• 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.


An Open Letter to Congress

Dear Congress,

July 27, 2011

Dear Congress,

As you know, I spend a disheartening amount of my time benchmarking, quantifying, and planning initiatives with measurable outcomes, in the name of accountability for my stewardship of public funds. It’s not how I would have chosen to do my job, but I understand that there’s an irreducible element of public trust that should not be violated. As long as people are required to pay taxes to support the college -- even granting the precipitous decline in taxpayer support over the last several years -- it’s only fair that those of us who manage budgets are held accountable.

I get that. And while I grumble about “metrics” and “value added” and whatnot, I get the concept; with public money comes public responsibility. Okey-dokey.

So in the spirit of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” I have a measurable outcome to propose for you. Since you guys control much larger budgets than I ever will, almost all of it from taxes, it’s only fair that you have goals, too. So here’s one.

How about if you STOP PLAYING CHICKEN WITH THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES AND RISKING TOTAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. Fair being fair, in return, I will gladly redouble my efforts to ensure that students graduate with employable skills ASSUMING THAT THERE’S STILL AN ECONOMY WORTH TALKING ABOUT AFTER YOU JEOPARDIZE OUR STANDING AS THE WORLD’S RESERVE CURRENCY AND WIND UP GETTING OUR DEBTS DENOMINATED IN EUROS OR YUAN. For the love of all that is holy and good, it is not “fiscal responsibility” to blow the national credit rating when WE OWE MORE THAN WE EVER HAVE and higher interest rates would MAKE THE DEBT EVEN BIGGER. So, stop it. Just stop.

You’ll notice that the goal is both specific and measurable. If you need help understanding it, you have no business representing the people of the United States.

Yours in reciprocity,

Dean Dad


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