Thanksgiving, accreditation reports, and the cognitive revolution

Miss me? I hope those of you in the US enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday as much as I did. We traveled to my childhood home in Lyons, Nebraska to visit my family. For the first time in at least six months, I unplugged for an ENTIRE week. I needed the break. I submitted our College’s massive accreditation report earlier this month. A document I’ve been working on for a year now. If you’re curious, here’s a somewhat sanitized version. It will cure your insomnia.


As you can imagine, my total Thanksgiving break means I’m trying to catch up on my day job. Going through feedback from accreditors for a meeting with my dean tomorrow. Arranging to record MBAs doing strategy presentations on Thursday for assurance of learning review. Checking my leadership communication students’ progress on their TILL audit project before Thursday. Preparing for a strategic planning meeting on Friday. Reviewing student performance data on test questions from the third edition of Revising Professional Writing so questions can be revised or dropped before the end of the week. Wondering where I put my Christmas tree lights. . .

. . . And I want to  get back to thinking about the obstacles to plain language. English: Steven Pinker

But, for today, I’ll just share a brief video of linguist and psychologist, Steven Pinker, talking about the cognitive revolution that took place in the 20th century. To me, understanding effective and efficient communication in the workplace is ultimately a cognitive problem. If you prefer a less heavily intellectual introduction to Professor Pinker’s work, here’s his first appearance on The Colbert Report.

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