Launching a conversation


Where are all the bloggers in higher-ed administration?

The question sounds strange, maybe because higher-ed administration is veiled in mystery and perceived as mundane. We don’t ask about the blogging actuaries. But maybe that’s why I couldn’t say what interesting questions come up in actuarial science, or just what actuaries do. (Something about pensions, I think.)

But consider the controversies and quandaries that come up when administrators make decisions: who deserves this scholarship? which applicant will we hire as new faculty? how many students will we admit to this program? which programs do we cut? which teaching habits do we reward? They’re all consequential decisions, determining not just the fate of individuals but the kinds of institution and society they create.

And think about the pace of change, the way that large institutions react (even over-react) to new ideas and methodologies for teaching and research. If you consider just the range of your media diet today — reading and watching and listening to media that’s international and social and wiki-authored — then you know how new ideas can arrive and proliferate and change our thinking. The MOOC moment, the wiki-fication of reliable sources, and the video mashup are changing higher education, and we who oversee it need (at least) to think and talk their implications.

So I’m starting to write and read in these environments today, as I begin a new job as Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) in the Faculty of Arts in the University of Calgary. I have a lot to learn about my various responsibilities, but I like the benfits of learning and thinking in the open, and being transparent about my thinking and consultations.

Let’s start the conversation: leave a comment below, or send me an e-mail (artsadtl {at} ucalgary {dot} ca), or a tweet.

3 Replies to “Launching a conversation”

  1. Congratulations on the new position, Michael! I think you’re spot-on that there’s not a lot out there from the perspective of administrators that doesn’t go through official channels like CHE first. There’s Dean Dad of course, but I have a hard time thinking of others. Looking forward to more from you!

    1. Thanks very much, Brian! I’ve started following him — or at least, he’s now in my lengthy Feedly queue.

  2. Hi Michael,
    I’d second Brian’s recommendation of Dean Dad – I read him regularly and really appreciate how he can get at the big issues while keeping students in mind!
    I thoroughly enjoyed helping you and the Arts e-learning committee air the early stages of a Faculty policy: again, students were foremost. So I’m looking forward to what you can make happen here with a lot of input from others concerned. I’ll keep on board with your discussion as much as I can – I do shy away from social media in general, including Twitter. It’s almost impossible to only do a little of it, and I’ve got to set a really high filter to get the nitty-gritty done. But I’m looking forward to this discussion!

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