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.

December 8, 2010 - 4:39am
According to this piece from the SUNY New Paltz student newspaper -- hat-tip to the NFM Twitter feed on this one -- the faculty union at SUNY New Paltz is urging the administration there to spend down its reserves to prevent spending cuts.I’ll admit laughing out loud at one passage, citing chapter Vice President Peter Brown:
December 6, 2010 - 8:55pm
Every parent knows the moment is inevitable. I think The Boy is onto us about Santa.He hasn’t actually said as much, and heaven knows I don’t want to plant the seed just yet. But last weekend when the four of us went out to see Santa -- and stand in a line two hours for the privilege -- I couldn’t help but notice a telltale indifference.
December 5, 2010 - 9:04pm
My college is planning a major student survey for the Spring. We’re drawing up questions that we think could help shape budget priorities over the next few years, assuming there’s actually enough money to have some level of discretion. (That’s far from certain.) We’ve got several of the usual questions: have they seen their academic advisor, how often do they use the library, etc. I suggested one asking whether they have internet access at home, so we could get a sense of the degree to which more open computer labs might help.
December 2, 2010 - 9:16pm
In response to Wednesday’s 'helpful hints' post, several people asked about special tips for adjuncts applying for full-time jobs at the college where they already teach.Internal candidates have been on a winning streak lately at my college, though there are no guarantees. Are the rules different for them?No, but some of them think they are. That’s how good adjuncts can torpedo their own candidacies.
December 1, 2010 - 9:19pm
An occasional correspondent writes:I have been offered a course at a reduced rate because the enrollment is not 100%. My objections to this go beyond mere self interest (I think). Here are some potential issues:#1: Instructors have little control over enrollment, but do have some. For example how many students pass a 100 level course has a direct impact on how many students move on to a 200 level course we might teach. If our rate is based on warm bodies might not an instructor be tempted to pass students just to increase enrollment in a higher level course?
December 1, 2010 - 4:21am
It’s been a while since I’ve done a “how to get the job” piece. Judging by a recent flurry of emails on the subject, it looks like the time is right for a new one.If you’re applying for a full-time faculty job, you can assume that the folks who read your cover letter will be academics. For all their quirks, academics tend to be pretty good readers. That means that your cover letter will actually get read closely, probably several times. Craft counts.Please don’t open with “My name is...” We’ll figure it out when we get to the signature line.
November 29, 2010 - 9:45pm
A few years ago my college tried one of those ideas that makes sense on paper, but that crashed and burned in the real world. I was reminded of that today in discussing a proposal that would have repeated the same mistake.
November 29, 2010 - 4:36am
Over the break I finally had a chance to read Higher Education?, by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus. It was yet another in a long line of pieces that purport -- at least in title -- to address higher education generally, but that assume a daily reality that simply excludes community colleges. (At least Hacker and Dreifus had the good grace to admit it.) Suffice it to say that it seemed to mean well, but was so scattered in its presentation that I was just left shrugging.
November 23, 2010 - 8:44pm
“Why them and not us?”Managing the different impacts of microbenefits is a surprisingly large part of my job. I’m still getting used to it, and still shaking off disbelief at some of the issues people will choose to fight about. This week brought that home to me yet again.
November 22, 2010 - 9:31pm
Anecdotally, it looks like the new Higher Education Act is doing a number on college bookstores, and on bookstores in college towns.


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