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.

September 29, 2008 - 10:13pm
A new correspondent writes: I just graduated with my masters in Biology and started to look at jobs in the tech industry and teaching adjunct on the side. I loved teaching when I TA'ed in grad school, a fact that was surprising to me. Well, I never found a tech job but took as many classes as I could teach at the local CC. I love it, I love teaching, interacting with the students, and helping them to understand things. I learn each day how to help both adult learners and new HS grads. I have decided to pursue teaching full time as a career choice.
September 28, 2008 - 9:50pm
Okay, so we're running a huge national debt, financed largely by borrowing from other countries. As I understand it, the value of dollars on international markets drops as more of them are held out there in reserve; in other words, the more we borrow, the less our dollars are worth. This is part of what's keeping the price of oil high despite worldwide recession, since it's priced in a declining currency. (There's also 'peak oil' and rapid industrialization in China, but the declining currency factor plays a role.)
September 25, 2008 - 11:36pm
I think the kids picked up the 'obsessed with language' gene. Two vignettes from last night's dinner: The Wife: TG, tell Daddy what you said at school today. The Girl (earnestly): Daddy, 'tushie' is more appwopwiate than "heinie." So now we know. Later: The Boy: During recess, Dylan got hit in the you-know-whats. (pause) TB: You know, the nuts. Got it, thanks.
September 24, 2008 - 11:48pm
Some issues are difficult. They feature the conflict of valid goods, a shortage of critical resources, or clashes of identity or behaviors so central to one's personhood that rational conversation becomes nearly impossible. Other issues, by contrast, are so obvious that any sentient being should be able to dispose of them immediately. This is one of those.
September 24, 2008 - 3:52am
A new report from the American Council on Education (see it here) entitled "Too Many Rungs on the Ladder? Faculty Demographics and the Future Leadership of Higher Education" manages to notice something this blog has been saying for the last four years: a dearth of young tenure-track faculty now means a serious leadership vacuum in higher education in the near future. Some of the stats cited in the report are worth checking out. Among them:
September 22, 2008 - 10:20pm
This week's New York Times supplement on teaching once again skipped community colleges completely, even though it found several pages to dedicate to professors' clothing. That said, it had one article that actually brought up a worthwhile issue, if indirectly.
September 21, 2008 - 9:55pm
The recent game of "let's see, where did I put that hundred billion?" is likely to lead to some ugly fallout for public higher education. Putting on my prognosticator's cap – and like Easterbrook says, all predictions guaranteed or your money back – a few likely scenarios:
September 18, 2008 - 10:07pm
In conversation this week with someone who works in the 'student life' side of the college, I heard something I hadn't heard before.
September 17, 2008 - 10:10pm
My college, like most, is struggling with ways to communicate. In this context, I don't mean that in the substantive sense, though that's certainly there. I mean it in the procedural sense. How do you inform every potential stakeholder of, say, an event happening on campus in two days, or a grant application deadline in two months?
September 16, 2008 - 9:55pm
I did a double-take when I saw this piece in the Chronicle. Apparently, the University of Georgia is dealing with budget cuts by reducing faculty travel funds. My first response was, why is this news? But then I saw the punchline: not only are they reducing what they'll pay for faculty to travel, they're actually withholding permission for faculty to travel with their own money.

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