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.

ACPA + Twitter on the BreakDrink podcast

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.


I begin talking about the Social Media session that I’m co-presenting at ACPA 2010, Twitter, #ACPA10, the ACPA 2010 TweetUp, and #SAChat at about 28:25 in the podcast.

Please follow @ACPAPrez. Dr. Jackson readily agreed to use Twitter during the ACPA Annual Convention and I think that it would be great if he had a huge following of Student Affairs Twitterati.

ACPA + NASPA + Student Affairs Technology

ACPA and NASPA and Student Affairs Technology

ACPA recently sent out an email announcement calling for applications for the ACPA Technology Advisory Committee:

The ACPA Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) is a member-driven advisory committee charged by the Executive Director of ACPA with developing the association’s long term Information Technology strategic plan and evaluating and recommending technology initiatives aimed at furthering the association’s strategic initiatives. In addition, the TAC is tasked with evaluating large-scale IT project requests to determine their applicability to long- and short-term association goals and, when necessary, to priority rank IT initiatives.

The TAC description made me feel quite hopeful about the state of student affairs technology…and then I read the following:

You don’t have to be a technology expert to apply. We are looking for committed ACPA members with an interest in technology who are not afraid to voice their thoughts.”

Why, oh why, does membership in the TAC, which will drive the long term information technology strategic plan for ACPA, not require that someone be a technology expert? How can you evaluate IT projects, further strategic initiatives, and recommend technologies if you are not an expert? Is ACPA saying that there are not student affairs practitioners who are technology experts?

Not to be outdone by the ACPA Technology Advisory Committee notice, NASPA Tech Tools recently posted a word-for-word copy of a 2 month-old article about Google Wave from the Chronicle of Higher Education without really attributing the article. The NASPA Tech Tools site was created to “bridge the gap between student affairs and technology.” Unfortunately, it seems like a chasm at the moment…

What is going on with the state of student affairs and technology? 3 years have passed since I last wrote about ACPA, NASPA, and technology and it’s hard to tell if anything substantial has happened.

Higher Education Administration Q’s/A’s

Lately, I have received several emails asking me about my experiences as a higher education administrator and regarding my experiences as someone who has graduated from a college student services administration graduate program. I decided to attempt to answer all of them in a giant college student services / higher education administrator, question/answer blog post. The questions were sent to me via email, Twitter and Facebook. I’ve taken out the identifying bits of info and hopefully, some of my answers will be useful to folks who are thinking about working in higher education or pursuing a graduate degree in higher education administration / college student services…

Continue reading Higher Education Administration Q’s/A’s

Higher Education Administrator

Apparently I have one of the best jobs in the United States. According to U.S. News and World Report, one of the best careers in 2009 is “higher education administrator“.

The article starts off innocently enough:

If you liked attending college, chances are you’ll like working there, too.

Check. I enjoyed attending college and I enjoy working in higher education.

Compared with most office environments, college surroundings are beautiful, the atmosphere intellectually stimulating, and the work hours more forgiving.

The environment at institutions of higher education is indeed a beautiful place, both aesthetically and intellectually. However, I’m not sure if Mr. Nemko has ever worked an all night event at a student union or staffed a summer orientation program. The work hours of higher education administrators are more like a rollercoaster. Sometimes we work a 9 to 5. Sometimes we’re upside down and moving at 60 miles an hour while trying to facilitate a program with over 200 students on an early Saturday morning.

And things really lighten up in the summer.

Once again, summer isn’t really “light”. A lot of higher education administrators are at their busiest during the summer sessions.

For better or worse, there are lots of management jobs on campus because university bureaucracies tend to be large, from student affairs to academic affairs, admission to alumni affairs, physical plant to student health service.

Umm. Large support structures exist because we have a lot of students at our institutions. It takes a lot of people to create a university community.

One downside: Office politics can be brutal. Political correctness also bothers some people, who feel that holding liberal views is a litmus test for getting hired or promoted.

I’ve often found it disappointing that people label justice, equity and dignity as “political correctness.” I’d rather work with people who are not racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, etc. What’s so brutal about that?

Smart Specialties – Student Affairs/Student Life. The work is unusually pleasant

That’s an interesting combination: unusual and pleasant. Maybe Student Affairs work is just pleasant and because a lot of jobs are not, they define what is and is not pleasant. Maybe unpleasant jobs should be the ones that are unusual and not the norm…?

Learn more: NAPSA Student Affairs Careers Page

Apparently news editor is not one of the best careers of 2009. It’s N-A-S-P-A.

The article currently has 19 comments. They are actually more interesting to read than the actual article…