Meet the Blogger: Lysa Salsbury

When I read Anitra’s post on January 17, I had to laugh. Technological late bloomer doesn’t even begin to cover the state of affairs here. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even sprouted yet. I am definitely technologically challenged, and I don’t even have the excuse of being proud to be so. Which is why I’m here: to learn, and to share some occasionally amusing and sometimes pitiful stories of my lack of technological prowess. But I like to write and have been told I do a sort of reasonable job at it, so bear with me for a few hopefully not-too-painful minutes.

I’m the Program Coordinator at the University of Idaho Women’s Center. Students are always strangely intrigued (read: appalled) when I tell them that not only was there no Internet when I was in college, but that I never touched a computer before buying an overpriced, second-hand Mac Plus in 1994 (9-inch monochrome display and 4 whole MB of RAM). I handwrote all my papers. And here’s the thing: I’m Not That Old (really).

Last semester, I started supervising the students who write for our blog. Through this experience, I’ve started to make tentative forays into the mysterious world of blogging, an enjoyable if somewhat intimidating experience for someone who still writes in a leather-bound journal that I keep by the side of my bed. I use Facebook avidly as a means of connecting with the students we serve, Twitter not-so-much-ly. I don’t have a smart phone, an iPad, or a Kindle. Heck, I don’t even have TV. I’ve never played Angry Birds and I don’t really know what Spotify is all about. But I am genuinely fascinated by the opportunities that social media provide for increased connection and dialogue. At the Women’s Center, we’ve found social media to be an invaluable way of reaching our constituents. On the flip side, though, we also regularly reach a number of folks who simply don’t want to be reached, and therein lies the source of my sometime discontent with technology. I can’t help but occasionally feel dismayed and discouraged by the breakdown of courteous discourse that these online discussion forums often encourage.

How do we as Student Affairs professionals using social media set the tone to promote learning and a genuinely constructive exchange of ideas? How do we encourage productive conversations and foster accountability and civility in (mostly anonymous) respondents without invoking censorship? And how do we deal with those who refuse to engage in a respectful exchange of opinions?

Answers on a postcard, please…

Meet the Blogger: Lysa Salsbury

Open Thread: Where did January go?

Welcome to February, er, well almost February.  Is anyone else wondering where January went to?  I sure am.  I think with the busyness of the holidays November through early January, we sort of lose the rest of the month recovering from it all.

Since January tends to be the month of resolutions, goal setting, and life style changes, I wanted to check with YOU.  How are YOU doing with all those resolutions, goals or what-nots that you listed out just a month ago?

A few years ago I stopped making resolutions, but instead use the beginning of the year as a fresh start.  The beginning of the year, also falls on my birthday too (or my birthday falls on the beginning of the year).  At any rate, I went back and read what I’d written the first of the year.  I have to say I’m staying on point.

Are you someone who makes New Years Resolutions?  If so, what were some of them?  If not, why not?  If you make them, do you actually stick with those resolutions, goals or lifestyle changes until they are fully achieved?

Why do you think it’s so difficult for individuals to stick with those goals?  I’ve always noticed an trend in health related fitness goals, because the gym is a little more crowded.  But as the days and months go by those who were at the gym lessen.  It’s fine with me because there isn’t as long of a wait for the weights or cardio equipment.

How does technology help you achieve those New Years resolutions?  Do you find that “announcing” something on Facebook or Twitter help you stay more accountable?  For me I try not to announce too much stuff, such as goals or resolutions of sorts on many social networks.  I find that it sometimes thwarts the process for me.  I like to follow through on something and then post my success!

Since February is going to be here whether we like it or not, may you use the start of a new month to get back on track.  If you’re chugging along, great keep it up!  Best wishes in 2012!

Open Thread: Where did January go?

Women in Technology Spotlight: Amy Jorgensen

by Kathryn Magura

One of the things we like to do on the blog is highlight some of the amazing women who work in the field. As women who work with technology in student affairs, we want to take time to acknowledge some of our colleagues and celebrate their achievements. Hopefully, this will help encourage other women to follow in our footsteps some day.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Amy Jorgensen. Amy is the Marketing Coordinator for the University of Florida office of Housing & Residence Education, and has a true gift for personal branding and social media. This past fall, Amy was awarded the “Best of” program at the annual ACUHO-I Business Operations Conference in Orlando, Florida for her program: “Rock Out Your Page – Make the Most of Your Facebook Presence”. Amy got her degree at the University of Florida in Business Marketing, and is currently working on a masters degree in International Business. After graduating, Amy had a brief stint working for Mickey Mouse, but Amy decided to return to her passion of working in marketing for higher education with a focus on housing.

During our conversation, Amy offered the following advice regarding technology:

“Be open and willing to learn – as you would be with other things in life. Technology can be intimidating, so you need to put yourself out there. I haven’t taken any classes on using technology or MS programs or social media; I taught myself. When all else fails, use the power of Google. Heck, I taught myself how to use Photshop and HTML via Google!“

As we talked, I could hear Amy’s passion and enthusiasm for working with technology and social media. I asked her if she had any female role models, and she said the following:

Teri Bump is incredibly motivating, and has an amazing way of leveraging technology to enhance her personal network. Ann Marie Klotz and Stacy Oliver are social media rockstars who have connected our professional community on a higher level due to technology. Liz Gross is amazing too – she has a tremendous way of staying professional and keeping content relevant and new. Liz also has a great way of demonstrating her personality and connecting to others. All these women have been tremendously supportive of other women who want to get connected via social media, and they all epitomize showing an authentic integrity in their personal brand.”

Amy also notes that her supervisor, TJ Logan, was instrumental in encouraging her to even join Twitter. “I saw TJ making all these connections to amazing professionals, and thought it would be a great way to build my network.”

During our conversation, I was reminded that Amy and I would never have met if it weren’t for social media, and our shared interest in utilizing technology to serve and interact with students. We certainly never would have spent a day at EPCOT while attending the ACUHO-I Business Operations Conference together this last fall!

So who do you see as a female leader in technology within student affairs?

Women in Technology Spotlight: Amy Jorgensen

Filling in the gaps with Tech.

by Jennifer Keegin

A posting that went out today by Sarah Stroud on ACUI’s Commons was about job titles and how you explain your job to others who don’t understand what the title means in terms of day to day job functions. At the end of the post, there were some questions asked that triggered something in me and made me want to add an extra component to them. Just like adding “in bed” to your fortune cookie message, I added “tech” to each of these questions:

  • What does your title mean to you in terms of technology if at all?
  • What does your title mean to those you work with in terms of technology and the knowledge you have in this area?
  • What is one thing you do on a regular basis that is completely behind-the-scenes to everyone else in your office in terms of technology?
  • How would you like to expand your position with technology?

So with that, here are my answers to those questions.

  1. My title is Associate Director for Campus Activities. What this means in a general sense in terms of technology would be that I have a background in marketing/communications and using technology to enhance the quality of my work. Any activity needs good advertising and buzz about it – I use social media and other outlets to make this happen. This is what first comes to my mind.
  2. To others – when you think of Activities – I would imagine most folks think of inflatables, concerts, and themed events. Technology there would include how to operate sound systems, lights, and a basic understanding of electricity and what those needs are for various equipment.
  3. Again, I’m going to have to say my behind the scenes deal is social media. Mostly Twitter. I live Tweet almost everything. I also co-host the College Union & Activities Discussion (#CUAD) podcast every two weeks and very few people other than folks around the Dean of Students area, know that I even do that.
  4. How would I like to expand? I’m always looking to expand my knowledge of tech in regards to how its utilized in the Student Union. New gadgets, software, electronics – all that. I always want to know more.

So what about you? Where does tech fit into who you are and how you’re viewed in your position at your institution? Do you need to change that mindset? Or just put your awesome talents out there more? Please feel free to comment below.

Filling in the gaps with Tech.

Linkage Love

by Jess Faulk

As a techy woman, and curious student affairs professional, I am always looking for free or cheap technology focused professional development opportunities in my city.  I am lucky enough to call Boston my home, a city with an abundance of conferences, tweetups, and socials.  Over the course of the year, I have attended events such as PodCamp6, A11y Tech Accessibility Unconference, Educators & Entrepreneurs Summit: The Future of Education Technology, NY Internet Week, and MegaTweetup3.  At each of these events I always have the opportunity to learn about a new piece of technology that sounds promising.  I come home with a pocketful of business cards, file them, and forget about them.  I am sure you’ve had a similar experience.  It’s not like you meant to forget them, but life just keeps going and you don’t take the time to look into that new piece of tech.

This past weekend, in the process of cleaning up my apartment managed to unearth a stack of cards and notes from the year’s various events and wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

This start up was tabling at one of the conferences to give attendees a look at the future of technology competency.  I believe that our students are not as tech savvy as we give them credit for.  We often think that students have more experience with programs such as Excel, Photoshop, or Google applications just because they are younger than we are.  I find however that our students have a ways to go when it comes to using computer applications in a way that is useful for their organizations and their jobs.  This website, still in it’s infancy, has begun to create a platform for testing and sharing technology competency scores. One day we may be posting our Smarterer scores on our resume, but in the meantime, it is a fun site to visit, test yourself, and perhaps even create a test to challenge your student leaders to grow their tech knowledge.


This gem I just learned about tonight from @robbiesamuels while at the the#MegaTweetup.  Robbie uses Rapportive to be able to pull in all of the information from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to help him make connections with all of the people he emails.  When you are in your Gmail account and have the program installed, you can see all of a person’s latest tweets and their contact information just by hovering over their name. Once you connect the program with your LinkedIn contacts, you might also discover connections between your friends and co-workers that you didn’t even know existed!  Gist is another program that does something very similar.  If you are a Gmail user, I suggest you check them out. A social experiment to spread happiness 

This project was one that I was introduced to at a street fair.  I was talking by a table and asked the question “What makes you happy?”  What a great question to ask a stranger I thought.  The team that created this project is spreading joy into the communities around the world by asking them to share of what they enjoy in life, making people smile, and passing along the sense of satisfaction from one person to another.  On the brick wall across from the table was hundreds of post-it notes from people at the fair that wanted to share.  Immediately I thought of what a great project this would be to bring back to my college.  Check out the project, and see if the thought of bringing the happiness project to your institution makes you smile 🙂


Linkage Love

Pin It!

by Kristen Abell

If you haven’t seen the website I’m going to write about today pop up somewhere in your newsfeeds/streams/reader, I’m guessing you’ve been under a rock somewhere in a remote location – like the moon. Or maybe you just have better things to do with your time than surf the Internets. I, however, have had plenty of mentions of hitting me from all directions, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss what it was, as well as the pros and cons of the site, if you haven’t already checked it out for yourself.

Pinterest works somewhat like an online bulletin board/scrapbook for images – I’d say it’s fairly similar to how Delicious works for reading material – with a smidge of social networking thrown into the mix. When you log in, you see a page of what everyone else in your network is pinning – you can comment, like, and/or “repin” items, hence the social networking piece. Because there is no better authority on anything than Wikipedia, I’m going to provide you with a link to the Pinterest entry if you want to read more.

So what’s so great about all of this you ask? Well, here are some of my favorite parts of Pinterest:

  • Finding creative solutions to clutter/organizational problems or other home/office improvement projects. If you know me and have asked me a question about a project like this lately, you have likely heard me answer with, “Ooh, let’s check out Pinterest and see if we can find some suggestions.” And what happens? We always do. Because it’s awesome. And then my partner curses me because I have just figured out how we absolutely must rearrange our entire house to organize our pots and pans.
  • Gift ideas – Ever wonder what to get that hard-to-buy-for person in your life? Just get them on Pinterest, and you will have no lack of suggestions! Seriously, I almost wish I bought gifts for all of my friends on Pinterest, as I have tons of great ideas just based on all the stuff they’ve been pinning.
  • Connecting – There are people that I’m now following and who are following me with whom I’ve probably exchanged less than five words in person or online before Pinterest, but now seeing that we are both huge fans of black nail polish, we’ve found other common interests. Random, I know, but it’s actually been a pretty spectacular conversation-starter and relationship-builder.
  • Randomness – Because I now have a mix of men and women with whom I’ve connected on Pinterest, when I open up the site, I have an incredibly random assortment of pins – everything from wedding dresses to funny sayings to architecture to bizarre dentistry items (yeah, I follow a dentist, and who knew there was so much out there in the way of odd dentist paraphernalia?). Oh, and the geekery – there is a whole category for geek stuff, and I have found that these items tend to be the most often repinned. Oh sure, a good organization solution gets three or four repins, but just post something about Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Wonder Woman, and that sucker will be repinned at least 25 times.

So with all these benefits, why wouldn’t you use Pinterest? Oh fine, I have a couple of downsides to the site, too, just to be fair.

  • It’s horribly glitchy – I’m sure it’s come a long way from its beginnings, but when posting pictures and all the memory required, it’s still a far cry from a smooth experience. Sometimes you have to follow or unfollow people/boards multiple times to get it to work. It may take a day or two for a follow or unfollow to actually hit across the site and the mobile app. These are things that drive me crazy as a tech person. But I’ve managed to overlook them for the time being.
  • It’s wedding-heavy – Although I’ve managed to unfollow most of the wedding planning boards (and there are a lot of them out there), the occasional wedding pin still makes its way into my feed. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-wedding or anything, but mine’s over and done with, and I hope to never plan another, so I’m just not interested.
  • It is a MAJOR time suck. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve opened up the computer to do one thing, and an hour later I’m still looking at Pinterest.
  • It’s still set up as an invite-only site. But not to worry, I’m happy to send invites if you’re interested. Just send me your email! (No, seriously, I’m happy to send them out as long as the site will let me –

Apparently someone has decided that Pinterest is too much woman for them, so you can now find a men’s forum called “Gentlemint,” but I’m happy with the mix of people I’m following on Pinterest these days.

Are you on Pinterest? What are your pros and cons? Want to follow my boards? Check me out at

Pin It!

What do you do to promote women in technology in student affairs?

by Colleen Riggle

This is a great prompt and it really got me to thinking, “How DO I promote women in technology in student affairs?”  I mean I work at an “Institute of Technology,” direct a Women’s Center, and have a degree in Student Affairs, but really how do I promote women in tech?

Then I broke technology in to a shorter acronym, T-E-C-H and discovered THIS is how I promote women in technology in students affairs:

Teach:  I find that teaching those women who I’m around how to use the technology at their disposable is the best way to promote the continuation of knowledge.  I tend to be default person in my area/department who knows how to work the technology or “fix it” when something goes array during a presentation, program or event.  However, I find that if I teach those around me to how to “fix it,” then we have more individuals who are advancing technology within our area/department.

Empower:  Once you teach then you must empower those to use the skills they have to use the technology at their fingertips.  Technology allows us to do so much more than we could 5, 10, 15 years ago!

Chat:  Besides talking about running, I enjoy chatting about technology.  Chatting about the coolest new apps,  software or electronic is a great way in which I’m able to promote technology to those women I worked with and have as colleagues.  We were just chatting in my office last week about how we could integrate technology more into the daily activities!

Higher Ed:  Women in student affairs are working at institutions of higher education, so therefore we’re probably more prone to be life-long learners.  Once you’re able to teach, empower and chat about the technology you have to keep up with learn what’s new, hip and the latest trend!

While at first I didn’t see myself at someone who promoted technology, once I broke it down and examined what I do every day, I realized that I DO in fact promote women in technology in student affairs.

How about you?  How do you promote women in technology in student affairs?


What do you do to promote women in technology in student affairs?

How to Benchmark Best Practices in Student Affairs

by Kathryn Magura

I have been thinking a lot recently on how to benchmark best practices in Student Affairs. How do we know if the work we are doing is the best way to serve students? Do we even take the time to ask others how they handle certain situations? As educational professionals, do we take the time to learn from those who set the path before us, so we aren’t constantly reinventing the wheel?

There are many days in my work that I feel like no one truly understands the delicate balance of the work I do. Finding ways to please students, parents, coworkers, and University partners can often lead to impossible situations, yet I revel in the strategic challenge of it all. Days when I’m feeling particularly stuck or hopeless, I turn to my saved Twitter searches, and exhale with relief when I see I’m not alone. There are others who truly understand what I’m dealing with, and what’s more, they would love to help me!

I find myself setting time aside each day to check the #ACUHOI and #sachat hashtags to see what issues are salient for my peers. If I feel like I can add something to a conversation, I will provide my 140 characters. Sometimes this proves a bit challenging, seeing as how I’m a late night west coast tweeter. My voice may be a little late in joining the party, but I’m there!

If I am working on revising a policy, I will take time to engage a professional list serve, to see if people are willing to provide their insights. So long as you are strategic in sending out requests at a time of day people are actively on email (this means before 2:00 pm on the west coast, to have a chance of catching the east coast audience), or at times of the year when they may have a few extra minutes (don’t bother asking Housing professionals for feedback in August), you are usually likely to receive a wealth of resources.

As a member of the ACUHO-I association, I also have all the resources from the ACUHO-I central office staff at my disposal. In particular, Emily Glenn, the ACUHO-I librarian is a rockstar in sending documents and presentations from peers when you request help. I am always amazed by the range of resources Emily provides, and the speed with which she gets them to you. Such an amazing asset!

So how do you benchmark best practices? How can we help make life a little easier for each other as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of higher education administration?

How to Benchmark Best Practices in Student Affairs

Let Me Tell You A Storify

Let Me Tell You A Storify

Meet the Blogger: Anitra

By Anitra Cottledge

I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of a technological late bloomer. I’ve bought nearly every gadget of the last 10-15 years significantly later than other people I know: cell phone (let’s not even get into when I got a smartphone), desktop computers, digital camera, laptop computer, e-reader, etc. At the same time, I consider myself a really fast learner and a very tech-savvy woman. I’m also really interested in exploring technology as a topic: how it enhances and detracts from our lives, who has access to it and what kinds of access they/we have, and how the view of technology changes depending on who’s interacting with it. In other words, what does technology mean when seen through the lens of race, gender, and class (and other identities)?

For me, technology is connected to being a writer and avid reader, being a nerd, and being someone who loves information. I always say that if I wasn’t the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center at the University of Minnesota, or in some other women’s and gender equity-related position, I’d be a librarian. Or an intellectual property lawyer. Or a librarian. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Of course, being techy serves me well at my day job, too. One of the things I’m responsible for is managing our website, so learning HTML in the mid-90s has served me well. I was an early blogger, although I haven’t blogged in a long while. Despite occasionally thinking that some of social media is a bit sketch (yes, I mean you, Foursquare), I do see its value and love working with folks in my office to figure out how we, as an organization, can best utilize things like blogs, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about what we do and why it’s important.

Technology is even all over my bookshelf. Right now I’m reading Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education and Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age. It evens finds its way into the fiction I’m reading: Soulless, which is all alternate history and steampunky.

So I have questions, as a student affairs practitioner, as a sometimes instructor, as a black woman, as someone who is fascinated and repulsed by the Twilight phenomenon: how does the digital divide manifest itself in the classroom? How can Women’s Centers best use social media? Wouldn’t the world be a sad and empty place without the Buffy vs. Edward video?

I’m looking forward to answering these and other burning technology-related questions and very glad to join the fabulous women bloggers here at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech!

Meet the Blogger: Anitra