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Blog posts and video from Steven as he “COMBS” through the minutia to discover tech, retro-computing, physical computing, gadgets and sci-fi.

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10 July 2012

What I did...

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.
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{UPDATE: This is a blog post from another site I wrote while serving as the Dean of the school of Applied Science and Engineering Technology. Those of you who know me now, will read the last full paragraph with a bit a bewilderment. Don’t worry, I did too.}

Popular higher education blogger, Dean Dad (real name unknown to protect the guilty), recently wrote a blog post entitled, A Professor in a Suit and I thought it apt that I share his thoughts with those couple of you who follow this blog.

Dean Dad does a good job of answering the question, “what do you do?” This is a question asked by many of my friends and family. They understand the faculty role (“you teach huh?”) but often don’t entirely understand a Dean’s dual role as faculty/administrator and the associated pitfalls of this balancing act.

Dean Dad is apparently (again, he is very vague) an Academic Dean for some unidentified community college in the mid-west. My role as a school Dean; where a school is a smaller academic branch of the college containing specific and associated disciplines, differs slightly. As a school Dean, I have less influence on college administrative policy as I focus my energies on smaller school related issues such as students, personnel management, development, instruction and curriculum.

I enjoy my role and I am not inclined, nor professionally ready, to move out of it anytime soon. In the meantime, I assert that I am in the best position I’ve ever held in higher education. Teaching was a blast and there are often times I envy Nikki in her role as an instructor, but as I grow older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I find that I want to stretch my legs a bit. Time will tell if I’ve made the correct decision. Thankfully, academia is gracious and they often welcome their administrators back to the faculty.

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