• 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

Friday Fragments

A foolish rule; the “bomb cyclone;" more.

January 5, 2018
 
 

Calling my colleagues in financial aid offices: the AACC is putting together numbers on student withdrawal dates and the financial impact on colleges if a really regressive version of “risk-sharing” passes.  The short version is, community colleges can’t deny anyone admission, and can’t deny them financial aid, but can be punished financially if students on aid don’t complete a semester.  

In other words, it’s both ridiculous and toxic.

If you’re in financial aid, please check the link and get some numbers in.  Thanks.

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We got hit pretty hard by the “bomb cyclone,” though not as hard as Boston. It was the first snow day of the year, which brought with it the odd dynamics that snow days bring.

From an administrative perspective, there’s really no winning with snow days. Fail to call one when the weather is nasty, and you’ve endangered people. Call one when it’s a false alarm, and you lose instructional time unnecessarily. Call one when some areas are impassable, and people in drivable areas wonder what the hell you’re doing.  

Delayed openings are even trickier. If the delay is enough to be meaningful, it will cut into the middle of something. Even if you time it to coincide with the start of a class period -- which I recommend -- there are other classes overlapping that time. Delayed openings can also be rough on parents when their kids’ schools are closed for the day.  

Still, given how much harder this storm hit than it was supposed to, I was grateful to be able to hunker down. By late morning the governor declared a state of emergency, so that pretty much settled the question.  

Text messaging has taken some of the sport out of the old “wait for your school’s name in the alphabet on the radio” game, but that’s okay.  I’d rather know early.

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I pay much less attention to football than I used to, and it was never much, but I have to admit that it did my heart good to see the Buffalo Bills make the playoffs.

Growing up in Western New York, hundreds of miles from New York City, the Bills were the only major team in the region.  Back then, you had a choice: you were a Bills fan, or you weren’t from around here. 

They had their tragicomic series of Super Bowl losses in the early 90’s, but until this year, the millennium has been a disaster for them. (Bills fans argue, rightly, that the correct way to interpret “they lost four Super Bowls in a row” is “they were in four Super Bowls in a row.”  No other team has ever done that.)  They’ve waited a long time.  Besides, in the year of the bomb cyclone, we should have a cold-and-snow team in there, and the Packers didn’t have it in them.  

Weird trivia: I’ve literally never seen a black placekicker in the NFL. There isn’t a single one in the league, and I don’t remember even hearing of one.  Placekicking is about as pure a task as there is; either you made the kick or you didn’t. It’s strange. If anyone has an intelligent theory on this one, I’d love to hear it.

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