Listening and Watching

As the new guy on campus I have been doing quite a bit of listening — and watching.  As I mentioned in my previous post I have taken time to walk around campus a bit, albeit not nearly as much as I had hoped during these first two weeks but enough to see the beauty that has become Stony Brook University. I read an old piece in the NY Times (funny that that is my new hometown newspaper) from 11 years ago talking about the efforts underway to make the campus a source of pride. Very interesting to see the “after” without having seen the “before.” Let’s say I am impressed with the progress.

One of the interesting connections to that are the improvements that are underway on the technology side of the campus — less visible from the outside, but just as impactful in my opinion to the overall satisfaction of our faculty, staff, and students. I am thrilled about the new, nearly pervasive wireless access students will be greeted with in the Javits Lecture Hall this fall — this is just one small example of our collective work getting ready for fall 2013 and the networking upgrades that the DoIT team have been working on the last few years. This one thing is a huge deal to the nearly 60,000 students that pass through these learning spaces each week — and it will be to faculty too as we watch them envision ways to engage their learners in this newly enabled space.  I am confident that my colleagues in Teaching and Learning with Technology will be ready with ideas on how to leverage the affordances of this space with new connectivity.

I’ve also spent a ton of time listening in both traditional and non traditional ways.  I’ve had plenty of meetings with both our own staff in DoIT and with members of our administration. Each meeting I learn more — my Evernote app is exploding with new pages! It pushed me to do something I haven’t done in a while — I turned to Twitter to see what I could find from as many SBU channels as I could … and I found a ton. So much so that I started a Twitter list that I am adding as many Stony Brook related accounts i can find to and I am watching it as much as possible.  It is a vibrant and connected community and I encourage you to follow along (and suggest new follows for the list).

It doesn’t just stop with twitter. Our students are very active on tumblr as well and I am particularly fascinated by the sbufresh tumblr … really quite amazing. I was impressed enough to send a note to our director of communications last night and today she reached out to the owner of this very helpful tumblr to help us find a new channel for us to share some information.

Today I walked campus as new student move in was on display. It is always humbling to watch parents take a final stroll with their children as they get ready to leave them to start their freshmen years. It is in that I hope we can all see how critical our mission really is — to play a part in making the years they spend here an overwhelmingly positive experience. I saw so much today that filled me with pride and as the new guy, that was an emotion I wasn’t sure I was expecting to have. Seeing the student volunteers, the staff ready to lend a hand, and knowing that we were working feverishly behind the scenes to make sure the IT infrastructure of campus is ready for the big day on Monday was really great. I know most of us will be on call this weekend and I know we will be ready for them.

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