Friday, October 13, 2006

Thinking About C/R

College of the Redwoods made the news this week, both in the Times- Standard and North Coast Journal. I don't pay much attention to C/R nowadays, despite moving here back in '73 to attend C/R.

I started out as a Forestry major, then switched majors a couple times until dropping out altogether. Back then C/R ran on a quarter system, with three quarters making up the academic year.

In my early days at C/R I rarely finished a class. Back then, if you stopped showing up for class, they'd just drop you from the class with no penalty. Eventually, they switched to a system where you had to formally drop the class within 10(?) days or you'd be given either a No Credit or an F, I think it depended on the class.

My grade point average gradually deteriorated because I'd never get around to going to the Admin Building and dropping my classes. I ended up being put on academic probation at least a couple times before I gave up C/R altogether.

I was working at Sabrina's Restaurant
at the time and preferred working and having some money in my pocket anyway. (Sabrina's used to be across from the Eureka Theater on F Street back then. The same family now owns Babetta's on Myrtle Avenue in Eureka)

Some years later I ended up returning to C/R part- time as an Administration of Justice major. What a difference age can make. I ended up doing pretty well. While I never completed two or three courses required for graduation, I did manage to get my grade point average up to 3.89. I've always wondered what it would take, given my earlier poor academic showing, to raise my gpa to 4, or if that was even possible?
I do think back fondly of my time at C/R, for the most part, so I was disappointed to read our very own Bob Doran's article in this week's North Coast Journal on College of the Redwoods and the problems with their Sustainable Organic Agriculture Farm down by Shively.

I wasn't so much disappointed in the deteriorating situation the farm is in. I kind of expected that years ago when I first heard of the land being donated for it. I figured back then that the logistics of having an extension down in Shively would be tough enough to make it difficult to maintain.

I was more disappointed in reading deeper in Doran's article on how the vocational aspects of C/R are being downsized more and more over time and that the college is turning into a general education program which prepares students for higher education. In other words- my words: Education for the sake of education.

I hate to see that happen. I've made it clear here before that I'm no friend of the Education- Industrial Complex. Still, I do believe in people learning trades. I figured C/R, despite being a fairly typical bloated government bureaucracy, was the kind of educational facility people need. Sadly, it looks like it's going the way of the rest of the educational establishment, getting away from vocational training and opting for the education for the sake of education role.
Speaking of C/R, the Times- Standard reports today on the geological studies being done at the college to determine if any fault exist at the sites of their proposed new construction. I guess state law says you can't build anything within 50' of an earthquake fault.

I've never understood what difference it would make whether a building was 50' or 200' from a fault. It would seem to me the difference in damage wouldn't be noticeable between such distances. I would think, if the building was single story, and constructed with earthquakes in mind, it wouldn't make much difference if it was a mile away or right on top of the fault.

Then again, I dropped out of Mr. Green's Geology class at C/R after only a couple weeks, so maybe the geologists know better than I do.


At 10:01 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

The machine technology department up until a few years ago was state of the art considerig the location.I went through an apprenticeship in that field from Chabot College in Hayward,right in the backyard of the technology industry's main location.The equipment used at CR was just as good as the equipment at Chabot.All of the CNC's both lathes and mills were in excellent condition.Same with the grinders and laser cutters.I met the head of the department,whose name now skips my mind,and found out that he was a Chabot grad.He new a whole lot,but said he was always sad to see the grads who came from here leave and head to the bay area.I went back there when I took some general classes at CR two years ago,and saw that a lot had changed,and quite a bit of the stuff had deteriorated.I asked the instructor who was standing by a lathe in the corner what happened and he explained to me that the administration saw no need to keep the programs funded because when a student got a certificate,they left the area immediately because there is no work here for that.
It's too bad that the Security National folks refuse to look into situations like this because the ballon tract property could serve as such a valuable asset to light industry which would benefit area businesses by not having to ship out work done by machinists or tool and dye makers.It would allow for the opportunity for small businesses to start up and provide jobs for those recent apprentices.
Back to CR,what a dissappointment they have been of late.I cautioned voters to realy look into measure Q and question what is was about.Most of that money now has been spent,wasted I say,on crap that won't truly benefit the majority of its potential students.Renovating buildings that's about it.How much was spent years back on the construction of the new library prior to measure Q,millions correct?I was told by an administrator a few weeks ago that the oversight committee had been working hard on getting things done,yet nowhere can I find info about the committee itself,and what powers they actually possess.
It's sad to see that happen to the farm,it was such a great asset.I always wondered why they didn't sell produce at the local farmers markets though.Bert did such a good job at keepng everything afloat,and most students I know that worked there have nothing but good things to say about it.But we need to quit giving this place money.They are experts at blowing it away,which sucks because there are great instructors and great people who have worked there and been let go because of budget mismanagement.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Boy you touch on all sorts of issues here.

Here is what is happening over there from my perspective on a couple of the issues you raised.

On general education classes, for alot of different reasons, CR does concentrate on GE classes, full-time loads, and transfers to 4 year schools. They target high students, preferably those who have the resources to pay the bill in full without financial aid, from iside the college district. So, in theory they heavily compete with HSU.

But in reality, HSU concentrates on recruiting affluent out of area students, heavily in big CA cities, and target marketing to out of state and international students.

So both schools have strayed from their mission. HSU to provide a liberal education opportunity to rural Northern California students, from all walks of life.
CR to balance work force development education with GE classes, from all walks of life.

So, work force industry folks are not jumping for joy at the thought of CR. And HSU is coming apart at the seams because HSU is in fact a tourist destination for most students recruited from out of area, they have money, they do the humboldt thing for a year or two and then leave to finish up in a big city. The exception is the EOP students, who have a higher rention and graduation rates then the general population.

Not to say that both schools do not have programs that work within the school's mission, because both do. But reality is both schools are generally way out of step with their original missions.

CR needs to get back on track on construction trades and expand public safety and allied health programs. They need to build new off property.

HSU administrators need to go sit in the corner for a semester or two.

On the fault lines thing, I think the only experts that would strongly agree with your 50-200 ft. theory or those who are ignored by the CR administration.

Which pretty much accounts for most, but not every single one of the experts, even those on the government payroll.


At 11:46 AM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

I guess Joe Porras just went down to Sac and nailed down another 78m for this project. He retires next month, but will be collecting a paycheck from CR until this project is completed as a consultant. That's for at least another 5 years. To date, the only things that the measure Q money has been spent on was the gym floor. The whole reason measure Q passed, well, those buildings are going to get removed. I'm glad the first thing they want to build is a new admin building.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

And how much has been spent so far on that gym floor?And how much are they spending on the new admin building?How much for the new student union building(I always thought union was funny regarding the cafeteria's labor practices)

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like things are pretty rotten in Denmark, Anon.r - maybe it is time someone took a long hard look at CR.

At 1:34 AM, Blogger hucktunes said...

My girlfriend's son is taking a class at the farm this year. He loves it. And his mom sure likes the fresh veggies.


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