Hello, Madam President!

i-f875c0b07d9b3cb6229668554781b35a-alice.jpgIn early February, I received a letter from my university president. A hand-signed letter, addressed to me. In it, she reported how she had been reading this blog and my personal work website. (!) She was very complimentary of this blog, and SW and my contributions to engaging more women in STEM fields.

I confess I was rather gobsmacked, verklempt, overwhelmed by the letter. I've scanned it to my computer so I can keep a copy of it, and put the paper copy in my "good things" file that currently remains rather thin. I wrote it up a bit in my P&T file (that was due at the beginning of March -- I hope to get it in today), and then the rest of February and March happened.

This week, a colleague and I had a meeting with our university provost. The first thing he said to me was how he also read this blog, and how the president had been telling everyone about it. OMG. I'm a little freaked out.

So I am sharing this all with you because 1) I've found that while it was hard enough to blog when I felt my future P&T committee was reading, it's a whole lot harder now that I know my university administration might be too (not that I want people to stop reading! I mean, isn't that why I decided to do this?); and 2) those of you who blog as yourselves somewhere may find yourselves unveiled as part of your institutions' trying to map their digital footprint.

I've gotten lots of material to blog about over the last few weeks -- I'm hoping that I can dig out some time to actually type it up and share it with you over the next few weeks. In the meantime, welcome to my university administration, and all the other folks they direct here. I hope you find discussions hosted here interesting, and that perhaps you even find time to contribute your comments and thoughts.

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I think it's wonderful that your university administration is reading the blog. It shows attention not only to the rising stars on their faculty but to the concerns of all academics who are trying to balance a passion for their work with a semblance of a life outside of work. I only wish more university administrators were reading our blog (or those like ours). Of course, that's easier for me to say because I'm pseudonymous.

That's great that the Big Wigs are aware of your stellar work on this blog, Alice. It does come with a lot of pressure though - I'd feel a little apprehensive about discussing the negative aspects of my work. Hmmm ... I'm fervently hoping my university administrators don't read my blog!

I know what you mean, PiT. I'm hoping that if I talk about them constructively, then critiques will be seen as helpful rather than simply whining. Although sometimes I just want to whine.

Stress over who is reading is inevitable but let's keep our eyes on the great thing. Alice and SciWo, you are having impact for your efforts and that is a fantastic GoodThing. Great job and keep it coming...

By DrugMonkey (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

Think of it as "Cream always rises to the top". If you do the work, and the work is good, then sooner or later you would have been recognized anyway. Blogging just makes it possible to get recognized a little bit sooner.

Well, this isn't exactly changing my (biased) opinion that Purdue is a good university. Other notes:

* Publication is publication. ScienceBlogs may be low impact, but it takes work and, especially in your case, at least incrementally advances the field. Not fitting the existing framework doesn't put it completely beyond the pale.
* Service is service. See above.
* In particular since you're blogging in your persona proper, you're a public face for Purdue -- good administrators take notice.

I hope someone has sussed the fact that prospective engineering students (and especially women) looking at university selection are likely to have this blog come up fairly often in searches.

You are making a difference -- I know of one grad student who has Purdue on her list of potential post-doc locations in part thanks to you.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

Good for you for continuing to drag academia kicking and screaming into the 21st century ;).

DC Sessions -- really?? W00T! Have her email me, and if she comes to visit, I'll take her out to coffee.

Just FYI, the link to your personal work website is broken.

Thanks rc_phd. I was mucking with it and deleted the index page by accident. Can't figure out how to fix... maybe a project for this week!