College presidents who lead 140 characters at a time

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If the President of the United States can tweet for himself, why can’t the president of a university?

The most effective Twitter streams in higher education are those that engage the audience, serve a purpose and provide a voice in the conversation. It’s an incredible bonus when that voice carries with it the weight on an institution.

Enter the tweeting president.

There’s a certain level of trepidation for most higher education administrators when it comes to Twitter. It’s not easy balancing institutional control with transparency.  But when that balance can be struck, the result is interesting, insightful and incredibly powerful. A president who embraces Twitter can personalize an institution in few other services can.

Already, there are dozens of university presidents blazing the way. Here are a few of my favorite feeds, in no particular order:

David Leebron, Rice University
@davidleebron
606 tweets | 7 following | 873 followers | 60 listed

President Leebron offers great insight into the day-to-day activities of a university president — at a ballgame with the mayor, attending a global summit of university presidents, walking the dog across campus, etc. The feed is personal and not afraid to share an opinion.

http://twitter.com/#!/davidleebron/status/82666502477713408

 

E. Gordon Gee, The Ohio State University
@presidentgee
990 tweets | 34 following | 18,454 followers | 532 listed

There’s not a lot of interaction between President Gee and his Twitter followers through this feed, but the stream does provide a clear and consistent image of an academic institution and its place in the world. I know it’s not all about the number of followers, but 18,000 is no number to ignore.

http://twitter.com/#!/presidentgee/status/82903065501503489

 

Renu Khator, University of Houston
@UHpres
890 tweets | 14 following | 2,856 followers | 110 listed

The feed from President Khator provides great personality while promoting all the school has to offer. She’s  not afraid to tweet pictures — from a meeting with Jim Lehrer to an alumni gathering in McAllen to the latest styles in University of Houston hats. It’s fun feed to watch.

http://twitter.com/#!/UHpres/status/80692088907374592

 

Beth Stroble, Webster University
@websterpres
1,088 tweets | 550 following | 645 followers | 49 listed

I’d be remiss not to put President Stroble on this list, not because she’s the president of the university where I work but because of the way she embraces Twitter. She snaps photos from around the world, share links and knows well the proper use of a hashtag.

http://twitter.com/#!/websterpres/status/80105607385980928

 

Jeff Abernathy, Alma College
@jeffabernathy
1,098 tweets | 409 following | 830 followers | 104 listed

President Abernathy maintains a great feed balancing industry news with personal opinions. He might share news of the school’s efforts to address the financial concerns of incoming students in one tweet followed by a personal lament of traffic after an alumni event in D.C.

http://twitter.com/#!/jeffabernathy/status/80366966883352576

 

Linda Glasscock, North Lake College
@nlcpresident
1,503 tweets | 148 following | 323 followers | 27 listed

A great deal of President Glasscock’s Twitter feed is dominated by the things she retweets — articles on higher education, tips for becoming a better writer, interesting infographics. But you have to love a Tweeter who takes the time to thank others for retweeting her original content.

http://twitter.com/#!/nlcpresident/status/81396760769085440

 

Rick Mann, Crown College
@presidentmann
2,561 tweets | 416 following | 540 followers | 25 listed

Crown College is a small Christian school located just outside of Minneapolis, Minn., and the tweets coming from President Mann clearly reflect its brand. The tone is personal and proud, two things that paint Crown College in a very positive light.

http://twitter.com/#!/presidentmann/status/82958811299708928

 

Christopher G. Maples, Oregon Institute of Technology
@presidentmaples
981 tweets | 746 following | 754 followers | 41 listed

The Twitter feed from President Maples is filled with mentions meaning here’s a man who’s not afraid to use Twitter for one of its most powerful features — connecting people on a personal level. President Maples does a great job of answering questions, offering congratulatory messages and engaging his audience.

http://twitter.com/#!/presidentmaples/status/82622580145664000

 

Biddy Martin, University of Wisconsin-Madison
@Biddy_Martin
1,261 tweets | 113 following | 5,705 followers | 264 listed

Perhaps the highest compliment I could pay Chancellor Martin is that although I do not know her, I feel like I do. She is engaging, enthusiastic and funny. Higher education administrators should take note.

http://twitter.com/#!/Biddy_Martin/status/82937629368262656

 

Do you know administrator in higher education worth following? Please add them to the comments below.

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37 Responses to “College presidents who lead 140 characters at a time”

  1. Bridget C. #

    You forgot the President of Univ. So. New Hampshire…his tweets are great!

    June 21, 2011 at 8:23 am
  2. Great add, Bridget. Paul J. LeBlanc, president at Southern New Hampshire, tweets at @snhuprez.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:33 am
  3. The K-State first family is on top of social media, both the president and first lady tweet, and very well I might add. http://twitter.com/#!/kstate_pres

    June 21, 2011 at 9:31 am
  4. Thanks, Chris.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:49 am
  5. Also, the tweeting president @HipHopPrez sent along a few others to follow: @BDTSpelman @michaelsorrell @TSUMadamePres @MorehouseMystiq

    June 21, 2011 at 9:51 am
  6. Our Chancellor at Indiana University East, Nasser Paydar, first tweeted on the way to the Obama inauguration and has been active and engaged ever since. http://twitter.com/paydar

    June 21, 2011 at 11:27 am
  7. Hi Patrick. Great list! I maintain a list on Twitter of tweeting HE leaders (including some great non-US ones too). I’ll be adding some of those outlined in these comments to my list, and I think you’ll see there are others on my list not mentioned so far in your or the comments: http://twitter.com/#!/picklejar/highered-leaders

    June 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm
  8. Thanks for the addition, John.

    And, Tracy, great list. Thanks!

    June 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm
  9. Great post – I picked up a couple of new ones. I maintain a list of VCs, Rectors, Presidents and Heads here:

    http://twitter.com/#!/alumnifutures/edleaders

    I think my list includes all of Tracy’s (minus the Lee Bollinger account, which is fake), plus another two dozen or so.

    Total currently followed on this list = 58 leaders.

    Thanks.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm
  10. Add to your tweet list, President Roger Casey, McDaniel College.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:40 am
  11. Our president tweets as well: http://twitter.com/#!/knowltod
    Dr. Knowlton tweets personal info in addition to campus info, and also checks in regularly using foursquare.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:48 am
  12. Amy #

    Follow Dr. Cissy Petty, the Vice Pres of Student Affairs and Associate Provost at Loyola University New Orleans. True she is not a Pres, yet, but when she is one day I know she will continue her own tweeting. Worth following for sure!

    June 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm
  13. As a Chief Academic Officer who is active in Twitter, I applaud this article! Check out my list of Community College Twitter accounts at:

    http://twitter.com/#!/sneadstatecao/community-colleges

    June 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm
  14. McDaniel College’s president Dr Roger Casey tweets at @DrRog

    June 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm
  15. UNC’s chancellor (same role as president) tweets and blogs. He’s at @chanthorp

    July 7, 2011 at 7:27 am
  16. Our soon-to-be president is tweeting, as well: https://twitter.com/#!/MonacoAnthony – I think he’s doing a great job :-)

    July 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm
  17. Don’t forget Angel Cabrera at Thunderbird School of Global Management! He’s been a great advocate of the service as well and has many international followers http://twitter.com/#!/cabreraangel

    July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm
  18. Also add Dr. Kent Ingle of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. He’s @KentIngle

    January 4, 2012 at 8:05 am
  19. I tweet @scottsand1 and blog on wordpress “education and empowerment.” Working to make a difference @devryuniv

    June 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm
  20. Greg Smith #

    Dr. Robert Manuel, University of Indianapolis. He’s a hoot and a breath of fresh air at the University of Indianapolis. #UINDYPREZ

    August 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm
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