Happy Faculty Development Week!

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.

Goodbye Margie, You will be missed!

Joy: it was the message at one of Margie Martyn’s very memorable State of the College addresses. After the tepid leadership of Dan Laackman, the unapologetic joy Margie took in supporting our students, staff and faculty was inspiring

Margie is an educator, an advocate and a leader. As an administrator her focus was ALWAYS on supporting our students.  I was looking forward to a year with a new Chancellor who at least seemed positive about the entire mission of CCC. But now, I am disheartened by Margie’s departure. She is remarkable. There are so many things she has done to support all of us. I am reminded of a couple now.

She understands that HWC is a family. She showed that in many ways.

  • When Rachel or Jeni had parts in stage productions, she attended to support them. I imagine she attended other people’s productions, performances, etc.
  • When an adjunct who had only taught for us for 7 weeks died, she attended his funeral.
  • She provided a room for new mothers to pump
  • She supported the Memorial service and contributed refreshments when the budget was zero.
  • She participated in the American Lung Association Climb for Air (Climbing the stairs at Presidential Towers) as a member of the HWC team
  • She sat down with Theatre and Speech faculty to devise a strategy to help save theatre at HWC because the ill-considered pathways were reducing enrollment in these liberal arts classes.
  • She knows so many students by name and can tell you their stories, she didn’t have them in class, she just makes a point to know the students.
  • She always answers emails.

There are so many other ways she has provided leadership at HWC and has supported our mission and our school.  I hate that she will not be with us this semester.

Today is her last day and I can’t be there in person but I did want to say to Margie:

Thank you for your leadership, you are a great role model.

Thank you for your time, which you gave so willingly.

And Thank you for your joy. It meant so much to us all, especially during the dark days of reinvention.  And when you spoke about your joy, you humbled me by your honesty and vulnerability. A President who spoke of the joy of serving our incredibly diverse and extraordinary student population was something to see and emulate. I will miss your infectious smile, dedication to the mission and healthy example of riding your bike to work!

You will always be a member of the HWC family and my wish for you in the future is good health, interesting challenges, great adventures and mostly JOY!

Most sincerely,

Jenny Armendarez

April Board Meeting

Hi all,

I am a terrible videographer. However, if you are interested in April’s Board meeting, you can find it here,  CCC April Board Meeting. 

Also, Rasmus Lynnerup, was kind enough to forward me the Powerpoint from that meeting. I was going to put this together with the actual video but I have poor time management skills. The presentation of the Powerpoint material attached below begins around the 19 minute mark on the video.

April Board Report PP

There are faculty speeches at about the one hour mark. Jennifer Alexander delivered another great speech asking for more communication between Faculty and District. I hope that her message is being heard and that she can meet with District leadership.

There is another Board Meeting on Thursday at 9am at District. They are instructive and I would encourage all of you to  attend at least one in your career at HWC/CCC.

Happy 15th Week of School,

Mic Drop Armendarez out