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.

April 21, 2009 - 9:19pm
(After the last few days, it's nice to focus on something else again.) I just finished another go-round of policy sleuthing. It usually works like this: A: So it's settled. We'll implement policy x this Fall. Good job, everyone! B: Wait a minute. Isn't there rule y that forbids implementing something like policy x unless it's a leap year? A: Really? C: Yeah, I remember that. Did that pass the Senate? B: I think so. Remember that huge fight? D: I still have nightmares about it. A: (sigh) So can we get a copy of rule y?
April 21, 2009 - 6:29am
  Thank you to all the supportive readers who left comments or sent emails after yesterday's post.I'm surprised to discover how much they've meant to me.
Dad
April 19, 2009 - 8:38pm
My Dad died Friday. He was 69. He was at home. He had battled ALS – Lou Gehrig's disease – for the last several years, and had been in hospice for several months. The last time I saw him was a few months ago. I had brought a camera with me, but when I saw him, realized that using it would be wrong. He deserved better than to be remembered that way. He knew it was coming. At the last visit, he made a point of showing me a pile of old family photos, and inviting me to take the ones I wanted. I took several from back when he and Mom were still married.
April 16, 2009 - 9:59pm
A savvy correspondent writes: I'm writing because my large urban public university recently hired a high-profile person who, in a previous job, lost an equally high-profile civil lawsuit against him for sexual harassment, and I wanted to ask for your views on what kind of faculty response to what some of us consider a troubling hire would be most likely to get administrators' attention. There is some thought of writing a kind of protest letter and making protesting noises to the press -- indeed, some have already been approached by the media for comment.
April 15, 2009 - 11:17pm
A new correspondent writes: I was wondering if you could share some questions you might ask a chairperson candidate. Thank you.
April 14, 2009 - 11:07pm
    I'm beginning to think that anytime I'm stuck for an idea, I should just read Tim Burke. This piece on "Building the Teaching University" – to which I'm inexcusably late – is well worth reading if you haven't already. And it encapsulates nicely why I'm happy to stay in the community college sector.
April 13, 2009 - 11:18pm
If I could give a single piece of advice to the new administrators out there, it would be to pay less attention to what you decide, and more to who gets to decide. And remember that speed kills. It seems like a simple enough point, but it took me years to figure out. Some of that had to do with context, but some of it was a function of visibility.
April 12, 2009 - 9:34pm
Back in high school, every Sunday night was torture. That was when the homework for the weekend that I'd been putting off finally couldn't be put off any more. I finally had to face it. The same held true in college, and, weirdly enough, even in grad school. Then in my faculty days, Sunday nights were usually devoted to class prep and/or grading, so the dynamic didn't really change.
April 9, 2009 - 9:12pm
I mentioned a few days ago that Kay McClenney's point about shortening the remediation death march was worth a post in itself. Here goes...
April 8, 2009 - 10:56pm
After five days away, upon opening the door: silence... silence...silence...“DADDY!” Three flying-tackle hugs nearly knock me over.For the rest of the night, the game was “who can hug Daddy the most.”

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