… or, to be more clear, so this blog begins. Events leading up to this blog began quite some time ago.
I’m Phil, and this is Bev. Bev and I met in early 2010 during an open forum that addressed a large issue at our university. We discovered that we had some similar ways of thinking about things, and some similar, odd interests. Several conversations and a flurry of book and website recommendations ensued. In 2011 I was working on a small committee to assess a complex issue embedded throughout the university, and Bev helped us figure out how to communicate the results sensibly to a range of university stakeholders with a diversity of viewpoints. More conversations and reading recommendations flowed, and we knew we would have a lot of fun working together.
Since then we’ve been playing with data, visualizations, and ideas, writing, and trying to capture and clarify how we see and understand the university. How others see and understand it. How we can see and understand it better.
Our explorations have generated a lot of traces: notes of conversations, snippets of text, and chart paper with some crazy diagrams (the ‘starfish web’ is our favourite). Some concrete things have begun to emerge, too: some prototype software tools, a journal article, a workshop, a road map for more articles and workshops, and a collection of questions. We also found a concept that describes for us the main theme of our work: The Legible University. This blog is a way to help us bring more of our exploration into a concrete form, and find others – like you – to explore with us.
If we’re going to call the blog “The Legible University”, it’s only fair that we should start by telling you what a Legible University is – or at least what we think it means, right now. If that sounds to you like a disclaimer so that, right from the start, we can slide out of committing to a firm definition, you’re completely correct: it won’t be the last time, either.
It’s probably a good idea to know up front what to expect when you read this. Essentially, and we suspect sometimes regrettably, we’re thinking out loud. We’re talking with each other and hopefully talking with you, to develop our ideas about what a Legible University is, how we might all become more insitutionally literate, and how a university might become more legible. We’re in the early stages of the journey, and you may wish to get a sense of where we’re starting from.
We hope you’ll join us once in a while for the journey and for the conversation.