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 30, 2010 - 9:22pm
A new correspondent writes:I am thinking of making a change in my career path. I am a non-tenure track, full time instructor, starting my 8th year in this job. While I enjoy my job and it is reasonably stable even in a terrible economy & job market, it is obviously untenable as a seriously-long-term career option. But I really like working in a University community and I want to find a way to stay in that environment.
August 29, 2010 - 9:02pm
A student writes:I failed a class (obtained an F), and was planning to retake it based on the rules of the university. I did, and I received B. However, I was unaware that the retake policies changed (they changed after I entered the university my first semester). The retake policies changed to enable a person to drop a bad grade from a transcript and retake the class.
August 26, 2010 - 9:30pm
As regular readers know, I’m kind of obsessed with questions of structure in American higher education. I’m working on a book on the subject now, and I keep bumping into a series of suspicions that I can neither prove nor disprove.I don’t know if anyone has done a serious study of this. If someone has, I’d love a reference. But if not, here’s an idea for an enterprising Ed.D. student looking for a dissertation topic...
August 25, 2010 - 9:51pm
A new correspondent writes (edited for anonymity):
August 24, 2010 - 9:09pm
A new correspondent writes:
August 23, 2010 - 8:31pm
The nieces came to visit this weekend. The older niece is three, and the younger one is five months.The glory of an infant niece -- I’d imagine grandkids work the same way -- is that you get all of the cuteness, without the hard labor. When Younger Niece made the untoward digestive noises they make at that age, I could look at my brother without guilt. And when you’re a few years out of having an infant around, a little one makes a great nostalgia trip.
August 22, 2010 - 8:58pm
Who’s qualified to teach college level math?This isn’t limited to math, but I’ll start there because it’s concrete. Similar issues arise in any number of other disciplines.According to some in the math department, you either have a master’s (or higher) in mathematics, or you do not. Engineering isn’t math; computer science isn’t math; physics isn’t math; mathematics education isn’t math. The folks who hold this view claim that they’re upholding standards, and preventing a slow but presumably inevitable slide towards perdition.
August 19, 2010 - 9:38pm
In this week's kerfuffle about the New Faculty Majority – from which other administrators seem to have learned that such things are best ignored, since engaging just brings flame wars – several commenters asked, with varying degrees of civility, what my answer was.It's severalfold.
August 18, 2010 - 9:34pm
This is one of those “individually rational, collectively insane” moments. The New York Times reported that some of the federal stimulus money that was supposed to save the jobs of teachers, police officers, and other public employees is instead being squirreled away by states and school districts, in anticipation of even lower tax revenues next year. The quote that jumped off the screen for me was:
August 17, 2010 - 9:13pm
Last Sunday, when it was particularly hot outside and we were mostly stuck inside, TG declared that she was going to pretend to be an alien from another planet, observing human behavior. (That’s my girl!) She followed us around for a while, writing down her observations. I’ve transcribed them below; only the spellings have been changed.


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