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.
November 25, 2008 - 9:53pm
Thanksgiving is coming at the right time. On campus, every few weeks we get a new bulletin from the state telling us to anticipate an even bigger cut than the last bulletin. At this point, it feels a lot like when you're standing in the sand and a wave washes over you and recedes, carrying the sand from around your feet with it. Every time you think there's finally a solid perch, another wave hits, and you get shorter without even moving. In the midst of the doom and gloom, taking a moment to reflect on how well off we actually are, compared to most of the world, is helpful.
November 24, 2008 - 9:51pm
This story is both shocking, and not. At one level, it's absurd. The Board of Trustees at the College of DuPage has decided to arrogate to itself all manner of decision-making powers, from abruptly imposing a thinly-veiled version of David Horowitz' Academic Bill of Rights to churning through multiple Presidents without explanation to muzzling the student newspaper. And yet, on another level, the shocking part is that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
November 23, 2008 - 8:53pm
An occasional correspondent writes:
November 21, 2008 - 5:15am
I'm behind on my open correspondence, and busy enough to know that I can't really do justice to all of them. So in lieu of open letters, a series of open postcards. Dear GM, Ford, and Chrysler, You're kidding, right? You people have been bleeding market share, and money, for years. This is directly due to your chronic inability or unwillingness to get a clue. Toyota and Honda have been eating your lunch since the seventies. This may have something to do with them building better cars. Now you want a bailout.
November 19, 2008 - 9:32pm
An alert reader sent me a link to this story from the Times. It's a quick-and-dirty overview of non-credit job training programs at community colleges in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut region. If only it were as simple as the article suggests.
November 18, 2008 - 9:51pm
A department chair at a SLAC writes:
November 17, 2008 - 9:06pm
An Australian correspondent writes:
November 16, 2008 - 7:19pm
A new correspondent writes: I'm a postdoc at a big research university. We have a confluence of events at our University which could really lead to something really great happening, but no one seems much interested, and it wouldfrustrate me to no end if the opportunity is missed. So I'd like to know -- what's the best way to pitch a new idea to a new Dean?
November 13, 2008 - 9:37pm
Charles Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, acknowledged that adjuncts teach a large share of the classes at the board's institutions. "They are critical," he said. Asked if they were well paid, he said that they are "clearly not." At the same time, he defended the decision not to raise the maximum [pay] level. "That would raise expectations when we don't have the money," he said. It's not a matter of enlightening the suits. We know. The problem is deeper.
November 12, 2008 - 10:00pm
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that community colleges will be the next beneficiaries of their largesse. A few responses: First, Woo-Hoo! (insert video of DD doing the Snoopy dance) Second, I hope they're willing to recognize the work that has already been done, so they don't spend great googahs of money reinventing the wheel. Philanthropists have been known to do that.