Monday, March 4, 2013

What Happened When a For-Profit College Meets a CC. From Tina in Timbuktu.

This week, we received last minute emails notifying us that candidates for the position of, let us say, Dean of Hamster Studies would be doing a public presentation. Great. Fine. Except one of these performances occurred in the middle of the most popular class time. Most of us were in the classroom. Teaching. The other occurred late on a Friday afternoon, when 90% of us are not on campus. Indeed, I was at another college event at a distant campus.

Last minute: 1 hour before scheduled presentation.

So, I Googled these names, because despite being in the Dept of Hamster Studies, I had no inkling the search committee had been formed, candidates found, and interviews planned.

These two candidates appear to be, if my Google research is correct, from for-profit institutions, with quite tangential relationships to the varied offerings in the Dept of Hamster Studies. Both have an Ed.D, which is not a degree typically found in a dept of Hamster Studies. Here, a MA or PhD is the norm.

All that aside, I wonder, are these candidates in search of a real academic environment? Or are we in search of a business model? Or is it both? If so, then we are all in for a shock!

Well, perhaps Monday will bring candidate # 3.


  1. If I had a suspicious nature, I think that whoever did the scheduling was trying to keep you faculty out of the decision process. Heaven help you, unless you can quickly organize an all-faculty meeting, with alumni and union support, and stop this dead in its tracks, the way we did last year when our new provost tried to break up our College of Science and Mathematics, and our College of Arts and Humanities.

  2. Many years ago a university had a search for dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and brought four finalists for campus interviews. The last event of the interview was a late-afternoon meeting open to the whole college faculty, held in a large auditorium and well-attended.

    The first candidate (from the Humanities side of things) came and gave his/her Power Point talk, filled with the usual motherhood-apple-pie generalities, and then took questions from the faculty. After all the feel-good questions, the event was winding down when suddenly an unknown (and apparently very junior) professor sitting in the back raised his/her hand and asked something like this: "You will be leading a college that includes a broad spectrum of departments, including many in the sciences. Can you think of any recent news item in the sciences, any new development that you have read about and found exciting, or intriguing?"

    In the packed auditorium, the candidate stood in stunned silence; then after a few painful moments mumbled something like "I leave the technical details to my staff..." That candidacy was, of course, very dead.

    Now, you might think this was unfair; that the enfant terrible was delighting in his narcissistic Feynman moment at the poor candidate's expense, and would surely pay for it. Maybe; except that that was the week when a supernova made the front page of the NYT every single day.

    So you could try that.

  3. I think they're hiding something. Anyone who schedules shit on the downlow like this wants to keep the process to themselves. It's bullshit.

  4. I, too, think you're right to be suspicious (and incline toward answer b: new business model).

    Also, a prediction: whoever is hired will negotiate a salary that is way out of whack, relatively speaking, with the pay schedule of the teaching faculty (and those doing the hiring will tout it as a recognition of the candidate's desirability, innovation, entrepreneurship, etc., etc.)

  5. Sounds fishy to me, but then again, our dean schedules required, mandatory-attendance meetings the Friday of finals week (after final exams have been given and faculty are all grading)... I think Admin don't always consider faculty schedules and don't care about things like that. Sometimes. Other times, they're sneaky and manipulative and we don't trust them. I like that my two characterizations range from "obliviousness to others" and "dishonesty." Hmm...

    1. While I was teaching, we encountered that sort of thing all the time. When the administrator who made such a decision came from outside the institution, we'd let that person off the hook for a while because he or she wasn't familiar with the territory.

      However, when the administrator got the job after having worked there for a while, particularly as an instructor, we often felt betrayed and reacted accordingly. I know of one such case when we rebelled against what was clearly a bone-headed decision. He was a former department head who was promoted to associate dean and clearly should have known better when he issued his directive.