Meet, greet, and network with student affairs professionals from all over the world. The Philadelphia tweetup is going to be a major event. Don’t tweet? Never used Twitter? That’s okay, there will be plenty of folks to help get you into the Twittersphere. If you want to get a head start on learning how to use Twitter, I would highly recommend that you read this Twitter 101.
Leslie has created a poll that I think asks an important question for anyone who works in student affairs. This poll indicates to me that the relationship between technology and student affairs is complicated and emerging. Leslie and I would both love to know your answer to this question:
One of my mentors once told me that mentors are everywhere and that all I needed to do was to seek them out. At the time, I had been struggling with finding experienced practitioners who were as into learning / using technology within student affairs as I was. It took me a while to realize that what I had been looking for was the ultimate mentor. I was seeking someone who matched up with every nuance, every interest area, in effect, the “perfect” mentor.
When I woke up this morning, I had a realization. A thought that I had never really allowed to materialize. I currently have multiple individuals who I call “mentor.” No single person. Not a lone individual. I have multiple mentors. Some of my mentors provide professional advice. Some of my mentors assist me in the “apprenticeship of life.” This cadre of mentors provides me with an amazing breadth and depth of learning, experiences, and guidance. A community of mentors who I look to for strength, insight, humor, and caring.
My mentors come from all over the place. They have been instrumental in where I am and where I want to be. Here are a few ideas that I have been pondering about mentoring:
Sometimes mentors bring mentorship into your life without it being strategic or intentional. It just happens.
Age does not always equal wisdom. Be open to mentoring from anyone. Wisdom can surprise you.
If your mentors are well-known, be prepared to spend less time with them. Learn as much as you can when you have access. Maximize your time with them.
Social media spans the globe. Your access to mentors has just increased…be ready.
Sometimes mentors and mentees switch roles depending on circumstances, timing, and need. It’s okay.
Bill Gates and I don’t often disagree. However, at the recent Techonomy conference, Bill was predicting the future of higher education. I took umbrage with some of his comments. Per his usual rhetoric, Bill positioned technology as the panacea for the future of higher education.
Here are some of Bill’s comments:
“The self-motivated [college] learner will be on the web and there will be far less place-based things.”
“College, except for the parties…. needs to be less place-based.”
“Place-based activity in that ‘college thing’ will be 5 times less important than it is today.”
“The room for innovation, thank God for charters, there’s no room for innovation in the standard system.”
The interesting thing is that the quote that’s being passed around on Twitter as originating from Bill Gates seems to have been actually just the post title from TechCrunch. I wasn’t able to find video or text where Bill Gates actually said what is being attributed to him by a lot of folks on Twitter.
The disturbing aspects of Bill’s quotes from the video are that he seems to have a negative attitude toward the physical spaces of higher education. Bill constructs his arguments around cost and access, but fails to adequately critique his own points. “Self-motivated learners” generally do not include students from traditionally marginalized groups. Bill Gates went to an exclusive preparatory high school and attended Harvard College. His is not a story of overcoming obstacles. Access issues are pervasive in higher education. Socioeconomic status catapulted Gates to where he is today. His arguments around access fail to include awareness of the digital divide in terms of both class and disability. Simply offering more web-based opportunities for learning will not improve access issues. And don’t get me started about the bit about “parties” being the only rationale for “place-based” institutions.
Bill’s rhetoric is consistently anti-student-involvement. Gates approaches his arguments from the position that every student is coming out of an innovative charter school and where self-motivated learners roam the higher education sphere. What Bill is forgetting is that involvement is crucial to student success. Can a student be successful when there primary involvement opportunities take place via the web — absolutely. However, most of our students benefit tremendously from their involvement and interactions within the brick and mortar activities of their educational institution.
Student involvement theory is a foundational element for student affairs professionals. Research has shown that increased involvement leads to higher amounts of persistence and greater academic success.
[S]tudent involvement refers to the amount of physical and psycho- logical energy that the student devotes to the academic experience. Thus, a highly involved student is one who, for example, devotes considerable energy to studying, spends much time on campus, participates actively in student organizations, and interacts frequently with faculty members and other students.
Astin (1984) concluded that “the greater the student’s involvement in college, the greater will be the amount of student learning and personal development.”
I wish that Bill Gates would offer a blended approach. Why can’t we have both? Amazing opportunities can be created to support students in both the virtual and physical spheres.
Astin, A. (1984). Student involvement: a developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297-308.
Conducting a successful student affairs job search requires patience, networking, and technology. That’s right, technology. One particular tech tool that is extremely useful for conducting a search is RSS. Job postings delivered to your feed reader via RSS means that new job announcements are efficiently delivered to your virtual doorstep.
If you aren’t familiar with using RSS, please watch this video for more information:
If you need an RSS feed reader, I would highly recommend using Google Reader:
There are a few student affairs websites that offer job postings via RSS feeds, including:
In addition to the RSS and Email solutions mentioned above, most student affairs associations / higher education news sites offer job listings on their websites. Here are direct links to the student affairs job listings for the following associations / resource sites.
Student Affairs jobs via professional associations:
The purpose of these recommendations is to provide guidance to Academic Advisors contemplating the inclusion of on-line social communication tools in their personal or programmatic advising design.
For the purposes of this discussion, Online Social Communications will be understood as externally hosted Web environments, sometimes referred to as Social Media Environments, in which information is aggregated, presented and shared. Further, where functionality exist, the environments allow you to document and filter connections between individuals, maintain profiles, support multimedia, and facilitate communication with a time shift supporting response at user-defined times. On-Line Social Communication environments include Facebook and other Online Social Networks, Twitter, YouTube, personal blogs and wiki pages. Since Facebook’s introduction in 2004, an ever-increasing number of advisors, student services specialists, academic units and universities have been leveraging the benefits of an on-line presence.
The expanding use of on-line social communication by advisors and advising offices, evidenced by numerous publications and presentations over the past five years, encouraged the NACADA Commission for Technology in Advising to proffer the following recommendations when considering inclusion of Social Communication tools in the delivery of advising information:
The main topic for today’s BreakDrink podcast was the potential unification of ACPA and NASPA. ACPA President, Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr. was on the podcast to talk about his thought’s regarding the unification process.
I had asked a question on the BreakDrink blog in preparation for today’s conversation. Jeff Jackson, host of the show, asked my question about how/if Dr. Jackson had plans for using Twitter at next month’s ACPA Annual Convention. I decided to call in to the show and was able to use the Skype link on Blog Talk Radio to call into the show.
The NACADA Technology Seminar at the NACADA Region 8 Conference resulted in a lot of Twitter activity. As the lead faculty at the technology seminar I was very pleased with the level of professional engagement that occurred on Twitter. Participants used Twitter hashtags (#NACADATech or #NACADAR8) to create a back channel of connectivity. It was inspiring to see so many of the technology seminar participants using their Twitter skills during the conference. Hundreds of NACADA-related tweets were generated!
The Student Affairs Collaborative blog is a popular multi-author Student Affairs site. The SA Blog, as it’s popularly referred to on Twitter, contains a lot of relevant student affairs reflections, polls and information from a variety of student affairs professionals. Yesterday, I was invited to be a member of the Student Affairs Collaborative blog. From now on, all of my posts that are tagged with “sachat” (short for Student Affairs Chat) will be auto-aggregated via RSS into the SA blog. This will be similar to how my current “higher-education” tagged posts get auto-magically posted to the Blog High Ed site.