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 6, 2009 - 9:26am
Reader, I attended five panels on Sunday, so you don't have to. You're welcome.A few highlights:
April 5, 2009 - 9:28am
First, the throat-clearing. Since Arizona doesn't do daylight savings time, it's three hours behind the East Coast during the spring and summer. This means I'm fighting monumental jet lag. And for reasons nobody here has yet explained to me, the district that includes the convention center, a branch of ASU, Chase Field, and all manner of new construction doesn't have a single convenience store or drugstore. How you can have high-rise dorms and multiple high-rise hotels without a single place to buy toothpaste is beyond me, but here it is.
April 2, 2009 - 10:25pm
Just when you thought it was safe to go to the AACC...Thanks to the good folks at InsideHigherEd.com, I'll be posting from the American Association of Community Colleges conference over the next several days. The TSA-approved toiletries are packed, the netbook is charged, and The Wife is unpsyched about doing all the childcare for the next several days. Luckily, the AACC comes but once a year.This is as close as I get to being a print journalist. Given the fate of print journalists these days, it's a nice job to visit, but I wouldn't want to make a living there.
April 1, 2009 - 9:42pm
An alert reader referred me to this story in the Toronto Star.Apparently, in response to loss of endowment income, the University of Toronto is considering moving to a prix fixe tuition plan. Every student would pay a flat tuition rate, regardless of the number of credits taken in a given semester. Students are calling it a left-handed tuition increase.That would soooooo not work at a cc.
April 1, 2009 - 4:29am
This weekend I got an email from a librarian/blogger taking me to task for paying insufficient attention to librarian blogs.The objection struck me as unfair – I have a day job and young children, people – but it's certainly true that libraries have changed in ways that reward close attention. Since I haven't been able to pay that kind of attention, I'll cheat and ask my wise and worldly readers to fill in some blanks.
March 30, 2009 - 9:59pm
A new correspondent writes:I am currently on the administrative market. I've had one interview, and this topic did not come up, but listed in the job description of my second interview is "Knowledge of and ability to use current administrative and educational technologies." Is there any general consensus of what this means? The educational technologies, I think I probably understand more than administrative. Would you assume they are looking for particular software knowledge? If so what are the most common administrative software applications?
March 29, 2009 - 7:47pm
A new correspondent writes:Recently I've noticed an increase of reports in the popular press proclaiming an "internship arms race" among graduating seniors in four year colleges. "Internships," according to these reports, are becoming a critical way to get a leg up on the competition in landing a job, especially now with the economic crisis. This got me to thinking if this scenario is playing out the same or differently at the two-year colleges.
March 26, 2009 - 8:31pm
Last night, after dinner, as The Wife, The Boy, The Girl, and I chat in the family room: TW: You know, TB told me that the girls fight over him at recess.DD: Really?TB (smiling): Yeah.(pause)TG (puzzled): Why?
March 25, 2009 - 9:43pm
In discussion with some colleagues from other colleges, I realized recently that different colleges handle 'stopouts' very differently. 'Stopouts' are students who interrupt their degree path, and then return.From a curricular standpoint, brief stopouts during which curricula don't change are no big deal. Someone takes a semester or a year off, then picks up where she left off. We can handle that.
March 24, 2009 - 9:32pm
I'm increasingly convinced that one of the most common flaws of so many administrators is a misguided urge to be nice.This often manifests itself in some long-undiagnosed but longstanding performance issues hitting a crisis level, but with a paper trail of relatively positive evaluations. The managers explain the positive evaluations with variations on “I didn't want to upset them.”Grumble.

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