We want better communication. We hear that refrain all the time. And when I say “we,” I mean students, faculty, and staff. I mean everyone on this campus, and external constituents as well, though I realize we often come to this desire from different perspectives, with different needs.
We also want more transparency, which may well be the catchword of our times. The push for transparency comes from a desire to know how important decisions are made, a wish sometimes tinged with distrust in how those decisions are made and who makes them. On college campuses, where the tradition of consultation, consensus-building, and community activism is deeply rooted, the desire for transparency can have a special urgency–never more so than in the last two years, as the recession has put additional pressure on the need to make thoughtful and timely decisions. Of course, the politics of transparency can be messy since the sharing of information up and down an institution like Middlebury should not be a selective process; we all should feel the light.
This blog is an effort to open the lines of communication, and create a forum where people can ask questions or post comments–anonymously, if they like–about administrative decision-making and current initiatives. In my role as Vice President for Administration and chair of the Staff Resources Committee, I also plan to use the space to update readers on issues related to staffing at the College and other projects that pass through my office.
We are, as the wallpaper adorning this site makes clear, a small liberal arts college in rural Vermont. But our landscape is more complicated than the map suggests, and we can and should do a better job at explaining how and why things happen across this campus.