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.

March 8, 2011 - 10:16pm
Those of us who went through grad school in the '90s probably remember when “post-” was the prefix of choice. (For younger readers, it was similar to the use of “e-” ten years ago or “i-” now.) It tarted with “postmodernism,” but quickly grew to become a cultural habit. “Posties” were those who couldn't stop proclaiming the “death of...” whatever. The cultural mood at the time was that we were at the end of something, but the next thing hadn't arrived yet. We were late to the party, but didn't really have one of our own.
March 7, 2011 - 10:14pm
Regular readers know that I'm consistently disappointed in the New York Times' coverage of higher ed, since it mostly boils down to Stanley Fish and Mark Taylor. But this week, just to be contrary, it decided to throw a curveball and publish something intelligent.
March 6, 2011 - 10:22pm
In a recent discussion with a very highly-placed political figure, I heard something disturbing. We were talking about the series of cuts that public higher ed has taken over the last few years, and why it seems like the legislature keeps coming back for more. He mentioned that he has had some candid discussions with legislators, and this is what they told him:
March 3, 2011 - 10:21pm
A new correspondent writes with a doozy:
March 2, 2011 - 11:03pm
Having entirely too much plane time to think it over, a couple of ideas from the League conference have stuck in my craw.They're both examples of basically good ideas – or at least well-intended ones – gone horribly wrong. The snowballing process is remarkably hard to stop.The first is the gradual accretion of levels of remediation at community colleges. I'll address that one in a subsequent post of its own.The second is rampant “reserves” growth at California community colleges.
March 1, 2011 - 10:02pm
The theme today seemed to be generational change, but in a good way; instead of the hand-wringing about leadership crises that I heard two years ago, this time there was much more of a sense of embracing new possibilities. Granted, those possibilities are emerging against a crippling economic backdrop, but hell, we Gen X’ers know all about that. If anyone can handle it, we can.Day 3 highlights:
March 1, 2011 - 4:39am
Dear reader, I attended six presentations at the League for Innovation conference yesterday, so you didn’t have to. The highlight reel:-- Abstract flow charts have to go. I honestly don’t understand what people think they achieve. “Culture” arrow to “Behavior” arrow to “Beliefs” arrow to “Culture.” To me, it just looks like a flashing neon sign that says I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY.
February 28, 2011 - 3:58am
(Filed from the conference of The League for Innovation in the Community College, in a surprisingly chilly San Diego.)
February 23, 2011 - 10:09pm
(Or, why I can send an English professor to a math conference, but I can't send a math professor to a math conference.)Earlier this week, I mentioned an interaction with the campus Money Guy that strained the limits of absurdity. In fairness, I should mention that sometimes I have to be the apparatchik, too.
February 22, 2011 - 10:27pm
Historiann has a fascinating, and I think largely representative, take on a provocative article in the Washington Post about “fixing” higher education. The original piece outlines eight steps that it argues would make meaningful differences for colleges and universities in the US.

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