Welcome to the blog at drbrianbourke.com! I begin this blog, along with my website and podcast, as part of an overall effort to connect with more people in student affairs and higher education. These online spaces serve as my lab for engaging my curiosity. As I share on my new podcast, I’m Curious, curiosity is what drives me. As I think about my time working in higher education, it all comes back to being curious. This curious has fueled my academic pursuits, and helps keep my work as a faculty member fresh and current.

Being a faculty member at a rural institution can feel a bit isolating. I love being at Murray State University, and Murray, Kentucky is a great place to live. But, the reason I became a faculty member was to extend my reach when it comes to having an impact on my profession, and ultimately, on college students through the students I teach. When I started as a faculty member in 2007, I was on Facebook, and that was it. I was of the mind that any writing needed to be for traditional publication outlets, especially peer-reviewed journals, so I wasn’t interested in blogging.

Fast-forward ten years, and I’m ready to jump in. Over those ten years, I’ve certainly created my own approach to teaching: I tell stories. No, I’m not the first professor to use storytelling as a part of teaching, but it is part of my approach. I’ll bring that same approach to many of my blog posts. Stories help me explain how I’ve engaged my curiosity to connect dots and reach conclusions. Through a mix of personal stories, as well as stories that reflect things I’ve learned from others, I hope you find them engaging, and you feel you’ve gained something from them.

Yellow pencil on blank pages of open notebook, the perfect place to engage curiosity

Curiosity Finds a Home

While I’ve blogged before on other platforms, I wanted a space all my own, that doesn’t rely on having an account, being friends, being connected, or following each other. If we are friends, connections, or follow each other, you might recognize some posts, and I’ll always indicate if I previously published a post elsewhere.

When I get up in the morning, I like to get up and scan blogs and social media. I like to start my day by seeing what’s on people’s minds. Whether you read this blog when you wake up, or another time in the day, my hope is to offer something quickly consumable, and that gets you asking questions, and maybe even feeling inspired to seek answers to those questions.

The Target Audience

The primary audience I have in mind for this blog are folx who identify with the student affairs field. The idea of being “in student affairs” can be contentious, as org charts sometimes place individuals outside of the student affairs division. I hope that what I share in this blog speaks to anyone who feels connected to or associated with student affairs as a field of practice, a field of study, a profession, or any other way you personally experience that connection.

With that audience in mind, I’ll offer a glimpse of the topics I’m likely to address in blog posts. When I think about topics, and what I’ll write about those topics, I think about what I’ve experienced as a practitioner, and as a scholar. These topics include assessment, diversity, social justice, online learning, and gamification. I also read a lot of advice about research and writing, so I’ll offer my spin on those topics.

I’ll probably veer from that list of topics from time to time, and even venture away from topics connected to student affairs and higher education. I’ll say more on this, but I want to use these online spaces to connect with folx, and that means sharing more than just my thoughts on my professional field. But, and the end of the day, the piece that ties everything together is inquiry. If we can shift our mindsets in student affairs toward continually learning about ourselves, our students, and the ways in which we serve them, imagine what we could do as a field!

I want you! (well, your engagement)

Brian Bourke pointing in front of a screen displaying the word inquiry which connects to Brian's central focus of curiosity.

I want to hear from you. You’ll notice that I have a comment feature on the blog. I welcome your feedback, critiques, criticism, and even praise. You never know, I might ask you to join me on The I’m Curious Podcast to chat about your commentary. Remember, though, that the blog, podcast, website, and social media are something extra I do, and not my full-time job. So, there might be times when you’ve left a comment and are anxious for me to respond. Don’t worry – if you leave a comment requesting a response, I’ll respond.  Do you like hateful comments? Me neither, so I’ll delete those, but will address anything marginally constructive.

Comments aren’t the only way to leave feedback or otherwise connect. You can send an email to drbrianbourke@gmail.com, or send a tweet to @drbbourke. You can also find me on Facebook and LinkedIn. But as I said, I don’t want site-specific memberships or logins to function as barriers to connecting.

Hopes and Dreams

One of my goals for my blog, website, podcast, and social media accounts, is to have some continuity across them. There might not be a direct connection between a blog post and podcast episode. But by having everything connected, I can have a unified approach to connecting with you. Another goal I have is to generate opportunities to share my expertise with others. I am on the lookout for opportunities speaking at a campus, keynoting a conference, or consulting. I hope you find my blog posts useful. Whether there’s something informative, or something that makes you stop and think (but hopefully both), you find it useful.

Curiosity is Contagious!

I hope you enjoy the posts to come. Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter, where I’ll announce new blog posts and podcast episodes. But don’t worry, you’ll never receive more than one email per week. If you want announcements for when each new post publishes and new episode drops, subscribe to the RSS feed. I look forward to connecting with you, and hope to hear from you on social media, or via email.