Hand Washing

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.

Published by Don Laackman

Leader with higher education, non-profit and private-sector consulting experience.

2 thoughts on “Hand Washing

  1. Awesome seems like someone borrowed from my playbook.I usually begin my Microbiology class with that case study. I use it to emphasize the existence of the” unseen world”. I guess it could be a good analogy for anything.

  2. The death of our 20th president James Garfield adds an exclamation point! (I’m a presidential history nerd). British physician James Lister pioneered antiseptic surgery; however, Garfield’s doctors thought Lister’s theories nonsense. Our 20th president died of sepsis as his caretakers held to old ways of surgery and nursing.

    Presidential medical care aside, who’s got the Lister-like idea that helps us build a supportive foundation under our students as they pursue their education and success? (Quite a segue, huh?) Let’s share ideas while we gargle.

    My modest contribution: Generally, our students lack skills in self organization. Wellness Center staff are agog at how most Wellness Center clients view the notion of a scheduled appointment. Time management is a crucial life skill that, inevitably, becomes at least a minor focus of most student’s experience with Wellness Center counseling. The Wellness Center is always eager for your invitation to speak to your class about time management (and about stress management and the benefits of counseling). Email me at mrussell23@ccc.edu to schedule a presentation.

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