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 30, 2008 - 9:43pm
High School Friend on Right Ocean recently got a new provost at his university. He writes:
October 29, 2008 - 9:55pm
Last week, The Wife decided that it was time to teach The Boy and The Girl about voting.She converted a spent box of Puffs into a ballot box, and decorated it accordingly. Now we have occasional referenda, complete with preliminary speeches and secret ballots.On Sunday, we had a discussion about what kind of face to put on this year's jack o'lantern: happy or scary.TB gave a talk on behalf of 'scary.' I gave one on behalf of 'happy.' All four of us voted, TG getting a little help with her ballot, and 'scary' won, 3 to 1.
October 28, 2008 - 9:33pm
Okay, I'll admit to being a sucker for certain kinds of ideas: they're usually 'what ifs' that involve upending a single thing, and watching the dominos fall. For example, the Car Talk guys recently proposed a sort of price support law for gasoline. It's essentially a variable tax that would go up when the price of oil went down, to ensure that gas doesn't go below, say, three bucks a gallon.
October 27, 2008 - 10:08pm
A new correspondent writes:
October 26, 2008 - 8:54pm
Things have been a little doom-and-gloomy of late on the blog, so it's time to lighten up a bit. A few recent scenes from real life:BasketballTB loves basketball, and we want to encourage him, so we finally broke down and bought him one of those driveway basketball nets-on-poles-with-hollow-bases. The idea is that you fill the base with water (including two gallons of antifreeze, according to the directions) or sand, and that provides the ballast to keep the thing from falling forward.
October 24, 2008 - 3:47am
There was a time when I usually used the word "rocks" as a verb. Now it's very much a noun.In implementing the current round of budget cuts, the first task has been to get every example of a few categories of expense on a single list, so we can prioritize. This is harder than you might think. I've already had several meetings that have gone pretty much like this:DD: "Okay, so now we finally have everything, right?"Colleague 1: "Right."DD: "Good. So our total is..."C1: "Wait! What about [bizarre, byzantine exception]?"DD: "Huh?"
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.

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