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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
May 24, 2012 - 8:58pm

If you haven’t seen Tom Bailey’s piece on the Connecticut remediation law, check it out.  He’s the head of the Community College Research Center at Columbia, of which I’m a huge fan, and it’s his response to Connecticut’s proposed law to restrict remediation in community colleges to a single semester.  

He suggests -- and I strongly agree -- that rather than a blunt instrument like a law, Connecticut would be better off prodding colleges to experiment with different ways to improve student success and solve the problem of the remedial death march.  A host of experiments across the state, with assessment measures built in from the outset, would be much likelier to lead to healthy results.  

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In our house, we have a strict “no whining” rule.  If there’s something you don’t like, you either do something about it or you learn to live with it.

The Wife has decided to apply that same rule to our town, with amazing results.

The public school TG attends has taken some budget cuts over the last few years, and has not been able to invest in classroom technology at the pace it would like.  Townwide, the response has been a collective shrug, with some occasional snark.

TW spent the last few months putting together a 5k family run/walk to raise money for technology in our local public elementary school.  The run/walk happened last Sunday, and it was a MONSTER hit.  They had over 100 runners, and another 100+ walkers, and it looks like the final tally (with sponsorships and raffle proceeds) will be over $20,000.  For a first time, that’s pretty darn good.  

The weather cooperated, her team was amazing, and just about everything went right.  (I walked with TB and TG, and also worked the registration table with TW.)  Her team was united and highly functional, the mayor and sponsors were visibly impressed, and now the school will be outfitted several years faster than it would have been otherwise.  The Girl will benefit, of course, but so will every other student in the school.

It was wonderful to be able to say to the kids that this is how you do it.  When something is important to you, like their schools are, and you see a problem, you put on your big kid pants and do something about it.  Well done, TW!

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According to the Harvard Business Review, being boring can actually be an important leadership trait.

I win!

The idea is that charismatic leadership can become a distraction from the mission of the institution, and maintaining charisma over time can be draining.  But leaders who are content to subsume their personal stuff to the larger mission can keep everyone focused on the right things.  Sounds right to me...

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No matter how long I do this, abrupt resignations always catch me off guard.  

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Why does everything technological get cheaper except mobile internet?

 

 

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