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.

October 13, 2010 - 10:24pm
Last week I had a nice discussion with some people who work at nearby four-year schools. We were discussing the various points at which students seem to get sidetracked. Everyone agreed that the first semester is key, but the discussion became a bit more challenging after that.My counterparts moved to a discussion of the second year of college. They mentioned that the sophomore year is when students need to declare a major, and that students who can’t commit to anything at that point are at much higher risk of walking away.
October 13, 2010 - 12:01am
An alert reader sent me this link to a Boston Globe story about Harvard eliminating its final exam period.We’ve had similar discussions here, though the reasons aren’t all the same. I’d love to hear from wise and worldly readers who have lived through a similar transition, and who know from experience what the concrete issues are.
October 11, 2010 - 9:40pm
In a nutshell, this is why I write under a pseudonym. Apparently the University of Connecticut fired a dean who later claimed that his termination was due to his criticism of upper administration. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that even if the former dean’s account of the reasons for his termination were factually correct, the dean lacked first amendment protection and therefore lacked standing to challenge his termination.
October 11, 2010 - 3:39am
A new correspondent writes:
October 8, 2010 - 4:17am
We got The Boy's and The Girl's school pictures this week.Admitting my own bias upfront, it's still fair to say that these are two good-looking kids. TB is the class heartthrob, tall with a winning smile, and TG is a brunette cherub with a mischievous gleam in her eye.But you wouldn't know it from the pictures.In these pictures, our beautiful, wonderful, sweet children look, well, kinda goony.It's not their fault. They often photograph well, and they smiled obligingly. Yet these shots are worthy of a driver's license in their awkwardness.
October 6, 2010 - 10:24pm
Does anyone out there work at a public college that mandates that students buy laptops?I’m increasingly convinced that we need to do something like that. We could define ‘laptop’ pretty broadly to include not just netbooks but also ipads and maybe even smartphones -- anything that gives students wireless internet.
October 5, 2010 - 10:19pm
Apparently at the White House Community College Summit yesterday, President Obama announced no new public money for community colleges. But the Gates Foundation announced it would contribute $35 million.Obviously, for any one private entity to give $35 million is very generous. But it’s worth putting in perspective.It’s less than my college’s operating budget for one year. My college is one of 1100 community colleges across the country.
October 4, 2010 - 9:42pm
My brother -- known to regular readers as Brother of Dean Dad -- sent me a nifty thought piece that I’d love to get my readers’ help explaining.
October 3, 2010 - 9:16pm
Twice in the last year, I’ve heard some statements on campus against affirmative action that have helped me understand some of the opposition to it. (Disclosure: though my politics aren’t conservative, my appearance is. Since I rarely talk politics at work, some people incorrectly assume from my appearance that I’m a conservative, and they tell me things that they might not otherwise. It’s an odd position to be in, but there it is.)
September 30, 2010 - 10:12pm
How do people with day jobs and school-aged kids write books?


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