President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad through the lens of a captive Trojan queen, Briseis. As a reviewer in The Atlantic writes, it answers the question “What does war mean to women?” We know the answer and it has always been true, whether it is the casual and assumed rape of captive women in this ancient war story or the use of rape in modern day Congo, Syria, or any other conflict zone. Yet literature almost never gives voice to the women – almost always minor characters at best -- and their unspeakable suffering. Barker does it here for Briseis, for Hector’s wife Andromache, and for the other women who understand that the death of their men is tragedy, but what they then endure is worse. Think of it ancient literature having its own #MeToo moment. The NY Times’ Geraldine Brooks did not much like the novel. I did. Very much.

watching
I'm watching:

The BBC-HBO limited series Years and Years is breathtaking, scary, and absolutely familiar. It’s as if Black Mirror and Children of Men had a baby and it precisely captures the zeitgeist, the current sense that the world is spinning out of control and things are coming at us too fast. It is a near future (Trump has been re-elected and Brexit has occurred finally)…not dystopia exactly, but damn close. The closing scene of last week’s first episode (there are 6 episodes and it’s on every Monday) shows nuclear war breaking out between China and the U.S. Yikes! The scope of this show is wide and there is a big, baggy feel to it – but I love the ambition even if I’m not looking forward to the nightmares.

listening
I'm listening to:

The National remains my favorite band and probably 50% of my listening time is a National album or playlist. Their new album I Am Easy To Find feels like a turning point record for the band, going from the moody, outsider introspection and doubt of lead singer Matt Berninger to something that feels more adult, sophisticated, and wiser. I might have titled it Women Help The Band Grow Up. Matt is no longer the center of The National’s universe and he frequently cedes the mic to the many women who accompany and often lead on the long, their longest, album. They include Gail Ann Dorsey (who sang with Bowie for a long time), who is amazing, and a number of the songs were written by Carin Besser, Berninger’s wife. I especially love the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the arrangements, and the sheer complexity and coherence of the work. It still amazes me when I meet someone who does not know The National. My heart breaks for them just a little.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

Pop Picks

Pop Picks — July 1, 2019

Posted on July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019 What I’m listening to:  The National remains my favorite band and probably 50% of my listening time is a National album or playlist. Their new album I Am Easy To Find feels like a turning point record for the band, going from the moody, outsider introspection and doubt of lead singer Matt Berninger to […]

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A President's Reflections

When Our Students Teach Us So Much – A Report From Our Recent Africa Trip

Posted on June 12, 2019

I’ve just returned from almost three weeks of travel in Africa, covering four countries — Rwanda, South Africa, Malawi, and Namibia. I’ll share my reflections on the first three countries, which were site visits to the camps where we bring SNHU degrees to displaced people. I’ll follow up with a second blog post on our time […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks — May 19, 2019

Posted on May 19, 2019

May 19, 2019 What I’m listening to:  I usually go to music here, but I was really moved by this podcast of a Davis Brooks talk at the Commonwealth Club in Silicon Valley: https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/podcast/david-brooks-quest-moral-life.  While I have long found myself distant from his political stance, he has come through a dark night of the soul and […]

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A President's Reflections
celebrate

Commencement 2019: Hope, Heroes, and Love

Posted on May 19, 2019

Click to expand infographic. I’ve been thinking a lot about our Commencement exercises a week ago. It was a special couple of days, record setting days really. We had this year some 21,000 graduates, many of them coming to Manchester to march and receive their diploma, in four ceremonies over two days. Yes, my hand […]

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A President's Reflections

Pop Picks – March 28, 2019

Posted on March 28, 2019

March 28, 2019 What I’m listening to:  There is a lovely piece played in a scene from A Place Called Home that I tracked down. It’s Erik Satie’s 3 Gymnopédies: Gymnopédie No. 1, played by the wonderful pianist Klára Körmendi. Satie composed this piece in 1888 and it was considered avant-garde and anti-Romantic. It’s minimalism and bit of dissonance sound […]

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A President's Reflections

What Gets Left Out and What Stays In: Reflections on Storytelling

Posted on March 28, 2019

When reporters reach out and tell us they are doing a story about SNHU, we always open our doors, welcome them in, and give them as much accurate information as we can. While not everyone agrees with me that we should do so (call it basic mistrust of the media), I have always felt that […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – February 11, 2019

Posted on February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019 What I’m listening to: Raphael Saadiq has been around for quite a while, as a musician, writer, and producer. He’s new to me and I love his old school R&B sound. Like Leon Bridges, he brings a contemporary freshness to the genre, sounding like a young Stevie Wonder (listen to “You’re The One That I […]

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A President's Reflections

Confronting Racism, Past and Present

Posted on February 11, 2019

Our Board of Trustees meets in mid-winter for what we have called a “learning retreat,” going with my leadership team to a place where we can expand our thinking, to learn from some other area of work or industry, and to engage with thinkers and doers in other fields. One year it was Washington, D.C., […]

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A President's Reflections

The Government Shutdown and Our SNHU Community

Posted on January 15, 2019

As the shutdown of the federal government continues with no immediate end in sight, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to support any of our students, faculty, and staff that may be impacted. We have had some inquiries and questions and because no one item stands out, it’s hard to give […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – January 3, 2019

Posted on January 3, 2019

January 3, 2019 What I’m listening to: My listening choices usually refer to music, but this time I’m going with Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast on genius and the song Hallelujah. It tells the story of Leonard Cohen’s much-covered song Hallelujah and uses it as a lens on kinds of genius and creativity. Along the way, he brings in Picasso and […]

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