DWFDW Debrief

Day one is in the books, and day two is ongoing, and I am, more than anything else, still really, really grateful that District Wide Faculty Development Week (DWFDW) isn’t five days anymore! Remember how awful that was? Still gives me the shudders.

But, here we are. So, did you learn anything? See anything great? Carry out any unanswered questions in your pocket?

Got anything to say?

(I thought the opening set of speeches and what-not to be lovely, if not exactly inspiring; there was food; I thought it was cool that they used an android to give the “Business Analytics” presentation (kidding, kidding…stole that joke), and went to the TAP strand presentation on the new classroom visitation rubric at which I was really happy to see Jewel Younge who is one of my favorite people in the world. As for the rubric, I hope I’m wrong about its usability. Regardless, I’m excited to see how the new tenure process will work. It can’t be worse.)

Have at it.

DWFDW Day One (and Two) Debrief

UPDATE: Day two is in the books–disciplinary meetings and breakouts. I went to the one on Data Analytics by Charles Ansell and Kate Connor, which was pretty exciting (more on that as it develops). Anything else great out there from Day Two?

Better question: who has a great story from the Discipline Meetings? Bonus points for direct quotes (unattributed please–what happens in the Math meeting stays in the math meeting except for second hand reports with redaction)?

So, what did you think? Certainly better than it’s been in the past, no?

Personally, I really liked Alvin’s presentation (somewhere, sometime, I think I said that I thought there was probably a strong argument to be made for Reinvention, and I think today’s presentation is what I was looking for then –kudos, Alvin; and I’m not just saying that as payback for the shout-0ut, though it was appreciated).

After that, I went to the Mathways presentation and got some interesting suggestions for “beautiful” studies on learning that I’m excited about. Overall, I’d say, good day. On the negative side, I didn’t like the white bread and LACK OF COFFEE AFTER 9am–that gym was sleepy. Still, credit for improvements and responsiveness to feedback.

What did you think? What did you see?

Next Up!

Next up! is a regular feature on Sundays, showcasing HWC (and beyond) events in the coming week. Use the “Comments” section to provide updates and additions!

As hard as it may be to believe, the wheel of time has made its way around again to point to Fall and the beginning of the school year. Welcome back! Like every new school year, some things remain the same, including the inevitable changes–some subtle, some not, in you them, everything around us. “All things pass and nothing stays the same.

Monday, 8/6: DWFDW @ Malcolm X, 9am-3pm (Mandatory, unless it isn’t);

Tuesday, 8/7: DWFDW @ Malcolm X, 9am-3pm (Mandatory? Optional? Recommended? Our new VP’s letter says “Faculty are required to report on August 6th,” which is a little ambiguous regarding our reporting obligations for the rest of the week. Anybody know the story?);

Wednesday, 8/8: HWFDW @ Harold, 9am-3pm (Sponsored by CAST);

Thursday, 8/9: HWFDW @ Harold, 9am-3pm (Sponsored by CAST);

Friday, 8/10: HWFDW @ Harold, 9am-3pm (Sponsored by CAST);

Saturday, 8/11: Business as usual as far as I know.

(One last question…last year we were required to attend five sessions of local FDW to fulfill our PD obligations. This year, I’ve seen no guidance on requirements, except the implied mandatoriness of it all and the Union letter. Anybody hear anything on this topic?)

Tuesday Teaching Talk (TTT)

Tuesday Teaching Talk is a regular feature which, as the name implies, is an opportunity to talk explicitly about teaching (and learning) in the practical and philosophical sense that happens on, you guessed it, Tuesday. Hold on to your hats.  The CAST coordinators (yes there are 2 of us) are tasked with supplying TTTs to you.  Look for questions, videos, tips, etc.  Enjoy!

I’m off for the summer with my grades all turned in as of this morning.  TTT slipped my mind.

Are your grades done?

Are you like me and planning to do a cost/benefit analysis of your teaching this past semester?

Would you be interested in creating course sites across the district?  I was toying with the idea of doing this for the courses I teach often.  The site would serve as a storehouse for the activities/handouts/lessons I use (and invariably recreate until I realize that I’ve already made them previously).  Just a thought…

See you at (DW)FDW!  Look out for info on the local portion of FDW which is hopefully not right around the corner, the Wed-Fri of Faculty Development Week, Aug. 8-10.

DWFDW3: Call for Proposals

Our Veep passed an email along today for posting that you might find interesting:


Get ready for the annual Faculty Development Week.  It promises to be an enlightening and engaging event and will get us ready for the new academic year. 
This year we will host a 2-day event scheduled for August 6th and 7th at Malcolm X College (1900 W. Van Buren).  Times and logistics will be finalized and confirmed shortly.  Attendance is mandatory for all full time faculty members.
Day One (August 6th): 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. Faculty Development Week begins with addresses from administrative leadership and a keynote speaker, followed by a breakout session.
Day Two (August 7th): 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. The second day of Faculty Development Week will be comprised of a series of concurrent breakout sessions, and opportunities for faculty to meet as disciplines.
Theme:  This year, Faculty Development Week will be themed around the ‘Talents of Teaching’ with these areas highlighted:
1.     Teaching and Learning:  Developing and using highly effective teaching strategies that meet students’ diverse needs and that promote the acquisition and application of knowledge, and the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
2.     Measuring Learning: Assessing learning using multiple techniques (formative/summative, informal/formal), providing students with meaningful feedback on their learning progress, and designing activities to help students refine their abilities to self-assess.
3.     Student Support: Employing approaches that account for how learning is affected by students’ motivations, attitudes, perceptions and values as well as helping students overcome obstacles to learning by encouraging informed academic decisions and connecting students to appropriate campus resources and support services.
Call for Submissions:  This is where we need you to get involved. Academic Affairs is calling for submissions for general sessions during faculty development week.  All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit a session by filling out the following form:  
Submissions will be reviewed, accepted, and scheduled by a committee of faculty and administrators in early May. 
Deadline for session descriptions: 5:00 PM, Saturday May 5th
As always, we look forward to the start of another academic year together.  If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
Mike Davis
Mike Davis
City Colleges of Chicago
Associate Vice Chancellor for STEM
Phone: 312-553-2773

HWFDW Schedule

Hi all,

Here is the schedule for our upcoming local portion of Faculty Development Week.  I’ve worked hard to put this together this summer.  I hope you all enjoy it.  Many thanks to those of you who are presenting.  This wouldn’t exist without you.  Thanks to V.P. Metoyer, Dean Bickford, Aretha Hall, Jo Anne Mason and of course Pres. Laackman for the 11th floor support and coordination. Also, thanks to Yev, Chao and Carrie (the officers of CAST) for everything.

Check your e-mail later as well for a few more details.

Faculty Development Week 2011

Have you checked your e-mail in the past minute and a half?  If not, you missed this from hwc_CAST.

Hello all.  I have some very important news.

There is a very good chance that we will have 3 days of local Faculty Development here at HWC this summer and 2 days district-wide .  I received this information from a high authority, but I must warn you that it is not 100% set in stone.  Nonetheless, we need to be prepared.  CAST is charged with planning this event and did so up until last year’s little surprise.

Please follow the link below to fill out the brief survey about the programming for FDW.  Assuming that this does occur, we’ll need to move fast.  My goal is to have things in place, at least tentatively, before the end of the semester.  Yes, this is extremely ambitious, but I am confident that we can make it happen.


Thanks again.

Chris Sabino
CAST coordinator

HWFC PD Survey–Please Do It!

On Thursday, I walked around the campus stuffing faculty mail boxes with a paper survey (in the hopes of maximizing response) about Professional Development regarding past experiences, local and district-wide, and future desires. The original impetus for this survey was to gather some initial info to give to the Reinvention task force folks coming to visit on Tuesday (@3:30 in room 103–all are welcome and invited!). Since those initial discussions, though, we’ve heard from various and knowledgeable sources that gears are in motion over at 226 W. Jackson to begin planning for another District Wide Faculty Development Week (a.k.a., DWFDWII).

I guess the good news is that they’re starting earlier this time. Whether it is bad news or not that they are planning another entire week of “festivities” is kind of undetermined. Locally, CAST did a survey about faculty experiences and satisfaction, that wasn’t too glowing, but drew a smallish response (around 25% of FT faculty). We have heard that the PD Task Force has requested the feedback that the district collected at the DWFDW last August, but hasn’t, as yet, been provided with it. And that leaves our little survey.

I’m going to go around on Tuesday, around noon, and collect the ones that are in the envelope by then, but I’ll make a final collection on Thursday afternoon at 4pm. So, if you can, please dig that survey out of your mailbox and finish it by noon on Tuesday. It will take you about 30 seconds to complete it. Fill it out and stuff it in the envelope. If you just can’t do it by then, please fill it out as soon as you can, and stuff it in the envelope. Bonus points to you if you can ask around and encourage your colleagues to do theirs as well.

We, speaking for HW Faculty Council, cannot advocate for your desires if we don’t know what they are. Please give us the info we need to make the case for what y’all want. Thanks, in advance.

New Contest

So the contests have pretty much been a bust so far. The March Madness bracket only drew four players and was won by me because I had one final four team and the other three players had none. Lame. The World Cup bracket was no better–four players and Dave won; again because no one else had any teams in the finals. Lame.

Our “When Will Registration Close for New Students Prediction Contest drew more than four players (hooray), but we all lost since, to my knowledge, the college was still registering students through Friday (leading me to wonder how we could have crazy high enrollment AND a rash of canceled classes, but I digress). Still we had nine guesses:

Carrie, Tues@3:02; Usually Confused, T@ 4:03; ITejeda, Wed @ 11; Philodave, Wed @3:42; TyrannosaurusX, Wed @4; Kamran, Th@11; HelloKitty, Fri @10:42; Mathissexy, Fri @1;  Realist, DNG. So I don’t really know who won. I guess maybe Mathissexy? I’ll leave this one to the Peanut Gallery.

Today’s contest is GUESS WHEN THE DWFDW SURVEY WILL BE SENT OUT TO FACULTY. It was just two weeks ago yesterday that our Provost announced that faculty would “soon receive a survey” about their experiences at DWFDW. Still waiting. Patiently. When do you think it will come? Make your prediction here…

Bonus Critical Thinking Question: What can we justifiably infer about the feedback they got on the evaluation forms if we don’t receive a survey?

DWFDW Poll and DeBrief/Suggestion List

Sorry about the delay, everyone. This was supposed to be a Think, Know, Prove post for Saturday, but I went straight to the woods on Friday afternoon, and never had a chance to get it up. Plus, I think I needed the weekend to get some perspective on the week’s events. There were a number of observations made this week in the comments and the posts, but not too much in the way of suggestions. Now, if I start talking about those evaluation forms we were given, I think it might go a little like this:

So, instead, I thought maybe we (HWFC) could just run a little informal poll here and ask for a list of suggestions that we can pass along. The poll and suggestion list will be up all week, but will close on Friday at 5pm.

Suggestion #1: More coffee; less fried chicken in boxes.

The Mayor Weighs In on Remediation…

Here or here.

Notice the slight step back after the follow up question; could it possibly be that he didn’t expect or realize that the suggestion that CCC enrollees are not prepared for college would necessarily be a criticism of the effectiveness of Chicago Public Schools? I mean it seems like a ridiculous point to bring up at a presser lauding the number of CPS students in college. Then again, I’m not a Politician.

Check out, too, the comments on the Sun-Times version (the first one), in particular; clearly some CCC faculty there. Angry ones, no less.

“make lemons out of [DWFDW] lemonade”

Yes, to borrow the innocent, yet powerful, quote from PhiloDave’s daughter, I’d like to create this open post and keep it running all week in some way or another to focus on POSITIVE outcomes from Faculty Development Week. (OK, you can list concerns too.)

With Day 1 Day 2 underway, what will you or what have you done with your lemons?

Thanks for the input everyone! Here we go with Day 3 4 the last day of events! It will be short. Possibly sweet?
Last chance to leave a comment before the post leaves the main page. (Thanks for keeping it at the top Dave!)

Small hint to the timid and shy: You don’t need to leave an email in order to comment. Just a name. Silly, outrageous, and creative appears to be the fad.

Next Up!

Next up! is a regular feature on Sundays, showcasing HWC (and beyond) events in the coming week. Use the “Comments” section to provide updates and additions!


Monday, August 9
Report to Harold Washington College at 9:30 am.
~9:30-9:45- Sign-in
~9:45-10:15- President’s Welcome/College Updates/Collective Mourning
~10:15-10:30- HWC Legal Clinic Information Session- Carolyn Shoenberger, Business Department
~10:30-10:45- HWC Wellness Center Information session- Michael Russell, Wellness Center
~10:45- NOON- Working Sessions: Starfish Training with Ephrem Rabin, Registration Refresher Courses with Ellen Goldberg, Semester Prep Time

Tuesday through Friday, @ Malcolm X (here’s the link to the schedule or print out your own program!).


Where are we then after all this?

1) Undeniably closer to a mandatory five-day District Wide Faculty Development Week (DWFDW). As you probably saw, Dean Metoyer sent out an email this week announcing, as a courtesy to faculty for planning purposes, that (still tentative) plans are moving ahead at district for a week of all day activities running August 9th through the 13th, which it seems will not count toward the thirty hours of registration. I am 99% sure they will be limited to six hours per day by the contract (we work 30 hour weeks by the contract (insert snort here) and there is a clause that says faculty cannot be assigned to more than 6 hours per day of registration duties (I presume this also applies to non-registration duties during the registration period, but I’m not completely sure about that)).

2) HW faculty have been pretty clear about their feelings on this development. Our poll about DWFDW got 43 votes (out of the 114 of so full time faculty). 37 (86%) thought it was a bad idea for 2010 (for various reasons), and 4 more (9%) were unsure. Only two (5%) were in favor of it for Fall 2010. That’s pretty solid response and resistance to the idea of a DWFDW in the fall.

The resistance, it should be noted, is NOT to the idea of faculty development in general—in fact there is very strong support for local faculty development, likely attributable to the great work of our CAST committee over the last five years or so, under the leadership of Art DiVito, Jen Armendarez, Janvier Jones and Chris Sabino, and faculty awareness of the literature on effective professional development for educators (like this, “Professional development should be job-embedded and site specific.” And this, “The all-to-common failure to involve teachers in the planning and delivery of professional development undermines its legitimacy and efficacy.” (For more on research related to educational professional development check out this or this or this or this as starting points. If you have more, post them in the comments!)).

Most of the objections in the comments seem to revolve around the way this was done (i.e., the general impression is that, with little advance thought or consideration, existing plans have been chucked in favor of an ill defined “program” of “training” that faculty will have little input into given the timing of the planning) rather than to the idea itself (e.g., here).  I read the majority of the comments to suggest that HW faculty recognize the value—even necessity—of some District Wide conversation and collaboration, but decry the fact that it comes at the expense of (equally or more urgent) local conversation and collaboration.  See, for example: here or here.

The votes, on the other hand, suggest a different story. 63% of those voting (27 out of 43) say that FDW should be local only. That’s a significant plurality that should not be ignored (as a young philosopher rightly points out here), even if that position is not as clearly advocated in the comments.

(It should be noted that for this “analysis” I am assuming that all of the voters were full time faculty since A) adjuncts are relatively unaffected by this*; B) traffic to the blog had dribbled down to a handful of visitors a day during finals week (when the post went up); and C) the email announcing the post went out to full time faculty only. There may be an adjunct or two in there, but I doubt it. In any case, the point is that there is significant and widespread opposition to a DWFDW in Fall 2010. Not a huge surprise in itself, but it’s nice to have a solid sense of things outside of our subjective guesses. Big thanks to the faculty who shared their thoughts on the matter. (*There is likely to be some effect on adjuncts though. I’ve known some who went to and enjoyed Faculty Development Week at HW. It seems that the DWFDW will not include adjuncts (if the first meetings minutes are any indication), effectively cutting out a rare PD opportunity for them. I wonder what, if anything, they will have to say about it?))

3) What the faculty wants to happen in light of the reality of the situation—the somewhat delicate politics of a new chancellor’s first initiative and the scattering of burnt out faculty for the summer vacation—is somewhat less clear. There were half as many votes (21) for the “action” poll, though most of those who voted (17—81%) advocated for sending a letter of objection to someone (one of those was in the “Other” category but was explained in the comments as being a vote for the letter with an emphasis on cordiality).

As that discussion developed, Sabino got an email from Metoyer on May 19th saying DWFDW looked “like a done deal,” which launched a round of FC discussion, including the expression of hesitance from two members whose doubts/ideas included wanting to avoid creating the impression of a “judgmental and difficult” faculty, questions about who should be the signatory of the letter (FC, the HW Faculty, the heads of committees and groups, the union, other Faculty Councils, FC4 etc.), and whether we should re-discuss with faculty in light of the different circumstances (a seeming certainty rather than probable possibility).

As of May 20th, three members were on record as being in favor of sending the letter, with one suggesting that it should go to VC Henderson. Two members did not weigh in, but followed along. One member was opposed to sending the letter (unless it came from HW faculty, but even then generally opposed), and one member was in favor of circulating the letter informally among HW administration, and other groups such as the Union, etc., to build “a base of resistance” and consensus for addressing future situations of this sort.  Later that same day, after more discussion, the latter agreed to sending the letter, though not without lingering hesitance, and with the suggestions that we 1) let John (Wozniak) know what we are doing; 2) inform the other FCs and invite them to join; and 3) develop a position statement on PD.

That same day, Loos reached out to Eason-Montgomery to find out where FC4 is on the whole thing, and her response suggested that, though aware of the proposal, FC4 Executive Committee did not have plans to address it until after the fact. They definitely did not address it at their last meeting (which was not attended by most of the mighty powers due to a conflicting budget meeting; Cecilia was there, but encouraged by the FC4EC to go to the budget meeting instead.). “[W]e are aware of the FDW plans (but don’t know the details). We will resume the discussion when the District Faculty Council resumes session in the Fall,” she wrote.

So, with four of seven HW Council members agreeing to a theoretical version of the letter, I expect one to go out from HWFC (at least the supporting members) to someone (TBD) this week or early next week at the latest, and I am guessing that we’ll honor the suggestions of our colleague to circulate the letter to HW administrators (who likely already know of its existence, but it’s an important courtesy) and other FCs. I will post a copy of the letter here once it is drafted and signed, so you’ll know what we said.

Like others, I don’t expect the recipients of the letter to read it and suddenly see the clear light of reason illuminating the error of their ways causing them to suddenly revise the plans they are so busily engaged in crafting. Instead, I hope it is one piece of the ongoing, committed effort  of all faculty to make sure that we do all we can to prevent what is bad in bad ideas while being part of the solution to the real and numerous professional problems and challenges we face, remembering all along that we face most of these challenges shoulder to shoulder with our administration. Like many of those in the comments have said (Realist, Alchemist, et. al.), I think it’s important for all of us to remember that we are not at war with anyone, and the vast majority of our administrators want the same things we do and are motivated by ideas not entirely at odds with our own (which I write as if I can speak of the faculty as a monolithic whole–itself a dangerous idea).

Some of you may remember the great email war of April 2007  that I waged with Art DiVito and Mike Ruggeri about over The Academic Freedom Newsletter and their preemptive criticism of those (admittedly, mostly awful) Faculty Development Seminars. As awful as some of them were (I got to watch a PowerPoint presentation on “Active Learning” in the one I went to—I never get tired of telling people that), I was reminded as this debate went on of a point I made then, made again by Kamran Swanson in the comments—that we should not turn our backs on opportunities to learn, since that position undercuts the very point of what we’re committed to, professionally speaking and should instead get involved to make them better. This situation is different in a lot of ways than that one (primarily that those seminars did not replace any local, better endeavors), but similar enough to raise some of the same considerations. I’ve also been somewhat persuaded by the arguments of those who say we would all benefit from a little more cross institutional time, especially at the discipline (or at least department) levels and broader awareness of the strengths and challenges of the other schools in the system. In any case, there are a lot of questions in play here, and I think it’s important that we keep thinking about how to carefully untangle them so we answer all of them to the best of our ability.

I guess my point is that where this goes from here—after the initial discussion and flurry and the letter and the like—is up to you, the person reading this, and I encourage you to think about your own ideas regarding Faculty Development and what it ought to look like. I encourage you to express your personal dissatisfaction (by letter or email or whatever), if you have any, to our administrators, as well as district (actually, I think now that maybe we should have encouraged that from the start even as we worked to develop a more formal response. So it goes) and attend the planning meetings to try, at least, to mould the offerings in a better direction than they might otherwise take. If nothing else, do what you can to make sure that our one day at HW (likely, Monday August 9th) is a valuable, impactful one.

Or, if you’d like, express your support for the idea. Volunteer to present or at least attend the planning meetings or  start thinking about how to approach (and win over) those of us who will be resistant to the idea.

And all of you should think about how we might be able to use this situation (all angles of it from start to finish) as a learning experience. Some of your colleagues have already started making such suggestions as here and here and here and here. Sign up, speak up, or act up—your choice. Just don’t drop it here, at least not completely. My final request is that you keep the rest of us informed about what you’re doing or planning so we can help, argue, or stay out of the way.

I’ll have another update in the next few weeks as things develop. In the meantime, let’s keep talking and thinking about it…

A Letter about DWFDW

So far 28/33=85% agree that DWFDW should not occur Fall 2010.  3/33=9% are  on the fence about it or are on the fence.  There’s been a lot of traffic to yesterday’s post about the district proposal for DWFDW.  I know PhiloDave was going to post something tomorrow about what we’re going to do next, but I’m going to jump the gun slightly.

First of all, if you haven’t voted in the poll, please do so and check out some of the replies/reply to the post. The more input we have, the better.

In terms of moving forward, Theresa Carlton, Math faculty, has drafted a letter for Chancellor Hyman and V.C Henderson.  If we decide to express our concern in written form, this is definitely a good start.  Here’s the link to the letter in Google docs (my new best friend).  If you’d like to add to this letter, please reply to this post and I can give you access (I’d just need your e-mail address).  I thought this would be better than giving access to anyone with the link in case we have other visitors to the site.

This letter came as a result of conversations that Theresa and I have had over the past day, though she’s the author and deserves the credit for it.  Is there anything we should add (other than a conclusion)?  Is the tone suitable?  If we send it, when should we?  Who should sign it?  (Theresa? FC? CAST? HWC faculty?, etc.)  Do we want faculty from across the district involved in expressing our concerns to district?  Should we act or wait to see what happens since nothing is set in stone with respect to DWFDW?