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.

February 17, 2009 - 4:47am
A new correspondent writes: The University of the District of Columbia is spinning off a new community college.If you were starting a new CC from scratch, where would you start?More importantly, what baggage would you dispense with? Ooooh, fun!
February 15, 2009 - 9:59pm
A regular correspondent writes: What, exactly, are CC faculty supposed to do that substantially distinguishes them from high school teachers? I don't mean this in a derogatory manner, I was a high school teacher and found the job incredibly fulfilling.
February 12, 2009 - 10:01pm
This week I've been a part of some very difficult conversations on campus about budget cuts and their implications for our cc. Some of the difficult parts were easily predictable: impact on jobs, impact on students, impact on various programs. But the hardest part was one I hadn't really anticipated. It was the almost palpable desire for a fixed target, a final figure that once we had hit, we could exhale and know we'd be okay. That, we can't do. The state budget is a moving target. And this makes inclusive, good-faith planning incredibly hard.
February 11, 2009 - 9:40pm
A new correspondent writes:
February 10, 2009 - 9:18pm
We're starting to use the R word in a really serious way. Even with reducing the number of deans, we may not save enough to save every faculty job. While the dust is far from settled on next year's budget, it's pretty clear that we've blown well past our previous worst-case scenarios. Now we have to start looking at faculty retrenchment, at least on a contingency-plan basis. This is nobody's idea of fun.
February 9, 2009 - 10:23pm
February 8, 2009 - 9:36pm
I remember reading once that one of the great paradoxes of American politics is that most Americans hold Congress in utter contempt, yet keep re-electing the same representatives. It's not necessarily a contradiction, in the strictest sense, but it's certainly counterintuitive. I'm finding that a similar dynamic holds with faculty attitudes towards deans.
February 6, 2009 - 6:19am
Every once in a while, I drop by a nearby mall on my lunch break just for a change of scene, and sometimes to play with the cool stuff at the Apple store. No good can come of playing with cool stuff at the Apple store, but like a moth to a flame... Yesterday was particularly demanding, so I made a break for it at lunch. The mall was by far the quietest I've ever seen. Plenty of parking, nearly empty corridors, ample open seating. I noticed employees draped, bored, over counters, openly complaining of having nothing to do. I've never seen that before.
February 4, 2009 - 10:45pm
My cc has been getting an unusual amount of local press attention lately. The press attention has been largely positive, and focused mostly on enrollment. Invariably, somewhere around the fifth paragraph, there's a passing acknowledgment that enrollment growth is occurring at the same time as state funding cuts, but the headline is always about growth.
February 3, 2009 - 9:47pm
The Boy wrote a letter to President Obama in class, and brought it home today. In its entirety: Dear Mr. President, I think you should do everything you can to make this the best country ever! I think you should make more freedom. You should make no one smoke. Last of all you should make everyone happy. From, [TB] "I think you should make more freedom." I couldn't have said it better myself.

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