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.

February 6, 2011 - 9:07pm
I’ll skip yet another weather-related rant, except to use it as a metaphor. Those of us in chilly climes know that a warm day in winter is very much a mixed blessing; yes, it helps clear the backlog of snow and ice, but inevitably some of the resulting water is blocked from going where it should, so it refreezes. Refrozen stuff is often even worse than the original, since it’s smoother and harder to see. (The usual term of art is “black ice,” since you can see black pavement underneath.) I’m wondering if there’s a way to prevent refreezing of campus initiatives.
February 3, 2011 - 9:13pm
- Twitter’s coverage of the revolution in Egypt has been revelatory. Jillian York (@jilliancyork) has singlehandedly done a better job than all of the tv networks and newspapers combined. I started doing Twitter as a lark, but it’s really proving itself. Katrina Gulliver (@katrinagulliver) is emerging as a breakout star of the medium. Highly recommended.
February 2, 2011 - 9:09pm
Still marooned by snow -- seriously, guys, the bloom is off the rose -- I had the chance to devour Academically Adrift, by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. It’s a study of student performance on the Collegiate Learning Assessment exam, focusing particularly on demonstrated critical thinking skills. It’s the book that made headlines with its claim that most students don’t learn anything during their first two years of college. As someone who works at a two-year college, I considered the gauntlet thrown.
February 1, 2011 - 10:03pm
We were all pretty much snowbound yesterday, yet again, so The Wife and I decided to use some streaming goodness to introduce the kids to Fat Albert.
January 31, 2011 - 10:44pm
Is academic hiring meritocratic? The author of this piece assumes that it is. As someone whose job it is to actually hire faculty, I can attest that merit is only a small part of the picture.
January 30, 2011 - 8:59pm
(Program note: A huge “Thank You!” to all the readers who volunteered info on how their colleges handle grade appeals. There’s quite a bit of variation out there! I appreciate the feedback.)An occasional correspondent writes:I filled out a faculty self evaluation yesterday. Of course it was not called that. Rather it had some crazy acronym I don't really recall... maybe a P-PEAR (Personnel Personal Evaluation Assessment Revue)?
January 27, 2011 - 10:32pm
I’m just looking for a sense of the lay of the land. Readers from all sorts of institutions are invited to answer.How does your college handle grade appeals by students?Can appeals address judgments, or only errors of calculation? Can grades be changed if the professor objects? Who gets to make the call? Does the system seem to work?If you’d rather answer privately than comment publicly, I’m at deandad (at) gmail (dot) com.Thanks!
January 26, 2011 - 11:13pm
I’ve seen some very intelligent professors crash and burn as deans. This article reminded me of a phrase I’ve heard to describe them: as deans, they were just professors in suits.
January 25, 2011 - 9:06pm
In the “real world,” hiring is usually year-round. There might be peaks and valleys, with some variation by industry, but generally speaking there’s nothing unusual about hiring in April, or July, or October.In the colleges I’ve seen, that’s still true for certain types of positions. There’s nothing unusual about advertising for building maintainers in March or financial aid staff in August. But faculty hiring has a rhythm of its own.
January 24, 2011 - 9:07pm
This past weekend all four of us started watching the Jets-Steelers game. The Wife and The Girl peeled off early, but The Boy stuck with me for almost the entire first half.(I rarely watch football, other than the Super Bowl. This was unusual for us.)


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