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Week in Review: VIP Diner

I’ve never been a regular at a restaurant before. To be clear, I’ve been a recurring patron at several institutions, but not to the point of name recognition, nor have I ever said, “I’ll have the usual.” But I think I’m making some progress. My husband and I frequent wine tastings at a little Spanish specialty store down the street from us, and there’s also a tapas bar run by the owners. They know us quite well in the wine store, probably because we usually come with our daughter in tow and she eats all of the snacks they put out at the tasting. Recently, we decided to test out the restaurant after they hired a new chef (whose son was in my husband’s soccer program), and I felt like a celebrity. The manager ushered us to a special table, we got free drinks, and the chef personally brought us new items that weren’t even on the menu yet. Here’s to hoping I can make that “the usual” order.

If you’re saying, “I’ll have the usual” to higher ed news, we’ve got your order below.

What’s new this week:

Professor Mathew Schmalz examined why Russia is so afraid of Jehovah’s Witnesses in a piece for The Conversation.

With funding from Lumina Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Research for Action has released a study on performance-based funding in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. Find more details in this Inside Higher Ed Quick Take.

This week on Inside Higher Ed’s Call to Action blog, don’t miss a post on the importance of engaging alumni as brand advocates.

What we’ve been talking about:

Kristine shared tips and resources for keeping up with the news about the news.


We gave it our best shot, but not sure the @tvpcomms team will make the cut for @insidehigher’s #academicswithbeer #byebyeindy

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What’s next on our calendars:

Teresa will present a preconference media training at the CASE Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals on Monday, September 18 in Philadelphia, PA.

Teresa will be co-leading the “Developing Presidential Voice: Toolkit for Marketing and Communications” webinar for Academic Impressions on September 22.

Teresa will be leading a crisis communications session and case study review for the Dean’s Section of the American Association of Law Schools in San Diego, CA on January 6, 2018.

What we’re recommending:

Kristine Maloney
Late last year at the age of 101, the inventor of the world’s only self-cleaning house (really), passed away. I didn’t hear about her death when it happened, and had never heard of Frances Gabe or her invention until this week, when I read this profile in The New York Times. And while I can see why the self-cleaning house never made it to market (and probably wouldn’t have caught on), I love the idea of it and found her, and her house, to be utterly fascinating. In a lot of ways, it’s a “crazy inventor” story, but it captivated me. Maybe some day Frances, your idea will become reality. I know I’d welcome a good, long break from cleaning the house.

Teresa Valerio Parrot
If global warming wasn’t bad enough, what if the universe’s warming is the reason we can’t find alien life? There is a new theory that aliens may have “transition[ed] toward a post-biological form of existence” to preserve themselves, but they need today’s too warm universal temperature to drop so that they don’t waste unnecessary energy to keep cool. My description is not doing this fascinating article justice, which means you really should read it. And I earned a WIR bonus—I learned a new word: aestivate (which is what I think Phoenix residents are currently doing).

Cristal Steuer
I spent my honeymoon on the tropical island of St. Lucia, so when I saw the title on this Washington Post piece, “Running away to a Caribbean island: Trust me, it’s not a parenting paradise,” I couldn’t help but take a peek. The author, who moved with her husband and two young children to the island for her husband’s job, writes about how living in paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When you tell people you are moving to the Caribbean, they conjure up images of you sitting by the pool with a drink with an umbrella in hand. But for the author, the heat, the size of the island, plus trying to find activities for her young children, turned this beautiful place into nightmare for her family.

Ali Lincoln
Climate change and its devastating effects is the stuff of nightmares (truly, I have environmental science nightmares all the time), and this New York Magazine article offers the worst worst-case scenario I’ve read yet. The article has become the most-read in the magazine’s history (you can read an annotated version here with more background and information). It’s utterly terrifying, and has been haunting me since I read it. And while some people have been suggesting that the author is inciting a panic by depicting possibly exaggerated outcomes, I wouldn’t call him a fear monger quite yet. This NYT article looks back to the Y2K (yes, you read that correctly) panic and looks at how the potential for a worst-case scenario actually galvanized action and positive proactive work, and suggests that this environmental doomsday approach could help in the long run. Not that I’m wishing nightmares on people, but I can understand how fearing the worst can be a good motivational force. Brace yourself and give it a read.

Erin Hennessy
I feel like my contributions have become so podcast focused lately, but there’s so much good podcasting going on that I can’t help myself. This week, I’m really in love with The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn, a series of interviews with some of the most prominent, gifted and prolific interviewers working today. Ranging from straight news interviewers like Audie Cornish to writers like Susan Orlean and public affairs hosts like Brooke Gladstone, the series digs into what makes a successful interview—how to press a subject, how to connect with people, how (and whether) to prepare for an interview. For those of us in media relations who spend so much time trying to get into a reporter’s head, these conversations are must-listen.

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