How do you include your hobbies & passions into your work and everyday life?

by Jess Faulk

This blog prompt made me  consider reaching beyond my work life and everyday life and to actually use my hobbies and passions in the blog post itself.  Yes, it’s a bit meta, but bear with me.  Enjoy a visualization of me: my passions (Graphic Design, Google, Tech, Apple), my hobbies (Biking, Kayaking, Climbing), and what is most important to me (family, friends, learning, and sharing).

My Passions & HobbiesIf you made a visualization of you, what pictures or items would it include?  How would you answer this prompt?

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How do you include your hobbies & passions into your work and everyday life?

Blog Prompt Monday

What are your hobbies or passions? What are the things that you do to spark your creativity or happiness? Today’s prompt is asking not only what they are, but how you incorporate them into your life to keep yourself going.

How do you include your hobbies and passions into your work and everyday life?

Tell us what you love to do, and then how you do what you love. Remember to include your blog responses in the comments below and tweet using the #sawomenblog hashtag so we can promote your blogs!

Blog Prompt Monday

Utilizing Technology to Enhance the Customer Service Experience on a College Campus

by Kathryn Magura

Hi, my name is Kathryn, and I believe college students should be treated like customers. Yes, I have a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration, and yes I am aware of the developmental changes college students are going through as they matriculate through their college experiences. That said, I believe that more students (and their families) see the higher education process as a business, and therefore have more demands on those who serve them at institutions of higher education.

If you haven’t given up on this post yet, let me explain. I have strict standards regarding customer service. Each customer brings their unique perspective and needs to the interaction, and it is my job as someone serving them to be aware of this, and treat each customer with the respect and dignity they deserve. From my perspective, college students are paying an exorbitant amount of money to attend my University, and deserve to be treated with the dignity of someone who has chosen my services over my competitors. Furthermore, if students do not like the services I am providing, or the ways in which they are treated as my customer, they will take their business elsewhere.

If you have read my bio on the blog, you know that I have a passion for finding ways to use technology as a way to enhance the customer service experience for college students. I am fortunate to work at a University that facilitates this passion by allowing me to try new ways to serve customers. I have been part of a team that created an open source housing software management system, developed systems to allow new students to select their own rooms, and found ways to use iPads for room inspections. I thrive in an environment where the needs of students outweigh the desires of those who serve them. It is my responsibility as an educator to ensure that my customers are cared for, even if they are 18 year old students fresh out of high school.

The point I am trying to make here is that it should not serve in conflict with Student Development Theory to treat students like customers. Students have a multitude of universities to choose from, and treating them like customers may just make the difference that helps them choose your university over another.

Utilizing Technology to Enhance the Customer Service Experience on a College Campus

Linkage Love: Geek TV Part 2

by Jennifer Keegin

Taking a cue from Kristen, I thought I could add more to the Geek TV Linkage Love. I was thinking of what types of links to contribute, went back to see what was shared last week and knew I could keep the flame of “Geek TV” going.

My husband was a big Battlestar Galactica fan was he was a kid.

I was more of a Buck Rodgers fan.

With both of us Star Wars dorks, we managed to find common ground with the new version of Battlestar Galactica on SyFy. I would not have foreseen it and I have to admit it took a few episodes to understand the general story, but once I got into it, I really started to get into the characters and the twists and turns in the plot.

Here’s the idea behind the show:

All Battlestar Galactica productions share the premise that in a distant part of our galaxy, a human civilization lives on a group of planets known as the Twelve Colonies, to which they have migrated from their ancestral homeworld of Kobol. The Twelve Colonies have warred for decades with a cybernetic race known as the Cylons, whose goal is the extermination of the human race. The Cylons offer peace to the humans, which proves a ruse.  The Cylons carry out a massive attack and these attacks devastate the Colonial Fleet and destroy their populations. Only the Battlestar Galactica, a gigantic battleship and spacecraft carrier, appears to have survived the Cylon conflagration. Under the leadership of Commander Adama, the Galactica and the pilots of “Viperfighters lead a fugitive fleet of survivors in search of the fabled thirteenth colony known as Earth.

Cylons appear to be human and are hidden among the fleet, so ANYONE can suddenly be revealed as the enemy. This really keeps the show from just being about robots and spaceships. Top notching acting from great actors (most of which are way too pretty to be “normal” people but I digress…) really brings together a fun and drama filled show.

To learn all the ins and outs about the show, there’s a thorough Wiki site here which compiles all information about the old version of the show all the way through the newest spin-off/prequel series Caprica. I know, this show is off the air now – but easily accessible on DVD etc. and I believe it’s a great Geek TV show that many kinds of viewers could get into.

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The second show I thought I’d highlight is “The Big Bang Theory“. In full disclosure, I’ve never watched an episode of this show, but have been wanting catch up via online episodes. But here’s a clip where someone says a line from Battlestar Galactica, so it’s pretty Geeky.

Here’s what it’s about:

Set in Pasadena, California, the show is centered on five characters: two room-mate geniuses who work at the California Institute of Technology, experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter and theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper; their neighbor across the hall Penny, a blonde waitress and aspiring actress; and Leonard and Sheldon’s equally geeky and socially awkward co-workers and friends Howard Wolowitz, an aerospace engineer and a non-PhD from JPL, and Rajesh Koothrappali, an astrophysicist also working at Caltech. The geekiness and intellect of the four guys is contrasted for comic effect with Penny’s social skills and common sense.

Click here to watch a clip.

Any comments as readers you have about these shows? I’d love to hear them.

Linkage Love: Geek TV Part 2

Blog Prompt Monday

Today we’re asking you to take a look around and see who’s making the best use of technology – whether you feel like that’s just online or elsewhere.

What institutions/organizations do you feel make good use of technology and how? (This could include social media, web, and/or other forms of technology).

Tell us all about it! We want to hear – is it your institution or organization? Let us highlight them and promote your sites! We’re looking forward to reading your responses. Remember to post links to them in the comments below and tweet them out with the #sawomenblog hashtag.

Blog Prompt Monday

“If Your Dreams Do Not Scare You, They Are Not Big Enough”: On Women Revolutionaries, Technology, and Social Change

by Claire Robbins

On October 7, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gwobee and Tawakkul Karman “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work” (see the Nobel Committee’s press release).  In a time of unprecedented social change in the Arab world, Africa, and beyond, this year’s award signals a number of victories — for women and youth, for grassroots social movements, for democracy, and above all, peace.

As I cheered for the laureates and contemplated the larger meaning of the award, my thoughts turned to technology.  The role of social media and related technologies in bringing about the global social and political changes of the past few years has become a matter of great public interest and debate.  On one end of the spectrum, Clay Shirky believes contemporary social movements are fundamentally different than the past as a direct result of social media.  Anchoring the other end, Evgeny Morozov (author of The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World) argues that the internet is not “inherently emancipatory” and that social media have become a powerful tool not only for grassroots organizers, but authoritarian regimes.  Further, as C. W. Anderson quipped in a January Atlantic essay, “Malcolm Gladwell has stirred the pot in the manner that only Malcolm Gladwell can do.”  Unlike the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, however, these three thinkers are Western intellectuals — not activists — and, of course, they are all men.

So, when the Peace Prize winners were announced, I wondered what I could learn from Sirleaf, Gwobee, and Karman about the role of technology in bringing about social change.  I already knew a bit about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (in fact, when I have to do that “what famous person would you invite to dinner?” icebreaker, she’s usually at the top of my list).  The day the Peace Prize was announced, I heard an interview with Leymah Gwobee, and now Sirleaf will have some competition for a spot at my dinner table.  If you don’t know much about either of these women, please, please take ten minutes today to read up on both — and prepare to be profoundly inspired.

I knew nothing, however, about Tawakkul Karman, even though the Yemeni uprising is ongoing.  I went back and read her April Guardian editorial and her June New York Times article, and of course, her Wikipedia page.  What I learned about this extraordinary woman is that she has risked her life time and time again — not only to overturn President Saleh’s corrupt regime; not only to fight for women, youth, and democracy in Yemen and the Arab world — but to demand a free and open global society where freedom of expression is unerringly protected.

And that’s where technology comes in.

In 2005, Karman founded Women Journalists Without Chains, a Yemeni NGO “that seeks to advocate for rights and freedoms, especially freedom of expression” (more here).  For years, she has led weekly protests in the capital city of Sana’a, drawing attention to journalists who have been silenced.  When the Saleh government banned the use of SMS by journalists —  a move targeting Karman’s weekly SMS bulletins about human rights abuses in Yemen — Karman led journalists in weekly sit-ins to protest the ban.

“After more than five months of continuous protests,” Karman began her New York Times piece, “I stand today in Change Square with thousands of young people united by a lofty dream. I have spent days and nights camped out in tents with fellow protesters; I have led demonstrations in the streets facing the threat of mortars, missiles and gunfire; I have struggled to build a movement for democratic change — all while caring for my three young children.”

When I think about Karman’s devotion to social change in Yemen and the Arab world — a life or death matter for her and her family — the “Did Tweeting topple Tunisia?” question starts to feel more than a little inconsequential.  Long before the internet, women activists and revolutionaries were using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house, and they were creating both new tools and new houses.  It’s not about the tools; it’s about what you do with them.

Thus, I believe Morozov is right to caution us not to get swept up in Facebook fever and forget how power works.  But let’s not lose sight of the bigger point: revolutions can’t happen without revolutionaries.  Whether in Tahrir Square or Zuccotti Park, in the free speech zone on campus or on your office or organization’s Facebook page, it’s what you do that matters.  And that’s what we need to emphasize in our conversations with students and colleagues.

Dream big (in the words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “if your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”).  Do your student affairs colleagues practice what they preach when it comes to diversity and inclusion — and do you?  Do students with children feel unwelcome on your campus?  Do transgender students have on-campus housing options that meet their needs?  Do African American, Latina, Native American, and multiracial students drop out of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors more frequently than their peers?

Dream big.  Do something radical.  And for heaven’s sake, send me a tweet when you do.

“If Your Dreams Do Not Scare You, They Are Not Big Enough”: On Women Revolutionaries, Technology, and Social Change

Linkage Love

by Kristen Abell

I have found that my Linkage Love posts of late have become a bit…stale. There’s no other word for it – check the formula: one or more Mashable links, a LifeHacker link, an InsideHigherEd/Chronicle link, and a random link thrown in for good measure. So today I thought I’d do something a little different, a little crazy, a little random. Welcome to your Wednesday edition of Linkage Love: Geek TV.

I think one of the necessary qualities of being a true geek is being able to reference one or more of those shows that tend to have a cult following – you know the ones – Star Trek is probably the epitome of them, but there are others. Which is good, since I don’t watch, nor have I ever watched Star Trek (gasp! I know, hard to believe I’m as geeky as I am and don’t have that in my pop culture lexicon – and yeah, I totally just used the word “lexicon,” so that probably counters the previous statement). But for those of you who are unsure where to start your journey into Geekdom, I’ve decided to provide a primary of sorts – or at least some helpful info for three spectacularly geeked out shows.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Contrary to my statement above about Star Wars, there really should be no other number one show on anyone’s list. If you haven’t watched an episode of Buffy, step away from the blog (just temporarily, of course), go to Netflix and watch Season 1. Now. Do it. You can thank me later.

For those of you that have watched – or those that are considering watching and did not follow my instructions above – I have included a few links to allow you to explore the Buffyverse, as well as the Whedonverse. (By the way, pretty much any show created by Joss Whedon qualifies in the “awesome” category of geek shows, so if you’re ever in question, go with Joss).

  • BuffyWorld – not the prettiest of sites, certainly, but complete. And it also has links to info about Angel, if you decide you can handle more than one Whedon show at a time.
  • BuffyGuide.com – claims to be “the most detailed episode guide” on the internets. Also features news updates about other Whedon exploits.
  • BuffyVerse Wiki – This might be my new favorite Buffy site (what, doesn’t everybody have one of those?), as it not only has info on Buffy and Angel, but also info about the comic book series that followed each show as it went off the air. Oh yeah, the BuffyVerse goes on…
  • And for those of you that think Buffy sounds like Twilight rehashed, let me just remind you that Buffy came first, and Buffy can kick Edward’s butt:

    (That is my new favorite video EVER – I can’t believe I’m just now watching it).
  • For further discussion on the BuffyVerse vs. Forks, there’s an almost overly-eager writer here who breaks down whether Angel could indeed “kick the s— out of Edward Cullen,” as Joss Whedon claims, or whether Edward’s superpowers are superior (I have to admit, this writer easily out-geeks me any day).
  • And just in case you already know from my post that you’re going to be a die hard fan, here’s the complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer series for purchase. I’d suggest a Christmas gift, but I already own all seven seasons, of course.

In addition to the whole Buffy/WhedonVerse (other shows include Firefly and Dollhouse – both short-lived, both with avid fan bases), there is the long running BBC series Doctor Who. I’ve just recently become a fan of this, after struggling through the first few episodes. Doctor Who  was a TV show that originally ran from 1963 – 1989 (thank you, Wikipedia), and was later recreated starting in 2005, picking up where it left off. I haven’t watched any of the seasons previous to 2005, but 2005 on is pretty darn good stuff. Heard any jokes about a Tardis or Daleks lately? Yeah, we’re cool like that. In addition to Doctor Who there are a number of spin-offs that I have yet to watch, but that I hear are equally (or almost equally) as good.

  • TARDIS Index File – this wiki has info on Doctor Who and all the spin-offs to which any fans may contribute. Lots of good stuff here. Plus the name of it is the “TARDIS Index File” – that automatically makes it cool, right?
  • Gallifrey One – the world’s largest Doctor Who convention – see, it’s not just Trekkies that know how to convene.
  • Doctor Who LiveJournal – This show has some crazy seriously devoted fans. But dang it makes for entertaining reading:

About a year ago, I was lusting over a TARDIS box with all eleven Doctors inside. Every time I saw it, however, it was 150 dollars and I had (very) insufficient funds.

And then one day, everything changed. I went to one of my favorite local shops with a couple hundred dollars, when I found that they had one last set. And it was only ninety dollars. It was one of the best days of my life. Or something.

  • Doctor Who Reference Guide – this looks like a pretty complete site, with info from the old and new series. However, it doesn’t look like it’s been updated in a couple of months, so I’m not sure how terribly current the info is. You’ll just have to risk it and see – like the Doctor would himself.

And finally, I leave you with a clip from the show featuring Elton, the Doctor and ELO – how much better does it get?

Linkage Love