Our department has a boring, dry, ugly newsletter that appears every few years. One of the administrative assistants has always been in charge of it, and she has other priorities, and years go by without a newsletter. So.. I volunteered to organize, write, construct, create a new newsletter. In a way, it's yet another little task that I do while the important guys in the department make the big decisions, but only in a way. I actually like doing this kind of thing -- writing, putting together words and images to communicate with people. And I did volunteer. And now I have to create something.
I have been poring over a lot of departmental newsletters this past week, looking for inspiration. My first conclusion is that there are a lot of boring, dry, ugly newsletters out there. Newsletters filled with lists of names, epic poems written for men getting awards, and photos of diverse groups of young students Doing Science.
It's quite possible that my enthusiasm for doing something new and different will get stomped on by the reality of creating this thing whilst also writing a proposal, giving an invited talk a couple thousand miles from here, teaching, attending a conference a couple thousand miles from here, and finishing up some papers by the end of the semester. And studying for my own final exam in my intro language course!
But I would like to do something fun and aesthetically pleasing with this newsletter. I am getting sort of fond of the idea of 'interviewing' some of our new faculty members rather than just writing a few paragraphs about each of them, with questions like "Why do you do what you do?" and "How did you get here?", not just "What do you do and how do you do it?".
The Chair's view of this newsletter is that it is a vehicle for attracting donations. I will try not to let that harsh economic reality intrude too much on my enjoyment of the project, which I mostly see as a way to communicate with friends and alums of the department. I find myself imagining that I am writing it for some of my former students, and thinking about what they might want to know about the department now.
Any suggestions of what you like to read or see in an academic newsletter?
6 months ago