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

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

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

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

Faculty Council Corner

So, I’m thinking that this post will be our new regular Thursday morning feature (replacing “ReinQuestion?”): basically an open thread for you to bother your HWFC members with pressing questions (or for me to post the pressing questions that you send to me should you want to ask your question near anonymously–just email it to me with a request to withhold your name and it shall be done).

Also, it’ll give us a forum to post regular updates about what is happening and when.

So…any questions?

Lingering Questions

1) Anybody have any info about graduation? I know the gowns were delivered to departments on Wednesday (thanks Gown Delivery Fairy!), and I know it’s at UIC, but I don’t know anything else–when to arrive, where we go, if there will be a half-time, storage for stuff, parking, etc. Anybody know anything? Did I miss an email?

2) Anybody hear anything about when grades are due and whether there will be any training available for new adjuncts?

ReinQuestion?–Vol. 17

ReinQuestion? appears every Thursday and is an open thread for members of the HW and CCC community to post questions about the ongoing Reinvention. Any and all questions are invited, and anyone who knows an answer to any question posted is encouraged to answer it in the threads below.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the big Reinvention Reveal is taking place tomorrow! As in Friday, May 6th. Here’s what the (proposed) agenda looks like, from an email from new FC4 President, Polly Hoover (Wright College):

Hello all,

Here is the proposed agenda for Friday’s meeting. Please note that there is opportunity to discuss the proposals during the poster sessions,in the breakout sessions and after the meeting. There will also be additional meeting(s) for those of you who cannot make this Friday meeting. I am hoping that this is the beginning of better communication between District Office and us.

Proposed Agenda

9:00 AM Opening Remarks (30 minutes):
~ Alvin Bisarya will open with general remarks about the work to date and expectations for the day.

9:30 AM Gallery Walk (120 minutes):
~Each task force will have several poster size displays of data and findings from the work they did this semester.
~Attendees are free to walk around read the posters and ask questions of the team members who will be assembled by their posters.
~ Questions can also be placed on Post-it notes at each task force so that they can be discussed in the breakout sessions.
~Food will be provided during the gallery walk to allow faculty to eat while reviewing the gallery.

11:30 AM Breakout Sessions One (35 minutes):
~ Concurrent sessions for each task force.
~ Attendees will be able to attend a specific task force session of their choice which will go into the findings in greater depth and discuss the questions and comments raised during the gallery walk as well as during the breakout session.

12:05 PM Break (20 minutes):
~ Time for faculty to move between rooms in order to attend a breakout session for a different task force during session two.

12:25 PM Breakout Sessions Two (35 minutes):
~ Concurrent sessions for each task force.
~ Attendees will be able to attend a specific task force session of their choice which will go into the findings in greater depth and discuss the questions and comments raised during the gallery walk as well as during the breakout session.

Post-event Activities
1. We will be issuing a set of notes from the gallery walk and breakout sessions.
2. The gallery walk displays will be set up in the Reinvention Center on the sixth floor of the District Office and will be available for faculty who were unable to attend the gallery walk to come and view with task force members available to discuss.

thanks, polly

At this point it looks like HW will be represented by the eyes, ears, and spectacular brain of HWFC President Rosie Banks and possibly some Chairs. If you are interested in attending (don’t forget–the Union Chapter banquet is also scheduled for Friday; maybe you can make both?), let Rosie know ASAP, and at least one of you can be my proxy (sadly, can’t go to either).

And watch for more info over the weekend. Should be exciting.

ReinQuestion?–Vol. 15

ReinQuestion? appears every Thursday and is an open thread for members of the HW and CCC community to post questions about the ongoing Reinvention. Any and all questions are invited, and anyone who knows an answer to any question posted is encouraged to answer it in the threads below.

Well, after a big flurry of activity last week and some rather positive reports out of our HW Task Force members, there was but one question last week (from our Distinguished Professor of the Stacks, Sherry Ledbetter):

When will the recommendations be posted and will the rest of us have an opportunity to respond or, at least, edit the data collected?

And I don’t even have to send that one out. Rosie told us yesterday at the HWFC meeting that Friday, April 29th is the big reveal to FC Presidents, at least (and I think Chairs, too, but I might be wrong on that). Circle the date on your calendar. I am expecting that we will have some hard news then. I don’t know how open the process will be at that point to revisions and commentary–hopefully there will be some sort of opportunity for discussion and constructive feedback before final approval–but we should have something to talk about before May hits.

Anything else out there?

ReinQuestion?–Vol. 14

ReinQuestion? appears every Thursday and is an open thread for members of the HW and CCC community to post questions about the ongoing Reinvention. Any and all questions are invited, and anyone who knows an answer to any question posted is encouraged to answer it in the threads below.

UPDATE: Two more responses came in on Thursday and Friday. They have been added to the previous three.

Again, last week, it was The Realist who posed three questions. I sent them to our HW reps on the Task Forces and these were the responses that I received back, as of this morning:

1. What is the perceived morale of the Task Force Members? Would they mind completing a poll on The Lounge to provide measurable results?

Theresa Carlton: Some days morale is higher than others.  We are under stress to get things done quickly, and we are working hard to make sure that quality is not overlooked in favor of expediency.  Morale is high when we can all agree on a solution, and begin to move forward with it.  Morale is low when we are roadblocked either within our team, by advisers or by the district leadership.  Morale is low when we are “urged” to take on a task that the task force team has not bought into.  It is always a balancing act, and we have to choose our battles.

I would not mind completing a poll on the Lounge, and I think there would be very few who object.  I just don’t think there are many task force members keeping up with the HL, so I’d be happy to spread the word if you do decide to put up a poll.

Floyd Bednarz: I personally think that morale is very good in general, but it depends on each person’s perception.  Those with a usual dour disposition won’t think that morale is good ANYWHERE!  That said, while we have our frustrations (in our case, it’s getting information and responses from our fellow faculty and staff!), I am on a team (PPR) that is optimistic, works well together and is doing some good work.
The Poll: Over Spring Break, I hope to have the time to complete the poll on the Harold Lounge.  (I am so busy with the work we need to do, that I haven’t had much time to talk with everyone to learn about their decisions going forward.)

Lynnel Kiely: I believe the morale of the REI is quite positive.  This is primarily because of the quality and quantity of work produced by each task force.  It is quite impressive and we all wish that every CCC employee would take a look at our “decks” of information as presented to the Chancellor over the past month.  The working environment of our REI task force teams is collegial, collaborative, highly supportive, open, comfortable and progressive.  It’s a joy to work in such an environment. The process/approach that CCC used in launching the REI task forces is admirable.  They set the stage and we (the players) had the freedom to play our role on stage.  We’ve had a great deal of liberty to determine our direction, our efforts and ultimately decisions for recommendations.  We kept focused on the concept of “evidence based” data and we’ve produced some terrific data that I believe other institutions of higher ed will be interested in seeing.
It’s wonderful to be a part of the “behind the scenes” research. We’ve learned a lot!

Roberta Bole: In my team, which is Student Support & Pathways, we all seem to have high morale and a positive attitude. Our team leader sets the tone and he is very down to earth and  an easy to work with individual. He is an excellent leader and has brought us through a challenging process. I don’t believe that I nor any of my fellow team members would be opposed to answering a poll.

Anonymous Member #1: Based on experience within my task force, morale is high and my team and I are engaged.   We have a great team leader who provides support and resources that make our good experiences become great ones, while also providing the support we need when we face challenges.

2. Will the Task Force members complete their tasks by the end of the semester? Will any of them need additional time?

Theresa Carlton: Our job this semester is to research, come up with recommended solutions and a plan for implementing those solutions.  I can only speak for my task force – we have done tons of research.  We have strong ideas and plans for how to fix the problems we are facing.  Some solutions we can strongly recommend, others, we can only recommend that the next team further pursue whether they would be viable solutions or not.  No task force will have completed their “task”, but the current teams will get as far as they possibly can by May 15th.

Floyd Bednarz: For PPR, I knew that the shear scope of reviewing all programs in a thorough and meaningful way could not be done in a semester by our small team.  So we are focusing on a sub-set, learning as we go how to best find, extract, and distill the information.  We will have reviewed some of the occupational programs and will have recommendations by the end of the semester, but much more will need to be done by subsequent teams in the coming semesters.  What we plan to leave is a good foundation from which to continue the work and minimize duplication… so there will be more work going forward.  Only those who stay on with their original team will continue their current work in the Fall.

Lynnel Kiely: We will all finish sufficiently.  With that said, there’s always more work to do and as we know…when is enough research enough?  Often times, one piece of a lit review leads to another, so there is a small degree of frustration in not having all the time that you need to do a thorough job.  The good news is that every task force has produced impressive data that will result in some very exciting recommendations for cultural renewal.  If you think of “Reinvention” as a dynamic or organic process…it should never stop, but instead, create avenues for continual evaluation and revision.  In that case, our work will never be done!

Roberta Bole: Our team will make some recommendations. I would further admit that this entire process is a work in process, so I don’t feel it would ever be “complete”. Will there be some positive changes? I am optimistic & hopeful that some great things will come from our work; that will ultimately result in student success.

Anonymous Member #1: All the projects we are currently working on are “works in progress” and we are working diligently to meet our deadlines for submission to ensure that the next phase of REI initiates on schedule.

3. Will any Task Force members stay on for the Fall semester to assist with the transition?

Theresa Carlton: Some task force members have been discussing the possibility of staying on for another semester.  I personally think that it makes sense for at least two members to stay on board to help with the continuity of work, and to explain the thought processes behind the recommendations and also what was not put into the recommendations.  No one has made any clear decisions on this yet, as far as I know.

Floyd Bednarz: I know that some current members have applied to stay on for the Fall Semester (we all still have to apply… I don’t think it’s an automatic thing).  Some of us might also want to continue on as Frequent Collaborators (like me) or as Valued Contributors, but these are individual choices made after considering a number of personal factors.  I don’t know of anyone, though, who wants to just stop completely and not be involved with any future Reinvention activities in some way or another.

Lynnel Kiely: Absolutely.  After all the hard work we’ve put into our task force goals, it becomes difficult to “leave it.”  Some of us have that need to see tangible results to our work….I suspect many will make application in the hopes of returning in the fall.

Roberta Bole: Some task members will apply to stay on for Fall and some will be chosen to stay.Continuity is important to our work.

Anonymous Member #1: The application process for new REI members is currently open and we anticipate receiving a great deal of interested applicants; as of now, discussions between project leaders and task force members are underway to determine the level of interest of current members who wish to stay on for the fall semester. However, nothing has been agreed upon or announced at this point in time.

4. Will there be any Task Force activity during the Summer session?

Theresa Carlton:The last I heard, the task force activity over the summer will be minimal.  A few members from each team may stay on to maintain momentum and work on more urgent problems, such as registration or COMPASS test preparation for students.  I don’t think that new team members will be brought on over the summer unless absolutely necessary.

Floyd Bednarz: As far as I understand it, some task force members will stay on through the summer to work on implementing some (many? all?) of the recommendations which will have been made and accepted.  But the actual current “Reinvention” work will take a summer hiatus until the new team’s begin in the Fall Semester.  Then, if all goes as planned and we’ve done a good job of laying the groundwork and documenting our work, the Task Forces will pick up where we left off.

Lynnel Kiely: Yes…I can only speak for my task force (Faculty/Staff Development).  We have created a timeline for our Reinvention recommendations that include summer and several years beyond.  Work has to continue through the summer.  We’ve set specific goals to achieve during May-Sept. and feel confident efforts will be made to accomplish them.

Roberta Bole: My understanding is there will be a very small number of people working on Reinvention over the Summer. I think there will  be two people remaining over the Summer on our team.

Anonymous Member #1: It is my impression that there will be minimal activity over the summer, however, information may be forthcoming about specific details surrounding this topic.

Should any more responses flow in, I’ll add them to the post in an update. In any case, I am very grateful to the respondents and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labors.

Please post any new questions in the comments, and thanks, Realist, for the good questions.