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 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.
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.

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