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 18, 2007 - 9:18pm
No. Oh God, no. No, no, no. Nein. Nyet. Non. Huh-uh. Negative. I'll qualify that. Extra credit that's built into the syllabus from day one, available to all students equally and in advance, can be defensible. I'd worry if it counted for very much -- a course grade should ultimately reflect performance on the core of the course, rather than the periphery -- but I can see an argument for moving a B to a B-plus in an art history class if the student does (and documents) some museum trips, say.
December 18, 2007 - 5:09am
There has to be a better way. I have what seems like thirty thousand logins, each requiring its own username and password combination. (That's not even counting PIN numbers.) Since the identity theft awareness campaigns have gained steam, some of these systems have changed their password rules to prevent anything easy toremember. As the number of username/password combinations has metastasized, I've found exactly three ways of dealing with the information cascade, none satisfactory.
December 16, 2007 - 9:03pm
This is really an exercise in idea-stealing, rather than a developed thought. Have you seen (or do you work at) a cc that does a consistently good job of presenting its faculty in public settings as local experts?
December 12, 2007 - 9:46pm
This week I ran into another of those "the policies make sense, but the application is silly" scenarios. A wonderful, well-credentialed, hardworking, and well-respected leader of the full-time staff asked me about redefining her job so that it would include a half-time teaching component in her field of expertise. (It's a relatively specialized area, and her academic credentials are more than good enough.
December 12, 2007 - 3:47pm
This is a dirty little industry secret. In some necks of the woods -- moneyed ones, especially -- this is the time of year when we start to see a parade of young men and women with hangdog expressions and very angry parents. The students went "away" to expensive residential colleges in September, and partied their way to a GPA that starts with a zero. Come December or January, their parents drag them to the local cc as a sort of combination boot camp and purgatory, usually with some sort of "improve or else" mandate to the student.
December 11, 2007 - 9:34am
In a story in yesterday's IHE about for-profit companies taking over nonprofit colleges -- the gist of the story was that the "trend" is tiny and unlikely to grow anytime soon -- a particular quote really jumped out at me.
December 10, 2007 - 9:56am
Bowing to the inevitable, I've spent far too much time lately shopping. Which means... The aural assault of cheesy Christmas music has begun. I'll admit, having been raised in a musically unfortunate household (Neil Diamond, Anne Murray, Rita Coolidge, Air Supply), I'm a little jumpy when it comes to awful music. Part of the reason I grabbed onto satellite radio the way drowning people grab onto life preservers was that it offered the prospect of escaping the tyranny of Lite Hits and NPR pledge drives.
December 7, 2007 - 8:33am
The Fall rubber chicken circuit is in full swing again. Lots of evening events, celebrating all manner of good things. Each one worthwhile in itself, though they add up. This morning, at home: The Boy (weakly): I didn't get to play with you last night. Ouch. I'm going in late today, so we can walk to school together.
December 5, 2007 - 9:56pm
A long-suffering correspondent writes:
December 5, 2007 - 8:00am
A new correspondent -- and apparently the kind of student we'd all like to have -- writes: As a student, I have gotten a lot more careful over the years with how I fill out student evaluations, because I know more about what they mean for the instructors. I've read a lot of complaints on academic blogs that students do not carefully fill out the evaluations and that their criticism is sometimes unfair. I try hard to be both constructive and fair. I almost always include written comments, unless I've got absolutely nothing to say.

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