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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.

December 10, 2007 - 9:56am
Bowing to the inevitable, I've spent far too much time lately shopping. Which means...The aural assault of cheesy Christmas music has begun.I'll admit, having been raised in a musically unfortunate household (Neil Diamond, Anne Murray, Rita Coolidge, Air Supply), I'm a little jumpy when it comes to awful music. Part of the reason I grabbed onto satellite radio the way drowning people grab onto life preservers was that it offered the prospect of escaping the tyranny of Lite Hits and NPR pledge drives.
December 7, 2007 - 8:33am
The Fall rubber chicken circuit is in full swing again. Lots of evening events, celebrating all manner of good things. Each one worthwhile in itself, though they add up.This morning, at home:The Boy (weakly): I didn't get to play with you last night.Ouch.I'm going in late today, so we can walk to school together.
December 5, 2007 - 9:56pm
A long-suffering correspondent writes:
December 5, 2007 - 8:00am
A new correspondent -- and apparently the kind of student we'd all like to have -- writes:As a student, I have gotten a lot more careful over the years with how I fill out student evaluations, because I know more about what they mean for the instructors. I've read a lot of complaints on academic blogs that students do not carefully fill out the evaluations and that their criticism is sometimes unfair. I try hard to be both constructive and fair. I almost always include written comments, unless I've got absolutely nothing to say.
December 3, 2007 - 10:14pm
A new correspondent writes:I am a new department chair. The staff love to decorate for any and all holidays. Recently they have put up the tree, tinsel and various other baubles. One of my faculty members has objected to the "religious" decorating. I am aware that the Supreme Court ruled that the tree is not a religious symbol and the staff haven't put up angels or anything of that sort. However, I am sympathetic to the complaint. What would you do?It's a great question, and I hate it.
December 2, 2007 - 8:55pm
Search Committee Chair: The job starts next semester. Can you do that?Candidate: No problem! Rarin' to go! Woo-hoo!(skip ahead)Department Chair: The job starts next semester. Are you okay with that?Candidate: Great! Can't wait! Let's go!(skip ahead)Dean: The job starts next semester. Are you okay with that?Candidate: You betcha! Ayup! All systems go!(skip ahead)VP: The job starts next semester. You're sure you're okay with that?Candidate: Abso-freakin'-lutely! Bring it on!(skip ahead)
November 29, 2007 - 11:34pm
Picking up on the premodern vs. modern theme of yesterday's post, Grad School Friend (who is on the tenure track at a research university) sent me a note about how his department received the news that he was seeing someone who lived in another time zone:
November 29, 2007 - 9:18am
"It's like when someone says plate. And then someone says shrimp. And then someone says plate of shrimp .... It's part of the cosmic web of coincidence."--"Repo Man"Every so often I stumble upon two articles back to back that seem like they were written to answer each other, even though they obviously weren't. It's part of the cosmic web of coincidence.
November 27, 2007 - 9:50pm
A returning correspondent writes:I'm just starting to think of the hiring season and, while I'm at a urban high school and that's differentfrom a CC or 4-year SLAC, it seems that you and I face similar questions about hiring...I'm the math department chair. I have a relatively small staff, but experience pretty high turn-over.The basic question: what do you do to attract more mid-career folks?We have a salary schedule that puts us slightly below average for the area.
November 26, 2007 - 10:28pm
Although some on campus like to talk about The Administration as a monolith, like The Borg, it's actually composed of two major parts which don't always work in perfect harmony.


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