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Communicate for a Change

Revitalizing Conversations for Higher Education

Lori Carrell and Robert Zemsky

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This is a different kind of book: a call for courageous conversations focusing on nine taboo subjects that bedevil higher education.

For nearly a decade, distinguished scholars Lori Carrell and Robert Zemsky have been having frank conversations with each other—and with colleagues and friends—about the state of higher education. In Communicate for a Change, they bring together nine of their most insightful conversations to explore difficult questions that today's administrators, trustees, and faculty members too frequently avoid.

Why, Carrell and Zemsky ask, is it so hard to talk about the mess…

This is a different kind of book: a call for courageous conversations focusing on nine taboo subjects that bedevil higher education.

For nearly a decade, distinguished scholars Lori Carrell and Robert Zemsky have been having frank conversations with each other—and with colleagues and friends—about the state of higher education. In Communicate for a Change, they bring together nine of their most insightful conversations to explore difficult questions that today's administrators, trustees, and faculty members too frequently avoid.

Why, Carrell and Zemsky ask, is it so hard to talk about the mess that higher education is in? And how can we refocus the conversation on what really matters, grappling with taboo subjects in a way that helps to revitalize higher education from the inside out? Grounded in the real, as opposed to the rhetorical, importance of community in making change, these revealing conversations also explore

• why the public no longer sees faculty as heroes and experts
• how to overcome the academy's fondness for slogans
• how money talks
• why curricular change doesn't (usually) happen
• the students we hardly know and how we might come to know them better
• how to constructively approach differences of race and gender
• and much more

A golden thread weaves its way through the book, revealing the premise that rich, honest talk can generate trust, connection, and fresh ideas for revolutionary change. Carrell, the chancellor of the University of Minnesota Rochester, is by both training and instinct a testifier. Learning for her is tangible, a product of truly getting dirty, sorting through the muck of conflict as well as connection. Zemsky, on the other hand, is a provocateur who pushes an argument as a means to explore differences and conflicts. Both are natural storytellers. Their conversations are enriched by the contributions of a host of higher education experts and leaders. Breaking new ground in terms of both its subject matter and its format, Communicate for a Change is an accessible and engaging catalyst that will kick-start subsequent deliberations.

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Communicate for a Change

Lori Carrell and Robert Zemsky

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Reviews

This unique, approachable book provides the philosophical and practical tools for framing and sustaining difficult conversations about higher education. Drawing on their combined academic experience, Carrell and Zemsky make an important contribution in an especially fraught and likely pivotal historical moment.

This remarkable, compelling book takes a unique approach to generating thoughtful dialogue among faculty members, administrators, and others with a stake in the ability of universities and colleges to transform themselves for a changing society.

Good leaders assemble the right people to have the right conversations. By masterfully using a format that captures the strategic essence of communication, the authors outline who must be invited, what must be discussed, and how to have deep, generative dialogue to initiate systemic change in higher education.

An essential conversation starter for higher ed! Carrell and Zemsky remind us that what we need in higher ed is less talk and more conversations that entail listening and storytelling. Communicate for a Change serves as a guidebook for any college or university leader looking to promote change.

This book—written for all who care about higher education—is both an inspiring and an urgent 'call to conversational arms' and a deeply practical reminder that our success as educators relies on our willingness to talk with one another about thorny issues. The authors provide a compelling model for engaging the disagreements of our time.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
176
ISBN
9781421441740
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: Let's Talk
Conversation One: "Why Can't We Talk about the Mess We're In?"
Conversation Two: Can a Commitment to Community Move us Forward?
Conversation Three: The Slogans that

Acknowledgments
Prologue: Let's Talk
Conversation One: "Why Can't We Talk about the Mess We're In?"
Conversation Two: Can a Commitment to Community Move us Forward?
Conversation Three: The Slogans that Ensnare Us
Conversation Four: Why Can't We Connect with Each Other?
Conversation Five: Why are we the Bad Guys?
Conversation Six: Money Talks
Conversation Seven: The Students We Hardly Know
Conversation Eight: Is It Ever Safe to Talk about Changing the Curriculum?
Conversation Nine: Why Can't We Have a Productive Conversation about Differences-Especially Conversations about Race and Gender?
Reflections
References
Index

Author Bios
Lori Carrell
Featured Contributor

Lori Carrell

Lori J. Carrell is the chancellor of the University of Minnesota Rochester and a former professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She is the author of Preaching that Matters: Reflective Practices for Transforming Sermons.
Robert Zemsky
Featured Contributor

Robert Zemsky

Robert Zemsky is a professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise and the coauthor of The College Stress Test: Tracking Institutional Futures across a Crowded Market.