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.
June 28, 2009 - 8:38pm
I just finished Bruce Weber’s new book , As They See ‘Em, which is about professional umpires. As a longstanding baseball fan, it’s a hoot, but I couldn’t help but notice a few, oddly-comforting parallels to the academic world. Take, for example, this excerpt is from an interview Weber did with Pat O’Conner, who was at the time the chief operating officer of Minor League Baseball. He was in charge of negotiating contracts with the minor league umps’ union. Minor league umps make ten to twenty thousand dollars a year.
June 25, 2009 - 9:51pm
-- I don't often get excited about amending forms, but if President Obama is able to simply the FAFSA in a meaningful way, I say, Hooray! The FAFSA is the form that students and prospective students have to fill out to apply for Federally-backed financial aid, and it's worse than the 1040. It's just horrible. Kafka would have considered it over-the-top. I'm not a believer in the "it should fit on a postcard" theory, but surely there's middle ground between a postcard and a dissertation.
June 24, 2009 - 10:11pm
Why do so many states require only two years of math in high school? In a discussion this week about the struggles we have with developmental math classes, someone mentioned that this state, like so many others, requires only two years of math in high school. That means that even many brand-new grads come to us not having done math in two years, and having stopped out before they even got to trig. Then everyone is shocked at low pass rates in developmental math.
June 23, 2009 - 10:05pm
Many years ago, in one of those gender theory seminars, I remember a remark to the effect that men have the privilege of being able to choose to dress 'unmarked' in a way that women don't. The idea was that American culture had settled on several different uniforms for men, depending on the context, and that men have the option of wearing those uniforms if they want to fit in and not draw particular attention to what they're wearing.
June 22, 2009 - 9:46pm
Okay, I’m a little late to this one, but there’s a nifty exchange between Notorious Ph.D. and Historiann about the perversities of budget cuts at their respective institutions. The comments are worth reading, too.
June 21, 2009 - 9:48pm
Last week was a three-hanky special. The Girl had two graduations: one from her gymnastics class, and one from her preschool. And I had my first Father's Day since Dad died.
June 19, 2009 - 3:56am
A new correspondent writes:With all this talk about green jobs and the more than usualuncertainty about the shape of the future job market, I've beencurious of late about how community college deans, departments, andcounselors cope with the issue of occupational forecasting.
June 17, 2009 - 9:07pm
Several commenters have recently suggested a Dean Dad reality show. It's not gonna happen – the pseudonym would be pretty much shot, and cameras don't do me any favors these days – but it's fun to think about. The pilot episode: Opening shot – the family at dinner. (Farting sound) TB, TG: DADDY! DD: I didn't do it. TW: Yes, you did. (Cut to individual interviews) DD: I really didn't. TG: Silly Daddy. TW: That's disgusting. TB: (guilty smile) montage, pop song, commercial break
June 16, 2009 - 9:34pm
Our summer enrollments are breaking records, and anecdotally, that seems to be a function mostly of two variables: a lack of summer jobs, and a more transfer-focused student body. Both of those variables largely track the recession.