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 11, 2007 - 8:56pm
A left coast correspondent writes (this is a long one): We have had a kerfuffle blow up today at my CC. This morning our VP of Student Services sent out the following email:
November 8, 2007 - 8:29pm
Becky Hirta's recent post about grades got me thinking. My college doesn't give 'plus' or 'minus' semester grades -- you can get a B, but not a B-plus or a B-minus. The topic comes up for discussion about once a year. The argument for pluses and minuses is basically that they offer greater precision. There's some distance between a B-plus and a B-minus, but in our system, that difference is erased. By the same token, if a student is on the border between two letters, there's more at stake in the decision which way to go.
November 8, 2007 - 5:42am
My cc, like most community colleges and many lower-tier four-year colleges, doesn't have dorms. Since it's located in suburbia, public transportation options are extremely limited and not very good. So most students, and almost all employees, drive. (A select few ride one of the rare buses.) We even refer to it as a commuter college.
November 6, 2007 - 10:03pm
Apparently, there's a candy now called "Nerds." The Boy got some in his Halloween loot, and opened the box after dinner last night. The following ensued. TB: NERDS! The Wife: (chuckle) DD: Ouch. TB: I like nerds! The Wife and DD: (chuckle) TB: Mmm. Nerds are sweet. TW/DD: (snarfle) (TB spills some.) TB: Uh-oh! There's a nerd by The Girl! TW: There certainly is. DD: Harumph. TW: How do you feel about that, DD? DD: Exposed. I've been outed. TB: Huh?
November 5, 2007 - 11:31pm
A new correspondent writes: So here it is: I teach (adjunct) Anthropology and Cultural "Survey" at a local art college that awards a BA in Visual Communication. I taught Anthro. last semester, and it was well received by both students and faculty (they asked me back.) We have a new "academic advisor", who has decided that all syllabi will follow his "meta-chart", including course content, goals, learning objectives. The problem is ... there is no Anthro. committee or other faculty. This advisor teaches Design, and has never taken an Anthro class in his life.
November 4, 2007 - 8:11pm
An occasional correspondent writes: After many years as a full-time faculty member at a community college, I have decided to apply for tenure track positions at four-year colleges. My question is about letters of recommendation. Who should I ask for letters? For several reasons, I do not want my current dean to know that I am "on the market," which means I can't ask him for a letter of recommendation. Are letters from faculty colleagues ok? What about former students? What are hiring committees looking for in letters of recommendation?
November 1, 2007 - 8:49pm
From the "Sometimes I Get Tired of Being Right" department: a few days ago I posted "How Chrysler stays in business is a complete mystery to me." Yesterday, Chrysler announced another RIF of 12,000 jobs. Honestly, I wouldn't have minded being wrong on that one.
October 31, 2007 - 10:07pm
Careful readers will notice that, from time to time, I take the occasional potshot at some of the tenured types. Today, in the interest of being fair and balanced, I frag some of my administrative colleagues. Specifically, those who insist on "retreats." For those mercifully untouched by retreats, they're sort of like reeducation camps, except with air conditioning and flip charts.
October 30, 2007 - 9:40pm
IHE's story yesterday about a kerfuffle over Gen Ed reforms at the University of Kentucky convinced me that the issues are the same everywhere.
October 30, 2007 - 5:00am
Last week, car shopping went abruptly from "I should think about that" to "I need to do this right now," so I've spent way too much time lately at dealerships and on car websites. Apparently, someone passed a law saying that all car salespeople must be male. Over the past week, I've dealt with I don't know how many salespeople, and they've been a multiracial, multiethnic group of young men. The demographics are pretty much the same as a minor league baseball team. I have no explanation for this.