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.

January 6, 2010 - 9:22pm
One of the saving graces of working at a community college is that I don't hear the dreaded "what are you going to do with that?" question directed at students who major in liberal arts. At the two-year level, the answer is frequently obvious: transfer.
January 5, 2010 - 9:49pm
A frustrated correspondent writes:
January 4, 2010 - 9:57pm
As part of my bury-myself-in-books break, I finally got the chance to read Saving Alma Mater, by James Garland. Garland is the former President of Miami University of Ohio, a public research university, and the book is his attempt to address the economic crisis of higher ed in America. It's a hit-and-miss affair, but it scores some points and asks some of the right questions.
January 3, 2010 - 8:16pm
I hope your Christmas break was restorative. A few highlights of ours:--The Boy scored his first gametime basket! As the center, he usually focuses on rebounding, but he made an elegant shot despite good defense. He was grinning ear-to-ear as he made his way downcourt after that. Go, TB!
December 23, 2009 - 9:00pm
As the family and I settle in for a much-needed Christmas break, I just want to thank my wise and worldly readers for helping me work through so many conundrums (conundra? conundrii? conundrae?) over the last few years. This year, I can say confidently that the lessons I learned on the blog -- what sets people off, how things get interpreted, etc. -- made me better at my day job. It finally started to sink in. Thank you for that.
December 22, 2009 - 9:00pm
A foreign correspondent writes:
December 21, 2009 - 9:11pm
I read somewhere that 90 percent of acting is casting. The idea was that plenty of actors are capable of performing well in the right role; the trick is matching the actor to the role. I'm struggling right now with a mismatch between actors and roles.
December 20, 2009 - 8:46pm
An occasional correspondent writes:I've applied for a dean of students position for which I know I'm unusually well-qualified and temperamentally suited. However, thanks to the economy and the desirability & location of this school, I also know there will be as many as several hundred other well-qualified applicants. The handful of us lucky enough to get an interview will be asked to campus for a full day.If you or any of your readers have any suggestions for day-long interviewing for a dean position (as opposed to a faculty one), I'd be glad to hear them.
December 17, 2009 - 9:54pm
A new correspondent writes:I'm in the market for for an administrative position in higher ed, and as I've been interviewing, I've noticed two distinct approaches to budget cuts. The first is an across-the-board cut: all departments (or employees or some other variation on this theme) get a 5% cut. The second is to pare underperforming departments and to spare the remaining ones any significant cuts. Any general thoughts?I could have sworn I had done a piece on this old chestnut, but a quick search didn't reveal one. That's okay; it's worth revisiting anyway.
December 17, 2009 - 4:11am
TW has commented, correctly, that part of the reason I'm suited to academic administration is that I'm prone to repressing emotions. Although that can be frustrating in private life, it can work well in difficult meetings. But some occasions manage to break through the repression, even when I know what's coming.Although the main campus graduation ceremony occurs in late May, some of the specialized programs have December ceremonies. And since they're small, some of them allow the students to give little statements thanking people.

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