What members are thinking and sharing

Graphic by Jeff Koterba



Tricky Tweets

Q: We have a faculty member who tweeted an inflammatory excerpt from his research, which had a strong bearing on state legislation on the November ballot. The piece was on his personal Twitter feed, but he's prominently identified as a faculty member at our university. Even with a disclaimer that the views expressed are his own, the media picked it up as a story that our institution's research proves proponents' positions.

Do other universities have social media policies or guidelines to help protect their institution from a faculty member manipulating research for a political purpose and damaging the reputation of the university?

A: Your situation illustrates how expertise can be a double-edged sword. This is a feature of academia, perhaps more so than in private industry.

It sounds like your quarrel is more with the character of the reporting rather than with your colleague, whose right to form and share thoughts and opinions, even inflammatory ones at inopportune times, is constitutionally protected.

Is there opportunity here? Has your institution made sure that its position on the matter is widely known? Does citation of one of your faculty members give you a chance to clarify or amplify that? Rather than attempting to control what comes out of the marketplace of ideas, can your institution make a compelling argument?

—Hal Legg, chief communication and marketing officer, SUNY Oneonta

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Listen Up

Stephen App has hosted the Hashtag Higher Ed podcast since March 2017. Here, the CASE Social Media and Community Conference faculty member shares some of his must-listen higher education podcasts.
Northwestern University Law School's Planet Lex
"Planet Lex is my go-to podcast recommendation for higher education professionals, because it checks every box for a successful podcast recipe. It's hosted by the school's dean, who is refreshingly comfortable on the microphone. Beyond the host, however, the audio quality is top-notch and the content is intelligent (as you would expect), but also accessible to prospective students. They're also not afraid to tackle tough topics, such as gerrymandering, the #metoo movement, and access to justice."
Marquette University's We Are Marquette
"The We Are Marquette podcast is a wonderful show. Episodes are short—I haven't encountered an episode of more than 15 minutes—and only feature the audio from the guest being profiled, which is different from most of the other show formats I've heard. What I especially love about it is that it profiles all individuals on campus, not just influential campus constituents. The most popular episode is actually a profile of a facilities management custodian who talks about his journey to the U.S. and overcoming dyslexia growing up. It's incredibly emotional and powerful. "
Longwood University's Day After Graduation
"The Day After Graduation podcast is incredibly well-produced. It's carefully edited, features high-quality audio, and does a great job of incorporating music to support its storytelling. The team at Longwood has also taken some creative risks with this show; show host Ryan Catherwood recently produced a two-part episode on the disappearance of a Longwood alumna."
Notre Dame University's With a Side of Knowledge
"With a Side of Knowledge is a really creative podcast. It follows a somewhat typical interview-style show format, but it does so over brunch, which is a nice twist on how these interviews are typically conducted. It doesn't always work; the logistical challenges of recording a podcast over brunch—mainly audio quality—are present here. But I applaud the team at Notre Dame for putting a new twist a traditional podcast format. Other schools would do well to follow their suit."