The decision in January to cut 96 classes a week before the start of the spring semester, the decision last month to eliminate winter session and to change the academic calendar were made in a manner that placed us all at the bottom of the Slinky, metaphorically speaking.
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Part II

Physics has something called the “Principle of Locality” which explains the delay that occurs between an event and our awareness of it – even if it happens within a system to which we are intimately tied.  Take for example the classic toy: the Slinky.

You can take a Slinky, hold it above the ground, extending it to its full length and drop it.  What occurs next, you have to witness for yourself to appreciate. The end closest to the ground hovers as the top of the Slinky falls inward upon itself (we encourage you to view http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uiyMuHuCFo4). Why doesn’t the bottom of the Slinky fall once the top is released? Essentially, it hasn’t received the memo. The bottom doesn’t know it is no longer supported at the top and won’t succumb to gravity until the coils above crash down upon it.

What does this moment of nostalgia and reflection over the Laws of Physics have to do with leadership at PCC? We have witnessed a shift in how faculty, staff, students and the community are treated. The decision in January to cut 96 classes a week before the start of the spring semester, the decision last month to eliminate winter session and to change the academic calendar were made in a manner that placed us all at the bottom of the Slinky, metaphorically speaking.

This approach to decision making, leaves our students viewed as either cash flow problems or solutions rather than respected as an integral part of our institution. Professors are deemed proficient only if they are able to push students through the system and their input for program improvement is considered valuable only if it honors the ideology that students are commodities and education is an economic output.

This is a 180-degree turn from the belief that education should be a process of learning where professors and students concern themselves with intellectual growth and discovery.

As we consider the dramatic change in our student body, this approach to decision making becomes more troublesome. As our students become more diverse, the need for qualified and dedicated professors becomes greater.

Sadly, the administration chooses to meet these challenges by relying on a dedicated (and disposable) pool of adjunct faculty while simultaneously increasing the number of full-time administrators and managers, many of whom have little contact with the students they serve.

We chose to teach at PCC because of our desire to contribute to the promise that California made to its young people with the drafting of the California Master Plan. We reject the commodification of education and the corporatization of this institution.

We ask the administration to stop treating our college community like the bottom end of the Slinky. Instead of forcing top down decisions and draconian changes upon us, acknowledge the wisdom and humanity of our students, staff and faculty by demonstrating that “shared governance” and “Student Success, Our Top Priority” are our guiding principles and not merely empty slogans.

Tony S. Jugé and David McCabe have both been educators at PCC since 2005. Jugé teaches Sociology and McCabe teaches Education.

Comments

  1. As a student it feels like our education and the betterment of ourselves has been forgotten. Higher education should be a place where facilities and learning should be offered. It may be cliched but we are the future. If the administration can’t realize that the Students at PCC and colleges all over the world are the hope and future then I see very little hope for the future students looking for higher education. The administration makes top down decisions without think of the ramifications of their actions. Less classes with less qualified teachers means less students that have the opportunity to better themselves. As the last paragraph said “Student Success, Our Top Priority” should be what governs the administrative decisions.

  2. Tony Juge and David McCabe are amongst the smartest and most courageous people at PCC.
    Their intellectual heft outweighs that of all the other commenters combined … by a factor of 50!
    All of us who care about the PCC community – students, faculty and staff – should be proud that they have the courage to express what so many of us are thinking, privately.
    If anything, they are UNDERpaid!

    1. I really believe it takes guts and thick skin to be able to write something so raw and powerful. Let us not forget that there have been tensions on campus about these issues, and nobody has spoken up so loudly and clearly as these two esteemed professors. Professors Juge and McCabe are wonderful and highly educated persons whose educated and deeply insightful view of how our college community has changed show us a different perspective on our surroundings. In essence, I think it is fair to say that their educated opinion matters, because they said what nobody else had the courage to say.

  3. I am a former PCC student. I am truly outraged and saddened by the commentary following Professor McCabe and Professor Juge’s Op Ed Piece in the Courier. PCC was one of the Top Transfer Colleges in the California Community College system while I was a student and remains one of the Top Transfer institutions in the state. Therefore, I am at loss to understand why the current college administration and the Board of Trustees would want to fix something that is clearly not broken by changing the calendar, hiring new administrators and managers and purchasing a $10.5 million software system while cutting classes so desperately needed by students.

    I now am a senior in one of the top UC’s in the state. I would not have been prepared if it were not for the efforts of the professors at PCC. Professor McCabe and Professor Juge were both professors of mine, and they pushed me to think critically, ask questions, challenge authority and read with purpose. I look around at my classmates, many who started at the UC as freshman struggle with the work load that their professors give them. I however, felt adequately prepared due to the effort and high standards that these professors held me to.

    One commentator claimed that if PCC fired Juge and McCabe they could create 97 courses at PCC. I question your math. Especially you ability to count rooms. With all the construction going on and classrooms being limited, where would these classes take place? In the football field?

    I agree with Politics or Pedagogy, these respondents are base, vulgar and have no valid points to make. I find it absolutely ridiculous that Chris Blanco claims that these two professors “sucked” and I highly doubt he ever had a class with them. If Juge and McCabe sucks… PCC desperately needs more full time “sucky” professors just like them… or better yet, if McCabe and Juge are the new standard for educators who “suck” perhaps the Board of Trustees should consider replacing Dr. Rocha and his administrative cronies with new leaders who “suck” in the same way Professors Juge and McCabe do.

    1. While I appreciated reading the opinions of Juge and McCabe in their editorial, I hope that future editorials will also include the opinions of the school’s business and economics professors, or even US history professors who are well aware of the country’s $15 trillion debt and the dire state of Calif.’s finances. I don’t understand all of the criticism of Rocha and his administrators–when they eliminated class sections they were doing their job–unlike the federal govt., cities and colleges have to balance their budgets. I agree that new construction is nice but it’s questionable in the current situation. CSULA has beautiful new buildings but the downside is that it now costs $1100 to take just one class. In regards to online courses, all universities are doing it to help control their costs, not just PCC. In the trailer to the documentary “IOUSA” about the national debt, Steve Martin quips “Let’s say I don’t have the money–should I buy it anyway?” A lot of educators would say “yes!”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBo2xQIWHiM

      1. The reason why Rocha is called out is because the way he is handling everything. He promises that the debt would have no cuts and then announces to students and faculty that they will cut not only a large amount of classes that many students need to transfer out, but also a whole semester (winter).

        He would always avoid students and teachers who would want to schedule an appointment with him when it came to the cuts he was planing on doing and when he finally decided to have a meeting he would put on a smile and lie through his teeth.

        The way Rocha is handling PCC is not good for the students or the teachers.

  4. Wow!
    I cannot believe the low brow level of discourse in response to Professor’s Juge and McCabe’s well thought out critique.

    Juge and McCabe essentially called for administration to be more thoughtful with their decisions, regard the humanity, wisdom and will of the college community and take a stand against further cuts to classes and they are met with hatred, personal attacks and the suggestion of one respondent that they somehow want to engage in “fellatio and scrotum contact” with one of their students? This is sick and it is a common approach used by far right wing extremist to discredit their critics by using base, untruthful personal attacks. If they can’t argue with logic (which obviously these individuals can’t) they will try to smear those who challenge them.

    If these respondents are representative of the sentiments of the administration at PCC or those who support them, I feel very sorry for the students and faculty. Professor’s Juge and McCabe, please keep speaking the truth!

  5. Dear Pay no attention to the disappearing $$$,

    Three things:

    First, I find your fixation with fellatio and repeated scrotum contact disturbing and complety out of line. I must assume that find it shameful as well, because you hide your identity behind an alias rather than give us your name or face. Your lack of conviction demonstrated by your failure to give your name paints you as a coward and not worthy of response, however, I will entertain your lack if courage this once. It is my hope that in the future, if you have it in you to say something, that you will either stake your name to it or cease the opportunity to shut up.

    Second:
    I appreciate adjuncts. I know they are dedicated to students. We said as much in the Op Ed. They are also disposable only in the sense that the admin can fire them without cause or Due Process. They can deny them benefits or job security. When summer cuts were announced in the Spring, I told my Dean to take my class off of the list and give the spot to an adjunct or replace it with a course that our students need to transfer. If you care about things like the facts or truth, speak with Dr. Finkenbinder he will confirm this…

    Third:
    My name is David McCabe
    My office is C350
    My number is 626-585-3056
    Call me, make an appointment and I will be happy to speak with you. I will no longer respond to spineless individuals who hide behind Psuedonymns.

  6. Dear Friends,

    Wow! It seems as our little Op Ed Piece has stirred some controversy and it appears that there are quite a few misunderstandings. Worker Bee, yes, I am a little stunned by the bizarre intensity of the personal attacks submitted by a few of the commentators… but that is okay, Tony and I have thick skin. I have to believe that the source of these attacks cannot be a well founded understanding of the events shaping policy here at PCC and in education around the globe. So I will attempt to address some of the statements made and offer some clarity.

    First, to Sam –
    I have no idea who Juan is nor what comments you are finding ridiculous. You have to be clearer man!

    Tony and David are Thieves –
    We are crooks because we what? Stole something from you? No, that can’t be it. Is it because we work? We earn a salary? Is it because we write books? Perhaps we are thieves because we are sought after by institutions like Stanford University, Western University and school districts around the state to speak to issues and educate people regarding Human Rights, Social Justice and Education Policy? I do not understand how you would classify us as crooks. I must assume that perhaps you do not understand the meaning of the word. As for your comment about us using a video as a “typical liberal distraction”, I am a Republican. I have been since I was 18. When I ran for school board, I was endorsed by the Republican Party in Riverside County. As an added bonus, I drive a truck, I am a card carrying member of the NRA, I raise my own cattle and hogs for meat. So before you begin blindly labeling people, do your research, otherwise you just sound uniformed.

    Bear Stearns –
    In 2011, The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness—reported that the number of engineers in America is declining relative to China and India. If we hope to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure we are going to need engineers to do that. If we subscribe to your anti-intellectual rhetoric, we will have to outsource the repair of our crumbling roads, bridges and buildings to India or China. That is not an acceptable option to me nor should it be to anyone.

    Chris Blanco. I apologize… but your name does not ring a bell with me. This is troublesome, because I do try to know my students and keep track of where they are and what they are up to once they leave my classes. Any student that I have had will tell you that. But with you, I am drawing a complete blank. I am not sure what your are basing your criticism of our teaching upon. I could throw down the awards I have received for my work from numerous student and community organizations for my teaching and advocacy of students. I could even talk about the Risser Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award I received… but I won’t… because ultimately, I have failed you. We both have. Here you are, presumably a college student… I assume a grown man… and we have failed to equip you with the mature and eloquent vocabulary required of common, civil discourse. “You both suck” is the best you can come up with to criticize our teaching? Really? My advice to you, invest in a Thesaurus. Today.

    One of the points that we tried to make in this Op Ed Piece was the suggestion that people dialogue rather than force their opinions or decisions on others. Dialogue is important. Dialogue is good. Anonymous, personal attacks do nothing to move us forward or advance any cause. If anyone of you would like to meet with me and have a legitimate, civilized conversation about education policy or life in general, my office is open. Call me, make an appointment, I will be happy to sit down and break bread with you.

    David McCabe

    ~
    
Assistant Professor and
Coordinator of Teacher Education

    Pasadena City College
    
626-585-3056

    1. Professor McCabe, I most certainly hope your suggestion for former student Chris Blanco to “invest in a thesaurus. Today” is heartfelt as you are truly concerned with his “intellectual growth and discovery” rather than just insulting him or her. I, too, see that you are WAY overpaid. I will guess Chris Blanco’s view on your teaching methods, despite all of your awards, that you “suck” does not in fact suggest fellatio and repeated scrotum contact with your chin but instead is intended to imply that he finds your teaching inadequate, or possibly suggesting you are not at all worth the $141,570 you cost the school in 2011.

      You complain about not being supported at the top? Sounds more like you would prefer to be rid of leadership like Rocha and the Board of Trustees so you could have your way without having to answer to anybody. Perhaps the thieves comment suggests that despite your claim that you “desire to contribute to the promise that California made to its young people with the drafting of the California Master Plan,” the money issue overshadows your intentions. So if it was not CORRUPT for teachers to spike their own salaries by $4 million in 2011, then why, pray tell me, was this practice abruptly stopped? I’ll bet that $4 million budget shortfall that you teachers created by rewarding yourselves $4 million overtime could have prevented the moving of winter intersession to a second summer intersession. It is possible indeed.

      Why trash the adjunct faculty? Most of the FULL professors at PCC act like they HATE their jobs and are grumpy as hell while the adjuncts offer great attitudes and fresh approaches to teaching. The $292,487 that you and Tony Juge cost PCC in 2011 could have instead provided 97 courses taught by adjuncts. By the way, the California Master Plan for Higher Education failed miserably. And Juan Guitierrez, I believe is his name, runs Public Relations at PCC.
      Liberal Tactic 101: “Don’t look at me, look over there,” as in pay no attention to the disappearing money, instead look at a YouTube video about a toy. Your tactic is liberal, thusly interpreted as such.

      1. There was nothing remotely “corrupt” in the way PCC faculty were or are paid. The “corrupt” “spiking,” as you describe it, refers to two things: first, faculty are paid a premium over their base salary for teaching very large lecture sessions, on the reasonable theory that if you have to grade and be accessible to 120 students, it is more work than doing the same for 30 students. Second, faculty are paid if they teach additional classes beyond their full-time contract “load,” including classes during winter and summer terms. No practices were “abruptly stopped,” though the school did curtail the large group expense by putting a ceiling on the number of students who could enroll in certain classes, and they cancelled some course sections–these were cost cutting measures in response to a funding shortfall, not a response to an illegal or unethical practice.

        The ability of full time faculty to increase their pay by teaching extra classes was negotiated by PCC administrators many years ago. The base-level salaries for PCC faculty are substantially lower than those of faculty at comparable institutions (Santa Monica College, for instance). I wasn’t around then, but I’m told the administration took the position that if faculty wanted more money, they should earn it by teaching more. The relatively generous overtime pay schedule was a trade-off for lower base pay. The base pay, by the way, is all that factors in when pensions are calculated, so if you mean “spiking” in the sense that we often hear it (jacking up salary to boost pension benefits), that is not the case here, either.

        One might argue (as the current administration does, I believe) that the contract terms regarding overtime pay and large group instruction are unaffordable and should be renegotiated. But your rhetoric about corruption and thievery and liberals and scrotums is not connected to reality.

  7. The uncivil tone in these first comments is breathtaking, as is the bizarre intensity of resentment aimed at college teachers. The comments seem designed to distract people from actually considering what the article says. For starters, the authors are talking about the fact that recent changes at PCC (and elsewhere in the system) have the effect of replacing the goal of offering higher education to all who can benefit from it with a system of quick certification with a faint promise of employment prospects attached. But such certification is not a college education, and students who pass through such a system do not learn how to emerge as the sort of cultural leaders and informed citizens that are routinely graduated from elite colleges and universities. In every high-level college or university of which I am aware, the faculty have primary control over the academic content of the school’s programs, and the main administrative function is to facilitate and support the educational (and research) programs that the faculty construct and supervise. This remains the only successful model of higher education of which I am aware. The new PCC model seems to want to eliminate faculty input and reduce them to programmable cogs in a sort of assembly line designed in the C building. It may also have the effect of eliminating genuine college education at PCC. This is an issue worth talking about, and I applaud the authors for addressing it.

  8. Gimme a freaking break, Tony & David, you complain about cuts and point at campus leaders when you both are nothing but thieves!
    By spiking their own salaries like crooks, Tony Juge took a whopping salary of $122,574 but cost the school $150,917 in 2011 while David McCabe took $111,862 but cost the school $141,570 in 2011. Total cost $292, 487.

    If PCC fired these two losers, 97 courses could be offered with that money and the school wouldn’t have to hear their whines anymore.

    They righteously claim “to teach at PCC because of a desire to contribute to the promise that California made to its young people”? I call BS. They are really trying to line their own pockets. Yet they complain about adjuncts and “top down decisions” (duh, that’s how it works, fools) and want you to watch a video. Typical liberal distraction attempt. Sheeesh!

  9. I can’t resist another analogy–the huge Interstate Highway System built during the Eisenhower administration at about the same time that the “Master Plan” was drafted. It was the greatest infrastructure project ever built–but now our highways and other parts of our infrastructure are deteriorating because there’s no money to maintain them. Our roads and bridges and electrical grid are crumbling under stresses they were never designed to carry. Likewise financial realities have left the Master Plan in the mud–like $100K salaries for professors, a one-half TRILLION dollar unfunded state pension liability that’s growing 8% a year, and a bad stock market. (CalPERS/CalSTRS pension funds are heavily invested in the stock market–and the current bear market means more budget cuts ahead for colleges). I’m sorry that faculty members and students have been surprised by the swift reduction of class sections, but in this world everything has to be paid for with money–and riots in Spain and Greece don’t give me confidence that things are going to improve.

    (Link to “The Crumbling of America” trailer on the History Channel)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBSPcIGGcIc

  10. JUGE: TOTAL COMPENSATION 150,000 (40,000 overtime, added hours on top of base salary of 84,000
    MCCABE: TOTAL COMPENSATON 141,000 (30,000 overtime, added hours on top of base salary of 84,000.

    What an absolute joke. Teacher yes, but 150,000. Really??? Juge and McCabe are on the take and care about their salary more than the students. Your overpaid, be thankful you have a job. Btw, I had both teachers and frankly, you both suck anyway.

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