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Your Daily Briefing, a New Feature for Chronicle Individual Subscribers

June 27, 2017

Individual subscribers to The Chronicle now receive an email newsletter called the Daily Briefing. Through it, readers are presented with everything they need to know in higher ed to start their day. Below is an example of the Briefing, from Tuesday. To receive this newsletter, subscribe to The Chronicle.

Welcome to Tuesday, June 27. Today, President Trump's travel ban makes more waves for American colleges, colleges prepare for an increase in campus-safety threats, and one historian writes about historians as pundits.

The travel ban and American colleges.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear President Trump's appeal of two cases in which lower courts overruled his travel ban. However, parts of the ban will go into effect until a ruling is issued, according to the justices' unsigned order. For colleges, that means that the federal government can enforce the travel ban except for individuals — such as students admitted to colleges — who have a relationship with an entity or person in the United States.

The order specifically states that students from countries covered by the travel ban who are admitted to American colleges can enter the United States. The same goes for workers with accepted employment offers from American companies or lecturers who will speak to American audiences. But colleges remain concerned about the implications of the order for prospective international students. Our Karin Fischer has an analysis of the Supreme Court's action.

Threats on campus.

Last week Trinity College joined the mounting number of colleges that have been forced to respond to real threats after a virtual attack. When a professor's Facebook messages were picked up by conservative media, within hours the college was bombarded with angry emails. Within a day the anger was turning to threats of violence, and the college shut down. How does a college determine if a threat is real? How do administrators let the campus community know something is happening while keeping people calm? Our Beth McMurtrie looks at Trinity's response as an example of how colleges can deal with the campus outrage machine.

Quick hits.

  • Johnny Eric Williams, the associate professor of sociology at Trinity College whose online comments about racial issues and the police drew national attention, including threats that led the Connecticut institution to shut down briefly, has been placed on paid leave, the college announced late Monday.
  • Thousands of college students may be homeless, and several thousands more are food insecure, a study finds.
  • The Education Department released data on Monday showing that more than 7,000 previously approved requests for loan forgiveness from students who had attended failed for-profit colleges have been discharged.
  • The University of Delaware has severed its relationship with an adjunct professor whose posts said Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who died after being held prisoner in North Korea, "got what he deserved."

Historians as talking heads.

Historians should not deliver 30-second sound bites on the evening news, writes Moshik Temkin, an associate professor of history and public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, in The New York Times. Instead, historians should be "dismantling facile analogies" and providing "a critical, uncomfortable account of how we arrived at our seemingly incomprehensible current moment." The column made me think about a scholar's role in the Trump era. Some historians are advocating for journaling, while others are questioning what to do. Send me your thoughts on the historian's role in public policy, at fernanda@chronicle.com.

Listen up.

We have reported about professors who find themselves the subject of national attention, often after being featured on a right-leaning website, Campus Reform. Our reporter Chris Quintana spoke with The Colin McEnroe Show, a public-radio program in Connecticut, about how such stories spread from Campus Reform to larger news outlets like Fox News, mutating along the way. Have a listen. Chris's segment starts at about the 41-minute mark.

The talkers.

Your reading routine.

This summer, while many academics are focusing on research, cleaning out labs, or taking a break, some will establish a reading routine. Last week Kathleen Searles, an assistant professor of political communication at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, asked on Twitter how to make scholarly reading a routine. She got plenty of answers, but I'm still curious. Write to me about your reading-and-writing tips, at fernanda@chronicle.com. You may see them in a future Briefing.

On "dead grandmothers."

Last week The Chronicle Review published a humor essay by Shannon Reed, a visiting lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, that hit a nerve: a fictional letter by a professor to a student who is obviously lying about a dead grandmother to get an extension. It’s a timeless joke in faculty lounges, but also a potentially delicate issue that we’ve tackled in our pages. Ms. Reed’s squib set off a cascade of comment, much of which denounced us for insensitivity. In Vitae we feature a couple of responses: Terry McGlynn explains what was so offensive and calls for a broader conversation about how professors talk about students. Theresa MacPhail offers a defense of the piece and bemoans the backlash against it.

Comings and goings.

  • Johnson O. Akinleye, provost and interim chancellor of North Carolina Central University, was appointed to the post on a permanent basis.
  • Harold Martin Jr., a consultant, investor, and secretary of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees, was named the college's interim president, following the unexpected death this month of the former interim president, William J. Taggart.
  • Oscar Dubón, a professor of materials science and engineering and associate dean of equity and inclusion at the University of California at Berkeley's College of Engineering, was named Berkeley's vice chancellor for equity and inclusion.
  • Hallie Hunt, assistant dean of students and director of the Center for Student Conduct at the University of California at Berkeley, was appointed dean of students at California State University at Fullerton.
  • Laszlo Kulcsar, a professor of sociology and head of Kansas State University's department of sociology, anthropology, and social work, was named head of Pennsylvania State University at University Park's department of agricultural, economics, sociology, and education. He will start on August 1.

**A paid message from Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard Seminar for Presidential Leadership: Reflect on where you are in your presidency, consider the choices that lie ahead for you and your institution, and discuss key leadership issues. Learn more.**

Footnote.

Monday was the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. We have already heard from Chronicle readers that Minerva McGonagall, a faculty member in the series, is a favorite fictional professor, but we can't forget quidditch. College students may not be able to fly on broomsticks, but that hasn't stopped them from playing quidditch on campuses across the country.

The sport has become so popular that there's even an annual Quidditch World Cup where college teams face off. The game's growth has also spurred demands to get the National Collegiate Athletic Association to recognize quidditch as an official sport. In 2010 one student told National Public Radio that such a move would help ensure the game's survival on campuses even after the generation that grew up on the series had graduated. For now, quidditch is just a club sport on campuses. But — who knows? — maybe with a little magic it will stick around.

—Fernanda and Adam

Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez and Adam Harris are breaking-news reporters at The Chronicle. Reach them at adam.harris@chronicle.com and fernanda@chronicle.com.

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