Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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.

3 comments:

  1. It seems the Board of Trustees is on the so called "bandwagon" of reinvention...so who will listen? Where can the dedicated faculty, staff, and students turn for support and to make a real difference? I would be the last one to say that the system is perfect, but we need to continue functioning as an academic institution, NOT as a for profit business. I work hard, my students rise to the challenges that I present in my classroom, and THAT I find very rewarding. But, I am working my butt off and feel abused!

    Am I the only one who is feeling very frustrated over the current actions being taken? What's worse, is I feel helpless to make any difference in stopping this takeover and I fear repercussions if I put my name on anything. I have a family to support and bills to pay. Losing my job is not an option!

    Thanks for the opportunity to vent this frustration. I read this blog regularly and hope that others will share their thoughts, even if just to get things out in the open. Doesn't anyone else have comments about this? Is this takeover ok with the rest of my City College colleagues?

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  2. I was invited to participate in the Reinvention task force. I am enrolled now and will de-mask all these phony advisers.

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