Faculty concerned over City Colleges chancellor prospect

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Staff Writer
  • June 11, 2009 @ 1:00 PM

At least one City Colleges faculty member has concerns about rumors circulating over who could be the district’s next chancellor.

Keith McCoy, the chairman of the City Colleges faculty council, told the board of trustees this morning that he didn’t like the prospect of City Clerk Miguel del Valle becoming chancellor.

“It sends a bad precedent to state that someone who’s never been part of the administration or the district can run one effectively,” McCoy said this morning.

Del Valle, who was appointed to be city clerk in 2006, had previously served in the state senate for almost 20 years. During that time, he was the vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee and also served on committees for higher education and education funding reform, according to information on his state senate biographical page.

Del Valle's rumored  candidacy for the top job was first reported yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times.

McCoy today urged that the board promote someone from within the City Colleges to take over the post when Wayne Watson leaves July 31. McCoy raised similar issues in February amid reports at the time that Barbara Eason-Watkins, a Chicago Public Schools administrator, had been approached about the top City Colleges job.

City Colleges officials, including Watson, declined to comment on the chancellor selection process today.

McCoy said he doesn’t want to see the good things happening at the City Colleges “disrupted by the wrong person sitting at the helm.”

In other business, several hundred college students in Chicago will be able to get summer jobs through the City Colleges thanks to $900,000 in federal stimulus money.

The funds, which are distributed through the city’s workforce development programs, will pay for 450 students to work for the City Colleges for six weeks this summer, says Vice Chancellor Angela Henderson.

“Really our goal is for them to get some workforce experience,” says vice chancellor Angela Henderson.

The students will do things like tutor City Colleges students and work in the district’s information technology department.

“We have different projects depending on the student’s skill set,” Henderson says.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports indicate that fewer teenagers are employed this year than last year, and across the nation, teenagers are having a harder time finding summer jobs.

The $900,000 the City Colleges has for summer jobs is part of more than $1 billion in federal stimulus funding nationwide that is paying for summer jobs for teenagers.

The application deadline for the jobs has already passed. The City Colleges received 1,000 applications for the positions, Henderson says, of which 650 were qualified. The jobs will start June 22.

Henderson announced the funding for the jobs at a City Colleges board meeting this morning.

In other business, Henderson says summer enrollment at the district is up 12 percent for credit classes compared to last summer. Enrollment in workforce development and vocational training classes are up about 11 percent this summer compared to last summer.

The trends  mirror similar increases in vocational enrollment that the City Colleges saw in the previous academic year. In general, enrollment at community colleges increases during recessions as workers get laid off and look to get training in different fields.

Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.