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.