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.

March 30, 2009 - 9:59pm
A new correspondent writes: I am currently on the administrative market. I've had one interview, and this topic did not come up, but listed in the job description of my second interview is "Knowledge of and ability to use current administrative and educational technologies." Is there any general consensus of what this means? The educational technologies, I think I probably understand more than administrative. Would you assume they are looking for particular software knowledge? If so what are the most common administrative software applications?
March 29, 2009 - 7:47pm
A new correspondent writes: Recently I've noticed an increase of reports in the popular press proclaiming an "internship arms race" among graduating seniors in four year colleges. "Internships," according to these reports, are becoming a critical way to get a leg up on the competition in landing a job, especially now with the economic crisis. This got me to thinking if this scenario is playing out the same or differently at the two-year colleges.
March 26, 2009 - 8:31pm
Last night, after dinner, as The Wife, The Boy, The Girl, and I chat in the family room: TW: You know, TB told me that the girls fight over him at recess. DD: Really? TB (smiling): Yeah. (pause) TG (puzzled): Why?
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.

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