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The CUNY Academic Commons: fostering faculty use of the social web

Matthew Gold (Assistant Professor of English, New York City College of Technology, and Project Director of the CUNY Academic Commons, New York, New York, USA)
George Otte (University Director of Academic Technology, The City University of New York, New York, New York, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 1 February 2011




This paper sets out to analyze the implementation of an academic social network that connects faculty members, administrators, and graduate students in a multi‐campus university system. Part of a new generation of university‐sponsored virtual spaces that foreground social networking, the CUNY Academic Commons has fostered a growing community of members who use the site to collaborate with colleagues across the system. This paper seeks to describe the processes involved in creating the site and to offer guidance to institutions considering similar projects.


The paper presents a case study of the CUNY Academic Commons that is supported by site analytics, usage reports, and public site materials.


The CUNY Academic Commons has increased awareness of member projects and research interests, built a greater sense of community between discrete campuses, promoted an open culture of sharing, and encouraged collaborative ventures across the system. The site gives members a greater degree of control over the design, presentation, and content of their own web‐based work than is traditionally possible in closed‐source, closely managed university websites.


The paper will be of interest to academic institutions interested in using social‐networking technologies to strengthen their communities.



Gold, M. and Otte, G. (2011), "The CUNY Academic Commons: fostering faculty use of the social web", On the Horizon, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 24-32.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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