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.

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.

March 25, 2009 - 9:43pm
In discussion with some colleagues from other colleges, I realized recently that different colleges handle 'stopouts' very differently. 'Stopouts' are students who interrupt their degree path, and then return. From a curricular standpoint, brief stopouts during which curricula don't change are no big deal. Someone takes a semester or a year off, then picks up where she left off. We can handle that.
March 24, 2009 - 9:32pm
I'm increasingly convinced that one of the most common flaws of so many administrators is a misguided urge to be nice. This often manifests itself in some long-undiagnosed but longstanding performance issues hitting a crisis level, but with a paper trail of relatively positive evaluations. The managers explain the positive evaluations with variations on “I didn't want to upset them.” Grumble.
March 23, 2009 - 9:37pm
I use the gym on campus, since it's cheap and convenient to work. It's nicer than some private health clubs I've seen locally, and it seems like a nice 'campus loyalty' thing to do. All of which is fine, but... Well, It's hard to be appropriately deanly after showering, standing in the locker room in the altogether drying off, when faculty colleagues walk in. “Hi, DD!” Uh, hi...
March 22, 2009 - 8:05pm
I'll admit that this can be filed under 'good' problems. That said, it's still a problem. Between extraordinarily good work by our budget people, a few lucky breaks, and the likely support from the stimulus package, it looks like we might actually get through this year without any layoffs. First, hooray! Then, there's the issue of expectations and credibility.
March 19, 2009 - 9:16pm
  A few months ago I mentioned a conversation with a contact at a respected private university who mentioned that her U only takes small numbers of cc grads in transfer because they've found that transfer students don't make the same level of donations as alums as 'native' students. The U doesn't like the impact on its fundraising, so it only takes enough transfer students to round out some upper-level classes. Anything beyond that it considers lost income.  
March 19, 2009 - 1:30am
According to a new survey from the League for Innovation in the Community College, enrollments are, in fact, increasing at community colleges across the country, especially in online programs. A quick and careless read could lead one to conclude that profits from growing online programs were being used to supplant losses in state aid. There may be some college, somewhere, that's actually doing that. But I haven't seen it.
March 18, 2009 - 12:16am
The goings-on in Kentucky caught my eye, which shouldn't surprise longtime readers. In a nutshell, the Board of Regents of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System voted to eliminate the tenure track for full-time faculty hired from this point forward, instead offering them one-year or two-year contracts.
March 17, 2009 - 12:20am
Erin Go Bleah.
March 15, 2009 - 10:10pm
An occasional commenter writes: I have a question about classroom skills rather than the job market or administration. How do other teachers remember their students' names? I confess, I am AWFUL with names. My wife and I have gone to the same small church for 20 years and I still go blank on names of people we've been friends with for all that time. ("you know who I mean honey, the tall guy who always wears that corduroy jacket. His wife is in the choir. You mean Tom? yeah, Tom!")
March 12, 2009 - 10:48pm
According to this story in IHE, a retired Duke University professor named Stuart Rojstaczer has issued a study of grade inflation. His findings suggest that grade inflation is commonplace throughout higher ed, particularly at selective liberal arts colleges and at flagship public universities in the South, but is nearly unknown among community colleges.

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