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 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?
March 7, 2010 - 11:23pm
Since the root of "academic" is "academy," it seems like we should have our own Academy Awards. Colleges have been around since long before movies; we got here first! As with the Hollywood version, the red carpet pre-show would be the most entertaining part, by far. "Sporting a twelve-year-old sport jacket over an oxford shirt visibly straining between the buttons..." "You don't often see a corduroy jacket worn with such authority..." "Who says cell phone holsters can't be chic?"A few suggestions for categories:
March 5, 2010 - 4:27am
Like many colleges, mine has two main funding models operating side by side. The traditional one is the not-for-profit, credit-bearing side. That's what most people think of when they think of college; it's where the full-time faculty are, what our FTE counts are based on, and so forth.
March 3, 2010 - 10:00pm
The Boy had another swim lesson last night, and it wasn't pretty. As miserable as he was, it all came rushing back to me. As a parent, it's painful to watch your kids struggle with the exact same things you did.I was never any kind of swimmer. I had the rotten luck to go to school districts that had pools, and where lots of kids had plenty of practice in water. That meant 13 years of mandatory swim units in gym class. It was horrible. I still remember some of them, and not happily.
March 3, 2010 - 3:51am
This piece on fiscal exigency and tenure got me thinking about an unexpected call I got about fifteen years ago.
March 1, 2010 - 9:59pm
Last week I heard someone drop the "administrative meddling" line. "Meddling" is one of those words that makes me skeptical the minute I hear it. A few years ago I was accused of 'meddling' in the search process by insisting that committees follow the rules.
February 28, 2010 - 8:57pm
Although Aunt B. tries to tell us out here in internet-land that the government of Tennessee is a bunch of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing missing links, I've held out hope for the place. My Dad grew up there, Aunt B. is from there, Memphis barbecue is great; it can't be all bad. Alas, I'm thinking now that Aunt B was right.My Tennessee relatives tell me that by the rules of local etiquette, you're allowed to say anything awful about anyone you want, as long as you preface it with "bless his heart." For example: Bless her heart, Sarah Palin is as dumb as a stump.
February 25, 2010 - 9:36pm
This story in IHE came along at the right moment. My state is apparently considering an early retirement program for certain kinds of public employees, which may wind up including many of the people who work at the college. Naturally, the rumor mill is aflutter. (I'm not sure if mills can flutter, but you get the idea.)

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