Blog Prompt Monday

By Colleen Riggle

Welcome to the eighth edition of  “Blog Prompt Monday”! Here’s today’s prompt:

What are your favorite decorative items/pieces of furniture/household features?

We hope you’ll join in blogging about these prompts with us.

If you write a response on your blog, please include it in the comments below and tag it on Twitter with the #sawomenblog hashtag – we look forward to reading your posts!

Blog Prompt Monday

I am an Evangelist (for #wlsalt)

After meeting and bonding at the Women’s Leadership Institute (#WLI10), a group of women student affairs professionals created the #WLsalt hashtag on Twitter in an effort to support, affirm, lift, and transform (salt) the voices of women in higher education.

The #WLSalt hashtag was sparked by this email from Teri (@tbump) to the other founding #WLSalt sisters:

I want to use the hashtag to send tweets that support, lift, encourage, promote women leaders. And, to invite others who do the same to use it as well building a network of women focused on consciously choosing to push women forward. I watch the twitter stream and women Student Affairs professionals are quick to devalue their work/skills/smarts. I send at least 1 DM a day to someone who has publicly diminished herself. I’m looking to help build their self esteem, self respect, and encourage them to take their place at the table with confidence and the support of women like us. We can create a network of women who value what matters and will enthusiastically help each other achieve, score the best opportunities and see this world as their oyster. Are you in?

Once the hashtag was created and the “salt sisters” shared the story behind their new initiative at sawomenlead, they each reached out and invited supporters to join the movement as “evangelists.” I am an evangelist.

As an evangelist, I intend to use the #WLsalt hashtag on tweets that:

  • Support: Provide support, connections, and resources for leadership, academic, and career opportunities
  • Affirm: Highlight the success of women as leaders at all levels
  • Lift: Lift up the voices that may be quieted in other venues
  • Transform: Facilitate the continued success of woman in higher education

Please join us as we advance and support all women in the academe.

Note that none of the SA Women Talk Tech bloggers were at the original #WLsalt meeting, but we support their goals and consider ourselves “#WLSalt sisters.”

Cross-posted to Brenda Bethman’s personal blog at

I am an Evangelist (for #wlsalt)

Trends in Higher Ed and Technology

By Kristen Abell

I tried to come up with an original title, really, I did. But in responding to this week’s blog prompt, this is pretty much what it is.

Although there are a number of trends in technology in higher ed right now, I opted to focus on three: mobile, social media and cloud computing. I picked these three probably because they are the ones with which I’m the most familiar or which I use the most, but also because I see our students using them, as well.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

When I entered grad school, I got my first cell phone – and I shared it with a friend of mine. That’s how little either of us used one at that point. Now, I pretty much go through withdrawal if I find myself without my phone for any reason. And it’s not just because I’m calling people – in fact, I barely use my phone to call anyone. I use it to email, text, surf the web, check Twitter and Facebook, take pictures – you name it, my phone does it. Although I’m still working on finding an app that will allow it to clean my house and office.

Students are also using phones for a variety of tasks and communications these days, and universities need to find a way to keep up. We need to be creating/using mobile websites, mobile applications that allow students to pay bills, enroll in classes, submit homework, etc. Rather than creating physical computer labs on campus, how are we working to enable students to access information through a mobile application or site? With the rise in tablet use, I think we need to continue to look at mobile, as the majority of these will use mobile browsers and applications. We also need to continue to think about location-based applications as more and more of these show up on campuses. Finally, we need to make sure that whatever we’re providing for our mobile users, we have another way of providing it for those students without the means for purchasing a smart phone.

Social Media, duh

Social media is not on the rise – it’s here. And it’s been here for awhile. And yet, we still have a number of staff and faculty who are resistant to participating in this “fad.” I even almost hesitate to put this as a trend, except that in a way, it is – at least it’s the first wave in a trend of our students demanding more personal communication from their university, more transparency, and most importantly, more authenticity. They want to know what’s really happening and who really works/teaches at their institution. In addition, this is providing us as educators more access to our students in a way we’ve never really had it before. While some institutions have really embraced social media in the form of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc., there are a number of universities and colleges that aren’t even on the map and don’t have the slightest clue about social media strategy. So yes, I am beating a horse, but I hardly think it’s a dead one yet.

Cloud Computing

Did I mention something above about mobility? Students want to be able to access their files/information from anywhere. Sure, we can provide access to computers, but they need to be able to get their stuff. Google has provided more than enough ways to do this, but we also need to consider virtual desktop interfaces and file storage for academic documents – especially as we move toward providing more and more online classes. If your university isn’t exploring this, they need to jump on board.

What trends do you see in technology for higher education? Come on, I know y’all have some ideas – tell us in the comments!

Trends in Higher Ed and Technology

Linkage Love

By Brenda Bethman

It’s Wednesday so that means it’s time for our Linkage Love post! Not much of a theme this week as I’m feeling a bit random (although there is a slight focus on movie-related items thanks to the upcoming Oscars and last week’s Hulu/Criterion announcement). So here goes!

ProfHacker writes about using an iPad to go paperless at conferences.

Speaking of iPads, is Apple having an event next week to announce the iPad 2?

Amazon announces video streaming for it’s Amazon Prime customers.

If you’re a film buff, the news that the Criterion collection is now available on Hulu will make you a happy camper.

Watching the Oscars this weekend? There’s an app for that.

Finally, I end with the video because a) it is awesome, b) it cheered me up yesterday when I was feeling cranky (thanks, Kristen!), and c) it’s good advice for women (and men) of all ages. I hope y’all feel the same.

Linkage Love

Blog Prompt Monday

By Brenda Bethman

Welcome to the seventh edition of  “Blog Prompt Monday”! Here’s today’s prompt:

What are the most important technology trends for higher education?

We hope you’ll join in blogging about these prompts with us. I will be posting my response here later tomorrow (yes, I know tomorrow’s Tuesday, but I’m home sick today and not up to as much thought as this prompt requires at the moment). If you write a response on your blog, please include it in the comments below and tag it on Twitter with the #sawomenblog hashtag – we look forward to reading your posts!

Blog Prompt Monday

Follow Me

By Kristen Abell

The other day, my partner and I had one of a series of conversations we’ve been having about Twitter. He’s recently amped up his usage, specifically in regards to connecting with work colleagues. Our conversation went something like this:

Sean: So I had this really good Twitter conversation with a couple other student affairs people today, and afterwards I followed them, but they didn’t follow me back. I find that really annoying.

Me: Yeah, but they probably just see your tweets in their #sachat feed and assume they’re following you.

Sean: But wouldn’t they get the notification that I’m now following them and make sure they’re following me back?

Me: Possibly, but they could be like me and do a sort-through of those at the end of the week and follow you then. Or maybe they don’t believe in courtesy follows and only follow lists or searches. Blah, blah, blah (I’m pretty sure I kept going on for several minutes in my social media expert tone).

How do you choose who to follow on Twitter? Personally, I follow a broad mix of people – mostly based on my interests: a lot of student affairs folks, several local and tech folks, any friends I know are on Twitter, some book and mommy bloggers, and a couple celebs I find entertaining. I have some basic rules about who I follow – I generally get anywhere between three and five new followers a day, so these come in useful.

1. I almost never follow anyone whose bio claims they are an SEO expert, sells something, or tells me nothing about them (hint: always fill out your bio! Many people use this to decide who to follow).

2. I almost always follow student affairs professionals that follow me – it’s part courtesy, part interest. And frankly, it’s also a good move in building my network.

3. I follow people I find interesting – if they’re going to add information or entertainment to my stream, I go ahead and add them.

I do try and go out to actively follow people periodically, or when I see them show up in someone else’s tweets, but mostly these are my rules for follow-backs.

I do know of a couple people in the student affairs community on Twitter that don’t follow many others – and frankly, I don’t really understand that. Maybe they can explain why, but I find this a poor use of Twitter, which is at least partially about relationship-building. Is not following others a power move? Or can you just not keep up with all of the people you might follow?

I know that we all have slightly different uses of Twitter, so I’m curious how others decide who to follow, and when. Do you do “courtesy follows?” Do you consider them courtesy follows if they are in the same profession as you and will more than likely continue to contribute to your stream? How do you use Twitter to build relationships?

Follow Me

Linkage Love: Job Search, Life, & Fun

By Stephanie Wintling

Are you job searching?

Last year I was job searching after graduating from my Master’s program at the University of Florida. I of course had a spreadsheet listing all my applications and millions of other details. Since I have moved several times in my life as a military child the one thing the moves has taught me is the value of a dollar changes depending on where you live. State income taxes and cost of living can drastically change what your take home pay actually is and the lifestyle you’ll be able to afford.  Here is the sites I use to help figure these things out: Net Pay Caculator – This calculator is a rough estimate of the taxes that will be taken out of your paycheck depending on what state you live in. Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming, and Alaska do not have state income tax so only federal taxes are withdrawn from your paycheck.

City Compare Calculators – The main one I used is the cost of living calculator. Majority of the places I have lived have a generally low cost of living so to see the difference in prices of milk and gas between were I lived at the time and my prospects of moving definitely made job salary offers look much smaller. The compare cities calculator helps you see just basic population differences between two cities. Again, a great resource to see how where you live now compares to where you may want to live.

Also check HR websites for institutions you are applying to and click on the benefits tab to see what you have to pay for and what is free. Here at Texas State University I receive free health insurance but I also have to contribute a certain percentage to my retirement plan which the state of Texas matches although I will only see the match if I stay in the Texas system for 5 years. Retirement contributions can add a couple thousands to your salary every year and free health insurance saves me about a $1,000 a year.

Are you looking to lose weight or achieve any fitness goal?

One of my favorite resources is on here you can set goals, track your food intake, track your exercises, and gain badges for logging in multiple times and losing weight.  The other reason why I love it is because it provides charts for you. You can chart your weight, nutrition, and fitness routines. One of my best friends used this site with her fiance to lose weight for their wedding and they LOVE IT. It also has an iPhone,iPad, and Blackberry apps to track food on the go & syncs to the online site.

Time for some fun!!

If you’re ever board and are craving to do sudoku, check this website out: I can spend a plethora of time doing sudoku on this website and another reason I love it, they chart your time to complete the puzzle with everyone else who has completed the possible. Let’s just say I strife to be in the top 20% every time I play.

This is all for my Linkage Love Wednesday, have a fantastic Hump Day everyone!

Linkage Love: Job Search, Life, & Fun

Be the Match

By Melissa Johnson

I’m not going to lie – when I saw the blog prompt for today, I just groaned. Relationships? Yuck! It is pretty well-known that I am not a touchy-feely person. How on earth could I come up with an authentic-sounding blog post…about relationships?

But then I saw this status update on Facebook from my friend and former student, Laura, and I knew what I needed to write about today:

“Laura wants to know why people sign up to be donors, get confirmatory blood typing done and then decide to delete themselves from the donor registry when a transplant is needed. Thanks…”

Laura found out at the end of November that she had been diagnosed with hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndrome, and a bone marrow transplant is her cure. She has been in and out of the hospital ever since her diagnosis, and I’ve been following along with her updates via Facebook and her Caringbridge site.

The way you can become a bone marrow donor is by joining the registry through Be the Match. As I thought of ways I could help Laura, I knew the best thing I could do to honor her was to join the registry. I read through all of the FAQ’s on the website. I read the part about understanding my commitment to joining. There are several medical restrictions to becoming a donor, but I met all of the conditions with no issues. And I have 15 weeks of sick leave stored up. Surely I could spare 1 or 2 of those weeks if I got called to donate. And what’s a little pain compared to helping save a life?

And so I stopped by our local blood donation center one Sunday afternoon. I decided what the heck, I might as well donate blood while I was there – and then I asked for a donor registry packet. It maybe took 10 minutes for me to complete, and then I had to swab the inside of my mouth with 4 q-tips to provide a tissue sample. That tissue sample result is used to match donors to patients. The woman working at the front desk of the center then took my packet and put it in the mail – and that was it.

I received confirmation in January that my paperwork had been received. My cheek swab takes about 2 months to process – so still another month to go before I am officially a member. I may never be called to be a bone marrow donor. But I am prepared to be one should I get called. Laura is now on her 3rd try to find a donor. Her first donor was a perfect match, but due to medical issues right before the transplant, she was no longer eligible to donate. And then the 2nd donor, a very good match, decided today, after going through all of the additional testing to prepare for transplant, to not only refuse to donate, but also to take her name off of the donation registry completely.

I was overcome with sadness when I saw Laura’s status update today. Her most recent journal update detailed the process of waiting – I can’t imagine how difficult this time has been for her. But ever hopeful, and ever thinking of others, she continues to inspire her friends to join Be the Match so they can help others in similar situations. As Laura noted at the end of her journal last week:

“Chances are that you may never get called — I met a hem/onc nurse the other day who has been in the registry for 10 years and has not received a single call for typing. But if you aren’t in the registry, you’ll never have a chance to get that phone call and ultimately save someone else’s life.”

For those who are not able to donate, there are plenty of other ways to get involved. You can find out more about Be the Match through their website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Be the Match

A Love Letter

By Daria-Yvonne Graham

Every night I feel the urge to walk softly in your room and just look at you. I admit that you still take my breath away. We may at times seem to take you for granted, but I am still in awe of you and the God that charged us with supporting and equipping you to be your best you.

I sometimes have to remind myself that it is okay that I am among you…the three of you. That I am mother, wife, woman….queen of this home is not because you pulled the shortest straw in the draw. That you are flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone and we are one flesh must mean that there is a piece of you that is my reflection and that gives me breath to exhale and know that things are okay…no matter how they seem.

You center me. You thrill me. You even calm me when I allow you to. You free me from expectations I set up – not you. It is not you that at times has me overwhelmed, but the self-inflicted rules and guidelines I’ve tried to abide by to provide an unrealistic reality. You remind me I am one woman with 2 hands, 2 arms, and 2 legs and I cannot do it alone, and I don’t have to because I’m not.

You push me to get up when I fall and not wallow, dwell, unpack and make a home in it. You know I make mistakes and I see you say I am okay without saying a word. You eat my physical and emotional food even when what I’m feeding you may not reflect my best work.

When I’m tired you say rest. When I’m ready to work you clear a path for me and cheer as you make sure nothing is in my way. You convince me my very presence changes the atmosphere in the room by how you respond when I enter into it. I will not allow any other relationship to require more work than what I put into this perfect square.

I say I am a queen not just because of who God made me, but because of my association and relation to you for You Are Indeed ROYALTY. I am not only blessed to be loved by you, but more blessed because I am charged to love you.

A Love Letter

Blog Prompt Monday

Welcome to the sixth edition of  “Blog Prompt Monday”! Here’s today’s prompt:

Pick a relationship, any relationship, and describe what makes it special to you.

We hope you’ll join in blogging about these prompts with us. I will be posting my response here later today. If you write a response on your blog, please include it in the comments below and tag it on Twitter with the #sawomenblog hashtag – we look forward to reading your posts!

Blog Prompt Monday