Happy holidays to all from the Goldfarb Center. My papers aren’t graded, but the gentle snow brings a calm feeling of gratitude for a wonderful semester. In addition to the fall Lovejoy Award, it was a busy semester with events tied to the 2018 midterm campaign along with an ongoing GC theme on leadership. Our students engaged with visiting lecturers on immigration, trade, the year of the women, and incivility in politics–read on below for key takeaways. Our signature dinners tied to the talks were especially lively conversations as students, faculty, and visitors openly exchanged ideas.
For those of you who have been away from campus for a while, you might be surprised by the purpose and intellectual passion of our current students. As I shared at Colby’s Dare Northward campaign events that I attended this fall, of course, there were always wonderful students on Mayflower Hill. (Are you thinking that you were one of them?) The shift now is that there is simply a larger cohort of smarter, more diverse students than in the past. (The stats out of Admissions are stunning.) In my 33rd year, I see a new Colby emerging. While still collaborative and nurturing, a cultural shift is taking place where intellectually curious students are pushing the boundaries of learning not as the exception but the norm. I have always felt lucky to be part of this intellectual community; my feelings of gratitude and pride in my students grow as I see them immersed in active learning opportunities that spark their creativity. It is the generosity of alumni that made this possible. Thank you!
I am proud that the Goldfarb Center is part of this changing Colby. It has been gratifying to see the way that students have grown from their internships last year, intellectually building out the experiences that alumni supported in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. We are looking forward to the opportunities awaiting a new group of month-long Jan Plan interns along with participants in our H2H, Hill to Hill Program, Feb. 3-5, 2019. (If you are in the DC area, please mark your calendar for Monday, Feb. 4 to welcome these aspiring public affairs students!) As we edge into the new year, I am encouraged by the spirit of our students; following in the footsteps of so many wonderful alumni, they are poised to make their mark in the world. That is cause for joy in the new year!
Best Wishes for joyous holidays,
Director, Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs
Grossman Professor of Economics and Global Studies
Fall 2018 Goldfarb Center Events
International Organizations and the Rise of Global Public-Private Partnerships
Liliana Andonova (currently a professor at the Geneva Institute) returned to campus to talk about her new book, Governance Entrepreneurs. Those of you who knew Andonova when she was on Colby’s faculty can attest to her creative intellect; her recent book explores global politics, environment, and emerging partnerships transforming the platforms for international collaboration. Global problems extend beyond the capacity of national responses; Andonova’s careful analysis helps us understand new hybrid forms of governance to tackle problems in global affairs.
What is Leadership?
A Conversation with President Greene
Ever wonder how President Greene is transforming Colby? He shared his views on leading complex institutions with our student advisory board. One key takeaway: strong, empathetic connections to the community you are leading. The rest of the secret sauce? You will have to wait to see how our students learn to lead.
Lives Still in Limbo: UnDACAmented and Navigating Uncertain Futures
The Goldfarb Center kicked off our year-long immigration theme with a lecture by Roberto Gonzalez, author of DacaMented: Lives in Limbo. Gonzalez, professor of education at Harvard, explored the effects of DACA and gave a detailed account of our immigration system’s impact on Dreamer’s lives. Rights of passage hit the undocumented differently; a license, bank account, a college application requires identity. While dreamers were given a temporary reprieve, living in families with vulnerable status exposes these young people to extraordinary life stress. With national policy gridlocked, Gonzalez concluded with a call to community-based actions.
One of Gonzalez’s students, Alessandra Bazo Vienrich, will offer a Jan Plan on immigration. In early spring 2019, we will have a lecture by Alejandro Mayorkas P’22, and an immigration lawyer who rolled out DACA under President Obama. This will culminate in the launch of GFES: the Goldfarb Freedom of Expression Seminar, a chance for students to win prizes for their policy proposals on immigration reform. Each year the topic will change, but the purpose of GFES will be to promote open debate on campus.
The Shrinking Newsroom: Implications for Democracy
Students and their parents joined us for a breakfast panel moderated by L. Sandy Maisel, Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of American Government, on how the shrinking newsroom affects democracy. A common thread: the threat to journalists’ roles as watchdogs. David Shribman (executive editor and vice president of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) rebutted the idea that Trump is bad for journalists; on the contrary, the president has motivated both the media and young people interested in journalism. Nancy Barnes (former executive editor and vice president of the Houston Chronicle now with NPR) found social media and international actors, like Russia, more concerning than shrinking staff. She went on to say that shrinking newsrooms, while difficult to deal with, have helped journalists hone in on what matters. Martin Kaiser (senior fellow at the Democracy Fund) discussed the danger of people believing that talking heads on CNN were real journalists; instead, he urged us to focus on the importance of loving your local community and creating a more positive environment through journalism. Finally, our panelist from across the pond, Lawrence Goldman (senior research fellow at St. Peter’s College, Oxford), highlighted increasing partisanship in the New York Times and called for Americans to be more internationally literate.
Inside the Interview: Asking Tough Questions in Tough Situations
As part of the Lovejoy Symposium, Catrin Einhorn, part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team from the New York Times, guided us through the interview process. How does a journalist ask both tough questions-hard-hitting, controversial ones-and at other times frame more sensitive, intimate, and emotionally revealing invitations to share stories? Einhorn has covered sexual harassment in blue-collar workplaces, urban violence, Americans’ complicated relationship with firearms, veterans’ issues, and some very special tennis courts.
Shrinking Newsrooms and Community Impact
Students, community members, faculty, and journalists gathered in Colby’s new Chace Community Forum to debate the impacts of the shrinking newsroom on various communities in our country. Lovejoy recipient Chuck Plunkett emphasized the importance of reporters being visible in communities and how this makes news outlets more plugged in to the community, leading to increased trust between the people and the press. Mizell Stewart III, news executive for Gannett and the USA Today Network, drew attention to new economic realities. As local car dealers (and other businesses) moved ads to social media, the financial support for community journalism was decimated. Plunkett and Stewart were joined by David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Jack Beaudoin ’87, writer and editor of the Pine Tree Watch, who emphasized the importance of local papers for the health of the community.
Journalism Champion Chuck Plunkett Received Colby College’s 2018 Lovejoy Award
Former Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett received Colby’s 2018 Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism. Plunkett, an outspoken critic of newspaper buyouts that diminish local journalism, delivered the Lovejoy Convocation address in Lorimer Chapel and received an honorary degree.
Plunkett received the award for his stance—which leads to his resignation at the Denver Post—against layoffs and cost-cutting that he said crippled the paper. “The Lovejoy Award aims to recognize journalists who remain committed to their mission despite formidable challenges,” said Colby President David A. Greene. “Chuck Plunkett not only did that, but he paid a tangible price for his commitment to upholding standards of journalism. We are honored to recognize him for standing up in defense of the citizens of Denver and small communities across the country.”
Fall 2018 William R. and Linda K. Cotter Debate
We are now in a full-blown trade war. Actions by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports even hits political allies; ever-escalating tariffs on imports from China were quickly followed by retaliatory actions targeting politically sensitive sectors and goods.
What will be the economic and political fallout of these actions? Will they help destroy the multilateral trading system that has stood tall since the end of World War II? Soumaya Keynes, U.S. economics and trade editor for The Economist, and Dean Baker, senior economist and longtime director of the Center for Economic and Policy Reform, debated these questions with moderator Mitchell Family Professor Andreas Waldkirch. Calling attention to the distributional aspects of the trade, Baker argued that “trade isn’t between countries, it’s between classes.” Consistent with economic theory, they agreed that the real concern isn’t trading deficits but are alarmed by China’s infringing intellectual property and the stealing of U.S. technology.
Midterm Elections Program: Is this the Year of the Woman?
Jennifer L. Lawless, Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, is a leading national expert on political ambition and women in American politics and the author or co-author of six books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Meia, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (with Danny Hayes) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office (with Richard L. Fox).
Lawless discussed the barriers for women in politics and their implications for the 2018 midterms. After dispelling the myths that young women are more likely to run for office (they are just as likely to run as before) and that Donald Trump convinced more women to run for office (he spurred both more men and women to run), Lawless turned out attention to gender and the role of mentorship, a candidate’s self-assessment, and the nature of political campaigns. In terms of behavior when elected, women’s bills succeed better in Congress, they deliver more money to their districts, and communicate more with their constituents; however, they are not more bipartisan.
Election Day Party 2018
The Goldfarb Center focused on student engagement in the midterm elections this fall. Student representatives designed posters, set up voting registration tables in the student center, and threw a large election day party the night the polls closed. By helping students register and increasing awareness of election issues, the student representatives of the Goldfarb Center had a great time encouraging all of Colby’s students to get out to vote.
Civil Discourse in an Uncivil Age
Do our words matter? Alexandre Heffner, the host of The Open Mind
on PBS, explored the increasing divisiveness in American life, the toxic climate of political rhetoric and violence, and the steps to correct this plague on our democracy. Technology and social media have diminished our capacity to compromise. People need to spend time with each other to appreciate lived perspectives; he urged Senator Booker from New Jersey to spend a week with Senator Inhofe in Oklahoma. We the people, elected officeholders, digital platforms, and journalists can work to reverse the disunion by practicing our capacities to walk in each other’s shoes.