BA, Political Science, and Certificate from the Russian and East European Institute, 1995
I’m a 1995 graduate of IU and a professional journalist, and am running for the IU Board of Trustees to help make IU the best it can be.
I’d like to see the university refocus on academics – on building strong core departments like history and English.
IU is now #76 among national universities in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, three places above last year’s ranking, but still well below Purdue and Ohio State (tied at 53). This represents a significant drop from 30 years ago and devalues the degrees that all of us hold.
I believe the way to improve our ranking is to make a concerted effort to hire more scholars. We should have at least one distinguished presidential historian among the faculty, as we did for many years when Robert Ferrell was in the history department. Ferrell was a prolific author who wrote more than a dozen books about President Harry Truman and is credited with single-handedly reviving Truman’s reputation among American presidents. He was also a passionate teacher who studied how history is taught in high schools in Indiana and worked to improve it.
We must also strive for balance, and to expose students to, not just one side of an argument and one way of thinking, but a diversity of viewpoints.
Overall, I’d like the board to set a different tone for IU. We shouldn’t tolerate a university climate in which professors, students and staff tread lightly, afraid of running afoul of other students or staff – so afraid that the pursuit of truth is cut short, questions are neither asked nor answered, and lively discussions in the classroom and in dorms never take place.
Specifically, I’d like to see the university embrace the principles articulated in what’s become known as the Chicago Statement on Free Speech. This document was produced by a faculty committee that was appointed by the president of the university in 2014 following a tumultuous year in which speakers were roundly shouted down on campuses across the country.
More than 70 universities, including Princeton and Ball State, have since signed on to the principles in the Chicago Statement and have issued statements of their own, letting all faculty, staff and students know that the answer to speech we don’t like isn’t harassment or bullying: It’s more speech.
I started at IU in 1989 as a part-time student at IU-South Bend, while working full-time as a waitress to support myself. I remember those night classes distinctly and remember the joy of sitting in a room with students of different ages and backgrounds – all of whom had sacrificed to be there.
I transferred to Bloomington in the fall of 1990 to study Russian and to have the full college experience. I lived in Forest Quadrangle my freshman year and rode in the Little 500 on the Forest team that spring.
I studied Russian for three years and spent the 1993-1994 school year in Moscow as a teacher of English in a public school – an unforgettable experience that would not have been possible without the help of people like Dr. Ben Eklof, a longtime Russian professor at IU who took an interest in helping facilitate exchanges between the United States and Russia.
In the spring of 1995 I graduated with a degree in political science and a certificate from the Russian and East European Institute. I moved to Washington to work for a foreign policy consulting firm founded by one of Senator Richard Lugar’s former chiefs of staff, and went on to work on Capitol Hill.
I later returned to school, earning a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and went to work in New York, at U.S. News & World Report. I’ve worked in journalism ever since, as an editor for the Miami Herald Company and United Press International, and have contributed to many publications, including the New York Observer, Columbia Journalism Review and the Washington Examiner.
In 2017, I returned to Bloomington and now live one block from campus. I’m surrounded by IU students, am friends with IU professors and staff, and frequently attend events on campus.
Making good decisions starts with having good information, and being here in Bloomington, with my ear to the ground, I think I have a better idea of what’s happening on campus than candidates who may be living in other parts of the state.
I’d like to be able to use this knowledge and insight to help control costs, improve the student experience, build a culture of Free Speech and bring IU into the league of the top 50 national universities in America.
I hope you'll feel free to contact me any time, for any reason, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to hear from you, and I thank you for your support.