Articles from 2018 Worth a (re)Read

2018 has been a long and busy year. February alone gave us the Winter Olympics, “Black Panther,” and an Eagles’ Super Bowl title, so we can’t blame you if you’ve forgotten a few of 2018’s under-the-radar headlines. It’s finally December, which means it’s time for our annual tradition of revisiting a few of the year’s best higher ed articles worth a re-read.

  • In many ways, 2018 was a continuation of 2017, as issues and movements such as #MeToo continued to find their way into the higher ed sphere. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report that found that “half of women in science experience some form of harassment.” But how do these academies handle the harassers when membership is for life?
  • The Chronicle’s article on the NASEM report discusses the reporting procedures that college campuses have in place, and the way that they often protect institutions from liability. Reporting from The New York Times detailed this idea further, upon obtaining Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ August proposal to increase the rights of the accused and reduce liability for colleges and universities. Any policy changes will continue to come at a sensitive and critical time, as investigations of sexual misconduct continue to take place at some of the nation’s most prominent universities.
  • In addition to the #MeToo movement, 2017 gave us a national debate about Confederate symbols that played out in college towns like Charlottesville. While the news typically examines the (oft-heated) conversation from a variety of perspectives, rarely is the focus on professors who give the debates a historical context. The Chronicle listens to historians who say that in 2018, “’business is good,’ but often for bad reasons.”
  • News of Amazon’s new headquarters locations made waves a few weeks ago, but back in June news from another online giant made quiet ripples on the web. A report from The Chronicle discussed Google’s plans to play a bigger role in the college search process, and that’s something we should all stay ahead of. As Google continues to be the internet’s preeminent gatekeeper of information, colleges and universities should monitor what data the search giant is highlighting for prospective students, and how this may change recruitment efforts including your college or university’s website.
  • Colleges and universities across the country are growing more diverse and inclusive by the year. But Forbes’ Josh Moody wonders, where is that diversity at the top? In a year that saw my alma mater William & Mary appoint its first female president after more than 300 years, there still exists a wide gap between the number of men and women who lead our institutions.
  • “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing evening.” No one will soon forget Nike’s new campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. But what can universities learn from it? In the words of William Bernach, “If you stand for something, you will always find some people for you and some against you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you, and nobody for you.” SimpsonScarborough’s own Steven Lovern also talks about what taking a stand means in today’s political reality.
  • Private support is more important than ever to colleges and universities. However, as the need for support grows, so must the scrutiny with which one examines the complicated nature of a gift. Take for instance a very recent and very generous donation: Michael Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins University. It’s an enormous contribution to a worthy cause, but Vox argues that even if the “why” is right – the “where” might be misplaced if you’re aiming to do the most good.

Finally, at the end of a long year, we could all use a reminder of why we do what we do. Higher education is about students and the pursuit of knowledge, and this East Carolina University professor reminds us that sometimes that means showing up to a late night library study session to provide some last minute help.

So, no matter what that sacrifice is for you in your role, we know that you all make it every day in the name of a greater good. Here’s to 2019!

Missed our (still relevant) recap of 2017? Check it out here.

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