My Final Post

by Colleen Riggle

This is my final official post with this group.  It’s been a fun three years of writing and I’m honored to have been a part of this blog from the start and seeing how it’s grown.  This is my final post since I’m heading back to school for my doctorate and will have ample opportunities to writing over the course of the program.  However, throughout the process of applying to graduate school I’ve been keenly aware of how technology has been guiding the process.

First, in taking the GRE it was quite the endevour.  I had a very bad experience with the testing center the first time I was supposed to take the test and trying to find an actual person to speak with was quite challenging.  It made me appreciate the times when I am able to talk with an actual person in customer support.  And when I was actually able to take the exam, I’m pretty sure that was the most focus I’d been on a computer for that length of time – definitely different then just surfing Google mindlessly.

Second, applying to graduate school.  It was was all computer based, not on paper.  That probably makes me seem old, or just how fast technology has changed the way we do things and process information.  However, my letters of recommendation had to be in hard copy form (odd) so buying stamps to send those request was quite fun.  There were certain documents that went in one package to the school, and other documents that went to the specific department.  I remember sitting in my adviser’s office and waiting for the “phone call” where we could call in my classes for the next term #smallschoolbonus.  When registering this time, it was like fort knox logging in to the system and clicking through the various tables and forms.

However, I’m registered for classes starting May 20th! I’m actually going to live in a residence hall for one week while taking one class this summer.

But the bright side of technology is that I can purchase Kindle versions of my book – and be able to fit in schoolwork where ever I am on campus, in the car, or at home!

So with that, this is my final post! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this writing, blogger community!

My Final Post

Lean In with #femlead

By Brenda Bethman

Technically, this post is not really about technology (although Sandberg does work at Facebook) — but it is about women, which is the other focus of this blog. And it’s cheating a bit as it’s a cross-post from my personal blog, but it’s April and I’m sick, so it will have to do. Enjoy!! And join us tomorrow and May 14 on Twitter to talk about the book.

lean inIf you’ve been conscious and tuned in to the media at all over the last 6 weeks or so, you have probably heard that Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, wrote a book that people are talking about (just a bit). You may also have heard that there is a fair amount of disagreement in feminist circles about Sandberg’s book and whether it’s helpful or harmful to women.

We at #femlead decided these were questions worth pursuing — so the next two #femlead chats (4/30 and 5/14) were be dedicated to a discussion of Lean In as well as the discussion around it. The chats will be facilitated by me and the fabulous Liana Silva. We hope you can join us and below are some links in case you want to do some pre-reading.

Joan C. Williams and Rachel W. Dempsey, “The Rise of Executive Feminism” in HBR

Anne Marie Slaughter’s review in the NYT

Lean In and One Percent Feminism” in Truthout

Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning In?” in Dissent

Jill Filipovic, “Sheryl Sandberg is More of a Feminist Crusader..” in The Guardian

Catherine Rottenberg “Hijacking Feminism” on AlJazeera

Jessica Bennett, “I Leaned In: Why Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Circles’ Actually Help,” in New York Magazine

On Lean-ing In” at Racialicious

Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean in” Message Not Enough for Women, Especially Professional Latinas” at Huffington Post

The Feminist Mystique” in The Economist

Joan Walsh, “Trashing Sheryl Sandberg” at Slate

Questioning Sheryl Sandberg: We’re Not “Trashing,” We’re Exploring” at The Broad Side

Tressie McMillan Cottom “Lean In Litmus Test: Is This For Women Who Can Cry At Work?”

Elsa Walsh, “Why Women Should Embrace a ‘Good Enough’ Life” in the Washington Post

Originally published at

Lean In with #femlead

Highlighting a RETRO woman in tech: Grace Hopper.



By Jennifer Keegin

Admiral Hopper, was not only one of the first female programmers, but also the first woman to graduate from Yale with a Ph.D in mathematics AND the first woman to reach the rank of Admiral in the U.S. Navy.

If you follow me at all, you know I dig retro women in tech, so please indulge me today.

In addition to inventing the first computer complier in 1952, Admiral Hopper developed COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language), was credited with popularizing the term “bug” and “debugging” – reportedly when she had to remove a moth from the inside of a computer, was instrumental in the creation of FLOW-MATIC language for the UNIVAC I and UNIVAC II computers and was quoted as saying “It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

Highlighting a RETRO woman in tech: Grace Hopper.

Linkage Love: Help for Boston

By Valerie Heruska

As someone who lived what pretty much seemed to be the longest/most tragic week in Boston, I’ve been scouring the web to find ways that I can help others. Boston has been my home for the past two years, and I couldn’t just sit here and do nothing. There are some great resources on the web that anyone can reference, just not in times of tragedy. Special thanks to @richdecapua for sending this list to Mass NASPA members.


Coping with Disaster Resources

Explosions (section on After an Explosion)  



Coping with Disaster  



Building Your Resilience  

American Psychological Association  


Managing traumatic stress: Tips for recovering from disaster/traumatic events 

American Psychological Association                


Taking Care of Your Emotional Health After a Disaster  

American Red Cross


Recovering Emotionally

American Red Cross 


Helping Children Cope with Disaster

American Red Cross/US Federal Emergency Management Agency


Disaster Distress Helpline (24/7 phone and text)

Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration


The One Fund (donations)

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, Inc. to help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013.



Thanks to @oberbecca for her fabulous contribution to the running community:

In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon we were left wanting to join together to show our support. Some of us are runners, some are joggers, some are walkers, and some are lacing up for the first time; all of us want to #RunForBoston. Go out and run your miles or walk your block, then come back here and share your run.

These miles aren’t about raising money, but about showing our support for the runners, families, rescuers, and Bostonians. They are about being a part of something bigger than ourselves and being a part of a community. Log as many runs as you like for as long as you like, I’ll keep the form active and share totals periodically.

If you want to log your miles for charity, download the Charity Miles App. For every mile you walk or run, 25 cents will be donated to a charity you select (or 10c per mile biked).

Linkage Love: Help for Boston

What Is Technology in Student Affairs?

by Kristen Abell

Student affairs has been abuzz for the past several years about technology and our growing need to understand it and be able to work with it, but what exactly does that mean?

For some, it seems to mean social media – despite the fact that these are primarily communication tools, there is a strong connection to technology that we cannot ignore. There is access to technology that is required, comfort with web interfaces, understanding of how to use these tools. And I would argue that without the rise to recognition of these tools, the conversation about technology in student affairs would not be at nearly the pitch it is now.

For others it is the ability to use basic tools well – email clients, spreadsheets, word processing tools, etc. We require a basic understanding of many of these tools of entry level staff, but we don’t always offer the training to support this. How many of us took any sort of class on spreadsheets in high school or college to prepare us or learned to do a mail merge anywhere but on the job? Sure, these are basic, but they lay a strong foundation for all the work we do.

There is also that technology that it would be virtually impossible to teach in any program – student and institutional databases. With the various types out there, it wouldn’t make sense to do any sort of training on this before someone starts a job, and yet most people only receive very basic training on these – just enough to get them by.

And don’t forget the web, an increasingly important (nay, essential) tool in reaching prospective, current and graduated students. How many of us have a passing understanding of how it works, how students use it, how we can best leverage it to meet our students’ needs?

There are a variety of other technological tools – learning management systems, the cloud, texting, even the phone (or – gasp! – the fax machine) – that we have barely scraped the surface of in our profession.

Where do we begin in constructing a course in technology for student affairs? What are the essential elements in a course such as this? And how much is practice versus discussion and understanding? What do you think?

What Is Technology in Student Affairs?

Technology in Times of Tragedy: #BostonMarathon


By Jess Faulk

As a Student Affairs professional in Boston, I lived through one of the most emotionally and physically exhausting weeks I could imagine.  The bookends of the week were Monday’s  Boston Marathon explosions, and then Friday’s city-wide “shelter in place” (aka lockdown) and killing and capture of the suspects.  This is never something you can can fully prepare for, but when tragedy does strike you feel very fortunate for systems and technology you have in place to help you manage the crisis.

All week, I have been reflecting on the tools we have used, both to communicate among each other, but also more importantly those used by our students to communicate with their friends and loved ones.  I’d like to share a few of technologies that I feel have been indispensable this week.

Camera and Video Phones

Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of smart phones, investigators had access to thousands of photo and video files.  Following tips from witnesses, they were able to pour through this overwhelming  volume of data and identify several photos and videos of the bombing suspects.  It’s amazing to me that anyone in the crowd might have a photo or video that leads to identifying those responsible.

Texts/Text Alerts/Phone Alerts

Shortly after the explosions on Monday, Boston news sources began pushing out important information about safety measures and street closures. Texts, email and phone alerts were used by Universities to communicate these updates with students. Cell phones became useless as everyone tried to call from and to Boston to check on loved ones. Until cell phone lines cleared up, texting became the most expedient way to communicate with the Resident Director (RD) on duty, my family and friends, and the Campus Emergency Response Team. This made me reflect on our need to come up with separate emergency plans in case of complete cell phone outages.  Do you have plans in place for communicating via home phone?  Office phones? Walkie Talkie?

On Friday, I awoke to a phone alert that Boston and several surrounding towns were on “shelter in place” alert because police were hunting down the 2 suspects.  These phone alerts allow us to quickly respond to incidents as they are happening.

Facebook & Twitter

I was extremely grateful these technologies were available.  They did not exist when 9/11 happened. Back then you couldn’t message your entire community with one post to let everyone know you were okay.  In my first official email communication to the Simmons residential community, I suggested all students post status messages on Facebook and Twitter to let loved ones know they were safe. While we certainly received some concerned parent phone calls after the explosion, and during the manhunt, we received many fewer calls because these communication tools were available.

Opportunities for support also popped up all over Facebook as the week progressed, including information about community vigils and OneFund, which was set up by Boston Mayor Menino and Massachusetts Governor Patrick to support survivors.

Google Docs

While the explosions happened 1.4 miles from the Simmons College campus, we knew that many of our students could potentially have been hurt or killed in the blast.  The Boston Marathon coincides with Patriots’ Day a statewide holiday. Therefore, thousands of students from Boston’s 53 colleges and universities have the day off and chose to line up along the Marathon route to cheer on the runners.  Some Simmons students go the extra mile and volunteer at the finish line and in the medical tents.  Several of our student life staff were also running in the race.

As soon as we were able coordinate communication, each RD sent an email to the students in their building and asked everyone in their building to check in either in person or via email.  We were adamant in tracking down every student, whether physically on campus or off.  Many students were at home with their families because of the long weekend.  By the end of the day, RDs were able to confirm they checked in with 99% of the students in their buildings. RDs entered all of this data onto a shared Google doc spreadsheet. I shared the Google doc with the Emergency Response team, Dean’s office, and ResStaff so everyone had access to real-time head counts.

When parents or friends called in to check on a student, we were able to check the Google doc to confirm that we had heard from the student and they were safe.  Not only was this extremely useful in verifying that our students had all (thank goodness) survived the blasts without harm, but it also made the students FEEL extremely well taken care of.  RDs reported receiving dozens of emails from residents thanking them for checking in on them.

Google doc spreadsheets were also used by the Boston Globe, to set up an “I have a place to stay” document for the thousands of Boston Marathon runners who could not go back to their Back Bay hotels immediately following the blasts.  Google also set up a “Boston Marathon Explosions Person Finder.”

For more information on how how technology and social media played an important role in supporting the Boston Marathon investigations, check out the stories below:

Technology in Times of Tragedy: #BostonMarathon

Best Practices for Making Life Easier

by Colleen Riggle

Tis the season, in the world of student affairs, for banquets, end of the semester this and that, awards ceremonies galore! But how do you keep it all straight? How do YOU practice self care when you’re eating roasted chicken, mashed potatoes with a side of veggies 3 nights a week and delicious desserts for lunch?

For me, it’s using an app to track my food intake because aside from the start of the year when I’m eating cheesecake until September this is a very high calorie season! Not only are the students under deadlines to wrap up classes, finish projects and prepare for exams. We as professionals have end of the year reports, evaluations and assessment to do, too. And if you’re like me I stress eat, so using something that will help assess my intake and more importantly make sure I’m staying hydrated in HOTatlanta!

Maybe it’s the end of the year tiredness or perhaps I’m getting older, but I’m having a difficult time remembering as much as I used to. And I’m old fashioned when it comes to “to-do” lists but I’ve been digging the notepad on my new iphone 5. There is nothing special about it, other than it’s great to have something with when I’m jetting from meeting to meeting, and yet another meeting.

So as you embark on these last few weeks of the semester and make your way into summer, use this time to make life easier. Develop new ways of managing your schedule, keeping track of projects, long term goals, and planning for that vacation
with the notepad, or calendar on your iphone, ipad or even using the icloud! Good luck, summer is in site!

Best Practices for Making Life Easier