Alma Mater

Alma Mater

Liberal arts college presidents consider the changing landscape of academe.

October 22, 2012 - 9:51am
Every time I see the acronym MOOC, I find myself filled with some combination of excitement and apprehension.
October 9, 2012 - 8:06am
Much media attention has recently been given to the Thiel Fellowships, an effort described by The New York Times as “one of the most unusual experiments in higher education today.” But -- in these critical years for their development as persons -- will these young people spend time thinking about the meaning of their lives, about their moral obligations to fellow human beings?
September 27, 2012 - 3:00am
Incivility has no place within college communities. It sucks the joy out of academic departments, provides an awful example for our students, and impedes honest face-to-face discussion of real issues. We should call incivility what it is – at the minimum, a breach of community, and at its worst, bullying.
August 3, 2012 - 5:34pm
A month of teaching was just what I needed at the end of my first two years as president. And a transition for this blog ...
February 1, 2012 - 5:15pm
Last weekend we came far too close to every college president’s nightmare.
January 17, 2012 - 3:00pm
For all of our talk about the college’s carbon footprint, we at Alma have lately been discussing the many ways in which even a small college impacts the local community and environment.
November 17, 2011 - 5:45pm
A few years ago, as I was contemplating a step from provost to president, I asked a college president how he managed the demands of the job with young children who were just then entering high school. He replied that he had never found a satisfactory answer to the question but that ensuring daily conversations with his children, no matter where he was in the world, and building time into the schedule, were key.
November 6, 2011 - 3:00am
October 3, 2011 - 11:06am
When our communications director suggested that I “star” in a jesting video for an event celebrating the College’s 125th anniversary last spring, I was extremely apprehensive. As an undergraduate, I was without question the worst actor in a troupe that included a stray cat, blind in one eye. I did not make a keepsake of the review that described my acting as “wooden,” but I well remember it. It should not have come as a surprise for a reserved, self-conscious English major, not given, in the end, to theatrics.
September 7, 2011 - 9:17pm
Last June, I passed my one-year anniversary as a college president. It was an exciting year, with a major anniversary (125 years), my inauguration, an extensive alumni “welcome” tour, trips to China and Ecuador for academic program discussions, and campus-wide strategic and master planning dominating the landscape. As I contemplate this past year, I've been thinking about one particular piece of advice I heard often in my transition to the job.

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