Dean Dad

From Confessions of a Community College Dean, in which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990’s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

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Most Recent Articles

October 24, 2012
One of the consolations of middle age is that it brings the power of invisibility. That brings with it a certain amount of unintentional eavesdropping.
October 23, 2012
Back in my feminist theory days -- yes, I had feminist theory days -- I remember learning that strict body/mind distinctions were suspect.  In the halcyon days of postmodernism, we learned that clear fact/value distinctions were mystifications, that public/private splits were far more problematic than usually supposed, and that subject/object distinctions were almost entirely perspectival.
October 22, 2012
Some movies don’t impress me much in the moment I’m watching them, but age well in the recollection. (“Fargo” was like that.) They typically have more going on than meets the eye, and the first impression doesn’t do them justice. The CASE conference was like that for me.  I enjoyed the conference, but one lesson from it has stubbornly stuck in my mind ever since. I don’t think I fully appreciated it in the moment.
October 21, 2012
Last week I had the chance to talk to a group of new full-time faculty. Someone in the group asked me what I considered my goal as an administrator, especially regarding faculty. It was a nifty question, and I probably should have expected it. But since the question came out of the blue, my answer did, too
October 19, 2012
The $249 chromebook is the best idea I’ve heard all week.  It seems like the chromebook is finally moving from “proof of concept” to “something actual people would actually buy.”  Finally, decent size and specs at a community college price.  This could fulfill the promise that netbooks made, but crapped out on, back in 2009.
October 17, 2012
The University of Phoenix, the largest for-profit higher education provider in the country, is closing over a hundred sites.  That’s over half of its physical locations.  Part of the move is driven by enrollment decline, and part by an increased emphasis on online course delivery. Although many in traditional higher ed may feel a certain schadenfreude, I was actually saddened by the news.  This is hardly an unalloyed good.
October 16, 2012
It’s “Bad Idea Week” over at the Chronicle.  They’ve solicited “out of the box” ideas for changing higher education.  Some of them -- hey, what if community colleges hired faculty to teach? -- are just banal.  (What, exactly, do you think we’ve been doing?)  But others are interesting failures.
October 15, 2012
Should colleges use on-campus advertising as a revenue source?
October 14, 2012
My college offers a January intersession. The idea is that students take a single class in a compressed timeframe. For the last few years, it has worked remarkably well for students who are already here. They can either make up for a slip in the Fall or start making headway on the Spring. Course completion rates have floated around the 90 percent range, since such a short timeframe doesn’t give much opportunity for life to get in the way. And anecdotal feedback from the faculty who have taught it has been glowing; they report that there’s an intensity that comes from “owning” the student entirely for a short time that lends itself well to certain types of classes.
October 11, 2012
With much of selective higher ed focused on the Supreme Court and its impending declaration on affirmative action in admissions, I’m grateful again to be at a community college.  Here, affirmative action in admissions is a non-issue; we take all comers.  We have our own legal and political challenges, heaven knows, but not that one.


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