• 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.


I Needed That

A reminder of what matters.

May 15, 2019

The runup to graduation can be one of the most stressful times of the semester. Faculty are straining under grading loads, students are panicking, and end-of-year events consume any number of evenings.  

But once in a while, an event reminds me why we’re here.

We have an Equal Opportunity Fund program, which is a TRIO program that serves first-generation and low-income students. Every year, at the end, it has a celebration dinner at which students and family members can give testimonials about the college, the program, and the folks who helped them get through.

This year, a student’s grandmother spoke.  She said that before he got here, her grandson was, in her words, “a hot mess. He was all over the place.” But with the help of the people in the program, he got his stuff together, graduated, and transferred on for his bachelor’s.  As she put it, “If he was going to live in my house, there would be two rules. Learn to respect and honor women, and get as many degrees as you can. And he did.”

I can’t top that, so I’ll just leave it there.  That’s why we’re here.


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