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Confessions of a Community College Administrator Paperback – January 9, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1118004739 ISBN-10: 1118004736 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118004736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118004739
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Leadership Advice from the Author

Building trust will pay off in ways you can't anticipate.

How do you respect transparency and confidentiality at the same time?

Take this scenario: You have a faculty member with a serious medical condition that he would rather not disclose to his colleagues. The condition makes it very difficult for him to teach early morning classes, though he's fine going late into the afternoon. You sympathize, and give him a schedule that meets his needs.

His colleagues start to grumble about favoritism. Why does he always get out of the early shift? Is it because he's one race and they're others? Did someone do a favor for someone? Morale suffers, and you start to lose credibility.

As a general rule, you believe that transparency is a good thing. But in this case you would be betraying a trust--not to mention laws about medical privacy--if you shared the information. What do you do?

If you've built a reservoir of trust, you'll have the credibility you need when you ask his colleagues to understand that you can't reveal your reasons, but that in your shoes, they would do the same thing. They may believe you or they may not, but if you have their trust, they'll give you the benefit of the doubt.


“Writing directly from the front lines of administration, [Matthew Reed] illuminates the work of managing and leading community colleges, describing with clarity and pathos, exasperation and humor, what it really entails. Yet his eyes rise from the mundane to the meaningful, from the problem in front of us to the much larger challenge on the horizon…. His writing brings common sense, compassion, civility, and courage to dilemmas of daily work and to questions of institutional purpose, form, and viability. It is a voice we need, and just in time.” —From the Foreword by Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement and senior lecturer in the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sherman Dorn on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reed’s book is a result of the popularity and visibility of his blog, which now appears on Inside Higher Ed, generally 2-3 times a week. The book is different in scope, though readers of his blog will be familiar with his perspective if not his policy arguments at the end. It starts with an accessible introduction to the world of community colleges, written primarily for those who have no contact with community colleges, moves through several chapters devoted to the life of community-college administrators, and ends with a sharp policy proposal for community colleges. The first few chapters comprise a solid orientation to community colleges, and the middle chapters are a useful insider perspective. The fact that Reed started his career in a for-profit institution guarantees that his perspective is not just from someone who started and has remained at community colleges.1

Reed’s prescription for community colleges falls in three broad categories: learning from for-profit institutions, performing better at the core community-college mission, and expanding and improving partnerships. From for-profits, Reed thinks community colleges should take not the marketing and exploitation but the type of blocking-and-tackling tasks that for-profits turn into routines: helping students with bureaucratic crap like FAFSA, managing short-session and other experimental course calendars, specializing without guilt, and helping students explicitly with career issues. Reed also thinks community colleges need to “kill the credit hour,” reform remedial (or developmental) education, and experiment with differential fees by curriculum area.
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Format: Paperback
As a past community college administrator this was an interesting book that really explores not only some fundamentals into community colleges in general, but also goes deeper into ideas and resources that all community college administrators and people interested in the future should consider. While the author of this book has a distinct opinion for where he thinks community colleges should focus, other may have differing opinions. In reading this though I have to say that I have to agree with many of the points and ideas shared by the author and I think many others will be too. While the book is not inclusive of all issues and concerns that are out there for community colleges today I will say that I enjoyed reading this and felt that the author was open and honest about the issues he addressed.

*I received this for review - all opinions are my own*
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am completing my Masters degree in Higher Education this fall. My studies and work experiences have been focused deeply on four-year institutions. I wanted to further explore the realm of two-year institutions and the role they play in the post-secondary arena so I developed an independent study course with our program coordinator. This book offered the course a matter of fact approach to the administrator's role, challenges, and duties at a two-year institution. The author's ability to tie his views back to his own academic and professional history provides depth and legitimacy to his words and stance. I read Matthew Reed's book first then moved onto The American Community College by Cohen, Brawer, and Kisker. The two books were an ideal combination to lay the ground floor of my understanding of two-year institutions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Al on March 14, 2014
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A very thoughtful, thought-provoking and readable outlook on how Community Colleges are (and/or should be) administered. In comparison to most authors on the subject, Reed has a unique and broader view of community colleges, having originally come from an administration position at a for-profit college. While many of us have a jaundiced view of such colleges, Reed draws on those experiences to pick and choose certain practices that could/should possibly be applied to community colleges.

Anyone who has spent any time as a community college administrator will find themselves nodding their heads in agreement over so many of the problems and issues cited here. It is quite clear that, unlike some other books in this genre, the author has earned his stripes in the trenches, as opposed to conducting research into so-called 'best practices'. In fact, this book is probably best for new administrators, as much of the content is probably all too well-known to those of us who have long practiced our arcane craft. Still, the latter chapters, which contain proposals for solving some of those problems could be quite useful.

Reed has certain axes that he really wants to grind, and this should come as no surprise to readers of his blog, "Confessions of a Community College Dean" ([...]). State funding declines, tenure, credit hours, and an over-saturated market for advanced degrees in the communications/social sciences, to name a few, receive withering criticism. However, any community college administrator would benefit from reading this slim volume and taking to heart some of the proposals presented.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ozjg on February 26, 2013
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While I am not a CC administrator, the book was still an enjoyable read ;-)

I have enjoyed Matt's Dean Dad blog for many years. This pulls together much of
that experience and wisdom into an accessible, relatively short book that is
an easy - and good - read, with lots of practical advice and insights.

I found the discussion of the future of CC education to be particularly insightful and interesting.

Well done, Dean Dad !!
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