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Week in Review: Back At It

All week I’ve been wracking my brain for something clever and witty to write about for my first post back, but sadly, humidifiers have been occupying an inordinate amount of brain space this week. And I’m just not as excited about them as Liz Lemon is:
I spend an excessive amount of time cleaning humidifiers. Seriously, it’s 2016. Why aren’t they easier to clean? Why do they get so gross so fast? I have three in my house right now, and I even bought one model that touted itself as dishwasher safe…and only about a third of the items you have to clean can actually go in the dishwasher. Malarkey.
If you’re more interested in higher ed news than air moisture level maintenance, you’re in luck! Scroll down for the latest.
What’s new this week:
It’s no surprise that the Iowa caucuses were all over the news this week, or that our Iowa clients had some great insight to share on the subject!
Drake University Professor Anthony Gaughan pointed out five things to know about the caucuses in Newsweek.
Professor Barbara Trish of Grinnell College considered the question of whether Donald Trump can actually get his supporters to show up for the caucus vote in a piece for U.S. News & World Report.
USA Today College highlighted Professor Trish’s weeklong immersive course on the caucuses, which gives students unique access to the candidates and caucus process.
Students from Grinnell College and Drake University were interviewed for a New York Times piece on Senator Bernie Sanders reaching out to young Iowa voters.
Augustana College President Steven Bahl wrote a piece for the Chronicle on how his experience going back to the classroom helped inform his leadership on campus.
On Inside Higher Ed’s Call to Action blog this week, guest posts examined personalization and student-centered marketing and discussed how to prepare now for the next crisis to minimize damage and recover quickly.
What we’ve been talking about:
After almost three months of being unplugged, Ali Lincoln jumped back in—a little too quickly. She shared tips on how to manage information overload and being informed without suffering from professional FOMO, the fear of missing out.
What we’ve been reading:
Kristine Maloney
It’s just about impossible to escape news about the presidential campaign. It’s overwhelming — and like all things politics — can be extremely divisive. If you need a break from some of the bigger, sometimes depressing, and sometimes maddening political news of the day, check out the Washington Post’s guide on the fashion of politics. Bottom line: our politicians could use some style advice.
Kyle Gunnels
My week in review is a bit different since everything I read this week was about the GOP debate, and let’s be honest, no one wants to read about that anymore. So, here are some music videos for songs I’ve been listening to a lot lately, and one throwback just for Teresa—a random mini TGIF playlist, if you will.

  1. Don’t Sing by Data feat. Benny Sings
  2. Flashed Junk Mind by Milky Chance
  3. Five Years by David Bowie
  4. When You Were Mine by Night Terrors of 1927 feat. Tegan and Sara
  5. (for TVP) Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden

Erin Hennessy
Did you know about something called the Open Syllabus Project? Me neither! Over the last 15 years, more than one million syllabi have been collected and compiled and just last week, the data was released. So it’s now possible to know that the most often assigned text is (drumroll, please….) The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. You can also dig into exactly how many dead, white guys are being read by students at top institutions.
Teresa Valerio Parrot
I have a secret to confess—there was a time in high school, maybe even college, when I liked and used Comic Sans. And, since I’m fessing up, I actually liked and used Papyrus more, which is why I thought this piece about its creator was interesting. The second most hated font creator talks about his inspiration and how, in retrospect, accepting less than $2,500 in today’s dollars sounds like he sold out for too little. This quote from Chris Costello made me laugh: “I never intended Papyrus to be used for mortgage companies and construction logos,” and this fact made me pause: “[t]oday, at least one in seven people on the planet has access to Papyrus on his or her computer.”  And for fun, here’s a website that mocks its use—enjoy!
Bobby Mathews
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calls Mosul Dam the most dangerous dam in the world due to its propensity to erode—and that is going to be bad news for a lot of people. Even here in America, we have problems with finding clean water sources (see Flint, Michigan for details), but if this dam does collapse, the word “catastrophic” doesn’t cover it.
Ali Lincoln
Yes, you’ll be seeing a lot more parenting and baby topics in the pieces that I’m reading. This was a fascinating read from The Conversation about babies and facial expressions. I had no idea that babies learned about faces so quickly! I realized that I scowl and swear a lot, even when I’m not irritated or upset. It also made me more aware of the lack of diversity in my neighborhood—there are a lot of retired, middle class white couples. Hopefully, none of these will negatively affect my baby in the long run, especially since I can’t control external factors like my neighbors, but I started a swear jar just in case.
I’m anxious. There’s no escaping anxiety, but I’ve gotten pretty adept at managing it and using it in productive and positive ways. This meditative guide for the anxious mind in The New Yorker made me laugh, and the last line especially made me howl. I’m definitely the twitchy kid in yoga class who can’t clear her mind for a second!
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