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.

June 6, 2010 - 9:36pm
I take a week off from blogging, and Wal-Mart announces that it's entering higher education! I can't leave you people alone for one minute...
May 28, 2010 - 5:42am
I'll be off next week, returning to the blog on June 7. The book keeps on refusing to write itself, oddly enough, so it's time for some woodshedding. And those fact-checkers are brutal! Okay, technically, I never actually had an affair with Ashley Judd, but you have to admit it livened up chapter three! I mean, sheesh.Back to the drawing board. See you in a week!
May 26, 2010 - 9:49pm
All that discussion of 'unbundling' and new technology in yesterday's post got me thinking about some gadgetry I'd like to see. Since I know some of my readers are also pretty tech-savvy, I invite their suggestions too.-- An e-reader that isn't too heavy or expensive, and that makes citing pages easy. We academic types like to be able to annotate and cite page numbers when we quote.
May 26, 2010 - 5:21am
Anya Kamenetz' new book, DIY U, is a celebration of "edupunks" and of the corrosive effects of new technology on traditional higher education. It's a quick read on a great topic, and it makes some worthwhile points, but I just couldn't get past a fundamental flaw in its argument. It mistakes elitism for liberation.
May 24, 2010 - 10:14pm
This is one of those "yeah, but" stories. The impulse is good, but the details are tricky.Apparently, the faculty at the Art Institute of Seattle, a for-profit college, is doing an underground drive to unionize with the American Federation of Teachers. The idea, according to the IHE story, is to put in place safeguards that will allow faculty to give honest grades without fear of reprisal. (The 'fear of reprisal' part also explains the 'underground' part.)Hmm.
May 23, 2010 - 9:45pm
According to this story from the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger (motto: "Not Dead Yet!"), the New Jersey Senate has passed a bill that would require all newly-hired public employees, including faculty and staff at public colleges, to live in New Jersey as a condition of employment.
May 21, 2010 - 4:48am
This past weekend, TW and I left the kids with her parents, got on a plane, and went out of town for a couple of days. I hadn't realized how much we needed to do that until we did it.We love our kids dearly, but sometimes it's healthy to slip out of 'parent' mode. And with the end-of-semester insanity on campus in full swing, the change of scene did some good. We even managed to keep the calls home to a reasonable minimum.Benefits of leaving the kids at home:--We went to restaurants that don't even serve chicken tenders.
May 19, 2010 - 9:32pm
A newish dean at a new institution writes:Adding to the coming in from the 'outside' pressure is the fact that the faculty have a union. When a colleague tried to begin an assessment program to meet the [agency] accrediting revisions, the faculty union point man and union pooh-poohed the measure. As of now, the assessment process consists of an open-ended "how do you assess student learning" question for each faculty member. It's my new job to get things where they need to be--identify, measure, report, use, repeat.
May 18, 2010 - 10:25pm
We're coming up on performance review time for the administrative and staff ranks. That means I have to have my annual internal debate about performance reviews. (Apparently, it's "ambivalence week" here at Dean Dad HQ.) As many folks have pointed out, performance reviews are deeply flawed in the best of times, and often just destructive. There's no end of reasons for that.-- They only occur once per year. That leads to predictable temporal distortions -- the most recent stuff outweighs the older stuff -- and some unavoidable discontinuity.
May 17, 2010 - 9:44pm
I don't make a habit of doing reruns, but this story in IHE generated a flurry of requests to comment on illegal immigration and public higher ed. I did a piece on that back in 2005, and it still pretty much reflects my thinking on the issue. I've made a couple of technical corrections, but the core of the piece still stands as it did five years ago. Would that we had made more progress since then...


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