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 28, 2010 - 9:39pm
A few weeks ago, I aired out some thoughts on webinars and their seemingly endemic suckitude. This week, several alert readers directed me to this story in the New York Times about how PowerPoint is directly responsible for the failure to catch Bin Laden.
April 27, 2010 - 10:06pm
Mid-April to Mid-May is always the hardest time of year. All of the end-of-year stuff comes to a head at this point. The students are stressed about papers/projects/finals, and the faculty are in grading jail. This is when my evenings fill at an alarming rate, with various 'culmination' events and ceremonies. With the clock ticking on the semester, anything that requires faculty involvement (i.e. program reviews, faculty hires) has to happen now. Which is to say, I'm wiped. That's normal for this time of year.
April 26, 2010 - 9:08pm
This piece in the Chronicle got me thinking about Presidents and Vice Presidents I've worked under who had stayed on too long. It has happened more than once. In every case, the hangers-on had tremendous reputations built on past achievements. In each case, I'm told, the achievements that made their names were genuinely impressive, and people on the outside still held them in high regard.But on the inside, you could see the decay.
April 25, 2010 - 9:22pm
I had a good discussion last week with a well-meaning professor who wanted to know why the minimum enrollment to run a section is higher than the break-even cost of paying an adjunct. Her position was that another section doesn't add much marginal cost, and as long as you've paid the adjunct, what's the problem?It was one of those "where you stand depends on where you sit" moments. I'll make it a multiple choice.If another section doesn't add much marginal cost, and it generates enough tuition/fee revenue to pay the adjunct, what's the problem?
April 22, 2010 - 10:25pm
I suspect that variations on this will become more common in the next several years. A new correspondent writes:
April 21, 2010 - 11:18pm
From much of the discussion of 'data-driven' reforms that take place at the national level, you'd think that all that we'd need to do is educate some administrators on the use and interpretation of data, tell them to use what they've learned, and that would be that. If only it were that easy...
April 20, 2010 - 9:58pm
Back in my radio days, a fellow dj used to specialize in what he called "collision mixes." He'd pick two songs that had absolutely no business going together and play them back to back, just to enjoy the carnage. I admired his craft, though not enough to imitate it.My current-events reading today featured a collision mix.
April 19, 2010 - 11:08pm
A bufuddled correspondent writes:We are in the process of interviewing for a new program director. I am a staff member in this particular program.
April 18, 2010 - 11:28pm
A thoughtful correspondent writes: I'm in a humanities dept. at a very good SLAC. One of our faculty members is retiring soon, and so our departmental meetings have been focusing (in ten-minute snatches, unfortunately....despite meeting WEEKLY) on arguing for his replacement and determining what curricular lacunae might best be covered by this new person.
April 16, 2010 - 4:37am
What should a college do when a professor fails 90 percent of the students in an intro class?Apparently, at LSU the answer is to remove the professor unilaterally, mid-semester. The comments to the IHE story are about 90 percent from faculty trading in the worst anti-administration stereotyping, laced with an intoxicating brew of outrage and moral superiority. But they really miss the story.Based on the article, I can see heaping piles of wrong on all sides.

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