Category: Presidential Leadership

Banned Books Week is All About Higher Education

Wesleyan University in Connecticut is in the midst of a controversy about its student newspaper. The controversy is about free speech, on the one hand, and race, on the other hand. There are likely more hands to this complex issue than even Kali has. The issue is embedded in the repeated presence of certain kinds... Read more »

Voices of Presidents

In the 19th century, and possibly before, when one said president (of college, university, etcetera), one was also saying “important public voice.” One might even have been saying “moral compass.” In the intervening years, and most especially perhaps in the pst few decades, we have both developed a label “the public intellectual” and  in some... Read more »

Where Were You When JFK Died?

Here is another in a series of anniversary reflections associated with November, 2013. When did JFK die? Well, he was shot on November 22, 1963. Fifty years ago. For those of my generation (and older), we know where we were when we learned  — with the same vividness many of us remember where we were... Read more »

Gettysburg Matters

As we approach the season of anniversaries — and there are many — I will be writing a frew entries focused on important ones — and their relevance to higher education. This is installment one. The Gettysburg Address is a mere 272 words. even so, it was not easy to memorize as a child. But,... Read more »

On Climate Change, Guns, Violence, Immigration and LGBT Rights -- Oh My!

One of the major questions about higher education these days is: where are the presidents of yore who had what some call a “bully pulpit.” That is, where is the leadership voice of presidents among the general public. Or, are presidents to be neutral, put their heads down, and just “do their job” — which... Read more »

Presidents of Color in Chicago(land)

Who leads continues to matter. Right? So, in some ways, it remains a matter of identity politics who is a president or chancellor in Chicago and beyond. Right? I have raised the issue of women leaders in a prior essay and of LGBTQ leaders in another. (Ironically, the second got more attention than the first.... Read more »

LGBTQ Chicago Presidents

There was a sentence in the Windy City Times when I was named president at Shimer that included the phrase:  “joins an elite group of.” (Here’s the article.) This was startling to me. I knew about the group — but who knew it was elite? Yes, I already knew there was an active LGBTQ group... Read more »


Campuses across the US are reeling — because of violence. Some of those are in Boston, some in Virginia, and some in Texas. Stabbings, shootings and explosions have affected our entire society, and in many ways our campuses. Chicago, for example, is in the headlines all too often for our level of violence — last... Read more »

Women Rock Chicago(land) Higher Education

I wonder when it will be the case that we no longer have to celebrate when female presidents are named. Recently, UNC named Dartmouth’s interim president as the new UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor. (For those less acronym or basketball savvy, UNC= University of North Carolina, aka the Tarheels.) Yes, this is a big deal. And yes,... Read more »
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    Shimerprez is the 14th president of Shimer College at 35th and State. She also blogs at the Huffington Post and at a Shimer Blog called Evocations which can be found on line at She is a University of Chicago Ph.D. who works on religion, the social sciences, gender and sexuality. She reads murder mysteries, is fascinated by the world of food, and also loves the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

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