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 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.
October 29, 2007 - 7:01am
A new correspondent writes: >Why do community colleges mail catalogs to everyone? It seems like a lot>of expense for something that's unlikely to generate a lot of new students. This is a very live issue on my campus. It's a tough one, because beliefs are held strongly, and almost entirely without evidence. Most community colleges that I know of produce several different types of publications for public consumption. The most common are 1. Catalogs2. Course Schedules3. Flyers
October 25, 2007 - 9:32pm
An assiduous undergraduate correspondent writes:
October 24, 2007 - 8:57pm
Sherman Dorn has a thoughtful post up about the difficulties institutions have in dealing with faculty instructional practices that aren't quite enough to get someone fired, but that do result in lousy teaching and valid student complaints.

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