Just in case we didn’t already have enough to think about, the season of gift-giving is upon us once again. And while the University Innovation Alliance (UIA) is known for institution-sized thinking and future-forward ideas for higher education, we’re also a collection of individual people with individual passions, preferences, and day-to-day needs. With that in mind, we’ve combed through the “Stuff We Love” section of our monthly newsletter to offer the year’s best gift ideas for our colleagues – or even for ourselves.
Focus Your Thinking
Inspired leadership relies on data and scheduling. If you need a bit of help dotting your I’s, crossing your T’s, and keeping those ducks in a row, may we suggest…?
- The Lab Team’s been busy using these free ideation and design tools.
- Track your latest and greatest ideas this quarter with an undated goal planner.
- If email is your greatest challenge, try an email management app.
- Use an eco-friendly reusable notebook to store your meeting notes.
Be Your Best Self
Leadership is rewarding and fulfilling as we work to better the lives of our students, staff, and community, but moving the needle can be stressful, and stress takes its toll on body and mind. Here are a few personal care products to make your own life a little easier:
- Here’s a useful solution for migraine headaches.
- We highly recommend this portable snooze machine for sleep on the road.
- This memory foam seat cushion is a lifesaver for long days at your desk.
- Compression socks are a must for air travel and standing on your feet all day.
- This durable standing desk mat supports your back and helps you stay active.
- When you spend hours at the keyboard, wrist support is always a good idea.
- A desktop HappyLight can help energize you and keep the winter blues at bay.
Travel in Style
While many higher ed leaders are rooted in a specific campus, if not chained to their desk, many others are on the road attending meetings, visiting different institutions, or actively pursuing innovations and solutions. We recommend a few basic tools to support those grand excursions.
- Don’t leave home without a portable power bank. (Pro tip: buy it at Costco when it’s in stock.)
- For your next trip, try a new, inexpensive work travel backpack – with even more pockets.
- Keep your commute clean with this car trash can.
- This simple seat gap filler reduces that tendency to lose things while driving.
- Carry your fragrances with ease and confidence.
- Pack your medication without bringing along the whole medicine cabinet.
- When someone else is driving, viewing your media with a tablet holder is just the thing.
Sure, technology can be impersonal and a bit scary as we try to maintain a human face in our work, but sometimes those little tech assists can be oh so helpful.
- If you ever work from your couch, this sneaky plug can help.
- Our own portable Bose speaker has saved countless UIA events.
- This tiny mic is a must-have for serious interviews and crazy karaoke mixers.
- Keep your workspace tidy with a desk vacuum.
You Do You
Gravitas and respectability are well and good, but higher ed leaders are human, too. And as such, they may have a secret (or not so secret) goofy side. So here are a few suggestions for that disruptive inner child:
- Wear these light-up shoes to your next Zoom meeting and amuse yourself privately!
- Blend art and functionality with a TimePiece Calendar.
- The best slime on the market makes for excellent fidget toys during all-staff meetings. (Pro Tip: This brand sells out each Friday when it goes live; try the “Cloud” texture).
- Upgrade your workspace with a surprisingly affordable custom neon sign.
- Need a fun and satisfying puzzle game for downtimes? Of course you do!
- Sometimes you just need to make your own ice cream at home or in your office!
It's always fun to share links to “Stuff We Love,” but the UIA’s monthly newsletter offers so much more:
- Thought leadership from Executive Director Bridget Burns
- Highlights of noteworthy events and initiatives among Alliance members
- A recap of our recent blog posts
- Links to recent articles and posts from and about the higher ed sector
- A list of upcoming events
- An inspiring quote to help frame your thinking about the task before you
If you’re not already a subscriber, we invite you to sign up for our monthly newsletter.