Blog Prompt – What is the future for technology in student affairs?

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?

Blog Prompt – What is the future for technology in student affairs?

April Absurdity

by Kristen Abell

I’m just going to start by saying this isn’t a strictly “tech” post – it’s more about student affairs in general. What is it about this time of year that makes us feel we have to cram every last little bit of celebration, assessment, meetings and work into these 30 days. Thirty days where we really feel like getting outside more to enjoy a little bit of spring weather after the bleakness of winter. Thirty days where we’re already a bit worn down by the year and so may not be at our best for all of these events or projects. Thirty days that, let’s face it, make many of us want to drink – heavily.

I sometimes wonder if it isn’t a casualty of being on a college campus and exposed to so much youth – it feels like we have all the time in the world in front of us, and so we delay stuff until tomorrow that could be done today. And then it’s April and we panic – the students are leaving! And I still need to get this, this, and that done before they leave!

Or is it just that the end of the year brings about that need to celebrate something, no matter that it adds more work to our plate and evenings spent on campus? Why aren’t we celebrating more during the year, spreading things out a little, so to speak?

Perhaps I’m entering this month a little more reflective than most Aprils, as my body decided to slow things down preemptively for me with a cold. This isn’t healthy! it says to me. You must take care of yourself!

Okay, okay, I know we can’t change YEARS of the celebratory, end-of-year madness that is April overnight, but just do me a favor, will you? When you make it to the other side, make sure to spend just as much energy recovering and taking care of yourself as you did for the students this month, alright?

April Absurdity

Linkage Love

By Anitra Cottledge

At what point does an interest in technology intersect with nerddom or geekdom? I’m not sure, just as I’m not sure how many of our Student Affairs Women Talk Tech bloggers would refer to themselves as nerds or geeks. I personally love being a nerd and will talk about in further detail in a future post. But thinking about this did lead me to thinking about nerd culture and how that often gets coded. For the record, I don’t think there is always a correlation between nerddom and interest in technology. I, do, however, think that they are both coded concepts with often very particular associations. A few links exploring this topic:

White male nerd culture’s last stand – An examination of how identities are represented at SXSW.

Videoblogger and radio host Jay Smooth…points out that even such proactive systems can only go so far in a still-segregated world. “I do think it’s worth raising the conversation of why are there so many all-white dude panels within these big events,” he said, “but I think the conversation that has to be had, and the work that needs to be done goes deeper than the panel selection process and into the culture of these industries and scenes.”

Where is the Female Version of Donald Glover? –  Provides a list of geeky and nerdy black women in mainstream media (ex., Janelle Monae, Zoe Saldana, etc.). “So why can’t black women be shown as geeky or nerdy? We are either shown as being sassy, bossy, or Beyotchy.  But there are some exceptions.”

And a few opportunities for getting involved in nerddom/geekdom that is not automatically coded as white and/or male:

Black Thought 2.0 Conference: New Media and the Future of Black Studies – This conference just took place last week at Duke University.

Black Thought 2.0 will focus on the roles of digital technology and social media in furthering the mission of Black Studies. The conference will specifically explore how scholars are using technologies to further their research, do collaborative forms of scholarship and activism, and to reach broader audiences.

A Convention Just for Geeky Girls? I’m Down! – A brief write-up about GeekGirlCon (which takes place in August), which is dedicated to “recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women in all aspects of geek culture.”

Like a little video with your links? Try this video of a panel entitled, “Ask a Sista: Black Women Muse on Politics, Policy, Pop Culture and Scholarship.”

What are you thoughts on the nerd/technology narrative, particularly around issues of gender and race?

Linkage Love

Texts from Hillary Love

By Brenda Bethman

I had great plans this week of writing about the #dayofhighered that I participated in last week and the debates going on in the academic blogosphere about the 40-hour-work week. It’s April, however, which means I am swamped and just don’t have the mental energy for a “real” post.

So, instead, I want to share with you (in case you’re one of the 3 people who hasn’t seen it), the hot new Tumblr, Texts from Hillary — if you haven’t seen it, go check it out right now. Here’s a sample:

The site and Mashable also reported today that Secretary Clinton submitted her own text from Hillary.

There are so many things I love about this site: first, it’s Hillary and I swoon for her. But more importantly, I love it that she submitted her own and that she gets the humor of it. After having been unfairly characterized for so many years as a humorless feminist (itself a myth), it’s nice to see her getting attention for her lighter side. Don’t get me wrong, I also love that she is remaking the Secretary of State job into a feminist job — but it’s important to have fun while doing so. I’m glad she’s showing the rest of the world what so many of us already knew — that defending women’s rights is important, deadly serious work, but that you can have fun while doing it.

(Oh, and I will definitely get to that other post as soon as April is over…..)


Texts from Hillary Love

What got me interested in Technology?

By Jennifer Keegin

This is today’s blog prompt. “What got you interested in Technology?”

I think I learned the word early on because my father worked at the Florida Institute of Technology as a diving instructor (ocean, not pools). Our first piece of real tech was a TRS-80 computer:

My Mom learned DOS, and as a teacher my mom had access to computers etc. in her classroom and I played Oregon Trail early on.

We had a beta tape player, cassette recorder, and a VHS camera that my brother and I grew up playing with. Commercials, music videos, soap operas – we dramatized it all. Too bad we weren’t living in the YouTube age. We would have been famous.

I would say those were the beginnings of a real tech geek.

In high school I took typing instead of computers – but I don’t regret them. I caught up with computers in college. Senior year I took an html course even though it wasn’t really in my major. I think I always knew I’d have a future in online communications…

Now your turn – What got YOU interested in Technology?


What got me interested in Technology?

Highlight An App: Instagram

By Colleen Riggle

This is really not a new app (unless you’re on Android)  but one that I’d like to highlight because I find it to be a lot of fun!  I absolutely LOVE pictures, so this is the perfect app for me!

Do you Instagram?  It is a fast, fun way to share pictures!

What I LOVE about it, is how you can snap a picture, chose the filter and upload to your favorite social networking sites. My favorite filters are Inkwell and Kelvin.  With the most recent app updates you’re able to focus before taking the pictures a little better which is great since I tend to take blurry pictures!

In addition, I really like the linear and radial tilt-shift blur effect for extra depth of field!  And what’s awesome about this app is that you can upload to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare and Posterous all in the click of a button! This is really a snazzy app!

And just this week they have release Instagram for Android phones.  You can now share connected with all your friends with smart phones!

You’re able to find a community of people too.  During my maternity leave, I connected with some new moms through several of the baby boards and we all joined Instagram to share photos!  It’s been a very fun way to watch our babies grow.

One additional feature I’ve appreciate is being able to Tweetgram something to Instagram.  So perhaps you only connect with some friends through Instagram and not Facebook or Twitter, so you can post a Tweetgram to Instagram for advice, thoughts of well wishes.

Look me up! I’m @colleenriggle

Highlight An App: Instagram

Be an Infographic Designer for Your Office

Student Affairs Detox

By Jess Faulk

As an avid infographic fan and semi-regular creator of Student Affairs themed infographics myself, I am often asked for tips on where to start from people wishing to create their own.  While still just a beginner myself, I love teach others, and I will do my best to guide those who are up for the challenge to making you own wonderful infographics.

You can use many different programs to create infographics, and the ones you choose should be the ones you feel most comfortable with.  Personally I use a combination of Pages (for the mac) and Photoshop.  While the entire thing could be designed in a program such as Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator, most student affairs professionals don’t have access to these specialty programs. I use pages because it has a tool called “Instant Alpha” which is one of my favorite tools (see the tools section).  It’s also is easy to move items around, create image masks (invisible frames that allow you to see only pieces of a picture), frames, and graphic fills, and is generally a great program to work with.  If you are stuck using a PC and don’t have the Abobe suite available, you can work in Publisher or Word, although you may be limited by the design capability.

LGBTQ YouthData:
You can’t begin designing without the data.  Depending on whether you are doing a numbers based infographic (such as LGBT Youth) or a concept one (such as Signs you need a Student Affairs Detox) you may approach your design differently.  Gather all of the data you think you may want to use in one place.  This will likely mean a list of statistics and a variety of sources.  Keep that source list close because you are going to want to use it for reference at the bottom of your infographic.

One of the biggest tips I can give about the graphic design itself is to pick a theme and stick with it.  That means consistency in fonts, colors, and images. It doesn’t mean that everything has to be in two colors, but it does mean you should stick with a specific pallet of colors.  Is everything going to have a faded/aged look?  Will everything look bright or pastel?  You decision will likely be guided by the overall theme of the project.  Say for example you were going to do a Infographic on how living on campus is more beneficial than living off.  Perhaps you know you plan on having a large house in the graphic.  Pick a couple of large graphics you feel will be anchors to the piece, and then choose the colors off of the graphics you have chosen.  You can work from there choosing the rest of your images.  Most programs actually allow you to use a magnifying glass tool to choose the exact color and use it elsewhere in your graphic.

Sa ZombieDesign:
As with any graphic design work, I suggest you pick two fonts, three at most, and stick with those fonts.  It’s even better if you work within variations of the same font (italics, bold, all caps, etc.).  It will make the piece feel more cohesive/consistent.

On images – there are several ways you can obtain images for your graphic – you can head to sites like Flickr and look at the license section under each picture you find.  If it says “Some rights reserved” you can use the image as long as you attribute it to the owner.  Check out the creative commons site as well. There are also a fair number of free clip are sites on the web you can find via google search.  My suggestion is that you pick a style and stick with it as much as possible, whether that is cartoony images, or real ones.  One way you can help is by using frames and or masks to make the images feel more consistent.  For example, on the SA Detox Infographic, I knew I needed to use some real photos that could not have a background removed easily.  To keep them consistent, I rounded all of their corners and made the graphics the same size.  Just this small change can make a big difference to the overall design.

Several Apple Pages tools I use often for my designs:

It Gets Better Simmons

There are a variety of tools to help you with infographics, and many new ones popping up everyday. I’ll list a few for you to check out:

I am sure I could write a full blog post for each of these various areas, but I hope that this small overview has gotten you excited about the possibility of creating your own infographic design. Yes, good infographics take time, but in the end, I believe they are worth the work and they are a fabulous way to share the message of your department or organization with the world!  Good luck!

Idea links and more details on how to create your own infograhic:

See all @jessfaulk‘s infographics in one place through Pinterest or

Be an Infographic Designer for Your Office

The Power of Twitter

By Kathryn Magura

As I contemplated what to write for this post, I started to reflect on how I became a part of this wonderful community of bloggers: I saw a call for bloggers go out on Twitter. To think, if I hadn’t been a part of the Student Affairs community on Twitter, I would never have seen the call for bloggers, and would not be writing this post today. As I reflect upon my amazing network made via Twitter, I realized I have had a lot of opportunities thanks to connections made on Twitter. Here are some examples:

  1. Connecting with colleagues across the country who perform similar jobs to mine.
  2. Write articles for my national organization, ACUHO-I, journal the “Talking Stick“.
  3. Personal requests to apply for jobs.
  4. Job opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise know about.
  5. Opportunities to influence change for my national organization: [blackbirdpie url=”!/Kmagura/status/184790589684973568″%5D
  6. Crowdsource ideas and best practices with colleagues.
  7. Make strong enough connections to co-present at national conferences.
  8. Connect with colleagues on a common point of interest to put together a program proposal for a national conference: [blackbirdpie url=”!/Kmagura/status/185832228754952192″%5D
  9. Write a snarky tweet about Miley Cyrus that resulted in Ellen DeGeneres following my tweets.
  10. Be “cool” enough to have the following celebrities follow my tweets: Edward James Olmos, and… hmm, in going through my followers list, it appears that’s it (well, and Ellen). Hey, as a self-described Sci-fi nerd, I’ll count that as a win!

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the amazing connections and opportunities I have made through my Twitter network, but these examples prove to me how truly powerful Twitter is. So now your turn, what are some of your Twitter stories?

The Power of Twitter

Blog Prompt: Why are Blogs Important for Student Affairs?

By Lysa Salsbury


This week’s prompt got me thinking about the sheer number of topic blogs there must be out there that cater specifically to Student Affairs professionals, which in turn led me to think somewhat wistfully about all the blogs I wish I could read on a regular basis if only there were at least three times as many hours in the day…

A relative newcomer to the Blogosphere, I enjoy half a dozen blogs on a reasonably regular basis, an eclectic mix of personal, professional, and topic-based, but there are dozens more continually being thrown my way that I wish I had the time to follow. An article I read recently online estimates that there are currently over a hundred million active blogs online, with more blogs being created every day. The mind positively bloggles. Furthermore, women’s use of social media is skyrocketing. According to BlogHer, women are the primary consumers of social media, and women bloggers (approximately 42 million) now make up just under half of the authors in today’s Blogosphere.

In the Student Affairs world, I’ve observed blogging being used for a number of different purposes:

  • to create dialogue around common professional dilemmas;
  • to post announcements about professional opportunities and share best practices;
  • to promote personal and professional development and networking;
  • to encourage conversation on pressing social issues; or simply
  • as an informal way to express and share thoughts and ideas.

Just this morning, I participated in a conference call with other Student Affairs colleagues where we discussed using a blog publishing application to host a discussion and resource-sharing forum with other members of our professional association. At the University of Idaho Women’s Center, we use our blog as a way to kick-start much-needed conversations on our campus around equity and other related gender and social justice issues.

Blogs for Student Affairs professionals abound; the Student Affairs Collaborative is a self-described “peer-to-peer informal learning community—a platform to connect, share, and learn from each other.” The 2012 Student Affairs Job Hunt offers graduate students’ reflections in job hunting for positions in Student Affairs. This blog, Student Affairs Women Talk Tech, is offered as “a forum for women in student affairs with an interest in technology.” Many of NASPA’s knowledge communities, such as Women in Student Affairs (WISA) have blogs, as do the various standing committees and commissions within ACPA.

All of them use blogging for much the same reasons: to connect members of the community to share resources, information, and inspiration, and provide a network of encouragement and support. Blogging expands our circle of professionals and provides us with a borderless global village with which to share the innovations, and joys and frustrations of our profession.

Blog Prompt: Why are Blogs Important for Student Affairs?