The Powers that Blog

19Sep07

I try not to fill this blog with tales of local interest, as I realize that most of my scant readership cares little about my little hamlet and institution of Middlebury. But an interesting development occurred in my local blogosphere that bears notice: Middlebury College’s President Ron Liebowitz and Dean of the College Tim Spears both started blogs (on WordPress, no less!). An article in our student paper reports on the development, quoting me as a local technology expert and experienced blogger, as 11 months is a long time in internet-time.

They’re both still in their infancy (the blogs, not the administrators), but I’m encouraged by the idea of the College’s head honchos establishing sites for direct communication and inviting feedback from the community. We’re a small enough campus that Ron & Tim are not lofty figures unknown by rank-and-file faculty, staff, and students, but a blog is potentially a more direct and intimate mode of communication than typical for academic administrators. They’ve said that posting won’t be frequent, and the focus will be exclusively on issues of direct relevance to the Middlebury community, not a broader avenue for academic musings or research. I hope that the tone of their blogging can mesh with political realities of leading an institution with multiple constituencies, but the nature of having an opportunity of open comments for any interested reader is a promising possibility for participation and dialogue.

Even more, I’m excited to see administrators embrace blogging as a worthwhile mode of communication, not a waste-of-time for the young folks – the more that established scholars and academic leaders start blogging, the sooner it can be embraced and valued as a legitimate form of academic discourse. So if you’re at all interested, check out their blogs & leave comments, encouraging them to keep blogging. And I’m wondering if any of my fellow academics have had experiences with blogging administrators – please share them…



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