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.

November 9, 2010 - 9:48pm
Have you ever seen a good actor struggle in the wrong role? I’m thinking here of, say, Laura Linney in Mystic River, where she tried to play a tough working-class Bostonian. I’ve enjoyed her work in any number of other things, but she was just unconvincing in that. As good as she usually is, it wasn’t the role for her.Over the last year or so, we’ve had a few instances of that on campus: talented and hardworking staff people who were just slotted into the wrong roles.
November 8, 2010 - 9:18pm
In searches at senior administrative levels, such as presidents and chancellors, it’s common practice to release the names of finalists to the local newspaper while the search is in process. In the age of the internet, even an out-of-state search can become common local knowledge in nanoseconds.Since the most common job for new presidents is a previous presidency -- that can’t last forever, but it’s true now -- it’s not uncommon for a sitting President of college X to be revealed as a candidate for the presidency of college Y. This causes ripples at college X.
November 7, 2010 - 9:40pm
The retirements are nearly upon us.My college, like so many, hired a bunch of people all at once, then relatively few for a very long time. In terms of age cohorts, it looks like a pig in a python, and the pig is getting near the end.The dam hasn’t broken, but it’s creaking.Looking ahead just a few years, I can see the majority of the administration changing. It’s alarming, because in many areas, there’s really nobody in the pipeline to come next.
November 4, 2010 - 11:00pm
An occasional correspondent writes:
November 3, 2010 - 11:39pm
This story about the election results got me wondering. (And everybody can put the knives down -- I’m not analyzing candidates here.) In a climate in which government spending is generally considered suspect, and in which people who campaign on “tax cuts good, spending bad” do very well, ballot measures that supported higher education specifically did very well.
November 2, 2010 - 8:46pm
The Boy's school recently had Back to School night, so the four of us went to see what there was to see. TB actually had 'greeter' duty at the front door, which taxed his patience a bit, but was a source of pride anyway. We wandered the hallways looking at various displays the kids had prepared, and talking with TB's and TG's teachers.In TB's class – he's in the fourth grade – the kids had done essays on what they want to be in fifty years. The essays were left out on the tables for parents to read. As an exercise in shoe-leather sociology, it was striking.
November 1, 2010 - 9:41pm
As regular readers know, Marc Bousquet and I are not each other’s biggest fans. That said, he has really outdone himself this time. In a remarkable tirade on InsideHigherEd – sheesh, I take a week off and the standards drop – Bousquet wrote:
October 31, 2010 - 9:39pm
(Note to my readers: sorry about last week. Life intervened much more than I expected it to. Now, back to the regularly scheduled blog.)Sometimes a little cognitive dissonance can be helpful.
October 21, 2010 - 10:09pm
A longtime reader writes:
October 21, 2010 - 3:55am
I’m reminded of what makes working at a college such a privilege.This week I was able to squeeze out a little time between meetings to catch part of a student concert, and then to drop by the club that was doing a table to support the LGBT community in the wake of the recent suicides and sign their banner of support.


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