The amount of attention focused on how technology impacts education in (or out of) the lecture hall often overshadows its affect on its impact behind the scenes. Take, for example, the university presidency. Among the duties of those presiding over higher ed institutions is outreach, and if technology has done anything for the men and women running the nation's colleges, it has made it easier for these leaders to develop a unique relationship with students (both prospective and current), parents, the community and more.
To help you find the best examples and figure out who to follow, we've compiled, in no particular order, a list of 10 of the best presidents' twitter accounts. Though some of these presidents have a much more prolific social media presence than others, they've all managed to successfully develop a social media approach that makes sense for them.
1. SANTA J. ONO, UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
On Twitter: @PrezOno
Recently recognized as one of academia’s most prolific tweeters (students love him!) Santa J. Ono is an obvious choice for this list. With over 22,000 followers and frequent interactions with students and others in the community, he’s easily one of the nation’s most popular college presidents, and that can only bode well for Cinci.
@Joshuathannah thank you Josh. I would love to welcome him to UC. It's a very special school.— Santa J. Ono (@PrezOno) September 23, 2013
2. WALLACE D. LOH, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
On Twitter: @presidentloh
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh uses Twitter a bit more formally than Ono, frequently sharing news about his institution and higher ed in general. Still, it’s not entirely uncommon to see him sharing his passion for the school’s academics and athletics with followers.
3. WALTER M. KIMBROUGH, DILLARD UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @HipHopPrez
Historically black Dillard University in New Orleans benefits greatly from the outreach of its “hip hop prez,” Walter Kimbrough. The best part of Kimbrough’s feed is that, whether he’s tweeting (and retweeting) to promote the school or interacting with followers about last night’s football game, his posts are full of personality.
4. ANGEL CABRERA, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @CabreraAngel
Speaking of personality, George Mason University’s Angel Cabrera frequently shares posts and thoughts on developments outside of academia (though those posts are there, too). The topics of recent articles and videos retweeted range from whether you should try to be yourself at work to why “x” represents the unknown.
5. RENU KHATOR, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
On Twitter: @UHpres
While she doesn’t interact with students as much as some of the others on our list, Renu Khator doesn’t play around when it comes to showing pride in the University of Houston—her Twitter feed is all UH, all the time. If you need a lesson on how to display school spirit, she’s one of the first people you should follow.
Giving interview at NASA in Washington, DC, about STEM education at UH!— Renu Khator (@UHpres) September 23, 2013
6. R. BOWEN LOFTIN, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @aggieprez
Santa J. Ono might have grabbed the headlines last week, but Texas A&M’s R. Bowen Loftin is just as prolific a tweeter as the U. of Cincinnati prez. Loftin’s feed is practically dominated by interactions with students and other followers, and many of the interactions show just how much he cares about the TAMU’s student body.
@CrystalCBradley I am not sure any of us can live without trusting someone.— R. Bowen Loftin '71 (@aggieprez) September 22, 2013
7. KIRK H. SCHULZ, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @kstate_pres
Another university president with an impressive Twitter following, Kirk H. Schulz is one more reason we could have also titled this story “10 university presidents whose Twitter accounts show that they care.” Few things promote your institution as a welcoming environment than personally welcoming incoming freshmen or just taking time to engage in some lighthearted banter.
8. MICHAEL CROW, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @michaelcrow
Arizona State University President Michael Crow stays busy. He recently hosted a visit from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Before that, he announced a transatlantic partnership with Dublin City University. He even finds time to offer assistance when students have trouble with dorm elevators. Of course, you probably know these things already if you’re following him.
9. BRIAN W. CASEY, DEPAUW UNIVERSITY
The president of DePauw (not to be confused with DePaul), Brian Casey doesn’t just use Twitter to interact with students and promote his university—he adds a little humor to followers’ feeds. Whether he’s pondering the commercial fates of his favorite songs or tweeting Prof. Sununu sightings, you’ll likely get a chuckle or two along with the information he provides.
10. JOHN MAEDA, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
On Twitter: @johnmaeda
Possibly the most-followed president of any higher education institution, John Maeda has well over a quarter of a million followers. His knowledge of design is paralleled by few, and is likely part of the reason for his vast following. In his feed, you’ll find quotes, thoughts on design and links to articles, photos and more.
OH "When others go low, go high." http://t.co/3u20u3Dat7— johnmaeda (@johnmaeda) September 23, 2013
Would you like to see more education news like this in your inbox on a daily basis? Subscribe to our Education Dive email newsletter! You may also want to read Education Dive's look at where the richest people in America went to college.