I love GIFs—they’re so entertaining and often they can be the internet version of snark. This week, I got a double dose of GIF enjoyment. First, there are now annual awards for the best GIFs of the year, the .GIFYS. And second, employee of the week Kyle Gunnels really stepped it up on Slack with an integration that randomly generates GIFs. On fleek this week:
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If you feel like wasting some time today, please share your favorite GIFs with @alilincolntvp on Twitter. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it, and I’ll definitely love it.
If you’d rather be more productive, scroll down and immerse yourself in higher ed updates. You still won’t regret it, and I’ll still definitely love it.
What’s new this week:
President David Maxwell of Drake University wrote a thoughtful piece for the Hechinger Report on how liberal arts schools actually offer in-demand workplace skills.
An opinion piece by NASPA president Kevin Kruger ran in Inside Higher Ed about student affairs offices being helpful beyond crises on campuses.
What we’ve been talking about:
After President Obama’s speech at Georgia Tech, Ali Lincoln couldn’t help getting a little teary eyed at the thought of progress in financial aid reform—that is, until she came to her senses and considered what changes could actually be happening with the Student Aid Bill of Rights.
What we’ve been reading: 
Kristine Maloney
Writing for the Boston Globe Magazine, higher education reporter Jon Marcus reminds readers not to underestimate community colleges. His piece explores their value in depth, as well as the budgetary challenges they’re facing and the ways in which some institutions are evolving to stay relevant.
Kyle Gunnels
This article does a great job exploring how colleges and universities have (and mainly have not) been preparing for the common core. 
There is never a shortage of rankings in our industry, but, seeing as how I love all things international education, one of my favorites to read every year is the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings.
And this is now on my Christmas wish list.
 Teresa Valerio Parrot
Our team is soooo sick of hearing me talk about this topic with them and our clients, but this week I’m focused on standardized testing in the K-12 world and the wave of parents opting out their children. Of course, this is because my daughter is in the middle of testing season and PARCC and CMAS are all I hear about at the dinner table. I am thankful for information from Education Commission of the States for info (shout out to Brian Sponsler) and the media for covering the topic so well. Here’s the national perspective, something from closer to home and a quick overview.
Ali Lincoln
This article made me feel guilty for not retaining any second language that I’ve studied in my life. I used to be quite proficient in Italian in college (well, in reading and writing, anyway—speaking was a battle for confidence), and now I’m lucky to remember the word for cheese or pencil.
I know this is a book review (and it’s a review of a book that frankly doesn’t sound that ground-breaking, though I do agree with the title), but it was well written and I especially loved the last paragraph.
 Erin Hennessy
I’m not infected with royal-watcher syndrome, but I do love a good process story about the moving parts behind events of great pomp and circumstance, so this piece about what will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies was interesting to me. The communication around this event will be fascinating to watch unfold—it’s been more than 60 years since a reigning British monarch has died. And I love details about British custom, like this about the Royal Standard: “This council [the Accession Council] is not required to make Queen Elizabeth II’s successor “official” however—Charles will become the monarch from the moment of her passing. There is never not a Sovereign on the throne. This is also why the Royal Standard is never flown at half-mast (unlike the Union Jack).”
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Are you following the TVP Communications team on Twitter? Here’s a look at what we were tweeting this week:


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