Tuesday, November 13, 2012



Well, here goes...

Confessions of a Community College Administrator will be published in January -- you can read about it, and even pre-order it, here.  Jossey-Bass is publishing it as part of the Inside Higher Ed series, with a gracious foreward by Kay McClenney.  I hope that it’ll be useful for people who want to understand the on-the-ground reality of community colleges, whether because they’re future administrators, trustees, or interested citizens.  It’s particularly aimed at the rising/next generation of community college administrators.

With the book officially revealed, it’s time to drop the pseudonym.  I don’t want the book discredited by the anonymity of its author, and I’m enough of a realist to know that someone would spill the beans quickly anyway, just to prove that they could.

My name is Matt Reed, and I’m the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  I’ve been at HCC since 2008.  When I started the blog, though, its title was accurate; back then, I was the liberal arts dean at the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey.  

The Boy and The Girl will keep their anonymity, on the grounds that when they grow up, I don’t want the first results of employer’s internet searches to be cute stories I wrote about them in elementary school.  Their real names are their own to define as they see fit; “TB” and “TG” will indicate their presence without saddling them with too much baggage.  The Wife requested to keep her anonymity, too, on the grounds that she’s known for her own achievements.  So longtime readers don’t need to worry about The Wife, The Boy, or The Girl suddenly becoming new names.  

With my own name out there, I hope to be able to participate more fully in the public conversation about higher education and its future.  Participating in conferences and public discussions is tough while trying to maintain a pseudonym.  Addressing a conference by speakerphone is pretty limiting -- Scott Jaschik actually arranged that for me once; I felt a little like Charlie, from Charlie’s Angels -- and Groucho glasses just aren’t dignified.  The first major public event scheduled is a panel with Scott and some fellow IHE bloggers at the MLA conference in Boston in January; I hope many more will follow.

The other side, of course, is my own campus.  I’ve been careful over the years not to put anything salacious or confidential in the blog, so I’m not worried about that.  It should be clear by now that my focus is structure and policy, rather than some variation on “Otto is a real douchebag.”  My interest is in improving public higher education, which I think requires some difficult and candid discussion.  

Obviously, some people who disagree with something I wrote may decide to shoot the messenger.  I hope that disagreement won’t lead to anything worse than disagreement, but there’s always a risk.  (Back when I started, I lived in terror of being “Dooced.”)  At the end of the day, though, I don’t control what other people do.  I have faith in my longtime readers to know what I’ve been trying to do, and will continue to try to do.  I have faith in my colleagues to understand that academic freedom needs to be reciprocated.  The rest will happen as it happens.

Enough about me.  Tomorrow, and onward, I’ll get back to the subject I love, writing for - and with - the kind of readers that most writers would kill to have.  Nice to meet you.

Oh, so that's your name. Knowing this will make family gatherings so much less awkward.

Congratulations on "coming out." I may share my name as well, but I'm not sure there's a point. I will confirm to internet-land that I am indeed his brother, despite the fact that we look nothing alike beyond our joint status as bipedal mammals.

Rock on, good sir.
Of course, when you look up the book on Amazon, the first hit on "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed"...

"The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn't" by William J. Baumol.

I laughed, anyway.

Congratulations on the book, and on dropping the pseudonym.
Well that's a relief! So many of your situations seemed so familiar, I was beginning to think I had an alternate personality who blogged.

Enjoy the blog! Expect to enjoy the book!
So your book isn't going to be available for Kindle? What?
I've been trying to figure out if you were nearby for a while now (I'm in eastern MA):)
Congratulations on the book!! Looks really interesting to an adjunct-who-wants-to-be-an-administrator like me.
Hey, congrats! I've been reading your blog for years and hope this works out well for you.
Congratulations! Look forward to getting and reading your book.
So proud of you.
I'm still going to think of you as DD.
Much respect and continued reading. I'm Chris Smith, Chair of Musicology at Texas Tech University. Very pleased to meet you ;-)
And all this time I was sure your name was Vinnie....
Hi! *waves delightedly* and congratulations!

Please tell me that at some point your brother will start a blog...
Congratulations! Looking forward to reading the book!
Nice to meet you (finally)!! For a youngin, you know your stuff. And I might add, you're mighty cute!
Congratulations on taking this step. Look forward to reading the book.
From someone entirely outside your target audience, who nevertheless has become a pretty steady reader, let me also add my congratulations.

As well as my relief that TB, TG and TW will remain as regular characters.

Congratulations, Matt! I have enjoyed being in on your secret. Now it's time to celebrate all you have achieved in your years of thinking and writing and to cheer you on to recognition.

High School Friend on Wrong Coast (gotta love our election, though!)
I love the blog Matt. I'm a regular reader who sincerely appreciates your insights.
Congratulations! I'm delighted that your book is being published, and agree that Brother of Dean Dad should have his own blog (along with High School Lab Partner). I had you pegged for upstate New York, rather than Massachusetts, but I was pretty close.
Congratulations! I'll probably still think of you as DD in my head, as it is all of the sudden sort of strange to know your name. Kind of like when, in elementary school, you realize your teacher has a first name, and is not just Mrs. so-and-so. I look forward to getting the book!
I'm a long-time reader who stumbled on your blog while a community college librarian. Thank you for going public, as I think your voice, with your clear and deep care for the community college system, is an important one. So thank you, and here's to many more years!
i'm glad you revealed your name for very selfish reasons. i often cite your blog to senior administrators on my campus. trying to cite you to non-tech folks as "Dean Da>d" confuses them. Now I can cite you by name and title. You always had credibility with me, but now Iyou'll have some with them. Maybe that way we can solve the problems of higher education with your help. We've a long way to go here in california.

Long ago I had guessed NJ or Mass based on issues you raised about your budget environment. I was also wondering about the "Dean" detail because you have talked about the next step being a President.

My biggest question had to do with the size and nature of the college you were at, because there is such a huge variation between small rural (fewer students than most high schools) and mega urban (more students than any university). It alwasy seemed like you were in a place that is very much like my own in terms of enrollment and transfer emphasis.

You location confirms that. Not quite as big, but otherwise dealing with very similar issues as we are. Fascinating.

Congratulations on a graceful reveal, precisely what readers could expect from this blog. I can not remember who recommended your blog to me, four or five years ago, but I owe him or her a debt of thanks. And thanks to you, too, for these years of consistently thoughtful and readable work.
Congrats on the book! Whether we agree or disagree, I feel strongly that you are taking on serious issues that merit the sort of thoughtful discussion you bring.

Best wishes for a successful future.

Oh, and your pseudonym lives forever as an acknowledgement in the paper you gave me ideas on.

We're neighbors in MA. I had a strong hunch you were in MA, because you referenced Bunker Hill CC not that long ago and because of references to the same weather that we're having.

Looking forward to reading your book and continuing reading along here.
And hi back, Matt! Congratulations on the upcoming book--and as someone said above, this is a stepping out from behind the pseduonym that's every bit as gracious as your posts usually are.
True diversity means even administrators can safely come out. :-)
Welcome to the world of the half out. Pseudonyms are interesting when you are much better known by the nom de blog than the one Mom and Dad gave you.

Still, it is interesting when someone you know in real life figures it out.


Captcha eat Dad 1812??
Pleased to see that I correctly guessed your identity (you left quite a few clues for those of us who grew up on Nancy Drew!). As a faculty member, I've really appreciated your insights into how administration works. I've learned a lot. Thank you!
Congratulations, Matt! I look forward to hearing your voice and nom du plum in the public discussions about higher ed. I look forward also to reading your book, even though I'm not at a community college. I'll also take this opportunity to forward your review of science day to my chair and dean.

P.S. Brother of Dean Dad is correct about the lack of physical family resemblance. The good humor is potentially genetic.
Congratulations and I look forward to the continuing wonderful posts and interesting conversations hosted here.
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