The root of beauty …

is boldness, wrote Pasternak. “That is what’s brought us to one another.”

Apropos: After Wolfgang Pauli had given a colloquium on some ideas related to particle physics, Pauli said to Neils Bohr: “You will probably think that what I said is crazy.” Bohr to Pauli: “Yes, but unfortunately it is not crazy enough.” – from Abraham Pais (in Neils Bohr: A Centenary Volume, p. 182)

“Business Writing for Everyone”

My summer 2020 first-year students will be getting their textbook for free – Business Writing for Everyone, put together by my colleague Arley Cruther’s. It’s a wonderful resource that will make my teaching better without a doubt.

Arley’s “Adaptation Statement” is worth reading:

Several chapters were written from scratch, while others were adapted and remixed from other open textbooks, as indicated at the end of each chapter. Unless stated otherwise, Business Communication For Everyone (c) 2019 by Arley Cruthers and is licensed under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

In Business Communication For Everyone, examples have been changed to Canadian references, and information throughout the book, as applicable, has been revised to reflect Canadian content and language. The author has also changed names to reflect her classroom composition and has added examples that reflect her students’ diverse experiences. Gender neutral language (they/their) has been used intentionally. In addition, while general ideas and content may remain unchanged from the sources from which this adapted version is based, word choice, phrasing, and organization of content within each chapter may have changed to reflect this author’s stylistic preferences.

The author also collaborated with Brenda Fernie, who is the president of Seyem, the economic development branch of the Kwantlen Nation, to produce a series of narratives that connect to the topic explored in the book.

This book was composed on unceded Coast Salish territory.

Journalism needs a better metaphor

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen writes that “exposure” is a “metaphor that increasingly misleads. I refer to the image of ‘exposure’ as a description of what the press does, should do, or isn’t doing well enough. To expose wrongdoing, incompetence, or hypocrisy is to do good in journalism, right? Well, yes, but…”

What follows is a remarkable twitter thread that “get(s) closer to the key problems in covering disinformation than anything else I have read,” writes author Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute. “It is also an exceptionally effective use of Twitter as a format. I think of it as a short essay in serial form.”

Two of Jay’s key points:

Many of the biggest and hardest problems before the American press involve matters that have already been “brought to light,” meaning they cannot be resolved by further exposure. …

For the press, then, the problem is not how to bring to light the truth that the President is a wholly unreliable source of information, but how to operate around him in light of the fact that we know he is likely to pollute the stream further when asked legitimate questions.

A tonic

This is from a marvellous interview with Fran Lebowitz that’s in the New Yorker:

I want to switch topics and ask you a bit about Toni Morrison. Everyone felt the loss of her, but largely as a literary icon or as an author they loved. You experienced it as a friend. The two of you seem like such an odd couple. What drew you together?

I’ve missed Toni every day since she died. I’ve known a lot of smart people in my life, but I only ever knew one wise person, and that is Toni. The second we met we became incredibly close friends. We did a reading together in 1978, that’s how I met her.

You used to talk with her on the phone every day. What kinds of things did you talk about?

Everything. At Toni’s memorial service, Angela Davis was there, and we were talking about how Toni never thought anyone was guilty of a crime. Do you remember the Menendez brothers’ trial? Toni, who loved detective stories and trials and stuff like that, told me that the Menendez brothers were innocent. One of them had gone to Princeton for, like, five minutes, during which time Toni had met him. And Toni was a much nicer person than me. My meeting someone does not necessarily make me like them, but to Toni it does. The Menendez trial was one of the first televised trials, and Toni and I watched every single day on the telephone together. And the trial started at noon, because it was in L.A. I was supposed to be writing, of course, and I thought, I’m spending the whole day on the phone watching television, but it must be O.K., because so is Toni. And then I found out that Toni got up at five in the morning, and by twelve she had already done a full day’s work.

We talked about everything. Forty years of talking.

Time for some PD

It has been awhile since I taught a digital marketing course at my university. It was such a fun class! My third-year students all helped one another (and me) keep abreast of new apps and innovations – literally on a weekly basis; there was no other way to be up to date.

Although I spend a good part of every day online and communicating professionally and personally via social media, I am now oh so woefully behind and would be utterly unprepared to teach that class again – without a ton of professional development. So, it is back to Hootsuite’s marvelous array of blogs and resources for me. That company’s writers are a godsend. This morning I am slowly exploring Tony Tran‘s post on “21 of the Best Social Media Apps for Marketers in 2020” – at least half of which I’ve never heard of before.

Right now I’m having fun going back and forth between Crello and Canva, easy-to-play-with graphic-design apps (I’m challenged in that universe).

Learning hungry

Earlier posts here have discussed how many university students come to class hungry. My university’s student newspaper, The Runner, notes today that almost two out of five “post-secondary students experienced some degree of food insecurity in the past year.”

I did not know until I read today’s article – University Students in Canada Still Struggle with Food Security: “Food insecurity directly affects academic standing in university students,” a study says – that the student association at Kwantlen Polytechnic University has a “food bank” program.

Piper Greekas is the KSA Student Services Manager and currently works with the KSA’s  food bank program. She says that she receives 10 to 15 requests for food per week, most of which are from students who use the service on a recurring basis.

The KSA food bank works like this: Students can send a request to the food bank and Greekas and her team start packing all of the food items into bags which are then distributed and placed inside of campus lockers for students to pick up.

The process is done anonymously so that students feel safe and comfortable when asking for food. Greekas says that two food packages can last for up to two weeks.

She explains that some students who apply for the program also have dependents, like children or spouses, who rely on the packages.

Meal Exchange is a program that focuses on helping campuses around Canada with issues regarding food insecurity among post-secondary students.

“Students get involved through our national programs supporting campus kitchens, gardens and farms, food banks, food sovereignty, and food procurement,” their website reads.

Naomi Robert is a research associate and part of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at KPU. She says that the reasons behind widespread food insecurity are quite complex, but more often than not, they’re tied to poverty.

I will be passing this information along to all of my students, in case they didn’t know about this important initiative already.