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 2, 2009 - 10:07pm
A regular correspondent writes: What do you do when the combination of a dean with a tentative style and an associate dean with a bullheaded style leads colleagues to draw the wrong conclusion about institutional politics?
June 1, 2009 - 9:11pm
A Canadian correspondent writes:
May 31, 2009 - 9:21pm
Back in the 80's and early 90's, the way you could tell if a speaker was losing the audience was through the coughing index. The louder and more frequent the coughing, the more bored was the audience. (Newspaper crinkling was another good index. The drearier the presentation, the greater the proportion of the audience doing crossword puzzles.)
May 27, 2009 - 10:44pm
The Boy is eight today. He looks ten, but he's eight. It's a fun age to watch, since it's still very much part of childhood, but he's starting to show signs of noticing more than his family. Last night I took him to get a new bike, since he had outgrown his old one. On the way home: TB: Dad, I think the girls at school all like me and Ian. DD: Why? TB: Well, they're always asking us to be princes in their games. And I'm like, “can't you see that I'm fighting Darth Sidious?” It's annoying! DD: Hmm. TB: And they're always asking me to double date.
May 26, 2009 - 10:13pm
Last week, IHE had a story about a conference dedicated to addressing the relatively low rate of college attendance by men. Apparently, suggestions from the conference included gender identity workshops run by Student Life. And the comments to the article quickly became rants against gender studies, liberal academics, and the dangers of perverting the Timeless Truths. Uh, no.
May 25, 2009 - 10:10pm
I've had variations on this conversation several times recently. Professor: There's option A and option B, and I guess technically there's option C. This clique wants A and that clique wants B. What do you think we should do? DD: I really don't care, as long as the decision process is valid. Professor: But what if they choose C? DD: Then they choose C. Professor: But C is terrible! DD: Could be. But if they need to discover that for themselves, so be it.
May 22, 2009 - 4:40am
Both of these stories make sense on their own terms. But taken together, they neatly capture the basic dilemma in my world.
May 20, 2009 - 8:48pm
Twice in the last month, I've been in meetings at which somebody suggested that the solution to some ongoing dilemma was to use “the platinum rule.” As it was explained to me, the platinum rule is understood in contrast to the golden rule. The golden rule is to do unto others as you'd have them do unto you; the platinum rule is to do unto others as they'd want done unto them. In other words, reject reciprocity as an ideal, in favor of something like empathy.