Several news networks, including the New York Times and ABC have recently covered a select group of college presidents who are taking to blogging as a new tool for communications.
To me, it seems imperative that every school president, headmaster, or other, maintain an active blog. The Times cites a blog run by the Colorado College President as an example of a great blog. Looking at the blog myself, there is plenty of good intention, but it’s clear that the blog is infrequently updatedâ€œ there are gaps of four months or more.
College Presidents should have plenty to say and their opinions should matter to a lot of people – both on and off campus. Alumni and students should demand a voice from their leader.
Major on/off campus events and incidents, whether good or bad, from racism, to major sporting victories, to alumni success stories should all be commented upon. Leaders are in positions of power for a reason and this reason should have something to do with ’leadership’ outside of sales and fundraising.
To me, a college president not having a platform to voice his or her opinions is like a United State’s President refusing to comment on a major news event. Love him or hate him, President Bush at least tells people what he’s thinking and comments on ’the state of the union’ at regular intervals this is what leaders should do.
College presidents shape the direction of the institution, but too often they live in the shadows of mahogany offices and airplanes – this should be a concern for students and alumni alike.
Are there risks? Definitely. Larry Summers’ word selection ultimately forced him aside at Harvard. However, every story has two sides and a smart leader can finesse around delicate issues while still addressing what needs to be addressed.
Bottom line: blogs written by college presidents aren’t just nice toysâ€œ blogs should be necessary mediums by which a school’s leadership communicates its opinions, stories, successes and challenges with the greater world. Plus, for the astronomical amounts some of these folks make in salary, an actively maintained blog is a good way for alumni to know their money is being well spent.
**If you are a college president in need of a blog, feel free to drop me a line and I can help you get set-up.