All posts by Julie White


Let’s Drop ‘Helicopter Parents’—From Our Vocabulary

For some time I’ve been troubled by the use of “helicopter parent” as a term of disparagement.

A quick search for the phrase on The Chronicle’s Web site uncovered a blog entry on “Engaging Parents to Achieve Greater Enrollment-Management Success” and another bemoaning this phenomenon: “Facebook Spawns an Army of ‘Helicopter Parents.’” It appears that we academics want it both ways. First we ask parents to help get their children to our institutions. And then we ask those parents to stay away.



What Do Adjuncts Need to Know?

Eliana Osborn recently posted about the “dreaded start-up meeting” for faculty, often attended by adjuncts and full-timers alike. She noted that she’d like to see “a session just for us,” just for adjuncts.

At my college, we do offer a start-up session just for adjuncts. And, in my role as a student-services administrator, I’ll be addressing the group very soon. I, of course, have my own agenda, based on my areas of responsibility. But I’m curious: What do adjuncts really need to know, especiall…


Blogging as Art

Earlier this summer Rob Jenkins asked “What Is a Blog Post?” He suggested that, “More than anything else, a blog post is intended to be a conversation starter.”

I like that notion, but I think we’ve all seen the focus on generating hits and comments lead to a race to the rhetorical bottom, with posts and comments becoming ever more outrageous. Of course, generating hits is not the same thing as having a conversation, but the distinction is often lost on less-thoughtful bloggers than Rob.



Policy in Action

To some, governmental programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, and Temporary Aid for Needy Families are little more than abstractions. If we work in higher education, however, such programs affect our students and our colleges.

Take these examples of community-college students. In one case, a student exhibiting signs of paranoia was terror-stricken about the prospect of returning to her home. Counseling staff later learned that she was supposed to be participating in an inpatient-treatment …


‘Doors Closing’

You know that announcement on mass transit as the train is about to take off? “Doors closing,” a pleasant voice warns. I am always struck by the irrational fear that if I don’t move, and quickly, I’m going to get caught in those doors.

But there’s nothing pleasant about Gary Rhoades’s warning in the new report, Closing the Door, Increasing the Gap: Who’s Not Going to (Community) College? (available as a PDF). As the community-college sector becomes increasingly constrained in achieving its acces…


The Uncounted

Some people lose hours of time on social-media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter. My latest time suck is The Chronicle’s new interactive tool on college completion. First, I examined the graphs and charts for my own community college, then for the research university where I study, and then for any college or university I’ve ever attended, worked at, or driven by.

As I browsed, I was pleased by the inclusion of Sara Lipka’s piece on the many students who “don’t count” because they fall …


Who Benefits?

Although changes in student financial-aid policies for the federal 2012 fiscal-year budget have been widely reported, one change has gone largely unnoticed: the requirement that new students must have a high-school diploma, GED, or completed home schooling in order to receive federal aid. Currently, students without such a credential must take an “ability-to-benefit” (ATB) test to determine if they are ready for college-level work.

If they pass the ATB test, they are eligible for federal student…


A Career Dilemma

I recently received the November/December issue of the American Federation of Teachers’ publication, On Campus, and opened to the headline: “Community Colleges More Satisfying for Female STEM Faculty.” According to the article, Ohio University researchers found that women make up nearly half of the faculty members at community colleges who teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses (compared with 33 percent who teach such courses at four-year institutions) and that th…



When I tell people that I have been granted a sabbatical (which I feel obliged to tell you is officially called “leave for professional advancement for the benefit of the College” by my institution), they often appear surprised that I, a non-teaching professional staff member, am eligible for such a thing. Being on sabbatical seems to convey a sense of scholarly import not usually associated — at least by outsiders — with student affairs, or with community colleges.

I’ll let my dissertation comm…


Why I Am an Adjunct: Take 3

Isaac Sweeney and Eliana Osborn have both written about their experiences as an adjunct. I, too, am an adjunct faculty members, but for different reasons from them, so here’s another perspective.

My first professional identity was as a high-school English teacher. I was a naive, 22-year-old from a fairly small, rural town, teaching in a much more heterogeneous community in Cincinnati, Ohio. Perhaps things have changed (although I don’t think so), but the policy at the time was to put the least-e…