Media Roundup: October 2023-January 2024

Musselman Library
Musselman Library’s successful strategy to save on the cost of course materials was featured by Inside Higher Education (Photo by Diptiman Das ’27).

Between efforts to make student textbooks more affordable; an alumnus making their town just a bit kinder; and finding ways to bridge the gap between parents and teachers in evaluating student success, the Gettysburg College community’s commitment to social consciousness and goodwill shined through the headlines throughout the fall and early winter.

Check out some of the top media mentions during the fall and early winter:

Inside Higher Education: Academic Success Tip: Promoting Affordable Course Materials

Musselman Library inside
By focusing on the benefits of using open educational resources (OER), Musselman Library staff helped students save approximately $300,000 since the start of the fall semester (Photo by Diptiman Das ’27).

Gettysburg College librarians have been working tirelessly to make the campus community aware of the struggles students face with high textbook costs. Musselman Library conducted a survey in 2019 to understand textbook pricing in greater detail and found students spend an average of $283 on materials, with half of the respondents spending between $101 and $300.

After finding these results, the library ran a book review workshop for faculty and staff to dismantle the negative reputation of open educational resources (OER), instead focusing on the benefits and usage of these materials. The library also partnered with the Johnson Center for Creative Teaching and Learning to incentivize faculty into using open textbooks through an OER grant.

“Many professors don’t see their course materials choices as their top problem, so it doesn’t get attention,” Assistant Dean and Director of Scholarly Communications Janelle Wertzberger said. “We need a variety of incentives to continue encouraging a shift."

In the fall 2023 semester, 1,500 students saved $300,000 thanks to OER materials, while the College as a whole has saved $1.6 million in textbook purchases over the last decade.

NBC News Now!: Modern Parenting

Tracie Potts in NBC News
Tracie Potts, executive director of the Eisenhower Institute, appeared on NBC News Now! to discuss how parents and educators view success in the classroom.

In a section on modern parenting, NBC News Now! reported that while about 90 percent of parents believe their children perform academically at their grade level, less than half of those children actually do. Executive Director of the Eisenhower Institute and Advisory Board Chair of Learning Heroes Tracie Potts explained that parents mostly rely on report cards and grades to track their child’s progress, when instead they should be relying on year-end achievement tests.

“The grade involves a lot of other things: effort, improvement, homework, and class participation,” Potts said. “When you add all that to achievement, parents are getting a lot of information, but not specifically finding out if their child is on grade level in school.”

Rather than asking a teacher how their child is doing in school, Potts suggests asking if their child is performing at grade level. She suggested building a relationship with the teacher through ongoing communication will help their children and remove the parent’s knowledge gaps. Getting children involved in the conversation, especially in high school, also gives them a sense of ownership and agency. Go Beyond Grades, launched by Learning Heroes, includes free resources both online and in communities for children to improve their learning capabilities.

USA Today: From history to punk rock: 10 best new museums to visit in the US

Andrew Dalton ’19
Executive Director Andrew Dalton ’19 stands in front of the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum prior to its opening last spring.

At the start of 2024, USA Today’s 10 Best series released a list of the best new museums in the nation that have opened in the past two years. Taking the top spot on the list was the Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum, which opened in April 2023 under the leadership of Executive Director Andrew Dalton '19. There, visitors can explore what happened to the residents of the town of Gettysburg and surrounding areas, both during the Civil War and in the years before and after. The “Caught in the Crossfire” exhibit allows visitors to experience residents’ perspectives during the Battle of Gettysburg through sight, sound, and special effects inside a reconstructed farmhouse.

“The outpouring of support from our friends, both locally and nationally, has been incredible,” Dalton said in a statement to ABC 27 News. “We had an amazing year in 2023 and are looking forward to welcoming even more visitors in 2024. Winning this award is a tremendous honor and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, volunteers, members, and supporters.”

Ranked No. 5 on the list is Gettysburg’s World War II American Experience, located just four miles northwest of the College. The museum includes various vehicles used in World War II and chronicles an American civilian’s contributions to the war from their home.

ABC 27: First-graders in York County showing everyone what Kindness Week is about

Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta
Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta make a Kindness Week drawing and write suggestions to be kind on the sidewalk outside the College Union Building.

After Kevin Smith ’89 lost his wallet at the grocery store on Good Friday, a woman came by his house to return it. He wanted to spread the same kindness she gave him, so he contacted the local media to spread the story around. It soon became a national story, and the woman was recognized seven months later at the November launch event for Smith’s new nonprofit Kindness Worldwide, which seeks to create a culture of kindness in communities locally and beyond.

“What the story proves is no act of kindness is too small to change a life," said Smith. "My life has been profoundly changed by this one act of kindness.”

With the launch, FOX 43 reported that Smith and his wife donated to the York County SPCA and established the Kindness Co-Tails Fund with the York County Community Foundation, to which the GIANT Company donated $26,000. During Kindness Week, York Academy Regional Charter School first-graders handed out flowers and kind notes at York Central Market. York City Police gave out “Kindness Citations,” both through their tips and in person, and people caught performing acts of kindness were promoted on their social media page. Give Local York also launched their own charity fund as well called GLY365. Gettysburg College also celebrated their own Kindness Week. Students signed a large card left inside the College Union Building for Facilities staff, and the International Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta mailed turkeys to South Central Community Action Programs.

Media roundup: October 2023 – January 2024 by the numbers

90+ media mentions featuring Gettysburg College faculty, staff, students, and alumni

30+ media mentions in national news outlets

14 mentions highlighting faculty and staff expertise

More stories worth reading:

  1. In a Beyond Belief article, Philosophy Steve Gimbel and Jewish Studies Prof. Stephen Stern discuss the possibility that former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus may have solved Pascal’s Wager by choosing to (falsely) believe in the possibility that he was being treated lightly every game to increase his chances of success. They later collaborated on Stern’s blog on The Times of Israel, where they argue that participating in war comes with a moral cost even if the war is deemed just.
  2. In a New York Times article discussing former President Donald Trump’s defamation case against E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of defamatory comments in 2019, Public Policy Chair Anne Douds explained that while Trump may be able to deny accusations against him, he cannot claim that she did something when she did not do it.
  3. On Nov. 19, Gettysburg College co-hosted Dedication Day in the Majestic Theater with Eisenhower Institute expert-in-residence Susan Eisenhower serving as the keynote speaker. CBS 21 was on hand to cover the event, which featured a performance by Grammy Award-winning opera singer J’Nai Bridges, a U.S. Naturalization and Citizenship ceremony, and a rendition of the Gettysburg Address by Emmy-nominated actor Graham Sibley.
  4. Republican Jay Ruais '08 was elected mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire, in November and took the oath of office in January. According to the former political science major, he wants to tackle some of the city’s biggest issues, including homelessness and the budget.
  5. Forbes featured former Gettysburg student-athlete Katie McCarthy ’20 and the success of her golf apparel company Kilo Tango. McCarthy started the company in 2021 and it has expanded its reach to 42 pro shops ranging from the Bahamas to Napa Valley.
  6. Gilder Lehrman-National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Civil War Era Studies and History Jim Downs consulted the Lost Women of Science podcast by Scientific American about Dr. Rebecca Crumpler, the first U.S. Black female physician. Downs also emphasized the importance of intersectionality between different cultures and health conditions when taking into account generative AI’s understanding of those factors in an article on The Hindu.
  7. Inside Higher Education covered Gettysburg College’s innovative January Term programming offered during winter break. Originally inspired by the January Term offered by the College several decades ago, the College adapted the idea to offer free, flexible, and virtual sessions that helped prepare students with enduring skills in job applications, finances, leadership, and more.

Come back in June for more media mentions from the spring semester!

By Katie Lauriello ’25
Photos by Diptiman Das ’27 and submitted by subjects
Posted: 02/19/24

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