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  • Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

Friday Fragments
November 21, 2013 - 10:42pm

This piece in Slate does a nice job of capturing the moral dilemma in which some adjunct faculty find themselves when they apply for full-time jobs, especially outside of academia.  The rest of the world doesn’t necessarily observe the academic calendar, so someone looking for a position in industry may well be asked in March to start in April.  The cultural taboo against abandoning classes mid-semester is strong, and reasonable from a student perspective. 

I ran into a variation on that when I taught at DeVry.  Back then, it ran three four-month “trimesters” per year, based on the fiscal year.  That meant that the trimesters ran July-October, November-February, and March- June.  (The November-February one was particularly awkward with Christmas break falling at midterm.)  One year I got an interview offer in late November for a position that started in January.  I turned it down, believing that it would be wrong to leave my students in the lurch. 

Things worked out, as it happened, but the dilemma is real.  And it’s another case in which the high road becomes a toll road.

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Overheard in meeting this week: “Justice is not blonde”  Well, no…

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Several years ago, The Onion did a piece about America longing for another bubble to invest in.  It was one of those “funny because it’s true” moments that The Onion does when it’s at its best. 

Paul Krugman has finally caught up to The Onion.  Apparently, an intuition that many of us have had for years is only starting to occur to policy elites.  If you factor out the tech bubble of the late 90’s and the real estate bubble of the mid-aughts, the last several decades have been an extended period of stagnation.  Stagnation has become the new normal, with occasional boom-bust bubbles coming along to add some excitement. 

I didn’t know that wasn’t obvious.  It certainly seems obvious.  And it suggests that the low-conflict strategy of “growing your way out” of austere periods may only work for intermittent, short spells.  The rest of the time, we may have to expect more conflict.

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A couple of weeks ago, I took The Girl to a jazz concert on campus.  The Girl takes piano lessons locally and is getting pretty good.  She loves jazz piano, so I thought it would be a nice experience for her.

We both enjoyed the concert, and afterwards, I introduced her to the professor who had taught one of TG’s teachers when that teacher was a student.

TG immediately called the professor her “grand-teacher.” 

It’s too good a term not to get popular.  From now on, I shall refer to my teachers’ teachers as my grandteachers.  Thanks, TG.

 

 

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