San Diego – Today is the first day of classes at City College for Fall 2011. Getting ready for it and all it encompasses and includes has taken pretty much my full attention over the last week so I’ve not had time to write.
Not that fun stuff isn’t happening. In California, the poster child for a cradle to grave nanny-state, where education is in shambles, schools are scrambling just to keep doors open and teachers hired, the state legislature is considering a critical new bill. No, it is not about the budget idiocy; it is about banning flat sheets from hotels. Additionally I have learned, in a dressing down from my dean, that playing nice in the sandbox and acting like non-performers are to be respected is more important than the success of our educational mission (which explains an enormous amount to me), and during the convocation we had the union rep give an openly, overtly political speech far beyond even some of his screeds to the email distribution list. All fodder for comment to be sure.
But this semester is not only about to start with an interesting load of classes, it also marks a turning point in my attitude. The program has been my life since 2005. Dave (my fellow full time faculty member) have sacrificed breaks, paid for supplies from our own pocket, provided our own time to work on equipment and systems and he even taught a class for free because the administration stabbed students int he back and he felt it important to keep his promise to them. While my respect for some of our internal vendors, and those who think turning away from the truth of their (or anyone’s) incompetence is a good thing, plummeted, my respect for him rose enormously.
But with such administrative attitudes now holding sway and in the process, in my opinion, facilitating and perpetuating the very problems that have made California an educational laughing stock, it is time to seek to close out this plateau and seek a route up to the next one. By the end of this school year Dave and I thought perhaps we would have things running smoothly and could reclaim some of our “off” time for ourselves. Now instead of a hope and expectation, that, for me, has become a mission. And with it has come a vision for how to use some of that regained off time.
I intend to revisit and revitalize the concept of location workshops and use City College as the host for San Diego’s own growing version of the Santa Fe Workshops initially run by The College of Santa Fe. This will not only bring exposure to our photo program but will allow me to expand my energies to a new project as the project of the new building and new program come full circle.
i have several ideas for making the workshops, at least the location-based ones I run, into something unique and special taking a lesson from the many white water trips i used to enjoy. I’m working on a list of sites, topics, and times and will post those as soon as something is permanent. In addition I have encouraged faculty members to create workshop topics to be hosted by City and by combining all of these we may be able to not only create something new and wonderful, we may be able to use the facilities hosting as a way of pumping some much needed funding back into the photo program at city.
It is all still in the early thinking stages but as it becomes more tangible I’ll start to roll it out here. So stand by. The first week of every semester is filled with chaos so i may not be able to add anything for a number of days but do stand by. Hopefully we will have some very exciting data to follow soon.