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.

August 23, 2010 - 8:31pm
The nieces came to visit this weekend. The older niece is three, and the younger one is five months.The glory of an infant niece -- I’d imagine grandkids work the same way -- is that you get all of the cuteness, without the hard labor. When Younger Niece made the untoward digestive noises they make at that age, I could look at my brother without guilt. And when you’re a few years out of having an infant around, a little one makes a great nostalgia trip.
August 22, 2010 - 8:58pm
Who’s qualified to teach college level math?This isn’t limited to math, but I’ll start there because it’s concrete. Similar issues arise in any number of other disciplines.According to some in the math department, you either have a master’s (or higher) in mathematics, or you do not. Engineering isn’t math; computer science isn’t math; physics isn’t math; mathematics education isn’t math. The folks who hold this view claim that they’re upholding standards, and preventing a slow but presumably inevitable slide towards perdition.
August 19, 2010 - 9:38pm
In this week's kerfuffle about the New Faculty Majority – from which other administrators seem to have learned that such things are best ignored, since engaging just brings flame wars – several commenters asked, with varying degrees of civility, what my answer was.It's severalfold.
August 18, 2010 - 9:34pm
This is one of those “individually rational, collectively insane” moments. The New York Times reported that some of the federal stimulus money that was supposed to save the jobs of teachers, police officers, and other public employees is instead being squirreled away by states and school districts, in anticipation of even lower tax revenues next year. The quote that jumped off the screen for me was:
August 17, 2010 - 9:13pm
Last Sunday, when it was particularly hot outside and we were mostly stuck inside, TG declared that she was going to pretend to be an alien from another planet, observing human behavior. (That’s my girl!) She followed us around for a while, writing down her observations. I’ve transcribed them below; only the spellings have been changed.
August 16, 2010 - 9:11pm
The New Faculty Majority has drafted a proposal calling for adjuncts to get tenure (or its functional equivalent) and proportional pay and benefits for their teaching. A few thoughts:
August 15, 2010 - 9:35pm
A new correspondent writes:Why are ranks at Community Colleges sometimes different from those at 4-year schools? For example, my rank is "Instructor," but I'm full-time tenure track. I only achieve the rank of "Assistant Professor" in five years, after I get tenure. The other ranks are for various levels of promotion.I know it's a minor issue, but frankly it drives me a little nuts having to explain to people that I am, in fact, TT and that I'm not a part-timer. Sometimes I just fudge and say "Assistant Professor," to avoid the confusion.
August 12, 2010 - 9:08pm
In our never-ending quest to help students succeed, we’re taking a fresh look at how we do academic advising on campus. From asking around, it seems like there are several different schools of thought on academic advising, each pretty much talking past the others.
August 12, 2010 - 4:35am
This piece in IHE, and its comments, hit home with me. It’s a variation on a dilemma I face every single semester.Broadly, it’s about the zero-sum truth that if professor X gets assigned a particular class, then it cannot also be assigned to professor Y. When there’s a limited number of sections of a given course or in a given discipline, and they both want the same one, someone has to lose. Determining who has to lose is the enviable job of administration.
August 10, 2010 - 7:25pm
Okay, I’m a little nerdy, but this was a huge moment for us.

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