This morning, I woke up in Boston—my first trip of 2016! Now I feel like the year has really and truly gotten underway. Especially since here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it definitely feels like winter, which hasn’t been the case in Washington these last few weeks.
This has been a pretty big news week, what with the Golden Globes, the College Football Playoff National Championship (Kyle and Bobby require me to insert “Roll Tide!” here), President Obama’s last State of the Union address, the passing of both David Bowie and Alan Rickman, and the latest Republican primary debate. Whew! If 2016 is going to continue at this pace, I’m going to be exhausted by late February.
What’s new this week:
Scripps College was featured in a Chronicle of Higher Education story on institutions that are offering courses in the areas of race, ethnicity and cultural diversity.
Grinnell College’s Patrick Inglis spoke to TheStreet.com about challenges facing the American middle class.
Also this week, Grinnell’s David Cook-Martín weighed in on Donald Trump’s assertion in last night’s GOP debate that he would not reconsider his proposed ban on Muslims entering the US. Read the piece on The Conversation.
What we’ve been talking about:
On the TVP Communications blog, I wrote about the White House’s State of the Union strategy, which boils down to meeting people where they are.
On Inside Higher Ed’s Call to Action blog this week, Teresa Valerio Parrot implored leaders to lead so that we have something to communicate about our institutions.
What we’ve been reading:
Erin Hennessy
I think I’ve mentioned my interest in Deaf culture here before—my mother studied American Sign Language and worked for years as an interpreter for Deaf and hard-of-hearing elementary students—so I was thrilled to run across this Washingtonian article about DeafSpace design principles. The piece looks at how Gallaudet University is building new spaces that “represent a broader philosophical shift, in which architects are concerned less with conforming to rules about handicapped access than with designing more creatively for all kinds of people—rethinking mundane parts of our everyday environment such as the width of a sidewalk or the arrangement of desks in a classroom.” It’s as simple as painting walls in colors that make signed gestures stand out or arranging classroom furniture in rounded groups so that students and faculty can all see and engage with each other, and yet it has the potential to change how the university and its students interact with the world around them as the university reconsiders its place in Washington, DC’s Trinidad neighborhood.
Teresa Valerio Parrot
This summer my husband and I are visiting a string of National Parks, including Yosemite…or are we??? A tweet from Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal led me to this story, which raised an interesting question: Can someone trademark the names of public places and then legally demand compensation for their use? An outgoing concessionaire at Yosemite is doing exactly that, having trademarked the names to iconic locations in the park and even the merchandising rights to the name of the park. The lawsuit runs counter to my thoughts on the purpose of the parks and the public’s perception of Yosemite as “a place that many citizens would consider belonging to the American people, not to any one business.” So, for now we are saying we are visiting The Park That Shall Not Be Named and staying at The Lodge That Shall Not Be Named.
Bobby Mathews
Because I took a year off between high school and college to work as a radio announcer, I didn’t feel the same pressure my friends did as they worked on their college applications. If anything, that pressure has built into a powder keg since then, as this article from The Atlantic explains.
Kristine Maloney
If you’re looking for a little Friday inspiration, check out National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year contest for profiles of 10 awesome explorers, athletes, humanitarians, and conservationists who embody the spirit of adventure. You can vote for your favorite through the end of the month. And, if you’re like me and have a hard time deciding (because the elephant protector, the Afghan cyclists and the El Capitan climbers are all so amazing), you can vote daily.
Follow us on Twitter!
Here’s a look at what we were tweeting this week:


https://twitter.com/bwmathews/status/686908981571416064


For all of the latest news and media successes from TVP Communications, follow us on Twitter.