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.

November 8, 2009 - 8:43pm
- Overheard in the hallway: "I get mad when stuff isn't online. I mean, my Mom still mails stuff. What's that?"
November 5, 2009 - 10:29pm
I had a good conversation this week with someone who works at one of our major feeder high schools. It's in a low-income district, and since it's close by, we get tremendous numbers of its graduates.
November 4, 2009 - 11:29pm
Dear Dept of Ed, Thanks for the wonderful grant support you've offered recently to community colleges. With enrollments up and state support down, it couldn't have come at a better time. That said, though, I wonder if a simple procedural change could save untold reporting and staff costs, and allow us to focus more resources on direct service delivery. I'm referring to “time and effort reports.”
November 4, 2009 - 12:46am
(hat-tip to Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Moose a Muffin...) If you give a prof a project, he'll want a course release to go with it. If you give him the course release, he'll want a budget. Getting the budget will remind him that other places are doing similar things and he'll want to go there. He'll ask you for more travel money. If you give him more travel money, he'll come back with guidelines and templates and rubrics and technology. He'll play with them all.
November 2, 2009 - 9:44pm
If I had plenty of ambition and no conscience at all, this would be my plan to get my cc through the crisis and emerge with greater resources and cachet on the other side: Upscale. Although academics as a breed love to be idealistic, I'm increasingly convinced that economic class exerts a certain gravitational pull that can only be resisted with great and ever-mounting effort. Every institutional incentive we have is to go upscale.
November 1, 2009 - 8:46pm
"I wish you could see my thinks, but they're stuck in my brain and I can't get them out." -- The Girl --------- At parents' lunch at TG's school, a little boy from her class came up and hugged TG. TW: Does he do that a lot? TG: Yeah. TW: Do you like it when he does that? TG: Yeah. TW: Do you ever hug him back? (pause) (shy smile)
October 29, 2009 - 9:06pm
I've opined before that academic deans, and community colleges, need more glamorous portrayals in the media. Dean Wormer from Animal House had one great line ("fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son"), but he was generally held up for ridicule. Larry Miller's "dean" character in the Nutty Professor movies got sodomized by a giant hamster. (Make 'faculty senate' joke here.) And community colleges have been almost completely invisible. So, along comes Community. It even has a youngish dean! Hmm.
October 28, 2009 - 9:04pm
Sherman Dorn has a nice response to yesterday's post, in which he basically argues that established unions are generally better off when administrators are competent than when they aren't. (Nascent unions can benefit from having a cartoonish villain to provoke their formation, but that only holds in the early stages.) I think he's right, both for the reasons he gives and for another one.
October 27, 2009 - 9:42pm
Several alert readers sent me this story about Southwestern College, a cc near San Diego. According to the IHE account, the college has banned several faculty, including the past and current presidents of the union, from campus. Their indirect support of a student protest appears to be the reason. (The President is apparently on an extended vacation, which doesn't help.)
October 26, 2009 - 9:52pm
A new correspondent writes:

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