Chicagoland Presidential Transitions

In coming months, several institutions in Chicago will see changes in leadership at the top. These changes matter — for presidents, many argue, are not only managers but leaders. Here are a few of those changes to watch out for. First: Illinois Institute of Technology President John Anderson is stepping down in 2015. At a... Read more »

Free Community College

As President Obama moves to announce his intention to work toward free community college, there is much to celebrate. This is a move, many say, to reinvest in higher education — and to do so with public dollars for the public good. Hurrah. Over the past 50 years, we have moved from what might be... Read more »

Chicago's Own #bestworstcollege

On Saturday, December 6, the Guardian published a piece by Jon Ronson that focused on a Chicago treasure, Shimer College. Located at 35th and State, Shimer is a liberal arts college that is tiny, filled with wonder, and has the tag line “Dangerously Optimistic Since 1853.” And yes, I am Shimerprez, the president of what... Read more »

Ferguson, Racism and Higher Education

At one point, I had never heard of Ferguson. I do not quite remember that reality. In the same way that Selma and other places have become iconic in the American imaginary, Ferguson has come to carry an enormous amount of symbolic weight. Of course, there are more than symbolic issues at stake here. There... Read more »

Reading Chicago

One in a while I think that Chicago is a toddling town. (Ok, when I first moved to Chicago in the 1970s, everyone — and I mean everyone — sang a song to me that included the phrase “that toddling’ town.” I still do not know what that means. (Here is Tony Bennett singing that... Read more »

Are Banana Slugs from Chicago?

Here is a list of mascots in Chicagoland — since we love sports so much!  Try to identify the relevant school — and see if you can find the ringer (viz., the one not from a Chicagoland entity)! You can find out the “right” answer by clicking on the link. And yes, I can count.... Read more »

Winter is Coming

Not to frighten you, but winter is coming. And, no, that is not a reference to The Game of Thrones, though I know it could be. In fact, it is simply a weather prediction. While I am unclear if we are expecting a polar vortex in Chicago this year — having heard yes AND no... Read more »

Bringing it to Scale

Everywhere we turn these days, we hear about “scale.’ Scale seems to mean something quite specific in these contexts. The speakers (or writers) do not mean the scale that blind statues of justice hold, weighing deeds. Nor does scale mean those that fall from our eyes to permit us accurate sight. Indeed, scales do not... Read more »

Ferguson is. . .

Everywhere I went some time ago, I heard “Ferguson.” Perhaps Ferguson will take its place alongside Selma or Birmingham. Michael Brown, whose funeral is now well past, will take his place alongside, well, too many others. Long before Emmett Till and already after Michael Brown, there are names that represent deaths coming from the failures... Read more »

Admissions Requirements

Colleges across the country require a range of different kinds of things in their applications. Once upon a time, it was news when schools went “test optional,” which has been true for Shimer College for some time. Our application requires two essays (which can be composed for other purposes — an essay you wrote for... 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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