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.

May 24, 2010 - 10:14pm
This is one of those "yeah, but" stories. The impulse is good, but the details are tricky.Apparently, the faculty at the Art Institute of Seattle, a for-profit college, is doing an underground drive to unionize with the American Federation of Teachers. The idea, according to the IHE story, is to put in place safeguards that will allow faculty to give honest grades without fear of reprisal. (The 'fear of reprisal' part also explains the 'underground' part.)Hmm.
May 23, 2010 - 9:45pm
According to this story from the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger (motto: "Not Dead Yet!"), the New Jersey Senate has passed a bill that would require all newly-hired public employees, including faculty and staff at public colleges, to live in New Jersey as a condition of employment.
May 21, 2010 - 4:48am
This past weekend, TW and I left the kids with her parents, got on a plane, and went out of town for a couple of days. I hadn't realized how much we needed to do that until we did it.We love our kids dearly, but sometimes it's healthy to slip out of 'parent' mode. And with the end-of-semester insanity on campus in full swing, the change of scene did some good. We even managed to keep the calls home to a reasonable minimum.Benefits of leaving the kids at home:--We went to restaurants that don't even serve chicken tenders.
May 19, 2010 - 9:32pm
A newish dean at a new institution writes:Adding to the coming in from the 'outside' pressure is the fact that the faculty have a union. When a colleague tried to begin an assessment program to meet the [agency] accrediting revisions, the faculty union point man and union pooh-poohed the measure. As of now, the assessment process consists of an open-ended "how do you assess student learning" question for each faculty member. It's my new job to get things where they need to be--identify, measure, report, use, repeat.
May 18, 2010 - 10:25pm
We're coming up on performance review time for the administrative and staff ranks. That means I have to have my annual internal debate about performance reviews. (Apparently, it's "ambivalence week" here at Dean Dad HQ.) As many folks have pointed out, performance reviews are deeply flawed in the best of times, and often just destructive. There's no end of reasons for that.-- They only occur once per year. That leads to predictable temporal distortions -- the most recent stuff outweighs the older stuff -- and some unavoidable discontinuity.
May 17, 2010 - 9:44pm
I don't make a habit of doing reruns, but this story in IHE generated a flurry of requests to comment on illegal immigration and public higher ed. I did a piece on that back in 2005, and it still pretty much reflects my thinking on the issue. I've made a couple of technical corrections, but the core of the piece still stands as it did five years ago. Would that we had made more progress since then...
May 16, 2010 - 9:51pm
A returning correspondent, in the late stages of a few interviews, writes:
May 14, 2010 - 2:05am
What's the best way to convey meaningful lessons in financial literacy to 18 year olds? I'm consistently struck at the disconnect between "what's supposed to be true" and "the real world."
May 12, 2010 - 9:43pm
To get a sense of the stuff that drives administrators crazy, see if you can spot the hole in the three decision rules:1. Students need academic advisors from day one.2. Students' academic advisors should be faculty in their chosen majors.3. Students shouldn't have to change advisors.If you guessed "but students don't always know what they want to major in," you win! (I'd also give credit to "but students change their majors all the time!")
May 11, 2010 - 9:56pm
Much of the campus discussion about students with disabilities has revolved around ways to provide accommodations that are both effective and appropriate for the course. I've been struck by the goodwill exhibited (most of the time) on all sides.That said, I'm seeing more of the flip side recently.

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