• 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.


Friday Fragments

A remarkable gender ratio, a solution to PLA transfer and a classic of our culture.

August 19, 2022

Stat of the Week: The Girl reports that among the first-year students in the Honors Humanities program at UMD this fall, 68 are women and two are men.

It struck me as the sort of number that belongs in Harper’s Index.

I knew that gender segregation by major remains very real, even after all these years. I expected more women than men in the program. But I wasn’t quite prepared for a ratio of 68 to two.

Move-in day is next week. Stay tuned …

My thanks to the wise and worldly readers who wrote in response to my plea for tips on ways to ensure that prior learning assessment credits transfer smoothly.

A rough consensus emerged. For credits verified by a third party—AP, IB, CLEP, DANTES, etc.—the picture isn’t bad. For more bespoke assessments, it really takes a legislative mandate, particularly if the students transfer before graduation.

The good news is that several readers reported that when the public institutions were mandated to accept the credits, the local private ones mostly followed. They weren’t legally required to, but to be competitive, they did. If a mandate leads to a round of “follow the leader” on transfer credits, that’s a win, even if it would have been preferable to get there voluntarily.

The Wife and I both have September birthdays. The kids will be at college in September, and it would be a bit much to ask them to come back for those, so we did early celebrations this week.

The kids are on tight budgets, for obvious reasons, so I had to keep gift requests modest. My request this year was that on the night we celebrated mine, I got to choose the movie we’d watch, and everyone would watch it without complaint.

As regular readers know, my tastes lean toward comedy. And as a parent, I feel a responsibility to expose the kids to the classics of our culture. So we watched Eddie Murphy’s remake of The Nutty Professor.

I hadn’t seen it in years. Jada Pinkett’s character was embarrassingly underwritten, even for a ’90s comedy. But broad slapstick holds up pretty well. I even caught both kids laughing during the dinner table scenes, which were what I most remembered about it.

There are classics, and then there are classics.

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Matt Reed

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