The Reinventor

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Chicago’s plan to dramatically “reinvent” its city college system is running into a few problems. For the past year the city colleges have been working on a “journey of Reinvention to ensure student success at the City Colleges of Chicago.” The city colleges’ website explains that:

Task forces are developing and refining hypotheses in each of the priority areas for improvement, conducting research at best practice institutions, and are engaging their frequent collaborators.

That sunny, if vague, summary disguises the fact that the process has been a little slow going.

According to a piece by Joanne Jacobs in Community College Spotlight, the person in charge of reinvention, Chancellor Cheryl Hyman (right) is a little controversial:

A blog is calling for her removal and “a straw poll taken at each of the seven colleges found that a majority of the faculty had no confidence in the administration.” Critics say she’s wasting millions of dollars on new central-office administrators, while demanding that six of seven college presidents re-apply for their jobs.

No surprise there; if Hyman really wants to reinvent something, she should be controversial to those who aren’t interested in major changes.

And major changes are probably necessary. The on-time graduation rate in the Chicago City College system is currently seven percent.

In addition, Hyman has never run an academic institution, something that apparently worries many city college employees. Hyman was an executive at Chicago’s utility company.

Again, seven percent graduation rate. Experience being “vice president for operations strategy and business intelligence” for an electric utility doesn’t necessarily mean Human can have some dramatic role in improving graduation rates. But whatever the city colleges are doing now sure isn’t working. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer