All posts by Julie White


No, I Don’t Have the Summer Off

Every year in June, well-meaning colleagues, neighbors, and relatives ask me about my summer plans. Although I generally take a week or two of vacation, my answer is, “I’ll be in my office, in the Student Services Center, most of the summer.” And then they say, “Oh, yeah, you don’t have summers off, do you?”

No, I don’t have summers off. Now, let me say from the start that I have many colleagues who are faculty members, and even though they might technically “have the summer off” from teaching,…


The Other 90 Percent

Anne Kress, president of Monroe Community College, recently reflected on the ways that data can — and can’t — capture the work we do at two-year colleges. As she pointed out, quantifiable data shows just 10 percent of what we do — the proverbial tip of the iceberg. After all, our “business (is) changing lives, opening doorways, deepening experiences, and engaging learners. The whole story is often a hard fought, lengthy, and epic one involving if not a cast of thousands at least a cast of doze…


What Happens in Vegas?

Spring is conference season in higher education. Whether you’re a conference newbie or a seasoned attendee, here are some tips for making the most of national conferences:

Bring business cards. In this electronic era, they may seem unnecessary, but many people still rely on the business card as a quick way to exchange contact information. You may be using social-media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or, but your future boss may prefer to keep your contact info in her Rolode…


The Case of the Vanishing Students

Of the 27 students who originally enrolled in my course, I have 16 in class today. As I hand back the first test of the semester, I remark that maybe a lot of people have spring fever on this sunny day. One of my students suggests a different reason for the high number of absences, saying, “Well, refund checks were sent this week. By next week, there won’t be any problem finding parking on campus.”

Sigh. I’ve long bristled against the stereotype that “a lot of people are just here for their refu…


You Work Where?

In my first post, I alluded to my own snobbishness about applying for jobs at community colleges when I was first on the job market. And I also wrote about the intrinsic rewards of working at those colleges. But now, let’s get practical.

Whether you are a graduate student or a midcareer professional — or both, like me — there are good reasons to consider employment at a two-year college. First, and most obviously, the United States has more such colleges than any other type of postsecondary inst…


Community College Changed My Life

But not in the way you might think. I did not attend a community college as a student. In fact, community colleges were largely invisible to me for most of my academic life. Which is a bit unusual, since I am a first-generation college student. And also surprising, since I have been a student-affairs professional for 20 years.

I grew up in a state with no community-college system, so there’s one explanation. But how to explain my total ignorance of them as a higher-education professional? I spen…