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Be Different, Be Daring, Be Bold


On a whim, I picked up a copy of the recent edition of the Atlantic while in a long-forgotten airport terminal. The cover provoked me by implying that Facebook was making us lonely. Always looking for things that challenge my thinking, I gladly dove into the magazine. Surprisingly, the article that really resonated with me the most in the mag was a profile of Jonathan Blow, titled “The Most Dangerous Gamer.” Blow is wicked smart and he’s kind of a smartass. Both are qualities that I appreciate. The profile is exceptionally captivating. However, the last paragraph connected with my head and heart like an underwater sonic boom. Chills and moist eyes. Resonance.

Which, in a sense, is just what he is—a spiritual seeker, questing after truth in an as-yet-uncharted realm. These are the terms in which he sees his art. “People like us who are doing something a little different from the mainstream have each picked one direction that we strike out in into the desert, but we’re still not very far from camp,” he told me. “There’s just a huge amount of territory to explore out there—and until you have a map of that, nobody can say what games can do.”

I recently gave a talk on “Influencing Student Affairs By Quitting My Job” at the 140cuse conference. I hope that what I am doing, what I have done, is different. I’ve picked a direction and I’ve struck out on a journey that has no simplistic rulebook.

Jonathan Blow does what he does because it feels right. He sees things differently and then acts upon that vision. Pretty inspirational stuff. Think about it.

Written by Eric Stoller

April 27th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

A video that tugs at my heartstrings

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I lived in Oregon for 7 years. In all of my travels, and places that I have called home, Oregon remains one of the few places that I love. This video is breathtaking. It makes me feel Portland. It makes me feel the air of Oregon. It makes me feel the trees. It makes my heart very happy.

Written by Eric Stoller

April 27th, 2012 at 11:16 am

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An homage, some bow tie talk, and a commencement gown


My pal, Kenneth Elmore – Dean of Students for Boston University, knows how to elevate conversations. There aren’t that many deans of students who are as charismatic as Kenn. In this quick clip, he offers up some insight as to why he spells “Kenn” with two Ns. He also manages to tie a bow tie on camera without a mirror. Kenn’s wit is edgy. The close to this interview showcases Elmore’s ability to riff on the fly. Administrators can make art. In Kenn’s case, his media presence is creative, insightful, and always right on the pulse.

Written by Eric Stoller

April 27th, 2012 at 11:10 am

CAMEX 2012: Creating Customer Connections with Social Media

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Slides from my social media educational session at this year’s CAMEX event in Salt Lake City, Utah. I gave a 60 minute talk about how campus stores can use social media for strategic communications and marketing. Additionally, I led more than 14 hours of social media consultation sessions with campus store representatives.

Resources from both my talk and consulting sessions are available after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eric Stoller

March 8th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

“Radical” and Student Affairs

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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. That’s me….a thought provoker.

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?

What do you think? Add your voice to the comments at the original post on Inside Higher Ed.

[image credit]

Written by Eric Stoller

January 18th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Just keep running

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Yesterday, I ran the Cambridge 5K. It was the second 5K that I’ve done and it was the first time I had run an event that was officially timed. According to the web, the temperature for the run was 24 degrees. That’s right….it was super cold. Fortunately, I was very bundled up…unlike some of the race participants. Several runners had on some sweet costumes!

For me, running has been something that has challenged me throughout my life. When I ran track in junior high, I suffered from exercise-induced asthma. I dislocated my left knee during my first year of high school. My knees have always been cranky. However, running in my 30s has become something that I enjoy. And, my knees and lungs have not bothered me for the most part. I think I’m in better shape now than I was when I was in my 20s. Running allows for a lot of contemplative thinking, helps with stress reduction / sleep, and keeps me more physically fit then I would be if I wasn’t pounding the pavement.

Here’s the start of the Cambridge 5K race.

One of the neat aspects of the course was that it went around Harvard University:

My per mile pace for this race was just under 10 minutes at 9:57. I think I can do better. The cold weather for this run made my lungs feel pretty sore. Next time, I think I’ll be faster. Running really isn’t that complicated. The more you run, the better you feel. The better you feel, the easier it is to run. Just keep running.

Written by Eric Stoller

December 19th, 2011 at 10:46 am

Posted in Running,This and that

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The Art of Moving: Purging and Packing


Purging and Packing

A friend of mine recently announced that she will be moving soon to begin a new job. She tweeted that she needed tips for how to “effectively and efficiently purge, then pack up, a household.” I have moved twice this year so I figured that it might be useful for me to share some of my thoughts on purging and packing. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eric Stoller

November 29th, 2011 at 9:31 am

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Getting dusty in here


Dust Bowl 1935

Having been a consistent blogger on this site since 2004, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. My consulting adventures, writing projects, and speaking engagements are capturing almost all of my blog time. I love writing, exploring, thinking, processing, and let’s not forget – typing. However, if you need to find me (at least for right now) I can be found here:

  • My blog on Student Affairs and Technology at Inside Higher Ed keeps me on my toes as technology is a rapidly moving target.
  • Online Colleges – It’s a fun site to blog for as it makes me explore online learning instead of brick-and-mortar.
  • Higher Ed Live – Student Affairs live was on hiatus in October due to my travel schedule.
  • I recently gave a keynote on social media and campus card marketing at the Canadian Campus Card Workshop
  • In Wisconsin, I did an 18-minute-long “Edge talk” on technology and community for an ACUI, SCUP, and Herman Miller sponsored event.
  • EDUCAUSE is the greatest technology and higher education conference of all time! This year’s conference was in Philly and I thoroughly enjoyed geeking out!
  • In a couple of days, I’ll be heading to Newport, Rhode Island for #NASPAtech. I’m participating in 4 sessions in 3 days. I may need Red Bull!
  • In November, I’m giving a keynote for a client’s company in Florida before making my way to San Diego for the NASPA Western Regional Conference where I’m giving a talk on social media, student affairs, and creating connections.

Written by Eric Stoller

October 24th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

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Keep on swimming

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Why focus on keeping your head above water? Grow some gills and keep on swimming. #evolve #gameon
Eric Stoller

Written by Eric Stoller

September 15th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

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Higher Education + Groupon: Shiny and New…or a Legitimate Strategy


Groupon - Higher Education Shiny New Tool

From the Chicago Tribune:

National Louis University on Tuesday will offer a Groupon for a graduate-level introduction to teaching course, officials said.

With the Groupon, prospective students can save nearly 60 percent on tuition for the single, three-credit course and earn credit toward a graduate degree, said Jocelyn Zivin, the vice president of marketing and communications for the Chicago-based, private university.

So what do you think. Has National Louis University stumbled upon a legitimate strategy to market their courses or are they just using Groupon as a “shiny new toy” to get people to talk about their school? The tuition break is significant, but will this deal attract students who are interested in teaching?

The course is described as being “tailored for people with no exposure or experience with teaching” and that it was specifically structured for use in conjunction with a Groupon deal. Seems like a PR stunt to me…especially since they make a point of noting that National Louis University is the first “academic university” to use Groupon to “boost student interest.”

It will be interesting to see if National Louis University releases data on whether or not their Groupon experiment actually worked as an incentive for course enrollment. My guess is that National Louis University is elated with the buzz that’s taken place regarding the school’s decision to be the first higher education institution to use Groupon.

At this point, does it really matter if anyone signs up for the class?

Written by Eric Stoller

September 6th, 2011 at 1:38 pm