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Ruth Simmons was the first African American president of Brown University which she led for 11 years. Before that she was president at Smith College where she set up the first engineering programme at a women’s institution. She was recently called out of retirement to lead Prairie View A&M an historically black institution in southeast Texas. As she approaches the end of her tenure there, THE Campus editor Sara Custer interviewed her for THE Campus Live US.

Here she speaks about her pioneering work to research Brown’s historical links to slavery, the future of affirmative action, legacy admissions and how to get more people that look like her into university leadership. 

How can faculty and staff address the real issues, however forbidden, that make students feel isolated and voiceless? When teams research difficult topics, how can they establish two-way, equitable participation with their community?

Members of the teams that won the Times Higher Education 2021 Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community and Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion join us in this episode to discuss working with taboo and difficult topics. Anna Walas, faculty research impact officer and honorary research fellow in the Faculty of Arts at the  University of Nottingham, talks about her team’s research into gender-based violence. And Lindsay Morgan, a placement officer for the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University and co-producer of Bleeding Soar, tells us about the campaign to increase awareness of period poverty around the world.


Related links:

Website for the Bleedin' Soar campaign

Website for the The Language of Hate Crime project

"Talking about taboos: how to create an open atmosphere for discussing difficult subjects" by Lindsay Morgan

"In this together: developing meaningful community engagement" by Anna Wales

Resources from 2022 Times Higher Education Awards nominees 


Artificial intelligence has a lot of potential for higher education. It can automate onerous repetitive tasks for teachers, help researchers leapfrog mountains of data crunching and make higher education more accessible and personalised for students. But AI also presents risks, including biases that can become embedded into algorithms and a lack of transparency around data use.

Though we may be a long way from understanding exactly how higher education can harness AI and machine learning’s great potential in a safe way, this episode's guests say that continuing to test and explore it is the only way to make progress.

Join THE Campus editor Sara Custer and senior content curator Miranda Prynne as they speak with Ashok Goel, a professor of computer science and human-centered computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the developer of the first automated teaching assistant, as well as John Wu an assistant astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute and an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University.


Find resources from your peers exploring the benefits and costs of AI in higher education on THE Campus.  

Even the most experienced faculty member could benefit from teaching advice from their peers. In this episode of the THE Campus podcast, we feature short tips from university educators around the world to create a mini teaching community in podcast form. And we speak with David Dodick, a sessional lecturer at University of California, Berkeley and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, about the the arts and humanities employability myth and common mistakes he's seen university lecturers make.  

So sharpen your pencils and make sure your laptop is charged – prepare to get schooled on how to teach.

Find more teaching resources in our THE Campus spotlight "Teaching 101: advice for university educators"


This episode is sponsored by Routledge. THE Campus listeners can use code THE20 before 22 October 2022 to get *20 per cent off* all orders. 


Education is often offered as a solution to tackling misinformation, particularly training in critical thinking and analytical skills. But what does that actually look like in the day to day running of a university? Or for the average higher education instructor not specialised in fields like media, politics or social sciences? And is there more that institutions could be doing to inform public policy and technology companies to help get ahead of the disinformation wave? 

Phil Napoli the senior associate dean for faculty and research at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy at Duke University shares his ideas about how universities can support local journalism and researchers can work with third parties to impact public policy. 

And Simge Andi, a lecturer in quantitative Political Science at the University of Exeter, talks about her research into why people are vulnerable to misinformation and what she's learned from studying elections in Turkey. 

This episode is sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. Visit wsj.com/timeshighereducation to learn more about integrating WSJ into your classes.

And for more advice from your peers on what universities can do to fight fake news, check out our THE Campus spotlight: The role of higher education in separating fact from fiction.


Whether teaching or writing up research, there is a strong incentive for academics to try and make their work as interesting as possible. If people are intrigued by what they’re doing, it is likely to have a greater impact. But since everyone has their own unique take on what is or is not interesting, this can seem an impossible task.

So, we spoke to three academics to find out if there are any universal characteristics that academics could try to develop in their work that will successfully pique people’s interest.

Kurt Gray, associate professor in psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and director of the Deepest Beliefs Lab and Center for the Science of Moral Understanding, shares a beginners guide to what makes something interesting.

Manuel Goyanes, assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communication at Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M), discusses the qualities likely to generate greater interest in research.

Emily Corwin-Renner, research scientist at the University of Tübingen’s Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology, shares insight and strategies to help teachers hold the attention of their students.

Further reading:

Find dozens of helpful resources on how to make your teaching more interesting on THE Campus.

Manuel Goyanes’s 2018 study “Against dullness: on what it means to be interesting in communication research: Information” published in Information, Communication & Society

During his 30-year tenure, Freeman Hrabowski, the outgoing president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has transformed UMBC from a small branch of the University System of Maryland into one of the leading producers of Black STEM graduates in the country.


In this interview, Freeman talks about how to have the difficult conversations that identify where students needs are not being met. How UMBC uses granular data to identify students who might be falling behind, and how inclusivity work is the tide that raises all boats so everyone benefits.


Find more resources about how to champion inclusion on your campus on THE Campus


Freeman's first book:

The Empowered University by Freeman Hrabowski III with Philip J. Rous And Peter H. Henderson


Research quoted in the intro:

“A critical exploration of inclusion policies of elite UK universities”  by George Koutsouris, Lauren Stentiford, Brahm Norwich, in British Educational Research Journal


We’ve asked academics, authors, publishers and postdocs to share with us their advice for how to improve your academic writing and chances of getting published. 


They cover everything from tips to establish a consistent writing practice like Jack London and how to find the hook in your work, to why your article might be rejected and how to bring in voices beyond just those writing in standard North American or British English. 



Hear pointers from: 


John Weldon, an associate professor and head of curriculum in Victoria University’s First Year College


Dorsa Amir, a postdoc in the department of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley


Tara Brabazon, a professor of cultural studies at Flinders University

Daniel Martin, a publisher at Elsevier, a fiction author and creative writing teacher at Delft University


Joe Moran, a professor of English and cultural history at Liverpool John Moores University


Marnie Jo Petray, an associate professor and graduate coordinator of TESOL at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania


Stone Meredith, a teacher of college-level composition, literature and philosophy courses at Colorado State University Global


Anne Wilson, a consultant fellow at the Royal Literary Fund 


Avi Staiman, CEO at Academic Language Experts


Gaillynn Clements, a visiting assistant professor in linguistics at Duke University


Read We must end linguistic discrimination in academic publishing by Avi, Marnie Jo and Gaillynn


And find more tips for success in academic publishing on THE Campus

Three university leaders heading up their institutions’ public affairs and community engagement in London, Melbourne and Chicago speak with us about the value of mutually beneficial partnerships with First Nation communities, local neighbourhoods and government.  

They talk about using their strengths of teaching and research to engage with the community and what that means for increasingly digital campuses. 

This episode features:

Deborah Bull, vice-president, communities and national engagement at King’s College London  

Derek Douglas, vice-president for civic engagement and external affairs at The University of Chicago

Julie Wells, vice-president, strategy & culture at University of Melbourne


Social media is an increasing part of public scholarship and for some academics, it’s a way to bring their work to a wider audience and develop new skills. We speak to two scholars who have embraced sci-comms on platforms from YouTube to podcasts to find out how they got started and what works.


YouTube scientist Simon Clark shares how he got started doing science and PhD vlogs and Christina Zdenek, a post-doc and lab manager of the Venom Evolution Lab at The University of Queensland, gives her top three tips for communicating your research. 


Read more form Christina:

Get your research out there: 7 strategies for high-impact science communication


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