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 15, 2010 - 8:57pm
Good God, I'm bored.Maybe if I shift in my seat...Nope. Still bored.Ooh! A dropbox! However might it work?Ayup, it drops. Color me impressed.Why is the presenter staring at me? Am I rolling my eyes?Try to look interested. Try to look interested.Good God, I'm bored.I bet celebrities don't have to watch dropbox demos.I bet Lindsay Lohan doesn't have to watch dropbox demos.I bet they don't even do dropbox demos in prison.They should.Naw, that's cruel and unusual.
July 14, 2010 - 9:53pm
This piece in IHE went uncommented the day it was published, which, I’ll admit, surprised me. It was one of the most hopeful pieces I’ve read in a long time.It’s about the Community College of the District of Columbia, a new institution growing out of the University of the District of Columbia. As many people know, the District of Columbia has some issues with poverty, crime, and public school performance. Just a few. Not like you’d notice. So a new community college there makes a world of sense.
July 14, 2010 - 4:40am
This happens about once a year, even here in blue-state land.A student shows up to complain that his professor is gay, and that s/he is “trying to convert everybody.” When I ask for specifics, the student quickly shifts gears to clarify that “I don't care what you do at home, but you shouldn't wave it around in my face.” Seeing a complete lack of response, the student then asserts victimhood, alleging that the professor won't give a fair shake to students who don't agree with her.I've tried a number of different responses over the years, with varying degrees of success.
July 12, 2010 - 9:36pm
Joshua Kim’s piece yesterday reminded me of a basic, but widely ignored, truth.In most industries, new technology is adopted because it’s expected to lower costs and/or improve productivity (which lowers costs over time). It doesn’t always succeed, of course, and the usual vagaries of faddism are certainly there. But by and large, the point of adopting a new technology is to make the underlying business stronger.
July 11, 2010 - 9:10pm
Put down the flamethrowers, I’m not talking about money.In the summer, with fewer people on campus and some of the committees that usually fill my calendar on hold until September, I’ve discovered an unexpected bonus: time for wide-ranging, unstructured conversation.I don’t just mean shooting the breeze, either. I mean the kind of discussions in which people have the time and implied permission to go off-agenda and really explore a topic.
July 8, 2010 - 9:02pm
I have to admit enjoying this article a little too much.Anyone who did time with Foucault will immediately think ‘panopticon’ when reading this piece about the anti-cheating technologies at the University of Central Florida. But I remember vividly the frustration as a teacher when students would cheat, and I remember the palpable sense of relief among the better students when I interrupted a cheat in progress.
July 7, 2010 - 9:58pm
This piece, and its attendant comments, stuck in my craw a little. It’s a discussion with an author of a book about the obstacles to low-income students’ success in college.
July 6, 2010 - 9:13pm
I’ll stipulate upfront that this will vary by region.
July 5, 2010 - 9:39pm
Should a community college train people for the industries that are currently there, or for the industries that seem likely to be there in the near future?I’ve been chewing on this one in light of some recent proposals floating around to get students prepared to certain kinds of manufacturing firms that, in my humble estimation, may not be much longer for this continent. (To be fair, a similar objection could be lodged at certain kinds of journalism programs, though I suspect that journalism will morph rather than die.)
July 1, 2010 - 9:57pm
Credit where credit is due: this story suggests that the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association -- the regional accreditor of record for much of the middle of the country -- is finally righting a longstanding wrong.

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