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.

July 12, 2010 - 9:36pm
Joshua Kim’s piece yesterday reminded me of a basic, but widely ignored, truth.In most industries, new technology is adopted because it’s expected to lower costs and/or improve productivity (which lowers costs over time). It doesn’t always succeed, of course, and the usual vagaries of faddism are certainly there. But by and large, the point of adopting a new technology is to make the underlying business stronger.
July 11, 2010 - 9:10pm
Put down the flamethrowers, I’m not talking about money.In the summer, with fewer people on campus and some of the committees that usually fill my calendar on hold until September, I’ve discovered an unexpected bonus: time for wide-ranging, unstructured conversation.I don’t just mean shooting the breeze, either. I mean the kind of discussions in which people have the time and implied permission to go off-agenda and really explore a topic.
July 8, 2010 - 9:02pm
I have to admit enjoying this article a little too much.Anyone who did time with Foucault will immediately think ‘panopticon’ when reading this piece about the anti-cheating technologies at the University of Central Florida. But I remember vividly the frustration as a teacher when students would cheat, and I remember the palpable sense of relief among the better students when I interrupted a cheat in progress.
July 7, 2010 - 9:58pm
This piece, and its attendant comments, stuck in my craw a little. It’s a discussion with an author of a book about the obstacles to low-income students’ success in college.
July 6, 2010 - 9:13pm
I’ll stipulate upfront that this will vary by region.
July 5, 2010 - 9:39pm
Should a community college train people for the industries that are currently there, or for the industries that seem likely to be there in the near future?I’ve been chewing on this one in light of some recent proposals floating around to get students prepared to certain kinds of manufacturing firms that, in my humble estimation, may not be much longer for this continent. (To be fair, a similar objection could be lodged at certain kinds of journalism programs, though I suspect that journalism will morph rather than die.)
July 1, 2010 - 9:57pm
Credit where credit is due: this story suggests that the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association -- the regional accreditor of record for much of the middle of the country -- is finally righting a longstanding wrong.
June 30, 2010 - 10:16pm
Last night TW and I took the kids to the local library for Bingo for Books. (It doubled as an excuse to return a pile of books we all had finished, and to get some new piles.) On the way into the library, we ran into a family whose younger daughter is in TB’s class. When she saw TB, she immediately hid behind her older sister. Her sister shoved her out in front, and she smiled at TB. It was a classic embarrassed-to-see-my-crush move. TW and I decided that his charm comes from double recessive genes.
June 29, 2010 - 10:06pm
They don’t teach this stuff in dean school.I hear a rumor that a professor has moved out of his office, and intends to take a job this Fall thousands of miles away. Nobody knows the institution, though, only the geographic region. He has family there.I’ve received no communication at all from this professor. Neither has his chair. Neither has human resources.I wander by his office, and notice that not only is it empty -- this from someone who has some pronounced “packrat” tendencies -- but that his nameplate is gone.Hmm.
June 28, 2010 - 10:02pm
As regular readers know, I’m a colossal nerd. One of my nerdier habits involves listening to Marketplace podcasts on a daily basis, and even the weekly wrap-up show on weekends. (Livin’ la vida loca!) Over the past few days, I’ve heard variations on these two themes, and I’m having a hard time believing them simultaneously:1. New college grads are having a terrible time finding jobs. To the extent that many can find jobs, they’re often in positions that don’t really require college degrees.


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