A reporter looks at mosaic of higher education

Before the new year gets any older, this reporter wants to give a shout-out to a colleague who just left the higher education beat after a notable four-year run of coverage of American college life.

Jenna Johnson, now on Maryland politics for The Post, produced a memorable array of stories on higher ed from 2009 through 2013. She reported from the center of big events of the past few years — whether national or regional — that touched universities. She kept a voluminous blog for much of that time, Campus Overload.

Jenna’s byline was all over the 2012 University of Virginia leadership crisis and its still-volatile aftermath, the death of U-Va. student Yeardley Love and the subsequent trial of ex-U-Va. student George Huguely V, the Penn State University sex-abuse scandal and trial, university connections to the Boston Marathon bombings, the abrupt jump the University of Maryland made from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten (with state university regents apparently violating open-meetings law in the process) and many another breaking news story.

Here are just a few of her enterprise and high-impact stories. Taken together, these pieces help illuminate the amazing mosaic of higher ed.

●On U-Va.

Aug. 14, 2012: What Teresa Sullivan has learned

Oct. 29, 2012: Sullivan seen as ‘interim’ at U-Va.

July 6, 2013: Dragas: ‘Clearly, I think change was needed’

March 1, 2013: At U- Va., tensions flare over control

Sept. 11, 2013: U-Va. should break some ties with state, panel says

Sept. 22, 2013: Students protest aid plan changes

●On U-Md.:

Jan. 8, 2012: As U-Md. cuts budget, it also builds a mansion

Dec. 11, 2012: Maryland to Big Ten: ‘It’s money versus tradition’

●On the college marketing frenzy:

March 20, 2013: After success in Big Dance, Butler builds a national brand

Sept. 24, 2010: Wonk if you love American U.

Jan. 6, 2012: College lists get more creative, meaningless

April 9, 2011: Universities woo Mom and Dad, too

Jan. 23, 2012: Jersey’s drain is region’s gain

●How technology is changing campus life:

Aug. 5, 2011: For freshmen, Facebook’s the ultimate matchmaker

May 29, 2011: Wikipedia gets a bit of credit in colleges

Jan. 3, 2011: Applicants try to sharpen their profiles with video essays

Jan. 18, 2010: Students sold on rent-a-text

●On dorms

Dec. 4, 2010: At GWU, coed quarters becoming an option for all

Oct. 8, 2010: Howard opens the door (a tad) to overnight guests

Excerpt: Howard University is experimenting this fall with something that many universities did at least a generation ago: allowing undergraduates to stay overnight in each other’s dorm rooms.

To study, of course.

Sept. 20, 2011: Virginia Tech dorm becomes a learning experience

●On alcohol and drugs on campus:

Aug. 29, 2013: The College Drinking Problem

Feb. 24, 2010: Colleges call in the big guns to combat drinking: parents

March 11, 2012: Taming the ‘Animal House’

Nov. 27, 2011: Colleges fear rise of study drugs

●On gay rights at Morgan State

Dec. 25, 2013: Student stands up for gay rights at Morgan State

●On St. Mary’s College of Maryland:

June 4, 2013: Enrollment off, St. Mary’s leader leaving

●On Catholic University’s changes:

Jan. 26, 2011: Turning up the volume

●On “non-traditional” students (and how typical they really are):

Sept. 14, 2013: Today’s typical college students often juggle work, children and bills

Dec. 21, 2011: College, 3 jobs and a toddler

●On the globalization of campuses

Sept. 5, 2011: At U.S. colleges, an influx of foreign students

●On the internship maze

Aug. 30, 2010: Many interns paying a price for unpaid experience

●On Georgetown

Oct. 22, 2009: Georgetown student advertises for a personal assistant

Excerpt: The successful applicant can expect to work three to seven hours a week and make $10 to $12 an hour, although “on occasion it will be possible to work additional hours and/or receive bonuses at my discretion.” Preference will be given to Georgetown undergraduates, Cooper says in the listing, and the assistant can spread his or her tasks throughout the day.

May 1, 2012: The Georgetown U. clock hand caper

Excerpt: As Georgetown University tour guides lead visitors past Healy Hall, they often point to its iconic clock tower and explain that generations of mischievous students have attempted to steal the clock hands and mail them to the pope. But that hadn’t happened in more than six years.

This week, a hands-free clock face proved that the pranksters are back. ...

Campus police are searching for a 51-inch minute hand and a 38-inch hour hand. A university spokeswoman called the theft “a serious violation of Georgetown’s Student Code of Conduct.”

A former Post education editor, Nick writes about college from the perspective of a father of three who will soon be buried in tuition bills.
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