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Maclean’s magazine adds Memorial contingent

By Heidi Wicks

Dr. Dale Kirby

A Faculty of Education member at Memorial will be a regular contributor to Maclean’s On-campus website.

Dr. Dale Kirby has been writing his post-secondary blog since January 2007. The blog is devoted to the identification and discussion of major issues, politics, practices and problems in post-secondary education in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and beyond.

But starting in mid-July, the address will move from to www.maclean’

“I think there’ll be a synergistic relationship,” said Dr. Kirby, agreeing that his hits will likely significantly increase. “A national newspaper’s website would naturally get a lot more activity than my own blog would. People who are reading the other bloggers on Maclean’s or even just articles on Maclean’s will have an encounter with my blog.”

Maclean’s began its blog in February 2007. It includes several bloggers, including high school students reporting on the transition into university, several undergraduate students, and also Tony Keller, the managing editor of Special Projects with Maclean’s On-campus, who oversees the magazine’s four issues specifically devoted to higher education.

Mr. Keller wasn’t sure how he initially stumbled across Dr. Kirby’s blog, but cited him as an obvious choice for Canada’s only news site devoted specifically to higher education.

“Dale is a very important blogger in post-secondary education in Canada, and an important source of information,” said Mr. Keller. “He’s very much on top of the news, he’s obviously reading very widely and he is pulling out topics that are significant. And he’s not only finding the information, but because of his
background he’s able to make connections among different stories, and he can make that translation from information to knowledge. I’m really looking forward to having him.”

Dr. Kirby admitted that although it’s tricky to maintain the site while so busy with other writing and presentations, but also confessed that his new addiction keeps him going.

“It can be difficult to put substantive things on there every day, especially when you’re travelling,” said Dr. Kirby, adding that he has little trade secrets (which he refuses to reveal) that keep him writing every day. “I managed to blog while I was in Dublin, while I was in Budapest recently. So I’m kind of hooked. It’s become part of what I do every day. I feel like I’m contributing based on the number of readers I get on a daily basis, I feel that it’s an outlet for my own creativity.”

He added that daily writing practices are good exercise for the cerebral cortex. “Sometimes I’m just reporting the news, but other times it’s just that little bit of micro writing every day. It’s good practice for someone who’s in my practice,” he said.

Increased readership is a good thing, both for Dr. Kirby and Memorial. “My philosophy from the beginning has been to try and bring my academic work and issues and recent research to an audience that’s broader than my colleagues and students,” he said. “I would love for more people to know about our post-secondary program. The people teaching here are very knowledgeable. I’d like for students (across the country) who are interested in this kind of academic work to know that we have quite substantive work in our programs.”