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.

January 18, 2010 - 9:28pm
I read somewhere that you can't make accidents happen, but you can make yourself accident prone. I'm looking at ways to make my college accident prone, and I'm hoping that some of my wise and worldly readers have some hints to share.
January 17, 2010 - 9:46pm
A longtime reader writes: Here in [unnamed state] state support for higher education is shrinking fast. Some of this is cyclical, but those cycles can't mask a longer term, downward trend. Where once the state provided support for about 65% of our operating budget, that number has fallen to around 17%. I'm writing from a four year university, and don't have comparable numbers for community colleges. They are funded through a separate state agency.
January 14, 2010 - 10:01pm
A longtime reader writes: My elite liberal undergrad institution, annual cost ~$55K vs median annual U.S. income of $50K, high in US News rating but never at absolute top, wants me to come back for the 20th anniversary of my graduation and write them a big check. Sustain excellence, don't you know. Fulfill mission, don't you know.
January 13, 2010 - 9:43pm
Why do people still go to grad school in the liberal arts? My generation had an excuse; we were told that a great wave of retirements was imminent, after which jobs would spring from the ground like mushrooms. In other words, we were lied to. But the adjunct trend is so well-established at this point, and the economic irrationality of grad school so screamingly obvious, that it's fair to wonder why many departments are actually experiencing record applications. I have a few thoughts, but I invite others.
January 12, 2010 - 9:14pm
A new correspondent writes: I’m now serving (on an interim basis) as director of a small program at a university, and I am struggling with the question of whether to apply when the search to fill the director position gets underway.
January 11, 2010 - 9:43pm
A few years ago, during the brief window when there was money, a few colleges engaged in 'cluster hiring.' As I've heard the term used, it refers to allocating new faculty positions in clumps, rather than spreading them evenly around. Giving three lines at the same time to sociology, while telling psychology to hold its horses, would be an example.
January 10, 2010 - 8:55pm
As regular readers know, I listen to Marketplace podcasts faithfully. But this story nearly made me drive off the road.
January 7, 2010 - 11:38pm
A Canadian correspondent writes:
January 6, 2010 - 9:22pm
One of the saving graces of working at a community college is that I don't hear the dreaded "what are you going to do with that?" question directed at students who major in liberal arts. At the two-year level, the answer is frequently obvious: transfer.
January 5, 2010 - 9:49pm
A frustrated correspondent writes:

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