Innovations 2013: Day 1 – Session 1 – Dean Dad’s Advice for Future Deans

Confession: “Confessions of a Community College Dean” has been a staple of my RSS consumption for a long time. So, this morning I’m having a pretty cool, out of my comfort zone experience.

Matt Reed, the blog’s author, only recently broke his anonymity and having the chance to see him in person is one I wouldn’t pass up, even though I am not a dean, nor do I expect to become one. But as a community college professional, I want to gain a deeper insight into another’s experience in navigating the political landscape and culture of a community college.

Reed discussed his experiences in navigating the politics and revealed the painfully universal truths that Everyone isn’t going to be your friend and communication is key.

One exceptional idea he brought forth is the establishment of an on-campus blog, designed to provide information to faculty and staff about what’s going on and why it’s going on, and ask college community members to provide feedback on ideas and plans in progress. Instead of providing dictates from the top of the mountain, community college leaders can use the blog as a forum for discussion within the community.

He then broke up the audience into groups to discuss individual scenarios and review ways in which we would handle some especially prickly situations. The scenarios varied from dealing with faculty members who walked off the job to addressing issues with students who require special academic accommodations.

The bottom line…. Do what’s best for the students and be ready to deal with the fallout that may occur within the school. Our goal remains the same, to provide a quality educational experience to our students. If we have to jump through hoops and make a few enemies a lot the way, well… that’s life.

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