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 21, 2010 - 9:37pm
Political momentum being what it is, it's looking like the more innovative and interesting parts of the American Graduation Initiative are pretty much dead at this point.To the extent that improvements are likely to happen, it looks like Congress may default to its usual setting, and simply increase the maximum Pell grants.Uh, thanks, but that means literally nothing to community colleges. Absolutely nothing.
March 18, 2010 - 10:25pm
"Should master's programs train their students for the number of students they would have in an ideal world or the number of students they will have in this era of expanding class sizes and bulging enrollments at community colleges?"The latter.This piece about the programs that grant master's degrees in composition raised a crucial, if underappreciated, issue. And it's certainly not limited to writing programs or English departments.
March 17, 2010 - 10:13pm
I've spent the last week or so slowly reading Lisa Dodson's The Moral Underground. It's only about 200 pages and the prose isn't dense, but it's sooooo depressing that it's hard to read quickly. I'm still reeling from it.
March 16, 2010 - 9:39pm
I've read a fair number of pieces about 'casualization' over the last few years, particularly in the context of higher education. 'Casualization' is usually defined as the reallocation of work from full-time (that is, benefited) employees to part-time (or 'casual') employees. Since 'casual' employees can be fired relatively easily and don't cost very much, the argument goes, administrations like them. The argument is applied to adjuncts, who are then likened to people who work for temp agencies, Walmart, and any other villain conveniently at hand.
March 15, 2010 - 10:03pm
As regular readers know, I'm usually unimpressed by The New York Times' coverage of higher education. But this story is almost adequate.
March 14, 2010 - 8:34pm
The New Niece is here!She was born on Friday, and she's healthy and beautiful. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, all of it attitude; the doctor said that she practically walked off the delivery table.This being 2010, she's already on Facebook. (No link, obviously, to preserve pseudonymity.) There's something about seeing newborn scrunchyface that brings it all back.
March 11, 2010 - 9:21pm
With the Great Recession wreaking havoc on parental jobs, we've had an influx of students this year who normally would have started at a four-year college. For the most part, they still intend to get there, but they're starting at the cc to save money on transferable credits. Some of them have been quite upfront about the economic motivation for starting at a cc, and about fully intending not to stop here.
March 10, 2010 - 10:10pm
There's a wonderful I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel decide to go into the salad dressing business. When Ricky asks about the economics of it, Lucy responds that they lose two cents on every bottle, but they make it up in volume.This piece in IHE reminded me of that. It basically asks why colleges haven't adopted enrollment growth as an economic survival strategy.So much to say...
March 9, 2010 - 9:59pm
(Warning: this one's a little vent-y.)Yesterday started with one of those meetings that left me drained, precisely because it went as well as it could have.My counterparts and I met to discuss staffing needs we had identified within our areas. We had previously agreed that we would all self-censor, and only put forth the really important ones. We agreed that we'd play nice, not back-stab, and refer everything to larger needs.
March 8, 2010 - 10:03pm
Based on an offhand comment the other day, I'd love to hear from my wise and worldly (academic) readers to solve a definition question. (Wise and worldly non-academic readers, please indulge a little 'inside baseball' for today.) How does your college or university define a credit hour? Put differently, if you propose a new course, what determines how many credit hours it gets? Does a given number of credits require a given amount of 'seat time'? If it does, what happens with online classes?

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