In last week’s blog, I talked about the importance of remembering key individuals in the history of an institution. Remembering key events and how those events happened is also critical and here, too, higher education doesn’t do well. All too often key events are mentioned briefly and clinically only in Board of Trustees’ minutes and in more detail, but often with substantial inaccuracy, in student newspapers.
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April 25, 2010
April 18, 2010
Recently I was asked to sit for an oral history interview covering my years at Hofstra. Since my years at Hofstra go back more than half the time the University has been in existence, I enjoyed talking about and recounting key happenings. At the same time, I was asked to suggest names for special 75th anniversary awards to those key individuals who made a major difference in the development of Hofstra from 1935 to the present. Having been here so many years, I was able to suggest individuals who clearly made a difference but who are also mostly forgotten today.
April 11, 2010
My first full-time teaching schedule was a four course, Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule where I taught my first class at 9AM and my last class (a once a week graduate course ) ended shortly after 8 PM. For as long as I was a full time faculty member, my schedule was virtually identical. Only once did I complain to my department chair about my schedule – in my second year he presented me with a schedule that started at 8 AM and ended (one day a week) at 11PM. I thought the hours were unreasonable and he agreed and modified it back to the way it had always looked.
April 4, 2010
Just recently I came across an organizational structure for a School that had both Directors and Associate Directors as well as Associate and Assistant Deans (plus, of course the Dean). The individuals holding the various dean and director positions were all very clear as to who did what and who reported to whom. The question was whether anyone outside of the administration had the same level of clarity. As it turned out, Assistant Deans reported to Directors but how would anyone know that or even expect it?
March 28, 2010
Given the severity of our current recession, everyone I know has either been touched directly by this economic malaise or knows someone who has been adversely impacted – jobs lost or not found, salaries reduced or not increased, houses lost or not purchased, health insurance foregone, vacations foregone and the list goes on and on. People are clearly hurting. But the impact of this and any recession is on more than people; colleges and universities are good examples of institutions adversely impacted.
March 21, 2010
Earlier this week a relatively junior administrator asked me if there was any advice I could give him regarding a career in higher education administration. Wanting to resist stating the obvious (find what you feel really passionate about and devote your time, attention, and energy to that area), I thought about the crucial advice given to me early in my career and two specific pieces of advice came immediately to mind.
March 14, 2010
Early this week, a graduating senior came to my office to ask for a recommendation to Law School. Since I had known the excellent work done by this student since he entered Hofstra, I was pleased to say yes. In the course of the conversation, I asked about his LSAT score, which turned out to be OK but not spectacular and then asked whether he had taken an LSAT review course. I ask any student who contacts me about coming to Hofstra and any student who talks to me about graduate school or Law School after Hofstra, the same question: have you taken a review course.
March 7, 2010
My kids love the snow. They can’t wait to have another snow storm after which they will spend hours snowboarding and just return home for periodic snacks and meals. My feelings are not quite as positive. I love the beauty of newly fallen snow; I hate driving in it, walking in it, and I equally hate the after snow clean up of my walkway and driveway. The more snow, often the greater the beauty and inevitably the greater the hatred.
February 28, 2010
The dean position has become one of the most challenging administrative positions in higher education. Not only does a dean need to provide long term as well as day to day academic leadership but the dean also needs to be a willing and, over time, successful fundraiser. To find a good dean, colleges and universities typically undertake a national search and often use a “head hunter” to help make sure that the effort is as comprehensive as possible. I am presently involved in two deans’ searches, both for very important schools at Hofstra University.
February 21, 2010
A major story in last Tuesday’s Inside Higher Ed was that Middlebury College “will plan its budgets each year by capping its ‘comprehensive fee’ – the equivalent of tuition, room and board at other private colleges—at an upward limit of 1 percentage point above the Consumer Price Index.” Certainly this move makes good sense in terms of positive publicity for Middlebury and it also provides a valuable fiscal restraint framework to operate under.