With a blog for The Chronicle of Higher Education and an appointment to an American Bar Association committee, in addition to other projects, former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg will keep a busy schedule this spring.
Trachtenberg has taken on many new ventures within the past two months, in addition to teaching a class, writing two books and serving on many boards.
“I’m working harder now than I did as president,” Trachtenberg said. “I’m putting in more hours and doing a lot of stuff myself.”
Trachtenberg has already started blogging two or three times per week for The Chronicle, a publication that provides advice, news and job listings for people in the higher education field.
“I received an invitation from the Chronicle,” he said. “The phone rang, they told me they had an idea and thought I would be a good guy to participate.”
The former university president is one of seven bloggers on the Web site. Other bloggers include the former president of the University of Connecticut and faculty from University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Emory and Hofstra universities.
“We were looking for people from a variety of perspectives who can blog about (higher education) ideas and culture,” said Liz McMillen, editor in chief of The Chronicle. “I think he brings a good, distinctive voice to this site.”
Another one of Trachtenberg’s many projects is his spring 2008 class in the School of Public Policy and Public Administration. The graduate class was so popular that 15 students had to be turned away.
“What happened was, someone mistakenly double listed the course in two different schools,” said Kathryn Newcomer, associate director of SPPPA. “We had to drop everyone from both classes and create a new class. Spots for the new class were first come first serve.”
Trachtenberg said he was flattered that there was such a high demand for his class, adding that he hopes those who could not get a spot in his class for the spring will choose to take it again next fall.
“Those students who were dropped will get priority for the class in the fall and are invited for a pizza party,” Trachtenberg said.
Furthermore, the president emeritus has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s Library of Congress Advisory committee. The committee is working to make an independent library for all of the law volumes in the Library of Congress, similar to the independent Medical Library of Congress.
“The committee is working with James Billington, the librarian, to see if this can be negotiated,” Trachtenberg said.
On top of his blog, seminar class and membership on the ABA’s Library of Congress Advisory Committee, the former University president also received the Allen P. Splete Award for Outstanding Service from the Council of Independent Colleges. The award is given out yearly to recognize contributions to the field of higher education.
“I’m deeply appreciative of this recognition by the Council of Independent Colleges for my contributions to higher education,” said Trachtenberg in a news release. “Organizations such as the council and the numerous individuals who strive to support, advance, and enhance the field, greatly improve the quality of a university education.”
Though Trachtenberg said he misses being the president of GW, he feels his new life offers him the freedom to try his hand in new projects.
“As president, each new year you get a new calendar,” he said. “The first thing you write in is Commencement, convocation, four board of trustee meetings, four Faculty Senate meetings, GW basketball games and by the time your done your entire calendar is filled up. Now it’s a much more individualized matter. I have a lot more freedom.”
He added, “This is new and entertaining, and I never know what is going to come next.”