Every time I make it “around the horn” to celebrate another successful year of consulting, speaking, and writing, I get a bit reflective about the journey. As if on cue, Dustin Ramsdell from the The Student Affairs Spectacular Podcast, invited me to do an interview about my endeavors.
Here’s the full audio interview where I go into detail about my journey as a student affairs professional / higher education consultant. I manage to throw in some thoughts on work/life balance as well as some insight into what my typical day is all about.
Spoiler alert: life is great, work and life aren’t a dichotomy, and it’s been 4 years since I started doing this work full-time. Thanks Dustin for giving me some time on your show.
I started 2013 off with a digital identity talk at Curry College for their Career Services Conference for Seniors. They were an awesome group! I’ve included the video of my talk and a Storify from the event:
Part of the experience of being a keynote speaker at the Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values is that you get to do an interview with the Character Clearinghouse at Florida State University. The questions from Pamela Crosby, the editor of the site (as well as the Journal of College and Character), were stellar. Here’s an excerpt:
Why should students care about their digital identity?
Students should care about their digital identity for a variety of reasons. As members of a campus community, it is important for students to know that their online actions can have impact. Student Conduct offices are no longer just concerned with what happens in the brick-and-mortar campus spaces. Additionally, most students are pursuing future careers, and higher education is their launch pad. Social media posts can show up in search engine queries. Companies are no longer just looking at your resume. They want to know what you are doing (and saying) online too. Now, that’s more of the punitive side of things. Digital identity is about much more than just worrying about its effects on future employment or conduct violations. Students with a fluent grasp of social media can accelerate their learning, develop meaningful connections with peers, and grow their professional network. What we do online can affect our face-to-face interactions…and vice versa.
Why should higher education be concerned about students’ digital identity?
I think that when the original work on “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” first became popular, it caused an educational disconnect. Administrators and staff at institutions seemingly (without a lot of critical discourse) bought the rhetoric that students were digitally savvy. In fact, students are no better at creating and cultivating their digital identity than anyone else. We’re all digital students in the sense that we are constantly learning how to use the social tools while they are constantly evolving. Schools need to be intentional about how they incorporate digital identity development into their educational constructs. Social media are not a trend or a fad that are going to someday evaporate. We need to be proactive with teaching our students how to build their digital identity versus being reactive whenever they post something that we wish hadn’t made it onto the web. Like anything in education, critical conversations about digital identity are essential. It’s like that movie, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” we have to jump in, create our own digital identity, and educate our students too.
The most-commented, most-discussed post that I’ve ever written for Inside Higher Ed was last year’s “Where Are the Radical Practitioners” entry. It quickly collected far more comments than I had expected, and I made the decision not to answer any of them due to the epic amount of time that it would’ve taken to constructively engage with all of them. Out of frustration and needing to vent, I did write up a quick “pseudo addendum” and posted it to this blog as “Radical and Student Affairs.”
What happened after that was an intriguing journey as I was asked to talk about being radical in student affairs at the Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference. In hindsight, I don’t think I really needed the social media aspect of my Big Ideas talk. Next time!
Unlike any other conference that I spoke at last year, 99% of Big Ideas featured speakers weren’t employed in higher education. It made for a fascinating event. My favorite part of the Big Ideas experience was meeting so many cool speakers. Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere and I had a great chat about our appreciation for retro Saucony sneakers. Amber Rose Johnson gave a slam poetry reading that gave me chills. And then there was Dayna Steele…well, she’s a legit rockstar! The full slide deck and video of my talk is after the jump. Continue reading Getting Radical at the Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference
It’s official…I’ll be speaking at Blackboard’s annual users conference – BbWorld – in New Orleans. The topic for this talk is mobile + higher education. And, because I’m such an uber nerd, I’ll also be doing my best to incorporate Star Wars into my 55 minute talk. The kind folk at Blackboard wrote up a blog post intro’ing my participation…Blackboard Mobile is definitely a cool segment! Here’s the session description:
Want to better engage your current (and prospective) students? Building bigger Death Stars is not the answer – instead, be a better Ewok! Eric Stoller is a nationally known thought leader, speaker, author, consultant and blogger in the areas of higher education, student affairs, and technology. Join this avowed student affairs radical as he discusses the human-centered technology revolution and mobile’s critical role at the center of the student experiences on campus.
I asked a question and received 40 comments: “Where are the Radical Practitioners?” One of the interesting themes was the idea that people couldn’t be radical (as they defined it) for fear of losing their jobs…couple that logic to another theme: because I am no longer a fulltime student affairs practitioner, I am no longer qualified or credible when it comes to asking about or asking for radical practices in student affairs. Seems like I am in a prime position to add radical commentary as I am not in a position to “lose” my job. Although, some (and I would agree) would say that I am in a far riskier position as a consultant who generates controversial critical conversations. And, while I was employed fulltime, I would like to point out that that was when the majority of my radical writing took place. In fact, I remember when I got raked over the coals after this post came out about student affairs and technology. That particular post, in my view, was fairly benign in terms of its “radical” nature. However, it was perceived by some as too provocative.
Radical Student Affairs Practitioners … Do they exist? Does our profession allow them to exist? Do we nurture them or isolate them? Are they leading our associations or quietly leading from the periphery? Does Student Affairs deconstruct the status quo or do we sustain it?
Social Media and the Senior Student Affairs Officer (SSAO) Educate, Engage, and Energize Students
With the rapid growth of social media and accompanying surge in online activity, particularly among university and college students, student affairs staff are using the latest technologies to engage students and forge stronger ties to programs, services, and events. Increasingly, senior student affairs officers (SSAOs) are building their own communities and initiating important conversations through a variety of social media sites. This article provides an overview of social media and how it can help student affairs make and keep vital connections. Continue reading Social Media and the SSAO