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.

April 18, 2011 - 10:19pm
The Wife is Catholic, and I’m not. She’s raising the kids Catholic, though we’ve negotiated some boundaries on that.The Boy has a friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness, which occasioned the following discussion in the car on the way home from Mass. (I wasn’t there; this is according to TW.)TB: He doesn’t believe the same things I believe, but it’s still okay to be friends with him, right?TW: Of course! Good people believe all kinds of different things, and they’re still good people. Like I’m Catholic, and so are you, and so is TG, but Daddy is...
April 17, 2011 - 9:36pm
One of my colleagues calls this month “Hatepril.” It’s an awful time. With the academic year in the final stretch, nearly everybody is fried. The faculty are tired and cranky, and not at their best; the students are tired and scared; the administrators are overscheduled to within inches of our lives.
April 14, 2011 - 10:15pm
A new correspondent writes:I am a doctoral student at State University, a university founded on the principle that college and continuing education should be available to everyone. We began as a college for night students, students of color, and students returning to school in hopes of a better job; as a result, we are still known for being a teaching college and many of our students are public school kids or returning students. I have been a TA or instructor of record for my entire graduate career, and I enjoy teaching quite a bit.
April 13, 2011 - 9:20pm
- The Boy and The Girl both did science fair projects again this year. TB did one on paper airplanes, testing whether the number of folds in the design of the plane affected the distance it would fly. (It didn’t.) TG did one on whether all liquids weigh the same. She poured vegetable oil, water, and molasses into a jar, and noted that the molasses sank to the bottom while the oil rose to the top. We also discovered that molasses pours faster than the cliche would lead you to believe.
April 12, 2011 - 10:04pm
In response to yesterday’s post predicting huge personnel movement as soon as the market starts to thaw, a new correspondent writes:
April 11, 2011 - 10:04pm
In the next two to three years, we will see a level of personnel movement in higher ed that will dwarf anything we’ve seen since the 1960’s.I’m basing this on two observations. The first is the increasing median age of full-timers in higher ed, especially on the administrative side. The second is the extinction of pay raises.
April 10, 2011 - 8:49pm
Oh sure -- the New York Times puts up a paywall, and then finally runs an intelligent article about community colleges. Thanks.If you’re able to access it, this piece discusses people consciously choosing to spend the first two years of a much longer college education at a community college as a cost-cutting measure. The idea is to build up a slew of transferable credits at low cost, so that when you get to the four-year school, you’re only paying their rate for two years.
April 7, 2011 - 11:35pm
A few weeks ago I promised a piece on remedial levels. It’s a huge topic, and my own expertise is badly limited. That said...Community colleges catch a lot of flak for teaching so many sections of remedial (the preferred term now is “developmental”) math and English. (For present purposes, I’ll sidestep the politically loaded question of whether ESL should be considered developmental.) In a perfect world, every student who gets here would have been prepared well in high school, and would arrive ready to tackle college-level work.
April 7, 2011 - 1:02am
A returning correspondent writes:
April 5, 2011 - 9:44pm
How long does a search for a full-time faculty member take on your campus?I’ve been struck at the disconnect between urgent messages of “we need more full-timers right now!” and the lachrymose “the committee will meet when it gets around to it.” The cynical part of me thinks that if the first message were true, the second wouldn’t happen.

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