For those of you who showed up late at the opening session of Faculty Development Week, you may have wondered why Professor Franklin Reynolds admonished us to wash our hands before lunch.
Other than the sound hygienic advice, Professor Reynolds was playing off of Alvin Bisarya’s powerful call to action earlier in the session.
After taking us through a whirlwind tour of the data about CCC in the context of higher ed, our students, and our Reinvention efforts, as only Alvin can so masterfully deliver, he closed with the story of Ignatz Semmelweis. Dr. Semmelweis had the brilliant insight in the mid-19th century that doctors who washed their hands before assisting childbirth caused fewer infections and deaths than those docs who came directly from the gross anatomy dissection room before administering to the women in labor. He met steep resistance from the established elites in health care, but over time was proven correct.
Alvin asked us, “How many Ignatz Semmelweises are sitting here today among our faculty?” I have for the past two years admired Alvin’s relentless pursuit of what we can do to drive student success. He revels in data, borrows copiously from colleges with better outcomes, and continuously pushes others to tell him what their ideas are. Today, in as open and honest way possible, Alvin asked for faculty help. Reinvention has already been blessed with many faculty contributions (with a few HWC faculty making the trip across the Loop.) Yet maybe some gems out there remain uncovered or unheralded.
I join VC Bisarya in asking our faculty to let us know if there are things we should try at the College (and CCC). May the Ignatz be with you.