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.

March 28, 2011 - 9:50pm
I file this one under “instant classic.” A new correspondent writes:[I]f you are asked "how has your teaching changed over the years" or "how has your management of people changed over the years" or "how has your interaction with clients changed over the years" the wrong answer is "it hasn't."The best professionals are continually evaluating their performance and making tweaks to improve - no improvement = no evaluation of past performance in my book.
March 27, 2011 - 9:25pm
From the “just when you think it couldn’t get more ridiculous” files...The leadership of the Republican party in Wisconsin has filed a Freedom of Information request to read all of the emails from the account of Professor William Cronon, a well-known historian and union activist at the University of Wisconsin. They’ve specifically asked for emails containing terms that would suggest relevance to union and/or political activity.
March 24, 2011 - 9:23pm
The Girl was terribly upset last night. I asked her why.TG: The entire first grade had to miss recess!DD: Why?TG: Because some girls were forming clubs to keep other girls out.DD: Did you?TG: Daddy, no! That would be mean!DD: That’s true.TG: So how come I got punished, too? How come they punish the good kids too?Honestly, I’ve wondered the same thing. Here’s how I answered it in the moment.
March 23, 2011 - 9:59pm
So Kennesaw State won't hire a strong candidate for provost because he once quoted Marx.Where do I start?
March 22, 2011 - 9:48pm
This piece in the New York Times -- motto: No Paywall ‘til Monday! -- and this post by Tenured Radical got me thinking about office phones. The Times piece suggests that voice calls are going extinct, and TR suggests sacrificing office phones as a budget cut that wouldn’t really hurt, since they’re mostly vestigial anyway.Do you use your office phone?
March 21, 2011 - 9:55pm
What follows is a revised email exchange I had with a frequent commenter. I’m posting it here because I think it speaks to issues of interest beyond the two of us.
March 20, 2011 - 9:10pm
A new correspondent whose wife, a teacher, is about to become a stay-at-home Mom writes:I have queried the Internet, and there really is no good, definitive advice article on the topic of "how to maintain a healthy marriage when transitioning from a dual income home to a single income". We are aware that having a stay-at-home-mother will ease a lot of stress and make life easier, but life assures us that every situation will have its obstacles. I am very curious on what your obstacles were, as well as your wife's.
March 17, 2011 - 10:42pm
Following up on yesterday’s post, a regular correspondent writes:
March 16, 2011 - 9:36pm
In most non-tenure based settings, managers use “progressive discipline” to address many employee issues. Progressive discipline is the practice of establishing a series of steps of escalating seriousness, starting with the minor (a verbal notice) and culminating in the major (termination). In most cases, the stages go something like this: verbal warning, written warning, written reprimand, suspension, termination. The idea is to give the employee ample opportunity to turn problems around. If it works, great.
March 15, 2011 - 9:42pm
For the benefit of those who wonder what administrators talk about in closed-door meetings, and why we come out looking annoyed, a multiple choice question based on an actual meeting this week:Which of the following represents the greatest danger to the equipment in high-tech “smart” classrooms?a. obsolescence, since technology moves so quicklyb. chalk dust getting in the ventsc. theft/vandalismd. ever-shifting ADA requirementsThe correct answer is b. But b is harder to remedy than one might think.

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