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.

September 28, 2011 - 9:35pm
Could community colleges attract more funding by attracting more white kids?
September 28, 2011 - 4:34am
I’ll preface by saying that I work on the academic side of the college, as opposed to admissions. So there’s a fundamental ignorance underlying this. I hope that commenters who know this stuff better than I do will be kind...My college’s enrollments, like many others, are coming down slightly from the recession-induced spike of 2009. By itself, that’s easy enough to explain: some folks find jobs, unemployment benefits expire, high school graduation numbers are down a bit. I’m not happy about it, but I’m not mystified, either.
September 26, 2011 - 10:16pm
Last week I had a discussion that’s still echoing in my head.It was with some people who work at four-year colleges in the area. We were discussing various measures we had taken to improve student success and retention rates: different approaches to academic advising, tweaks to new student orientation, early warning systems, that sort of thing. At which point one of them, from a tuition-driven college, said:“And of course, you have to identify upfront the students who no amount of help will save. Target the resources where they’ll actually make a difference.”Oooof.
September 25, 2011 - 9:46pm
It can be fun to watch a book get away from its author. The Innovative University, by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring, pretty much does. Which is good, because the book it became is far more interesting than the book they were apparently out to write.
September 23, 2011 - 2:03am
(“Lessons of HP” would be a great name for a band. But I digress.)As an academic administrator and sometime techie, I’ve been following HP’s death spiral with fascination. It actually offers some lessons for colleges, if they’re paying attention.
September 21, 2011 - 10:48pm
If at first you don’t succeed...a. You’ve revealed your incompetence. Hide the results or shift the blame, quick!b. What are you suggesting? How dare you, sir?c. Some blithering half-wit must have sabotaged you. Burn the heretic!d. Do the exact same thing over and over again until you bend the stupid universe to your will.e. Tweak, tinker, try again.In the abstract, we all know that e is the right answer. But in the real world, answers a through d are surprisingly popular.
September 20, 2011 - 9:10pm
“I have a locker!”You forget what’s important when you’re ten.TW and I went to the parents’ open house at The Boy’s school. Now that he’s in fifth grade, he’s in a new building that unites the kids from the various elementary schools in the district. And yes, he gets a locker.
September 19, 2011 - 9:34pm
Transparency has its limits.My campus recently got into a nasty little kerfuffle over something that shouldn’t have been an issue at all. Some very smart people became uncharacteristically enraged, and had trouble even putting together a reason for it.
September 18, 2011 - 9:18pm
Pinched, by Don Peck, makes me jealous as a writer. (Michael Lewis and Adam Gopnik have that effect, too.) It’s a discussion of the cultural impact of the Great Recession in the United States, with a particular focus on the middle class, but its major contribution is its discussion of masculinity and class.
September 15, 2011 - 9:51pm
If you have a kindle, or a kindle app, I really can’t recommend “The Gated City,” by Ryan Avent, highly enough. (It’s a “kindle single,” longer than an article but shorter than a book. English professors out there, what’s the nonfiction equivalent of a novella? I wouldn’t call it an “essay,” exactly. “Booklet” isn’t quite right. “Chapter” implies a larger whole, and “article” implies a larger volume. I’m stumped.)Although it wasn’t written with community colleges in mind, it explains a lot about the community college world.


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