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 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.
September 15, 2008 - 10:04pm
A new correspondent writes: The small, regional university at which I teach in the Midwest has a new president. He has what I believe to be a unique approach to administration: his wife is present with him at every school function, and is always introduced as "First Lady of (insert school name)." This has recently progressed to her appearing in newsletters and promotional materials as "First Lady of..."
September 15, 2008 - 5:00am
I had a conversation last week with the chair of the Human Services program (think Social Work), in which she made the point that she didn't know how her program should be categorized. As she explained her dilemma, I realized I didn't know, either.
September 11, 2008 - 10:16pm
This story in IHE is somehow both shocking and unsurprising.
September 10, 2008 - 9:53pm
I've never found an elegant way around the add/drop period. This is the time of the semester when late-adding students show up to the second (or even third) meeting of a class, asking to be caught up and held harmless. In lecture classes, it's not that big a deal; you just tell the student he's responsible for whatever he has missed so far, and that's that. But in classes that do group work, or hands-on work, or anything intensely interactive, it's a real imposition.
September 9, 2008 - 10:03pm
A new correspondent writes: I have a question about college teaching as a second career. Most of the advice I've seen is aimed at twenty-something's finishing grad school. I am a few months shy of my 50th birthday and live in the DC metro area. I started graduate school straight out of college and was on my way to finishing my PhD in American History when I was side-tracked: I took a "real" job in an area unrelated to my degree. I kept plugging away at it though, and finally finished my doctorate in 1999, twelve years after leaving school.
September 8, 2008 - 10:36pm
I've seen two major personality types fail at deaning, each for the same reason: administrivia.
September 7, 2008 - 9:23pm
A regular commenter writes:
September 4, 2008 - 10:16pm
Classes have started, and the usual first-week crises have ensued, so I'm far too wiped for a proper post. Instead, it's the return of Friday Fragments. My Mom sent The Wife some old pictures of me, from high school and college. Actual conversation: TW: You look so skinny! Look, you barely have shoulders! You're like a rail! The Girl (reassuringly): Now you're nice and big, Daddy. Uh, thanks, honey. Conversation from earlier this week: The Boy: Dad, do I have to go to grad school? DD: Noooooo. Noooo, you don't. Nope.

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