Jeff Abernathy

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Most Recent Articles

September 29, 2013
What happens when a college runs into a major disappointment? How do you discuss such matters in public?  
May 28, 2013
A campus discovery:  A forgotten time capsule. What might it contain?
January 25, 2013
So I enrolled in my first MOOC last week. Having exactly no experience with courses that are a) massive b) open or c) online, this is my novitiate. I did so not out of an entrepreneurial zeal; simple curiosity won me over. There hasn't been such a fuss over higher ed technological innovation since they invented chalk. So I’m enrolled in a history course with hundreds of thousands of other seekers worldwide. 
October 9, 2012
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?
August 3, 2012
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
Last weekend we came far too close to every college president’s nightmare.
January 17, 2012
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
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
October 3, 2011
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.


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