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 23, 2009 - 9:44pm
Readers of a certain age have probably heard of the white glove test. As I understand it, it was a test of cleanliness in which a woman (it was always a woman) wearing a white fabric glove would trace her finger along a tabletop, and it would pass if her glove didn't get dirty. I don't know if this ever actually happened or if it's like the guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who jumped into the Erie Canal and landed on a cow, but the expression survives.
September 22, 2009 - 9:31pm
This September has been a lesson in what happens when you try to scale up really quickly, with less money. On balance, things have gone better than expected. The parking situation hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been nearly as bad as some of us (hi!) expected. We've managed to find most of the adjuncts we hoped to find, and have become really good at maximizing the use of space. We've managed to do all this without raising class size caps, which I take as a personal victory. And we haven't had layoffs thus far, which is great.
September 21, 2009 - 9:04pm
On my campus, we're discussing a change that's generating some feedback along the lines of "well, if everyone just did what they were supposed to do, that wouldn't be necessary."
September 20, 2009 - 10:47pm
It's a commonplace of for-profit management that units can be characterized in one of three ways: rising stars, cash cows, and dogs. The savvy manager is supposed to feed the stars, milk the cows, and shoot the dogs.
September 17, 2009 - 8:34pm
The Girl has spent the last several years watching her older brother play sports. She has played some in the backyard with us, but hasn't had teams of her own until now. You wouldn't know it. This past weekend, she had her first games.
September 16, 2009 - 9:39pm
Chad Orzel has posted a wonderful list of Varieties of Bad Meetings. Having spent some time (cough) in bad meetings over the years, I have a few genres of awful to add. The Take-the-Proxy-Issue-At-Face-Value Meeting "Okay, so we've settled that the few cases of actually exceeding course caps were due to a system glitch, and that's been fixed. We're good?" "Grrrrr."
September 15, 2009 - 10:37pm
A longtime correspondent sent me this article in Academe by Lori Messinger, a professor of social work at the University of Kansas. It's about the methods that activists on various campuses around the country have used to get LGBTQ-friendly policies enacted on their campuses. It's worth reading, both for the inherent interest of the subject and for the largely counterintuitive findings.
September 14, 2009 - 10:34pm
This one introduces itself. I am the son of a long time correspondent and a reader in my own right. I teach adjunct at three different post secondary schools (colleges and trades schools).
September 13, 2009 - 8:17pm
A new correspondent writes:
September 10, 2009 - 9:15pm
Yesterday we watched you climb on the bus for your first day of kindergarten. You bounded in so quickly I barely took the picture, and you were gone. You're incredibly ready. At kindergarten orientation, you slipped into the classroom like a fish into water. When the teacher read the class a story, you locked on, and you were the first to make an observation about the story. And you've got that blend of 'cute' and 'commanding' that only little girls can get away with.

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