President's Corner

What I'm Up To Paul LeBlanc

reading
I'm reading:

Who is Richard Powers and why have I only discovered him now, with his 12th book? Overstory is profoundly good, a book that is essential and powerful and makes me look at my everyday world in new ways. In short, a dizzying example of how powerful can be narrative in the hands of a master storyteller. I hesitate to say it’s the best environmental novel I’ve ever read (it is), because that would put this book in a category. It is surely about the natural world, but it is as much about we humans. It’s monumental and elegiac and wondrous at all once. Cancel your day’s schedule and read it now. Then plant a tree. A lot of them.

watching
I'm watching:

Bo Burnham wrote and directed Eighth Grade and Elsie Fisher is nothing less than amazing as its star (what’s with these new child actors; see Florida Project). It’s funny and painful and touching. It’s also the single best film treatment that I have seen of what it means to grow up in a social media shaped world. It’s a reminder that growing up is hard. Maybe harder now in a world of relentless, layered digital pressure to curate perfect lives that are far removed from the natural messy worlds and selves we actually inhabit. It’s a well-deserved 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and I wonder who dinged it for the missing 2%.

listening
I'm listening to:

We had the opportunity to see our favorite band, The National, live in Dallas two weeks ago. Just after watching Mistaken for Strangers, the documentary sort of about the band. So we’ve spent a lot of time going back into their earlier work, listening to songs we don’t know well, and reaffirming that their musicality, smarts, and sound are both original and astoundingly good. They did not disappoint in concert and it is a good thing their tour ended, as we might just spend all of our time and money following them around. Matt Berninger is a genius and his lead vocals kill me (and because they are in my range, I can actually sing along!). Their arrangements are profoundly good and go right to whatever brain/heart wiring that pulls one in and doesn’t let them go.

tweeting
I'm tweeting at @snhuprez:

A President's Reflections

Unveiling SNHU’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan

Posted on October 16, 2018

Strategic planning efforts in higher education usually elicit resigned eye rolling from those who have seen strategic planning as a form of participatory theater, with lots of stakeholders involved and endless meetings and a product that has something for everyone and thus little focus or use. Those plans often sit on a shelf gathering dust […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – October 15, 2018

Posted on October 15, 2018

What I’m listening to: We had the opportunity to see our favorite band, The National, live in Dallas two weeks ago. Just after watching Mistaken for Strangers, the documentary sort of about the band. So we’ve spent a lot of time going back into their earlier work, listening to songs we don’t know well, and reaffirming that […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – September 7, 2018

Posted on September 7, 2018

What I’m listening to: With a cover pointing back to the Beastie Boys’ 1986 Licensed to Ill, Eminem’s quietly released Kamikaze is not my usual taste, but I’ve always admired him for his “all out there” willingness to be personal, to call people out, and his sheer genius with language. I thought Daveed Diggs could rap fast, but […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – August 16, 2018

Posted on August 16, 2018

What I’m listening to: In my Spotify Daily Mix was Percy Sledge’s When A Man Loves A Woman, one of the world’s greatest love songs. Go online and read the story of how the song was discovered and recorded. There are competing accounts, but Sledge said he improvised it after a bad breakup. It has that kind […]

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A President's Reflections

Building an Inclusive SNHU

Posted on August 16, 2018

Following the anniversary of the deeply troubling incidents in Charlottesville a year ago, I want to update you on our efforts to build a more inclusive community here at SNHU and the considerable progress of the last two years. This is an update on our ongoing efforts and while I will focus this message largely […]

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A President's Reflections

SNHU: A Great Place to Work Eleven Years Running

Posted on August 2, 2018

Eleven years ago, Southern New Hampshire University was named for the first time a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education. As you can imagine, or remember, it was a very proud moment for the SNHU community. Last month, The Chronicle announced that SNHU made the list once again, making us […]

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A President's Reflections

Some Reflections on Completing 15 Years at SNHU

Posted on July 23, 2018

Last month marked my fifteenth year here at SNHU. A former college president once told me, “all college presidents should leave after eight years. Ninety-five percent of the good you will do happens in the first year and after that you are just on cruise control.” A second former president countered, “I was a president […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – July 23, 2018

Posted on July 23, 2018

What I’m listening to: Spotify’s Summer Acoustic playlist has been on repeat quite a lot. What a fun way to listen to artists new to me, including The Paper Kites, Hollow Coves, and Fleet Foxes, as well as old favorites like Leon Bridges and Jose Gonzalez. Pretty chill when dialing back to a summer pace, dining on […]

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Pop Picks

Pop Picks – June 11, 2018

Posted on June 11, 2018

What I’m listening to: Like everyone else, I’m listening to Pusha T drop the mic on Drake. Okay, not really, but do I get some points for even knowing that? We all walk around with songs that immediately bring us back to a time or a place. Songs are time machines. We are coming up on Father’s Day. My […]

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A President's Reflections

In Praise of Gardens and Fathers

Posted on June 11, 2018

Every year, as we head into Father’s Day weekend, I repost this piece from 2010.  It always seems to resonate with people – I usually get a lot of email response – and this year I have again planted tomatoes. And this year I’ll fall short again of whatever magic my father worked in his […]

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