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Faculty Blogging

The Record noted 5 years ago that

[Dean of the Faculty Thomas] Kohut said he will work “to make being a member of the faculty at Williams College a rewarding experience.”

He added that the public intellectual life of the college concerns him, and could be improved by encouraging faculty to expose their students and the wider community to their research and scholarship.

“Although we talk a lot about interdisciplinary at Williams, more interdisciplinary teaching and even research could go on here,” he said.

I couldn’t agree more. Although the concept of a blog was barely around five years ago, Kohut’s vision might be well served through blogging. There are surely many, many faculty members at Williams as thoughtful and engaging as Tim Burke at Swarthmore. Division III professors could look to Andrew Gelman at Columbia for inspiration. I know that the Williams Economics Department would have as many interested observations about life and the dismal science as the folks at Marginal Revolution. Perhaps Kohut himself might get things started by starting a blog which provided weekly commentary on some of the interesting faculty work that is happening on campus.

The more that the scholarly life at Williams occurs in public, accessible to all, the better for everyone concerned.

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#1 Comment By Geoffrey Hutchison ’99 On February 11, 2005 @ 1:36 pm

I don’t know how much this is true of other disciplines, but in the sciences, particularly chemistry, it’s difficult to blog about research in public. The American Chemical Society has been very old-fashioned in their interpretation of “prior publication,” to the point of killing several attempts at chemical “preprint” and research discussion communities. As another example, there are many computational chemists who fear having open source code released publically because this has sometimes been considered as “prior publication” too.

OTOH, I think there’s also a wide community of young professors who *might* blog if they felt it would help (or at least not hinder) their tenure portfolio.

In the context of Williams, many professors even when I attended (’95-’99) had webpages or at least course folders on the fileservers. I expect if an easy-to-use infrastructure became available to Williams profs, it might be used, at least internally for course discussions, notices, etc. and certainly most blogging software is easier to use for maintaining a course webpage than other options, IMHO.

Sounds like something WSO might try if no one else does.

#2 Pingback By Useless Tree » EphBlog On July 10, 2008 @ 9:22 am

[…] noted on previous occasions, the more blogging by Williams faculty, the better. I actually e-mailed Tom Kohut about this […]

#3 Pingback By Open Access » EphBlog On August 18, 2008 @ 6:53 am

[…] the world knows about the research done at Williams, the better. I have been beating this drum for a long time. Much of the research being done at Williams would be interesting to current students and […]