Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Unleashed VC is a blog's best friend

By Steven Schwartz - posted Monday, 18 August 2008

"The university is top-heavy with management. Countless hours are wasted with paperwork, with attending mind-numbing training sessions on this, that or the other, and on seminars which for the most part are a complete waste of time."

"More could be done to make the toilets and urinals more efficient. In our building we often find the urinals run constantly, or two flush simultaneously when the button is pressed."

"The university should strive to enforce the 'non-smoking' regulations on campus more effectively. People are still smoking. They are annoying me."


"I am sharing (a) room with others in an award-winning building. The air-con does not work when the temp is 'comfortable' and there is only one power button for 18 lights!"

"Something simply HAS to be done about our current email system - it is just SO unreliable."

One episode of The West Wing, the much-admired television show, featured a sub-plot in which the character Josh Lyman finds out about a blog dedicated to his activities.

Despite his assistant's warnings, Lyman starts to participate, only to find that blogging can be a contact sport. When he complains, press secretary C.J. Cregg, sets him straight: "Let me explain something to you ... The people on these sites, they're the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ... I'm telling you to open the ward room window and climb on out before they give you a pre-frontal lobotomy and I have to smother you with a pillow."

Blogging is not recommended for any university vice-chancellor with a sensitive disposition (if such a creature exists). If you can't take a joke, or an insult, being corrected, having your failings and those of your institution pointed out to you and having your carefully constructed arguments demolished ... well, just don't do it.

But as Rudyard Kipling might have advised, if you can trust yourself when people doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too, then go ahead, because you will find that for all its potential for pitfalls and pratfalls, the blogosphere is a great place for a university leader to test ideas, to engage in discussion and debate, to stand corrected or to correct others.


It doesn't absolve us from making decisions, but it gives us more ideas to feed into those decisions.

In short, the blogosphere at its best is what universities should be about anyway: the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information.

Of course, it's not all about the big ideas. You soon get to know which toilets and airconditioners aren't working properly, and where the no-smoking rules are being flouted.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

First published in The Australian Higher Education Supplement on August 13, 2008.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

1 post so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM is the former vice-chancellor of Macquarie University (Sydney), Murdoch University (Perth), and Brunel University (London).

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Steven Schwartz
Related Links
Original article
Steven Schwartz's blog

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Steven Schwartz
Article Tools
Comment 1 comment
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy