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 24, 2011 - 3:47am
When I was a kid, the first real graduation ceremony came at the end of high school. The second was at the end of college. Now, graduations are everywhere. Yesterday The Boy graduated from the fourth grade. (Officially, it was a “moving up” ceremony, since fifth grade is held in a different building, but everyone called it graduation.)It’d be easy to do the standard “Kids Today...” rant, so I won’t. If anything, the fourth grade version was much sweeter than the college version.
June 23, 2011 - 3:33am
A long-suffering correspondent writes
June 22, 2011 - 4:23am
An annoyed correspondent writes: I'm an adjunct at a community college. My community college recently instituted a requirement that everyone who teaches an online class take an eight hour workshop, which is quite burdensome. I understand you cannot offer any specific legal advice, but by requiring a specific workshop taught only by the college, isn't the college asking me to act as an employee, rather than as contractor? It seems like there's a blog post in here about what colleges can and cannot require adjuncts to do.
June 20, 2011 - 10:02pm
This piece in Salon has drawn some attention lately. It's a recounting of an academic advisor's usual responses to parents who ask, regarding their children who have chosen liberal arts majors, what they're going to do with that. The piece basically sides with the parents, noting that the combination of a backbreaking recession, what Richard Florida calls a “reset,” and record-high student loan burdens makes the usual question much more relevant than it once was.
June 19, 2011 - 9:39pm
The always-interesting Tenured Radical has a worthwhile post on the priorities that “development” (that is, fundraising) offices tend to have in higher ed. Her particular focus is high-profile athletics, and she asks the time-honored (and still valid) question of why development offices are much quicker to raise money for bigtime sports than for, say, English departments.
June 16, 2011 - 9:25pm
Recently, the Federal Education Department promulgated new rules -- ostensibly motivated by concerns about abuses in the for-profit sector of higher ed -- requiring colleges that offer distance education programs to be licensed in any state in which they have students, or risk losing Title IV money. It also promulgated an attempted standard definition of a “credit hour.”
June 15, 2011 - 9:59pm
Our population of seniors is declining, but our senior population is exploding.
June 14, 2011 - 10:06pm
Over 90 percent of our online students aren’t online students.They’re onsite students who also take online classes. They use online classes to round out their schedules and reduce conflicts with work. In most cases, the majority of their coursework is onsite. The pure “online student” is very much the exception.
June 13, 2011 - 9:48pm
A new correspondent writes:I am a rather new full time faculty member at a community college. I have not been here long enough to qualify to run for chairperson of my department. My dean has expressed to me that he wants me to run for this position. I love teaching and really don't feel that this is the direction I want to take right now. Further, most of my department is off contract currently and I feel that if I were elected chair, this would serve to divide the department.Would it be wiser to to run for chair rather than refuse?
June 12, 2011 - 9:52pm
A longtime correspondent writes

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