6 responses

  1. watchdog
    December 13, 2015

    Yes, it is great that graduation rates have risen, but there could be other ways than abusing the rights of professors and other employees and punishing those who exercise their 1st amendment rights. UCC used to be a great place to work.

  2. N_McCagnett
    December 13, 2015

    McMenamin needs to explain her figures on how she arrived at an increase in the graduation rate. As a teacher at this institution and one who attends most meetings, I know that she has been asked and no answer has been forthcoming. That is not unusual. She and her sidekick, the academic vice president, treat public information like it’s money coming out of their pocket.

    Furthermore, she has decimated programs that were very useful to the community, but that might keep her from making claims about the graduation rate.

    An example is ESL courses. Many recent immigrants sign up for such courses because it will help them in their employment. Numerous students told me their mothers and fathers had wanted to take the courses to help them with their jobs, but now there are not enough courses available at times they can attend.

    Why did McMenamin slash the number of ESL course offerings? Because these potential students are already employed and do not intend to work toward an associate degree. They are taking the course only to do better at their current place of employment. Having them as students would push her graduation rate down.

    Furthermore, it is no secret that teachers are pressured to pass students who do not deserve to pass. In my department, I know of a case where a teacher was fired because she refused to pass a student who had barely attended the class.

    UCC and Kean are probably the two most poorly administered schools in the state. At least we have the Union News Daily informing citizens of this situation.

  3. Carol
    December 14, 2015

    The best way to raise graduation rates is to lower standards. Or you can just change the data in the computer. Without the transparency real independent oversight requires, a school can report any results they like and even qualify for bonuses. Columbus OH City Schools demonstrated this in spades a few years ago.

  4. newbie
    December 14, 2015

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T is lacking at UCC. The administration appears to act like an absolute monarchy when it comes to the adjunct faculty. They will not listen to our expertise and now forcibly include us on only 6 committees. Even though the adjunct faculty makes up over 70% of the instructional staff we are treated like serfs and disrespected. Yes we are ‘at will employees’ but even as such we do deserve to be recognized and respected.

  5. Cordelia Siporin
    December 14, 2015

    I can attest to the very real atmosphere of intimidation and retaliation from first-hand experience. I was an adjunct at UCC during the 2014-2015 academic year, things were great and my prospects were promising–until I started speaking out at board meetings. I had stellar peer and student reviews, and had been offered summer courses even though I was only a first-time adjunct; things were going great–until I was called into my supervisor’s office and told that the administration had instructed them to rescind the offer of my summer classes, and, it was implied, not to offer me any more classes in the future.
    I asked to know the reason why, and my supervisor admitted that it was very clearly the result of my speeches to the UCC board of trustees and my adjunct union activity–though the “official” reason was some flimsy technical excuse about my humanities research Masters Degree being quite suddenly unsatisfactory to teach the basic, entry-level humanities courses I was assigned and had been teaching with great success for a year.
    The truly ironic thing, to me, is the fact that I was originally recommended for the courses I had been teaching by President McMenamin herself; I had a connection to her via a helpful family member (before I had any idea what she was like), and she had been sent my resume and asked to recommend the department of her choice to hire me to teach whatever courses she deemed appropriate for my degree credentials…! The fact that the college administration found my resume spontaneously inadequate as soon as I started speaking out against the abuses of power going on in the administration, when it had been the president herself who originally recommended me for them, strikes me as extremely telling.
    And then, as it turned out, I was actually merely the first one to go–just a couple semesters later, I see the entire adjunct union board beginning to suffer the same fate as I did, courses being taken away one by one. These are veteran professors who taught the same courses at the same times for years, sometimes decades–suddenly having their classes taken away from them out of nowhere because they dared to speak out. It’s blatantly obvious: at UCC, people who speak out against administrative abuse suffer retaliatory measures.
    It’s no wonder that an atmosphere of intimidation and fear of retaliation is festering at the core of UCC–skilled and talented professional educators are being targeted for exercising their first amendment rights and speaking truth to an intractable and abusive administration.

  6. John Henry Newman
    December 17, 2015

    This is not only a problem at UCC. It is also a problem at Montclair State University, and a very serious one where many of the same union-busting tactics and academic sloppiness (increased graduation rates and ratings) are pushed by the administrative clerks– most of whom have not been in a classroom in decades. It is time for the unions to step in heavily to really protect their members, to further quality education and to put a monkey wrench into the wheels of the business-model of education, which serves no one and indeed damages students.

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