at least at first), but was happy to find this article from 2015 about unions and charter schools from just last year where, if you read through it, you’ll see him quoted as saying:

I sat down with Juan Salgado, the president and CEO of Instituto Del Progreso Latino, a nonprofit educational organization in Pilsen, a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago, to learn what it’s been like for him to oversee two charters that have unionized with AFT. Salgado believes that unions have been tremendous assets for his schools, particularly around some of the more fraught questions of wages and benefits. Can such issues be resolved “without a union?” he asks. “Yeah. But can we move forward to actually run a school? Probably not.” The mutual buy-in at the end of the negotiating process, Salgado said, created a better spirit at his schools.

Though Salgado was explicit that he disapproved of the way the union conducted its first organizing campaign—the organizers caricatured him as an evil boss, he says, solely to advance their strategy—he still feels the resulting unions, full of organized, passionate people, are no hindrance to excellence. “Unions ask a lot of questions! And that’s OK,” he says. “Critical questioning causes reflection and makes sure you have very good answers. And they demand transparency, and transparency is important. It’s a value that we should all have.”

I love the idea of having a Chancellor who has a moral commitment to education as transformative, though, I’m reminded that Chancellor Hyman has a deep belief in that same principle. I’m a little worried that so much of the talk about education and schooling that I see in relation to Chancellor Salgado (and the Mayor) consistently connects learning and jobs/careers. Even while I understand the appeal and value of a pathway to work and pay, we have seen where that narrow conception of the value of a liberal education can lead. I am heartened by his commitment to (and experience in) citizenship preparation and GED programs and recognize those and his charter school experience as providing something of what Faculty Council asked for in regard to an “educational background,” and I hope that Chancellor Salgado will recognize that his experiences at Moraine Valley and his work experience are a long way from being a complete understanding of what we do and do well. (For example, he is quoted in the Sun-Times article as saying, ““The school that I run, 54 percent of our students get some sort of college credential before they graduate from high school. We need to do that in every school because that saves students and families money and advances them into higher education,” he said. But a credit is not a credential, and a community college is not a bridge from high school to college–it IS college. But maybe that’s just semantics. Certainly everyone in a new job deserves the chance to learn and grow and show what they can do. I look forward to seeing what our new Chancellor does and can do. Hell, I look forward to actually seeing our Chancellor in the colleges for something other than a press conference with the Mayor.

 

*I have to also say that I was also happy to see that the news reports were not mere restatements of the press release, but provided fuller context on situation that our new Chancellor comes into. I’m not sure if it was a fluke or part of the information provided by our current board and leadership or whether we have Donald Trump to thank for the new willingness on the part of our local press to not accept the pronouncements of City Hall as unquestionable truth, but I’m happy to see it.

Nothing New Under the Sun: ID Policy Edition

So, just the other day as I rode home on the train, I was thinking to myself how nice it is not to have to be fighting about paper and copiers anymore, a thought that came to mind as I walked out of the building and saw the signs taped to the doors saying students would not be let in without their IDs. “This again,” I thought as I walked by, which drew my mind into other policy battles of the past (e.g., the Great Copy/Printer battles of 2012). Happily distracted by thoughts of gratitude I didn’t think much of the new ID policy, knowing that our active and effective Faculty Council was on the case and, surely, this wouldn’t be a thing again.

And then, just yesterday, I had a student show up at the very end of her class’ first examination, in the last two minutes of class, actually, apologizing and worried. She remembered having her ID with her at home in the morning, but somewhere between that memory and her arrival at school, she’d misplaced it. Unfortunately, she didn’t have ten dollars with her, nor a bank card to get some, so she had to go back home, get a check, get to a bank, cash it, return to school, pay the ten bucks, get a new ID and then find her professor and hope that she could get a make-up (which, as you surely can imagine) is not a guarantee for any college student.

In other words, this young woman could easily have lost the chance to pass the class (while, nevertheless on the hook for paying for it because she misplaced her ID one morning and goes to a school that refuses any other means than $10 to verify that she is in fact a student at the school. Had she been allowed to log in to Blackboard or MyCCC.edu on her phone or on a computer in the lobby, the security guards could have easily verified her status and purpose.

Talking to her, I had a tremendous sense of deja-vu. This policy is a policy that creates problems for our students by solving a problem for…whom exactly? Security? Administrators? Who? And then it hit me. We’ve seen this one before. And I wrote about it before. So I went back and found my post about the last time this happened, and re-read it, and found that EVERY SINGLE CRITICISM  applies now. Was SGA involved? Was Faculty Council (hint: No)? Is there data supporting broad HWC community desire for this policy (or some other reason–legal, safety (has there been a spike in thefts by unidentifiable visitors?)? Is this the plan to make up for the service-sucking state-budget-created black hole of a problem one Hamilton at a time? What problem is it solving and for whom? Who knows? So, why now? Good question.

Last time, in September of 2014, Margie “postponed the implementation of charging $10” for people without their ID. I guess that “postponement” ended the first week in February. But it’s not any less of a stupid policy. My student got her make-up exam and an apology from me for a school policy that made an already difficult and challenging day much much harder. That seems like the opposite of what our HWC values and aims are.

I just don’t get why this is a thing.

HW Faculty Council Candidate Statements (Fall 2016 Edition)

It is my pleasure to fulfill a request put forward by our current HWFC to share the statements of our three colleagues who have been nominated and agreed to stand for election to three-year terms on the Faculty Council. There are two open positions.

I share these in the order that I received them.

Kristin Bivens, Associate Professor of English

This past August, as I started my 10th year at HW in the English department, I took stock of various opportunities I had participated in and others I had not. For example, I served as CAST coordinator, along with Kamran Swanson, for 2016. As part of my CAST duties, I organized (along with Kamran) FDW in August and various CASTivities throughout the spring semester (and now, the fall semester). I think my biggest contribution has been hybridizing and digitizing CAST content and recording CASTpod interviews with and for HW folks.  I was happy to use some of the tech skills from my PhD in technical communication and rhetoric as CAST coordinator and for FDW.

Serving faculty as CAST coordinator was a gratifying experience, but when I was recently nominated for FC, I thought this was another opportunity to continue to serve faculty and faculty interests.  As we approach an important crossroads as a district and college (a new chancellor, a new contract, and re-accreditation), I would like to use my experience (spring 2016) working on an all-District team of English faculty to create a new writing placement. My experience called for skills of argumentation and persuasion to ensure the best writing placement test was chosen for our students. I think my experience on this all-District team will also contribute to serving as the criterion chair for integrity for re-accreditation, as well as your FC representative.

Megan Ritt, Assistant Professor of English

Those of you who know me know that I’m passionate about many things (including Game of Thrones, the Oxford comma, and french fries). Another subject I’m passionate about is teaching and the well-being of our students. A lot of what we can do for them is reliant upon not just our content-area knowledge but also our knowledge of education itself, our academic freedom, and our ability to share in the governance of our school.

I want to serve on Faculty Council because I want to put my passion to good use. As a teacher of argumentation, I will listen to the many disparate voices of our faculty and help us reach informed conclusions. Serving as CAST Coordinator in 2014 and 2015 helped me see the importance of being involved on the school-wide level. I am eager to learn from those who have gone before me and to help provide a voice for the faculty and by extension, our students. If I am chosen to serve on the Council, I’ll bring my passion for teaching, my writer’s ear, and my Oxford commas. Thank you for your consideration.

B. Kamran Swanson, Assistant Professor of Humanities (Philosophy)

The Faculty Council is expected to represent the views of full- and part-time faculty, to support positions that preserve and strengthen the academic integrity of the institution, and to work with administration to foster an environment of shared governance. In my first three years of serving on Faculty Council, I have learned what it means to do this effectively, and I am excited to do so more frequently and effectively for another three years. I feel privileged to work among a community of experts, tremendously varied in their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. I believe that the best version of Faculty Council draws upon these differences, encourages rational dissent, and sets an example for our administration, our students, and our larger community, to exercise a government of free thinkers with competing views. I believe it is possible to do this without losing a clear voice, and I hope my various statements to administration and faculty have demonstrated this over the past few months and years. If reelected to Faculty Council, I intend to continue putting into practice that which I’ve learned before.

 

 

Check It Out

TONIGHT (and beyond)!

We’re sending you this email because we…thought you would be interested in Project&’s new initiative, Working in America.

One part photography exhibition, one part radio series, and one part public forum, Working in America chronicles the everyday challenges, triumphs and realities of working (and not working).

Working in America opens to the public tonight, Wednesday, September 14 at 6pm at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago–and we hope you will join us.

The free event will begin with a panel discussion led by Alex Kotlowitz, the author of several books including There Are No Children Here. Confirmed panelists include:

Ai-Jen Poo, Executive Director, Domestic Workers Alliance & MacArthur Fellow

Lynsey Addario, Pulitzer Prize-winning MacArthur Fellow, Project& Fellow, & Working in America photographer

Lucia McBath, individual featured in the exhibit, Mother, Gun Policy Advocate & Activist

Roque Sanchez, individual featured in the exhibit, Custodial Worker & Student

Jeffrey McGee, individual featured in the exhibit ,Facilities Manager & formerly incarcerated Drug Dealer.

Gary Bryner, individual featured in the exhibit, Retired General Motors Worker & Union Member, and subject in Studs Terkel’s book, Working.

Guests will then be invited to view the exhibit, which features the photography of Lynsey Addario, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and MacArthur Fellow. The exhibit was designed by Jeanne Gang, also a MacArthur Fellow and Architectural Review’s 2016 Architect of the Year, and curated by Jane M. Saks, the president and artistic director of Project&.

While viewing the exhibit, guests will be invited to share their own “Working Stories,” which will then be featured on our public archive at Working.org. To see a preview of submissions, please visit us on Instagram at @WorkinginAmerica.

Working in America is ultimately inspired by, celebrates, and brings forward the tradition of Studs Terkel and his influential book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).

Therefore, we invite you to tune into NPR on September 25 for our radio series, produced in collaboration with Radio Diaries. The series, which will air on both Morning Edition and All Things Considered, will feature both the unpublished field recordings of Terkel collected for the book and new content collected for Working in America.

To receive the latest updates and exclusive content about Working in America, subscribe to our newsletter. Please be sure to check your email and confirm your opt-in.

We hope that you will join us tonight at the Harold Washington Library!

Sincerely,

Jane M. Saks and the Project& team

Project& collaborates with artists to create new models of cultural participation with social impact. We amplify artistic voices that risk, engage, investigate and inspire, highlighting issues at the forefront of our time including: race, justice, access and equity, identity, gender, cultures of violence, human rights, and economic inequality. As we seed chance through artist collaboration, we spark chain reactions and consequences that set cultural participation in motion in ways we cannot anticipate or predict.

[www.working.org]

The ‘Mindset’ of ‘Freshmen’

According to Beloit College’s famous annual list of things that are true for the (traditional-aged) class of 2020 (born in 1998)…

1.  There has always been a digital swap meet called ebay.

8.  The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.

15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.

43. While chads were hanging in Florida, they were potty training in all 50 states.