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.

August 17, 2011 - 3:59am
Yesterday I had a chance to catch up with an old friend -- High School Friend on Wrong Ocean was doing an East Coast tour -- and I realized that, in our very different settings, we’re telling ourselves the same stories.She teaches at a law school out there, when she isn’t doing other amazing things. We got to talking about teaching, and she made a comment that stuck with me.“Do you ever feel guilty about preparing students for jobs that don’t exist? I do...”Gulp.
August 15, 2011 - 9:37pm
This year, we're trying something different.As many a frustrated academic knows, there's a hiring season for full-time faculty. Broadly speaking, it starts in October and runs through about February for tenure-track positions, and starts in January and runs through April or May for one-year positions. (The preferred term for those is usually “visiting,” though that seems a polite fiction at this point.)
August 14, 2011 - 8:54pm
It’s that time of the summer. Now that the rest of the world has passed “shark week,” we academics can see the dorsal fin in the water. It’s almost September.We aren’t quite there yet, happily. By about 3:00 in the afternoon, the campus is pretty much empty. But you can make out the silhouette on the horizon.The telltale signs are there. Back-to-school sales are popping up. Afternoon thunderstorms are becoming more common and violent. The visitors’ parking lot is suspiciously full.
August 11, 2011 - 9:32pm
I know this is a big topic, but it has become salient recently in my world.My college is taking a fresh look at its website. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that the previous version won't be missed.But in trying to put together a new one, it's becoming clear that different sets of expectations are crashing into each other. This can't be the first time such a thing has happened, so I'm hoping my wise and worldly readers can shed some light.
August 10, 2011 - 9:31pm
I’ll miss Borders.Although most people remember Borders as a big-box suburban store, to me it was always a big-box chain awkwardly appended onto a really nifty, quirky store on State Street in Ann Arbor.
August 9, 2011 - 9:02pm
Gary Olson, a former provost, has a piece up over at the Chronicle detailing advice he would give to a new administrator. As with any “if I knew then what I know now” exercise, there’s some value in it, but this paragraph has been bothering me since I read it:
August 8, 2011 - 9:24pm
A returning correspondent writes:
August 7, 2011 - 9:01pm
Dontcha hate it when when someone whose views strike you as generally asinine happens to score a really good point?Grumble.In an otherwise awful essay in IHE, Robert Martin strikes a chord in discussing groupthink:
July 28, 2011 - 10:21pm
And the men aren’t.Sometimes just a few statistics can tell a story. Here’s a pair I found fascinating.Our students a year or less out of high school: 48% malesOur students as a whole: 38% malesThe skew gets progressively more pronounced as you move up the age scale. By the time you pass the early twenties, the students are overwhelmingly female. But the fresh-out-of-high-school group is almost even. And to the extent that I’ve seen national statistics, they pretty much tell the same story.
July 27, 2011 - 9:36pm
Dear Congress,


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