Tuesday, November 06, 2012


This Is Not About the Election

This is not about the election,  Instead, it’s about next week’s Big Announcement.

Q: So, what’s the big announcement?

A: You can’t just jump in like that.  Show some class, man!

Q: Okay, so can you give a hint?

A: Sure.  It’s a two-parter.

Q: Any celebrity scandal?  Is Lindsay Lohan involved in some way?

A: No.  

Q: Well, that’s refreshing.  Does it involve that book you’ve been unsubtly hinting at forever?

A: It does.  

Q: Hmm.  Y’know, many people would discount a book by an author with a pseudonym.

A: Really?

Q: It’s true.  And other people will make a point of smoking you out, just to prove that they can.

A: Hmm.  Well, that brings me to the second announcement.

Q: Which is...?

A: On Tuesday, November 13, I’ll drop the pseudonym.  The book, and the blog, will be under my real name.  

Q: Why?

A: Because I’m thinking the pseudonym has outlived its usefulness.  I’d like to participate more fully in the national conversation about public higher education, and I’ve hit a point where stepping up requires stepping out.  

Q: What about the folks who already know who you are?

A: I’m asking them to be good sports and not spoil the surprise.  I have the best readers ever, so I’m hoping they’ll indulge me this.  Yes, it’s possible to open presents early, but it’s more fun to wait for the right moment.

Q: What about the effects on campus?

A: My president knows, as does the leadership of the faculty union.  Most of my colleagues do, and a whole bunch of faculty do, too.  So I’m pushing an open door, in that sense.  

Q: Aren’t you afraid that people will comb old posts, pull out passages, and have you tarred and feathered?

A: That was the point of the pseudonym in the first place.  But I’m hopeful that locally, people will see my work over the last several years and understand the difference between policy preferences and a to-do list.  And I’ve made a point of being selective in what I’ve addressed over the years.  There’s nothing salacious about anybody in the book or on the blog, despite the title.  By now, my wise and worldly readers understand what I’m trying to do.  They may or may not agree with all of it, but it should be pretty clear that even when I express frustration or exasperation, it’s out of a desire for things to be better.  My criticism is intended to be constructive, to help public higher education fulfill its mission more effectively.  Besides, if academic freedom means anything at all, it should mean separating the person from the argument.  I trust that my critics will observe academic freedom, just as I do.

Q: Wouldn’t that have been true years ago, too?

A: Maybe, but it took a while for me to develop a writerly voice with which I’m comfortable.  In the early posts, there’s a lot of trying too hard.  Some of them are actually hard for me to read now.  Over the last couple of years, I feel like I’ve finally found a voice I’m comfortable identifying as my own.  It took experience to figure out that a degree of circumspection can actually help.

Q: So where will the blog go from here?

A: I intend to keep going as long as my readers will have me.  InsideHigherEd has been great, and I hope that dropping a barrier to visibility will allow me to participate more fully in the national conversation.  (For example, with the pseudonym dropped, I’ll participate in a panel discussion at the MLA conference in January.)  I’ve been frustrated over the years by seeing a yawning gap in the conversation where actual, on-the-ground academic administrators should be. I’ve been able to insinuate myself into that discussion at some level.  By taking off the training wheels, I’m hoping to be able to participate more effectively.  The stakes for public higher education are incredibly high right now, and I couldn’t forgive myself for staying on the sidelines when there’s public work to be done.  It’s time to step up.

Q: What’s the book about?

A: I’ll address that on Tuesday, November 13.

It's a good thing to do. I commend and admire you.
Cheering you on, DD! I'm also looking forward to your book.
DD, I'm looking forward to your book!
I've assumed for some time now that folks on your campus know who is writing this blog, so it shouldn't be a surprise on that end. Several topics would be obvious if they came from my campus.
I'm really glad you've decided to unmask yourself! Your posts have always been light enough on the details that I felt the pseudonym wasn't necessary.

I've recently come to the conclusion too that my participation in the online world is not something I need to hide from students or friends or people trying to find me. If they want to be my facebook friend, so be it: I'm not going to be on facebook enough to see the pictures of their last party anyways.

Looking forward to buying your book.
Congratulations, DD. Been reading for a long time, and I'm looking forward both to the book and looking at how the big reveal plays out.

(Of course, somebody has to represent the still-pseudonymous, so I'll do so, Slashdot style.)
I say it's about time you stepped out and shared with the world your true and honorable name of Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve. Good on ya, Throcky!

Oh damn, I just blew the surprise. Sorry.
I am so happy for you, and so proud of you as well. I can't wait to read the book!

Looking forward to your annoucement! Your friend IRL and in the blogospehere,
Congratulations, looking forward to it.
If The Girl is no longer pseudonymous, she might no longer be in preschool.

SamChevre, loyal reader since 2005
Although you may prepared to abandon pseudonymity, is that appropriate for The Wife, The Girl, and The Boy?

I applaud and respect your ambition, but I hope your Friday posts continue with their brand of unique charm.
I'm a very new reader, don't know what you've said about your kids, but I ditto Dantes. I remember feeling kind of irked or exposed when my parents repeated stuff with family or friends on the phone. Your kids are probably healthier mentally, and will grow up in a world that's a fishbowl. Still, don't be too pure to delete stuff. I guess it's never really gone, but it doesn't have to be easy to find.

Actually the same goes, I think, for any old stuff you no longer feel great about sharing. If anyone wants to make "gotcha" allegations, let them have their fun & put them on ignore.
Happy "coming out" friend!
Delightedly looking forward to the book. I've been a reader here for years, and have learned a great deal. My thanks for that, and congratulations!
I came here via Google Blog Search on "Lindsay Lohan" "training wheels" and I must say I am hugely disappointed.

(But seriously--congrats with the book!)
The book is on order with amazon--looking forward to it as with all that you write.
I look forward to the book, and to hopefully a long string to come of civil, thoughtful posts on education, ed policy, institutional politics and the joys of your family--which have provided counterpoint to my own over the five years or so (wait a minute! Were't these blog things supposed to be short-lived ephemeral phenomena?!?) I've been a reader. BTW, your posts seem to attract comments from people who I would be glad to call friends and coleagues. This is certainly a reflection of their personalities, but also of the example you set for us.
With congratulations--DocDave
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