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?

State of the College Reviews

UPDATE–BUMPED UP FOR MORE VOTING: I’m totally surprised by the votes for “Travesty” (though overall it’s still running almost 2 to 1 positive)…still, I’m left to wonder what other people saw that I didn’t…what’s the complaint?

(And sorry, Don–I am totally unable to say with any sort of confidence what meaning I had in my head when I typed it. I’m inclined to say something like “a mockery” or “a perversion” (both synonyms in Webster’s (‘merican dictionary), but I’m suspicious that maybe that idea is a function of (or at least was influenced by) your interesting research. Hindsight bias seems likely here, so I’ll have to say I don’t know and leave it a great unsolved mystery.)

What did you think?

Safety and Security: Feedback Needed!

As mentioned in Ivan’s posting of Michal’s notes from the Chair’s meeting (h/t’s to both of you for those), there is some potential for significant changes to the HWC Lobby, and the time to get your voice heard is right NOW.

President Don Laackman asked for time with your HW Faculty Council last Tuesday (11/15) to discuss some developments related to campus safety and security, at which he requested faculty feedback and assistance. We, in turn, are asking all faculty, full time and adjuncts, to respond to the Security Climate and Procedures Survey. Details on how to access the survey are at the end of this post.

First, a few of the facts:

1. Harold Washington College is unique among the seven city colleges in that it has an open lobby plan in which people can come and go freely without interacting with security personnel;

2. This set-up is unusual, too, among downtown buildings, most of which have more restrictive ingress control;

3. At the November meeting, the CCC board passed a resolution that approved up to $505,032 for a “Lobby Security Access System with Swipe Card for Staff and Students”  ( http://www.ccc.edu/brpublic/2011/November/31224.pdf );

4. That resolution was passed, according to Vice Chancellor de Lopez (through Don) so that planning could begin, not as a fait accompli (“I will make the decision,” Don said in our meeting);

5. Don stated that his guiding principle for this initiative is to deter “low effort crimes/offenders” while preserving, as much as possible, the openness of our current lobby. He also stated that he comes into these discussions with a bias toward doing something on account of a number of recent incidents. He further stated that he was open to persuasion by compelling arguments, and so seeking input;

6. The process from decision to finalization would take approximately nine months, and so, to have this ready for fall (and to minimize mid-semester disruption), a decision will need to be made by early-mid January, which is Don’s desired timeline;

7. On the Tuesday of our meeting, Don had a preliminary meeting with the District’s Architect, Vice Chancellor de Lopez, Rich Wren, Security Officer Bearden (David Rozell was at court), Chiaka Patterson (DO), and a few vendors to look at the lobby and talk about possible approaches and layouts. Don showed us a preliminary sketch—emphasizing that it was just that—of a layout that would feature eight sliding glass panels, with some sort of swiping mechanism that would allow them to open. The gates would all be ADA compliant and would not restrict building egress in the case of an emergency (relative to the front doors). The Security desk would remain where it is, so visitors and/or people without their IDs would simply go over to the Security desk to get help. There were, apparently, other options, too, but this was the most initially attractive option (see #6);

8. In the course of the discussion, FC raised a number of questions and initial comments/considerations, including: asking how many criminal incidents occur on average and in recent semesters, and of what sort (as in, what would be prevented by this new architecture?); a statement about the hospitality and message conveyed by the lobby regarding our trust and expectations of students, employees, and visitors (and its distinction from the message/architecture that many of them have encountered/received from their previous institutions of learning (i.e. many CPS schools feature metal detectors and strong security at the door and inside). There was concern expressed about unintended consequences, unnecessary cost/expenditure, student perceptions of the learning environment (as documented in CCSSE and elsewhere), and a question about the relationship of this new plan to the requirement for 1600 Professionals to sign in at the security desk;

9. Don also stated that he sees a role for the Space Committee in managing this initiative, and that one of his goals for the building is to provide more open services (labs, equipment, collaborative study areas, etc.) for students, but that goal stands in tension with the openness of the building. The more open the building, the less open the spaces within the building can be and the inverse is also, potentially, true;

So, Don and HW Faculty Council are seeking feedback and information on everything from reasons to leave things alone, reasons to make a change like the one sketched out above, reasons to make changes other than the one sketched out, and reasons to make changes in addition to the one above.

Toward this end, we are asking all HW Faculty (Adjuncts, too!) to take the Security Climate and Procedures Survey (Click HERE ) by DECEMBER 2nd and invite EVERYONE to provide us with your feedback, ideas, and concerns related to any or all of the above.

You may provide that feedback on the Lounge, by email, or by note, conversation, or the means of your choosing to any of HW’s Faculty Council representatives, your Chair or supervisor, or Don himself. We look forward to hearing from you.

ReinQuestion–Vol. 16

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.

So it might be that this is the week that Faculty Leadership get a preview of the proposals. The meeting at which they will be revealed is tentatively scheduled for Friday, last I heard, thought there is some possibility of it being pushed back a week.

FC4 Secretary Julius Nadas sent this out early in the week:

Due to spring break some of the plans are still fluid, but here is what his plans are as of this afternoon.

~ Attendees

o All faculty council leadership, both executive and local (~30?)

o All department heads (~30?)

o All academic advising heads

~ Agenda

o Alvin to open with general remarks about the work to date and expectations for theday

o Gallery walk (90 minutes):

-Each team will have several poster size displays of data and findings from the work they did this semester set up in a large room.

-Attendees will walk around read the posters and be able to ask questions of the team members who will be assembled by their posters

-Questions will also be placed on post it notes by the posters so that they can be addressed, if possible, in the afternoon sessions

o Lunch: Tables that center around different task force topics will be set up encouraging attendees to talk to task force members about findings in a more informal setting

o -Afternoon: 1-2 breakout sessions with teams on specific task force work. Attendees will be able to go to rooms each with specific task force teams that will go into the findings in greater depth, allowing for more robust conversations about topics attendees are interested in.

o Wrap up: Talking about next steps for Reinvention

~ What success looks like for the day

o Dialogue is robust between teams and faculty leadership, all parties feel they have been heard

o Feedback on findings is clear to the teams

o General sense of implementation plans, where applicable, is clear to all parties

Look forward to your colleagues’ feedback by Monday afternoon if at all possible.

More as it comes in. And if you have any questions that you’d like me carry along with you, let me know.

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.

Next Steps–A Proposed Survey

This is a hijacked comment from the comments to the Update post. It comes from Carrie Nepstad:

“Please see updated survey – don’t answer it yet. This is just to get feedback on the survey questions.


Does anything need to be changed or added before I send it to Cecilia?

Unless I hear otherwise, I will send it to her tomorrow morning and ask that she e-mail it to all CCC faculty.”

National Standards (Draft) Announced

On Wednesday, the National Governor’s Association for Best Practices and Council of Chief State Schools Officers announced that their draft of a set of national standards is complete and ready for public feedback.

These same groups came out with a set of standards for college and career readiness back in September of 2009 (showing, at least, that they use the standard, backwards-planning model of outcomes based education (i.e., start with the end), and then worked from there to do the rest. I think that, at least, is a good thing. The standards only include English Language Arts and Mathematics (and probably won’t go beyond that due to all the curricular controversy about science (see Texas, for example) and typical skepticism about the arts. Maybe they’ll develop some for “Civics,” but even those are likely to be a lot more of a political hot potato than the two proposed.

Anyway, check them out here, and be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this page to take the survey and give them some feedback. Like it or not, it’s bound to be seen as an improvement on the wildly variant state to state standards (driven at least in part by No Child Left Behind requirements), and Illinois is already making moves to get on board. Which means their college readiness standards will likely be ours within three years, so now is the time to say your peace.

Halfway There

It’s the end-ish of Week 8, people. That makes it the midterm. According to this article, that means it’s time to take stock of our classes and our progress (while our students take stock of theirs).

We all need consistent feedback (from ourselves and others) and the reality of academic life is that if you don’t proactively create feedback loops, you’re unlikely to get the type of information you need to take control of your work life, teach efficiently and well, and enjoy the job you’ve worked so long and hard to obtain. …In other words, the middle of the semester is a great time to ask yourself and others:

  1. Am I on track?
  2. What’s holding me back? and
  3. How can I make a positive change?

The article has some interesting advice for soliciting feedback from students (and others) to make the most of the second half of the semester (for all involved). But for me, the ultimate message of the mid-term is this one…don’t give up, people; don’t give up…

h/t to Ivan Tejeda for the musical suggestion.