Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Five year plan dilemma

High Valley Community College
Division Dean of X
Salary: $98,439-$113,398/Annually
$100,369-$115,328 (earned doctorate degree)

Advocate and promote quality instruction and student success; develop and maintain a campus climate based on trust, collaboration and respect; and encourage and facilitate change. Under the general supervision of the Assistant Superintendent/Vice President for Instructional Services, the Division Dean, X will provide leadership for the division and will be responsible for the management and supervision of programs and staff.

Deadline date: Friday, August 11, 2006
Alright. First off, do I qualify? Let's see:
  • knowledge of state laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to community colleges (uh... nope)
  • collective bargaining contracts (I'm like, what, a union specialist here?... nope)
  • budget management (Sure, I can handle a budget, but the budgets I've managed are small... but hey, I've been treasurer of a small professional society for 8 years now. That should count)
  • grant proposals and fundraising (uh... check! I've gotten myself quite a few grants. I've got over five years fundraising experience, 3 for a university foundation, and another year or so for a non-profit relevant to the division's focus)
  • experience with the diverse needs of non-traditional students (um... yeah. Look I've been a non-traditional student much of my life. My bachelor's degree -here's a tidbit for you- is a B.G.S., that's Bachelor of General Studies, albeit with High Honors, from the College of Continuing Studies at a major state research university. I've attended, all told, for varying lengths, count 'em, SEVEN post-secondary schools, community colleges, research one universities, and private liberal arts schools. I've taught at a community college for non-majors, and lectured for graduate students and faculty in R1 programs. I'm good)
  • individualizing the instructional program (ha! You mean for me, or for others? I think I could do this. Check)
  • manage relationships with private and public employers and community-based organizations (I think so. I've served on the board at a community theater, a big brothers/big sisters league)
  • professional organizations (yeah, done that. I think I could handle it)
  • Posess a Master's Degree or higher (uh... yeah. Got that.)
  • Significant experience or educational achievement in one of the disciplines (uh, yeah, I think so)
  • Three years or more faculty experience at the secondary or college level. (Probably. I taught six terms, including summers, at the community college, before my PhD. I was the principal instructor for a graduate course at my doctoral institution. I taught privately, but at the college level, for another three years. I've guest lectured for 7 classes over the past five years, all at the university level. Additionally, I've given 6 invited lectures at universities during the same period)
So, then, what would keep me from applying? Well, is this where I want to be? Now, or in the future? See, that's the clincher. I know where I want to be in 5-10. I want to be director of an interdisciplinary institute or center on my area of study, bringing together researchers and faculty from a variety of disciplines and methodological backgrounds to focus on the subject matter. I want to live and work in the same general geographic area as my wife and family. I'm talking ideally within an hour of where she works, so neither of us would have too much of a commute. I want both of us to have meaningful work, where we are productive, appreciated, and well-utilized.

That said, we're on a five year plan. What happens over the next few years is in service to that 5-10 year goal, period! This opportunity is about 80 miles from a place where the Rocket Scientist could likely get work in her area of expertise. It's also about 50 miles from another location, which though she hasn't heard any recruitment mumblings from there, we do have a friend who works there, someone she worked with in the late 90s.

Those are all on the upside. Also, just look at that salary range. We're talking a good twice what I could be making as a junior asst. prof. somewhere, if I could even land such a post. I like being a leader. I think I listen well, I handle challenges reasonably well, I'm able to grasp various viewpoints, and the needs of disparate constituencies. I'd make a good dean. I always thought it was something I'd move into after gaining years of experience, but why not start at the top and work down?

Downs: well, do I really want all the stress of management? Would the distractions keep me from getting any research done? Would I get stuck, and eventually forget the 5-10 year goals?

I don't know. It's still a lot of work to hone that CV for an administrative post. But, maybe I should do it. What a life. One day, I apply for adjunct positions, with no benefits, no job security, and pay somewhere south of janitorial staff, the next I'm thinking of applying for this.

Any thoughts?


Dean Dad said...

I can see the appeal of the salary, and anything can happen, but this looks like a stretch to me.

If it's an academic dean position (as opposed to, say, student services), there's usually an expectation of having spent time as a full-time, tenure-track faculty member. Ideally, you'd also have experience as a coordinator or department chair. (That's where you'd pick up knowledge of some of the relevant regs, as well as a working sense of what it means to manage unionized people with tenure.)

That said, if you decide to give it a shot, I'd play up the fundraising and community outreach experience. Those come in handy, and many candidates won't have much there.

If the goal is to direct your own center, though, you're doing it backwards. The way to do that is to generate some ridiculously fundable research, get the grants, and build the center with the grants. The research has to come first. Deaning will absolutely slow down your research, if it doesn't stop it completely. Trust me on this one.

Sorry to rain on your parade. If you apply anyway and the outcome proves me wrong, more power to you.

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks, Dean Dad. Drenching duly accepted (and expected). The problem with getting the grants first (and I suppose this is at least partly an excuse) is that it's harder to get grants without a permanent affiliation (or so I'm told by those who ought to know, like university funding coordinators, who urge me to shore up some affiliation and senior collaborators before filing the applications).

Catch-22. That said, I'm working on the research, on publications, on conference abstracts, and also on grant applications. If I push in all directions, something's gotta give, right?

Lilian said...

Oh man... Good thing Dean Dad himself came to the rescue, or, more precisely in this case, to... hmmm, what can I say here, to well, bring the rains one.

Anyway, when one's looking for a job, not positions seem too impossible or out of reach - they all look like "possiblities," don't they? I sometimes laugh when my husband sends out certain applications for industry jobs, but he sends them anyway. Not that we're actually desperate (yet), but desperate times call for desperate measures :)

And... I read your previous posts only yesterday. No, I don't think you're a whiner. I know exactly how you feel (though I haven't yet finished my own Ph.D.).. I've said here before that's extremely helpful to read about your experience.