Confessions of a Community College Dean

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.

April 27, 2009 - 10:21pm
Several alert readers sent me links to this column in the New York Times by Mark Taylor, a professor of religion at Columbia. Professor Taylor makes a series of claims about how to improve higher education in America, most of which revolve around getting rid of the traditional department/tenure structure in favor of project-based constellations of scholars that come together for finite periods.
April 26, 2009 - 7:29pm
An alert reader sent me a link to this post (and presentation) by Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. It gives a synopsis of a talk he gave to the Association of American Universities suggesting important links between the difficult economics of higher education and the difficult economics of health care.
April 22, 2009 - 9:35pm
(Disclaimer: as I understand it, the Federal stimulus package is run through the states, so each state's version of this may be different. I'm writing about my own state; your mileage may vary.)
April 21, 2009 - 9:19pm
(After the last few days, it's nice to focus on something else again.) I just finished another go-round of policy sleuthing. It usually works like this: A: So it's settled. We'll implement policy x this Fall. Good job, everyone! B: Wait a minute. Isn't there rule y that forbids implementing something like policy x unless it's a leap year? A: Really? C: Yeah, I remember that. Did that pass the Senate? B: I think so. Remember that huge fight? D: I still have nightmares about it. A: (sigh) So can we get a copy of rule y?
April 21, 2009 - 6:29am
  Thank you to all the supportive readers who left comments or sent emails after yesterday's post.I'm surprised to discover how much they've meant to me.
Dad
April 19, 2009 - 8:38pm
My Dad died Friday. He was 69. He was at home. He had battled ALS – Lou Gehrig's disease – for the last several years, and had been in hospice for several months. The last time I saw him was a few months ago. I had brought a camera with me, but when I saw him, realized that using it would be wrong. He deserved better than to be remembered that way. He knew it was coming. At the last visit, he made a point of showing me a pile of old family photos, and inviting me to take the ones I wanted. I took several from back when he and Mom were still married.
April 16, 2009 - 9:59pm
A savvy correspondent writes: I'm writing because my large urban public university recently hired a high-profile person who, in a previous job, lost an equally high-profile civil lawsuit against him for sexual harassment, and I wanted to ask for your views on what kind of faculty response to what some of us consider a troubling hire would be most likely to get administrators' attention. There is some thought of writing a kind of protest letter and making protesting noises to the press -- indeed, some have already been approached by the media for comment.
April 15, 2009 - 11:17pm
A new correspondent writes: I was wondering if you could share some questions you might ask a chairperson candidate. Thank you.
April 14, 2009 - 11:07pm
    I'm beginning to think that anytime I'm stuck for an idea, I should just read Tim Burke. This piece on "Building the Teaching University" – to which I'm inexcusably late – is well worth reading if you haven't already. And it encapsulates nicely why I'm happy to stay in the community college sector.
April 13, 2009 - 11:18pm
If I could give a single piece of advice to the new administrators out there, it would be to pay less attention to what you decide, and more to who gets to decide. And remember that speed kills. It seems like a simple enough point, but it took me years to figure out. Some of that had to do with context, but some of it was a function of visibility.

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