This week, I am marking 4 years of writing on this blog with my first post back in January 19, 2009 noting the new Presidential administration and my Letter to the Editor published in The New York Times about teaching my undergrads. My Fragile Networks book, with Dr. Qiang, was then in production and was published that June.
have tried to keep true to the themes of this blog: Research, Education,
Networks and the World and writing posts and receiving feedback has been a terrific journey, I
My fellow bloggers in Operations Research /
Management Science, led by Dr. Thaddeus Sim, started a very interesting
discussion with his post: Academic blogging: teaching, research or service? that I kept on coming back to and ruminating about. (You can find a list of our community of bloggers at the OR Social Network Users Directory).
might wonder, how can a Professor, with all of the commitments to
research and publishing, teaching, and professional service, plus having
a personal life and a heavy travel schedule, find time to keep up a
blog, which now numbers over 1,000 posts? Also, as Dr. Sim and company
noted, how does doing so even count or matter in academia?
being a high energy individual, with a lot of discipline and focus,
there are many topics that I am passionate about and I view blogging as outreach.
In writing about matters of research, education, and what is happening
in the world, whether in one's courses and classrooms to major events, I try to communicate and to inform.
schools and colleges have now sadly dropped their emphasis on
communications with fewer glossy reports and publications and magazines
and even cutbacks on what is posted on websites (with social media being
the exception). Plus, the fact that the news media is deemphasizing
articles on research and science is well-known, so we need to fill the
I like to celebrate the accomplishments of my students, to recognize great achievements, to highlight research advances, to thank outstanding speakers, to describe travel adventures, to recognize the special communities that we are part of, and, also, to offer advice. I also write about leadership and acknowledge role models.
Blogging provides a record of impacts of events and milestones.
one's academic institution recognizes blogging (I have yet to report
any posts on my Annual Faculty Report but have gotten numerous thank you's even from alums for my postings as well as former administrators and students and readers from around the globe) when I have helped to further
research or practice, to put a smile on someone's face, to make someone
think differently, to support students either directly or indirectly and
the same goes for others, or even to elicit some positive change (I
have some great examples of this), then I know that it has been
And yes, academic blogging may include all three facets of research, teaching, and service but in sharing our experiences and insights we are also reaching out as a public service.
And, now four years later, President Obama is reelected and my new book will be out soon!