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.

December 10, 2008 - 11:11pm
Apparently, the proprietary colleges are in the midst of another of their periodic booms, swooping in and grabbing students just when the public sector is reeling from yet another round of budget cuts.I've seen this movie.As regular readers know, I used to work for a proprietary. You've heard of it. I'd be both more and less worried than the IHE story suggests.
December 9, 2008 - 11:05pm
I'm increasingly convinced that there are two ways of watching television, and that The Wife and I are firmly planted in opposite camps.The first way treats tv as the home equivalent of a movie. You don't start watching until you're ready to focus on it; then, once you start watching, you focus cleanly until the program ends, you lose interest completely, and/or you fall asleep. (In practice, 2 sometimes shades into 3.) The purpose of the DVR is to skip commercials.
December 8, 2008 - 9:45pm
Isn't this story actually good news?It's being covered as if it's somehow a bad thing that fewer people are taking the GRE this year. (The GRE is the sort of SAT-for-grad-school.) It's a pretty good predictor of the coming year's grad school applications. Typically, enrollments boom during recessions, but even though this recession has hair and teeth, applications are actually down.People, this is fantastic news.
December 7, 2008 - 9:16pm
One of my favorite aphorisms (I think it's Stein's law) states that anything unsustainable, won't be.
December 5, 2008 - 4:58am
Any thoughts on how to do the former while honoring the latter?The last time I went through a round of layoffs, during the previous recession, I saw vividly the gap between what could be communicated at a given moment, and what people actually wanted to know. Now there's another round coming, and it's likely to be much worse than before.
December 3, 2008 - 10:22pm
The American Federation of Teachers has released a report (here) complete with an interactive excel tool designed to both motivate colleges to convert more adjuncts to full-time status and to pay adjuncts on a pro-rata basis. The spreadsheet allows you, in theory, to plug in the numbers from your own college to see what it would cost to hit a targeted full-time/adjunct ratio.It's a surreal read. Check it out. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes.
December 2, 2008 - 10:01pm
A regular correspondent writes:Out here in California, my CC is in the same budget mess as everyone else. But our Governing Board just gave a [dramatic] raise to our college president. He doesn't deserve it. Trust me on that part.All this makes my job as union president about 1000 times easier, but I'm wondering what a good, solid, competent administrator would do in a similar situation. Of course, I'm assuming that you want to keep your job.
December 2, 2008 - 5:22am
TB and I played basketball on the driveway/court this past weekend. He's involved in a local kids' instructional league, where they do a lot of drills and a few scrimmages, and he loves it. Although he didn't have practice this weekend, we had some relatively decent weather, so I decided that shooting some hoops with him myself would be a good idea.Normally, it's fine. We just take shots from wherever, running only when we have to go after the ball as it heads towards the road. Not a problem.
November 30, 2008 - 8:39pm
If not for my day job, I'd take a crack at writing a book with the following topic:How to Steer a College Through a Recession and Make It StrongerOkay, it's not as catchy as it could be. Maybe something like "Lindsay Lohan's Illustrated Weight Loss Secrets and How Colleges Can Navigate Recessions." Admittedly, it's a bit clunky, but at least it would sell. Or maybe "Walk it Off, Loser! A No-Nonsense Guide to Colleges' Sucking It Up," to capture the Regnery Press demographic. Whatever the title, there's a book waiting to be written about higher ed and funding cycles.
November 25, 2008 - 9:53pm
Thanksgiving is coming at the right time. On campus, every few weeks we get a new bulletin from the state telling us to anticipate an even bigger cut than the last bulletin. At this point, it feels a lot like when you're standing in the sand and a wave washes over you and recedes, carrying the sand from around your feet with it. Every time you think there's finally a solid perch, another wave hits, and you get shorter without even moving.In the midst of the doom and gloom, taking a moment to reflect on how well off we actually are, compared to most of the world, is helpful.

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