End of the Year Celebrations

As we near the end of the academic year (those of us at schools on the quarter system have a bit longer to go), we have many conversations regarding how to celebrate our achievements from the last year. Most of us in Student Affairs are so busy throughout the year, it’s hard to find time to stop and reflect on the amazing things that have transpired over the last 9-10 months. I find that taking time to celebrate accomplishments is a way to help provide closure for anyone who may be leaving a team at the end of the year. Therefore, I try to be intentional about what such an event should look like.

I supervise about 40 student staff members in our customer service desks on campus. These students are amazing paraprofessionals, who play a significant role in the success of our department. While I try to find ways to celebrate throughout the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can reflect upon our amazing accomplishments this past year. Nearly half of my staff will be graduating this June too, so I want to honor their legacy by taking time to celebrate their amazing contributions to our team.

Our department has gone from having a major event at the end of the year for all student staff (residential life, operations, facilities, dining, etc.) to allowing each unit to find a way to celebrate on their own. While a big event is fun, it usually ended up being focused on one group over others, and often resulted in hurt feelings. Not exactly the intent behind a celebration. Since deciding against having a major event for everyone, it is up to the leadership within each unit to figure out how to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.

Last year, I started giving an “OSU Alumni” mug to each student staff member who graduated. I’ve decided to turn this into a tradition, and combine it with an end of the year event surrounding the various accomplishments we’ve achieved as a team over the year. My goal is to find ways to honor each graduate so they are aware of how much they have contributed to our customer service team. Student staff often perform thankless jobs, yet they are essential to maintaining the high level of service our student customers expect. Taking time to enjoy the successes we’ve had since September will hopefully help those who are graduating find ways to make peace with the uncertainty of whatever the future may have in store for them. I am confident each one will go on to do amazing things!

So how do you celebrate the end of your academic year?

End of the Year Celebrations

Linkage Love

So for your Wednesday, I thought I’d introduce the website for Women Who Tech. There is a Telesummit coming in the fall, and I was intrigued to learn more about the group sponsoring:

Women Who Tech brings together talented and renowned women breaking new ground in technology who use their tech savvy skills to transform the world and inspire change. We provide a supportive network for the vibrant and thriving community of women in technology professions by giving women an open platform to share their talents, experiences, and insights.

“To get the latest on Women Who Tech, please sign up for our email list. You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, and Linked In.”

Why Women Who Tech

  • Women are Underrepresented

    Some of the most gifted folks in technology are women yet they are rarely quoted as experts by the mainstream media and blogs. Furthermore women are significantly underrepresented on panels at major technology conferences.

  • To Break Down Barriers

    The TeleSummit aims to break down the barriers and showcase the brilliant talents of women who tech out.

  • To Mobilize a Network of Women

    One of our long term goals is to create a database of women technology experts to be used as a resource for the media and tech conference organizers. This database will not only provide a strong network of women in the technology sector but support the creative talents and energies of women who thrive in this arena.

This group sounds like to me to be a sister-type group and I’d be interested to see if anyone has any feedback on this event or group. Make sure to check out their “Women to Follow” page as well. Our little blog here is not noted in their “Organizations & Blogs” section, but there are other great blogs to check out. Even included are podcasts of their past Telesummits.

Linkage Love

a SHARED vision of justice

By Jess Faulk

If you had all the time in the world to volunteer, what would you volunteer to do/where would you volunteer?

Recently I have had the pleasure of getting to know a new friend, @RobbieSamuels, who is incredibly active in social justice work. He runs a very successful MeetUp group: Socializing for Justice, is the Special Events Manager at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), works with the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS), and has speaking engagements on everything from activism to networking. With everything on his plate I wanted to know how he did it all.  He told me “[You need to] have a SHARED vision of justice, but figure out what YOUR mission is. Do that really well & expect the same from others.”

This not only inspired me to think about my own mission, but also allowed me to feel as though I didn’t need to give my time and energy equally to all of the causes I believe in.  I should be trusting others to live their own mission, and in a just world, our goals overlap. In having a shared vision of justice I am also encouraging giving from colleagues, friends, and social networks in ways in which I may not be capable to give.

In living my mission right now, I am seeking ways to get outside of my comfort zone, share my passions, and create a better place for myself and my friends to live in.  These are the areas in which I would volunteer.

1. Getting out of my comfort zone
For as long as I have lived in Boston (5 years this July), a vibrant, beautiful, multicultural city, I spend a embarrassingly large amount of time in the space between Simmons College Campus (by Fenway park) and the State House (downtown).  In seeking volunteer opportunities, I want to find ways to move outside of this small geographic area and interact with the larger (non-university) community.  This means volunteering locally, but also volunteering internationally.  I have always felt that getting outside of America is an amazingly eye opening experience, and one in which really makes me reflect on the bubble in which I live.

2. Teaching Tech
No matter what job I take on I can’t help but infuse a little bit of my passion into the work that I do. Tech is clearly one of those passions.  I would be overjoyed to find a way to use my passion for technology for sharing with others, whether with children learning the ins and outs of social media, or for adults learning how to use technology to make themselves marketable. You will rarely see me more excited (perhaps even to rival the excitement of @sethodell ;)) than when I am teaching someone something techy.  So integrating it into my volunteer life would be a dream come true.

3. LGBT Causes
In volunteering of my time and working toward a more just world, I inevitably lean toward areas that can have the most impact for my friends and myself. For me, that is LGBT Causes & TransRights activism. I often wonder if the choice I’ve made to stay in MA has more to do with the professional network I have started to create, or the wonderful knowledge that I can marry anyone I choose. Maybe one day I will move back to California, but I can tell you that I will feel a whole lot more comfortable doing so when I know that Prop. 8 is a distant memory.

What is your own personal mission & where would you choose to volunteer?

a SHARED vision of justice

Blog Prompt Monday

By Jessica Faulk

Happy Blog Prompt Monday! Today’s blog prompt is:
If you had all the time in the world to volunteer, what would you volunteer to do/where would you volunteer?

We hope you’ll join us 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

Putting the Reading Back into Reading Day

by Melissa Johnson

Classes ended at UF on Wednesday, so today is our second and final Reading Day before finals begin tomorrow (yes, there are Saturday finals). When I was an undergraduate, Reading Day was spent sleeping in after the last day of class celebrations. As a faculty member and administrator, my Reading Days now typically are spent catching up on e-mails, grading final papers, and looking ahead to summer projects…and maybe counting down to vacation in a week.

The faculty in my doctoral program decided last semester to implement a new Reading Day event for all of the graduate students and faculty in the department. The faculty would provide pizza, and all of us – students and faculty – would bring a scholarly article or book that we had read outside of class this semester to share and discuss in small groups.  

Most people don’t know that I didn’t start in the educational technology program. I actually started a doctoral program in a different department. I had even completed coursework and was starting on my dissertation, but due to certain circumstances, I made the necessary switch into ed tech. My former program was in stark contrast to what I’m in now. Territorial does not even begin to describe it, but I can talk more about that off the blog.

Although I ended up taking a little longer to make it to the finish line (aiming for graduation next year!), I relish these opportunities like Reading Day to come together with other graduate students and faculty members in the spirit of a scholarly community. Part of the reason I started a doctoral program in the first place was to have the opportunity to engage in intellectual conversations about research, research-to-practice, and other areas of interest. For better or worse, this is not really an opportunity afforded through work.

It just so happened that my small group mostly was made up of graduate students from our capstone seminar – we’ve been slogging through our dissertation proposals together for the past 2 semesters. Even so, the conversation we had was incredibly engaging and enlightening – each one of us presented our book or article, tying it to our full-time jobs or assistantships, outside research interests, and even dissertation work.

Even though we already spend every Friday afternoon together in seminar, we brought up new revelations about our work and even made new connections – both with our material and with each other. Personally, I found greater validation for my dissertation study, initiated a collaborative writing project with a colleague, and may have found another department opportunity for this summer.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have access to such supportive and scholarly colleagues. Spending my Reading Days a little differently these days is not such a problem – they’re an opportunity to engage with my friends and colleagues on a deeper level that we might not get to in the classroom.

 

Whether you are in a graduate program or not, how do you participate in scholarly communities? Are there opportunities to develop such communities at work or within your graduate programs? If you are not in a graduate program, do you still feel moved to engage in scholarly dialogue?

For those who are interested, these are the books and articles we shared in my small group today:

  • Carnicorn, S. (forthcoming). Honors education: Innovation or conservation? The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council.
  • Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.
  • Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (report available for free online – just Google “Jenkins” and “participatory culture”)
  • Roblyer, M. D., Porter, M., Bielefeldt, T., & Donaldson, M. B. (2009). “Teaching online made me a better teacher”: Studying the impact of virtual course experiences on teachers’ face-to-face practice. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 25(4). 121-126.
  • Tapscott, D. & Williams, A. D. (2006). Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything. New York: Portfolio.
  • Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.
Putting the Reading Back into Reading Day

Linkage Love

By Brenda Bethman

I’m late with this week’s Linkage Love piece, but I’m blaming it on April, that month of horror. To help you cope, here are two links to posts on how to survive and even thrive during April:

  • First, Stacy Oliver challenges us to “reframe . . . April as a chance to be your best and to do your best.”
  • Also on the topic of April, Dean Dad asks his readers for ways to get through “Hatepril.”
  • Continuing with the spring theme, you may want to undertake a “digital spring cleaning.” If so, Mashable’s got the article you’re looking for.

Last weekend, I spent a fair amount of time syncing applications between two computers.

  • If you’re a Mac user who wants to share iPhoto libraries between two machines, this older MacWorld piece is for you.
  • If you’re a Dropbox user, you can download an add-on to sync any folder on your computer. You’ll find the Mac version here. Windows users, look here.

Finally, under “random stuff I’ve been reading”:

  • Ed Cabellon had a great post on videos for student affairs social media training.
  • Facebook released new safety and security tools.

That’s it for this week! Apologies for the lateness. If you have links to share, please leave them in the comments.

Linkage Love