Higher Education Webinars

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.

March 24, 2010 - 9:44pm
In discussing with colleagues how some people do well as administrators and some don't, the same phrase keeps coming up. Dean x "gets it," and Dean y doesn't. I've used this description myself, but hearing it again this week, realized that it begs for definition. What does it mean to "get it"?
March 23, 2010 - 9:56pm
Why do webinars always suck? I've endured my fair share of webinars over the last few years, and anticipate enduring far more in the years to come. They're the poor man's version of travel, and in these budgetary times, there's something to be said for that. Given the ratio of filler-to-content in the average conference presentation, webinars seem like a reasonable bargain. And given both ever-improving technology and the increasing tech-savviness of the academic population, you'd expect webinars to be pretty good by now.
March 22, 2010 - 9:15pm
I know there's no good reason for it, but when I talk to someone on the phone repeatedly over time, I usually develop a mental picture of what s/he looks like. This week I actually met someone I'd been working with for about a year, and per usual, I wasn't even close. Do you ever do that? Is there some sort of capital-R Reason for it, or is it just a quirk?
March 21, 2010 - 9:37pm
Political momentum being what it is, it's looking like the more innovative and interesting parts of the American Graduation Initiative are pretty much dead at this point. To the extent that improvements are likely to happen, it looks like Congress may default to its usual setting, and simply increase the maximum Pell grants. Uh, thanks, but that means literally nothing to community colleges. Absolutely nothing.
March 18, 2010 - 10:25pm
"Should master's programs train their students for the number of students they would have in an ideal world or the number of students they will have in this era of expanding class sizes and bulging enrollments at community colleges?" The latter. This piece about the programs that grant master's degrees in composition raised a crucial, if underappreciated, issue. And it's certainly not limited to writing programs or English departments.
March 17, 2010 - 10:13pm
I've spent the last week or so slowly reading Lisa Dodson's The Moral Underground. It's only about 200 pages and the prose isn't dense, but it's sooooo depressing that it's hard to read quickly. I'm still reeling from it.
March 16, 2010 - 9:39pm
I've read a fair number of pieces about 'casualization' over the last few years, particularly in the context of higher education. 'Casualization' is usually defined as the reallocation of work from full-time (that is, benefited) employees to part-time (or 'casual') employees. Since 'casual' employees can be fired relatively easily and don't cost very much, the argument goes, administrations like them. The argument is applied to adjuncts, who are then likened to people who work for temp agencies, Walmart, and any other villain conveniently at hand.
March 15, 2010 - 10:03pm
As regular readers know, I'm usually unimpressed by The New York Times' coverage of higher education. But this story is almost adequate.
March 14, 2010 - 8:34pm
The New Niece is here! She was born on Friday, and she's healthy and beautiful. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, all of it attitude; the doctor said that she practically walked off the delivery table. This being 2010, she's already on Facebook. (No link, obviously, to preserve pseudonymity.) There's something about seeing newborn scrunchyface that brings it all back.
March 11, 2010 - 9:21pm
With the Great Recession wreaking havoc on parental jobs, we've had an influx of students this year who normally would have started at a four-year college. For the most part, they still intend to get there, but they're starting at the cc to save money on transferable credits. Some of them have been quite upfront about the economic motivation for starting at a cc, and about fully intending not to stop here.

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