Rodney's Bookshelf

I'm excited to share with you some of the books I've been reading recently that I've especially enjoyed and found rewarding personally and professionally. They have all captured my interest for different reasons, and I've learned so much from these extraordinary authors. Below is my "take" on what they're about and what they have to offer. I hope you find something here to spark your curiosity and creativity as well!

being-included

On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life

by Sara Ahmed

Author Sarah Ahmed explores and dissects diversity in higher education through both her own experience and interviews with others working in the field of diversity. Her research reveals a common gap between “diversity” and how it actually feels to members of the institutional community, along with a disturbing ability of diversity to hide racism. This book pushed me to think critically about an extremely important feature of a learning community — one that requires an unflinching commitment to meet challenges head on but that holds the potential to positively transform a culture.
you-can-do-anything

You Can Do Anything: The Surprise Power of a "Useless" Liberal Arts Education

by George Anders

The liberal arts help drive the vitality of universities by encouraging qualities of curiosity, creativity and empathy. You Can Do Anything demonstrates how having a strong grounding in these characteristics — essential ingredients for lifelong learning — positions college graduates for success. It’s the role of public universities to prepare their students to live meaningful and productive lives, and to me, that starts with an intentional plan while they are in college.
the-second-machine-age

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

Technology shapes our daily lives, impacts the global economy and transforms the way universities deliver a high-quality education. In this ever-changing technological landscape, authors Brynjolfsson and McAfee state a stark case for how and why humankind must be successful in this new machine age. It’s about learning to leverage technology responsibly and to not be afraid. This is a perfect case study for how universities can remain relevant.
designing-you-life

Designing Your Life

by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Authors Burnett and Evans provide a model for designing lives, which I believe, at its core, is what public universities should do. BGSU is not in the business of granting degrees, we are in the business of supporting students and empowering them to achieve their dreams and define their lives on their own terms. It is incumbent upon us to educate our graduates to do well, but also to do good. Designing lives does not stop at graduation, it's an endless pursuit that provides a purposeful experience and makes a difference.
the-new-education

The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux

by Cathy N. Davidson

Author Cathy Davidson lays out a roadmap for higher education to evolve to best prepare our students. She makes the case that, to regain the trust of the public, we must revolutionize teaching and learning so the next generation can navigate the future so they can do their part in driving the vitality of their communities.
the-power-of-moments

The Power of Moments

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Elevation, insight, pride and connection drive memorable and positive moments. The Power of Moments taught me the importance of curating an experience that sets you apart. It is often a timeless moment, either small or large, that changes lives, that sticks with people. I would even argue that education can be such an experience, and we cannot lose sight of our responsibility to create meaningful moments for each individual in our learning communities.
where-good-ideas-come-from

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

by Steve Johnson

The world’s greatest inventions and services started just as ideas that people had. Author Steve Johnson tackles where these ideas come from, what kind of environments promote this type of creativity and how we spark these groundbreaking solutions that shape humankind. Johnson says it best, “Chance favors the connected mind.”  This book is a journey that provides new knowledge about the roots of innovation and useful strategies for cultivating our own creative breakthroughs.
enchantment

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions 

by Guy Kawasaki

Author Guy Kawasaki believes that enchantment transforms situations and relationships. His playbook showed me how mastery of the art of enchantment defines you. It’s a practice and an effect that occurs inside and out of the classroom, one that our students experience during their first campus tour to the moment they cross the graduation stage. To me, enchanting is creating an unforgettable educational experience that demonstrates our relevance and excellence to the world. Kawasaki is an influential thinker in the world of entrepreneurship and was a memorable keynote speaker in our Sebo Series on Entrepreneurship.
the-wright-brothers

The Wright Brothers

by David McCullough

Author and historian David McCullough tells the story of two courageous Dayton natives who taught the world how to take flight. The Wright Brothers sums up the American spirit of innovation and is a personal account of how grit and determination can spark what may seem as the impossible – a message I hope students and faculty never forget.
the-great-mistake

The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them

by Christopher Newfield

I fear that higher education has lost the trust of the public. The United States is at a crossroads. Can we fix this “great mistake”? Our students are falling behind their international peers in attainment. Now more than ever, there is a national doubt of higher education. Author Christopher Newfield believes that we risk economic inequality and the fall of the middle class if we do not come together and act. This book provides a path forward for us to rebuild and reverse this mistake, one that requires action aligning our purpose to create public good.
strategic-diversity-leadership

Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education

by Damon Williams

As a global learning community, it is our differences that make us stronger. Being inclusive and valuing the diversity that is woven into the fabric of campuses makes us who we are. Author Damon Williams’ framework for elevating the strategy around diversity positions us to be more effective in fostering a healthy and successful culture in a 21st-century society. This book pushed me to think more creatively on how to make excellence inclusive.