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.

December 13, 2009 - 7:56pm
On Saturday I took The Boy to a competition of various clubs of kids his age. His club was there, too, but not competing. I was there as chauffeur, but also as moral support. The competition was held in a high school gym. We sat on the bleachers. Actual exchange: TB: I wonder if Madison will be here...DD: Who?(TB walks away.)I spotted him shortly thereafter, sitting next to The Blonde Girl.I'd been ditched. Not even so much as a "see ya, Dad."The Blonde Girl has entered our world.
December 11, 2009 - 4:13am
--This piece in yesterday's IHE about an abortive discussion of price caps for vocational programs made me smile. Apparently, the idea is to cap tuition for Title IV-eligible programs (vocational programs) at a set multiple of the starting salaries of recent grads. It's a horrible idea -- hiring and salaries have far more to do with the economy than with any given program -- but for a fun thought experiment, imagine applying something like it to graduate programs in evergreen disciplines.
December 9, 2009 - 8:55pm
A regular correspondent stumped me with this one. Has your campus found a solution to smoking?
December 8, 2009 - 9:22pm
Discipline is one of those words that can mean almost anything.
December 7, 2009 - 9:39pm
A savvy admin will pick battles carefully. I've seen too many cases of "you're right, but you're wrong to bring it up" over the years. So as a public service to any newbie administrators out there, I'll offer a few examples of battles you're really better off skipping, if you have the option.
December 6, 2009 - 9:16pm
I need a word that falls between 'serendipity' and 'strategy.' (And no, I won't use 'strategery.')
December 3, 2009 - 10:18pm
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the home stretch. This is the time of the semester when most professors' and students' fuses are the shortest. (In administration, the late April to mid May stretch is the worst.) It's predictable -- hell, it's annual -- yet somehow, it's always a little surprising. Like pain, it's easy to forget until it returns.For students, this is when deadlines and reality hit. Since all the classes are on the same cycle, they all culminate at the same time.
December 2, 2009 - 9:22pm
Though I'm not sure I'd want to try it, I'm intrigued by the move proposed by Daniel Klaich, the chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. According to IHE, Klaich is considering a statewide enrollment cap on community colleges to preserve quality in light of diminished budgets.
December 1, 2009 - 9:51pm
We're heading into snow season again. That means we'll probably have another round of snow day decisions to make. Luckily, I don't make that call personally. I don't envy the poor soul who does.Snow days aren't so bad. If the college simply closes for the day, then that's that. It creates some issues with missed material and makeup classes, and it's a &*#$@! nightmare if it happens during final exams, but otherwise, it's manageable.Delayed openings are far worse.
November 30, 2009 - 9:18pm
Anyone with kids, or a long memory, knows the story: pack the whole clan into a car for hours on end, pray to the traffic gods, hope you didn't forget anything too important, and spend days shuttling from extended family to extended family. When things go wrong, they go very, very wrong. But when they don't, it's lovely.This year we pulled off the equivalent of a hole-in-one. Everything worked, and it was lovely.

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