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.

July 13, 2009 - 9:37pm
I don’t do counteroffers. That’s not just a quirk of mine; my college doesn’t do them. It’s a policy I’m happy to follow. The question comes up whenever somebody respected on campus gets an offer elsewhere. People always seem a little surprised when the answer to “so-and-so got another offer – what are you going to do?” is something like “wish hir the best.” But it is, and that seems right to me.
July 12, 2009 - 8:35pm
Sometimes words don't mean what they seem to mean. We had a lovely vacation in a part of the world we'd never visited before. Our neighbors stay there with some frequency, and we met up with them for dinner one night. They have two daughters, one of whom sometimes babysits TB and TG, and the other of whom is entering her junior year of high school this Fall. Her mother is trying to get her to add some clubs and activities to her schedule, to improve her college applications. A snippet of the conversation:
July 1, 2009 - 8:50pm
My college is grappling with this issue now, and I’m wondering how others have handled it. We have some twelve-month professional staff – counselors, librarians, etc. – who would like to be able to teach the occasional class during their regular workday as part of their regular workload.
June 30, 2009 - 9:36pm
As someone integral to the hiring process at a public institution, I take particular interest in the New Haven firefighters' case, Ricci v. DeStefano. I don’t want to address the specific facts of the Ricci case, since specific facts aren’t what Supreme Court decisions are (supposed to be) about. I want to try to figure out, based on this case, what employers are supposed to do when they use a criterion – any criterion – that may have a ‘disparate impact’ on minority candidates.
June 29, 2009 - 9:17pm
There was a time when I faithfully brought lunch to work. It was economical, and it saved driving, and it seemed vaguely virtuous. But I noticed, gradually, that never leaving campus made me batty. It felt like house arrest.
June 28, 2009 - 8:38pm
I just finished Bruce Weber’s new book , As They See ‘Em, which is about professional umpires. As a longstanding baseball fan, it’s a hoot, but I couldn’t help but notice a few, oddly-comforting parallels to the academic world. Take, for example, this excerpt is from an interview Weber did with Pat O’Conner, who was at the time the chief operating officer of Minor League Baseball. He was in charge of negotiating contracts with the minor league umps’ union. Minor league umps make ten to twenty thousand dollars a year.
June 25, 2009 - 9:51pm
-- I don't often get excited about amending forms, but if President Obama is able to simply the FAFSA in a meaningful way, I say, Hooray! The FAFSA is the form that students and prospective students have to fill out to apply for Federally-backed financial aid, and it's worse than the 1040. It's just horrible. Kafka would have considered it over-the-top. I'm not a believer in the "it should fit on a postcard" theory, but surely there's middle ground between a postcard and a dissertation.
June 24, 2009 - 10:11pm
Why do so many states require only two years of math in high school? In a discussion this week about the struggles we have with developmental math classes, someone mentioned that this state, like so many others, requires only two years of math in high school. That means that even many brand-new grads come to us not having done math in two years, and having stopped out before they even got to trig. Then everyone is shocked at low pass rates in developmental math.
June 23, 2009 - 10:05pm
Many years ago, in one of those gender theory seminars, I remember a remark to the effect that men have the privilege of being able to choose to dress 'unmarked' in a way that women don't. The idea was that American culture had settled on several different uniforms for men, depending on the context, and that men have the option of wearing those uniforms if they want to fit in and not draw particular attention to what they're wearing.
June 22, 2009 - 9:46pm
Okay, I’m a little late to this one, but there’s a nifty exchange between Notorious Ph.D. and Historiann about the perversities of budget cuts at their respective institutions. The comments are worth reading, too.

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