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

The Evil Empire Continues to Enforce Educational Apartheid

EE: Thank you for this email, three days before Christmas. Besides the fact that this policy is shortsighted, prejudiced and wrong, wrong, and oh yeah wrong, was the timing really necessary? Or was this just a big raspberry to faculty, staff and students? A big middle finger to us for Christmas/Holiday Break? Another illustration that the needs of students, staff and faculty come in last place when at odds with the hubris of our leadership.

Special Announcement dated 12/22/2015

“Faculty and staff:

 We are writing to inform you about an important update to the timeline for the transition of City Colleges of Chicago (CCC)’s Child Development and Education programs to Truman College.

 To ensure students are prepared to seize the 39,000 jobs coming to our region in education over the next decade, City Colleges has designated Truman College as the College to Careers center for excellence in education, human and natural sciences.  General education courses continue to be offered at all City Colleges, such that students can start their programs at any of the seven colleges.

Bringing our child development and education programs under one roof at Truman College represents a unique opportunity for all our Child Development students, faculty and staff to be associated with best-in-class programs. Students in these programs will benefit from learning from all of CCC’s child development faculty and from one another, as they will be exposed to the full extent of education programs and faculty within the school of education at Truman College.

In addition, students will be able to engage in experiential learning through a new dedicated child development space to be designed with input from faculty and employers, and they will be able to secure internships, employment and transfer opportunities through enhanced partnerships with employers and four-year colleges and universities.  Our focus is to ensure all students are prepared to reach their goals – whether those goals are to transfer to a four-year university or to move immediately into an in-demand career.

Child Development and Education Programs Transition Update: Currently enrolled Child Development students will have through Fall semester 2017 to complete their Child Development coursework at their home college. If they do not complete in that time frame, students can finish their coursework at Truman College, the College to Careers center for excellence in education programs.

New incoming Child Development students will be admitted only at Truman College beginning Fall 2016.

Harry S Truman College will house City Colleges’ Child Development and Education programs as part of its College to Careers emphasis on education, human and natural sciences.

 ·       Programs transitioning to Truman are:

·         Basic Certificate (BC) in Child Development Pre-school

·         Basic Certificate (BC) in Family Child Care Business

·         Advanced Certificate (AC) in Child Development Pre-school

·         Advanced Certificate (AC) in Child Development and Infant Toddler

·         Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Child Development Pre-school

 ·       Programs sunsetting completely are:

·         Advanced Certificate (AC) in Elementary Education (Students will be referred to Elementary Education AA as a possible alternative)

·         Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Elementary Education (Students will be referred to Elementary Education AA as a possible alternative)

·         Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in School Age Child Care (Students will be referred to Human Development and Family Studies AAS, Elementary Education AA, Child Development Preschool AAS or AA)

·         Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Bilingual Teacher Aide (Students will be referred to General Education AA pathway (Bilingual/Bicultural FA16)

           At the end of Fall 2017, all students in Child Development and Education at Daley, Harold Washington, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X, and Olive-Harvey Colleges who have not completed their Child Development certificate or degree must transition to Truman College to complete their program. Students should work with their advisor now to plan ahead.

·       Child Development 101 and 102 courses will continue to be offered as part of the Addiction Studies pathway at Kennedy-King College and the Occupational Therapy Assistant pathway at Malcolm X College.

·       Both new and currently enrolled students can complete their general education courses at any City Colleges they choose.

·       Child Development Faculty from DA, KK, MX, OH and HW will have a phased transition to Truman each semester, depending on numbers of Child Development course sections required at Truman and at their home campus.

Advisor roundtables will resume in January, and will be announced via email.

 Background:  City Colleges’ C2C initiative is designed to ensure our educational programs fully prepare students for the demands of employers and transfer universities so they can seize one of the more than 600,000 jobs coming to the Chicago region in high-demand careers over the next decade.  We do this through partnerships with employers and four-year universities who not only help design our programs but also provide our students with internships, employment and transfer opportunities.  Additionally, we ensure our curriculum is relevant to real-world expectations, and we invest in faculty and staff, equipment and facilities to make sure students have access to the best education available.

 Each of our seven colleges serves as the official home for a C2C focus area. Last year, Harry S Truman College was designated as the C2C center for excellence in Education, Human and Natural Sciences.

 Rationale: To better serve students by bringing together district wide faculty and staff under one roof.   Specifically:

·       Consolidate our investments and gain efficiencies to better support our students.

·       Concentrate our resources to provide students with access to excellent facilities and strong partners.  The partner list includes: Chicago Public Schools, Jewish Council for Youth Services, and Christopher House, who are among the nearly 50 employer partners who have hired CCC students for education-related jobs this fiscal year.  Some of our transfer partners in Education include: University of Illinois at Chicago, National Louis University and others.

 A similar communication has been shared with students.  A list of Frequently Asked Questions is attached to this email.

 For any additional questions about this transition, please contact Peggy Korellis, Dean of C2C at Truman College, pkorellis@ccc.edu or 773-907-4321.”

Biometrics is an Evil Morale Crusher which should be ELIMINATED from our School

So, one of the many, many causes of concern which came out of the Dec. 4th meeting was the assertion by HR that one second late is considered tardy. This made no sense to me and follow up questions directed towards the HR person during the meeting went unanswered. In my best Nancy Drew manner, I started asking questions about this policy.

What I found out is that one second is not considered tardy for your paycheck. If you sign in up to 6 MINUTES late, you will not be docked. If you sign in seven minutes late, your paycheck will be docked 15 minutes. It seems people are paid in increments of 15 so that is why it is 15 minutes. “We can never make those minutes up, even if we work until 7 o’clock at night,” was the comment from a 1708 member who has to do this signing in business. There is no overtime and no way to “make-up” minutes.

Imagine, you are a conscientious employee and in order to beat the long line at the scanner, you log in 5 minutes early for 49 weeks of the year. That means you are working over 20 hours which you are not getting paid for. You can’t log out early just because you logged in early. One month CTA has surprise construction but because you are conscientious, you have planned for those discrepancies. Still, you are 7 minutes late 5 times that month. Now, you are docked for an hour and fifteen minutes and you are going to have a disciplinary meeting. Perhaps in the first disciplinary meeting you are given a warning but it can progress so that 3 bad months over 15 years (just another hypothetical) could lead to terminations. Is it any wonder people are mad about this system? And the demeanor of the HR representative at that meeting showed a complete lack of regard for the people questioning this policy.

Even when talking to another HWC employee who only has to scan in once a day, there are problems. At least once every few days/pay periods, the scanner doesn’t correctly work and the employee’s hours are reported as incomplete. Then the employee has  his/her supervisor sign off and then the time sheets can be submitted. That is one employee. Imagine all the employees having supervisors signing off on this? Can you imagine when faculty have to do this? Not only is this system a morale crusher, it is a time waster!

One of my colleagues said today that everyone from the 11th floor to the basement is working towards the success of our students. I do not believe that people were trying to cheat the system so shamefully that this biometrics system had to be put in. As far as I can tell, the biometrics system implementation insults the people working hardest for our students. The 11th floor inability to understand that and to empathize with our staff shows their complete disconnect from the reality of the people actually SERVING the STUDENTS. We expect this callous disregard for CCC employees from District, but to have it come from upstairs is disheartening.

Feel free to comment, please remember, you can be anonymous in the comments. Also, please feel free to correct my information. I channeled Nancy Drew but I’m well aware that sleuthing is not my strongest skill.


Barriers to education. We hear about it every day: Children going to school hungry and not being able to concentrate in school. Children nervous about their safety and not able to focus on their homework. Poor schools. A lack of programs for those with disabilities. A zero-tolerance policy which creates a school to prison pipeline. If you ask anyone in those communities if the system is rigged against them, they’ll say yes — that the only way out of their neighborhoods is if they go to prison or get an education.  And where do they go to get that education? The City Colleges of Chicago. But now, City Colleges is the one placing barriers to these disenfranchised citizens. The tuition increase negatively impacts 60% of our students. 60%. That is mind blowing. The leadership has decreed that only those who have lifestyles conducive to full-time studies should be put in a position to succeed. It’s like Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi:  If you work full-time, no school for you; if you are a parent, single or not, no school for you; if you take care of an elderly parent, no school for you; if you are trying to better your life, no school for you. But, if you have no complications:  no children and plenty of money so you don’t need to work, school for you.

If you can only take one or two classes a semester because you do have a complicated life, try registering online for CCC. It is nearly impossible. You have to declare a major, you are asked to choose classes based on “browse remedial” or “credit”, and your options are restricted to pre-determined pathways. It doesn’t matter what you want. CCC administration has determined what they think you need and if you disagree or want another path….NO SCHOOL FOR YOU.

What is the point of a community college? Well, in Chicago, it is to drive up graduation rates for Associate degrees so that the Board and Chancellor look good, and you do this by getting rid of the students who aren’t going to get a degree in a timely manner.

You continue to restrict  student opportunities by moving programs to one school. If you look at 2013 numbers, approximately 18% of all CCC students attend Truman. That means, for 18% of our students, Truman is a good option because of location. Child development is currently offered at six of the seven City Colleges. Next year, those 82% of our students who attend another City Colleges will have to travel to Truman to complete their certification. 82% don’t matter, NO SCHOOL FOR YOU.

City Colleges has done a lot right for Chicago, but this restricting access is a hard blow for our most vulnerable populace. The long term consequences could be very harrowing. The administrators must be seeing a future rosy with increased graduation rates. But for the thousands who are negatively impacted by these changes, what must they see? Every tuition increase, every program being moved, every path being restricted means that for these citizens, City Colleges has become another system rigged against them, another way to restrict their economic movement, another way to keep them in a prison of ignorance, low paying jobs and potentially unsafe neighborhoods. “No school for you” might sound funny but there is nothing funny about what it means to the tens of thousands impacted by current CCC policy. I hope the Board, Chancellor and the other decision makers on Jackson understand exactly what the consequences are of the decisions they are making as they add more barriers to education.


Comments on the Book Price Symposium held at Kennedy King on 2/27/2015

One week ago, I received the following forwarded email:


I hope all is well.  As the Provost stated below, Academic Governance Compliance Educational Quality will convene a symposium with Department Chairs, Faculty members and Administrators. The invited faculty member should be the faculty responsible for making book adoption selections.

The symposium will allow faculty to review data on textbook selections, purchases/cost, and opportunities for cost savings for City Colleges of Chicago students while at the same time maintaining educational quality.

The event will take place Friday, February 27th (8:30 am to 4:30 pm) at Kennedy-King College, U Building located at 6301 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL, 60621. Continental Breakfast will be served at 8:30 am and the session will be start at 9:15 am in the Theater.

 We would like to invite the Department Chairs/Faculty members in the following disciplines:

  • English 98, 100, 101, 102
  • Mathematics 98, 99, 125, 118
  • Computer Information Systems (CIS) 121
  • Biology 121, 126
  • Microbiology 233
  • Chemistry 121
  • Psychology 201
  • Reading 125
  • Speech 101

 Could you please help by sharing this email with your Department Chairs/Faculty members in the following disciplines?

To RSVP, please click here

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best Regards,

Preston L. Harden

Associate Vice Chancellor

City Colleges of Chicago”


“I miss Cecilia Lopez because she really encouraged and supported professional development”

This statement was recently made to me by a colleague bemoaning the perceived lack of support for professional development. I was startled by this statement and then thought back to my own attendance at conferences when Cecelia was VP. I am sure that our current VP and President are very supportive of our attending conferences and other Professional Development events. But, it is true, I attended more conferences back then. However, I don’t think the fault is with local admin but with the process to get funding for those conferences. The process seems to change weekly (although probably only yearly) and the instructions on the updated changes seem to be incomplete.

For instance, now the process is all online. Scan in the documents and off it goes. But it isn’t really. First you have to get your Union person to sign off on it. They are not in the computerized work flow system. You have to fill out the old form for them and then, and here’s where I’m not sure because it is so unbelievably and unnecessarily complicated when all they need to do is add the union person into the work flow process. And if you would advise me to attend the FDW workshop on this topic, I did..twice. I have the powerpoint. It is wrong.  Anyway, I’ve not yet successfully negotiated the current process so I can’t really speak to it. I know this is a personal failing but I do wish the process was a bit more..transparent? I also know many of my colleagues are more tenacious than I and have succeeded in getting their professional development funded.  Well done!

Conspiracy theorist  would say that this process has been complicated to reduce faculty travel/convention attendance so that District/Union can keep the allocated money. Pollyannas might say this is the best that can be done for such a large community college system. Realists and …the “Realist” might say that the bulky checks and balance system imposed on City Colleges because of misallocation of funds by prior administrations is necessary.  I don’t know what is truth. If Chao Lu or the Business Department or those who have successfully negotiated the process would like to hold a workshop for those, like me, who are organizationally challenged, I would attend. I would attend, take notes and follow the directions. I would have little hope for success but I would try.