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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.

October 8, 2007 - 6:06am
When The Wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I gave some of the usual answers, and a new one. The new one: I wanted a day off the grid.A day without my job, childcare, errands, laundry, house stuff, or anything else. A day in which I could return, even if only for a little while, to the unstructured time I used to have, back in my twenties. Time alone, not 'on call,' to do with as I pleased.Bless her, she went for it. So for several hours on Saturday, I was off the grid. (A full day is simply beyond reality, at this point.)It was wonderful.
October 5, 2007 - 6:56am
One of the policies my cc works under is a rule about “ability to benefit.” Basically, it means that we can only admit students who have demonstrated the ability to benefit from college-level instruction. We usually interpret that to mean a high school diploma or GED, plus a minimal level of performance on placement tests (if they haven't already placed out with high SAT/ACT scores).
October 4, 2007 - 8:47am
A new correspondent writes:I'm a sophomore at a snooty-but-trying-not-to-be Private Liberal ArtsCollege who has recently discovered your blog and is tearing throughthe archives. I'm afraid I'm one of the folks from the kind of town(bedroom community where all the parents have grad degrees) wherepeople only go to CCs to get ahead in high school, for summer credit,or because they didn't get in anywhere else. After reading, however,I'm starting to understand the idea of getting cheap Gen-Ed credit andthen transferring.
October 3, 2007 - 5:57am
Dear Mayor Daley,I've seen some idiotic pronouncements over the years. “The insurgency is in its last throes,” “The Segway will change everything,” “Ladies and Gentlemen – Britney Spears!” Among the consolations of middle age is the realization that the worst-laid plans of mice and men at least occasionally go astray.Still, you've really outdone yourself. Even a jaded academic like myself stands awestruck.
October 2, 2007 - 6:37am
An alert reader noticed my passing comment in a post last week and wrote to ask why I would support a preference for Ph.D.'s when hiring faculty at a cc. After all, he noted, cc faculty are primarily teachers, and Ph.D.'s are really research degrees; there's no reason to believe that someone with a doctorate is necessarily a better teacher than someone with a Master's.It's a fair question.
October 1, 2007 - 6:12am
There's an eyebrow-raising discussion over at New Kid's, in response to a first person piece in the Chronicle.
September 28, 2007 - 6:14am
A returning correspondent writes:
September 27, 2007 - 6:29am
A new correspondent writes:
September 26, 2007 - 6:14am
(The confusion evident in this post isn't just a function of sloppy editing; it's an accurate reflection of my actual confusion on this issue.)The recent dustup over the hiring, then non-hiring, then hiring of a law school dean who had published an op-ed critical of the Bush administration got me thinking about academic freedom, and freedom of speech more generally, for administrators.
September 25, 2007 - 6:39am
Garrison Keillor recently wrote something to the effect that it's shocking to wake up one morning and realize that the guys you knew in school as “Lumpy” and “Numbnuts” are now running the country.I'm not there yet, but I'm starting to see my contemporaries pop up in some pretty prominent places. It's always a shock to see new pictures of folks you knew many years ago. They look so...grown up. Which means, by extension...Humph. Yes. Well.

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