Developing Highly Effective Researchers

by Amanda Hovious of The Designer Librarian and Todd Heldt of LIS101

As a PhD student in Information Science, I have been chewing on one problem in particular: What are the missing components of information literacy instruction? What is not currently being addressed? I believe the answer lies in the essence of every information seeking model out there, and especially in Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) model, which I had the pleasure of deconstructing in a theory development class. What is that essence? Uncertainty.

Uncertainty is present in the information seeking process (just about every information seeking model recognizes that role).

Uncertainty is inherent in inquiry and reflective thinking (John Dewey).

Uncertainty is the primary principle of Kuhlthau’s ISP model, and she defines uncertainty as “a cognitive state that commonly causes affective symptoms of anxiety and lack of confidence.”

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Addressing uncertainty is key to information literacy development. But in the absence of understanding ways to overcome the barriers that uncertainty creates in the information search process, we teach skills that will likely not develop beyond the classroom.

So, how do we address uncertainty in the information search process? A good place to start is Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind. They identified 16 habits of thought and action that help students manage the uncertainty that comes with ill-structured problems (e.g., information problems).

These habits are described to some extent in the Dispositions of the ACRL Framework. However, habits of mind are broader than the realm of information literacy. They are ways of thinking and doing that are essential to many areas of lifelong learning. In a nutshell, habits of mind are life skills.

Many of the habits Costa and Kallick endorse are absolutely essential for information literacy development. In particular, here are ten habits we need to instill in our students:

  • Thinking about Thinking (metacognition)

Thinking about thinking seems simple: to be aware of your own thought processes. But hidden biases and faulty heuristics can cloud a student’s judgment. Encourage students to spend some time thinking about how who they are impacts their relationship with information.

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  • Thinking Flexibly (being comfortable with multiple perspectives)

Any research project that requires an analysis of multiple perspectives requires thinking flexibly. Encourage students to investigate articles from sources across the political spectrum to see how different people present the same information. Likewise, fostering respectful classroom discussion about debatable topics is another good way for students to interact with differing viewpoints.

  • Thinking Interdependently (collaborating)

Most jobs and projects require some amount of collaboration. Assignments requiring students to share their ideas clearly and actively engage with input from others will not only make them more thorough researchers, it will help them more clearly communicate the information they have found.

  • Questioning and Posing Problems

Teach students to plan their research process ahead of time. Have them identify what they know and don’t know before they begin. Also, teach them not to be afraid of being wrong! If given the opportunity they will most often find that what they think they know is incorrect or incomplete. Embrace that!

  • Gathering Information through All Senses (being an observant researcher)

Not every answer is in a book or database! Offer assignments to allow students to interview people and/or observe behaviors first-hand.

  • Striving for Accuracy (choosing accurate or evidence-based sources)

Teach students not to settle on the first source they find, even if it seems legitimate and supports their prior beliefs. Have them read as widely as time allows, and engage with primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to see what the overall state of knowledge is in the field under study. Ask them when possible to verify conclusions by consulting other expert sources.

  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations (transferring skills)

Let them know that it is acceptable to draw on previous research experiences to tackle new research problems.  It isn’t cheating to use the same database over and over again if it has the requisite information!

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  • Persisting (growth mindset)

Teach students to follow a research project to the end, and not to give up if they don’t succeed right away. Researchers don’t usually find what they are looking for in the first article they read. Showing students how to put together different combinations of keywords, and navigate different kinds of sources will make them much more likely to find what they need. (And it always pays to reiterate that librarians are here to help when they get stuck!) 

  • Creating, Imagining, Innovating (looking at information in new ways)

Create assignments that let students share their research findings in new and interesting ways. Would visual aids such as graphs and charts be easier to understand than a written narrative? Would an e-portfolio be more accessible than a printed paper?

  • Communicating with Clarity and Precision

The best research skills in the world will only have limited value if students can’t communicate their findings precisely and clearly. Reinforce the importance of presenting information in a clear, unbiased way.

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Some of these habits are addressed in library/information literacy instruction, but we must remember that there is a big difference between teaching a skill to a student and creating an environment where the student can put that skill into continuous practice. The latter is more important in the development of habits of mind, and the library is just one environment that can be designed to reinforce them.

 

Introducing these ideas to students need not be overly complicated, and a few simple steps can help them keep these habits at the forefront of their minds. Define the profile of highly effective information seekers and enumerate those qualities on posters and handouts. Post them around the library, touch on them during instruction sessions, and give instructors in other departments copies for their classrooms to reinforce it beyond the walls of the library.

With these habits of mind, students will be able to search for information with more confidence and purpose, and they will be more discriminant in their selection of sources. These habits of mind correspond in many ways to the Dispositions from the ACRL Framework but will likely be more approachable for students and newer information seekers.

Share this infographic with your students:

Good Habits Make Good Research

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

Good news from CCC. No really…

Posted on behalf of Michael Heathfield

The data are in – serious big data. Millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records have been used by The Equality of Opportunity Project which specializes in using mass data to create policy solutions for social justice and increase equality. The headline of the just-published data set when searched for CCC says:

“The median family income of a student from City Colleges of Chicago is $31,700, and 4.9% come from the top 20 percent. About 2.7% of students at City Colleges of Chicago came from a poor family but became a rich adult.”

Behind this unsurprising finding there are much more important data about which we should be proud. On the access issue it is very clear who our students are. Really clear:

heathfield-1

Yet, with regard to social mobility we do much better than we might imagine:

heathfield-2

So we end up with what I consider to be a fairly impressive “mobility index”:

heathfield-3

To know our students, to know the struggles some of them face, and to now know that big national data puts us at 53 out of 690 community colleges for real impact to family lives, is a pretty impressive performance. Of course, I am being selective with the data I report here. Yes, really.

You can find the full data set here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/city-colleges-of-chicago.

Sure, there is more to do. And yes, we must always get better. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful 2017 to have a District leadership team who lead by knowing and acknowledging the pretty spectacular job we already do? Oh happy day!

 

Mike Heathfield

 

Shared Governance Action Items: Provost Nominations by January 17 and Policy Revisions by January 22

Two important announcements from FC4 and District. You received these as an e-mail, but just to help spread the word:

1. PROVOST SEARCH:

From FC4 President Jennifer Alexander (Subject: “Nominations for Provost”), nominations for City Colleges Provost are now open until January 17. Anyone may nominate anyone. Description is here: http://www.ccc.edu/…/About-the-Provost-and-Chief-Academic-O…

Send nominations here: citycollegesprovost@agbsearch.com

2. ACADEMIC POLICY REVISION:

New policies are being proposed, and we have a short window to provide commentary and other proposals. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to review the proposals, but will before our FC meeting tomorrow. Armen forwarded the e-mail yesterday (subject: “District-Wide Academic & Student Policy Review, January 9 ­ 22”), but here are the key points:

1. Deadline for feedback is January 22.
2. Relevant documents can be viewed and feedback submitted here: https://cccedu.sharepoint.com/policy/SitePages/Home.aspx

Faculty Council Meeting: Wednesday, January 11, 1-3pm, Room 1115

The first Faculty Council meeting of the year is scheduled during registration week, Wednesday, January 11, from 1 to 3pm, in room 1115. Vice President Sarrafian has approved attendance to this meeting as part of full-time faculty’s 30 hours during registration week.

This meeting’s purpose is to be as accessible as possible to the largest number of faculty, in order to have at least one meeting this semester where the faculty body can gather to introduce and discuss the issues that matter most to our community. This will also help Faculty Council set its agenda for the Spring semester. If all goes well, I hope this serves as a model for a pre-semester large Faculty Council meeting going forward, in order to better facilitate shared governance.

If you have thoughts about what should be on the agenda, either leave a comment or e-mail me at bswanson1@ccc.edu.

CAST Elections, October 10-14

Elections for CAST coordinator will be conducted this week. Ballots and envelopes will be deposited in department offices on Monday afternoon and picked up Friday morning, just prior to the HLC meeting.

This year, we have one choice: Dr. Rosie Banks and Chao Lu have decided to run as a team (this is allowed according to the CAST charter). I have asked nominees to compose a statement regarding their merit and goals, which is provided here:

“The Center for the Arts and Science of Teaching (CAST) has long provided a faculty-driven, faculty-owned space to share best and current practices, new research, and emerging ideas in pedagogy and curriculum development. In past years, we have enjoyed diverse and substantive FDW and academic year programming that has challenged us to grow as educators. Should you accept us as CAST coordinators for this year, we hope to continue and expand that legacy by:

“-extending CAST’s accessibility through podcasting or other programming possibilities,

“-increasing opportunities for exchange with educators in the HWC community and/or in the Chicagoland region who are doing substantive work in teaching and learning, and

“-increasing opportunities for support for those of us currently pursuing degrees or taking courses, thus recognizing the significance of faculty scholarship in teaching and learning.

“-Most importantly, we will welcome your feedback and participation every step of the way.

“Since joining the HWC community, Ms. Lu and Dr. Banks have contributed extensively to the life of the college through our work in faculty committees, developmental education, the union, and administration (instruction). We hope to have this opportunity to work with you as your CAST coordinators. We would be happy to answer any questions you have both during and after this election process.”

CASTpods for Fall 2016

Interested in hearing your colleagues (even if you can’t make the f2f meetings), then please have a listen (if you like) to the fall 2016 CASTpods.

CASTpod #1
In the first CASTpod of the fall 2016 semester, Kristin sits down with John Metoyer. Metoyer discusses his engaging dissertation research. The conversation progresses to wonder about the narrative structures embedded in higher education when it comes to educating for skills for students tacked to particular paths.

CASTpod #2
For CASTpod #2 for the fall 2016 semester, I sat down in my office with reference librarian and fresh-from-his-sabbatical Todd Heldt. We discussed information literacy: what it is, what he did with it, and what you can use it for with your students. I invite you to listen to our discussion and/or visit Todd’s Information Literacy (LIS 101) site.

CASTpod #3
In this week’s CASTpod, Kristin discusses critical reading skills with Dr. Evelyn Murdock. Our discussion presumes critical reading skills are needed beyond developmental courses. During our chat, Evelyn notes to be strong thinkers, students need to develop and practice critical reading and thinking skills. So, are you sold? Of course! But, if you’re not a reading teacher, how do you teach students to read critically? Evelyn discusses strategies you can use to critically engage your students in the readings for your course.

And more CASTpods are to come. These CASTpods will feature VP Armen Sarrafian discussing the HLC visit; Sunny Serres and Jenny Armendarez giving speech tips (for non-speech faculty); Asif Wilson talking about healing and transformative pedagogies; and Doug Rapp providing tips from the writing tutor’s perspective.

The Search for a New Chancellor

This is the position paper delivered to the consulting firm that is spearheading the search for the new Chancellor and Provost, presented on behalf of Faculty Council, and e-mailed to the HWC faculty and relevant parties. I present it in this public forum because I believe statements like this should be public and accessible.

To the Consultants of AGB Search, LLC, regarding the search for the next Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago:

On behalf of the faculty of Harold Washington College, I would like to thank you for reaching out to us, hosting an open forum for faculty and students to voice their input, and requesting a position paper regarding the selection of a new chancellor.

As you have undoubtedly heard from faculty across the district, the relationship between faculty and administration has grown contentious over the past five years, perhaps irreconcilably so with the current administration. The cause of this strain, as you have also likely heard, has been due to a lack of “shared governance.” That in short, our administration has made major decisions with minimal faculty involvement, and as a result our classes and the education of many of our students have been disrupted. This has occurred despite much protest from the faculty, a protest that was consistently met with a dismissive and disparaging tone from district office. Time after time, we saw our administrators declare large changes without prior consultation with faculty; we saw these actions followed by negative consequences; and when faculty strived to correct these actions, we often felt that administration stonewalled and insulted us. We believe that because of this, we may not be providing the same quality of education as we once did for all of our students, even while some of our data points suggest that we do.

From speaking to my colleagues, there are four specific points that arise again and again in various forms:

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FC4 Representative Nominees

As I announced via e-mail last week, we are currently engaged in FC4 representative nominations. We have one position open as Jesu Estrada completes one term. She is eligible to run again, and has chosen to do so. She is joined in the election by Jacqueline Cunningham. I’ve asked them to write up a statement, which you can find below and in your e-mail. Elections will run this upcoming week, from September 12 to September 14. Ballots will be in your office.

Dr. Maria J. Estrada

I have served as an FC4 representative for almost three years.  In that time, I have tried to represent, with the highest ethical standards, the wide interests of the faculty and departments.  I have taken your input and recommendations seriously.  It continues to be important to have a strong voice within the context of Reinvention and changes in our local, state, and national educational systems. At FC4 meetings, I have often been critical and outspoken, always advocating for our faculty interests, whether it be to oppose ill-thought policies or negative changes in our programs.  Likewise, it has been important to support changes that would benefit our students and faculty.  I have also cooperated on committees with faculty across the City Colleges as well as student advocates because I believe collectivity and cooperation produces better work.

Historically, I approved curriculum and courses that would benefit students, back when Faculty Council still had this role.  I was also one of the first faculty members to openly speak out against Biometrics and the privatization of our education both at the Board and meetings across the District.  Part of my FC4 advocacy includes speaking at Board meeting about academic program and policy changes, attending Board meetings to be further informed about campus-wide issues, and participating in actions like informational pickets and town hall meetings to voice faculty concerns. I am not afraid to fight for faculty interests and will continue to do so; however, when I can work with administration strategically and with your support, I will do so, especially if this endeavor furthers our academic interests and goals.  Finally, my door has always been and will continue to be open to your concerns and suggestions.

Jacqueline Cunningham
M.Ed., MA LinguisticsDepartment Chairperson English Language Learning/World Languages

My interest in serving on FC4 stems from not only the issues that we face locally at CCC, but also a triad of policy initiatives coming from Washington DC to the state of Illinois that are already in play, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which affects our future students, the new Workforce Investment Opportunity ACT which is a complete revision of Adult Education, and next year 2018 Higher Education Act.  As a Chicago educator for over 20 years, I have seen the cycles of change in education more than once.  I have also experienced with students the effects of some challenging policies.  The coming few years are going to present policy challenges at many levels.  We need to advocate for our students as these changes occur. I recently returned from Washington DC speaking to our representatives, and I have seen great success locally in holding or reversing proposed changes to programs through advocacy by some of our faculty.  These observations have made it clear that faculty can educate our leaders locally and nationally on the needs of our CCC students and that the faculty are essential to advocating for the needs of all students.  It is up to us.

 

Faculty Development Week :: 2016

Kamran and I have put it all together (with a lot of help from many, many good HW folks, like Galina Shevchenko–see her handiwork in the FDW program below)!

Faculty Development Week 2016 starts Tuesday, August 2016 at 9:00 am with President Martyn, Vice President Sarrafian, Kamran, and me to welcome you and kick it all off (academic year 2016-2017, that is).

See you in the basement/student union on Tuesday (if not sooner at MX on Monday)!

Curious about the sessions?

There are nearly 70 presenters this year offering almost 75 sessions, not to mention 4 faculty speakers during lunch talks (each day from 12:00-1:45 pm in the basement/student union).

There are Create a Connection! sessions where you can ask a colleague (or two or six) to join you to discuss a collaboration or an assessment or anything.

There are sabbatical presentations.

There are sessions devoted to listening to CASTpods and reading The Harold Lounge posts to vote for a CASTy award for best CASTpod and best The Harold Lounge post.

There are opportunities for you to Create a Connection (Across a Divide or not). Please hobnob with your colleagues (before the tenor of the semester increases and those opportunities diminish).

Please help CAST honor our part-time colleagues.

And please read more in the FDW Program for 2016!

FDW Program 2016

Testimony

City Council Chamber

Yesterday, the Committee on Education and Child Development for the City Council of Chicago met to discuss one agenda item – “calling for hearings to determine the impact and consequences of consolidating Child Development programs at the City Colleges to single location”. Several representatives from City Colleges provided testimony after which the Aldermen had a chance to ask questions. It was an interesting experience for me. I’ve never attended a City Council meeting before. I was impressed with the questions they asked about the 6 nationally recognized Child Development programs offered at City Colleges and the obvious time they had put in to understanding the program and its impact on the early childhood workforce in the city of Chicago. There were many moments when I felt the Aldermen had a better grasp of our program than upper administration at the District Office. Many people had the chance to speak including a graduate who described the impact of studying Child Development at a college close to her home in Englewood and how that helped her to make a better life for her own children as well as the young children and families she served in her work as a child care provider. It was quite moving, but also very informative and I’m glad people were listening.

I’ve included my full remarks below:

My name is Carrie Nepstad. I am an Associate Professor of Child Development at Harold Washington College. I have been in that position for 13 years. In that time, I have also served as the Board President for the “Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Educators” association. Currently, I am on the editorial Board of “Voices of Practitioners” a publication of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and I also serve on Mayor Emanuel’s Early Childhood Education Workforce Development Taskforce. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies produced a report entitled “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation”. This is the full report. It is nearly 700 pages long. I served as a Practitioner Advisor on this report where I met with the committee at the National Academies offices in California Irvine as well as in Washington DC and then again here in Chicago.

All this is to illustrate that I serve many roles at the city, state, and national level where I am routinely asked to provide my expertise on a wide range of projects, initiatives, and policy. I am not rare. All of my fellow faculty in Child Development at City Colleges serve similar leadership roles and yet our own institution did not seek our expertise when the decision was made to close 5 nationally recognized Associate degree programs and leave Truman as the only option for Child Development students across the city. If they had consulted with us they would have seen how destructive this decision is to the child care workforce in the city of Chicago and how this decision, based on misleading information and inaccurate data, will hurt young children and their families in our most vulnerable neighborhoods for many years to come. We need to build the workforce and provide more access to higher education in our south and west side communities – not cut them off or create more burdens for them.

A major recommendation of this report is to increase the education level for the early childhood workforce. There is a sense of urgency in our field to provide access to higher education so people can build their academic credentials in the field. And, as the report states, strategies will be needed to

“mitigate possible negative consequences such as workforce shortages, [and] reduced diversity in the profession…” (p.8).

We have repeatedly stated that it will be exceptionally difficult for Child Development students residing and working on the south and west sides to travel across the city to attend classes at Truman College. The early childhood agencies where they work, which are legally bound to keep workers on site while children are present, will not be able to release employees early for such a long commute. The employers in all of your wards are already suffering under budget crises and teacher shortages. Shutting down these 5 accredited college programs puts additional undue burden on students, on early childhood employers and agencies, and on families in the communities where the early childhood center is often one the strongest resources in the neighborhood.

Because we draw students from every region of the city, Chicago is in an enviable position to meet the recommendations of this report and to build a highly qualified and diverse early childhood workforce. But we have to be mindful of the barriers our students face; they typically work full-time in early childhood while pursuing their degree and they often have children of their own. They are not in a high-wage position, yet they often feel compelled to give back to their communities. The strength of the early childhood workforce in Chicago is that the workers come from the communities in which they serve. We know how important this is for the development of young children and their families. We also know that the stresses they face are not mere inconveniences.

From page 476 of the report,

“The health and well-being of care and education professionals play a critical role in their effectiveness as educators and thus in the development of children… These effects of the stressors they experience can restrict the ability of educators to create positive, high-quality learning environments for their students”.

One of my recent graduates is a veteran who has faced many challenges upon returning to civilian life. While in Iraq, he would often be asked to play soccer with the local kids. Through this act of service, he came to realize that working with children was his true calling. Another student started attending classes in the late eighties and through a series of life events has had to stop and restart her studies many times over the years. Last semester, she almost stopped out again because her daughter had been diagnosed with a serious illness, but with the encouragement of her classmates she was finally able to complete her student teaching and achieve her goal. Another student, late in life, is now raising her nephew with disabilities while working full-time and continuing to take one class at a time to finish her degree. In her final semester, she suffered an illness, but she completed her homework from her hospital bed because she was so determined to finish on time with her classmates, and earn her degree.

I’ve worked with hundreds of students over the past 15 years that are just like these. They are real people facing real challenges. The role they play is extremely important in our society and we should be doing everything we can to support them. Our students are strong and they have demonstrated an ability to face many challenges yet City Colleges asks them to do the impossible when they say that students can get from their workplace on the far south or west side of the city to a 6pm course on the far north side using public transportation or even a shuttle. This is physically impossible. How dare we suggest that they will simply figure this out or go somewhere else? As a city, we can do better to support early childhood education. This is arguably one of the most important workforce development projects of our time and we can do better.

This is not about faculty who are supposedly unwilling to change. Most disciplines and programs across the City Colleges struggle to align their curriculum, yet the Child Development faculty have twice redesigned every core course in order to meet the demands of the field, they have gone through a rigorous accreditation process, and they have worked together to align offerings with the state credentialing system.

We reinvent ourselves annually. We are not afraid of change.

Child Development faculty have been working closely with the Education Dean over the past year to provide ongoing recommendations for the various upgrades City Colleges is making to the classroom spaces at Truman. We fully support that City Colleges has made some investment in that program as it was the only program in the District that did not have adequate resources including a lab space. We can continue to work together to support all Child Development programs at City Colleges. This absolutely can be done within budget. In fact, it has the potential of becoming a model within the District and beyond.

I want you to know that because of its unique District system with 6 separate accreditations, the Child Development programs at City Colleges of Chicago are known across the country and this process is being watched closely by Associate Degree faculty and institutions of higher ed. from Washington State to Washington DC. The people in our field know about what is happening here. They know it’s a mistake to shut down these programs and they are watching to see what the city of Chicago chooses to do about it.

Thank you very much for your time.

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