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

September 17, 2012
Starting this July, Pell grants have a new rule: any given student has a lifetime limit of twelve semesters. If you can’t finish your degree within twelve semesters, you’re on your own. The rule seemingly came out of nowhere, but it has major implications for community colleges.
September 16, 2012
Several alert readers have sent me updates on the conflict going on at Queensborough Community College, part of the CUNY system in New York City.  It’s perplexing on several levels.
September 13, 2012
Quote from program accreditation visiting team leader yesterday: “Surprisingly, the faculty seem to respect the administration.”  I think that’s what they call a left-handed compliment.
September 12, 2012
Colleges have an alarming number of moving parts. This week I discovered that some advisors on campus have been encouraging students to sign up for online sections of certain classes with the understanding that if they decide they don’t like the online format, they can switch to onsite versions during the add/drop period. It’s a way to stick a toe in the water.
September 11, 2012
I admit nearly spitting my coffee when I read this one. And that’s unfortunate. The Colorado State University English department posted a tenure-track faculty position, specifying that it would only consider candidates who received their Ph.D.’s in 2010 or later.  The IHE article quotes a legal consultant saying that there’s nothing illegal about the posting.
September 10, 2012
If non-elite colleges and universities want to avoid the fate of travel agencies and film companies, what should they do in the age of free MOOCs?
September 9, 2012
If credits are available for free, what will colleges sell?
September 6, 2012
This year, for the first time, we made new student orientation mandatory. By “mandatory,” I mean that a new student who doesn’t attend any of the orientation sessions would get his schedule dropped.  (Obviously, we had to run a whole bunch of sessions on different days and times, so we did.) People on campus keep commenting on how unusually smooth the first few days of class have been.
September 5, 2012
As regular readers know, I’ve carried on a bit of a crusade against the credit hour for a while now. The credit hour is a time-based measure that essentially forces colleges to measure outputs entirely in terms of inputs, thereby defeating any productivity gain. Combine that with Baumol’s cost disease -- by which sectors whose productivity rises more slowly than the average are doomed to higher real costs over time -- and higher education is in a tough spot.
September 4, 2012
A few months ago, Dahlia Lithwick had a charming piece in Slate about two kinds of Muppets: Order Muppets and Chaos Muppets.  She suggested that most people fall into one of the two camps.  The Order Muppets -- Kermit, Bert, Scooter, Sam the Eagle -- are concerned with keeping the show running.  The Chaos Muppets -- Cookie Monster, Ernie, Gonzo, Animal -- are a bit more, well, demonstrative.  They bring energy, and entropy.


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