Why are faculty and staff on Facebook?

Students are not the only ones on Facebook. A steady influx of outsiders-those not belonging to the original college student-targeted membership-have joined the Facebook ranks in the three years since its creation. Facebook is now open to anyone with a desire to join, but why would professors or the administration have any interest in joining?

Two of Eastern’s more prominent officials with Facebook accounts are Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president of student development, and Daryl Hawkins, dean of students.

Brigham uses her account primarily to keep in touch with old friends. Her profile page is adorned with photo albums, posted items, her educational information and even wall posts.

Hawkins’ page is less informative, containing only his first name, date of birth and email address. He uses his account mainly as a way for people to contact him.

Though not the sole reason for having their accounts, both Brigham and Hawkins admit that they have used Facebook to investigate concerns brought to their attention about students.

“Facebook has presented a lot of problems for students all over the country,” Brigham said. “If someone brings something to our attention and it seems concerning, then we’ll check it out.”

“The students in this community are pretty responsive to the way that they want their community to be,” Hawkins said. “I will get some stuff that says, ‘Hey, look at this page or look at this group.'”

Both Hawkins and Brigham made it clear that they do not go searching for information on Facebook – something that they do not have the time or want to do.

Many of Eastern’s other faculty and staff members have acquired Facebook accounts for various reasons.

“It’s just one more way to communicate,” said Tess Bradley, director of career and leadership development at Eastern. “It’s a relationship thing. It’s a way to keep in touch.”

Bradley has her own Facebook account that she has used to communicate with people and to create groups. The first two groups Bradley created were intended for Leadership Grant Program students to interact with each other. The third group Bradley created, EU Career Services, has over 190 members and acts as a billboard of information, raising awareness of events and information that upperclassmen might be interested in knowing about.

Communications Professor Kevin Maness and political science department Chair Kathy Lee have Facebook accounts on which they post notes on, giving students interesting and thought-provoking topics to consider.

More recently the librarians at Eastern have begun using Facebook in an attempt to become more accessible to students.

“Anything that our students are spending a lot of time doing, we [the faculty at Eastern] would not be doing our job well if we had no clue about it,” Brigham said.

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