Four years ago this week, I signed my offer letter from TVP Communications. I became an official member of the staff about a week after that and have never looked back. It’s hard to sum up four years in a comprehensive way in a “Quick Hit,” but below, I’ve shared a few random observations and memories in no particular order:
- Slack, a tool we are extremely reliant on as a virtual office, was still months away from its “preview release.” It’s such an integral part of our work now; it’s hard to believe we got by without it.
- One of the stories I’m most proud of working on is this NPR piece about Frostburg State University’s efforts to curb binge drinking. It worked because the university was open and transparent about the problem they were facing. They gave great access—not only to the good, but to the bad and ugly too. Following the broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, reporter Jennifer Ludden appeared on TODAY to talk more about Frostburg’s approach to underage drinking.
- The coldest campus visit I made was to Drake University in Iowa. I thought I might lose my toes. (For the record, I’ve also been there in lovely weather.) The hottest campus visit I had was at the University of Redlands in southern California…in August.
- I continue to be impressed by my coworkers on a daily basis. They know their stuff. They work hard. And they truly care about our partner institutions. (Also, they are very up-to-date on the best book recommendations, must-try recipes and latest viral videos.)
- Media outlets have come and gone in the past four years, but one that I really hope is here for the long haul is The Conversation, a news site for the general public written by academics. As a bonus, their content is in demand by numerous national news sites, so a faculty member’s Conversation piece is likely to pop up on partner sites like The Atlantic, New Republic, TIME and others.
- One of the best parts of this job is the range of faculty expertise we get to explore. Here’s a very, very small sample of topics I’ve pitched—and in the process, learned a lot about: cyberbullying; celebrity pregnancies; financial literacy; immigration; the auto industry; the bacteria-killing properties of copper; Middle East economics; sports betting; beer; and all things politics.
- For all the criticisms of higher education (some of which are justified, at least in part), I still believe in the power of a college degree to change lives. And now more than ever, I believe in the power of faculty research and scholarship to help inform the public of facts.
Here’s to many more years of helping campuses share their good news stories, mitigating the not-so-good ones, and experiencing the worlds of communications and higher ed undergo even more transformations.