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.

October 22, 2008 - 10:05pm
Wise and worldly readers, I need the benefit of your varied experience. Have you been able to make a January intersession work on your campus? If so, how?
October 22, 2008 - 6:10am
I had one of those moments of cognitive dissonance this week, when I was at a meeting trying to establish a regional consortium to prepare workers for a particular industry.
October 20, 2008 - 10:00pm
An alert reader sent me this story from the Seattle Times. It's about the hiring and abrupt firing, with allegations of physical assault, of Washington State University Provost Steven Hoch. It's worth reading in its entirety, since every detail seems sillier than the one before it. Even without any additional information, I read the story very differently than its author apparently does.
October 19, 2008 - 9:47pm
If you want to watch a dean's eyes roll back into her head, just ask for something and tell her to "find the money in the budget." I've heard this phrase dozens of times over the last several years, but it still strikes me as slightly odd. It gives the impression that funding new projects is a matter of looking for change between sofa cushions. And, in a way, it is.
October 16, 2008 - 10:21pm
Maggie's post on temperament and leadership really gets it right – check it out.
October 15, 2008 - 9:45pm
This isn't a question, per se, but it's too good not to quote. A longtime correspondent writes (edited for relative anonymity): Our chief academic officer (CAO) just submitted his resignation. He will have been here (less than three years) when he steps down. Over the last decade, we have had more 'interims' than 'permanents' in that role, and few have lasted more than a couple of years.
October 14, 2008 - 10:25pm
This story didn't surprise me. Having been on this side of the desk for a while now, I can attest that I've heard deans, HR directors, department chairs, and even vice presidents say candidly that adjuncts are underpaid. We pretty much all agree on that. (I've never heard a counterargument beyond "nobody put a gun to their heads.") It may be surprising to hear it from a podium, but it's nothing that hasn't been floating around for some time.
October 13, 2008 - 11:31pm
I have the relative misfortune of following in the footsteps of some pretty good managers. Right now a brain-dead predecessor would come in handy.
October 9, 2008 - 10:17pm
Dear Boston, Although I mostly enjoyed my recent visit, I couldn't help but notice that some of your residents seem confused on a basic point. Allow me to clarify. The middle lane is not for parking. Thank you. Sincerely, Dean Dad
October 8, 2008 - 10:09pm
'Sustainability' usually refers to the environment, but I think it makes sense in referring to organizations, too. Some structures, cultures, and behaviors are more sustainable than others over time.

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