Dean Dad

From Confessions of a Community College Dean, in which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990’s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

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June 21, 2012
I spent Thursday at the “Strengthening Developmental Education” conference presented by the MDRC at Columbia University in a shockingly hot New York City.  It was an odd cluster of presentations.  On the one hand, the intellectual firepower present and the quality of evidence mustered was encouraging.  There was an honesty about findings, and a humility in the face of facts, that’s all too rare at academic conferences.  On the other, though, that meant that many of the findings suggested that much of the student success toolkit -- learning communities, summer bridge programs, and dual enrollment, to name a few -- just won’t live up to our hopes. 
June 20, 2012
A quick description of the world that appears before local sixteen year olds now: Paths to jobs that pay enough to actually want are less legible than they’ve been in generations, but to the extent that they are legible and you aren’t a standout athlete, they tend to go through college.
June 19, 2012
My college needs a “what if?” committee, but I’m not sure how to make it happen. Most of the existing committees are task-based. Curriculum committee, for example, approves or disapproves suggested changes to courses or programs. That’s a necessary function, and it’s fine as far as it goes. But it’s necessarily reactive; it responds to proposals brought to it. 
June 18, 2012
In the wake of the mess at UVA, in which a President was pushed out by a rogue faction of a Board that felt she lacked “strategic dynamism,” those of us who follow these things have been left to wonder just what that might mean.
June 18, 2012
Some topics never go away. Collegiality and its evil twin, incivility, is one of them.
June 14, 2012
Earlier this week, The Boy’s baseball season ended, and the team went out for ice cream. The Girl and I had been at the game, so we went, too. While the team took over the inside booths and did the things that sugared-up eleven year old boys do, TG and I stood in line by the outside window to get our cones.
June 13, 2012
Not a week goes by that I don’t hear about (or from) some Federal initiative asking community colleges to solve this social problem or that one, generally by being innovative and forward-looking. And I’m actually sympathetic to many of the calls.
June 13, 2012
Yesterday’s post was about the contradictory pressures facing many colleges. Today I was confronted with another dilemma. Colleges are being pushed to increase “service learning” and “civic engagement” initiatives at the exact same time that they’re being pressured to move online.
June 11, 2012
The abrupt departure of President Sullivan from UVA, coming on the heels of well-publicized leadership vacuums in California, legislative bans on remediation in Connecticut and Kansas, and the ongoing issues of underemployment of new graduates, got me thinking about expectations.
June 10, 2012
Having recently struggled in vain to find something recent and watchable, I have some notes for you.

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