“Love it for a minute”

Recently I was involved in conversations with staff members about some program recommendations from a class project. The staff mentioned to us that if they brought our new ideas up to their direct reports those individuals would immediately point out the negatives.

Do not be that person.

Use the same motto that I tell my students to use when faced with something new. “Love it for a minute”. Change is hard, everywhere, but especially in higher education. Next time you get a proposal or suggestion from students or colleagues, make sure you give it full consideration and list the positives before thinking about the negatives.


Community standards for technology use

Article that inspired this blog post: Should students be allowed to use smartphones in the classroom?

Picture of iPads in ClassroomOne of the trends I noticed throughout my time in college was how some teachers prohibited use of electronic devices, including computers, in the classroom. It was a pretty standard statement on most syllabi. As time went on it and laptops became more prevalent some teachers started to allow their use in class. In my graduate school program currently there is probably not a day in class that you will not see the majority of the students with laptops on the table.

Last week I wrote about assumptions people when they see others on mobile devices and this week I want to make a suggestion for mobile devices in the classroom and technology-use guidelines. Whether you are a faculty member or student organization advisor you could try using collaborative methods for creating technology guidelines. I have not had a chance to try this personally in the student organization I advise, but I think it would be an improvement from the blanket statement “no technology allowed” that currently governs the organization meetings. At the beginning of the year I would like to give the student leaders the opportunity to determine their guidelines.

I am interested to observe what guidelines students/participants will decide are acceptable through a collaborative method. I noticed in the document from Simon Bates and Alison Lister at the University of British Columbia that students decided mobile phones could be used as class aids. I think that is a great policy! According to the ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and IT, 74% of students reported that smartphone use in class is either banned or discouraged. If we all collectively agree to stop judging mobile phone use, maybe they will become universally acceptable in the classroom.

Another interesting note in the community standard document that Dr. Chris Linder pointed out was that students decided it was acceptable for students to leave class to answer a phone call from a potential employer. Do you feel like that is an acceptable reason to interrupt class?

Lastly, if your student org/classroom expectations allow for computers and tablets but not smartphones my question for you to think about is -Why?- What is the difference between an iPad and an iPhone? Or an Android vs a Tablet vs a Computer? If you allow tablets but not phones, you could be prohibiting access for students that are less-economically advantaged. The student that owns a smartphone but can not afford an iPad can typically do the same things on their phone as a on a tablet. I know this post does not address issues of access for students that may not have smartphones, tablets, or laptops but I wanted to get a conversation started. According the the ECAR report, 89% of students surveyed own a laptop (9 out of 10) and 76% own a smartphone. More statistics about device ownership can be found in the report (starting on page 22).

Lately I have been thinking a lot about technology guidelines and the Pedagogy Unbound article got me thinking about how policies could be changed to improve student success. I want to try the collaborative method with the next student organization I advise. How do you think technology-use guidelines should be created?

[photo credit]

Dahlstrom, Eden, J.D. Walker, and Charles Dziuban, with a foreward by Glenda Morgan. ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013 (Research Report). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, September 2013, available from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERS1302/ERS1302.pdf

SA #SoMe crisis communication plan

Social media’s prevalence on college campuses is increasing, and student’s reliance on social media during a crisis creates a need for a crisis communications plan that incorporates social media. One of the risks of social media is that it can enable the rapid spread of misinformation (Fusch, 2011). While centralized communications staff at your institution may deal with the official crisis response, there might be some situations where action is needed from your office to respond and work with students on social media. For example, last week an event in University Housing spread like wildfire across social media and the department had no control over the message.

The first question your office needs to consider is: When should you respond to or acknowledge a situation through online postings? You will probably not be able to come up with a blanket response that works for all situations, but it is a good idea to talk through multiple scenarios and have steps in place.

Here are other key things to think about:

  • Assign staff or volunteers to monitor social network sites during a crisis (Fusch, 2011). Plan to call a staff member (or the staff member that runs social media) to be “on call” for postings when a crisis occurs.
  • Establish guidelines for when you typically monitor social media postings and clearly communicate those to others (Stoller, 2013). Establish a similar set of guidelines for how you will operate in a crisis situation.
  • Collaborate with institution-wide social media/communications team.
  • If you schedule posts, make sure to immediately unschedule any that are currently scheduled to go out. The last thing you want to do is tweet about regular office news during a campus lockdown. Or inaccurate gym hours on a snow day.
  • Have graphics ready. If needed, consider changing the Facebook banner or other photos to generic image (Brown, 2014). I see this more relevant for institution-wide postings.
  • Use Twitter to share frequent, real-time news, updates, and resources (Fusch, 2011).
  • Monitor information (or misinformation) by searching hashtags on social media sites and share accurate information as allowed (Fusch, 2011).
  • Post status updates frequently, disseminating appropriate information as it comes in (Fusch, 2011).
  • Determine students or other department staff that can help spread the message (Fusch, 2009).
  • Avoid sharing personal information.
  • Provide students with resources.
  • Post information to a blog or website – maybe an update a few days later if the situation warrants it.
  • Use social media (Twitter is great for this) to post about news conference coverage (if exists), the coordination of a vigil or other type of event depending on type of crisis, and to talk about support services on campus (Brown, 2014).
  • Take care of yourself (Brown, 2014)

What did I forget or leave off? Have you had a campus incident involving your office that created a strong response from students/families/others online?


Resources for this post:

Brown, P. (2014, January, 22).  Active shooter. Worst day ever. (weblog) Your Website Stinks Retrieved from http://dvimedia.blogspot.com/2014/01/active-shooter-worst-day-ever.html
Fusch, D. (2009, September 19). Crisis communications 10 years after the Texas A&M bonfire [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/crisis-communications-10-years-after-texas-am-bonfire
Fusch, D. (2011, September 8). Including social media in your crisis communication plan [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/including-social-media-your-crisis-communications-plan
Stoller, E. (2013, March 14). It’s 3AM. Do you know what’s happening with your social media? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student-affairs-and-technology/its-3am-do-you-know-whats-happening-your-social-media

Fundraising from Young Alumni

Ring Ring. My phone has been ringing once a week around 7 pm or later from an unknown 919-515-XXXX phone number. I do not answer. Why? Because I have a love/hate relationship with the call center at my undergraduate institution, NC State.

Memorial Belltower at NC StateI learned my lesson last year about answering late night calls from unknown 919-515 numbers. Unfortunately, it is not someone calling to offer me a job. It is a student working what I believe is an incredibly hard job calling alumni and asking for donations. Giving back to a university is very important, and I think it is the approach that matters, especially when you are talking about young alumni. It was actually the Turkey Challenge posts on Facebook that finally got me to go on and make my small annual gift for the year.

My interactions with the NC State call center have been very interesting. As a student I heard from Kelly Hook (my SBP predecessor) about disappointing calls after graduation. I have also seen other negative posts about these phone calls on social media sites from classmates and friends. So what gives?

You need good and accurate data on current students so that you can make connections with them as alumni. This includes as much information as possible about student organization involvement, interests, and other activities that they participate in. Collecting this data requires partnerships with advancement and other offices on campus, including student life, recreation, arts, etc. It can also be aided by the use of technology, card swipes, student organization management systems, etc.

Then what do you do with the recent graduates? I have had conversations with current and past leadership at NC State and here is what I think:

1: If you’re going to call, the first phone call should be informational. Ask questions: Do they have a job? Are they in graduate school? Gather information but don’t make an ask
Disclaimer: I know it is hard to imagine using resources for a phone call and not making an ask, but trust me – I think that would be more beneficial than the damage done by calling and asking for $150, $250 dollars, etc.

2: When it is time to make an ask, whether it be the first phone call or the second, connect to their student experience and ask them to give to something they might be interested in. (Based on the data you collected and can see in their profile).

3: Rethink current programs and how to target recent graduates (philanthropy and millenials). The old ways won’t work. Come up with ways that recent graduates can work together to fundraise toward a cause!

Are you a recent graduate of an institution? Have you donated since you graduated? Why or why not?