Thursday, March 31, 2011


Please consider the following as we seek to answer the question: Who is the Civic Consulting Alliance?
(Excerpt from City Colleges of Chicago Reinvention: The Truth Blog Site)
The upper echelons of the bureaucracy that runs the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) are in the midst of a drastic transformation of the historical mission of the CCC. This mission, like that of most community colleges across the U.S., has been to provide a path for millions of working class, poor or immigrant students to access a university education which offers personal intellectual enrichment that has long been recognized as one of the important foundations of democracy as well as professional advancement. Behind the facade of Reinvention the CCC hierarchy is moving away from these goals and instead narrowing the mission of the CCC to that of job training centers. In service to the Obama administration’s initiative to track students into associate degrees and certificates as their terminal degrees, they have invented the Reinvention. Corporate Chicago is steering this process under the guise of pro bono consultants and advisory councils. The result is the full adoption of the business model for the administrative structure of the CCC.  This has also allowed for the merging of political and business cronyism bloating the CCC headquarters with business positions, heaping on more than $5 million in additional annual salaries in the first nine months alone. 

This has all occurred since Cheryl Hyman, a businesswoman lacking prior educational leadership experience, was anointed chancellor. The impact on students, faculty and staff have begun with the loss of jobs, the reduction or elimination of services and the smothering of academic freedom.  The specifics of the Reinvention indicate that these attacks are just the beginning. Students and faculty have begun to air frustration, resentment, and opposition to the abuses of the Reinvention. An organized opposition to the masters of Reinvention is required in order to secure quality education, decent working conditions, and bright futures for all of those who work and study at the CCC.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Alexi Giannoulias being considered for two top education posts?

If Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has spoken with Giannoulias about chairmanship of City Colleges - let's keep our hopes up  that he is considering changing the Chancellor also.  
Chicago Sun-Times - Michael sneed Mar 30, 2011 2:09AM
Word is Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has spoken with Giannoulias about chairmanship of the Chicago City Colleges board and Gov. Quinn has chatted with Giannoulias about heading the Illinois Community College board. (Giannoulias, who was a major supporter of community colleges, is also a close friend and hoop shooting buddy of U.S. Education czar Arne Duncan.) Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CCC In The News

Dear CCC Family,
In case you missed the recent news stories on the City Colleges, (notice no "special announce", no "CCC in the news", no "ccc press" on these stories) check out the links below. While the Chancellor and her team busy themselves attempting to hold emergency meetings with the leadership of faculty council, one thing remains certain- YOU CAN'T FIGHT THE TRUTH! You can't buy off enough people, make enough new policies, create enough reinvention teams, or hire enough spin doctors to change the fact that the Chancellor and Board of Trustees have wasted a ton of money, hired a bunch of unqualified people and created an atmosphere where the morale on the campuses is at an all time low, and the morale at the District office is probably even worse for those who silently disagree with the events of the past 12 months. The Chancellor wants to say that we are "One CCC", that we should be unified, thus the District-Wide Graduation. Consider this question: How many times has the Chancellor visited your campus? How many times has the Chancellor met with your students or met with you?
Now because the Chancellor fears a Vote of No Confidence she suddenly wants to be cozy with the Faculty Council leadership; she has been here a year and now she wants to know what we think and how we feel? Does she not realize that we are not only EDUCATORS, but we are also EDUCATED?  The Chancellor wants to remove our Presidents, change our school colors and logos, and at some point she will probably want to rename a college or two. The Chancellor wants to factor out the communities that surround and support our colleges. The Chancellor wants to run all of the colleges from 226 West Jackson.
All of this in the name of Reinvention.
For some good questions regarding the recent Reinvention Application Email check out the post by Realist on the Harold Washington Blog, it raises some good questions. (I did not want to included it in this email without permission)
Certainly in time the Chancellor will be removed; there is no way that our Mayor-Elect would consider cutting the City Council in half to save the taxpayers money and allow the contiuation of such wasteful spending and questionable hiring practices at the City Colleges with no real benefit to our students. The Chancellor referred to these new hires/titles as "Investments". It would be refreshing if she thought enough of our students to invest in them.
Two questions remain. How much damage will be done before the the Chancellor is removed? How long will it take complete a  Deinvention once she is gone?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Do We Want?

The current Chancellor is only concerned with implementing her business model and providing six figure salaries for her friends. It is a sad day for the City Colleges of Chicago.
We want to see the Chancellor removed and replaced with someone who understands higher education and the needs of our students, we now turn our focus to keeping our Presidents. The only reason Ms. Hyman wants them to reapply for their jobs is because she wants to replace them with her politically connected friends-notice what happened at Harold Washington. The Presidents (who are qualified and who love their students and have demonstrated years of commitment to their colleges and communities) should be given an opportunity to develop student success guidelines with the input from faculty/students/community and execute them.
History shows that institutional change on college campuses is always driven by students and faculty standing together. As faculty we will support students efforts, we have demonstrated our commitment with last nights vote of No Confidence.

Please click on the 2 comments below for a list of newly hired/promoted district personnel.  Also included is the prior city or politically connected institution or department from which each employee came (where available).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Informal “No Confidence” Votes Regarding Chancellor Cheryl Hyman - CBS Channel 2 News 6:00 PM

Vote of No Confidence at Malcolm X College tonight on CBS Channel 2 at 6:00 p.m.

If we don't have confidence in Cheryl Hyman - why are we allowing her to make our President's reapply for their jobs?  Save our Presidents!  Save our Presidents!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Channel 2 CBS - 10 PM News Report on Cheryl Hyman Spending Spree

CBS did an outstanding job featuring Cheryl Hyman and the outrageous hiring of district employees and consultants.

We need to Reinvent the Chancellor - Save our Presidents - Cut the Wasteful Spending - Put our Students First by Educating them with Educators (not business people).

Good job Jay Levine!!

City Colleges shake-up draws fire; was Emanuel in the loop?

This is an old, but interesting, article...Marc Schulman is a highly respected business man.  Pay special attention to his comment - the timing of the action "smells". The decision to fire to Presidents took place in a "special board meeting" the day after the Mayoral Election.  Hmmmmm... - why would someone make such a bold move before her new boss was appointed into his position?  How well do Mr. Daley and Mr. Emanuel know Civic Consulting Alliance employees and the new President at Harold Washington - Don Laackman?

[This article was syndicated via RSS from Greg Hinz. The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.]

   In a step that has some political insiders scratching their heads, City Colleges of Chicago is moving to potentially replace presidents at six of its seven colleges by May — just when Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be taking office.

    The City Colleges Board voted Wednesday — the day after the mayoral election — to spend up to $336,000 on a consulting firm that will conduct a nationwide search for potential college presidents.

   Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman says the goal is to finish the hiring process "by the end of May" — just two weeks after Mr. Emanuel's scheduled May 16 inauguration. "I don't think our students can afford to wait," she says.

   But a businessman who heads the advisory board for one of the seven city colleges says the timing of the action "smells."

   "This is a massive change. Why would you do this the day after the election?" says Marc Schulman, who operates Eli's Cheesecake Co. and chairs the advisory board at Wilbur Wright College on the Northwest Side.

   Neither Mr. Emanuel nor any of the other mayoral candidates was formally briefed in advance of the pending changes, Ms. Hyman says. "It was discussed with my chairman and the board."

  Mr. Emanuel's spokesman isn't commenting — even though, during the campaign, Mr.  Emanuel suggested that he had some ideas as to how to improve the system.

   News that something was afoot was first signaled in a press conference Mayor Richard M. Daley held last fall, when he announced a reinvention effort designed to boost a system in which only 5% of students end up with a bachelor's degree. 

   City Colleges subsequently hired a new president at one of its colleges, who is not affected by Wednesday's vote. 

   Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gerald Roper, who's been involved in the reinvention effort, says it has been "in process for a while" and that the shift in presidents is only a part of that effort.

   But news of Wednesday's vote apparently was unexpected to many.

   According to Ms. Hyman, the presidential slots are open because the system has changed its job description. "We have encouraged the current presidents to reapply," she says.

   Under the new job description, presidents will be judged based on how well they boost student transfers to four-year institutions, improve remediation and high school-equivalency programs and increase "the number of students earning college credentials of economic value."

   Ms. Hyman insists City Colleges is not downplaying vocational education — programs designed to put students directly into jobs rather than prepare them for further education.

   Mr. Schulman says those explanations don't satisfy him. "This is a massive change" that ought not be rushed when a new mayor is coming into office, he said.

    Neither Mr. Schulman nor Eli's Cheesecake Co. donated to Mr. Emanuel's campaign, according to the State Board of Elections.

City Colleges of Chicago Creating a Caste System of Graduation

Ms. Hyman is creating a mass graduation for students.  Many of our students will be the first in their families to graduate from college...  How insensitive to only allow 4 tickets for each student.  She is more excited to "flaunt" the special guest speaker from Washington D.C. in a grand event to get more attention for herself.  In addition, she can line up her new "politically connected" Presidents to shake the hands of students for whom they did nothing to contribute towards their accomplishments.

How insensitive of you, Ms. Hyman...  Shame on you!  Shame on you!  Did City Colleges of Chicago do this to you when you received your first degree from Olive Harvey College?  Is this really a decision that favors our students?

Found this This article was from  Yahoo! Contributor Network

Graduation is traditionally a point of celebration, whether it is at the high school, a university, or the City Colleges of Chicago. Until this year, graduation from the City Colleges meant that there was a ceremony one's respective campus. 

This year, all of the campuses will take part in a district-wide ceremony at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion. While this may seem to be a small thing on the surface, it is creating divisions across the student populations. 

Last spring, ceremonies across the district were inclusive in nature. For example, at Olive-Harvey College, the institution held one graduation ceremony, where those students receiving Associate degrees were able to walk across the stage, along with their peers that completed certificate programs and those students that were a part of the General Education Degree program. 

By recognizing all of these students, it helped in creating a sense of equality along with a sense of community amongst all students. Now as the colleges are coming to together to celebrate the end of the academic year, it has been made clear by Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, that graduation is just for those earning an Associates. In a memo to students, she has said a separate recognition ceremony would be held for adult education certificate candidates on a separate date. 

While she says, "Graduation is a significant milestone on the path to a rewarding career or further education", it seems it is only for those that are deemed worthy. So this May, the community has been removed from the community college graduation, as the individual campuses will not celebrate their students and the district alienates their potential associate degree graduates of the future.

Hopefully as the City College's starts their second century, Chancellor Hyman puts the whole community back in the college graduations.

Is this the intention of the reinvention?

Board of Trustees
City Colleges of Chicago
226 West Jackson
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Board Members:
On November 18, 2010 Mayor Richard Daley and CCC officials launched the reinvention of the City Colleges of Chicago. I can recall the excitement I felt that day anticipating an initiative that would truly be student centric, focused on excellence and requiring us all to bring our “A Game” to each and every class session. I was thrilled to learn that we would be taking an honest look at ourselves in an effort to better serve our students.
Today, four months later I find myself extremely disillusioned. Unfortunately something that began with four laudable goals; has turned out to be nothing more than a thinly veiled rationale for a reorganization of the City Colleges of Chicago-not a “Reinvention.”In November our Mayor discussed issues like advising, tutoring, remediation and the fact that students come first, and must always come first. The Mayor stated “it’s all about the students.” Additionally the Mayor stated the Reinvention’s commitment to protect the taxpayers by doing more with less.” Well, four months later it is clear that the leadership at the City Colleges of Chicago is not in tune with the message of our outgoing Mayor. I like many of my colleagues have learned over the past couple of weeks about the fiscal mismanagement that is running rampant within the City Colleges of Chicago. It only takes a cursory perusal of any CCC Board Report from April 2010 to the present to learn of the waste, fiscal abuse, patronage hiring, and lack of academic value of many of the newly created positions housed at the District office. Millions of dollars have been spent on marketing, branding, and messaging as we are the University of Phoenix.
The last time I checked the City Colleges of Chicago was not a proprietary institution. Despite this fact, the Chancellor is attempting to turn our colleges into a pseudo business, hiring James Frankenbach as COO. Mr. Frankenbach was originally hired as a consultant to provide evaluation services for the District’s health sciences programs. J.T. & Associates, James T. Frankenbach, principal was awarded a contract for $130, 000.
On January 12, 2011 Mr. James Frankenbach was named City Colleges of Chicago Chief Operating Officer at a salary of $130,000.
Mr. Frankenbach is but one of the patronage appointees at the District office. There are many others who have been given jobs based on connections to companies who are supporters of the reinvention. Many of the firms offering consulting services to the City Colleges of Chicago are connected in some way to employees at the District office.

It sickens me to think about the number of committed City College of Chicago employees, many of whom treated our students like family, and dedicated years of service to faculty and the college; only to be summarily dismissed with no warning based on District mandated budget cuts.
I realize that eventually this fraud will receive the attention and investigation that it deserves, in the meantime as members of the Board of Trustees, you really should think about your action or inaction as it relates to those things that are likely to impact our students in a positive way. Please commit some of the resources that the District so readily wastes on hiring more full-time faculty, more academic advisors, more academic support staff, on improving technology resources on the campuses and providing more student support services. These are the things that will impact student success and improve outcomes.
As one of my colleagues so aptly stated education takes place on the campuses, in classrooms; not at the District office.
Think about it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You need to be "Politically" Connected to be a City Colleges of Chicago President

Kennedy King College Campus - 

Did anyone get a copy of the yellow flyer with Lincoln Chandler's picture on it?  Under his picture it stated: Lincoln Chandler "Civic Consultant" - Not Wanted Here - Cheryl Hyman's Choice for KKC President before the Nation Search Begins.  

Cheryl hired a search firm at the rate of $336,000 to conduct a national search to justify hiring Civic Consulting Alliance Employees.  Why?

The President at Harold Washington, Don Laackman, does not have a strong education background or senior leadership experience......however, his wife is "politically" connected. Just Google (Allyson Lacckman) and you will understand why he got the job.  In addition, Brian Fabes, CEO of the Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA), was on the search committee to hire his colleague, Don Laackman, who was an executive for CCA.

If I was an existing President, this might be a clear sign that you may want to go to an institution where educating students is appreciated and valued.  City Colleges of Chicago is just another place to get a political job at expense of our students.

If City Colleges of Chicago needs leadership with accountability - we need to start at the top with Cheryl Hyman.  If the Presidents (who were chosen by their respective faculty, communities, and students) need to re-apply, then Cheryl needs to reapply too!  Otherwise the Presidents should stay and be given the respect and opportunity to perform under the new guidelines.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Truth About The Reinvention CCC is Blocking Emails From Coming To You

An Open Letter to the Faculty of the City Colleges of Chicago
Many of you have expressed concerns about the anonymous nature of the recent email correspondence regarding the state of the City Colleges of Chicago. Many have asked, “Who are you?”  While it’s not about me I will share this much. I am a professional educator. I am committed to the success of my students and the integrity of my college. Currently I do not enjoy the benefits and safety of tenure. To reveal my identity will certainly result in contract non-renewal and subsequent termination.
Again, it’s not about me, it’s about the truth. The truth about the Reinvention, the truth about the fiscal mismanagement that is being allowed by the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees, the truth about those being empowered to make decisions for 120,000 students and 5800 faculty and staff when they have no educational credentials, have never been in the front of a classroom, and have no clue about the uniqueness of the seven colleges that make up the City Colleges of Chicago.
 Perry Buckley claims that these are not union issues; that contract rights have not been violated   and he is correct. It’s not about our contract right now, it’s about the integrity of our district and the decisions that are being made to strip our campuses of any autonomy and decision making while simultaneously holding us all accountable for student outcomes.  If Perry Buckley thinks that lack of integrity and ill-informed decision making are not worthy of the faculty addressing-shame on him!
Colleagues Please Focus on the Facts
The Chancellor has made a ‘Case for Change” stating that we (the faculty) are only retaining 50% of our first year students and that we (the faculty) are only graduating 7% of our students. The data used to make this case was clearly flawed; we sat back and accepted it. The Chancellor, who has no educational credentials, now says “We must reinvent ourselves”.  Thus the reinvention initiative. Well here is the truth about the reinvention:
1.      The Reinvention Vision
a.       The vision was developed by Best Practices Training Associates, Nile W. Gossett. Mr. Gossett worked with the Chancellor and her teams to craft, write and publish HER vision for reinventing the City Colleges of Chicago. This consulting firm is also responsible for creating, planning and writing the Chancellor’s ongoing messages regarding her vision and plan. The total cost for this consulting agency, $54,000. (July 14, 2010 Board Report # 30442) Has anyone ever seen the “Case for Change” that lead to the Chancellor hiring this outside firm to write her vision? At our college the President did a presentation on the “case” but to my knowledge none of our faculty received hard copies of the case for change or the data used to support it.
b.      To assist in articulating her vision, the Board of Trustees approved contracting the services of NP Communications, LLC (NPC) and Marj Halperin Consulting. These consulting firms provide executive coaching, strategic consultation to the Chancellor and senior staff, external communications, internal communications and team building. The total cost for these consulting agencies, $112,800. (July 14, 2010 Board Report # 30441)
2.      Branding & Marketing
a.      No business model is complete without branding and marketing. To accomplish this the CCC Board of Trustees approved the contracting of branding and marketing services from the LimeGeen Entertainment Group LLC and the Flowers Communication Group. These consulting firms are charged with marketing and branding services for the “Centennial Milestone Celebration”. The total cost for these consulting agencies, $500,000. (September 8, 2010 Board Report #30567)  These firms have an option to extend their contract for three additional years.
3.      Reinvention Technology Support (at the District Office)
a.       To provide technical support for the work of the reinvention teams on the newly remodeled six floor of the District Office (the reinvention floor), the Board of Trustees approved the contracting of ongoing I.T. support services from 17 different vendors. The total cost for these vendors, $500,000. (December 2, 2010 Board Report # 30774)
4.      CCC Program Offerings
The Chancellor recommended and the CCC Board of Trustees approved McKinsey & Company of Washington DC to come in and provide an analysis and recommendations for a District-wide Program Portfolio Review and to “train the reinvention task force leaders on key skills core to the reinvention process.” In addition to determining if our programs are worthy to continue being offered McKinsey & Company will do the following at a total cost of $500,000 (January 12, 2011 Board Report # 30853)
a.       Identify key areas for improvement across programs
b.       Review workforce demand based on available knowledge
c.       Support CCC in drafting future-state program recommendations
d.      Design workshops for reinvention project team leads and task force members
e.       Conduct workshop sessions enhancing both task force lead and member capabilities, reinforcing learning with hands-on work applicable to task force efforts
Colleagues, why should we be supportive of a consulting firm from Washington DC planning our programs? What happened to our local Committee A? What happened to the evaluation of programs and courses created by faculty and approved by our own faculty committees? While there are faculty members sprinkled amongst the task forces, ultimately the decisions made about our programs and our curriculum will be made by an outside consulting firm. With all the money that has been spent on the reinvention thus far, consider the following:  How many professional development conferences for faculty could have been paid for? Instead the focus is professional development opportunities for reinvention task force leaders and team members.
How much technology could have been added to our classrooms?  Instead the focus is on ensuring adequate technical support for the 6th floor of the District Office.  How many academic advisors could have been hired with $500,000? Instead the focus is on allowing someone else to inform us about the worth of our programs.
Have you discovered like I have that in order to purchase the most basic of supplies for our classrooms, scan tron sheets, copy paper and ink, we are now required to write a statement justifying why we need these supplies? Then we must wait for a Vice Chancellor at the District Office to sign off and approve the purchase of the supplies, and then we wait for the supplies to be ordered.
Because this is not directly tied to our collective bargaining agreement Mr. Perry Buckley feels we should be silent? I don’t think so, and my hope is that you don’t think so either. Some may suggest that shared governance is the answer. How can we share governance with individuals who have no clue about what we do on a daily basis in our classrooms? Corporations do not have shared governance and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman is attempting (with little resistance from the CCC Board of Trustees) to “reinvent” the City Colleges of Chicago into a World Class Business Model. Will we stand by and watch this happen?  Again, it’s not about me, it’s not our Presidents, it’s not even about “U”, it’s about 120,000 students who deserve our best.