How to keep email from running your life

The reality of email:  can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Of all the technologies that have made their way into our personal and professional lives, I believe email can be one of the most distracting and time intensive. While email provides enormous benefits for communicating quickly and cheaply, the amount of time required to manage and process email can be profoundly damaging. No one is getting tenure, promoted to a new position, or gets a raise because they are good with email. However, the reverse can absolutely be true. In today’s post, I want to share five strategies that can keep email from running your life.

Photo credit: mattwi1s0n

Before discussing these strategies in detail, I want to address the elephant in the room.

Whenever I discuss ways to curb email, many people just immediately assume this isn’t possible.

To be sure, there are some positions that by the nature of the job requires constant email work. However, I suspect that the vast majority of you reading this will not fall into this category.

I want to argue that if you have an email problem that it is time to look in the mirror.

The benefits of diversity in higher education

A number of scholars argue that diversity can have a “transformative effect” on colleges and universities, influencing “who is taught, what is taught, and who teaches” (Milem, 2003, p. 145; Chang, 1999).  From a legal perspective, promoting diversity on campus has been widely considered a compelling state interest of public colleges and universities since Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell’s opinion in the seminal 1978 Bakke decision.  As a result of Bakke, race conscious admissions policies were considered constitutional provided they were narrowly tailored and could withstand a strict scrutiny review.  In Bakke, as well as Grutter and Gratz, the use of research to support the benefits of diversity was important in the final decisions. For today’s post, I will review the literature in support of diversity in higher education.

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FBI investigation into college basketball

College basketball is a big-time enterprise. From the thrill of March Madness to a potential future in the NBA, money plays a major factor in college basketball. While few would be surprised to learn that the money involved leads to bad actors and rule breaking, the recent news that the FBI and Justice Department are investigating and pursuing federal charges against a host of coaches, agents, and others is shocking. I firmly believe this investigation will have far reaching consequences. In today’s post, I want to share a recently published an op-ed that I wrote in the Texas Tribune’s TribTalk that discussed what higher education should do to clean up college basketball.

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What Google’s team research can teach higher ed

The importance of teamwork is increasingly understood as important across many work contexts. In higher education, we talk a great deal about the need for teamwork to support innovation, creativity, and productivity. There’s been a fascination for years about the potential of interdisciplinary activities to break down silos and build connections across campus. Whether we are talking about faculty or administrative offices, higher education leaders desire to promote teamwork, but how do we do this in the construct of the university. In today’s post, I want to share what Google’s team research can teach higher ed about teamwork.

Photo credit: Google

A research group inside of Google’s human resources unit (what they call People Operations) sought to understand what makes a Google team effective. 

Teaching with the news

On a daily if not hourly basis, we are bombarded by breaking news. The proliferation of news channels and social media increases the volume and speed of how news spreads. Given turbulent news, instructors can leverage current events to demonstrate the applicability of course content. In my book, Teaching for Learning:  101 Intentionally Designed Educational Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success, my co-authors and I described how faculty can accomplish the goal of teaching with the news. In today’s post, I want to share our In the News IDEA so help instructors think about how they can use current events in the classroom.

Photo credit: Brad Montgomery

IDEA #16:  In the News


It has long been known that students are more likely to learn and to retain information for which they see practical use and relevance (Dewey, 1938). The In the News IDEA can be used in a variety of different formats and course subjects to illustrate to students that concepts learned in class are directly relevant to societal issues. Students may bring in news stories of their choice to discuss, or the instructor may select a “hot topic” for the class. The core concept is to cold-call on students to describe their news story or share thoughts about a current event to encourage class discussion and application of course content to contemporary contexts. In the News is particularly engaging when controversial topics are brought to class that provide fodder for discussion.