Karen Gross Society Guru

Karen is #4 LinkedIn Global Top Voice 2017 - Education.  She was also an Education Top Voice in 2015 and 2016.  She is an educator and an author. Prior to becoming a college president, she was a tenured law professor for two plus decades. Her academic areas of expertise include trauma, toxic stress, consumer finance, overindebtedness and asset building in low income communities. She currently serves as Senior Counsel at Finn Partners Company. From 2011 to 2013, She served (part and full time) as Senior Policy Advisor to the US Department of Education in Washington, DC. She was the Department's representative on the interagency task force charged with redesigning the transition assistance program for returning service members and their families. From 2006 to 2014, she was President of Southern Vermont College, a small, private, affordable, four-year college located in Bennington, VT. In Spring 2016, she was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in VT. She also teaches part-time st Molly Stark Elementary School, also in Vt.  She is also an Affiliate of the Penn Center for MSIs. She is the author of adult and children’s books, the most recent of which are titled Breakaway Learners (adult) and  Lucy’s Dragon Quest. Karen holds a bachelor degree in English and Spanish from Smith College and Juris Doctor degree (JD) in Law from Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law.

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Is Civility Partisan?

I recently was accused of being "liberal." In the past, I have been accused of being a "consumer advocate." I have been accused of being "partisan." I understand those accusations in some contexts and as was stated in the movie, American President, I am proud to express views that support the lives of those less fortunate and ask, why don't you?. You can call me and label me what you want. Ironically, since I have lived for years in VT, some have tried "snowflake;" that's a compliment in my view. But, that proverbial but.... What matters to me in the current moment, frankly, is the context in which I was just slammed online because, at least with respect to a recent online comment and another two I wrote just prior, political affiliation and my "label" within our society are totally irrelevant. Totally irrelevant.

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Sadly, We Remember the Bad Stuff Teachers Said and Did When We Were Young

It is really remarkable. As a former college president, I was repeatedly reminded that we can do 99 things right for and with a student but what they focus on and remember and talk about while in school and as alums is often that one bad encounter, that one bad professor, that one bad incident. And, it is not easy to cut through that bad memory to revive the good memories. It is as if the bad incident/memory literally takes over our brain space and crowds out good memories.

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Heat Surrounds Us; Some Less Well-Known Consequences and Some Uncommon Solutions

No doubt about it: we are experiencing a serious heat wave across America. Millions of people in our nation are living with record temperatures. And heat at this level is dangerous to humans.

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Pruitt’s Purchases: What Else Could We Have Bought for the Same $$$$?

Pruitt’s Purchases I have been following the expenditures of Secretary Scott Pruitt, something that would surely get me fired or demoted if I worked for him (which I do not). Now, there are lots of ways to reflect on his spending, including a determination of whether he really is physically at risk. And, if he actually is, we do need to spend to protect him for sure. How much that costs is a different question.

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Anonymity or Disclosure: A Question for Those Harassed

It is an immensely difficult issue: if one is harassed, should one disclose one's name? Many people think that remaining anonymous is a cop-out (odd phrase, right) but if one has been harassed, one would realize how hard it is to disclose one's identity.

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