‘If you remain mostly upright, you are doing it well enough’

first_imgGAZETTE:  Anything else you’d want to share with the Harvard community?COSTIKYAN: Know that there are resources out there if you need someone to talk to. Contact Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program for both practical and emotional support. The EAP is now offering access via chat and telehealth functions. It’s free and confidential, local, 24/7, and with a dedicated Harvard phone line: 877.327.4278. We all deserve help right now in our collective efforts to take a breath, and rebalance, and begin again. When we feel a little shaky, the EAP can provide some of that help.Interview has been lightly edited. GAZETTE: What are some tips for managing stress at home?COSTIKYAN: This is a time when many people will feel isolated or trapped, liberated from their commute or held hostage by their digital devices, grateful for the solitude or mourning the social matrix of the workplace. I’ve been hearing about keeping a 6-foot distance from other household members who may be particularly at risk for complications from COVID-19. That can be startling to hear, since there is a sense of greater security when hunkering down at home, and it is easier to contemplate a 6-foot distance from strangers than it is from loved ones. I personally feel that paradigm shifts are being hurled at me by the world on a daily basis. It’s increasingly hard to keep balancing on one fatigued foot. But every day I begin again.Tools and rules help. Rules like regular schedules, regular meals, regular exercise, and regular sleep patterns are essential. I’m struggling with all of these at the moment, but another rule is simply to begin again each day. I rely on mindfulness tools; these are increasingly available for free, like Harvard’s own Mindfulness at Work series of classes — now on Zoom — which are now being expanded to address our current crisis.It can also be helpful to provide creature comforts in your new home office. If you program your thermostat to turn down the heat during the day, reprogram it. Not only do we all deserve comfort at time like this, but a Cornell study found that warm workers actually work better. Establish break times for a cup of tea, some stretching, reading poetry, or playing Angry Birds. Whatever works for you. Make sure your new set-up is ergonomically correct. Find an object or photo that has deep meaning for you, something that represents hope, resilience, comfort, and place it near your work station for a visual reminder not to spin off into places of despair.GAZETTE: What are some additional strategies for self-care?COSTIKYAN: Don’t forget to make time for the things many of us skip. Make a chart and timetable for self-care and safety tasks: wiping down surfaces, taking stretch breaks, washing your hands, or eating a proper meal at a proper time. Share it with others — maybe establish a buddy system for mutual time checks and reminders. We all need to find ways to exercise even as we social-distance; why not use your usual commute time to go for a vigorous walk when the sun is just right?Look to your community — either known to you or not. Seek ways to foster and maintain connection. Find something larger than yourself. Find something larger in yourself. Practice compassion for others. Washing your hands for 20 seconds is a great way to center yourself and cultivate goodwill to others. So is simply leaving a “thank you” sign out to your postal worker or delivery person, to let them know how much you appreciate the work they are doing.It can be hard to do, especially as we sit at our computers with so much information at our fingertips, but it’s really important to limit your intake of frightening information in terms of time and sources, even information from reputable sources. Limiting intake doesn’t mean shutting it out, though; we need to stay informed. The Harvard Coronavirus website is one of my top go-to sources. We also need to be aware of the feelings these inputs trigger, and choose positive inputs as well — from colleagues and friends, movies, art, poetry — that can also be in the mind’s eye along with whatever images of doom we might carry. Harvard coronavirus survey: How’re we doing? Not bad so far Despite distrust in coronavirus leadership, public confident they can keep themselves safe Efforts across the University aim to reassure, entertain, connect Online forum aims to teach how to deal with pandemic stresscenter_img Related As COVID-19 spread across the world, many businesses and organizations, including Harvard, moved their work online. In Massachusetts, the number of people working from home rose even higher on March 23, when Gov. Charlie Baker ordered nonessential businesses to close for two weeks.For many, the transition to virtual work has been one filled with new stressors and challenges, particularly when viewed against the backdrop of a growing pandemic. The Gazette spoke with Nancy Costikyan, director of the Office of Work/Life at Harvard, to learn some strategies for being productive, adjusting expectations, and staying healthy in mind and body while honoring the call to self-quarantine.Q&ANancy CostikyanGAZETTE:  How can individuals strive for work/life balance as more and more of us find ourselves working in our homes, alongside all of the responsibilities of our home lives?COSTIKYAN: Most work/life practitioners dislike “work/life balance” as a term and a concept. Work/life scholars lack a common definition, and few people seem to think that they have achieved anything like it. The concept seems static to me, and one that sets an impossible standard for, say, working parents, or people with adult-care responsibilities, or leaders facing an ever-increasing set of demands … or for any employee anywhere who skipped lunch or lost sleep or missed their kid’s game, all because there is no rule book on how to have it all and be balanced. As far as I have been able to tell, the only “all” we get is all the guilt over what feels like impossible trade-offs. But maybe we can shift our expectations and think of balance as a verb, not a noun.Try standing on one foot for a minute or so. As long as you remain standing you are not balanced so much as you are “balancing” — you will feel micro-adjustments being made automatically by the bones, tendons, muscles in your foot, ankle, and other parts of the body that keep you upright. That’s happening even when you are standing on both feet. You aren’t conscious of it, the body just does it for you. Every moment in everyday life is like that. Tiny, unconscious adjustments are taking place as you reconsider that testy email you just wrote, smile at a neighbor, call a colleague for support, reach for a child in distress. All this is balancing. And if you remain mostly upright, you are doing it well enough.GAZETTE: Should organizations adjust their expectations during these difficult times?COSTIKYAN: I think most of us are standing on one foot right now. And feeling shaky. But it’s stunning how quickly we have come to accept each other’s sometimes-wobbly practices as we get up to speed on telework.Two weeks ago, Harvard’s flexwork guidelines said that people couldn’t provide dependent care while teleworking. Now, some are beginning Zoom meetings by noting that at any minute a 4-year-old might come crashing through the room. President Larry Bacow commented that children are making our Zoom meetings some of the most entertaining in University history.We’re also encouraging managers to skip the guidelines’ recommendation of a 30-day trial period at the beginning of a new flex arrangement. Telework at such a large scale is new for all of us, and we’ll be making adjustments from the micro to the macro every day as we go along. In effect, every day is a trial period.“Tools and rules help. Rules like regular schedules, regular meals, regular exercise, and regular sleep patterns are essential,” says Nancy Costikyan. Photo by Nan LittletonGAZETTE: How should individuals communicate their own unique challenges to colleagues and managers?COSTIKYAN: For several years we’ve been instructing managers never to ask someone why they are proposing a flexwork arrangement; no one should have to disclose personal information of any kind — especially health-related information. That principle still holds and extends to those who may have personal reasons that make work from home impossible. They don’t need to explain that to their manager. But they may need to talk with HR about alternatives, which could include taking advantage of our temporarily enhanced leave policies.GAZETTE: Do you have any recommendations for how teams can best adapt shared expectations collaboratively, so that everyone is on the same page?COSTIKYAN: Everyone is improvising all over the place, and that is both where we shine and where we stumble. We’ve just posted a new Telework Continuity Tool Kit on the HR coronavirus site. We’ve called out practices that were previously restricted in our flexwork guidelines but are encouraged now. Between those two documents we’ve identified steps to define communication goals, protocols for using formal and informal communication tools and methods, and shared expectations around behavior in terms of deadlines, accountability, and even conflict. We also stress the importance of maintaining the social connections of the workplace in a time of stress. Teams should agree to try to simulate the environment of the workplace. Maybe that means saying hi each morning in some way, interrupting each other, chatting with a work buddy by phone over lunch.Teams should agree up front that they are all learning new ways of working in a challenging time and that people will make mistakes. Technology won’t work as planned. A spirit of goodwill and generosity during shaky, one-footed missteps will be essential as we all learn together.GAZETTE: How do you suggest managing taking care of young children with working?COSTIKYAN: If you have other adults or older teens in the home, start by mapping out a strategy and enlist their support. How will you set boundaries? Try working with young kids on making friendly “do not disturb” signs that you then use very judiciously. Give them their own special “work” assignments to do — paid or unpaid, goofy or challenging. Some kids will benefit from regular, brief check-ins with lots of praise for having let you do your work assignments while they did theirs. Others will do better without interruption from you. You’ll figure it out.You’ll likely need to talk with your manager about your strategy. For example, with very young kids, you may need to alternate between providing child care and doing Harvard work. That might extend your day, so you’ll need work-arounds for the impact on communication and collaboration with colleagues. And every meeting might need to begin with a disclaimer that there is a little one in the home and you might be interrupted.But it’s not just about kids. Sometimes the incursion will be caused by a four-footed furry little one. Or it might be a two-footed older one. Harvard provides subsidized and vetted in-home back-up child and adult care for staff and faculty. Right now, though, some may feel more comfortable using the self-directed, local caregiver search on the digital platform through [email protected] with the support of new, detailed guidance on caregiving in the context of coronavirus. Others will choose to rely on a person in their natural network — perhaps a family member. Harvard has associated but lesser-known programs as well, such as the WATCH Portal. “I personally feel that paradigm shifts are being hurled at me by the world on a daily basis. It’s increasingly hard to keep balancing on one fatigued foot. But every day I begin again.” Chan School session breaks down what it is, what it looks like, and ways to ease it Bringing (virtual) normalcy to the communitylast_img read more

Prescribing Cloud

first_imgHealth IT executives attending HIMSS15 are working on the frontlines to realize the promise of accountable care.  We’re excited for the opportunity to come together to share new ideas and lessons learned.In the end, the ultimate driver in healthcare is outcomes.  Hybrid cloud improves IT outcomes by driving down costs.  Once more cost is taken out of infrastructure, it can be reinvested in innovation. That, in turn, improves patient care outcomes.And that sounds like a good plan. It’s good to have a plan.Healthcare data is growing faster than ever before.  At 48 percent each year, it’s one of the fastest growing segments in the Digital Universe.  This data is coming from many sources – clinical applications, compliance requirements, population health, and FutureCare-enabling technologies for cloud, Big Data, mobile, and social – just to name a few.Health IT needs a plan to manage and take advantage of all this information.  More than ever before, a hybrid cloud model needs to be part of that plan.On the Road to CloudAccording to a recent MeriTalk and EMC report, in 2015, 62 percent of health IT leaders are increasing cloud budgets to provide more coordinated, cost-effective care.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCVBA72zDj4Where should they focus their IT budget?  A hybrid cloud lets you place the right applications in the right cloud with the right cost and performance.  And, it lets you protect and secure protected health information (PHI).  The goal – eliminate data silos to gain a 360 degree view of the patient, in real-time, at the point of care.A hybrid cloud consolidates and eliminates inefficient silos.  Healthcare providers can balance clinical and business workloads in an enterprise hybrid cloud which incorporates private, managed private, and trusted, public clouds.As Health IT starts this journey,  other organizational objectives can get jump started.  For example, Health IT is then better equipped to deploy a data lake for clinical collaboration, and an agile data and analytics platform for storage, management, and analysis, by bringing together data from different sources across multiple protocols.As a result, you have the opportunity to deploy clinical predictive analytics for managing population health, reducing readmissions, and optimizing patient treatment plans.And, with just 18 percent of providers running EMR applications partially or fully in a hybrid cloud today, opportunity lies ahead.  To take advantage, Health IT organizations can begin with a converged infrastructure, which provides a fast track to an enterprise hybrid cloud computing by combining compute, network, and storage resources.last_img read more

AHS Star & B’way Alum Finn Wittrock Marries Sarah Roberts

first_img View Comments Congratulations to the happy couple! Here’s to a simply dandy honeymoon. Wittrock made his Broadway debut in the 2012 revival of Death of a Salesman as Happy. In addition to American Horror Story, his screen credits include the TV adaptation of The Normal Heart, Noah, Winter’s Tale and Masters of Sex.center_img Broadway alum Finn Wittrock, who currently stars as Dandy Mott on American Horror Story: Freak Show, wed girlfriend Sarah Roberts on October 18. The actor shared the news on October 19 via Twitter, writing, “Yes, this happened” alongside a photo of the pair in their wedding attire. Both Wittrock and Roberts are graduates of Juilliard.last_img read more

Mix it up!

first_img 41SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bo McDonald Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, … Web: yourmarketing.co Details In 1993, John Fogerty found himself in front of the United State Supreme Court. No doubt, the justices had their favorites—Chief Justice Rehnquist, in his decision, referred to CCR as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time—but their decision was not based on the best album. It upheld another court’s decision, one which ruled that John Fogerty could not plagiarize himself. Of course, a John Fogerty song sounded like most every other John Fogerty song. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s swamp rock was supposed to be innovative. It was too…for the first 15 songs. Then the music starts running together. It works the same for credit unions. The worst kind of group for an organization is one that wants to break new ground in creativity yet everyone is mostly alike and the team gets along super well. When you assemble a great marketing team, you need various personalities, numerous points of view, and a little tension.Contrast CCR with the Grateful Dead. The band created a sound that had never been heard before by combining each member’s unique talents and throwing away the accepted rock and roll “box.” Jerry Garcia was not only the lead guitarist; he played the banjo. Phil Lest began his career playing trumpet as a jazz musician. He only mastered the bass after joining the Dead. The band appreciated the newness he brought to the instrument because he didn’t carry any preconceived notions of how the music should sound since he was learning on the job. Instead of searching for a seasoned soundalike to replace the ailing Pigpen McKernan, Garcia auditioned an itinerant lounge piano player, when Keith Godchaux’s wife grabbed him after a solo concert with the introduction, “This is my husband, Keith. He’s the Grateful Dead’s new keyboardist.” At the time, the pianist had only been to one Dead concert.The unique and inexperienced band members, combined with the unconventional wisdom of the rookies, led the Grateful Dead to have not only a powerful sound but also to a successful run as a band.Great, but what do this have to do with running a credit union? Much like the Dead, you need a marketing team with diverse, one-of-a-kind talents that don’t necessarily originate in marketing—or even in the credit union space. If your marketing team looks like everyone else’s, chances are so will your marketing. When putting your marketing team together, go outside of the industry but go especially out of your comfort zone. Look at your job descriptions, if you find things like “write and maintain print and online sales materials including website” and “support PR activities,” it’s time for a major overhaul in your approach to putting your team together.Instead of breaking your marketing folks into specific skill sets, divide them into action teams.Fill the sales funnel. This team should be responsible for finding people who need your credit union offerings and making sure existing members can easily access your services.Convert new leads. This group is ultimately responsible for nurturing new leads (especially in digital marketing where you can see who is clicking on your ads) and creating content, which will lead to action.Analyze the data. These folks take on the task of constantly interpreting the incoming information to make better decisions and ensure goals are met.Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness, will we discover the infinite power of light. As the Grateful Dead said, “Once in a while, you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” Take action! Look for the members of your marketing team in strange places. You never know where you might find your next awesome rock star team member.last_img read more

New York closes schools in virus-hit areas over second wave fears

first_imgNew York will temporarily close schools in nine neighborhoods experiencing an uptick in coronavirus infections, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, highlighting the difficulty of keeping children in classrooms during the pandemic.The public and private schools are in areas of Brooklyn and Queens, where the rate of positive cases has been above the three percent threshold for more than seven days.New York – America’s largest school district with 1.1 million students – is the only major city in the United States offering in-person classes this fall. Topics : Many cities, such as Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami, opted instead for online classes.The issue of reopening schools has become politicized ahead of the November elections, with Republican president Donald Trump insisting schools reopen, regardless of infection rates.The closures take effect on Tuesday, bringing forward by a day the date proposed by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.Cuomo refused for now to close non-essential businesses in the nine areas, as also called for by the mayor.center_img Two of the neighborhoods recorded positive rates above eight percent over the past seven days, according to figures released Monday.The areas include large Orthodox Jewish communities, who recently marked the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays.Across New York state, the rate of positive cases remains low at 1.22 percent.last_img read more

UK pensions minister must lift auto-enrolment contributions – CPS

first_imgThe target for contributions into the UK’s auto-enrolment pensions of 8% is not enough, and the new pensions minister Ros Altmann should prepare the ground for raising it, a think-tank with historical links with the governing Conservative party has said.In a series of published suggestions for Altmann, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said that, in her new role, Altmann should monitor the roll-out of auto-enrolment into workplace pensions, particularly the opt-out rate for small and medium-sized enterprises.In addition to this, the author of the report, pensions analyst Michael Johnson, said she should “prepare the ground for raising contribution rates, today’s destination of 8% of band earnings being insufficient”.She should also consider how to bring a form of auto-enrolment to the UK’s self-employed, he said. High-profile industry figure Altmann was appointed by re-elected prime minister David Cameron as pensions minister at the UK Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), the government announced earlier this week.She takes the place of outgoing minister Steve Webb, a Liberal Democrat who lost his parliamentary seat in last week’s general election.The centre said the suggestions focused on encouraging the rebirth of a savings culture, and were all at least cost-neutral from the Treasury’s point of view.“They would, if sensitively implemented, lead to greater independence and prosperity for individuals in their retirement and greater sustained economic growth for the whole nation,” it said.Johnson said the new pensions minister should establish a grand vision for saving, encouraging a broad-based savings culture, with the aim of raising the national household savings ratio from 5.9% in the last quarter of 2014 to around 13%, which he said had been the average ratio in the 1980s.To realise that idea, the new minister should devise a strategy that includes various principles, including putting simplification, transparency and intergenerational fairness over commercial interests.Strong fiduciary, trust-based governance is likely to be much more effective than regulation, he added.Among other suggestions, Johnson said Altmann should try to eliminate the industry’s “profitable inefficiencies and rent-seeking behaviours”, and include Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs – a tax-exempt savings wrapper) in the auto-enrolment legislation.She should also sort out the small pension pots problem by aggregating stranded savings rather than use the pot-follows-member idea, and encourage auto-enrolment pensions provider NEST and its competitors to develop a collective drawdown capability to let retirees pool their longevity risk, he said.The CPS repeated its call on the government to combine the 101 Local Government Pension Scheme funds into a single fund with four separate asset allocators in competition with each other.The CPS was set up in 1974 by Conservatives and free-market advocates Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher, though it states it is independent of all political parties.last_img read more

Leising assigned to interim study committees

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — When Indiana’s part-time legislature is not in session, lawmakers serve on interim study committees that meet to review the state’s top issues, as identified by the General Assembly during the prior legislative session.This summer and fall, Republican state senator from Oldenburg, Jean Leising will serve on the following study board, council, commission and committees to help prepare lawmakers for the 2019 legislative session:Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled BoardCorn Marketing CouncilIndiana Protection and Advocacy Services CommissionInterim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and TelecommunicationsState Fair Advisory CommitteeA variety of topics will be discussed over the next several months pertaining to agriculture, education, elderly residents and technology. The Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications will look into the regulation of automatic dialing machines and changes in technology related to robocalls, telephone solicitation and cybersecurity. Discussing and hearing testimony on these topics will make us better informed in each of these areas for the next session.Study committee topics are assigned by the bipartisanLegislative Council, comprised of 16 voting members — eight from the Senate and eight from the House of Representatives.To view interim committee agendas and stream hearings online, visit iga.in.gov. To view a list of topics that will be examined, click here.last_img read more

Odizor Weeps for Nigeria’s Sports

first_imgDuro IkhazuagbeNigeria’s greatest ever tennis player, Nduka Odizor, was in tears wednesday at the Sports Reform Committee Retreat in Abuja while recalling how administrators denied the country the opportunity of reaching the World Group stage of the Davis Cup because of greed and selfishness.Odizor who achieved a world ranking of 52 in 1983 and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon the previous year insisted that tennis officials at the time were “not straight forward” in dealing with players. The former tennis professional whose paper was titled: “Recognition of Athletes” said for any country to excel in sports, athletes and coaches have to be accorded maximum recognition and respect.“Recognition and appreciation will ensure that athletes are assured that they will get their allowances and entitlements as at when due.“This will lead to younger ones emulating and striving to achieve like those ahead of them and bring up sports men and women who can create wealth for the nation,” he said.Odizor stressed that the matter of graft in the running of sports has been there all along.“My biggest disappointment was when I was approached by some government officials to give them some money so they can recommend me for a national award.“That was unthinkable and absurd. My achievements (in tennis) speak for themselves and I do not have to have a national award to be recognised around the world,” the tennis star reasoned.Before Odizor’s presentation at the retreat, one of Nigeria’s most achieved football coaches, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, in his paper said that there was an urgent need to reform the process that throws up incompetent and self-seeking persons as sports federation presidents and board members.The gaffer who led the Green Eagles to a second place finish at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations said that football clubs currently run as government parastatals can be financially viable if they instituted a membership plan and worked out partnerships with companies.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Egypt’s El Hadary Could Make Cup History

first_imgAl Masry defender Hamada Tolba and midfielder Ahmed Gomaa, Zamalek midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim and Ismaili goalkeeper Mohamed Awad were dropped.Last month, Cuper sprang a surprise by omitting Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi, who had been in the starting line-up for Egypt in their last two World Cup qualifiers in October and November.Only four of the squad remain from Egypt’s last participation in the finals, when they won the title for the third time in a row in 2010. They are El Hadary, Ahmed Elmohamady, Mohamed Abdelshafi and Ahmed Fathi.Egypt, who have missed out on the last three Nations Cup tournaments, play in Group D in Port Gentil and open their campaign on 17 January against Mali.The tournament in Gabon runs from 14 January to 5 February.EGYPT SQUAD:Goalkeepers: Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly), Essam El Hadary (WadiDegla), Ahmed El Shennawi (Zamalek)Defenders: Mohamed Abdelshafi (Al Ahly Jeddah), Ahmed Dwidar(Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City), Ahmed Fathi (Ahly),Omar Gaber (FC Basle), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Karim Hafez (RacingLens), Ahmed Hegazy, Saad Samir (both Al Ahly)Midfielders: Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Abdallah El Said (AlAhly), Mahmoud Trezeguet Hassan (Royal Mouscron-Peruwelz), TarekHamed, Ibrahim Salah (both Zamalek), Amr Warda (Panetolikos)Forwards: Mahmoud Abdelmoneim Kahraba (Al Ahly Jeddah),Ahmed Hassan Kouka (Sporting Braga), Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly),Mohamed Salah (Roma), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City).Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Veteran goalkeeper Essam El Hadary has been included in Egypt’s final 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.El Hadary turns 43 this month and could become the oldest player in Nations Cup history, beating the 2006 record of 39-year-old compatriot Hossam Hassan.Coach Hector Cuper trimmed four players from his provisional list.last_img read more

Stanford football has been on the rise

first_imgFor anyone looking for some interesting reading material on the five-hour drive up for the Weekender, the Stanford Daily has published quite the football story. Though Trojan die-hards would have to swallow their pride a little bit to get through it, it nonetheless provides some great context on the rivalry before going into this weekend’s big game, and is a very detailed roadmap for the Trojans going forward.Nick Entin | Daily TrojanRags to roses · First year head coach Clay Helton finds himself looking to restore glory to a once-prominent USC football program.Titled “Rags to Roses,” and written by a trio of sportswriters for the Stanford Daily in 2013, the book chronicles the meteoric rise of Stanford’s football program from almost a complete afterthought in 2006 to a Rose Bowl championship and perennial spot on top of the conference standings.Prior to 2006, Stanford really did not have that rich of a history in football. Since World War II, the Cardinal had won only three Rose Bowls — in 1940 and consecutively in 1970 and 1971, with losing appearances in 1951 and 1999. With the exception of quarterback John Elway, Stanford never really produced any noteworthy NFL players. Even while Elway was there, the team’s most memorable accomplishment was being on the losing end of the most bizarre play — The Play — in college football history against Cal during a 5-6 campaign in 1982.The school had a rich athletic history outside of football. It’s one of the few schools that has near the same number of Olympic athletes or medals as USC. It has more than 100 NCAA national championships across all sports — up there with USC and UCLA for the most all time — but Stanford spent the first half of the past decade as not just bad at football, but really bad.From 2002 to 2006, the Trojans won their five games against Stanford by a combined 130 points, bookended by a 49-17 blowout in 2002 and a 42-0 shutout in 2006. The Cardinal finished that 2006 season 1-11, an almost unfathomably awful number for a team that is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll ten seasons later.The transformation occurred when Stanford hired Jim Harbaugh for the start of the 2007 season. In his first year, the Cardinal pulled off its monumental, program-changing upset at the Coliseum, which we would all like to forget that launched Stanford back into national prominence. Since then, the Cardinal were crowned Pac-12 champions three times and won three Rose Bowls.The importance of a coach like Harbaugh for the program cannot be overstated, nor can how unprecedented his own personal rise is. He had a reasonably long professional playing career, cracking an NFL roster for 14 seasons, but he had no prominent coaching experience before he took over Stanford — he was an assistant at Western Kentucky, briefly with the Oakland Raiders and his only head coaching gig was at the University of San Diego.As much as they might not get along after an extended rivalry, Harbaugh is very similar to Pete Carroll in the sense that no one really would have expected either to have risen so high or so quickly in the college game. Yet both personalities were so instrumental, arguably indispensable, in their respective program surges. Harbaugh’s success is arguably even more impressive, because he had much less history and tradition to build off of, and was almost starting from scratch with a 1-11 team.With that being said, the rise of Stanford is still missing a truly happy ending. Though the Pac-12 has grown as one of the more competitive conferences in all of football, USC is still the only team to have won an actual national championship in the BCS era. Neither Oregon nor Stanford, despite their ability to win conference championships and Rose Bowls, have been able to claim to ultimate prize in college football just yet.The struggles of USC football have not quite reached the depths of a one-win season since the team’s last Rose Bowl win in the 2008 season. But this is now the eighth season since that Rose Bowl win, and the seventh since Carroll’s departure. What would qualify as a rough patch or a dry spell for USC football hasn’t even included a season below .500, and did include the milestone of the program making it to its first Pac-12 championship game last year. But the Trojans certainly have not reclaimed their spot on top of the conference since then, a spot that felt like a rite of passage at one point for seven straight seasons.So the rise of USC football back to the level of winning a Rose Bowl would not be quite as interesting of a story, but it will be equally as challenging. As the Cardinal proved last year, USC will likely have to go through a very strong, very consistent Stanford program to do so.The good news is that USC is not that far behind. Again, the same program that metaphorically hit rock bottom with the midseason dismissal and ensuing lawsuit of its head coach last year still represented its division in the conference championship game. Last year’s 41-22 defeat in the Pac-12 title game certainly was not pretty, but the Trojans proved over the course of the season that they belonged to be there.The other good news is that if USC wants to overtake Stanford, its current program leader very much resembles the Stanford ethos. Clay Helton does not have the same big name, big game personality of a Carroll or a Harbaugh, but he very much resembles Stanford’s current head coach David Shaw, embodying a humble, disciplined work ethic.This weekend represents another very big, very challenging test for a young team and a rookie coach. But the Trojans have proven in recent years that they can go up to Stanford as underdogs and come away with a win, doing just that the last time they were in Palo Alto in 2014. More importantly, though, the Trojans just need to have a game that gives them confidence going into the rest of the conference slate — read: not lose 52-6. The Trojans need to set the tone that they would be ready for a rematch in December.Luke Holthouse is a senior majoring in policy, planning and development and print and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs on Wednesday.last_img read more