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.

May 12, 2009 - 10:02pm
TB came home today excited to invite me to speak to his class for career week. I'm not exactly sure how to explain academic administration to second graders. “Well, I go to a lot of meetings, and I try to get grownups to play nicely and share their toys.” Somehow, I don't see that one capturing the room.
May 11, 2009 - 10:08pm
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there's a reorg afoot on your campus. And let's say that part of the purpose of the reorg is to reduce administration, and thereby to cut costs. And let's say that your faculty and staff are unionized, and place a great deal of value on process.
May 10, 2009 - 9:22pm
Congratulations on your achievement. I've heard some grumbling among you, and I have to acknowledge the truth: you're graduating into a nasty job market. It's a brutal time to try to break in. This isn't your fault, and it isn't your college's, either; sometimes the market just breaks that way. As painful as that is, it's worth giving some thought.
May 7, 2009 - 9:41pm
--Blackboard is buying Angel. As soon as we got the news, we made an appointment to meet with some counterparts who use Moodle or Sakai. Blackboard has been colossally unhelpful in its upgrade cycle -- Angel had been one of the more viable alternatives. Now, not. I anticipate a sharp spike in the use of open source platforms.
May 6, 2009 - 9:52pm
TB: Yesterday I was scared when I was in my room. I thought I saw an alien go by outside the window. DD: Really? TB: Yeah. I thought he landed on the roof. DD: He couldn't land on the roof. It's slanted. TB: Santa lands on the roof. (pause) TB: Santa has magic, though. DD: True. Aliens would slide off the roof. And when was the last time you saw an alien lying on the ground, saying “that's gonna hurt tomorrow”? TB: (laugh) DD: Besides, aliens seem to like deserts better. There aren't any deserts around here.
May 5, 2009 - 9:30pm
A month or two ago, I got into a colloquy on the blog about average ages of community college students. An alert reader send me an email exchange he had with the AACC on this exact question. The AACC Fast Facts page for 2009 has the following to say about average ages of cc students: Average age: 29 21 or younger: 47% 22 to 39: 40%
May 4, 2009 - 9:31pm
For reasons too sensitive to blog about, I've recently had occasion to revisit the idea of grade appeals. From this side of the desk, I'm convinced that a commonly-held student perception, and a commonly-held faculty perception, are both wrong. (For the record, I'm referring here to grade appeals that go beyond just talking to the professor. This is the stuff that happens after the professor has already said 'no.' Whenever a student appeals a grade at this level, the first question is always "have you talked to the professor?" If not, the process stops until they do that.)
May 3, 2009 - 8:55pm
The popular press has been filled lately with references to zombie banks or zombie corporations, undead entities kept on life support for extra-economic reasons. Last week, IHE had a similar story about academic programs, and the difficulty in putting the final stake into zombie programs.
April 30, 2009 - 8:17pm
'Tis Spring – almost finals – and you can tell on campus. The characteristic signs are there:
April 29, 2009 - 9:26pm
As I've gotten older, and more aware of the unintended consequences of things, I've become pickier in selecting acts of rebellion. I don't curse in public nearly as much, I keep the road rage to myself, and snark attacks (not counting on the blog) are fewer and farther between than they used to be. That said, I have no patience for the inbox police.

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