HWFDW: Summer Reading

During our fabulous local HWFDW (thanks Kristin and Kamran for rocking it!), I hosted a roundtable discussion for faculty to talk about something they had read this summer and it was maybe my favorite session ever. I came with a mess of books to talk about just in case no one showed up, but it turned out that we had more people, books, and recommendations than we could fit in to a measly hour. We probably could have fit more in, but in the middle of talking about the teaching-related book I brought, Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi (about Stereotype Threat), I started to feel a little bit of it myself and rambled on a bit too long (I know, I know–Dave rambling? how can anyone tell the difference?). Anyway, that aside, I came away with exactly what I’d hoped to acquire: a fantastic and widely varied list of readings I’ve never heard of nor seen that sound too tempting to ignore!

And now, in fulfillment of the promise I made various people in the hours and days following (and with the participants’ permission) here is that list!


FC4 moves to file complaint

Posted on behalf of FC4 President, Jennifer Alexander

June 17, 2016

Official Statement: The Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago (FC4) Calls for an Investigation

Over the past two weeks, in an apparent attempt to justify their decision to consolidate six Child Development Programs to Truman College, the District Office of the City Colleges of Chicago has disseminated the following documents to stakeholders including Aldermen, media contacts, and the Mayor’s Office: 1) a PowerPoint Presentation, 2) a document entitled “The Facts About Child Development Programs at City Colleges”, and 3) a document entitled “Child Development Programs Information”.

Faculty researched the data presented within the documents listed above and have found them to contain misleading and erroneous information. In addition, faculty have discovered that over the past two years at least 120 Child Development Basic Certificates were awarded from Truman College to Child Development students who have not taken any courses at Truman.

The Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago (FC4) is the elected representative body of all full-time City Colleges of Chicago faculty members. The charge of FC4 is to “represent and be responsible to the faculty in all matters of general academic policy such as curriculum, program development, academic freedom, and professional development in an advisory, consultative, and planning capacity to the Chancellor and to the Board of Community College District No. 508” (Constitution of the Faculty Council City Colleges of Chicago).

On June 15, 2016 FC4 held an emergency meeting and the following motion was passed:

FC4 will file a formal complaint with the Office of the Inspector General, the Board of Trustees, PACC, the Illinois Community College Board, the Higher Learning Commission, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Department of Education seeking an investigation of the City Colleges of Chicago’s reporting on the number of completions for all Child Development Programs across the district, including all reports that have been submitted to ICCB, HLC, DOE and any other external agencies over the past two years.

This letter serves as a formal complaint.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago

Jennifer Alexander, FC4 President

A call for an investigation

Over the past two years over 100 Child Development Basic Certificates were awarded from Truman College to Child Development students who have not taken any courses at Truman.
Based on this information, the District-wide Child Development faculty team is calling for an investigation of CCC’s reporting on completion rates for all Child Development programs.  Completion rates are used for a variety of purposes for internal decision-making, but also for external accountability so it’s important that they are accurate.
The Child Development faculty team urges FC4 and any other faculty groups to act now and call for a full investigation.

A Call for Partners in Resistance: Amanda Loos Published in Praxis

Check it HERE

One particularly good part:

Why this is about social justice, and not just another love-hate quarrel between faculty and administration
The corporatizing of higher education is a national epidemic; community colleges are especially susceptible given their history as vocational institutions and the common misperception that this is their sole mission in a capitalist economy. While my colleagues and I have grown exhausted resisting its detrimental effects in and out of the classroom, CCC Administration and Board seem to have fully embraced a business model, failing to work with a willing faculty body as partners in self-reflection and change rather than steamrolling a “degrees of economic value” agenda.

And there is a great deal at stake.

By isolating programs geographically, CCC is continuing Chicago’s legacy of further disenfranchising already marginalized communities. The no confidence resolution issued by District Wide Faculty Council (FC4) emphasizes a fundamental disagreement between the Board/Chancellor and faculty on the mission of CC’s. It backs away from saying (though my colleagues have said it elsewhere) that these decisions reinforce Chicago’s racial, class, language, and gender divisions and segregation…

It doesn’t have to be this way – in fact, just the opposite. By meeting a basic right of access to education and, by extension, earning power, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills – CC’s can be a space where students become more aware of their own agency and empowered to resist systemic oppressions.

The potential for social justice extends far beyond personal/individual goal-attainment.

Read the rest. It’s worth the effort. I feel so proud and lucky to be her colleague.

UP-UPDATED: CASTpods: listen, if you like

UPDATED: March 31, 2016  May 3, 2016

In an active attempt to hybridize CAST content, Kamran and I decided to take a two-prong delivery approach for CASTivities this spring: we’ve kept traditional meetings, but we have actively sought to CAST (pun, absolutely and totally, intended) a wider net.

I have been working to diversify and digitize content via podcasts or what Kamran coined: CASTpods. Currently, we’re housing the CASTpods on Sound Cloud. You can take a listen there, which 0ver 150 almost 275 300 400 of you have.  Here’s a rundown of the first six current nine fourteen for the spring 2016 semester. Due to space constraints, some of the earlier CASTpods have been archived on Dropbox.

CASTpod #1 (archived)
In the inaugural CASTpod, Kristin and Kamran talk about the preliminary questionnaire results; bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress; and what historical figure Kristin identifies with and how Kamran would choose to die.

CASTpod #2 (archived)
In the second CASTpod of the spring 2016 semester, Kristin talks about the spaces where we learn with faculty member Elisabeth Heard Greer. Elisabeth also serves as the academic online coordinator for the English department. From Malcolm X’s car sitting on a platform at the newly opened MXC to Foucault, Elisabeth and Kristin chat about the physical and virtual places where we teach and our students learn.

CASTpod #3 (archived)
For the third CASTpod of the spring 2016 semester, Kristin talks about math education with faculty member Chris Sabino. As an impetus for our discussion, we reference Conrad Wolfram’s TED Talk: “Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers.” Chris waxes mathematical about why we teach students math, numeracy, the value of math education, and the conceptual and practical realities of math education.

CASTpod #4 (archived)
The fourth CASTpod of the semester is a conversation between Kristin Bivens and Youth Work scholar and teacher Michael Heathfield.  Mike is a youth work and assessment scholar who has an impressive publication and speaking record on both accounts. In our discussion, one that emotionally and intellectually engaged me as a Chicagoan, teacher, and scholar, we discuss the role of violence, social justice, and a staggering 47% statistic that you need to listen to Mike speak about.  There are changes underfoot and Mike most eloquently shows the impact of those changes on our students while suggesting privileging the recruitment of a certain kind of student at CCC.

CASTpod #5 (archived)
For the fifth CASTpod of the semester, assessment gurus Carrie Nepstad and Erica McCormack join me for a conversation about the Assessment Committee’s integral role at HW. At the end of the discussion, I draw the conclusion regarding apt disciplinary positioning that makes Child Development (CD) faculty the leaders in assessment. At the end of our CASTpod, we share worries about our CD colleagues, as well as wonder about the HLC’s next visit.

CASTpod #6 (archived)
One CASTpod just wasn’t enough for talking assessment with Carrie Nepstad. So, Carrie joins me again this week for CASTpod #6 to discuss “Closing the Loop”–the Assessment Committee’s effort to take what we learn via assessment to improve our teaching and our students’ learning. Want to get involved? Check out the Assessment Committee’s page: www.ccc.edu/colleges/washington…ges/Assessment.aspx

CASTpod #7
Frank Wang, in the 7th CASTpod of the semester, discusses his National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education (NICHE) during his recent visit from La Guardia Community College (CUNY) to Harold Washington College (CCC) with Kristin. Dr. Wang defines numeracy as the “contextualized use of numbers and data in a manner that requires critical thinking.” Further, he explains how NICHE is similar to Writing Across the Curriculum programs on many higher education campuses, while explaining the importance of quantitative reasoning across curriculum in community colleges.

CASTpod #8
The mid-term and CASTpod 8 are here. And in keeping with being in the middle of things, in this week’s CASTpod Kristin talk about embodiment, quantitative data in context, and post-humanism. She calls on our colleagues to be aware of how you use technology in the classroom and she suggests the potential repercussions that go hand-in-hand with technology–disembodied decision making.

CASTpod #9
For the 9th CASTpod of the spring 2016 semester, Kristin interviews esteemed colleague Jen Asimow from Applied Sciences. In the interview, Jen offers practical, expert, and preliminary advice for thinking about re-designing courses using universal backward design principles. During the conversation, Kristin queries where should someone begin if they’re interested in re-vamping an inherited course? Or designing a new one? Spoiler alert: start with SPAS and SLOs. Teaser: you’re going to have to listen to Jen explain how and why.

CASTpod #10
Joining me for the first CASTpod post-spring break is Associate Dean of Instruction Cindy Cerrentano and co-chair of the department of English, Speech, Theater, and Journalism Sarah Liston. In a longer CASTpod, Cindy, Sarah, and Kristin discuss some data regarding high risk courses at HW, the importance of contextualizing these (and all) statistics, and connections between success, learning, and embodiment.

Kristin begins by asking a tough question: aren’t we always going to have high risk courses? If you accept the premise of that question, you’ll enjoy the dialogue that ensued.

Want to know more? You can read an article Cindy mentions: “On the path to Graduation, Life Intervenes” (chronicle.com/article/On-the-Pat…-Graduation/235603; and an article Kristin refers to “The Home that Me Doesn’t Exist Anymore” (www.buzzfeed.com/sandersjasmine19…nQVNEay)(written for Buzzfeed by an HW student, Jasmine Sanders).

CASTpod #11
If you’ve been at HW long enough, you know that my guest for CASTpod 11 has worn many hats: faculty member, department chair, dean of instruction, vice president, and primary HLC self-study author, Dr. John Hader. Hader has superbly served many roles in his more than 20 years at HW. In this week’s CASTpod, I pick Hader’s brain about his experience writing the self-study report from the last HLC visit nearly (gasp!) ten years ago.

We discuss what he learned, how he managed it, and expertise according to Barbara Oakley. Oakley uses neuroscience to explain experts as “mak[ing] complex decisions rapidly, shut[ing] down their conscious system and rely[ing] on their well-trained intuition and deeply engrained repertoire of [learned] chunks [of knowledge].” Experts wear many hats, and in our conversation, Hader explores some of his.
CASTpod #12

Did you know there are many spaces where students can work with a tutor? In this week’s podcast—the twelfth of the spring 2016 semester—BriAnne Nichols sat down with me to discuss the work the office of academic support does.

Teaching face-to-face? There are tutoring opportunities for your students. Teaching online? There are tutoring opportunities for your students. Teaching hybrid? There are tutoring opportunities for your students.

See the trend? There are numerous opportunities for you to work with academic support to further enhance your students’ learning. You can listen to BriAnne explain how you can get involved and what we currently offer. (And don’t worry, I think she’ll present more during FDW.)

CASTpod #13
Thinking about teaching without a textbook? In the #13 CASTpod of the spring semester, Math Department’s Jeff Swigart eloquently explains his choices to seek out alternatives to textbooks for the math courses he instructs using Open Education Resources (OER). When asked about the essential question faculty should consider before choosing an OER, he responded: evaluate the text before you choose it.

Whatever your position on OERs versus traditional textbooks from for-profit publishers, OER’s are current alternatives for faculty and students to deliver content in traditional classroom spaces. Further, an important and pivotal question for teachers and teaching: do we use technology to close or open learning opportunities?

CASTpod #14
Whether you can believe it or not, it’s almost the end of the 2016 spring semester. Looking forward, in a solo CASTpod #14, Kristin talks about the soon-to-be-in if not-already-in-your-inbox Faculty Development Week (FDW) proposal request for presentations.

The theme of FDW 2016 is Creating Connections Across Divides. FDW will be held at HWC from Tuesday, August 16 to Friday, August 19 (9am to 3pm each day).

Please submit your proposal by May 20.

To submit, follow the Google Form link in the CCC email announcement.

Compensation for Presenting: Part time faculty are paid $25 per 1 hour of presentation (a maximum of $100). This is in addition to any compensation administration offers for attendance. For example, if a PT faculty member presents two, 2-hour sessions they will be paid $100.

Full time faculty are comped 1 hour of registration duties for each hour of FDW presentation. Presenting does not count as additional attendance for required FDW time. For example, if an FT faculty member with standard registration duties provides two one-hour presentations, they will only be required to complete 28 registration hours.

As always, we invite a wide variety of useful and/or stimulating breakaway sessions from faculty, including both full-time and part-time. To help you frame (but not limit) your proposal submission, you might find it helpful to consider Creating Connections Across Divides–the FDW 2016 theme.

Some suggestions for sessions might include, but are not limited to:

+ Discipline Exhibitions: Past sessions like the Cadaver Lab Tour, Architecture Walk, and Creative Writing Workshops provide a sample of all the amazing activities and inquiries going on throughout the rest of our building. Our community is filled with experts from a wide variety of disciplines. It is often a pleasure to learn something from our colleagues’ expertise, and these experiences can often have unexpected benefits in our own classrooms. We are interested both in reprisals of past sessions and new ideas.

+Semester Preparation: Sessions that help faculty setup their Blackboard sites, re-design a syllabus, or think of a new plan for assignments and tests are useful to many faculty. We are interested in presenters who wish to provide a tutorial on different design strategies, lead a workshop, or facilitate a showcase of completed syllabi, Blackboard sites, or assignments.

+Science of Teaching: If you have been doing research on the science of teaching, it may be useful for our community for you to disseminate and share what you’ve learned.

+Technologies in Pedagogy: As technology changes, faculty will find more applications for various programs and devices within the classroom. If you have something you would like to share, we would be happy to put you on the program.

+Seminar Discussions: Are you interested in hosting a seminar discussion around a particular pedagogical question or topic? This year, we are encouraging proposals for open-ended seminar discussions in the hopes of fostering more exchanges of ideas and perspectives between faculty.

+Support System Tutorials: Everybody loves filling out travel reimbursement forms, but sometimes a tutorial on our various support systems can be useful. If you feel comfortable and experienced with a particular set of support systems, we encourage you to share your knowledge.

Again, these are merely suggestions, and we will be happy to consider proposals that fall outside the above topics and within or outside the FDW theme: Creating Connections Across Divides.

See you at FDW 2016!


Thanks for continuing to listen listening!

I have had the most worthwhile experiences talking with our colleagues about different topics. The discussions in CASTpods #4 and #5 haunt me still.

Have a listen, and look for a mid-term end of the semester survey about CAST in a few weeks in your inbox over spring break around finals week, as well as our new CAST space on the HWC/CCC webpage: http://www.ccc.edu/colleges/washington/departments/Pages/CAST.aspx.

On Twitter? Follow us there, too: @CASThwc

Is This Seat Taken? Don’t Mind if I Do.

NOTE: This post has been updated in a new post with a correction about the third paragraph.

In light of my post about the proposed new head covering policy, a few other people with knowledge of the proposed revision/consolidation of existing policies that there are more problems than that one. First a bit of background on the project: in an early January email to all District Presidents, VPs, Deans of Instruction, Deans of Student Services, Deans of Careers, Registrars, and 24 Vice Chancellors, Associate Vice Chancellors, Executive Directors and Directors, Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Systems Michael Mutz, wrote:

As you know, we have reviewed each of our academic and student policies over the past few months with the following goals:

  • Streamline, simplify and condense policies.
  • Eliminate redundancy (between and within the Academic Policy Manual and Student Policy Manual).
  • Update/create new policies and delete policies that are no longer needed – focus on correcting policies with errors, that are out of compliance and/or create barriers to student success.
  • Separate procedures from policy.

Structural changes have been made.

  • Consolidated the policy content from the Academic Policy Manual and Student Policy Manual and created a new CCC Academic & Student Policy document
  • Revised policy content to achieve the four goals, above

Sounds like a good project! I like the clear parameters/goals. (Though, it should be noted that any policy manual ought to have a clear audience, and that a policy manual that has been streamlined for students would not include sections on “Faculty Program” and “Tenure Process” and a manual streamlined for, say, faculty and academic staff would probably not include information about sections on “Financial Aid Eligibility” and the like, which suggests that this project is really an effort to make things easier for Administrators, but whatever–no one but administrators reads policy manuals until they need them, so I’m willing to be open-minded and forgiving about this aspect.)

I do think it’s a bit strange that among those reviewing the only people who could possibly represent a faculty viewpoint are those who would do so through their imaginations and those administrators who, like Armen, for example, are former faculty (No CCC Union leadership? No FC4 leadership? Not even a nod? Puzzling), but perhaps that happened indirectly (i.e., someone on the list understood that they would pass this along) or by other means like administrators sending the link to faculty or something. Or, maybe, just maybe, they (AVC Mutz, the VC to whom he reports, or all or some of those at Campus Zero) concluded (or assumed) that this kind of project is an administrative one and so within their sole purview (a.k.a. a “Make-It-Work” Initiative). But that stuff, for now, is neither here nor there; I do not want to focus here about why faculty don’t (seem to) have a seat at this table, even in the review stage–to restate for absolute clarity: this is not a complaint about process–but instead seek an answer to whether there are substantive problems with this proposed set of policies that are going unaddressed or unconsidered (or, maybe, under-considered) on account faculty absence at the “table.” So I’d like to focus your attention here, on substance, at least for now.

Why limit the focus in this way, when process is such a big part of the current concerns? Because regardless of the process issue, I think faculty perspective on that third goal in particular (“Update/create new policies and delete policies that are no longer needed – focus on correcting policies with errors, that are out of compliance and/or create barriers to student success.”) might have some things to say that might be helpful and while the process discussion is important, we won’t get to the substance if we don’t temporarily bracket the process problems.

So, what is the substance of which I speak? Well, there’s good stuff, for sure! For example:


Think, Know, Prove: Merit Pay–Some Considerations

Think, Know, Prove is an occasional Friday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

Our current contract went into effect on July 16, 2013 and includes a little provision in Article VI, Section C, as you might recall, called “Student Success Pay.” This was, shall we say, a controversial aspect of the contract. Our Union leadership at the time made the case that we should like it because, “Hey, free money!” (I’m paraphrasing). And now, one month short of halfway through our contract, I’m not sure that anyone is any closer to understanding this provision than when it was proposed. Two important considerations jump out–one is principle and one is practical. We’ll take the easier of the two first.


Reminder: Vote for FC4 Reps

Voting is happening right now in your department office for the two candidates running to represent Harold Washington College at Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago (i.e., FC4).

Just in case you read this but not emails, here are the bios of the candidates, as presented in the HWFC email you received from HWFC President Jess Bader:

Hello Faculty,

We are excited to present the two candidates who have been nominated for the district level Faculty Council (FC4). Check out their bios, and be sure to vote next week. The polls will be open from Monday through Friday September 28th – October 2nd.


Phillip Vargas

My name is Phillip Vargas, and I am an Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences. I teach both general education courses and program level physics courses. I have been teaching at HWC since Fall 2010, and believe I have worked on many projects that have positively contributed to the college. What I have enjoyed most in working on these projects has been meeting and collaborating with other dedicated faculty members. After serving as a substitute FC4 representative for the last few months I believe my voice on FC4 can help to improve the dialogue between the colleges and with district office. If elected, I would be honored to represent HWC in this capacity.


Jennifer Meresman

I’ve always been passionate about public education and feel very lucky to be a full-time faculty member at the Harold Washington. I first formally studied public education as an American institution when I wrote my undergrad thesis on public schools as a site for teaching civic engagement in order to strengthen democracy. This theoretical study led me to want hands-on experience teaching in a public school, so I then taught special education middle school math in Oakland, CA for three years. Although I immediately found that I loved working with students, I realized a middle school was not the right place for me, so I got a Master’s degree with the explicit goal of teaching at the community college level. After completing a Master’s in Humanities at the University of Chicago, I got a full-time position in the English Department at Harold Washington in 2006.

In 2011 I joined Reinvention, and I focused my time there on the redesign of the tenure process. I was passionate about this project because I see tenure as both an incredible opportunity and responsibility that both enables and obligates faculty to participate in shared governance, directing the course of public education. Through the two-year redesign, I got an opportunity to work with both administrators and faculty across the seven colleges, and became committed to strengthening relationships between all of these parties, ensuring that we are working together towards a shared mission.

Another Response from an Expert on the Child Development Program

HWC Superstar and Child Development faculty member Jen Asimow has, in the spirit of her colleague’s thoughtful and excellent response to the initial meeting and announcement of the “plan,” has taken some time to detail her thoughts about the official announcement through annotation of that announcement. You’ll find her writing in italics. She asked me to post it here, and I am happy to oblige.

As a member of the Child Development faculty at Harold Washington College, I am writing this response to the following announcement.  My comments are in blue italics after each section.

This response is not meant in any way to be disrespectful to the writer of this announcement.  We know that the administration of CCC work under very different conditions than faculty and cannot possibly say what they want or believe.  They serve at the “largesse” of the Chancellor, so they can in no way speak out against her or the people who work for her.  I have absolutely no doubt that the administrators at any of the affected campuses do not think that this decision is a good idea, do not believe that it serves students, or that it will be good now or in the future for the City Colleges as a whole. 


Faculty and staff:

We are writing to inform you about important changes in City Colleges of Chicago (CCC)’s Child Development and Education programs as we continue the implementation of the College to Careers (C2C) initiative.

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.


The City Colleges has for years (its entire existence prior to Reinvention and the C2C initiative) committed itself to investing in faculty and staff, equipment and facilities to ensure that students have the best education possible.  This is not new to this initiative and the insinuation is misleading and unfair to all of those who spent their careers working for City College’s students in years past.  In addition, partnerships with four-year universities have existed since the beginning as well. This is nothing new.  In Child Development, we have forged partnerships throughout the city and surrounding areas over the years, by ourselves, without the help or support of district initiatives.


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 hub for Education, Human and Natural Sciences.

Action:  There will be a phased transition of Child Development and Education programs to Harry S Truman College.

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

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


I do not know how this is more “efficient.” Since when is asking people, both faculty and students, to spend more time commuting, efficient?  Consolidation is not a good thing either.  It minimizes diversity of thought, which is necessary to move systems forward. It centralizes talent, rather than spreading it out where it is needed and it takes access away from the vast majority of communities in our city.  I am not sure what “consolidate our investments” means.  The only district investment in the Child Development Program is the faculty.  Unlike nursing, or the medical degrees which require expensive laboratories and equipment, the cost of the Child Development program is no different if we are all at one campus or several.  Yes, we are all accredited, which has an additional cost, but national accreditation is an investment in the programs that is minimal.  Consolidating us as people is a terrible idea.  Cutting off our ability to work in communities where our students live and learn does not gain efficiency and it most definitely does not better support our students.  In fact, it does exactly the opposite.


  • 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.


The entire paragraph above is misleading.  In my opinion, the facility at Truman is far from excellent, relative to the relatively new campus at HWC, KK, and soon-to-be open M).  Currently the Truman campus is fine, much like the old MX; the bathrooms could use an update, and the child development lab school should probably be completely rebuilt. They currently do not have a wonderful teaching lab, as we do at HWC.  Perhaps there are plans for updating Truman College.  I am not sure about that and I would welcome that if we were to move there.  However, in its current state, it is not the excellent facility they are claiming it to be.

The “partnerships” described above are also not quite accurate.  Over the past 15 years at HWC, I have developed partners with 10 times the few mentioned above.  Each of the 5 affected campuses has done the same.  What will happen is that all of those wonderful partnerships will dissolve, and only those few partnerships on the north side will remain. 

The transfer partner list is also extremely misleading.  Over the past 2 years, several of the Child Development faculty, myself included, has worked on articulation agreements with four-year universities.  This work was funded by the Early Learning Challenge Grant, which came to higher ed in Illinois via Race to the Top funds.  The district office agreed to allow us to partner with these universities, and signed MOUs about our involvement. The new partnership with UIC is the result of 15 years of my work with UIC.  That work was between HWC and UIC, even though we all agreed that any agreements would be for all of the colleges (the more the merrier!)  To insinuate that this partnership has anything to do with the consolidation with Truman College is false.  Our relationship with National-Louis has existed far longer than my tenure at CCC.  What isn’t mentioned is that Daley College worked for the past 2 years to develop a partnership with Xavier College.  Now that partnership is signed, it is essentially useless, as Xavier chose Daley because of its proximity.  This is also true for a partnership with Roosevelt and HWC.  Again, the work was based on proximity to local campuses.  To claim that these partnerships have anything to do with this decision is false.

Here is a current list of my child care partnerships at HWC:

Cook County Child Care Center

Concordia Place

Rainbow Daycare

Loop Learning Center

YMCA of Evanston

Carole Robsertson Center for Learning

Taylor Center

The Children’s Center

Downtown Learning Center

Marcy Newberry Association

Paolo Freire Center

Chicago Public School

State of Illinois Child Care Center

St. Vincent de Paul

The Nia Center

Guadalupano Child Care Center

Chinese American Service League

Christopher House

Bridgeport Child Development Center

Children’s Home and Aid Society

The list goes on and on.  These are just a few off the top of my head. This is a much more interesting list than the partial list provided in the announcement.  . These partnerships span the city, serve diverse populations, and provide on-site field placements for our students.  Now multiply that list by 5 and that is what is being lost at the expense of this consolidation


Child Development and Education Programs Transition

Beginning in the fall of 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:

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

o   Basic Certificate (BC) in Family Child Care Business

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

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

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

  • Additionally, the BC, AC, and AAS in Social Work will be consolidated over time into a new AA (transfer pathway) in Social Work to be offered at Truman College, because the industry is moving to requiring a bachelor’s degree so this will help ensure our students have a credential that corresponds to job market demands.
  • Students enrolled in Child Development and Education at Daley, Harold Washington, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X and Olive-Harvey Colleges will continue their programs at their current colleges through the end of the spring 2016 semester.
  • New incoming students will be able to begin their Child Development and Education programs studies at Truman College for the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters.


Should we send them there? 


  • At the end of spring 2016, 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 at the beginning of the spring 2016 semester to plan for this transition.


It is my understanding that as a part of a legitimate “teach out” and “sun setting” of programs, HLC requires adequate time for students to complete their program or certificate.  I am confident that means that students who enrolled this summer, before the announcement at any of the affected campuses, have more time than what is indicated above..  Forcing them to move earlier is contrary to our accreditation. For more information about a Teach-Out Plan, see: http://policy.hlcommission.org/Federal-Regulation/approval-of-teach-out-arrangements.html?highlight=WyJ0ZWFjaCIsIm91dCIsInRlYWNoIG91dCJd


  • Child Development 101 and 102 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.


This is one of those decisions that remind us of how little the district understands our work.  The Human Development series is a much sought-after requirement for many programs and for transfer.  Limiting access to these courses will result in students having to go elsewhere for these prerequisites into Nursing School, Med School, Physical Therapy School, etc.  Here, I am not referring to the programs that will be available at MX.


No faculty or staff positions will be eliminated as a result of this change.


This too, is a very simplistic view with a lot of “maybes” and “best-case scenarios.”  I know that the focus here is not about the adjunct faculty, but we at HWC have adjuncts who have served our students for almost as long as I have and longer than both of the other full-time faculty members.  They bring their expertise to the classroom as professionals who are on the front lines, in the field.  This loss is monumental. 

However, I believe that the above statement refers to full-time faculty.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.  We currently have 16 full-time Child Development faculty members.  In order to have enough classes so that each of us can teach a full load, Truman will have to grow exponentially in the next year. 

This semester, Truman College is offering 23 sections of Child Development Courses = 81 credits. This is the equivalent of just about 5 full-time faculty.

In order to keep us all, they will have to fill about 80 sections of Child Development Courses. = 240 credits.

This is fifth grade math.  Even I can do it.  It is clear that there will be RIFs, so saying that there will not is their way of keeping everyone calm. Of course, the first to go will be the handful of untenured faculty in the program.  What a loss.

Now, let’s look at this another way.  This semester Olive-Harvey is offering 17 sections of Child Development Courses.  If those courses fill at a 60% rate, they will have about 400 child development students this semester.  Now, let’s assume that a rather large number of these are duplicated students (sitting in more than 1 child development class).  If we consider that about half are duplicated, that leaves about 200 students who are in the Child Development program at Olive –Harvey this semester.  Those students also take English, Math, Humanities, Social Sciences, and so on.  If you take away their reason for going to Olive-Harvey, Olive-Harvey’s enrollment will drop. Over the long term, this could mean the loss of jobs in every department.  This is not an extreme view or a conspiratorial one; it is simply a fact.  Everyone should sit up and take notice of this.  This isn’t just about Child Development.  It is about education for all in an institution that is supposed to be serving all.



All locations are accessible through public transportation, the CCC shuttle service, or both, so students should be able to access the campus no matter where they are coming from. The Truman campus is easily accessible by the CTA Red Line – it comes right to Truman’s doorstep – and the CTA 78-Montrose bus line as well as being within a short walking distance of other bus routes.


This is where the rubber meets the road (excuse the pun).  There is NO WAY that the busing system provided by CCC or the CTA can make this happen.

If you look at the CCC website under Shuttle Service, you will see how the current schedule and routes move and how they currently don’t even serve to Truman College.  There are some that go to the Red Line, which goes to Truman, and perhaps there is a plan to develop a more comprehensive busing system to unnecessarily move students around the city, but as of today, the Shuttle Service does not address the needs of students who are being forced to “consolidate.”

So, I moved on to the CTA. I just spent a couple of hours on their website and this is what I found.

Daley – Truman16.9 Miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 28 minutes
Daley – Truman16.9 Miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 26 minutes
Olive-Harvey – Truman19.2 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 28 minutes
Olive-Harvey – Truman19.2 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 2 buses and a train Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 1 hr. and 24 minutes
HWC – Truman College5.9 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 1 train Cost $2.25 Total Travel Time = 29 minutes
HWC – Truman College5.9 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 1 train Cost $2.25 Total Travel Time = 29 minutes
Malcolm X – Truman College8.7 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 2 trains Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 54 minutes
Malcolm X – Truman College8.7 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 2 trains Cost $4.50 Total Travel Time = 53 minutes
Kennedy King – Truman College14 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 6:30 Take 1 train Cost $ 2.25 Total Travel Time = 55 minutes
Kennedy King – Truman College14 miles In order to arrive at Truman by 9:30 Take 1 train Cost $ 2.25 Total Travel Time = 55 minutes


I chose 9:30 and 6PM as arrival times for Truman as those are the most traditional times classes are offered for day and evening students.  These are just examples, but you understand our concern. 

-If a student leaves work at 5 PM (not unusual for a working person) and wants to get to a 6PM class, it will be impossible if that student is near Daley or OH.  It will be nearly impossible if that student is coming from MX or KK.  If that student is coming from HWC, she might make it.  All of these calculations are based on students who are already on these campuses.  Most students will be coming from other places.  This will add time to their commutes.  The above CTA calculations are “best-case scenario.”  I have been commuting on the CTA for my entire adult life.  If the schedule says that I need 38 minutes for my commute, I plan at least an hour.  We all know this to be true.  This is ALL dependent on the buses and the trains running on schedule, that the student does not need to eat or go to the bathroom, or attend to any other adult life responsibilities.

-Students who attend morning classes will no longer be able to get their own children safely to school.  There won’t be enough time.

-Students who attend afternoon classes will not be able to get back into their own neighborhoods to pick up their children from school.  There won’t be enough time.

-Students will have to pay for additional childcare for their own children so the extra hours required to travel to and from school are covered.

-This “consolidation” will force students to spend less time with their own families, at work, or doing homework.


It is my belief that this model is untenable.  These students will not be able to make this transition and the City Colleges will lose them. 

Moreover, the city will lose good people who want to become teachers, but won’t be able to because of the aforementioned (and many other) problems.


This transition represents a unique opportunity for all our Child Development students, faculty and staff to be associated with best-in-class programs, helping 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.


This is not an opportunity, nor is it unique (do you remember the Nursing consolidation?)  This is a loss of opportunity.  There is nothing in this plan that improves our already accredited and excellent programs.  It reduces them.

We have been helping students reach their goals for years and years.  Don’t insinuate that this is somehow an improvement – it is not.


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.


For questions or concerns about my responses, please feel free to contact me at Asimow@sbcglobal.net.



The End of the Summer Session (and so much more)

“It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today” began the email message from our FC4 President, and Child Development faculty member from Daley College, Jennifer Alexander.

Here’s the rest of her message:

In the interest of time, I will only speak briefly to this matter.

Last Thursday, July 16th, the Presidents of the 6 City Colleges that currently offer Child Development classes (all except Wright) and any faculty who happened to check their email (sent at 6 pm the evening before) participated in a very short conference call with district officers.

In this conference call, we were informed that the Child Development programs at all of the colleges will be closed and are “consolidating” at Truman College for the Fall of 2016.

This notion of “consolidation” completely undermines the mission of a COMMUNITY College.

Further, the conference- call delivery of a top-down decision that significantly impacts faculty and students at 6 colleges, with no faculty having ever been included in the decision-making process, is the OPPOSITE of shared governance.

There is so much more to say about this and so many other issues that have arisen this summer: tuition hikes, registration changes….. If I wrote to you everything I want to say, this email would be 10 pages long and not ready until next week. And so I decided to send out this shorter, quick communication just to make sure you knew this is happening and also how it happened.

More to come, soon. Take heart though: we’re taking action.

Perusing a recent Chronicle summary of “How Great Colleges Distinguish Themselves,” four areas were identified as contributing to collegiate greatness: leadership, communication, alignment, and respect.

I’ll just leave that there.

Adjunct Week?

So, just in case you don’t know, this Wednesday is National Adjunct Walkout Day. This particular movement and the related topic of equity for adjuncts been a topic in the Chronicle lately (as here in a piece encouraging schools to rethink their policy on adjuncts, and here, in a piece encouraging unions to step up) and elsewhere, and it is a HUGE issue for the City Colleges, even if it hardly ever gets discussed (perhaps because the adjuncts are so busy working other jobs to earn rent and food money that they can’t be around at meetings and State of the College addresses to voice their concerns.

In my days as an adjunct, I surely could not have afforded to walk out–every dollar counted, though there certainly weren’t many of them in my paycheck (amazingly, 15 years later there aren’t many more!)–and, to be honest, I’m more than a little ambivalent about this particular approach given their vulnerability (financial and professional) and the trickiness of the situation–I want them to have a (much) better contract, but better would be more full time jobs; it’s a small needle eye to thread). A colleague asked if I had any ideas for how we could support our adjuncts, this week and generally, and I didn’t have any answers. Wearing red is one option, I suppose, but it isn’t much of one, I’d say. I’d love to hear any other ideas that are out there.

I also hope that, given that it’s budget time over at the District Office, there will be some discussion of the City Colleges policy toward adjuncts and perhaps some bold, or at least interesting moves toward improving the working conditions for adjuncts, given that their working conditions ARE many (most?) of our students’ learning conditions. $1600 (or even $2000) a class is one thing if the person is teaching an extra class on the side while working professionally (the original model for adjunct faculty), and another thing altogether when the person is teaching a 4/4 load without benefits (next to colleagues teaching the same number of students or 20% more for six times the remuneration. It seems to me that if outcomes matter that we could expect more effects from stabilizing (or at least not aggravating) the economic lives of half of our faculty than we can from new phones, new furniture, new lobby gates, and the rest.

Adjuncts deserve some joy, too.

Town Hall Meeting Remarks

Hi All,

Below you’ll find remarks I made to the Vice Chancellors at the Town Hall meeting last Thursday. The VC’s began with a half-hour of slides, which they said they would share.  After their half-hour presentations, our students asked questions for the next hour. They were very engaging and mostly respectfully listened to by the VCs.  Finally, faculty had a one-half hour block to ask questions. I encourage others to post on their experience at this event. I know Dave has already solicited comments.

Approximation of remarks made:

Congratulations to you all for overseeing the death of liberal arts at the City Colleges of Chicago. You have determined that our students only need specific courses and majors to succeed and you have arranged it to your satisfaction that only those courses and majors will be offered. Within three years we expect that courses which do not propel our students to jobs of economic value will be gone. You have determined that our students don’t need courses on art history to learn about great works of art, our students don’t need courses in training of the speaking voice to learn better diction and pronunciation, our students don’t need courses in acting to learn how to better present themselves. Music, philosophy, religion are all in jeopardy because of the actions you are taking. You have decided that those courses belong to the more entitled students at four-year colleges, that learning is for the elite, and that our students don’t need, can’t handle and don’t deserve a fully rounded education. What you don’t seem to understand is that our students deserve all that we can offer them.