by John Sauter
Want a little student affairs humor to enjoy this weekend? Be sure to check out #FailedNASPAsessionProposals.
NASPA started today and runs until the 25th, so be sure to keep your eyes on the back channels. While you can follow it on Facebook, the twitter feeds will have more content.
Other NASPA Twitter Accounts
For academic advisors and higher education professionals, traveling to a regional or national conference can be invigorating. They are a great place to network, learn about trending issues, and reflect on your own practices. However, they are also expensive. New professionals no longer can take advantage of the discounted student rates. Many departmental and institutional budgets are stretched thin. The average cost of many national conferences becomes prohibitive, when you add in travel and hotels. Thankfully some conferences offer scholarships and honorariums for presenters. But the ability to go to multiple conferences or geographically distant conferences is limited. Hard choices have to be made, especially if you want to get more involved in presenting or leadership roles within the organization.
These do not need to limit your learning or networking. Conference back-channels are a way that social media savvy professionals, who know about social media back-channels, stay in touch with each other at the conferences, learning from each other's insights, networking, and trends at various conferences across the nation/world. Much of this is concentrated on Twitter, where you don't need to be at the conference or even a very active Twitter user, to benefit from the conversations. These channels may be obvious to professionals who use social media frequently, but many colleagues don't take advantage of these opportunities and they aren't always used intentionally at local or regional conferences.
Back-Channels form around specific hashtags (#...) for the conference, often including the year for national ones. These, often publicized, hashtags, link conference goers and can be followed by anyone with a twitter account. However, don't forget that the official conference accounts (@....) and regional accounts (@... r1) may also be sharing details. While a conference is restricted to specific dates, back-channels are not so you can go back in time to previous conferences (#NACADA14) or even get previews of upcoming conferences (#NACADA15) and sessions. They can also form around specific presentations (#bringyoself) to link conversations within the conference to specific topics. Many presenters often post materials on their twitter accounts or blogs and some conferences such as NACADA ask presenters to post handouts (WNY Advising Conference Presentations).
#ACPA15 Also #ACPA or @ACPA
#NASPA15 Also #NASPA or @NASPAtweets
#NACADA15 Also #NACADA or @NACADA
#WNYAdvising Also @WNYAdvising
#NACADAR7 Also @NACADA_regvii
#NACADAR1 Also @nacada_region1
More examples and hashtags. Other hashtags for future conferences may pop up in your feeds as you expand your Twitter network and follow more #Acadv or #SAPro related accounts.
Tips for following Back-Channels vary depending on what platform or app you are using. If you are using Twitter, search for the hashtag and then select all at the top of the stream to reach the full stream. I prefer Tweetdeck (A desktop version) on my Chromebook, where I can log in with Twitter, search for the hashtag and set up streams based on certain hashtags and users (i.e. "#NACADA14 OR #NACADA15 OR @NACADA OR .#acadv OR #NACADA OR #AdvTech").
On a personal note, the #NACADA14 back-channel really changed my professional practice, and changed how I network. I didn't worry as much which session I attended to get the most information, as the back-channel provided notes and slides from the other sessions, and my colleagues shared, or favorited some of the most interesting materials. Being there also allowed for at Tweetup where I got to meet many of the people I had connected with online. Not only did this improve my experience at the conference, but it also created many professional relationships which have morphed into shared resources, interactive endeavors, and conference proposals.
So, the next time your budget, responsibilities, or geographic location prevents you from attending a conference, don't fret, just look for the back-channel. Also, if you are involved in planning a regional or national conference, make sure to be intentional in creating a hashtag back-channel to enhance the conference experience and expand its influence to other professionals across the nation or world.
John Sauter Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Niagara University
Coordinator of WNY Advising
by Samantha Calabrese
University at Buffalo
It may not be a secret amongst those who know me well, but I LOVE Tina Fey and I LOVE Improv. (I mean come on, me center of attention? Obvi.) I even went as far as taking Level 1 and Level 2 Improv classes at ComedySportz (shout to CSZ Buffalo! http://www.cszbuffalo.com/) as well as performed on their minor league for a brief stint (SAM-Tastic was my stage name..). Not only did it teach me to step out of my comfort zone in a new and completely thrilling way and meet the most authentic and genuine people I’ve ever met, but I also learned some basic rules of Improv. These rules were further conveyed to me while readying Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. That’s when all of it hit me. The rules for Improv are pretty much the rules for Academic Advising.
Let’s be real here folks, when it comes to academic advising, there is NEVER a basic script to follow. Every day (if we’re really being real every 20-30 minutes) we’re thrown in another situation that we haven’t been prepared for. Leave of Absences, Medical withdrawals, Holds, Study Abroad, as advisors we’re never fully prepared for what is going to walk through our door.
I was surprised to keep nodding my head when reading through Tina Fey’s rules for Improv and instantly thinking of ways to apply these rules to my everyday work life.
Rule #1. Agree.
Taken from Bossypants:
“The first rule of Improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt.
But if I say, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.”
When a student comes to your office with a 1.8 GPA and tells you their main goal is to get into Dental School, saying “No you’re not getting in” may not be the best approach. When a student says “I want to study abroad next semester and still graduate in Spring,” just saying no, will not only crush the students dreams (You dream crusher you!), but come off as harsh or unapproachable. It jars students when the first thing they hear is a no. They immediately shut down and you become someone they hope to never run into again in the future. Who wants to be the mean advisor?
A better approach is to agree. Now I’m not saying to set unrealistic expectations, or agree with everything they say, but to approach it from an agreeable stance. For the Med. student example, instead of starting off with no, it may be better to say “Medical School is a great aspiration to have! It is known that medical school is very competitive with the average applicant being in the high 3.0 range of GPA’s, have you thought about alternative plans if this doesn’t work out?” This can then spark a conversation with the student that may open their eyes to other avenues to pursue, or even ways academically to begin the process of improving their GPA.
With the study abroad student, start with agreeing: “Study Abroad is an amazing opportunity for students! Not only can you gain cultural experience but you are allowing yourself to gain independence in a whole new way. Depending on the program you wish to study at, this may or may not provide academic courses for your major so this may mean moving graduation to summer or a fall semester.” Now the student feels validated in their idea of going abroad, but gives them realistic expectations for graduation.
2nd Rule of Improv: Not Only Say Yes…Say Yes And
Again from Bossypants:
The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill.
But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “What did you expect? We’re in hell.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth,” now we’re getting somewhere.
This means to contribute to the conversation that the students are having with you. Not only agree with them, but add on to this conversation with things that students may have not even thought about. I had a conversation with a student just today that I applied this philosophy to. This student wanted to change his major in business administration to a minor as he is also a psychology major and felt overwhelmed with both. However, he felt like he was failing himself if he had to go to a minor and he couldn’t handle both meant he wasn’t academically succeeding. This student has a 3.6. So the first thing I did was agree with the student. I said dropping to a minor was a great idea, especially if he felt it was better for him academically and mentally less stressful for himself. I also went on to say not only was it a great idea but I also had a minor in undergrad and when job interviewing it was what employers asked me about most, it provided me with outside knowledge to my major that I was lacking but still wasn’t too overwhelming that I was able to keep my high GPA. By the time he left my office he told me he felt much better about the decision he was making and knows that it’s the right move to make.
This also applies even within your colleagues. If someone comes up with a great new idea or initiative, agree with what they are doing and then add something to it. All great ideas come from collaboration between colleagues and offices on campuses’, be part of the greatness!
Rule #3: Make Statements
This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers
We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.
Questions. Stress. Students. Out. When a student on probation comes in for their academic advisement appointment and the first thing that happens is we bombard them with questions such as ‘What happened last semester?”, “Why didn’t you go to class?”, “Did you go to office hours?”, “How do you intend to improve?”, “Do you have alternative plans?” Students begin to shut down. At 18 years old, most students have no idea what they want to do with their lives and questioning them on this only creates unnecessary stress. Have conversations with students. Give them statements. “It seems you didn’t do well last semester, here are some resources to get you back on track.” “Management doesn’t seem to be working out for you, there is an office on campus that can work with students on alternative majors, it may be a great place to find a major that is a better fit for your interests and passions in life.”
Questions with advising is always going to be inevitable with working with students, but trying to cut down on these questions and letting the students talk themselves through it will always create a better conversation.
Rule #4. There are No Mistakes…Only Opportunities
If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what?
Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a police hamster who’s been put on “hamster wheel” duty because I’m “too much of a loose cannon” in the field.
In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.
With the amount of students that we advise on a daily basis for most people, mistakes are going to happen. However, if we change our outlook on mistakes as opportunities, it can create such a positive work environment. Students make mistakes, they drop courses they never intended to, and they don’t go to class and fail everything. Just like improve, their life may not have gone as planned.
Working with them to show them the opportunities they now have will make you a go to person for that student, a comforter. Helping them realize that maybe not going to class was a sign that they’re not ready for college and they need to take a leave and work for a year and in that year it may mean they realize their true passion in life. Turning their unexpected into positive opportunities is the basis of what we do daily. Now it may not always work that way… but hey..we can all dream...right?
With Academic Advising we are playing improv every single day. We learn to agree with students, we make mistakes…and we learn to roll with them, we accept things that come our way. By applying these rules even further, it can enhance our interactions with students and begin more meaningful conversations.
I, in no way, can attest that using these rules in academic advising will make you as funny as Tina Fey. Sorry ‘bout it.
The following is a half-day conference this April 23 that is open to all students, staff, faculty, and community members.
Save the date!
The University at Buffalo is excited to host our inaugural Women in STEM Summit on Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
Our program features a keynote address and informative panel discussions with local thought leaders representing various STEM disciplines on negotiating power and building your professional network.
Plan to join us for a morning of unforgettable inspiration, invaluable career development and unbeatable networking. Don’t miss this opportunity to inspire, grow and connect with us!
Visit our website for more information and program details.
This event is a collaboration between the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Undergraduate Academies, UB STEM, Academic Affairs, Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership, Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender, Intercultural and Diversity Center, Office of Student Engagement, Computing and Information Technology, and the Professional Staff Senate.
Contact: Kathleen Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 716-645-6700
Guest Blog: How is social media being researched to support student development/success in higher education beyond the “classroom”?
The following cross-posted blog developed from a question I asked Laura A. Pasquini, Ph.D. regarding an upcoming social media unit in my sociology of higher education class. Laura is a Niagara University alumna with whom I connected through WNY Advising and NACADA. If you are interested in #edtech, #edsocmedia, or #socmedia, I highly recommend following Laura on her blog, Techknow Tools, or on social media.
--- John P. Sauter Jr., Ph.D.
Reprinted w. permission from Techknow Tools
Laura A. Pasquini, Ph.D.
Link to the Original Blog Post (2/22/15)
I recently curated a reading list of literature/research on social media and technology use, specifically outside the higher ed “classroom” for a colleague at Niagara University,Dr. John Sauter. For his Sociology of Higher Education course, John wanted to share readings that demonstrate how social media and technology are being utilized outside formalized learning, and provide more information beyond the Social Media Resources [from the WNY Advising group] the practical guides/strategies. A recent prompt from my #edusocmedia friend Ove, made me think that this short list should be shared and hopefully expanded upon – enter this blog post.
In searching online, you will find that there are no shortage of “how to” and “social media strategy” publications – which often bridge the marketing, communications, education, business, and student affair disciplines. A growing number of bloggers also share suggestions for social media use, community development, and campus engagement; however my focus was to find recent RESEARCH in post-secondary education that examined how social media and emerging technologies are impacting student life, support, and success outside the “classroom” (face-to-face, online & blended learning) environments.
To consider social media perceptions and use outside of formal learning environments, it is important to gain insight from recent studies around learning in higher education with technologies, including:
Junco, R., Heiberger, G., & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of computer assisted learning, 27(2), 119-132.
Junco, R. (2012). Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance.Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 187-198.
Junco, R., Elavsky, C. M., & Heiberger, G. (2013). PuttingTwitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 273-287.
Junco, R. (2015). Student class standing, Facebook use, and academic performance. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 36, 18-29.
Muñoz, C. L., & Towner, T. (2011). Back to the “wall”: How to use Facebook in the college classroom. First Monday, 16(12).
Roblyer, M. D., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. V. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites. Internet and Higher Education, 13(3), 134-140.
Rodriguez, J. E. (2011). Social media use in higher education: Key areas to consider for educators. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(4).
Silius, K., Kailanto, M., & Tervakari, A-M. (2011). Evaluating the quality of social media in an educational context. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 6(3), 21-27.
Wakefield, J. S., Warren, S. J., Alsobrook, M., & Knight, K. A. (2013). What do they really think? Higher education students’ perceptions of using Facebook and Twitter in formal higher education learning. International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 1(4), 330-354.
**Shout out to Josie Ahlquist for also sharing a wealth of resources on her Reference List page related to this topic as well and more related to student development theory and youth culture in media!**
My focus for this class reading list, was to find recent (2011 forward) peer-reviewed publications that share implications and findings from research on how social media impacts support/success in higher ed beyond the instructional context. Yes. Student affairs, academic advisors, and the like, in student support areas of higher ed, ARE educators – however social media/technology use for learning without the weight of the grade “carrot” does impact and influence adoption/use. In looking around, I found a number of recent literature reviews and compilations that look at social media in higher education – here are a select few I thought I would share:
Davis III, C. H., Deil-Amen, R., Rios-Aguilar, C., & Gonzalez Canche, M. S. (2012). Social Media in Higher Education: A literature review and research directions.
Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47-64.
Lewis, B., & Rush, D. (2013). Experience of developing Twitter-based communities of practice in higher education. Research in Learning Technology, 21.
Rios-Aguilar, C., Canché, G., Sacramento, M., Deil-Amen, R., & Davis III, C. H. (2012). The role of social media in community colleges.
Tarantino, K., McDonough, J., & Hua, M. (2013). Effects of student engagement with social media on student learning: A review of literature. The Journal of Technology in Student Affairs.
Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual)–A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(5), A60-A68.
For my own interest, I decided to conduct a preliminary literature search to determine “How is social media being researched to support student development/success in higher education beyond the “classroom”? This is NOT a comprehensive list, but more of a primer to initiate a more comprehensive search for recent (2011 forward) scholarly publications involving research on this topic:
Al-Harrasi, A. S., & Al-Badi, A. H. (2014). The Impact Of Social Networking: A Study Of The Influence Of Smartphones On College Students. Contemporary Issues in Education Research (CIER), 7(2), 129-136.
Birnbaum, M. G. (2013). The fronts students use: Facebook and the standardization of self-presentations. Journal of College Student Development, 54(2), 155-171.
Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 87-104.
Cheung, C. M., Chiu, P. Y., & Lee, M. K. (2011). Online social networks: Why do students use Facebook? Computers in Human Behavior, 27(4), 1337-1343.
DeAndrea, D. C., Ellison, N. B., LaRose, R., Steinfield, C., & Fiore, A. (2011). Serious social media: On the use of social media for improving students’ adjustment. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 15-23.
Fuller, M., & Pittarese, T. (2012, June). Effectively communicating with university students using social media: a study of social media usage patterns. In 45th Annual Conference June 10-14, 2012 (p. 46).
Graham, M. (2014). Social Media as a tool for increased student participation and engagement outside the classroom in higher education. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 2(3).
Jacobsen, W. C., & Forste, R. (2011). The wired generation: Academic and social outcomes of electronic media use among university students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(5), 275-280.
Lin, M. F. G., Hoffman, E. S., & Borengasser, C. (2013). Is social media too social for class? A case study of Twitter use. TechTrends, 57(2), 39-45.
Lou, L. L., Yan, Z., Nickerson, A., & McMorris, R. (2012). An examination of the reciprocal relationship of loneliness and Facebook use among first-year college students. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46(1), 105-117.
Joosten, T., Pasquini, L. A., & Harness, L. (2013). Guiding social media in our institutions.Planning for Higher Education – Society for College and University Planners. 41(2), 1-11.
Mastrodicasa, J., & Metellus, P. (2013). The impact of social media on college students.Journal of College & Character, 14(1), 21-29.
O’Brien, O., & Glowatz, M. (2013). Utilising a social networking site as an academic tool in an academic environment: student development from information-sharing to collaboration and innovation (ICI). AISHE-J: The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 5(3).
Pettijohn, T. F., LaPiene, K. E., & Horting, A. L. (2012). Relationships between Facebook intensity, friendship contingent self-esteem, and personality in US college students.Cyberpsychology, 6(1), 1-7.
Ternes, J. A. (2013). Using social media to engage students in campus life. (Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University).
Sponcil, M., & Gitimu, P. (2013). Use of social media by college students: relationship to communication and self-concept. Journal of Technology Research, 4, 1-13.
Wang, Z., Tcherneve, J. M., & Solloway, T. (2012). A dynamic longitudinal examination of social media use, needs, and gratifications among college students. Computers in Human Beheavior, 28(5), 1829-1839.
If you have published any articles and/or have contributions for research in this area – please add to the list! Post any publication references in the comments or reach out to me to discuss further. I suspect this quest will continue, and it will also need a few collaborators to be successful. Are you interested in digging into the research to learn more about HOW we are SUPPORTING students in higher education using social media beyond formalized learning structures? Let’s talk – so we can move forward in understanding the research lay of the land.