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.

October 4, 2009 - 9:12pm
In a couple of discussions on campus this week, I've had variations on this exchange: Prof: So this is why I think we should do this. Will you pay for it? DD: I don't know. The budget picture is still in flux. Prof: So you're opposed to it? DD: No, I like it. I just don't know how much wiggle room I'll have after this year's midyear cuts. Prof: So you'll support it? DD: I'll consider it. Prof: (grumble)
October 1, 2009 - 9:19pm
There's a thought-provoking piece in IHE this week by Charles Middleton, President of Roosevelt University, about hiring senior administrators from outside of higher education. It touches on themes I've addressed in part before, but is worth some reflection in its own right.
September 30, 2009 - 9:37pm
A semi-new correspondent writes:
September 29, 2009 - 9:37pm
A new correspondent writes: Most department heads/chairs are fair. That's something I'll just spot for the sake of agreement. Some are not. When it comes to dealing with course approvals and appointments and class schedules, chairs are in a position to reward friends and treat less well those they find objectionable, pains in the ass, or the invisibles. The problem is, especially for the untenured, no one would file a complaint, for obvious reasons. Deans often don't know of the crap that goes on, or if they do, there is blessed little they can do about it.
September 28, 2009 - 9:22pm
Word has it that my state is considering requiring students to file FAFSA (Federal financial aid) forms as a condition of admission to a cc. The idea, as near as I can figure, is not to leave any Federal money on the table. That said, I have one reaction: Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.
September 27, 2009 - 9:40pm
One of my major growth moments as an administrator came in my first year. In a meeting about course scheduling, I made a crack about how teaching too many sections of composition in a single semester can be excessively draining. (My language was a bit less polished.) I had actually done that load myself, so I spoke from experience, but it was very much with my faculty perspective.
September 24, 2009 - 10:17pm
I'm playing another round of every manager's favorite game, "why wasn't I notified?"
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."

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