• 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.

Title

Friday Fragments

Grad students teaching, the obvious answer to the Ohio State story, and The Girl humbles me.

December 2, 2022

Thanks to everyone who wrote in response to the post about the most prestigious institutions often putting students in classes with the least experienced instructors.

On Mastodon, one correspondent suggested that the dichotomy of grad student bad/tenured professor good was overdrawn. In her case, she received significant training in pedagogy before and while teaching as a grad student, which helped.

I hope that’s more common now than it used to be. The sum total of training I got before running my first sections was my professor saying, “You’ll be fine.” I didn’t get any serious training until several years into the program, when the poli sci grad students were sent over to the English department to teach composition. To the English department’s credit, it actually bothered to teach us how to teach. The perspectives I learned there made me better at teaching my own discipline. I don’t know how widespread that sort of cross-departmental sharing is, but Rutgers did it in the ’90s.

Still, I wonder how many parents and/or prospective students know that they’re likelier to get established professionals teaching the intro classes at most community colleges than at most research universities.

I was as surprised as everyone else at the news that the president of Ohio State, Kristina Johnson, resigned mysteriously after just two years.

But then I remembered that Ohio State lost to Michigan in both of the last two years.

Sometimes we overlook the most obvious explanation.

There’s something humbling about sharing your top five artists of 2022 on Spotify with your teenage daughter.

She asked, so I was obligated.

For context, I’m a veteran of late ’80s college radio. My most-listened-to artist this year was The Replacements, followed by Taylor Swift. When I shared that with TG, she texted back one word:

“Slay.”

Ouch.

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