April has been a crazy busy month. It always is. Still, I usually manage to sneak in at least one Friday Five during the cruelest month. But all of April’s Fridays have come and gone. So to atone for my oversight, I offer a tardy version of things that have caught my attention lately, with a bonus link.
- Education and the American middle class. You might have caught this New York Times Upshot post from earlier in the week about the decline of the American middle class. According to this report, median per capita income in the U.S. was $18,700 in 2010. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, caught up with the U.S., resulting in a two-way tie for first place. The author suggests that Canada has probably surpassed the U.S. in median per capita income by now, even though no research is available. Meanwhile, other nations are closing the gap. The first “three broad factors” contributing to this sluggish economic performance is the fact that “educational attainment in the United States has risen far more slowly than in much of the industrialized world over the last three decades, making it harder for the American economy to maintain its share of highly skilled, well-paying jobs.” Perhaps this news could help higher ed marketers help rally people around support for higher education as an economic driver.
- What provosts think. Wonder what your provost is thinking? Inside Higher Ed‘s latest Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers may offer some insights. For one thing, they’re worried about budget (no surprise there). For another, they really, really don’t like President Obama’s proposed college rating system.
- Senior managers and SOS. The “shiny object syndrome” (SOS) hits us all at some point, but top-level leaders seem to be more susceptible than the rest of us, according to this piece by leadership dude Art Petty. “One of the value killers found inside many organizations,” he writes, “is the out of control pursuit of too many new initiatives. The resultant too few resources chasing too many projects, is a sure-fire way to create organizational stress as initiatives fall short, inefficiencies skyrocket and employees, stakeholders and customers grow perturbed.” His advice: A disciplined approach and “intelligent filtering” of all new initiatives — whether you’re part of the leadership team or farther down the ranks, where the work gets done.
- 7 tips to managing critics online. Solid guidance from Spin Sucks on dealing with critics in the social media sphere, via @ErinHennessy.
- Is your brand at the center? Deb Maue of mStoner discusses the importance of bridging the gap between brand promise and brand experience — and of developing a brand-centered strategic planning process.
- Print-and-save social media checklist. Nice cheat sheet for social media posting from HeroX, via Brendan Schneider.