The willful illusions at the board meeting

There are many things to say about the vote of no confidence and the following board meeting.

By every account I’ve read and heard, the board meeting today was packed with about two dozen non-faculty who voiced support of the chancellor. This included US Representative Bobby Rush, who claimed that we shouldn’t even be discussing a vote of no confidence, and that the Chancellor has been doing an outstanding job. An international student spoke and claimed he was fine with the enormous tuition hike. The chair of the board voiced his support. And after the vote was dropped off at the mayor’s office, the mayor’s office issued a letter of support for the chancellor.

Look. If you were on the board and you wanted to cling to some evidence that the chancellor is doing a good job, then you clearly found it. But it is the shakiest foundation for evidence. Not to get snarky about it, but I’m one of your logic professors, and this looks really really bad. If a student made a case with the same strength of induction as was demonstrated here, I’d need to talk to him about whether they’ve been doing their exercises…or even paying attention to the basic principles of induction.

Do you understand what the faculty has done to voice their opinion? They did not simply ask a couple dozen people to speak against the chancellor. This time, they brought their big guns. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Phil Vargas and Jeni Meresman in conducting local and district wide surveys, we know where the faculty stand thanks to them, and all the faculty who supported them. In the past week, conducted a thorough vote with 97% participation from the faculty. This way, we know the what the faculty overwhelmingly, and nearly unanimously, are claiming.


The press turns out for the board meeting

Update: A fifth article was published, by “Substance News.” This one comes out clearly on the side of the faculty. Link below.

Since the board meeting this morning, four articles have been published by the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ, and the Chicago Sun-Times.

If you only have time for one, my personal recommendation is WBEZ’s article.

90% of Harold Washington full-time faculty vote “No Confidence” in Chancellor Hyman, 0% claim confidence.

Dear HWC Faculty,


Last week, District Faculty Council (FC4) decided to pursue a vote of no confidence in the City College’s chief executive, Chancellor Hyman. The principle charge is, to paraphrase, the sustained and stubborn lack of shared governance between district administrators and college faculty, and that this has been the primary cause for a host of other problems, including the consolidation and relocation of academic programs, closing of programs, unfair adjunct compensation, and the unjust and uneven increases in student tuition. HW Faculty Council, and HW delegates to District Faculty Council, moved to conduct an official faculty-wide vote of no confidence among full-time faculty. Part-time faculty were not asked to participate in the vote. We did not want part-time faculty placed in awkward positions or pressured to either vote or abstain. Over the past week, HWC faculty council and HWC members of FC4 conducted a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Hyman including all HWC full-time faculty. The vote concluded today, and the results are as follows:


97% of the full-time faculty voted, or 114 of 118.

Of the 114 votes:

106 faculty, or 93%, checked “Yes” for the Vote of No Confidence.

8 faculty, or 7%, checked “Abstain” for the Vote of No Confidence.

0 faculty, or 0% (for the math nerds), checked “No” for the Vote of No Confidence.

This means that a total of 90% of all full-time faculty, including non-voters, claim “No Confidence” in Chancellor Hyman.

Security Procedures

As all voters saw, we had a number of measures in place to check security. Whenever anyone submitted a vote, there needed to be two witnesses. The voting faculty member initialed their name on the primary roster, to ensure that no one voted twice. The ballot was folded, stamped with the date, and then initialed by two faculty observers. The voter then witnessed their ballot submitted into the lockbox.

We received a few proxy votes via e-mail from some faculty on sabbatical. This was always verified by multiple faculty members viewing the e-mail.

Because of the roster, we knew that 114 faculty reported that they voted, and expected 114 ballots. 114 ballots were present in the box.

The lockbox remained sealed until today, February 3, at 12:30pm. At that time we opened the box and counted ballots. Jennifer Armendarez video taped. Erica McCormack recorded the tally. Kristin Bivens and Jeni Meresman observed, while Jeni also placed ballots on their respective stacks. I (Kamran) removed the ballots from the box and read the result, one by one.

After the vote, all ballots were placed back inside the box, and the box was locked. The box is currently located in my office, room 311a. If anyone (including administrators) would like to perform a recount, inspect the ballots, and/or review our roster and signatures, please contact me at or

New FC4 Page at the Harold Lounge

For the faculty across the seven City Colleges:

Note that the Harold Lounge now has a page devoted to the district-wide Faculty Council, commonly known as “FC4.” If you look at the tabs above, you’ll see it among the other pages. From there, you may either click on the button or select an option on the pop-up menu. You can read board reports from the FC4 president, the FC constitution, short biographies of our FC4 officers, and pdfs of the excellent faculty-wide surveys conducted in the Fall 2015 semester by HWC’s Phil Vargas and Jeni Meresman.

You will also see an option on the drop-down menu titled “open survey.” You can use the survey to voice your opinions to the FC4 leadership.

Desperate Times at Campus Zero

Posted on behalf of Michael Heathfield

I couldn’t help but throw my hat into the ring, so to speak.  Who could have imagined that Soviet-style management would come back into fashion?  Deeds of dismissal continue to increase at an alarming rate as those who sit at the elite table are pulled even closer to the flame and given a big pay raise to help ease the discomfort they must surely feel at the parade of disastrous decisions from leadership.  As most of us know, the mortgage will not pay itself and metaphors don’t mix themselves.

Administrators must tread with care to negotiate the daily offerings from Campus Zero giving you the opportunity to thrive, survive or take the dive. As with many empires, the leadership is immune from a more ordinary sense of awareness. This may explain why in our most recent CCC budget District simply calls itself a campus. Of course, it is the most expensive campus of all – serving no students. Campus Zero.

The deeds of dismissal are varied and frequent and I sense that impetus for change will not come from within the politburo. I will begin by sharing at the personal and move outward from there. I have learned that leading with a poignant personal story is a good way to serve up dumb decisions.

I have been full-time faculty since 2006 and for eight solid years my paystub has noted that I work in the Foreign Languages department.  Now I know I am English, and that for my first few years in the U.S. I was officially an alien, but I have never taught a foreign language in my life. Thank goodness, especially since sometime ago we realized the inherent racism of “foreign” languages.  But not to worry about petty labels, all is good. Since fall 2014, I apparently work in the Social Services Department.  Now, I have very briefly worked in that department, but only when someone from Campus Zero decided to rename the Applied Science Department.  I guess a wiser head pointed out that Child Development, Criminal Justice and Mental Health did not fit under a social service label. Thank goodness for wiser heads.  Of course, no one in the department was involved in this temporary decision. I suppose it is a moot point, since the whole department will be gone in a year from now, so why fuss about labels?

But surely our students don’t suffer with these petty dysfunctions? You all know the answer. Every spring semester I have to sign waivers for youth work students to graduate from their program without a mythical second Mental Health course.  The course in question, is not now, nor has never been, part of the youth work degree program.  Someone at Campus Zero must have slipped it in there and no one has ever managed to get it back out again.  Believe me, many have tried. So every spring I spend my time subduing the panic that ensues when students are miss-advised they are short a course for graduation. So when the youth work and social work programs close at HWC at the end of this semester, Campus Zero will have found a solution to this persistent lack of care for our students.

If you have ever been brave enough to take a program change through the PAC process you may not be surprised to know that Campus Zero has no policy or procedure for ensuring approved changes actually get registered in any of their systems that face students or advisors.  Catalogues, degree program advising materials, and completion databases exist in a parallel universe that are very resistant to change and are fundamentally disconnected from the academic approval process up to and after ICCB approval.  These information accuracy concerns have consistently been presented to senior leadership.  Sometimes at Campus Zero the lights are on but no one is home.

Desperate empires always seek to control their message, which I guess is why not one student in the social work or youth work programs has been officially told that at the end of this semester their programs are closed.  Not “consolidated” but closed. Maybe at this specific time in Chicago, the Mayor doesn’t care for noise about small social work and youth work programs.  Nor does he appear to care about a Campus Zero citywide map of programs that will shortly say to Chicago taxpayers that for Child Development or Teaching you must go far north. While if you are interested in Social Work or Addictions Studies, you must go far south.  This is Campus Zero’s vision of “One Chicago”.  Oh, wait that’s NBC’s branding phrase for all the Chicago-based TV offerings where Rahm can play a Mayor opening things.

If you are interested in a vocation, contributing to Chicago communities through care or service to others, go elsewhere.  Dismissed.  If you need to be a part-time student, dismissed.  If you are an international student, dismissed. If you are a student who has no interest in dodgy workforce data projections about jobs available for community college graduates in ten years time, dismissed.

Perhaps, I write with the privilege of being old enough to see the exit sign. My own lovely gulag beckons. Now whether I make it through the door by my own volition or whether someone helps me through it, who knows!  But that’s what happens when your hat is in the ring.

Mike Heathfield


Tuesday Teaching Topic: T-Minus 1 Day Edition

Classes begin tomorrow. How do you spend your first day of course? Share your ideas in the comments. My resolution for the first day:

1. Focus the first day’s discussion on the big ideas of the course. What will we be thinking about? What sorts of intellectual problems will we tackle? How will our knowledge grow over the duration of the course?

2. Talk about best practices. What will it take to be successful in this course?

3. Do NOT talk about grades. The motivation toward grades is different than the motivation toward knowledge. Grades are an external reward, whereas knowledge is an internal reward. Research has shown that those students who focus on external rewards have a “bulimic” nature in their pursuit of knowledge: they strive to absorb it quickly for the exam, but it is quickly lost after the evaluation.

4. Do NOT talk about the syllabus, beyond best practices and objectives. Tell them where they can read it, and perhaps a statement about what is included. But the majority of the syllabus is not interesting, and we don’t want to frame the class in terms of rules that have nothing to do with the ideas of the course. This is especially true at the City Colleges, where we are required to include more and more policies and directions that are identical to each course and not relevant to the course material.

The Evil Empire Continues to Enforce Educational Apartheid

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

Special Announcement dated 12/22/2015

“Faculty and staff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ·       Programs transitioning to Truman are:

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

·         Basic Certificate (BC) in Family Child Care Business

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

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

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

 ·       Programs sunsetting completely are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All CCC Faculty Potluck, this Saturday in Humboldt Park

You’ve received e-mails for this, but another notice can’t hurt!

The Harold Washington Faculty Council is hosting a potluck mixer one week from today, and they’ve asked me to invite you! The potluck is open to all CCC Faculty (full and part time) as well as partners.

“All CCC faculty” is not an oversight. We are indeed inviting faculty from across the seven colleges.

Here are the details:

When: Saturday, November 21, 4p.m.

Where: The home of Maria Ortiz. Check your CCC e-mail for the address.

Potluck: Please bring a favorite dish or beverage, or bring some money to chip in.

For more information, contact Maria Ortiz. Her e-mail can be found in the invitation e-mail.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Women to Remember

Written by Michael Heathfield

Only a fool would look to the future without serious regard for the past.  So while I look forward to my reinvented future at HWC, it is impossible to not look back. Especially as I am teaching courses this semester I will not teach again as social work and youth work programs close at HWC in the spring.  I work hard in my classes to get students to make diverse connections and pull past narratives into their futures. We public educators don’t have to reach too far back for narratives to be informative.

The stories of two women keep resonating in my head and my heart is continuously trying to learn from both. The first is Mary Parker-Follet (1868-1933) who was very much an innovator and management guru way ahead of her time.  Indeed, many of today’s famous male stars of management theory owe a debt to the writing, theories and principles originating from Parker-Follet.  Peter Drucker acknowledged her important contributions to business administration that is ethical and grounded in the human interactions and connections that bind us together.

She was a social worker who studied at Radcliffe and spent a year at Cambridge University. She established community centers in Boston and wrote about how important community interactions and relationships were for success.  She was an innovator in establishing group work as an important method for social change. In her 1924 essay “Power” she differentiated between coercive power and coactive power.  Power “over” was very clearly about control, manipulation and setting up win/lose dynamics.  Power “with” provided mutual growth and opportunities that would now be framed as win/win. She was very clear which kind of power contributed to community and democracy. One of my favorite quotes from her body of work is, “life and education must never be separated”.  Democracy was about something we do together.

She was an early advocate for opening up schools as community resources, extending them from their traditional schooling roles and functions in the communities that they serve.  She was a very early advocate of youth work and of conflict resolution strategies in which all parties could participate in negotiated settlements in which “reframing” the dispute was the means to helping all parties move forward to successful outcomes.  She also wrote persuasively about what we now call “life-long learning” and how the world of work should always be connected to learning.

The second woman was more recently lauded as an education innovator and looked upon by politicians, from both parties, as someone who would be a game changer for public education.  Her name is Michelle Rhee, who for a very brief time (2007-2010) was the Chancellor of the D.C. public school system.  She was a bold political choice who was proud of her lack of experience in any public education system and she rapidly surrounded herself with friends and colleagues who also lacked both experience and expertise in public education.  Her oft-repeated mantra was that she was driven solely by the vital needs of D.C. school children.  She was appointed because of her connections to clout-heavy politicians and billionaires. She got to sit on Oprah’s couch.

Her one driving goal, above all else, was to lift up the test scores of D.C. school children.  In her very short tenure she created a culture of fear and retribution within both schools and their administration.  She presented a public persona unafraid of taking difficult decisions. One of the most demeaning examples of this was the firing of a public school principal in front of television cameras.

She received inordinate levels of publicity as the new face of school reform but abruptly left D.C. public schools surrounded by evidence of test score cheating on a systemic scale.  She continued her education reform goals through leading her own advocacy organization “StudentsFirst” which was publically committed to raising a billion dollars to support the election of political candidates equally committed to the kind of reforms she espoused.

StudentsFirst high profile tool is the “State Policy Score Card” that judges a state’s progress made against the group’s education reform goals.  The reality of StudentsFirst is that it has repeatedly missed its funding targets and has begun withdrawing paid staff from a number of states.  It has distributed a mere $5.3 million to political campaigns and has significantly underperformed on its own targets.  Rhee, a declared Democrat, has now stepped down from leading this organization too. She has recently been appointed to the board of Scotts Miracle Grow Company and has dedicated herself to supporting her husband’s career and her own children.

A belief in the central role of teachers in the education process was the hallmark of one of these memorable women.  The other clearly identified them as the enemy to be dismissed and disrespected at every opportunity.  I hope our ever-growing business and management students get to study both women and think critically about their contributions to education, management and leadership.

Non-Measurable Mondays: Social Contract Theory

Non-Measurable Mondays is a weekly series for the Fall 2015 semester, featuring stories and essays on modes of student success that cannot be grasped by data. We are seeking submissions for the full semester, which can be sent to me at For more details, see the original post here.

A Harold Washington faculty member, who wished to remain anonymous, sent me this letter she or he received from a student. The only thing I will add is that the course referenced is not IAI approved.

Dear Prof.

Not sure if you remember me, but I took your [xxxx] course at Harold Washington in the Spring of 2012. At the time I was an aspiring engineering student but have since changed tracks to the field of International Relations. So far it has been an excellent decision. I have since finished my BA from Roosevelt University, worked in Brussels and DC, and am now pursuing my MA at the Department of War Studies at Kings College London.

At this moment I am reading about Social Contract Theory for a course on insurgency, and it reminded me of my time in your class. Just wanted to say thanks for the enthusiasm and a great class. Hope all is well.