• 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.

Title

The Interregnum

Don’t tell anyone...

The brief gap between graduation and the start of summer classes is blissfully quiet.

I can actually get some work done. I can even have open-ended conversations without looking at my watch every ten minutes. (Yes, Gen Y readers, I wear a watch. It’s a generational thing. Boomers wear digital watches. X’ers wear analog watches. Y’s just use their phones.)

June 1, 2011
 

Don’t tell anyone...

The brief gap between graduation and the start of summer classes is blissfully quiet.

I can actually get some work done. I can even have open-ended conversations without looking at my watch every ten minutes. (Yes, Gen Y readers, I wear a watch. It’s a generational thing. Boomers wear digital watches. X’ers wear analog watches. Y’s just use their phones.)

These respites are fewer and shorter than they once were. There was a time, not too long ago, when summer classes were mostly afterthoughts. They still aren’t as popular as the regular semesters, but they have momentum. That’s mostly to the good; the literature I’ve seen on low-income student success suggests that continuity of study over the course of the year tends to lead to better results, since students can get into a groove and stay there. And I’m a huge fan of students who need developmental classes getting them during the summer so they can hit September on-track to graduate.

But there’s also something to be said for a moment of relative peace and quiet.

Earlier this week I had a glorious morning without a single meeting. I was able to spend consecutive hours -- plural! -- actually thinking about one project. By myself! As a parent of young children, that’s pretty much out of the question at home, and at an active campus it’s pretty much unheard-of at work. But this week, it actually happened. And it brought a clarity that wasn’t going to happen any other way.

But don’t tell anyone! If people find out how productive a quiet campus can be, they’ll start swarming in, and it won’t be quiet anymore.

It’ll just be our secret...

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