by Kathryn Magura
What is the future for technology in student affairs?
When I saw the prompt for today, my brain started to go into overdrive with possibilities. In my experience, student affairs as a whole has been largely slow to embrace technology. However, when social media started to gain popularity, student affairs practitioners started to shift their opinions on technology. Many of us have found ways to utilize technology to engage with students via social media, and I see this trend continuing in the future.
We have talked about Pinterest in this blog before, and I believe many student affairs units are still trying to figure out how to use Pinterest to compliment programs and services we provide. I’ve heard some student affairs administrators talk about having design and recipe contests on Pinterest, as well as Admissions and Orientation staff discuss ways to use Pinterest to help students make their decision to attend the university. I look forward to seeing how colleagues across the country find innovative ways to use this new social media outlet to serve students.
As we continue to look for ways to integrate with the academic side of the house, I think technology and social media could help bridge the gap. Whether it be through “smart” classrooms in residence halls, or flat screen TVs used for advertising purposes in student unions, there are many ways we can work with technology to reach out to our students.
Speaking as someone who works on the customer service side of the house, I can tell you that students and their families expect fast responses to their questions. As student affairs practitioners, this means that we need to find ways to use technology to better our services and responses to inquiries. This may mean having intentional redesigns of our websites and even integrating online chat technology during business hours. It may also mean having some online office hours scheduled after regular business hours if it is more convenient for students.
Clearly I cannot predict the future (but how awesome would it be if I COULD??), but I want to encourage my colleagues in student affairs to continue down the path of embracing technology. In my opinion, technology enhances our ability to serve the ever-changing needs of our students.
So now you tell me, what do you think the future of technology in student affairs will be?