Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bits & Bobs

Today we offer some bits and pieces.

SAIS Bologna is running a month-long contest aimed at alumni. They have been asked to show what they miss most about their year in Bologna. It's a way of sharing memories and drawing the SAIS Bologna community closer together.

If you go to our home page and click on any of the pictures on the right under the heading "Summer Challenge", you will see contributions from alumni. After less than a week, the offerings include photographs, video and an essay from an alumna whose fondest memories will surprise and move you.

Most of our readers are not alumni and so would not want to participate in this contest -- even if the first prize is a dinner worth up to $600. But if you are a prospective applicant or an incoming student, you might like to take a peek at the contributions to see what Bologna has meant to our alumni, from the most recent graduates to those from earlier days.

Some of you may have noticed that we recently added some new features to this blog including a search function and a list of the labels or tags that we've used on posts. We'd like to start running occasional polls of readers to promote interactivity and stir ideas.

Our first poll aims to help us focus on what might interest our readers. We are asking you to tell us what kinds of polls you would like to see: polls on international economic issues, graduate study, SAIS Bologna, politics, global security, global social trends or technology.

After one week and with one week remaining, we've received only seven responses. We thank those who have taken the time to register their views; however, seven responses are not enough to give us a clear idea of what readers would prefer.

So please take a minute -- quite literally, a minute -- to vote on this poll so we know what kinds of polls would most interest you.

We watch our readership statistics with an eagle eye. (If you have a blog, I bet you do the same.) In any case, we've noticed a pickup in the number of readers who are shopping around for graduate schools. We know this because they are reading some of our earliest posts which laid out the basics of SAIS.

If you are considering applying to a graduate school in international relations, you might like to subscribe to this blog. It's an easy (and free) way to stay in touch and learn more about SAIS. We would encourage you to submit your email address in the "Follow by Email" section on the upper right hand of the main page. Up to you whether you'd like to become a Follower.

We encourage readers to send in feedback, either by using the comment boxes at the bottom of posts or by sending an email to

In the next few weeks, as our incoming students get their feet on the ground in Bologna, we'll turn our attention to those readers who know relatively little about SAIS. Our goal will be to give readers a sense of who and what we are, how the application process works, what is expected of candidates, how to learn more about us and how best to prepare an application.

We look forward to helping prospective candidates take the right decision as they -- you -- face the future.

Nelson Graves


Anonymous said...

Just a small thought on the low number of poll replies. It might be related to the fact that people use rss readers or email notifications to read this blog. In those case you wouldn't notice any polls

Nelson Graves said...

Anonymous - That's a very good point. We now have 11 poll votes, up from 7 yesterday, so we're on the right track -- but still a ways from where I'd like to be. I wonder what we can do beyond asking readers to vote. Your thoughts?


Nelson Graves said...

Also, if someone receives the blog via email and does not consult the actual blog online, they cannot see any video that is attached to the post. Something we will have to point out in a future post.

Ihssane said...

I agree with the reader above and think the best way to notify readers about a poll is to perhaps include it in its own post/thread (Today's Poll!), with perhaps a small writeup. This would also allow readers to expand a little bit in the comment section about the issue at hand.