Looking at Rant Raves and Obsessions work on a few issues of internet anonymity, I figured I could pick up the torch and give some of my thoughts as to the use/content/tone of a academically driven pseudonymous blog. To be honest, there is no driving thesis here, I am just looking, commenting, and overall respecting the usefulness and clarity of a single blog which Walker’s essay made note of-Confessions of a College Dean.
Well for starters, yeah I giggled a bit at his header
In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990’s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.
My mind instantly created a picture of a panopticon style chimney surveying the grounds, but any who, moving on.
The anonymity brings a level of frank honesty that I do not think I would see from a Dean who knows their peers or really anyone could be watching. From February 11th, he calls on his readers/commenters to provide some feedback on an issue he admittedly knows little about: the needs and wants of trasnfer students.
My first thought is, I don’t know. I haven’t seen any research on that, though admittedly, I haven’t looked. Anyone who can cite anything specific is invited to share in the comments.
Simple and honest, I like that, and I also feel that most deans would cringe at the thought of posting for the whole world to see their lack of knowledge about a potentially lucrative subset of incoming students.
Walker makes a great point in the beginning of her essay which hits to the heart of most public interaction and voiced thought, especially within academia, “…the anxiety if I said what I really wanted to say, I wouldn’t know how to defend it.” Hence the need and draw for many to blog, to be another anonymous Cato.
Viewing the mixture of academic and suburban husband/father posts of Dean Dad, there is a healthy does of realism that cuts through to the merger of life’s work, life’s pursuits, and and just being a functioning human. His latest post, “Friday Fragments,” presents this merger as he fills in his readers from topics spanning the growth growth of one of his children, a conversation about academic costs with his physician, the oh so inspiring effect design fad had upon the decision to build flat roofs in areas prone to snow buildup (I have had to lovely task of shoveling two of them off already!), and his take on the flawed system the government is using to rate colleges.
Poking around the website, I have decided that this blog I will read again, if not for the easy tone, but also for the expertise.