Hello, all:

I hope this finds you well and finding some way to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. This week’s newsletter is very short, with just two items.

First, we’re pleased to announce a Faculty/Staff Summer Book Club. We’ll be reading Cathy N. Davidson’s THE NEW EDUCATION: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux. While Davidson’s book, which came out in 2017, obviously has implications for the current crisis, it also offers an opportunity to step back, take a deep breath, and look at the big picture: where are we now in higher education? How did we get here? And what opportunities do we have to really rethink higher ed in terms both large and small? How might doing so improve our students’ lives, our careers, and the world more broadly?

The book club will meet six times over the course of the summer (see dates below) and will be run seminar style, with different participants leading the conversation each time. Participation will be capped at 20, but we’ll keep a waist list and if enough demand occurs consider starting a second cohort.

Interested? Please e-mail me directly at phanstedt@wlu.edu.

Once you’ve signed up, books will be ordered and delivered to your campus office. If you live outside of Rockbridge County and aren’t coming into your office, let me know and we’ll make arrangements to have a copy sent to your home.

Dates for the book club are as follows. All sessions are on Wednesdays from 3:30-5:00 (Participants are encouraged to bring their own refreshments!) While we understand that not all participants will be able to make all sessions, we do encourage those who sign up to commit to as many sessions as possible.

  • May 27
  • June 10
  • June 17
  • July 1
  • July 8
  • July 22

At this point, all sessions will be virtual, though we recognize the possibility that that may change. Similarly, should some miracle occur lifting us out of the current crisis, we recognize that vacation plans may change and some dates may need to be shifted to facilitate maximum participation.

Second, I wanted to recommend an episode of Teaching in Higher Ed exploring work/life balance. While this podcast, hosted by Bonni Stachowiack is generally excellent, this particular episode, in which she interviews organization psychologist Andrew Stenhouse, really stands out. Over the course of a 30-minute conversation, Stenhouse offers multiple ways to reframe how we think about the relationship between our work and our lives outside of work. It’s an excellent listen, one that allows all of us to walk away with some powerful ways to rethink our own lives, particularly in the current moment.

And that’s all for now. Be well, folks!