I truly enjoy making resolutions each time we ring in a new year. At their core, resolutions make up a to-do list—and I love a good list. For me, making resolutions is really about reflecting on the past and using that self-discovery to shape the upcoming year. It’s easy to make a yearly to-do list that is way too ambitious or not specific enough or hard to measure progress on (in fact, it’s easy to do that on any to-do list…I’m looking at you, “Garage” and “Kitchen” bullets, eternally on mine), which can be a recipe for failed resolutions and disappointment. But a little thought, some restraint, and a plan for how to keep your resolutions can lead to some fun accomplishments (like the [pre-baby] year I resolved to read an average of one book every week, and ended up with 54 reads total) or some successful new habits.

If you’ve resolved to stay on top of the latest in higher ed news, we’ve got you covered! Scroll down for more.

What’s new this week:

In a piece for the Washington Post, Grinnell College President Raynard Kington considered what it means to be a blue school in a red state, and what higher education needs to think about with future leaders and geography.

The College of the Holy Cross recently lost a beloved member of its community, and the Boston Globe ran a special obituary for Rev. Anthony Kuzniewski—or Father K, as he was known on campus—to celebrate his life.

Poets & Quants ran a piece on the new coding requirement for all students at the Farmer School of Business and why it matters.

This week on Inside Higher Ed’s Call to Action blog, don’t miss five best practices to help your institution be more strategic with social media.

What’s next on our calendars:

On January 7, Teresa will be conducting media training for the ACE Fellows mid-year retreat in San Diego.

Teresa will co-chair CASE’s Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals, which will be held January 11-13 in New York City. Erin will be presenting on Thursday with Jim Reische, chief communications officer at Williams College, on presidential communications and transitions.

On February 3, Erin will co-present at NACUBO’s 2017 Endowment and Debt Management Forum in New York City on how institutions can communicate effectively about their endowments in a time of heightened legislative scrutiny.

On March 30, Erin will be presenting with Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain on crisis communications at CASE’s 25th Annual Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations.

What we’ve been reading:

Kristine Maloney
I’ve been making space in my house this week for hundreds of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies that my daughter will be picking up on Sunday to launch the selling season. This is my little Daisy’s second year selling cookies (a great financial literacy lesson), but it marks 100 years for the Girl Scout organization. There have been some modern developments, including online cookie sales, but much of the cookie selling experience remains the same as when my daughter’s grandmothers were scouts. Excited that my family can share in this delicious milestone and help support the next generation of female leaders.

Cristal Steuer
I totally got sucked into to this star-studded Vanity Fair piece on the life of socialite and gossip columnist “Suzy” Aileen Mehle. She never actually planned on being a high society gossip columnist, but when she was out one night and Dan Mahoney, publisher of the Miami Daily News, said she couldn’t write, she had to prove him wrong. She wrote three sample columns and the next day, she was a columnist for the Miami Daily News under the pen name “Suzy.”

While her pen name was secret for a while, eventually her friends found out, but they didn’t care; most of them were her most reliable sources. With an illustrious career spanning more than five decades, she wrote for The Mirror, the New York Journal-American, The Daily News, the New York Post, Women’s Wear Daily and W Magazine. According to the article, she received “an average of 100 invitations each week—to charity balls, movie premieres, Broadway openings and small private dinners. Amazingly, she never took notes and she didn’t miss a detail.”

She was asked hundreds of times to write her memoirs, but never did. This final interview she did with Bob Colacello for Vanity Fair before her death in November at the age of 98 is the largest glimpse you will get into her fabulous life.

Ali Lincoln
This piece from The Conversation on the future of nonpartisan journalism was really interesting. It offered a glimpse into the complexity of what it means to remain neutral in a decidedly not neutral political climate. Regardless of your political sentiments, it’s worth checking out—getting nonpartisan news is important for voters, and it may be difficult to find in the next few years.

Erin Hennessy
This week, I was excited to share with the TVP Comms team one of my favorite things on the Internet: The Millions’ Great 2017 Book Preview. This annual round-up of the most anticipated books of the first half of the year (to be followed, in July, by the Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview) annually bulks up my to-be-read list with a range of novels, short story and essay collections, and memoirs.

This week, I was also pulled in by an essay on The Millions about reading the right book at the right time. The author wrote about coming to Middlemarch when she was finally ready for it (something I have attempted to do with Middlemarch three times so far, without success), comparing the feeling to falling suddenly in love with someone who has been in your orbit for ages. “It’s not that you had overlooked this person, it’s that you weren’t ready for them. You needed a few bitter experiences under your belt first—one or two awful break-ups, a few incidents where you see your own flaws with searing clarity, some moments of pure, high boredom. It’s only now that you are prepared, that you can see them properly.”

Teresa Valerio Parrot
I was talking to Debra Lukehart, vice president at Grinnell College, about a friend who sent me a book to help me center myself in the coming year and she said it reminded her of an article that touched her heart this past week. She shared the story of Zen Hospice and it touched mine. This New York Times piece features a doctor who is reimagining palliative care. As Dr. B.J. Miller reminds the readers, “[t]here are parts of ourselves that the conventional health care system isn’t equipped to heal or nourish, adding to our suffering.” Dr. Miller is a triple amputee and he approaches the care for each of his patients with a humanity and empathy that is inspiring and I wish was the norm. So, as we all consider New Year’s resolutions and our role in the coming year, let’s use Dr. Miller as our inspiration for kindness.

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