After a blogging hiatus of many months I’m only returning to say “ta ta for now,” and to state the obvious – which is that I no longer have time to write posts for this blog on a regular basis. While I’ve been writing a blog under this title since 2010 (here’s a link to the original site where I started out, way back when), it’s become more and more difficult to write even one post per month; I’m trying to fit it in around work, academic reading, writing, and research whenever possible; and the rest of life’s general messiness. In the end there are too many competing commitments and only so many ways in which I can slice up my day.
In addition, it turns out there’s a bit of a problem with the types of posts I like to write, which don’t work well with the number of hours I have available. The posts have gotten longer, partly because the more I’ve learned about some topics, the more I’m pushing myself to learn something different or to go deeper with a particular analysis, to think of new ways to approach things; I can’t stand repeating myself, and I usually don’t start writing until I know there’s a gap in the discussion. I also want to bring in existing and recent research wherever possible. That hasn’t been working out well with 750-to-1,000-word posts, which is why they gradually ended up expanding to 1,500-plus words every time (oops!). But I’m not interested in changing the nature of the posts, because for me that would defeat the purpose of writing them.
If you’ve been enjoying this blog (and maybe you’re even disappointed there haven’t been new posts here!), not to worry; I’ll still be writing online. I have over 100 drafts in my blogging folder and I’ve been going over them recently, surprising myself with the number of ideas that still seem worth exploring. I still have the (probably ambitious) goal of making informed contributions to the conversations happening about higher education issues in Canada and beyond. And, of course, I still read a lot of higher ed news and find it hard to resist commenting on it.
Those new pieces will now be published on my website, where you’ll see a combination of shorter items with news, articles, bibliographies, Twitter threads and so on, alongside a few longer posts or essays that I’ve spent much more time putting together. You’ll also find a slowly growing archive of past writing, as well as links to anything new I’m publishing elsewhere on the web. I’ll still be online on social media, mostly on Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll be sharing new writing through those channels.
In short, I’m not really withdrawing from the “blogosphere” so much as restructuring and relocating. As you might guess, I still don’t feel that blogs are a waste of time (for academics or anyone else), as some people have argued – and as I’ve discussed here before. Writing this blog has caused me to think more about the style I use, and has made me a more rigorous editor. At the same time using this flexible format has had the invaluable effect of loosening some of the boundaries I would have placed on my writing in the past, and increasing my confidence in the end result. It’s made me think about audiences and access and public debate in ways I likely wouldn’t have done otherwise, and it’s led to all kinds of discussions and opportunities that I couldn’t have predicted.
On that note I want to sign off by offering many thanks to the team at University Affairs for putting up with me for so long – and of course, I’m hugely grateful to all of you who have read my posts (and responded) here over the past six years. I hope some of you will look me up in future.
I knew this day was coming for some time, but it is still with sadness here at University Affairs to say goodbye. Let me be the first here to thank you for all you have contributed to the conversations on higher education in Canada through your blog. So often, with your blog posts, I would think to myself: wow, your insights and level of analysis are simply on a higher plane of complexity than I am capable of. It was humbling.
It has been a sincere pleasure working with you, and certainly I hope that our paths will continue to intersect. And hey, we’re always interested in guest opinion posts when the muse strikes!
All the best,
Léo Charbonneau, editor