Reminder: Vote for FC4 Reps

Voting is happening right now in your department office for the two candidates running to represent Harold Washington College at Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago (i.e., FC4).

Just in case you read this but not emails, here are the bios of the candidates, as presented in the HWFC email you received from HWFC President Jess Bader:

Hello Faculty,

We are excited to present the two candidates who have been nominated for the district level Faculty Council (FC4). Check out their bios, and be sure to vote next week. The polls will be open from Monday through Friday September 28th – October 2nd.

 

Phillip Vargas

My name is Phillip Vargas, and I am an Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences. I teach both general education courses and program level physics courses. I have been teaching at HWC since Fall 2010, and believe I have worked on many projects that have positively contributed to the college. What I have enjoyed most in working on these projects has been meeting and collaborating with other dedicated faculty members. After serving as a substitute FC4 representative for the last few months I believe my voice on FC4 can help to improve the dialogue between the colleges and with district office. If elected, I would be honored to represent HWC in this capacity.

 

Jennifer Meresman

I’ve always been passionate about public education and feel very lucky to be a full-time faculty member at the Harold Washington. I first formally studied public education as an American institution when I wrote my undergrad thesis on public schools as a site for teaching civic engagement in order to strengthen democracy. This theoretical study led me to want hands-on experience teaching in a public school, so I then taught special education middle school math in Oakland, CA for three years. Although I immediately found that I loved working with students, I realized a middle school was not the right place for me, so I got a Master’s degree with the explicit goal of teaching at the community college level. After completing a Master’s in Humanities at the University of Chicago, I got a full-time position in the English Department at Harold Washington in 2006.

In 2011 I joined Reinvention, and I focused my time there on the redesign of the tenure process. I was passionate about this project because I see tenure as both an incredible opportunity and responsibility that both enables and obligates faculty to participate in shared governance, directing the course of public education. Through the two-year redesign, I got an opportunity to work with both administrators and faculty across the seven colleges, and became committed to strengthening relationships between all of these parties, ensuring that we are working together towards a shared mission.

Faculty Council Corner

Faculty Council Corner is a regular Thursday morning-ish feature (that sometimes shows up later) , presenting an open thread for you to bother your HWFC members with pressing questions (or for us to post the pressing questions that you have). Also, you can expect this to be the forum where we post regular updates about what is happening with Faculty Council and when.

This Week’s Updates: Nothing much new this week. We are, however, semi-desperate to find some faculty who are willing to serve on the District Wide Faculty Council (FC4). They meet on the last Wednesday of every month at 3pm (I think), usually at Malcolm X, and HW is supposed to have three elected members and one appointed by HWFC. As of right now, one of our elected members (unfortunately for us, but due to good things for her) had to resign and has been replaced by appointee (and awesome person) Jess Bader. Another of our elected members is on Sabbatical this spring and still needs a substitute for the rest of the semester. A third of our elected members notified us this week that she won’t be able to continue serving on FC4, given her duties with Reinvention and so also needs to be replaced. Rosie is our HWFC appointee.

In other words, we have two of four possible votes on the District wide council accounted for and two that need appointing. Any and all interested parties are encouraged to contact one of your HWFC reps. Appointees must be full time faculty but need not be tenured. Let us know if you’re interested.

Last “Week’s” Pressing Questions: Nary a one. Nothing, that is, except for what the Mayor’s speech means for our colleges. I guess that one counts. Nothing else, though.

For Reference: FC4 Resolution on Academic Freedom

REPOSTED from April 7, 2011:

There was discussion about this resolution and its contents at both the Humanities Discipline meeting and yesterday’s Local FC meeting; to make it easier to find for everyone, I’ve just reposted the original announcement here:

Speaking of Academic Freedom, your District Wide Faculty Council Executive Committee (expanded at the last FC4 meeting to include–along with the FC4 President, Vice President, Secretary and Committee A Chair–the seven local FC Presidents) met with the administration yesterday to present them with a request to enact by board rule a resolution about academic freedom, to demonstrate in action the kind of support for academic freedom that the Chancellor suggested in words at her last meeting with the Executive Committee, and to which the Chair of the Board did not object.

The resolution was originally drafted and adapted from the AAUP statement(s) on academic freedom, and then reworked over the course of an hour’s discussion by the District Wide Faculty Council, shepherded expertly by Truman FC President Joy Walker and a few others whose names I didn’t record (alas!–sorry!!). It reads as follows:

The College curriculum, including entrance and exit tests, text book and instructional resources, student grading, the content of syllabi for credit courses, developmental courses and library instruction, departmental polices and all modes of course content and delivery, is the responsibility of the faculty. The faculty must give approval to all academic policies prior to their implementation.

The faculty pledge in good faith to work with the administration, and with colleagues across the district, on academic policies under the agreement that individual faculty members and departments have the final say on all of the aforementioned curricular decisions.

The resolution was presented to the Board this morning, in the hopes that they agree to concretize in Board Rule the stated beliefs of the Chancellor and Board Chair. I will have updates on any action taken when any action is taken on it.

FC4 Elections

Just in case you missed it, the FC4 Election results came in on the Friday before break. From HWFC President Rosie Banks’ email:

Thank you for your participation in our election of HWC representatives to FC4!  With 62% of the Full-Time Faculty participating, the vote total is:

Tom Higgins – 50

Ellen Eason-Montgomery – 48

Kennette Crockett – 27

Congratulations to Tom and Ellen!  According to the FC4 Constitution, they will serve two year terms, alongside Theresa Carlton.   Their terms will begin in September, 2011.

And thanks to our outgoing FC4 Representative, Nicole Smith (Business) for her two years of service.

FC4 Resolution on Academic Freedom

Speaking of Academic Freedom, your District Wide Faculty Council Executive Committee (expanded at the last FC4 meeting to include–along with the FC4 President, Vice President, Secretary and Committee A Chair–the seven local FC Presidents) met with the administration yesterday to present them with a request to enact by board rule a resolution about academic freedom, to demonstrate in action the kind of support for academic freedom that the Chancellor suggested in words at her last meeting with the Executive Committee, and to which the Chair of the Board did not object.

The resolution was originally drafted and adapted from the AAUP statement(s) on academic freedom, and then reworked over the course of an hour’s discussion by the District Wide Faculty Council, shepherded expertly by Truman FC President Joy Walker and a few others whose names I didn’t record (alas!–sorry!!). It reads as follows:

The College curriculum, including entrance and exit tests, text book and instructional resources, student grading, the content of syllabi for credit courses, developmental courses and library instruction, departmental polices and all modes of course content and delivery, is the responsibility of the faculty. The faculty must give approval to all academic policies prior to their implementation.

The faculty pledge in good faith to work with the administration, and with colleagues across the district, on academic policies under the agreement that individual faculty members and departments have the final say on all of the aforementioned curricular decisions.

The resolution was presented to the Board this morning, in the hopes that they agree to concretize in Board Rule the stated beliefs of the Chancellor and Board Chair. I will have updates on any action taken when any action is taken on it.

Notes from Yesterday’s FC4 Meeting

As you might have gathered from Jay Levine’s report and the correction in the first comment, the March FC4 meeting took place yesterday at Malcolm X. Ellen (obviously), Rosie, Nicole Smith, and I were there representing HW.

There were four primary orders of business and one ’emergency topic’: 1) a discussion and proposal about how to build on the positive aspects of last week’s discussion among the FC4 Executive Committee, the local FC Presidents, and the district administrators and continue such discussions into the future; 2) the ’emergency’ topic of what, if anything, to say to Jay Levine, who was hoping to get statements from faculty as a follow up to his story on Tuesday night;  3)  a pair of Physics classes up for approval; 4) discussion about and creation of a resolution that Ellen will formally present to the Chancellor and the Board asking them to affirm by Board Rule what Chancellor Hyman claimed explicitly and emphatically, multiple times, according to those present–namely, her support for academic freedom and faculty control over curriculum and teaching issues; and 5) a follow up discussion to the emergency meeting and subsequent faculty surveys and confidence straw poll.

The first issue was resolved by the drafting and passing of a resolution “extending the Executive Committee of FC4 to include the Presidents (or their designee)” and the recommendation that the Presidents meet regularly, including over the summer, with Task Force Reinvention teams and the district administration (at the regular Executive Committee meetings).

Amid that conversation was discussion of whether and how to respond to Mr. Levine’s request for some sort of statement. After relatively brief discussion, consensus favored a member going out and saying something along the lines of, “We’re working on an official response, and when we have it we will share it, first, with our administration, and then with the media. Now is not our time to respond.”

The two courses were passed.

After a long and winding discussion, punctuated by important debates and a few wanderings, and many useful suggestions and edits, a resolution was adopted. I don’t have the final version (or, rather, I don’t trust that the version I wrote down is the actual, final version), so I won’t provide it here. When it is available from Julius Nadas (FC4 Secretary), I will post it here.

Discussion then turned to college by college reports of the survey and confidence straw poll. Faculty participation differed from campus to campus, from 70 at Wright (out of 120) to 50 at Truman to 28 at Kennedy King to 19 (or so) at Harold, etc. Concerns of faculty ran the gamut of the options listed at the meeting (including centralization, non-transparency, surveillance, district hiring, and most of the rest of the list compiled at the meeting). Very low levels of confidence were reported from the faculty at the various campuses who participated. 27 out of 28 at Kennedy King, 50 out of 50 at Truman, and 69 out of 70 at Wright said they did not have confidence in the current administrative team. It’s important to remember that this was not an official no-confidence vote, but the tally does not bode well for the confidence of the crew regarding the direction of the ship.

Suffice to say, the next board meeting and the intervening weeks should be rather interesting for a whole variety of reasons…