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.

February 7, 2010 - 8:55pm
A longtime reader writes:
February 4, 2010 - 9:54pm
Several alert readers sent me links to this article from the New York Times. It's a weirdly chipper "pick up some money in your spare time by adjuncting!" piece, written for (and apparently by) people who aren't terribly conversant in higher ed. Depending on your angle to the universe, it could be read as refreshing, bizarre, or deeply offensive. (I fall into the 'bizarre' camp, with sympathies for the 'deeply offensive.')
February 3, 2010 - 10:05pm
A few years ago I mentioned my bewilderment at why the failure of the push to adopt the metric system in the United States in the 70's hasn't received more scholarly attention. I remember teachers earnestly walking us through the various units -- centimeters, kilograms, celsius degrees, etc. -- to prepare us for the Big Change. Obviously, with a few isolated exceptions, it didn't happen.
February 2, 2010 - 9:48pm
Too many of the arguments I've read and heard for hiring more full-time faculty rely on moralistic appeals. The idea seems to boil down to a simpleminded equation of "market" with "bad" and "tradition" with "good." Moralistic arguments don't work because they solve the wrong problem. But there's a perfectly reasonable market-based argument for hiring full-time faculty right now: buy low, sell high. Great people have never been as undervalued as they are now; this is an unprecedented hiring opportunity.
February 1, 2010 - 10:34pm
A dispirited correspondent writes:
January 31, 2010 - 9:25pm
In ninth grade, I had a wonderful, high-energy social studies teacher whose favorite exhortation was "wisdom and knowledge!" He'd usually punctuate it by thwacking his yardstick against a desk while we took notes. At the time, it was an entertaining shtick, and I didn't think much about the distinction between wisdom and knowledge. With age and experience, though, I'm beginning to appreciate the difference.
January 28, 2010 - 10:01pm
I've mentioned before that one upside to the Great Recession may be that it finally puts to rest the myth that academic hiring is some sort of meritocracy. Putting that myth to rest would be a good thing, to the extent that it can help frustrated applicants get past self-blame and/or false hope, and find paths that make sense over the long term. This week I saw another upside, this time on the student side.
January 27, 2010 - 9:32pm
A new correspondent writes: I have a dilemma. I currently writing my thesis for a MS degree (industrial management). My committee has the rough draft to evaluate. Expected graduation was the end of this spring but summer or fall is a becoming more realistic. I intend to go on for a PhD (Business Administration w/ a operations/technology management specialization), and then pursue a academic career (teaching and/or administrative). I am considering pursuing a second masters degree (MBA) with a dual specialization before the PhD. Why a second masters?
January 27, 2010 - 4:08am
Like so many other public colleges, mine is reducing personnel to match reduced budgets. (To its credit, it isn't reducing faculty.) That means that I've been absorbed in some Very Unbloggable Conversations over the last couple of weeks. It also means that I've seen the return of the space invaders.
January 25, 2010 - 9:34pm
A new correspondent writes: I am Nursing faculty at a community college, in only my 2nd year in the academic world. This semester I am a member of the 'Appeals/Advisory' committee, which consist of representative faculty from throughout our program, and the Directors of Nursing. I subbed on this committee at the end of the last semester, when we had 2 marathon days of listening to student stories of why they should be allowed to continue in the program (usually after 2 failures which, according to our policy, means dismissal unless the Appeals committee decides otherwise).

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