February 25, 2008

NEWS: Pestacides Aside

The Plain View on Pesticides
Photos by John J. Tipton, The Porterville Recorder, Noticiero Semanal

New America Media's Photo of the Day blog features a victory march that reminded me of my days as a farmworker.

The march, which took place in Plainview, Calif., came in response to new buffer zones established in Tulare County. The buffer zone prohibits cropdusters from spraying pesticides near residential areas, labor camps and schools.

As farmworkers, my family primarily worked around Plainview, Texas. I remember being 10 years-old and having cropdusters spray us as we worked to clear weeds from the soybean and cotton fields.

My mom would yell for us to get down and to cover our noses and mouths. But I always welcomed the low flying cropdusters. The chemical droplets felt like cool rain on my skin -- even if it made my clothes smell the way medicine tasted.

My mother died of breast cancer in 1992. She was 47.

February 22, 2008

COMMENTARY: BOT Play-by-Play

This edited summary of yesterday's Board of Trustee meeting combines the version posted on the college's electronic mail server, Infolist, the version by Faculty Association President Mike Martin posted to the FA listerv in green, and my sarcastic comments in red.

New Library

The board heard a presentation from the Clark Enersen Group about plans for the library of the 21st century. Possibilities include renovating the existing Billington Library, building a new library and renovating the existing building, or building an addition to the library and renovating the existing structure. The last option is the one Clark Enersen recommends, which keeps the project within the $35 million budget. The new structure would be to the southeast of the existing library. The project would include a bridge to the Regnier Center; space for offices and programs already housed within the library; space for programs that would be good partners for the library, such as the Writing Center and the Academic Achievement Center, among others; more classrooms; faculty offices; and perhaps underground parking. The board and the Facilities Committee will continue to discuss possibilities for the library.

As an employee of the library, I really don’t have much to say about this project other than we really do need a new facility, which will happen. The big question is ultimately what will students get? No one has really explained that to me -- or the campus.

While no actions were taken, open, informative discussions were had. I expressed to the Board that a contemporary library is central to the operation and mission of an academic institution. We support a new library and also acknowledge a shortage of classrooms and office space -- some of the four plans addressed this better than others.

When the faculty were asked (several years ago and under a different administration) to support a new art museum and the Regnier Center, it was pledged that at least 25 classrooms would be gained from the buildings and the vacated spaces. To date, we have a net gain of 18 classrooms (and that was up from the 11 or 12 that were first rolled out).

Based on their experience with the Nerman and Regnier buildings, the FA is right to worrying about a new library. Like them, I’m concerned the process of creating a student-friendly library will get bastardized into another opportunity to reward donors with useless named facilities. I’m concerned that administrators will claim this new prime real estate overlooking the Japanese Garden and Regnier Center. I’m mostly concerned that students will end up with yet another building created for them that they cannot use.

I expressed to the board that program growth and sustainability require additional classroom and office space. We, the faculty, are poised to do more with grants and collaborative initiatives, but that requires the space to grow (and not to displace current offerings). I tried to express to the Board that classrooms and office space are a high priority for the faculty. While the Board does serve as stewards for the community to the financial resources of the College, they also serve as stewards for the community to the intellectual resources/talent within it; by providing adequate classroom and office space for the College at a time when we are anticipating growth in student numbers and faculty initiatives, the Board can help to catalyze the intellectual growth and work-readiness of the community.

Students totally support creating more offices for faculty. We know -- as does the college -- that cramming multiple instructors into one office violates student privacy.

The external firm did involve two faculty members from the library, Carol Campbell and Judy Guzzy, but did not involve any other faculty; given that some of the four plans did involve regular classrooms and faculty offices, it seems prudent that other faculty would have been involved in these considerations. The report given was preliminary and there should be future opportunities for engagement as plans might proceed.

Armed Campus

Dr. Wayne Brown, executive vice president, administration, gave an update on safety matters. The deliberation on whether the current department of Public Safety should become a police force continues (yeah, sure it does). As an intermediate step, certified officers will be equipped with OC (pepper) spray and a baton. All officers will be outfitted with bulletproof vests. In addition, funds have been budgeted for two fully-equipped police vehicles in next year's budget (‘deliberation,’ huh?). Two vendors will be interviewed regarding a campus-wide emergency notification system. A web survey will be conducted to ask students, faculty and staff their opinion about having a police force on campus (which we already have with an armed officer from Overland Park) to help make justify the decision.

Seriously?

It was suggested in new business that the Pledge of Allegiance be said before each JCCC Board Meeting. Also, a desire to have a US flag and a copy of the US Constitution be placed in each classroom (preliminary costs were given for some of this) was expressed. It will be a topic for the Board at an upcoming retreat. A primary retreat consideration will be on potentially switching to a policy governance approach on behalf of the Board.

Governance

Trustees Don Weiss and Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, President Terry Calaway, and Vice President Dorothy Friedrich have been working on policy governance, which is a model for board oversight and decision making.

Anything project involving Dorothy Friedrich, a woman who violated college policy by covering up for Carlsen’s alleged harassment, makes me think it’s a bad idea.

Policy governance focuses on policy issues while leaving operational decisions to the president and administration. Weiss will present the framework for policy governance to the board over the next few months, and the subject will also be discussed at the board retreat April 19.

Other Actions
  • The board approved a new course in administration of justice and course fees for floriculture and horticulture courses.
  • The board approved clinical affiliates for the dental hygiene program.
  • They approved the proposal from SKC Smart Communications for the purchase of an audiovisual system for the Healthcare Simulation Center at a cost of $352,263.
  • They approved a three-year extension of the lease agreement at King's Cove in the following amounts: March 1, 2008-Feb. 28, 2009, $110,703; March 1, 2009-Feb. 28, 2010, $115,222; and March 1, 2010-Feb. 28, 2011, $119.740. The total square footage of lease space will increase from 8,357 to 9,037. Kings Cove is used for credit education classes for the practical nursing program and health occupations.
  • The board approved an international student exchange policy that promotes student participation in the study abroad program by providing for a tuition exchange for international students from designated international schools, programs or agencies. (I don’t know what that means.)
  • The board also approved the bids for purchasing a digital color production printing system, science lab supplies, audiovisual equipment, theater lighting, ceiling renovation in the Commons building, and carpet for the renovation projects in the Carlsen Center and the Billington Library.

Faculty Association

The board also met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss the benefit package, which pertains to matters of non-elected personnel and to consult with the college attorney. The college has received a proposal from Blue Cross Blue Shield for an increase in benefits of 9.2 percent, which exceeds the 9 percent threshold for opening the contract with the Faculty Association. The board approved the 9.2 percent increase in benefits; members of the Faculty Association will vote on the contract before the end of the month.

I don’t know what this means, either.

When we first negotiated our multi-year contract (but with annual vote), it was not anticipated by the board or the bargaining unit that a health plan option would be removed as BCBS has done. This has resulted in additional, unforeseen costs and we all are now in positions to be responsive to them. Through the work of HR, the FA, and the benefits committee we have worked to retain our benefits package and philosophy. At last night's meeting, the board voted to cover the projected 9.2 percent increase in benefit costs and to keep with the practiced philosophy of full-family coverage and basic life insurance being contained within our allotted flex benefit credits. This is conditional upon a vote of the bargaining unit (to be conducted next week via email) and, if it is voted up, will be implemented for all JCCC faculty and staff. More will follow on this soon.

Okay, so this had to do with a health benefits, right? And now everyone should be cool with the outcome, yes?

Boring Stuff

The board also heard a report from the college's lobbyist in Topeka, Dick Carter. Carter talked about what has been happening in Topeka, including bills on energy, immigration, educational funding practices, and the state budget.

These faculty and staff members were recognized for their achievements:

  • Karen Gerety Folk, curator of education, Nerman Museum, had an essay published in an anthology on art museum education.
  • Robert Brandon, Postal Services associate, was commended for finding and returning more than $400 that was dropped in the hall. (I’d like to say that I’d do the same -- and I probably would. But still, that’s 400 bucks … man, that’s a lot of money. He had better have gotten a reward.)
  • Dr. Marilyn Rhinehart, vice president, Instruction, received the Administrator Award of Distinction from Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year schools.

Charles Rogers, director, Carlsen Center, listed performers who will appear in the Carlsen Center series in 2008-2009:

  • The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (boring)
  • The Czech Symphony Orchestra (boring)
  • Savion Glover - Tap dancer (Hurray!)
  • Branford Marsalis - Musician (Cool, cool)
  • Ruben Studdard - American Idol winner (… interesting)
  • Garrison Keillor - humorist (Funny for old people)
  • Luna Negra Dance Theater (Hot Latin guys and girls? ¡Que Rico!)
  • National Acrobats of China (Is that like Cirque du Soliel?)
  • Zakir Hussain - folk drumming from Grammy-award (...uhmm, ok)
  • The Capitol Steps - political satire (Political satire in an election year? That’s just crazy!)

The next meeting of the JCCC board of trustees is at 5 p.m. March 27 in the Hugh W. Speer Board Room, 137 GEB. Board of trustee meetings are open to the public.

You can watch archived Board of Trustee meetings on JCCC’s video server.

February 21, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Bomb Threat


Let me be clear, this did not take place at Johnson County Community College but rather Emporia State University (ESU), where I am also a distance learning student.
SECURITY ALERT

At approximately 1:30 p.m., Thursday February 21, a message was found scrawled on a wall in Plumb Hall, indicating there was a bomb in the building. It was unknown when the message was placed. Staff in offices and classrooms in the building were alerted and encouraged to look for anything out of place. Police and Safety and Facilities staff walked through all areas of the building and have completed a thorough review revealing no threats. The search was completed by 2:00 pm. At this point, we have no reason to believe the message was anything other than a prank. But individuals are encouraged to be ever vigilant of anything out of place and notify Police and Safety accordingly.

Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008, by the Office of the Vice President for Student Life
This message came via ESU's student e-mail accounts and the Buzzin Announcement page. Buzzin serves as ESU's web portal allowing access to student accounts, enrollment. According to the college, Buzzin "serve[s] as the single point of entry for the university's information assets."

INFOLIST: CLOSED

From the electronic e-mail server, Infolist:
From: InfoList [mailto:infolist@list.jccc.net]
Sent: Thu 02/21/08 2:30 PM
To: InfoList
Subject: College closing at 3:30 p.m.

Because freezing rain is expected to start between 4:30 and 5 p.m. today, the college will close at 3:30 p.m. All evening classes are canceled. The trustee meeting will still take place at 4 p.m.

The TXTJCCC service sent a text message 15 minutes later.

INFOLIST: Boards' Meeting on Safety Moved

Three hours before its scheduled monthly meeting, the JCCC Board of Trustees has changed meeting times. In a message posted on the college's electronic mail server, Infolist, the board moved its meeting time up from 5 pm to 4 pm. The message gave no reason for the time change.

Part of the agenda includes an update on campus safety:

As an intermediate step as the college continues to evaluate the department of Public Safety versus a police department, JCCC Public Safety officers who are Kansas certified police officers will be issued OC “pepper” spray and a collapsible baton.

  • In most cases these officers have decades of law enforcement experience.
  • These officers are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education per year and qualify with a firearm to maintain their Kansas certification.
  • They will complete a 4-8 hour class and certification with OC spray.
  • They will complete a 4-8 hour class and certification with the baton.

All Public Safety officers will be issued and will be required to wear bullet-proof vests during their work shift.

Two fully-equipped police vehicles will be budgeted in the upcoming fiscal year.

There will be a web survey of the college community to determine views regarding the department of Public Safety versus a campus police department.

Access the Board Report (agenda) for this month's meeting here.

February 20, 2008

TIME OUT: J-lessons from NIU tragedy

I heard from Danielle Guerra, my Associated Press Diverse Voices/Diverse Visions colleague, who is now at The Northwest Herald. Danielle served as a photographer at the AP seminar/mini-internship in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2006.

After the program, she sent the group an e-mail saying she was considering moving into video. She seemed conflicted about it. I think Danielle struggled with the decision because even in the age of convergence, video doesn't get the respect it deserves. Also, there's the fear that change means leaving what you love behind. In her case, it's her passion for telling stories through images.

Clearly, Danielle still has a passion for photography as seen on her Sports Shooter page. Yet, one can also feel her passion for video.

So the lesson is that if you love telling people's stories, it doesn't matter what form it takes -- the passion will come through.
Hey guys!

Thanks for checking out my videos! NIU was very difficult to cover. I was on the scene about 45 minutes after the shooting and there such a mixture of feelings.

Nobody knew if the gunman was caught or dead, cell phones didn't work, and students either wandering around in a trance or locked up in residence halls.

The day after the shooting, the national media arrived in Dekalb. It was quite a mess just trying to talk to people one-on-one without 15 cameras behind me being shoved in their face while they are mourning.

I cover Dekalb quite a bit and our sister paper is the Dekalb Daily Chronicle so I felt I needed a different level of respect while I was gathering my news because unlike the national media, I would have to come back and cover the college past this tragedy. I remember how outraged Virginia Tech was with the media.

So I knew that one of the victims worked for the school paper and I had some student journalists sitting next to me at a press conference so I asked if I could tag along. There's only so many mourning videos, I as a person, can do. And the staff actually said that working through this and writing stories and taking pictures helped the cope. I thought they did a tremendous job going toe-to-toe with the national media and delivering the news students on and off campus needed to hear.

Other than NIU, things are great here. We were featured on Editor and Publisher for our NIU coverage. I have a project about a local brain cancer cluster up right now and my paper just nominated it for a Pulitzer in local reporting. It's exciting.

I know when I was at the workshop I was unsure of my decision to jump into video, but I'm glad a paper took a chance on me and I'm glad I made that decision.

Hope all of you are well.

NIU really put people into perspective for me, so tell people close to you that you love them.

God bless,

Danielle

February 19, 2008

NEWS: Inside the NIU Shootings

Hassan S. Ali produced and posted great 10-minute video at FRESHCUT featuring the staff of NIU's student newspaper, The Northern Star. This is exactly why I'm proud to be a student journalist.





Another video featuring the student newspaper comes from The Northwest Herald. The video is by Danielle Guerra, one of my student colleagues from the 2006 Associated Press Diverse Visions/Diverse Voices program.

INFOLIST: AQIP'd


Posted today on the college's electronic e-mail server, Infolist:

A MESSAGE FROM DANA GROVE

Last Friday, JCCC received its Systems Appraisal Feedback Report from the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) of the Higher Learning Commission. The link below is to the college’s AQIP page which includes both the report and the AQIP Systems Portfolio that we submitted last October and upon which the report is based. I urge you to look through the review and refer back to areas in the portfolio where review observations are made. The report both suggests potential methods of improving institutional operations and cites current processes that the college has successfully implemented. Overall, I believe the report is an encouraging summary of the systems that JCCC has in place to promote quality improvement.

Two points are salient to understanding the report: First, this report does not validate accreditation. Accreditation status with the Higher Learning Commission through AQIP will be determined in two to three years. At that time, an AQIP team will visit the campus to review our successful processes and to measure how suggestions made in the report have been addressed. The second point is that AQIP focuses exclusively on processes, not on end products, and this is how AQIP differs from the traditional accreditation process. The philosophy behind Continual Quality Improvement programs like AQIP is that quality systems will produce quality outcomes, and this is an approach that JCCC dedicated itself to four years ago when it adopted AQIP.

Since I am a trained AQIP Systems Portfolio Appraiser, I would be more than happy to respond to any questions or comments you may have. I look forward to working with you on analyzing and implementing processes and systems here at JCCC.

Thank you.

http://www.jccc.net/home/depts.php/001000/site/aqip

February 18, 2008

INFOLIST: Schedule it

Another change coming down the pipe:

CHANGES TO THE CREDIT CLASS SCHEDULE

Beginning with summer 2008, the credit class schedule will be split into two different pieces. One piece is a "just in time" schedule of classes only. The inside cover will have steps on how to enroll on EASI and the back inside cover will have steps to pay online through EASI. Other than that, it is simply a listing of classes offered for that semester. The listing of classes will be reprinted as needed with a print date on the cover. Each printing will include only the classes that are open at the time of printing. The current, up-to-the-minute credit class search (schedule) is available online and is by far the best resource in searching for available classes.

The second piece is the credit enrollment guide. This will be available in print and online. Basically, it will be the first eight pages of the current credit schedule. The calendar and deadline dates will be printed as well as a piece entitled "How to Become a JCCC Student" followed by more in depth information.

Streamlining credit enrollment and payment information in an easier format is the goal. This is a work in progress and will be evolving as we continue to review and refine. This has been a collaborative project among areas within Student Services, Instruction, Finance, IT and College Information.

The online summer credit enrollment guide, the printed summer credit enrollment guide and the summer credit class search (schedule) will be available beginning March 3.

INFOLIST: To Your Health!

After years of writing about the need for a student health center in The Ledger, I'm glad to post this message from the JCCC electronic mail server, Infolist:

HEALTH CLINIC OPENS TODAY

JCCC’s long-awaited health clinic opens Monday, Feb. 18, in 312 COM. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; you don’t need an appointment. The clinic will be staffed by a nurse practitioner and an LPN, overseen by a physician (a graduate of JCCC). The cost is $25 or the amount of co-pay charged by your insurance carrier for seeing your primary care physician. The clinic can treat you for colds, flu, strains, sprains, women’s issues, immunization needs, TB skin tests and other general health needs. The clinic is not intended to replace your primary healthcare provider for the management of chronic health problems. However, blood pressure checks will be done free of charge for those individuals needing this service.

February 15, 2008

NEWS: Textcaster's Text

In 2006, Missouri state Sen. Charlie Shields (R-34) presented Rob Sweeney, CEO of Mobile Media Technologies (MMT), with a resolution recognizing MMT as a contributor to the state’s economic development. MMT owns the text messaging service, Texcaster. (L-R) Sweeney; Shields. Photo courtesy of Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers.

Sweeney Odd
Textcaster CEO Rob Sweeney blames AT&T for Texting Troubles

Since Kansas City-based Textcaster administers the TXTJCCC service, I sent an e-mail asking about the problems disseminating text messages. Rob Sweeney, CEO and founder of Mobile Media Technologies, which owns Textcaster, replied Feb. 15.

Hello Miguel,

We are aware of the recent intermittent delays in text message delivery that clients have experienced when using their TextCaster application. Within the past week, we were able to indentify [sic] the cause of these intermittent delays. This involved a full review of all wireless carrier statistics, throughput rates and queue dependencies affecting all messaging traffic across the United States.

Our research uncovered delivery latencies with Sprint and AT&T. We immediately contacted network operations personnel at each carrier to alert them of the issues we were facing with the delivery of content into their respective networks. Sprint immediately worked with us on a resolution and promptly resolved the matter within days. This action by Sprint has greatly helped service delivery, and, within the past few days, we are seeing no delays in message delivery at this time for Sprint subscribers.

In conversations with AT&T leadership, they acknowledged network difficulties with all data traffic throughout the United States. We suggested technical alternatives similar to what was put in place at Sprint and were advised that this solution may not help resolve the AT&T network issues in the immediate future due to their internal constraints. Nevertheless, we continue to work on a resolution with AT&T and are hopeful that service delivery will improve over time. In the past few days, we have seen some improvement, but we still seek greater reliability.

In the meantime, TextCaster still supports AT&T and we will continue to monitor their network capacity and explore alternatives with their leadership team.

If you have any specific questions relating to this matter, I welcome your phone call.

Regards,

Rob Sweeney
CEO - TextCaster
Office: 816-268-2581

I've sent an e-mail to Don Brown, AT&T's Kansas media spokesperson, asking how AT&T plans to remedy the situation. I also contacted the Olathe and Shawnee Mission school districts who also use Textcaster service and have reportedly experienced the same problems as JCCC. I'll post those replies when and if I get them.

NEWS: Textcaster Disaster

“We wanted to give more info than the 140 characters allowed in texting, so we used infolist and the student announcements." Julie Haas, director of College Information and Publications

Campus Fails to get the (text) Message
Problems with vendor prompts administration to not use text messaging service in an emergency

By Miguel M. Morales


JCCC did not trust its messaging service to deliver an emergency message regarding a missing student Feb. 14.

"We went with what we knew was working well and allowed full communication," said Julie Haas, director of College Information and Publications. “We wanted to give more info than the 140 characters allowed in texting, so we used infolist and the student announcements.”

Textcaster administers the service which is a partnership with the college and the Olathe News.

Rachael Renee Wooldridge, student, Prairie Village, disappeared from campus yesterday after calling her father for a ride. Wooldridge turned up in Lawrence later that evening.

Haas said currently more than 3,700 people signed up for the college's text messaging service, TXTJCCC, through the college’s website. That is a 740 percent increase from this time last year. Despite the success at enrolling the campus community in the TXTJCCC service, the college has been experiencing trouble with the system.

When a snowstorm caused the college to close Feb. 6, the TXTJCCC service sent a message notifying students, staff and faculty. However many did not receive the message until 10 am or later. “If you recall from last week [during the snowstorm], we had a little trouble with text messaging service. They were running slow and some of the carriers (AT&T, for one) didn’t let the messages through,” Haas explained.

She also added that part of the responsibility falls with those who signed up for the service.

“We’re finding out one problem is when people change carriers,” she said. “Even if their phone numbers stay the same, they have to get back in and change the carrier or they won’t get a message.”

February 14, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: FOUND

Missing Student Found Alive
Disapperance raises questions about college's emergency text-messaging system


By Miguel M. Morales

Hours after canvassing Johnson Count Community College, Overland Park Police located missing student, Rachael Renee Wooldridge, in Lawrence, Kan.

A bus driver reportedly recognized Wooldridge and called police. OPPD did not reveal Wooldridge's condition or the circumstances of her disappearnce pending futher investigation.

Earlier today, Wooldridge called her father to pick her up from school. When he arrived, he found only her jacket and backpack on a bench in front of the Carlsen Center.

Campus security began searching for Wooldridge shortly after and released an alert four hours later on the college's electronic
listerve. However, the campus text-messaging service,
TXTJCCC, used to notify students of campus emergencies failed to alert the campus community that a student had gone missing.

The college started the TXTJCCC service in January 2007 and aggressively pushed the service following the tragedy at Virginia Tech. The service is in partnership with The Olathe News and Textcaster.

After an individual signs up for the TXTJCCC service, the college will send messages or e-mail to his or her cell phone, wireless PDA or pager. According to the college's
promotional video on the service's sign up page, text message options include campus reminders, trivia contests, merchandise deals, weather closings and emergencies.

BREAKING NEWS: MISSING STUDENT UPDATE

The college has a text messaging systems for emergencies but as of 5 p.m., it had not notified the campus of the missing student.

From what I found, she is from Prairie Village.

BREAKING NEWS: STUDENT MISSING

From Johnson County Community College's electronic mail server, Infolist:
From: InfoList [mailto:infolist@list.jccc.net]
Sent: Thu 02/14/08 4:20 PM
To: InfoList
Subject: Missing Student

Rachel R. Wooldridge, 19, a JCCC student, has been reported missing. Rachel is six feet tall, 140 pounds, with shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes, no visible piercings or tattoos, with small white birthmarks on the back of her neck. Her family came to campus to pick her up at 12:30 p.m. and could not find her. If you see her, please call the Overland Park Police, 913-895-6300.

HEADLINE: Queens

This headline about the writer's strike ... struck me as hilarious.

February 13, 2008

NEWS: Write On!


Write Click
WGA members pen happy ending to Internet battle

Today most of the Writer's Guild of America members went back to work ending a 100-day strike.

More than 3,700 WGA members voted Feb. 12 on a proposal to accept a new contract. In the end, 92 percent voted to approve the deal.

The strike caused cancellation of the Golden Globes and threatened the upcoming Academy Awards telecast. The strike is also estimated to have cost more than 3.2 billion dollars in lost local revenue for the city of Los Angeles.

As part of the new contract, producers agree to pay writers for shows that stream full episodes and exclusive content via the Internet.

Saturday Night Live will be one of the first shows to return with Tina Fey, former head writer and cast member, hosting. Fey's show, "30 Rock" will also return with five new episodes in April.



NEWS: Save the Internets


Thousands share a 'neutral' passion
Net Neutrality Finds Bipartisan Support



By Miguel M. Morales

An ongoing effort to protect the Internet continued Feb 12.

In a bipartisan effort, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) introduced HR 5353, Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008, to protect net neutrality and call for a public conversation about the future of the Internet.

Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunication and the Internet, stressed the importance of adopting a policy that endorses open networks because of “the vital role that broadband networks and the Internet fulfill in exercising our First Amendment rights.”

The new legislation incorporates net neutrality protection into the Communications Act in efforts to preserve the open and non-discriminatory Internet. Net neutrality prevents companies owning Internet support systems from favoring web sites or services based on source, ownership, or destination.

Supporters of net neutrality claim phone and cable companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner continue lobbying congress in efforts to kill net neutrality and gain control over the Internet.

“H.R. 5353 is designed to assess and promote Internet freedom for consumers and content providers,” Markey said.

Markey also answered critics who say the bill serves as a government effort to control the internet.

“There are some who may wish to assert that this bill regulates the Internet. It does no such thing,” he said. “The bill contains no requirements for regulations on the Internet whatsoever.”

The bill also calls for the FCC to hold a series of eight public “broadband summits” across the country and to report findings and recommendations to Congress.

Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press, which coordinates the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, said HR 5353 takes net neutrality outside of Washington DC to the communities across the country that want to share in the enormous economic and social benefits of an open Internet.

“The introduction of this legislation gives hope to the millions of Americans who want the public — not phone and cable companies — in control of the Internet,” he said.

More than 800 joined the SavetheInternet.com coalition to ensure net neutrality. Members include the Christian Coalition of America, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Gun Owners of America, Educause, Consumer Federation of America, the ACLU, and

the American Library Association.

An open Internet connection is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity for every American to take part in our 21st century democracy,” Karr said. “The public must speak out against would-be gatekeepers that seek to filter or control the future of the Internet.”



Just for fun

February 7, 2008

NEWS: Kansas' Super Tuesday

'Barack gets 11'
Kansas' Super Tuesday Smackdown
Bobby Schmuck, Mill Valley High School alumni and organizer for the Obama campaign, announces the delegate count. photo-Kevin Anderson, Shawnee Dispatch


By Miguel M. Morales

"How could you not know who you're going to vote for?" a small boy asked his mother as they stood in line at Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kan., on Super Tuesday.

Earlier when the boy awed that it must cost a lot of money to vote, she used the time standing in line to educate him on the intricacies of U.S. democracy. She explained how it takes money to run for office but not to vote.

"Voting is free," she explained.

But when it came to answering his question about who she would vote for, she looked up and smiled at everyone who was transfixed on their private yet public conversation.

While his was the question of the night, Kansas democrats answered it with a resounding 73 percent for Obama.

Paula Sayles, former JCCC student, stood as one of four who caucused for Edwards. Despite allegiance to Edwards, organizers designated Sayles' group and others individuals as "undecided."

Fifteen participants out of more than 1,500 declined to support Obama or Clinton during the initial caucus count. When organizers officially dubbed the group not viable, only four chose not to align with any group -- Sayles and her fellow Edwards supporters.

Sayles said even though other Edward's supporters flocked to support Obama and, to a lesser extent, Clinton, she would stand by her candidate during the caucus.

Confusion about the caucus system and disorganization at Mill Valley caused several attendees to leave after the first count. Organizers incorrectly told participants they could leave before a second count could be administered.

Logistics also played a major role in the chaos. Organizers scheduled the caucus for the school's theater that only holds 350 yet more than 1,500 people attended. The school previously scheduled a basketball game that evening making parking, meeting and caucusing difficult. Supporters met in hallways, classrooms and, when the basketball game concluded, the gym.

By the end of the night, in Kansas Congressional District 3 - State Senate District 10, Obama won 11 delegates to Clinton's four.

'Barack gets 11'


According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Kansas broke down with Obama winning 23 delegates and Clinton 9.

February 4, 2008

INFOLIST: Townhall Notes

Today JCCC posted a summary of President Calaway's townhall meeting on the electronic mail server, Infolist.

Dr. Terry Calaway, JCCC president, and Mike Martin, mathematics professor and president of the Faculty Association, co-facilitated a Town Hall meeting Jan. 31.

Dr. Calaway began the meeting by recognizing and congratulating the college’s new executive assistant to the president for diversity, Dr. Carmaletta Williams. He then asked for questions.

Q. In a recent interview, why did you say students were prepared for college classes?

In the interview Dr. Calaway had said that students are better prepared now than they were in the past. While there is certainly room for improvement, the trend data is improving.

Q. This is the six-month anniversary of the new smoking policy. Do you think it’s being adequately enforced?

There are things we can do better. When we see smoking in restricted areas happening, we can inform people who can stop it. Dr. Dennis Day, vice president, Student Services, encouraged people to ask Public Safety for help when they see smoking occurring in restricted areas. The Student Senate will also be asked to work with students to help resolve problems with enforcement.

Q. Are there plans to work with the high schools on math and science?

We have the opportunity to work with our K-12 partners to strengthen students’ abilities in math and science. We want to encourage students to see us as a college of first choice by building relationships with influencers in the K-12 systems.

Q. With the new role faculty will have in shaping the college’s direction, some people will have more involvement now and others will have less than they have been accustomed to. Would you speak to that?

There will be changes to wrestle with. Engaging more people in decisions will lengthen our processes. With broadening the conversation comes disagreement. But having an open form for discussion and debate makes the experience richer. There can be awkward times during the process, but change is about conversation and implementing the best processes we can to accomplish our goals.

Q. In the upcoming dean search, will we look at external candidates, internal candidates, or both? Will the committee make the decision, or could someone override it?

We’ll start with internal candidates and give them a good shot. We haven’t always looked at our internal talent, so we’ll ask the hiring committees to talk to the talent we have. To do otherwise wouldn’t be fair to those who have gone through our leadership development programs and processes. The committees will need to consider whether we have the right person for the position inside or not. However, if the committee says we don’t have the right person for the position, no one will impose someone, although if something doesn’t seem quite right about a person, the committee could be asked to do some further reference checks.

A later questioner asked about timing, in that we’d be hiring deans to administer departments that would likely change. We already have position descriptions for the deans and for assistant deans, so that’s a place to start, fully aware that things will change. For the chair positions, though, we’ve had in the past “one size fits all” descriptions. We have more work to do there to determine what each position should be and how the positions should change across the disciplines.

Q. Is there a timeline on the reorganization process?

We hope to be able to post for the deans’ positions in March. The chairs will take longer, since the subcommittee needs to talk about compensation and release time, so those postings may not come till the end of the term. We also need to work through what we will do with the assistant dean positions.

Q. When hiring faculty through the current budget process, we don’t find out till late spring that we can have a new position, and then we can’t hire till the next budget year. Can we look at that process?

We can. The variables are the tax levy and the amount coming to us from assessed property values. As long as we have an estimate of that, the process could change.

Q. Should we have a better ratio of part-time to full-time faculty positions?

While adjunct faculty are cost effective in the classroom, so much more goes with a faculty position than classroom teaching. The more full-time faculty we can afford, the better off we are. The same is true for non-faculty. Full-time people are more likely to be involved in institutional efforts. We’d like to see the number of part-time positions shrink and the number of full-time positions grow, but that’s not done overnight. Alternative sources of funding, as in grants, would help.

Q. How much is shared governance an outcome of good practices as opposed to something we try to achieve?

As an example, one of our goals is to retain students. But if we do the right things, we’ll retain students. The goal is to do the right thing the first time, to provide the best environment for students and employees, so that the outcome is retention. The same will be true of shared governance.

Q. Is there an update on part-time benefits?

Dr. Judy Korb, vice president, human resources and organizational development, noted that the committee would reconvene this semester. Mike Martin noted that the faculty contract would re-open because of changes to the college’s benefit plan; negotiations will take place in March.

Q. Do we know when the health clinic will open?

Dr. Day responded that the walls are going up in the clinic space (312-14 COM) right now, and it should be open by mid-February.

Q. What do we anticipate happening in Topeka this year?

Dr. Calaway will be speaking to the legislature about deferred maintenance of buildings. In addition, the college will work to expand state-supported financial aid to community college students (university students are eligible for this, but community college students currently are not). We will try to “play more offense than defense” in Topeka this year. The Kansas Technical Authority studying technical education is still a possible threat, but we’ve worked with so that they view us as a model for technical education in the state, so we’re cautiously optimistic in that regard. We’re also concerned about the lack of support from KACCT (Kansas Association of Community College Trustees). We are working with a new lobbyist, Dick Carter, and may also ask members of the faculty to assist in Topeka to help deliver a more powerful message.

Q. What’s happening with the proposed salary study?

Mitch Borchers, director, purchasing, responded. We have received six proposals for the salary study and will be bringing two vendors to campus for interviews. We hope to choose a vendor to conduct the study and send a recommendation to the board for approval in March. Most vendors say they will need four to six months to do the study, and we’ll need to budget funds to cover the cost.

Q. How will we increase diversity among the faculty and staff if we hire internal candidates for open positions?

We can encourage diverse internal candidates to apply. We can call people and talk to people. We can’t be passive. We’ll have to identify people and places to recruit. As the institution grows and changes, there will be opportunities for new diverse faculty and staff to advance.

Q. Will the budget support the changes from the re-organization?

If the budget remains as is, no. But if we change it, yes. The question is, do we have the will as an institution to do what we say is important? We have the resources to do what we want to do. We have to decide what is our highest priority. Those are the questions we need to ask in our budgeting and strategic planning processes – how do we set institutional priorities?

Q. Will we take the same thorough look at reorganization for the other branches?

Yes. The Continuing Education and Community Services branch is starting to look at possible reorganization options. We anticipate the same may be true for the other branches.

Another Town Hall meeting will be scheduled in the next couple of months

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