The end of October 2016 marked the one-year anniversary of ‘Measuring success?’. The blog series has been developed – or perhaps curated – without a strong editorial line. We have helped develop some themes in the blog, but have not guided the topics much beyond defining the basic parameter that posts had to be relevant to understanding the outcomes of scholarship programmes. In light of that, we felt that the anniversary post should be a reflection on the year from the editors, Matt Mawer and Sian Julian.
For those interested in the history of such projects, a word on the genesis of the blog series. To accompany a panel discussion at the 2015 NAFSA conference in Boston, Joan Dassin and I (Matt) decided to organise a small, informal side meeting of colleagues both involved with scholarship programmes and likely to already be at NAFSA in some capacity. We forewent renting the ‘fiendishly expensive’ projector and screen, leaving us with three hours of barely structured discussion among a group of scholarship researchers, policymakers, and administrators. The meeting was entitled ‘Consolidating an emerging field of scholarship evaluation and practice’ and many of those colleagues in attendance have subsequently worked together in various capacities over the intervening year and a half.
One part of the ‘consolidation’ was a resolution that those involved in scholarship programme policymaking, design, administration, and analysis, needed to write together more regularly and start a dialogue that could enrich the whole community. We initially conceived of a newsletter, and credit is due to our friend Robin Marsh – who later wrote for the series – for suggesting that a blog might be both better received and easier to sustain than a community newsletter. The readership of the blog that became ‘Measuring Success?’ has since spiralled out of all proportion to the meeting that spawned it. While only around 15 of us attended the meeting in Boston, the feeling that a much larger community would be enthusiastic to join an international dialogue about current trends in scholarship programmes has been roundly proven. A glance at the readership statistics for the series proves the point:
- In 12 months – 14 posts, 4400 views!
- The ‘Measuring success?’ landing page has been viewed by over 700 people (top countries: UK, USA, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, Nigeria, India, and Kenya)
- Overall readership of the blog series comes predominantly from Europe and the Americas, mostly through direct referrals (i.e. word of mouth)
- ‘The impact of home-country context on scholarship outcomes’ by Dr Anne Campbell is our most read post, published on 29/01/2016, with 767 unique readers, mostly from the USA (30%), the UK (19%), Canada (4%), and Albania (2%).