Editor of newsletter returns to classroom

An image of a past issue of City Currents, when it was published as a PDF under the editorship of Patricia Arack.

Format of paper to change under new directors.


By Lynette Martinez

The Guardsman

After three and half years as Editor-in-Chief of City Currents, the college’s digital newsletter for faculty and staff, Patricia Arack has returned to the classroom full time to teach English as Second Language courses.

An outside firm called Twenty Fifth Hour Communications is taking over managing the publication. It was hired in November 2012 for general marketing and public relations services to help increase enrollment for spring semester.

The firm will be paid up to $37,500 for their work through June 30, according to official documents.

“The new City Currents will have the same columns you’ve come to depend on such as Faculty News, Board News, and Dates to Remember,” according to its newly revamped page on the City College website. “The publication will be web based, with links to feature stories, the Board agenda, and other information.”

Previously, it was distributed online as a PDF, could still be printed out and had the nostalgic feel of reading an actual newspaper.

Arack lost most of the “reassigned time” that allowed her to dedicate many hours to producing City Currents.

At the beginning of fall semester last year, it was reduced from 80 percent to 40 percent, Arack told The Guardsman, and then by Thanksgiving was further cut by the administration to 20 percent. That left her only about seven hours a week—worth approximately $8,000 of her salary this semester—to publish the biweekly, 30-some page newsletter.

“I felt I could not continue to deliver a quality publication and also take care of my wonderful ESL students, so I will be returning full time to teaching,” Patricia said.

Having a faculty member as editor allowed for journalism and design students to contribute to the newspaper and gain hands on experience working for a newspaper.
City College student Shirley Edwards worked with Arack as a graphic designer for City Currents.

“I will no longer be working on City Currents after Patricia steps down,” Edwards said. “I was able to gain the experience of working in an office with great people and the process of publishing a paper.”

Trustee Lawrence Wong recognized Arack’s dedication to the publication during a board meeting on Jan. 24.

“I want to recognize the tremendous work Patricia Arack has done for City Currents,” Wong said and added, “I have so far not seen the same quality with Twenty Fifth Hour Communications in terms of their first E-newsletter.”

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges criticized the college in its July 2012 report for having too many teacher on reassigned time, which allows teachers to work on other tasks and educational programs that are important to the college, instead of teaching in the classroom.