When the World Makes No Sense
#HigherEd Should Be Attacking Disinformation
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In the last month we have seen an uptick in Covid Cases, a baby formula shortage, no relief in gas pricing, and three mass shootings in less than a week. When the world makes no sense, I find myself taking action in various ways, one of which is being mindful of where I get my news and information. Unfortunately, the uptick in the feeling of helplessness and anger can be impacted by misinformation. We’ve known since the attacks on New York and Washington on 9/11 that disinformation and misinformation spread in fertile grounds of trauma and fear. We also know that combating it, can be as helpful to dispelling lies as it is to providing ourselves with a feeling that we are doing right by our community and broader society.
There is a difference between misinformation and disinformation and it comes down to intent. Disinformation is marked by a knowledge of the information being untrue, but you choose to spread it anyway. Whereas misinformation is a belief that information is true, but it isn’t. Misinformation is often spread because of where the individual spreading it gets it from - in other words, a ‘trusted source’ shares it, and that is enough to prove the information to be more likely true than not.
By now, scholars should be well informed of the impact of ‘fake news’ and how to parse through trusted news sources. However, what have we done to actively make information literacy part of our skill development priorities? Just like financial literacy, we are failing to make a substantial dent in building this core competency. While it may not be for a lack of trying, perhaps we are simply doing it wrong.
Rather than combating disinformation and misinformation as an ‘add on’ we need to be incorporating it into classroom learning. Additionally, administrators can be mindful of how misinformation ‘flows and grows’ within the campus community. Much of this happens in the social media ecosystems of your campus community. Misinformation may not be of paramount concern to campus leaders, especially when they are referring to national or global issues, but we should not be complacent. Students who share disinformation about vaccines are not helping your vaccination requirements. Students who share misinformation that they got from their best friend or their grandmother can pop up on Twitch, Discord, Snap or wherever your students live.
Leveraging existing access to trusted information is also a way to develop our student’s information literacy. While decades have passed since newspaper readership programs were in vogue, and now they have largely disappeared; campus libraries subscribe to newspapers and mainstream periodicals (The Atlantic, Forbes, TIME, The Economist, etc.). Partnering with your library staff, campuses can build out trusted news distribution through digital locations where students are already visiting on a regular basis. Holding discussions that are informal
Branding news literacy as something of an ‘adulting’ skill, along with financial literacy, and skills such as purchasing insurance and negotiating a contract can and should be interwoven with what students experience in and out of the classroom. We should also call out misinformation when it is breaking through and becoming a normative belief on campus. Utilize your campus influencers, peers, faculty and staff who are trusted can help to reduce the spread of dis and misinformation. Be sure that curiosity is encouraged while reinforcing the skills necessary to find the truth and cut through the noise. Make truth become the norm.
Publication & Broadcast Calendar for Spring 2022
The “What’s Up in the Academy?” Newsletter will be hitting your inboxes weekly through July 1, 2022. Replay distribution of the “Office Hours with Dr. De Veau” live pod on Fireside will occur within 48 hours after the original broadcast. Be sure to become a paid subscriber to have access to ALL of the newsletters and replays!
Upcoming Office Hours with Dr. De Veau on Fireside!
We have a LOT of shows coming up to close out season 1 - these are just a sample! More are being booked now! All show times are Eastern Time.
Outcomes of the Special Committee on Governance, Academic Freedom and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina System. We will be joined by Committee member, Hank Reichman who will provide insight into the outcomes of this eye opening report. Showtime: Wednesday, June 1 at 12:00 Noon
Final Think Tank Episode of the Academic Year! Dr. De Veau will be joined by Think Tank Members, Dr.’s Cory Davis, Gage Paine and Jeanna Mastrodicasa. We will be discussing the major news of 2022-23 and looking ahead to 2023-24. Join us on Thursday, June 2 at 2:00PM
The impact of the War in Ukraine on the Students and Community at National University of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Dr. Olena Murahyan, will be joining Dr. De Veau from Ukraine to discuss how students and the community at the National University of Kharkiv have been impacted by the war and what must be done to rebuild the University that has been educating scholars for over 200 years. Wednesday, June 15 at 11:00AM
Developing Your Professional Development Plan for 2022-23 with guest and nationally renowned leadership trainer, author and speaker, Nancy Hunger Denny. We will be discussing what can be done to build out a plan to leverage your own and your team’s development in ways that are intentional and innovative. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 22 at 12:00 Noon
Remember to request access to Fireside on your iOS device and follow Dr. De Veau to get alerts on all shows.
Dr. Laura De Veau is Principal & Founder of Fortify Associates, LLC. Fortify Associates, LLC is unique in the higher education, not-for-profit, and public service market. They provide comprehensive workshops, program reviews and project management services with a combination of in-person and virtual delivery. Fortify Associates is committed to creating experiences that are unique to the needs and culture of each of their clients. Fortify Associates wants to elevate your organization and help you optimize your workplace. As a Predictive Index partner, Fortify can leverage the power of PI with the knowledge and talent of the Fortify team to create a truly unique set of offerings.