The Pacific Standard magazine has a fascinating series on change makers whose accomplishments occurred later in life. Each person is at least 80 years old, and “each has post-retirement accomplishments more spectacular than most people’s life’s work. They’re part of the gray-haired ‘encore movement,’ a wave of elders who are using their golden years to do potent social justice work.” For example, 82 year-old Wilhelmina Perry received an Encore Award for her activism at the intersection of Blackness, LGBT, and religious identities. Wow!
One of my favorite websites is CityLab, a space “dedicated to the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there. Through sharp analysis, original reporting, and visual storytelling, our coverage focuses on the biggest ideas and most pressing issues facing the world’s metro areas and neighborhoods.” The editors recently redesigned the site, and sent a note to subscribers about the changes. I’ll report the note below. I encourage everyone to visit the site!
Dear CityLab Reader,
Today, you will notice we have launched a major redesign to CityLab. The redesign is bringing you the same smart insights and strong journalism as before, but now enhanced by a design that is easier to read, and as sophisticated as you, our readers. If you want to learn more about how we redesigned the site David Dudley, our Executive Editor, wrote a great post here.
Over the coming weeks and months you will see additional changes coming to CityLab.
The first, and perhaps most visible, change to CityLab is refocusing our verticals down to an essential five.
- Design: covering how space elevates us, engages us and makes our cities and communities special and livable.
- Transportation: examining all aspects of mobility; from bicycles to autonomous vehicles to our own two feet.
- Environment: exploring how cities are on the frontlines of sustainability, resiliency and making our lives more green.
- Equity: connecting how we live in cities to how we provide opportunities for all to thrive and improve the wellbeing of all members of our community.
- Life: a refocus of our “modern urbanist’s guide to life” to engage a new generation to think and act in their pursuit of making their urban communities better, cooler and livable.
A second change is a deeper commitment to telling stories visually, especially with maps. Cities are visual experiences and we are supporting our writers who have long desired to expand the way we tell stories. There is new innovation in cartography, infographics, and custom visual information; which will allow for strong interactive features. This type of storytelling will become a hallmark of CityLab.
The third change at relaunch is that we are introducing several new features:
- Solutions: we will be building on our CityFixer articles by rebranding them “Solutions.” For select articles will be attaching a new “Toolbox,” so people who are inspired by the article can learn how to explore a solution for their city.
- Viewpoints: we will be expanding our POV content to support important new voices that will change the debate about our future cities. We will have special emphasis on men and women of color and other voices who have been underrepresented in the conversation about the future of cities.
- Newsletters: we have found that newsletters are an excellent way for audiences to connect with us, and that our newsletter subscribers become regular, deep, and engaged readers. We have already launched a new weekly newsletter tied to urban living. We will be experimenting with additional newsletters focused on Maps, and a morning urban news round-up The Lab Report.
The last big change is that we have stopped accepting advertising that interrupts your reading experience. For CityLab’s highly engaged, educated audience we want our advertising to have impact, and even at times surprise and delight you. We are now working directly with our advertising partners to create stronger, useful ads that stand to the right of the content, which, befitting our site, we call “Empire Ads,” as well as sponsor content that we create with our advertising partners.
CityLab has never been a passive voice publication. Our writers and editors don’t write about the future of cities, but with our unabashed love of urban life we are a part of the process of how urban leaders, advocates and entrepreneurs discover the future.
Our commitment is to dive even deeper into reporting the stories that change the way we think about our urban future. And now we have a site that can showcase the best urban journalism in the world!
Two years ago today (July 6, 2015) two new deans joined seven others at San José State U. As of July 1 this year Mary Schutten (Dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts) and I are now the senior academic deans as we start our third year here, and we are just one year behind the most senior dean (Ruth Huard of the College of International and Extended Education). Wow! In terms of total dean experience, I believe that I’m the most senior of the nine of us here at SJSU, as I’m starting my fifth year overall as a dean (third year here following two years at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside). Oh wait, the new dean of the College of Business (Dan Moshavi) was also previously a dean before joining SJSU, so he might have more total experience. Whatever the case, it’s weird to be a “senior” after just two years!
Although not in the College of Social Sciences (CoSS), I’d like to highlight a project by Journalism and Mass Communication Associate Professor Michael Cheers: his recently completed Simple Gifts: A Portrait Series Celebrating SJSU’s Black Faculty. Professor Cheers notes, “The Black faculty at San José State University were given a homework assignment. They were asked to choose a personal keepsake, and pose with that item for a formal portrait. Then explain how that item influenced their teaching careers.” Several CoSS faculty are featured! I am too. My keepsake is Racial Formation in the United States, Second Edition, and here was my narrative: “I entered graduate school in the fall of 1993. I chose sociology as my field of study based on being drawn to books on the subject, even though I had never taken a sociology class. I was a bit unsure about my choice initially, as none of the books that semester really appealed to me as was the case in the past. That changed in the spring of 1994 when I read Racial Formation in the United States. Not only did it remind me of how much I loved sociology, it provided key ideas for my first publication, which was accepted in the fall of 1994. It was frequently cited in future publications for years to come. In 2008 I met one of the authors, and he signed my copy! I still occasionally thumb through it now, 22 years later.” I have not yet read the third edition from 2014. I’ll have to correct that soon….
The Atlantic‘s new “You Are Here” series explores the [social] science behind everyday life. The “How the Internet is Changing Friendship” episode asks, “Wherever your friends are, you can always check up on them with social media. But does that mean that we’re keeping friendships alive past their natural expiration date, or are virtual connections actually making friendships stronger?” Very interesting question!
The Atlantic‘s CityLab website has a fascinating story about multiracial defenders of confederate memorials in New Orleans. One would initially think that all of the defenders are White, but, as usual, race in America is more complex and nuanced than meets the eye….
My previous blog post was about Convocation Season. Last year I attended eight department convocations, and one for African American students from around the university. This year I also attend the African American student convocation and eight department events (although the mix of departments was different than last year; my associate dean attended events I could not make). Last year I shared a few brief remarks from memory at most of the events; this year I decided to write out remarks beforehand in order to give longer greetings. [I wish that I had the skill of being about to remember short speeches without notes!] Here is the one that was the most fun to deliver, to the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences:
Good morning! As Professor Bahkru noted, I’m the Dean of the College of Social Sciences. I am also a faculty member, in sociology. It’s always great to say a few words to members of my home department.
I’m under strict orders to truly give just a few words. In this case, 3 sentences (!). That’s going to be difficult, as you all know how hard it is for professors to contain ourselves when we are passionate about something! My apologies for not following instructions, Dr. Rudy, but I think I can do it in 3 paragraphs:
- Welcome students, and congratulations on your forthcoming graduation. The faculty and I are proud of you! Your hard work has paid off.
- As sociologists, you know that individual effort alone didn’t get you here. Many, many others helped you; some you know, but you never met others who worked tirelessly on your behalf behind the scenes. Many of your family and friends are here today to celebrate your day. Please join me now in thanking them for all the support the provided to you over the years!
- Finally: we live in very challenging times, when our faith in our democratic institutions has been shaken. Please keep your sociological imaginations active. Each and every one of you has an important role in strengthening the social structures in which we are enmeshed.
Thank you, and congratulations!
This time last year I wrote an entry called Commencement Season is Here, which discussed both pleasant and stressful aspects of graduation ceremonies. That entry noted that here at SJSU there is one big graduation ceremony for the entire campus, and many smaller department ceremonies, usually called convocations. Last year I left a few early in order to hustle to drop in at others. This year I’ve decided to sit through entire ceremonies; if there are two conflicting ceremonies the associate dean would attend one of them. This year he’ll be attending two, and I have eight, plus the main all-university commencement ceremony this Saturday, May 27. Next week I’ll have to find a place that dry cleans regalia…
The Atlantic magazine has published an interesting article: “Building Social Change From the Bottom Up.” The subtitle reads, “In an era of polarization and distrust, these local innovators—from a team of urban planners to a kids’ baseball coach—show that individuals can still better their communities.” Their stories are inspiring!