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.

July 6, 2011 - 3:53am
This one is particularly for my fellow administrators out there. Strategic ignorance can be a wonderful thing, if used correctly. This is one way I’ve found it useful.Let’s say you have a professor whose classroom performance seems to be slipping. Her student evaluations are conspicuously lower than they’ve been over time, students are starting to complain, and there’s no immediately-obvious cause. This is someone who has done well in the recent past, so you know the ability is there, but things just aren’t clicking now.What do you do?
July 4, 2011 - 7:24pm
- Once in a while, it’s good for the soul to forget about all the bureaucratic stuff and just careen madly down a waterslide. - One upside of middle-aged weight gain is that it adds to your waterslide speed. Okay, that’s probably not an even trade, but I’ll take what I can get.- It’s even better when your six year old daughter, formerly afraid of waterslides, finds the courage to go, too. The look on her face at the bottom was worth the trip.
June 30, 2011 - 8:54pm
Apparently, college radio has fallen on hard times. This should come as no surprise, since radio generally has fallen on hard times.I was a denizen of college radio in the late 80’s, just before the music we played broke out as “alternative.” In those days, a new release by R.E.M. or The Replacements was a Very Big Deal. (I vividly remember the disappointment when Don’t Tell a Soul came out.) It was a blast, but it was the kind of blast that relied on a specific historical moment.
June 29, 2011 - 10:12pm
I’ve been a fan of Richard Florida’s for several years now. He’s a student of cities who has famously argued that the key to growth is in the “creative class” which tends to cluster in major urban centers. In contrast to Tom Friedman -- admittedly, that’s sort of like contrasting Sonny Rollins to Kenny G -- Florida argues that the world is “spiky.” Cities with high concentrations of creatives are the economic engines of the future; they stand out on charts like spikes.
June 29, 2011 - 4:15am
This exchange from The New Inquiry has been wending its way around the intertubes of late. (Thanks to @colinized on twitter for flagging it for me.) It’s a dialogue between “Teach,” an adjunct professor of philosophy, and “Cheat,” a term-paper-writer-for-hire. It’s surprisingly thoughtful in its consideration of the motivations behind plagiarism and the ways that faculty deal with it.
June 28, 2011 - 1:56am
Why doesn’t financial aid cover adult basic education?My college’s community has a significant population of adults whose first language isn’t English. Many of them face severely limited employment options as a result. The community also has significant numbers of people with limited literacy and basic math skills.
June 27, 2011 - 1:05am
A quick thought experiment: if you were offered your tuition back -- minus any financial aid -- in return for surrendering your bachelor’s degree -- and any graduate degrees thereafter -- would you take it? Just to make things interesting, let’s say that along with returning the credentials, you also have to surrender any intellectual strength you built in college, along with any jobs that required college (and/or higher) degrees and the money you made in them.
June 24, 2011 - 3:47am
When I was a kid, the first real graduation ceremony came at the end of high school. The second was at the end of college. Now, graduations are everywhere. Yesterday The Boy graduated from the fourth grade. (Officially, it was a “moving up” ceremony, since fifth grade is held in a different building, but everyone called it graduation.)It’d be easy to do the standard “Kids Today...” rant, so I won’t. If anything, the fourth grade version was much sweeter than the college version.
June 23, 2011 - 3:33am
A long-suffering correspondent writes
June 22, 2011 - 4:23am
An annoyed correspondent writes: I'm an adjunct at a community college. My community college recently instituted a requirement that everyone who teaches an online class take an eight hour workshop, which is quite burdensome. I understand you cannot offer any specific legal advice, but by requiring a specific workshop taught only by the college, isn't the college asking me to act as an employee, rather than as contractor? It seems like there's a blog post in here about what colleges can and cannot require adjuncts to do.

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