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.

December 3, 2009 - 10:18pm
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the home stretch. This is the time of the semester when most professors' and students' fuses are the shortest. (In administration, the late April to mid May stretch is the worst.) It's predictable -- hell, it's annual -- yet somehow, it's always a little surprising. Like pain, it's easy to forget until it returns. For students, this is when deadlines and reality hit. Since all the classes are on the same cycle, they all culminate at the same time.
December 2, 2009 - 9:22pm
Though I'm not sure I'd want to try it, I'm intrigued by the move proposed by Daniel Klaich, the chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. According to IHE, Klaich is considering a statewide enrollment cap on community colleges to preserve quality in light of diminished budgets.
December 1, 2009 - 9:51pm
We're heading into snow season again. That means we'll probably have another round of snow day decisions to make. Luckily, I don't make that call personally. I don't envy the poor soul who does. Snow days aren't so bad. If the college simply closes for the day, then that's that. It creates some issues with missed material and makeup classes, and it's a &*#$@! nightmare if it happens during final exams, but otherwise, it's manageable. Delayed openings are far worse.
November 30, 2009 - 9:18pm
Anyone with kids, or a long memory, knows the story: pack the whole clan into a car for hours on end, pray to the traffic gods, hope you didn't forget anything too important, and spend days shuttling from extended family to extended family. When things go wrong, they go very, very wrong. But when they don't, it's lovely. This year we pulled off the equivalent of a hole-in-one. Everything worked, and it was lovely.
November 29, 2009 - 9:07pm
A regular correspondent writes: I'm hoping your wise and worldly readers can shed some light on myanonymous, and of course (despite its curiously detailed nature),purely hypothetical problem.
November 24, 2009 - 9:10pm
To the surprise of absolutely nobody who knows me, I'm a fan of The Big Bang Theory. In a recent episode, Raj and Sheldon tried to solve a complicated equation on a whiteboard in Sheldon's office. Although the entire action consisted of the two of them standing and staring thoughtfully, the producers tried to suggest 'action' by quick-cutting with loud music. I laughed out loud. Although they were obviously engaged in difficult mental labor, it didn't look like work.
November 23, 2009 - 9:44pm
There's a thoughtful piece in yesterday's IHE by Terri Givens about how graduate students and new professors are socialized, or not, into the norms and expectations of shared governance. Check it out.
November 22, 2009 - 9:36pm
A few alert readers called my attention to this post by Michael Berube, in which he attacks my response to the AAUP. He even goes so far as to "nominate DD’s post for the coveted Richard Cohen Award for Advanced Wrongheadedness." Clearly, a response is in order.
November 19, 2009 - 9:30pm
First, if you've ever wanted a sense of academic hiring, read Profgrrrrl's post. Now. Slowly. It's all true. Worse, it doesn't stop at the department level. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that your dean/vp didn't just fall off the turnip truck. Any chances that s/he might be wise to some of these factors? (Hint: Yes.)
November 18, 2009 - 9:42pm
An occasional correspondent writes: At one of my adjunct gigs (where I teach just once a week) the HR department has sent me a 45 minute online training video about harassment in the workplace complete with a quiz I have to pass. Is this a reasonable thing to ask of a very part time employee? They tell me it's mandatory. None of my other jobs make me do this kinda thing. I mean if it was one video that would be one thing, but I have a sneaking suspicion that an HR department that does this once is liable to do it repeatedly.

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