Friday, December 7, 2007

Why Blog?

The obvious question before starting a blog is: Why do it? Considering that the Internet is filled with countless mindless and mindful offerings, why should AICUO add another voice to the cacophony? The short answer is: because in our little corner of the world, nobody speaks with regularity, clarity, or utility.

Our world is Ohio higher education. And while there may be billions of electrons communicating the latest nonsense about drunk celebrities driving with their children, and the political musings of people who have not left their house to speak with actual people for days on end, the pickings are pretty slim here.

In Ohio higher education, we have new public forums for debating the governor’s plan for a “University System of Ohio.” We have occasional political views from the left and right about higher education. We also have solid coverage about higher education issues spread across numerous papers in our great state, which most people do not see because they receive, at most, one of those papers.

The problem is that no resource collects it all in a useful, readable way for the interested public. Starting today, that changes.

AICUO’s blog is intended to capture the now in Ohio higher education policy and politics. Make no mistake, we have a view. We believe that higher education is the key for this state’s long term economic revitalization. We believe that nonprofit, independent higher education institutions play a key role in educating Ohioans:

But this blog will be more than just another point-of-view dispenser. We will focus on the facts that affect all of Ohio’s higher education policy. Our state will see a decline in high school graduates soon. Ohio remains undereducated compared to other states, and it is a condition not uniformly spread across the state. These are facts that affect all of higher education, not just the independent sector.

AICUO’s goal in establishing this website is to become the indispensable source of higher education policy and politics in Ohio. We have first mover advantage in what is admittedly a boutique market. We hope to gain your interest and trust by linking to the news that is newsworthy, commenting on political developments that are relevant, and identifying policy trends that shape higher education in Ohio.

We will provide you with distilled, accurate information in a form that is easy to consume. We will unpack the jargon from the executive and legislative branches to get at its real meaning. We will also link to reports that you may not have see that are, or will be, or should be, changing policy in this state for the better (or worse). Some of our coverage will be international, some federal, some state, and some local. Some will draw on the observations of my colleagues in other states, or AICUO presidents, or admissions counselors, or even the entire campus community. All, we hope, will matter to you.

Lastly, we hope to be entertaining. I will be honest—I have been around education policy and politics for most of my career, and what little humor there is to be found tends to be unintentional. When Mount Union wins another football championship and Cedarville wins another Solar Splash, you will see it here. When Case Western Reserve adds another Nobel laureate, you will see it here. If you want to learn how Ohio State’s football coach’s compensation compares favorably to other Division I football coaches in Ohio, you will see it here. If a famous Ohio private college graduate and actress discusses her family plans . . ., well, you probably won’t see it here. (You would have to go here.)

Good reading to you.

—C. Todd Jones