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 16, 2009 - 9:29pm
A new correspondent writes:
July 15, 2009 - 9:21pm
In the discussion after the post about counteroffers a couple of days ago, several commenters raised the issue of salary compression. For the uninitiated, 'salary compression' typically refers to new hires coming in at salaries higher than those of people who are already working there. It can happen pretty easily if internal salaries are based on pre-set, lockstep raises, but the rate of change in the outside world has been faster. Incumbent employees usually perceive salary compression as unfair, since people with less seniority are getting more money.
July 14, 2009 - 11:02pm
I just got the first details on President Obama's American Graduation Initiative, his project intended to almost double the number of community college graduates in the workforce by 2020. It will take some time to work through it all, but some initial reactions:
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.

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