Now that most phone calls at the office are official, not private, I’ve been practising answering my office phone with a serious, deep-voiced “Jill Walker” rather than my habitual, informal “Hei det er Jill!” I forgot last Wednesday though. The man on the other end had to ask me: “Jill Walker?” Yes, I told him. “This is Sigmund Grønmo,” he said. “You might know who I am?” Uh, yes. He’s our university’s rektor, the top boss of Bergen academia. We’re quite a large university, with 16000 students and over 2000 employees, so I’ve never actually met our current rektor, though I briefly met the previous one. The rektor doesn’t ring you every day.

“I’ve got great news for you,” he said. “You’ve won one of the Meltzer Foundation‘s prizes for excellence in research dissemination!”

I yelped a TAZ DINGO (or words to that effect) and then fell silent.

“Are you sure this is really Sigmund Grønmo?”
“You’re not some Nigeria spammer?”
“No, you can ring me back if you want to check,” he said with a chuckle in his voice.
“No, no, I believe you! But you’re really sure about this prize?”
“Yes! And there’s a hundred thousand kroner for you and we want you to come to the dinner, of course, next Wednesday. You’re not busy? I don’t supposed you’ve been to the Meltzer dinner before, have you?”
“All the professors go. And of course we’ll want you there. Oh, and don’t tell anyone until the press release is out!”
“OK… And, my goodness, thank you!”

The internal university newspaper announced it this morning, so I guess he must have been telling the truth.

I’ve been very ambivalent about blogging in the last months. I suppose this sounds a little, well, obvious, but seeing that the university officially, publically and financially are saying that this blogging is great stuff and we’re glad you’ve been doing it, well, that’s astounding. It’s incredibly motivating and validating. And while I’m still not exactly sure how to blog as a somewhat established, young, female, head-of-small-department academic in new media, I’m sure I’ll find a way I’m comfortable with and that’s mine. I had the PhD student blog, the newbie university teacher and the brand new head-of-small-department blog down pat, after all).

And hey, you know, if I’d had a pseudonymous academic blog like my almost daily reads Bitch PhD, See Jane Compute, Dr. Crazy, See Jane in the Academy, Profgrrrrl, Learning Curves or Confessions of a Community College Dean (the thought of which has appealed more and more to me) I couldn’t blog this! And would that blog be mine if I couldn’t blog something like this?

Somebody must have nominated me for this prize. If they’re reading this: thank you. I had absolutely no idea, and sudden official university recognition of research blogging as important for the university as a whole is amazing and just extremely motivating.

(Also, I have this sudden urge to email Ivan Tribble, who famously claimed in The Chronicle of Higher Education that blogging would guarantee you not getting an academic job, and tell him the news. Heh.)

06. March 2006 by Jill
Categories: Blogging | 60 comments

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