5 reading habits of a creative grant champion

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I’ll never forget one of the lessons of “Working Girl.”

Tess McGill, played by Melanie Griffith in this 1988 film, weaves a brilliant Wall Street deal because of her reading habits, and *spoiler alert*, she crafts a winning merger based on information she learned from a gossipy entertainment column.

I spend most of my time reading in the grants office. Not so much People or Entertainment Weekly … but a wide variety of sources that span industries and disciplines with the hopes that I will make similar creative connections. I might not use all of these ideas immediately … but it plants seeds that could sprout into something later.

To help with my daily reading habits, I’ve created a bookmark bar across the top of my Chrome browser. Along with my color-coded Google calendar, I open about 50 tabs all at once every morning, and I’m always adding/subtracting to this dashboard as
necessary.

So as we start a new academic year, here are at least five sources that you might add to your daily list:

1. Virginia Western’s websites
Let’s start at the microscopic level. I want to know what’s happening on this campus — what the students are doing, which faculty and staff are being recognized, how the public sees our digital front porch. I read the Daily Bulletin email of course, but I also
check the college’s web page  and VWCC’s Facebook page daily.

2. Roanoke news
In order to do my job well, I have to stay connected with the greater community — we’re a community college after all. Local news stories and editorials reveal the education, business and workforce needs around the Roanoke region. I scan the headlines of www.roanoke.com daily.

3. News from Virginia Community Colleges
Have you signed up for the “News from Virginia Community Colleges” email yet? This is an effortless way to see what our colleagues at our VCCS sister schools are doing … and any time Virginia Western gets mentioned in the news. Get on the list by emailing Craig Butterworth: cbutterworth@vccs.edu. You’ll get an email each weekday morning.

4. Education trends
As Virginia Western is connected with both K-12 and four-year institutions, I check a variety of sources that cover the entire educational spectrum. I scan the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Twitter page daily (and bonus: free 24-hour access to tweeted links), along with the American Association of Community College’s Daily blog and  21st Century Center page. Also: The prolific Hechinger Report (“Covering Innovation & Inequality in Education”). Edutopia has been another excellent source for trends happening in K-12 — our critical dual-enrollment partners.

5. BIG ideas
These are the most inspiring and serendipitous of my daily websites … I never know what might find in the “5 Best Ideas of the Day” at The Aspen Institute … or the “Big Ideas That Are Changing the World” at Fast Company.  I’ve also fallen in love with the Library of the Future Blog, which includes a weekly list of fascinating headlines spanning education, the economy, and technological trends impacting our lives, including drones, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Librarians are really the smartest among us.

And proof that it pays to read to the end: Did you know “Working Girl” is coming to Broadway? We should have Amtrak service by then. Lettttt ….. the river runnnnnnnnn!

Which blogs or email lists should I know about? Email sseagle@virginiawestern.edu.

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About Stephanie

Stephanie SeagleStephanie Ogilvie Seagle has served as Grant Specialist at Virginia Western since 2016, but she prefers her honorary title: “Chief Joy Officer.” Stephanie spent most of her career at The Roanoke Times, a daily newspaper, where she served in various news and features roles including “Shoptimist” shopping columnist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies at George Mason University and a master’s of arts in liberal studies at Hollins University. Stephanie is a mom to one human daughter and multiple chihuahuas … and is obsessed with reading nonfiction, Halloween, and crafting glow necklaces inspired by the Mill Mountain Star. Glow Roanoke!

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