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 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.
March 14, 2011 - 9:26pm
In the wake of yesterday’s post, which prompted notes from several alert readers reminding me that other states (such as Pennsylvania) were just as bad as those I named, I’ve been thinking about how the country would work if it simply gave up on the model of public higher education.
March 13, 2011 - 8:36pm
With Wisconsin and Ohio getting most of the national attention lately, I’ve been struck by the amazing goings-on in other states that seem to be flying below the radar.
March 10, 2011 - 11:06pm
--I’m officially tired of using the wet/dry vac on the basement floor. Anytime this winter would like to go away would be fine with me.
March 9, 2011 - 8:52pm
In grad school, postmodernists were thick on the ground. I learned quickly that the greatest sin one could commit, in the eyes of a postie, was naïveté. “Naïve realism” was one that stuck with me, since its implications were so staggeringly arrogant: “how could you possibly believe in the reality of your world? We can see through it, why can’t you?” It was fine to be “transgressive,” or “subversive,” and of course it was wonderful to “problematize,” but you didn’t want to “solve,” or “improve,” or (shudder) “clarify.”
March 8, 2011 - 10:16pm
Those of us who went through grad school in the '90s probably remember when “post-” was the prefix of choice. (For younger readers, it was similar to the use of “e-” ten years ago or “i-” now.) It tarted with “postmodernism,” but quickly grew to become a cultural habit. “Posties” were those who couldn't stop proclaiming the “death of...” whatever. The cultural mood at the time was that we were at the end of something, but the next thing hadn't arrived yet. We were late to the party, but didn't really have one of our own.
March 7, 2011 - 10:14pm
Regular readers know that I'm consistently disappointed in the New York Times' coverage of higher ed, since it mostly boils down to Stanley Fish and Mark Taylor. But this week, just to be contrary, it decided to throw a curveball and publish something intelligent.
March 6, 2011 - 10:22pm
In a recent discussion with a very highly-placed political figure, I heard something disturbing. We were talking about the series of cuts that public higher ed has taken over the last few years, and why it seems like the legislature keeps coming back for more. He mentioned that he has had some candid discussions with legislators, and this is what they told him:
March 3, 2011 - 10:21pm
A new correspondent writes with a doozy:

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