• 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

This week, it’s all about work.

February 3, 2023

This may sound like a humblebrag, but it’s really more of a glimpse into what happens when you write a lot over an extended period.

Earlier this week a colleague posted a link to a new paper she co-authored on a subject I found worthwhile. I read the paper, which was quite good, and saw my name among the parenthetical citations. When I got to the end, I checked to see which piece she used, and found that she had cited a paper I literally—and this is the truth—had forgotten I had written. I dug up the draft on my laptop, and there it was, untouched since I sent it in several years ago.

The good news is that it holds up. I was both gratified and slightly embarrassed.

It didn’t even make it on to my résumé the first time around; I had to add it this week.

I think this is the writerly equivalent of putting on a coat you haven’t worn for a few seasons and discovering money in the pocket.

The Boy had his first real job interview this week. We’re rooting for him, of course.

Actual exchange from a few days before the interview:

TW: Are you nervous about it?

TB: Not really. I was nervous about looking good on paper. I know I’m good in person.

Well, OK then.

He subsequently reported that it went well.

Here’s hoping it’s merely the first interview.

I’m in interview season, too. With both kids away at college and TW now working remotely, the geographic possibilities are much broader than they used to be.

In the past, I’d identify the role I wanted (dean, VP, president) and apply for that. Last summer I had a moment of clarity, though; as long as I can continue to pay tuition and keep us housed and fed, what really matters is the ability to make a difference. That could mean a presidency or a provostship—heaven knows I’m prepared for them—or it could mean something like working for a national organization that’s pushing for positive policy change.

If you know of an opening that would make sense for a very experienced CAO who has spent over 15 years immersed in the national policy conversation around higher ed but whose idealism remains intact, please drop me a line. I’m closer to the end of my career than the beginning; I’d like to spend Act III making things better on a significant scale.

As always, I can be reached at deandad (at) gmail (dot) com, on Twitter at deandad, or on Mastodon at deandad (at-sign) masto (dot) ai. Thanks!

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Matt Reed

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