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 20, 2007 - 8:43am
The Girl, her big pink teddy bear, and I are sitting on the couch in the family room. TG: Let's play hide and seek! DD: Okay. TG: I know a good hiding place! DD: Okay. I'll count! (I hide my eyes) TG: (giggles) DD: one...two...three... TG: (giggles) DD: nine..ten! (Eyes open) Ready or not, here I come! Next to me, I spy a recumbent girl with a big pink teddy bear covering her face. Her legs are crossed and knees up, so one foot is almost in my face. DD: (laugh out loud) DD: I WONDER WHERE TG COULD BE?
September 19, 2007 - 6:13am
A new correspondent asks for help decoding a job ad: I would like to solicit input from you and your audience concerning a position posted recently by my employer, a medium- community college in a rural area. They are looking for someone to coordinate services for adjunct faculty. This is a new position, so there’s not any track record about how serving in that capacity might affect one’s career path. Salary/benefits, while not great, are consistent (as near as I can tell) with other positions of similar rank/function at the college.
September 18, 2007 - 6:35am
I enjoy two kinds of movies. The first kind is the “Good Movie.” Good Movies can be identified by such traits as intelligent writing, sensitive direction, quality acting, and the like: Network leaps to mind, or maybe Heathers. Not all good movies are good in every way – watching again as an adult, I was struck at how poor the dialogue and acting were in Star Wars – but they usually have enough good in them that you can endorse them in public and not feel cheap or exposed.
September 17, 2007 - 5:53am
According to this article (and check out the comments!), the governor of New Jersey just signed a law mandating that the four-year public colleges there recognize the academic credits students earn at the state's community colleges. The idea, apparently, is to allow a student who graduates a cc with a two-year degree to complete the remainder of a four-year degree in two more years. This is one of those “well, duh” laws that makes you wonder why it wasn't passed years ago.
September 12, 2007 - 6:45am
Like many cc's, mine is banging its head against the wall trying to reverse a long-term decline in the number of adult students. Contrary to stereotype, most of our enrollment growth has been in students age 19 and under. Our enrollments in the 22-and-up demographic have been slipping for some time.
September 11, 2007 - 6:33am
Yesterday, I advised cultivating a certain indifference to the unwritten rules. Today's post is about the written ones. Folks who haven't worked in management frequently respond to managers' frustration with common-sense questions, like “why can't they just get it right the first time?” Questions like these are often based on invalid assumptions, such as the commonplace assumption that somewhere, someone has an up-to-date book with all of the rules and procedures in it. Nope.
September 10, 2007 - 6:27am
Oso and Bitch have posts up addressing, in different ways, the whys and wherefores of using your degree in ways you're not “supposed to.” As a graduate of a Snooty Liberal Arts College with a Phud from an R1 Flagship, who is working in administration at a community college, I'll just say I have a more-than-passing interest in this issue.
September 7, 2007 - 7:01am
New Kid has a great post, taking to task a particularly annoying “First Person” column in the Chronicle. The column in question was written by someone about to go up for tenure. He claimed that the tenure process is like working out or eating your vegetables; essentially, it's short-term pain for long-term gain.
September 6, 2007 - 6:31am
September 5, 2007 - 6:36am
The New York Times ran a front-page article yesterday with the shocking – shocking, I say – news that colleges with reduced state funding and regulated tuition levels have made up part of the difference by jacking up the fees they actually control. The article specified one college charging a 'curriculum fee,' which I thought was especially creative. (There's one college near me – pseudonymity prevents my revealing it – that charges a per-credit parking fee, whether you register a car or not.

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