Administration should embrace @students
I’m so glad @LEE_BOLLINGER, is on Twitter. His poignant and candid remarks on his day-to-day life have truly opened up students’ eyes to an entire world about our president.
Wait, that’s not PrezBo? Well that’s disappointing…
Almost all of our professors are instantly accessibly through seeing them in class or email afterwards. Why can’t the same be said for our school’s administrators?
Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger is online, taking questions, concerns, and suggestions from students, and instantly available. Ditto for Dean of Community Development and Multicultural Affairs Terry Martinez.
There are other organizations like CU Student Affairs, Alice!, and the Columbia Alumni Association that have done a solid job of getting the word out about their events and programs, but granted, they don’t have the personal charm of an individual face or name.
But what about the rest of the administration?
Obviously, PrezBo can’t just hand out his personal email address. But via Twitter, he can not only let students know exactly what he is up to, but also instantly crowd source opinions from a mass audience representative of the student body that might help him shape school policy just as effectively and infinitely less costly than a sit-down focus group comprised of students solely enticed by free lunch or movie passes.
It’s not just administration that can benefit from the social media platform, though. Political science professor Dorrien Warren has done an excellent job connecting with students and sharing their insights on the current political climate. How neat is it to walk out of a lecture and see your professor has tweeted his thoughts on the 2012 election, shared relevant news stories, or had intellectual conversations with the likes of @PimpBillClinton?
Similarly, new football coach Pete Mangurian has already thrown himself full force at multiple platforms in an attempt to connect with the student body—which in the world of Columbia football is essential to building fans. Journalism’s Dean of Student Affairs Sree Sreenivasan constantly tweets about the state of the ever changing media world to his 30,000 followers.
Twitter—and social media in general, for that matter—have done a fantastic job of allowing us into the each others candid lives and spreading information in the 21st century.But it’s also given us new ways to connect that some at Columbia are only beginning to embrace.
Alan Brinkley already blogs about Mad Men for the Wall Street Journal every Sunday (although his analyses have mostly amounted to mere recaps of the episodes rather than the historical context I had hoped from such a noted professor.) Wouldn’t it be awesome if he also tweeted about the show or other current cultural or news events? (I suppose he’s spending that time, you know… putting those thoughts into books.)
PrezBo teaches an entire course on free speech. Nothing could give him a bigger microphone than 140 characters—which might actually surpass the amount of space he used to address the G.S. students about moving their Class Day.
Jim Pagels is a Columbia College junior majoring in American Studies and English. He’s met Dean Shollenberger, but he didn’t Tweet about it. He’s still moping about the Mavericks’ loss yesterday.