What Up?

I’ve already told you about the Conference you can go to on the cheap and a beer fest and some great poetry being read. There’s also the 17th Annual SOFA Chicago and The Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art at Navy Pier (opening preview tonight, running through the weekend).

Assuming you aren’t hiding under the covers for fear of getting walked out of the building tomorrow, what are you going to do this weekend to seize the moment and live the life of the mind?

PS: If nothing else, make sure to change your clock back on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and while you’re changing things, change out the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too.

New and Improved email coming to students. Again.

I posted this about student email over the summer. If you take a look, the post is dated July 21, 2010. Now, just FOUR months later,  Reinvention Central has changed course.
Once again, a straight copy-and-paste (no changes to the formatting either) from an email dated  10/22/10  12:42 pm that went out to our student body:

DATE: October 22, 2010



It’s Faster, Bigger, Safer, and does more stuff!  It’s the new CCC Student Email, coming soon to an in-box near you.

The new CCC Student Email, powered by Microsoft’s Live@Edu email services, provides many educational applications to enhance your communication and collaboration with other students and faculty, all by using your same CCC student account.

So why did we choose Microsoft’s Live@Edu service? There are a few reasons:

  • Students will be more prepared to enter the workforce by using the same Office applications used by more than 500 million people and businesses around the world
  • Students gain access to web-based versions of Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote with no costly licenses required
  • Larger email inbox of 10GB
  • Web based document storage space of 25GB, more room to save classroom assignments and other instructional materials
  • Plus, students will have improved anti-spam and anti-virus protection

Communication with other students and faculty will now be easier than ever!

The conversion to the new CCC Student Email service will be on November 8th.  Prior to November 8th, you must change your password. Below is the link where you will be prompted for information to reset your password:


If you have questions about CCC Student Email, please submit a request at the http://ccc.edu/help web page.

Gmail, we hardly knew ya.
So was that Microsoft presentation during DWFDW a pure formality?

What Up?

Who’s running the Marathon?

(When I worked in a bar, the Marathon day was one of my favorite days. On Saturday nights, we didn’t close until 5am, so by the time we were done cleaning and counting money and having a couple, it would be 7 am, Sunday morning. So we’d ride our bikes to a burrito joint or McDonald’s or something (usually with a sixer) and sit down on some patch of the street somewhere to watch the runners, eat our greasy food, smoke (or chew tobacco), and toast them with our beers as they went by. It always felt so wrong and so right at the same time. Loved doing it every year. Great stuff.)

I think I’m going to Second City on Friday night with our niece who’s visiting while on fall break. What else is going on?

Friday Spotlight: Amanda Loos

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 Amanda Loos in the spotlight!
[Rah, rah, shish boom ba!]
Besides teaching, Amanda also serves as our current Faculty Council President, she’s a former Chair (and still a member) of the Women’s Studies Program,  and the Coordinator of Fine Arts/Cinema Studies Program.
NOW… Stepping out of her office  with the poise, energy, and confidence of Kathryn Bigelow, here’s Amanda…

Q: What’s your HWC story. How did you get hired?
A: I met Paul Urbanick and George Bickford at one of those Univ. of Chicago Teaching in the Community College receptions.  I WASN’T schmoozing, and that probably stood out like a sore thumb. 🙂  I taught part-time for a year and was out the door (though I loved loved loved the students, adjuncting at HWC pretty much sucked back then…er…is it any better now?), and based on that I was NOT planning to apply for the full-time gig.  Urbanick called me in for an interview anyway, with Arlene Zide and Jim Schultz…  Somewhere about 20 minutes into it, I realized how stupid I had been for not applying and that I should really focus!  Duh!  So I have my predecessors to thank for seeing something that I couldn’t see at the time.  Thank you!

Q: What do you like to do when you ain’t teachin’? Is it legal?

A: I throw pottery, try to make vegetables grow in pots on our patio (the legal kind!), take long walks with my dog, and enjoy newly-married life. 🙂

Q: What it’s like to be you? It may help to look in the mirror.

A: Um… it rocks!

Q: What would you’d be doin’ now if you wasn’t teaching at our fabulous institution (or answering these questions)? Would it still be legal?
A: Honestly not sure!  I’ll get back to you on that one…class in ten.

Q: Who should be the next Friday Spotlight?

A: How about the College Advisors?

Thank you Amanda!
Darn, I should’ve asked for a good movie recommendation…

Friday Spotlight: Chris Sabino

Friday Spotlight is 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 Chris Sabino in the spotlight.
[It’s a bird, it’s a plane, NO, it’s… CASTMAN!]
The dude is suave, cool, and collected. As far as I know he’s running CAST, he’s a member of Faculty Council, AND… makes time to teach the language of numbers to our students.

Stepping out of the telephone booth, er, I mean room 1046, here’s the man with a plethora of talents and aspirations, the one and only Chris…

Q: What’s your HWC story? How did you get hired?
A: I firmly believe that fate (not necessarily a mathematical or religious notion) has played a big role in my life and my journey to HWC.  I got my Masters at Loyola, Lakeshore Campus.  Toward the end of my time there I got two e-mails, one from HWC and one from Truman, asking about being an adjunct.  I sent my resume to both and got the call (while driving back from NY) from HWC and was hired.  Two weeks later (2 weeks into the semester mind you) I got the call from Truman.  That semester, Spring 2006, I was an adjunct at HWC, Truman, Loyola Lakeshore and Loyola downtown.  It was fun.  At the end of the semester, I expressed my interest into transitioning to full time and I got the job.  Had it not been for that e-mail, I may have never realized that the City Colleges even existed given that I’m not from Chicago originally.

Q: What do  you like to do when you ain’t teachin’? Is it legal?
A: When I’m not teaching and feel like having some legal fun, there are many ways that I fill my time.  My wife and I do a lot of traveling.  Though it gets a bit hectic (that’s how I like it), I enjoy seeing how things are outside of Chicago.  When I’m around here, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and friends.  Usually that hanging out involves legal quantities and varieties of beverages (I’m a bit of a beer connoisseur.).  I’m not terribly athletic, but would like to be.  I love sitting down alone with my guitar and singing, assuming no one can hear me.  If someone can hear me, than it turns from recreation to performance.  When I used to sing in groups, and on my own during college, I always enjoyed the rehearsals far more than the performances.  Of course, I also enjoy puzzles and games (crosswords, jumbles, etc…), watching tv, listening to music and reading recreationally (which seldom occurs unless I’m away.)

Q: What it’s like to be you?  It may help to look in the mirror.
A: My life is very hectic.  I like to complain about it but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Despite my capacity to kick back and be excessively lazy, I always need to be doing something.  I’m a problem solver at heart and even if there aren’t problems, I’ll create them to solve or try to solve others’ problems..  My wife and her family helped break me of this a little.  My family, New Yorkers, always has to be moving, doing something.  That’s how I am at my core though it may not appear that way on the surface.  Right now, my focus is on teaching.  I’ve spent a lot of time looking inward over the past 8 years of teaching.  I bring a lot of myself into the classroom and seldom stick to my plans though I’ve realized that I am, often, an over-planner.  The times that I feel most like myself and the times when I’m just going with the flow and reacting to a situation.  I like the impromptu and improvisational possibilities in teaching, and, of course, in life.
More superficially, I’m 5’8″, so I’m seldom the tallest guy in the room.  As a kid, I was teased about my height before my growth spurt though I hold no grudges.  I love math and music.  I used to say, before I got married, that math is my wife and music is my mistress.  These days, teaching is my life, math is my field that I’m always looking to expand my knowledge in and music is my disjoint passion.   I love making and listening to music but have not found the time to do so lately.
Q: What would you’d be doin’ now if you wasn’t teaching at our fabulous institution (or answering these questions)?
A: So, if I could live my dream and deal with the stress of it and have the talent to do so, I’d be singing, likely on Broadway or in a professional chorus or acappella group.  Or maybe I’d teach music or philosophy, not math.  Or maybe I’d be a bartender while doing all of the above. Or maybe I’d do absolutely nothing but read, listen to music, make music and travel….and volunteer and schools.  I don’t think that I could leave education.  It means too much to me.
Thanks Chris!

Q: Who should be the next Friday Spotlight?
A: People who may not check e-mail for a while but I’d like to hear about=Rocco Caponigri, Adam Bounas
More likely to check e-mail=Art Divito, Dave Richardson
I’ll see what I can do about contacting these fine folks.
Here’s a link to the Math web site. For more on CAST, y’all know where to look  – right here on The Lounge.

What Up?

It’s Thursday afternoon, which means that the weekend is breathing heavily upon us, bringing week 3 to a close (13 more and it’ll be time for final grades!), and so the question arises, what are the plans out there for taking advantage of our wondrous urban playground?

Going to see Abigail Washburn and her amazing fusion of Appalachian and Chinese musical styles at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday night? Maybe getting your fingers messy on some BBQ? (Lem’s is my personal favorite, though Honey 1 has great Hot Links). Maybe going to see a movie? Training for Oktoberfest activities by heading up to hear some Oompa Music at the German-American Fest in Lincoln Square? Or doing something else? Collecting signatures on nominating petitions to run for Mayor perhaps? Tempis Fugit

What’s going on this weekend, people? Other than the start of the NFL season, that is…

What Up?

What are you doing over this long, Labor Day weekend?

Going to see Ramsey Lewis at Jazz Fest? Cooking some lingering summer produce up for a Labor Day BBQ? Maybe hitting Maxwell Street for some deals on back to school socks? Going to rock at the North Coast Music Festival in Union Park (De La Soul, Lupe Fiasco, Moby, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band…the list goes on)? Headed to the Red Moon’s  J.O.E.?

What’s going on out there?

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…

DWFD Week Update

Yep, with less than two business days to go, we finally have the information we’ve been waiting for all summer. In case you didn’t get the email, I’m here to inform you that the Faculty Development Week 2010 website now has pertinent information!

I have my issues with the contents on site. Here are just a few:

Point number one.
An excerpt from the message from Chancellor Hyman reads, “I believe the City Colleges of Chicago can be the economic engine that prepares a skilled workforce for jobs in the 21st century.” Hmmm, here I thought we were preparing students to be critical thinkers and not worker bees.
Further down our Chancellor states, “One of my short-term goals is to re-build and upgrade CCC’s aging facilities, classrooms, labs and student gathering spaces to help restore pride and professionalism.” I got no problem with pride and professionalism, but can someone tell me why the focus is not on EDUCATION? IMHO, I believe this needs elaborating, which, according to the schedule, may happen August 10th during the Q&A session… maybe.

Point number two.
I see the break-out sessions for August 10th SEPARATE us back to individual colleges to report on assessment and self-study issues. So much for UNIFICATION. Maybe I’m a bit slow, so if someone can shed some light on this, I’d certainly appreciate it. Tanks!

Point number three.
August 11th, I’ll just copy-and-paste this one:
BREAK OUT SESSION D: Build A Low Cost Interactive Whiteboard Using Wii Remote
What happened to restoring “pride and professionalism”? Seriously? A Wii remote? In the classroom? Let’s just equate school with the living room and blur the gap between EDUCATION and ENTERTAINMENT. BTW, apparently the investment in technology doesn’t trickle down to the faculty. Nothin’ against the faculty member. I applaud him for making the best of his MacGyver skills.

Point number four.
August 12th. BREAK OUT SESSION G: Now is the Time to Think About Tenure!
Did C get feedback from faculty who had issues with the process? Is it streamlined? I feel for the poor souls who will attend yet feel oppressed to say anything meaningful or contradictory to the process. Better time would be spent if C took our non-tenures and showed them how to crochet a blanket. Think about it.
“Panelists who recently completed the Tenure process share their insights.” I gotta laugh at this one. Sharing of insight does not and has not equaled a change in the process. Please.

Point number five.
August 13th. BREAK OUT SESSION B: Syllabi Creation
Yep, better late than never. This one comes on the last day of FDW and then we’s got to come back the following week and assist with registration. Im trying my darndest to get my syllabi done NOW. Are we still tryin’ to STANDARDIZE our syllabi? Just give ’em Cecilia’s old powerpoint presentation and call it a day.

Don’t worry. By next week I will attend with an open mind and optimism. Thanks for reading.

Did you see this CCC email?

This email came to my attention so I thought I’d share. You’re welcome… anytime.

It’s a straight copy-and-paste (no changes to the formatting either) from an email dated June 30, 2010 that went out to our student body:

This message was authorized by Angela Henderson,Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Planning & Research.
Beginning Fall Term, students at the City Colleges of Chicago will be using Google Gmail as their new CCC Student Email.

Students’ email addresses and passwords to login to Student  Gmail will remain the same, as will the website address of their email server: http://student.ccc.edu.

Gmail provides many new benefits, including:

– Increased Mailbox Limit to 7GB
– Increased Attachment Size Limit to 25MB
– Improved anti-spam and anti-virus protection
– Access to other Google Applications: Docs, Chat and Google Sites

The conversion to Student Gmail will begin August 2nd and by August 7th, all student email messages will be migrated to each student’s Gmail account.

This Summer, District OIT will host workshops about how instructors can use Google Apps for such applications as student-to-student collaboration and student e-portfolios. For more information about using Google Apps for Education, watch this Google webinar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ksK2uzDW-4

If you have questions about Gmail, please send an email to StudentEmailSupport@ccc.edu.

Sose I’m waiting for faculty to be contacted by District OIT to learn “about how instructors can use Google Apps for such applications as student-to-student collaboration and student e-portfolios.” I’ve watched the video. There’s some pros and cons here.

I just have a couple of questions:
1. Any faculty out their have multiple students collaborating on one written assignment?
2. Will I be required to post my syllabus here too?