The End of the Summer Session (and so much more)

“It is with a heavy heart that I write you this message today” began the email message from our FC4 President, and Child Development faculty member from Daley College, Jennifer Alexander.

Here’s the rest of her message:

In the interest of time, I will only speak briefly to this matter.

Last Thursday, July 16th, the Presidents of the 6 City Colleges that currently offer Child Development classes (all except Wright) and any faculty who happened to check their email (sent at 6 pm the evening before) participated in a very short conference call with district officers.

In this conference call, we were informed that the Child Development programs at all of the colleges will be closed and are “consolidating” at Truman College for the Fall of 2016.

This notion of “consolidation” completely undermines the mission of a COMMUNITY College.

Further, the conference- call delivery of a top-down decision that significantly impacts faculty and students at 6 colleges, with no faculty having ever been included in the decision-making process, is the OPPOSITE of shared governance.

There is so much more to say about this and so many other issues that have arisen this summer: tuition hikes, registration changes….. If I wrote to you everything I want to say, this email would be 10 pages long and not ready until next week. And so I decided to send out this shorter, quick communication just to make sure you knew this is happening and also how it happened.

More to come, soon. Take heart though: we’re taking action.

Perusing a recent Chronicle summary of “How Great Colleges Distinguish Themselves,” four areas were identified as contributing to collegiate greatness: leadership, communication, alignment, and respect.

I’ll just leave that there.

Adjunct Week?

So, just in case you don’t know, this Wednesday is National Adjunct Walkout Day. This particular movement and the related topic of equity for adjuncts been a topic in the Chronicle lately (as here in a piece encouraging schools to rethink their policy on adjuncts, and here, in a piece encouraging unions to step up) and elsewhere, and it is a HUGE issue for the City Colleges, even if it hardly ever gets discussed (perhaps because the adjuncts are so busy working other jobs to earn rent and food money that they can’t be around at meetings and State of the College addresses to voice their concerns.

In my days as an adjunct, I surely could not have afforded to walk out–every dollar counted, though there certainly weren’t many of them in my paycheck (amazingly, 15 years later there aren’t many more!)–and, to be honest, I’m more than a little ambivalent about this particular approach given their vulnerability (financial and professional) and the trickiness of the situation–I want them to have a (much) better contract, but better would be more full time jobs; it’s a small needle eye to thread). A colleague asked if I had any ideas for how we could support our adjuncts, this week and generally, and I didn’t have any answers. Wearing red is one option, I suppose, but it isn’t much of one, I’d say. I’d love to hear any other ideas that are out there.

I also hope that, given that it’s budget time over at the District Office, there will be some discussion of the City Colleges policy toward adjuncts and perhaps some bold, or at least interesting moves toward improving the working conditions for adjuncts, given that their working conditions ARE many (most?) of our students’ learning conditions. $1600 (or even $2000) a class is one thing if the person is teaching an extra class on the side while working professionally (the original model for adjunct faculty), and another thing altogether when the person is teaching a 4/4 load without benefits (next to colleagues teaching the same number of students or 20% more for six times the remuneration. It seems to me that if outcomes matter that we could expect more effects from stabilizing (or at least not aggravating) the economic lives of half of our faculty than we can from new phones, new furniture, new lobby gates, and the rest.

Adjuncts deserve some joy, too.

Film by HWC Faculty Opens Tonight!

You’re too late to get tickets for the first show, though; it’s sold out.

Critical Nexus, recipient of at least one four star review, opens its week-long run in Chicago at the New 400 Theater in Rogers Park and Harper Theater in Hyde Park.

It was written by a faculty member of our college who wants to remain nameless in order “to keep his creative and work lives separate.”

Here is the official trailer:

In case you missed it…HWC Faculty Technology Training Committee (FTTC)

HWC Faculty,

Technology is playing an ever more increasing role at the college.  And it is important that appropriate training procedures be instituted.  To help plan this it is imperative to know:

-What educational technology tools are you currently using?
-What would you like to see adopted?
-What do you want to learn about?
-What kind of training would you like to see initiated?
-How would you like to see the training delivered?
-What other ideas or recommendations do you have?
Your input is essential. Please click on the Educational Technology Survey link below and complete the survey.


Thank you,

Also, if you’re in the survey mood, CAST has a really (≤3 minutes)  quick one too.  The link is below, just in case.

New Faculty Achievement Page

Biology Faculty member Farah Movahedzadeh offered the first great suggestion of this academic year for the Lounge, namely a page dedicated to faculty achievements and successes. Did you get an article published? Have you been awarded a grant? Did you earn a new degree? Was your conference presentation accepted? Were you invited to speak someplace?

If your answer is yes, then send me the news so I can post it on the “Honor Roll” page.

h/t to Farah for the idea!

Friday Spotlight: Matt Shevitz

Friday Spotlight will be a regular feature in which we highlight a member  of our HWC faculty, staff, or admin through a Q&A session. After responding, our member then has to “tag” another member of our community in order to keep the spotlight feature active. Check your CCC mailbox. You may be next!

This week we are placing Matt Shevitz in the spotlight.
[Insert applause and cheering here – raaaaaaah!]
He’s a cool cat from the Humanities Department who has assisted with the growth and success of our Music program.

Q: Tell us, how you arrived at HWC?
A: I’ll give you the shortened version of the story. I first came to HWC as an adjunct in the fall of 2002. The following summer I interviewed for a full-time position which initially went to my late colleague, Isabelle Bélance. Luckily, they found enough money to hire two music people, so we got to build the program together.

Q: What are your educational goals?
A: My two main goals are (for now) to;
-find more opportunities for the Jazz/Pop Ensemble to perform so they can get as much experience as possible
-ensure that my students are getting an informative, enlightening, and practical education

Q: What do you enjoy doing when you are not teaching?
A: I enjoy being with my family when I am not teaching and playing gigs.

Q: If there is ONE book/movie/song that everyone should read/watch/listen, what is it and why?
A: Deciding on one song is too difficult for me. I guess if I have to choose I’d say that everyone should listen to a song that is in a style they would say they don’t normally like, and find something to enjoy. As I tell my students, practice saying “I like all styles of music, just not all artists”. There’s something in every style for everyone.

Q: If caught sleeping on the job, what’s a good excuse to give the boss?
A: If caught sleeping on the job, just tell the boss that you’re exhausted because you up late the night before working.

Q: In order for the spotlight to stay on, you need to tag a member of HWC. Anyone with a valid CCC email acount is game. Who you gonna’ tag?
A: I’m going to tag Rodney Grisanti.

Thank you Matt!

If you’ve got any more questions for Matt, leave a reply. If you want to learn more about the Music program, click here.
Alright Rodney, I ain’t gonna’ say your next, but do check your email soon…