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.

November 19, 2007 - 8:43am
The Chronicle has had a series over the last week or so about the salaries of college Presidents.
November 15, 2007 - 8:41pm
A new correspondent writes: I am a Department Head for a large urban CC in a very small vocational program.Seven years ago I hired a friend who was well qualified for the Instructional Aide position (part of our FT faculty bargaining unit). She came to me this week to let me know she is leaving at thebeginning of the Spring semester (January 11th).
November 14, 2007 - 10:35pm
Although the very thought of it makes some academics blanch, I'm beginning to think that "evidence-based management" could be really useful in solving some nagging academic problems. As I understand it -- and I'm no expert -- "evidence-based management" takes as a given that it's appropriate to look at statistical patterns that have emerged over time, and to use those as reality checks for future decisions. It's particularly helpful in testing long-held assumptions for which we somehow keep noticing exceptions.
November 14, 2007 - 6:14am
In the context of discussing ways to encourage her colleagues to try to reach students at different levels of demonstrated ability, Dr. Crazy inadvertently a very different issue:
November 12, 2007 - 11:40pm
According to IHE, the latest proposed extension of the Higher Education Act contains, among other things, a provision requiring that colleges and universities "develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property." Huh?
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.

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