Technology Trends in Student Affairs
Hello. And welcome to student affairs, now my name is glenn the guzman, i use he him his pronouns, and i'm coming to you from. Livermore california. The ancestral, homelands, of the alone, people. Today's, episode, we're going to be exploring, technological. Shifts, and innovative, practices, in higher education. And i'm really excited to be joined by a panel of administrators. And influencers. To talk story on technology. Its integration, into student affairs, and how our profession. Is understanding, and pushing the envelope, during this age of digital, transformation. Student affairs now is the premier, podcast, and learning community for thousands of us, who work in. Alongside. Are adjacent to the field of higher education. And student affairs, our mission is to have our conversation, make a contribution. To the field of student affairs and a restorative. To our profession. We release, new episodes, every wednesday. And you can find us at. Studentaffairsnow.com. We're also on twitter and instagram. And i'm super excited to announce. Stylist, publishing, is to be is now a proud sponsor of student first now podcast, so please browse our student affairs, and diversity, and professional development titles. At, stylistpub.com. And you can use a promo code. S-a-now. For 30, off all books. And you get free shipping. And you can find them on facebook, youtube. Instagram. Linkedin, twitter, at, styluspub. So. Let's get started, and get to know our panel. And i'm going to start. By asking them and let's talk some story here to introduce, themselves. Share a little bit, about, their professional, role what they do between 8 and 5 p.m. Or maybe 8 and 8 p.m. And what you'd like to share about your work and interest in general, that's tied to today's. Topic. So let me go ahead and start and um joe you want to kick us off. Yes hello, everyone. My name is joe sabado. I am i go by he him hiss. I'm the associate cio, for student affairs, at uc santa barbara.
I Oversee, a team of about 65, folks. And we already, under my portfolio. Student information, systems, electronic, medical records systems. Uh graduate. Education. Kind of systems, so about 180. 108, applications. Um. Our mission. Is to empower student success. And enhance transform, student experience, and really that's my my role i mean, the technology, role is just one piece of what i do, ultimately, my role at the university. Is to, help students succeed. And so in addition to my role as associate cio, i'm also a first generation. Mentor, through, and, you know for folks, that are wanting to go into, student affairs like through the nasa undergraduate, fellowship, program. Um some folks and you know some students in university, call me uncle, joe or uncle joe, and that's become the role that i've ever embraced. Especially, especially, with the filipino-american. Students. And so you know. I've been in, student affairs and i t since 1996. And i've always believed. In the idea of, of um, you know being a possibility, model being someone who can help students succeed. And, i've done that through technology. And, more than ever i think especially in the in the in this age of kovid. You know i've seen the impact. Of, technology, in terms of safety. Certainly shooting success. And then enhancing, student experience. Thanks, joe. Let's go to sarah. Yeah, well, hi everybody i'm sarah greter i go by she her hers. I am the associate, director, at the hub for innovation and learning and technology, at michigan, state university. I don't have the nice california, weather, but. Still nice enough. But i'm thrilled to be part of this conversation, today so thank you for inviting me so. The hub, is, kind of an internal, design, consultancy. Unit at michigan, state university. Typically, it means that our group helps. Campus partners, design learning experiences, that align. Student success, with the needs of our 21st, century. So for instance, it means incubating. New experiential. Courses. We've done wildlife, conference, conservation. For instance taught by interdisciplinary. Teams of instructors. It means helping faculty, lead math reform, on campus. Or building science gallery exhibitions. At the intersection, of sciences, and art, but really in the past few months, working at the hub has meant supporting, faculty, and units on campus. Rethink, teaching, learning and working. In online and hybrid models. So, we're putting together workshops, around educational, technologies, for professional, development, on campus. But also helping different units, including, our student affairs units. Thinking about design, strategy, for events like new faculty, orientation. Fall welcome. In order to provide students with learning experiences, that are adapting to the current situation.
We. Are interested, at the hub particularly, in access, and, use of technology, issues for students. Of course faculty and staff as well but the sudden move to remote teaching and learning a few months ago. Has. Opened our eyes even more. To systemic discrimination, that we have in education, health and justice systems, in the u.s in general. And we've had to acknowledge, that our educational, practices, carry both. Privilege, and oppression, and it is becoming, increasingly, critical for us, uh and for all of us on all different campuses, on, in the us to ensure that equity and social justice are really core elements of how we design. Experiences, for others especially, in a moment. Uh in history really where the digital divide, is at the forefront, of everything that we do. Thank you sir looking forward to you on this panel, and, to our final panelists, kristin. Hey everybody, um i'm kristen, abel i use she her hers pronouns. I'm the interim director for communications. At, first student affairs, at virginia, tech university. And, i have a. History, in, student affairs i've been a housing director, i've worked in women's centers. And i've worked in, academic, advising, as well and so i've kind of been. All around. The house. And have gotten a chance to, to, work on technology, in each of those areas i actually transitioned, over to communications. From housing. Several years ago which was a weird leap for. A lot of people to see me make but. It was a chance for me to kind of indulge, my. Geek side as i like to to think of it where i learned web development. And became, a web developer, at that time and so. Um it's really been. Useful, in communications. To have all of that student affairs, background. And. I also do a side project. This is not my eight to five, uh, but it is influenced, by my 85, which is the committed, project, it's a, mental health resource, for um higher education, professionals. So, that's my uh unpaid, side hustle is what i like to call it. Uh i unpaid, side hustles, are wonderful. So, definitely looking forward to your. Contributions, as well on this channel. So let's start. With understanding, the higher education, landscape, when it comes to technology. Integration. Um, joe, you know as the associate. Cio, of student affairs, can you share. How are campuses, engaging, in technological. Shifts particularly, in student affairs. And what what is shifting and why is understanding, this change important. Sure, you know and that's a very complex. Question, that that you ask glenn because. Certainly covet. Is, the most prominent. You know you know reality we have today and so our operations, was within the context of colgan 19. The way i look at it you know we can look at copenhagen. As it is but i want to look at the bigger history. Of. Technology, and student affairs and how digital transformation, fits into that. So the way i look at it coping 19. Is more of a business continuity. Uh uh, you know, program, in business and disaster, recovery. I think more than it's not it's not normal for for many, institutions. As a matter of fact if uh beginning. I think in the march or even up to now, if you're to say, we're doing online education, i think faculty, would resist that term because there's there's this. Education, means there's a pedagogical. You know context of design to that there's preparation. Really it was more of a remote instruction. And i think we have to identify, it as that, you know it's not the normal, you know for. Especially for residential. Um you know institutions. Going from that, on-premise. Uh, learning, teaching and then residential. Housing. Uh all the way down to hybridized. And online. That's the no that's not the norm. So i think you know. For those who have invested, in resiliency, the infrastructure. Having the culture of the possibility, of a hybridized. Online education, i think those institutions. Are probably in a better situation, than those who resisted that that reality, of the potential reality. So, there's a term that's come up recently, i think the last couple of years, through educause, called digital transformation. And so, in the depending on that there are there's many a thousand institutions, across the united states and so i think some institutions.
Are Engaging in digital transformation. At different levels, so this transformation. In the end of it all, is this cultural, political. And a social, shift. In an institution. But it's like a step function, right so what we're seeing now, is our institutions. Or, digi you know digitizing. Their online, analog, processes. Because of you know, students, or staff can no longer walk from one place to the other physically. You know and some institutions. Are now optimizing, those digital processes. And some, are mature enough to be able to say how do we transform, our value proposition. You know the way we engage our campus, from student service, learning and teaching, research. You know at a higher level so, i think, you know their institutions, are engaging there's some transformation, and there are different levels. But as i mentioned coping 19 is the most you know the reality of today but, i also want to remind people that you know student affairs. Technology, is not a new thing, you know i mean i think kevin guidry. Uh i think his website's, mistaking, goals.com. Has reminded, us that technology, has been a part of student affairs. You know as early as documented, as early as 1928. You know and one of the uh, earlier conferences there talk about, the, issue of you know how do we not lose our personalities. In the context of machines. Right so even way back then and throughout the decades. You know um student affairs, have adopted different technologies. You know even punch card eventually, i was like punch card that's technology, yes it is it was a new technology, at that point in time it's innovative. Um, you know from mainframe. To. You know looking back at social media, web, you know those kind of things and emails. And every time this technology. Has, been introduced, in our history, there's been you know the resistance, there's been like. Why do we want to use this, how can we use it for. So the conversation, has shifted to yes, technology, has been a big part of our student affairs, all those years, almost a century. But recently, i think it's been the focus of how do we use this intentionally. Right and it's tied to the idea of student success. And so. 2012. I believe it was, it was one of the two major, student affairs organizations, acpa. And nasa, started looking at technology. Uh as part of the competency. The professional competency. And it started with the idea that technology, is a thread, you know that crosses all lines. But i think there was a push recognition, that technology, should be beyond, that, and i think that's what professionals, are engaging this idea of, how do we develop competency. So that we can be more intentional. You know in terms of. Serving our students. And meeting their students succeeds as how they define the debate. So i think the idea now is, you know yes we're in kelvin 19 and i think it's a business. Continuity. Program. Uh, mindset. But how do you think about. Strategically. What happens after clovid. Because again, i think covert is a, you know it's the, spot right now, but if you look at the longer history of student affairs in higher ed, you know it's, long, and i think there's you know there's future ahead of us be uncoded. So thinking strategically. I think is that's where we want to be. Thanks joe, you know you speak to the intentionality. And i think that there are many universities, in college that are embracing, this the shift and change and i think the intentionality. Um, has become. Prominent, in in our profession, and i think, i want to shift now to sarah because sarah you are part of something that i think is tied to that intentionality. It's, at michigan state university in the hub of innovation. In learning and technology. Uh, in our in our conversations, prior you you directly provide consultation, on a variety, of online solutions, for, for lots of folks, on campus. Can you tell me more about your department. And what student affairs. Staff faculty and students are looking for. Yeah so, the hub, is if you will a little bit like the hub of a car, it's the glue that really connects, the axle, to the tires, this is the extent of my, mechanics, knowledge so i'll. Keep it at that. But what's important there is that. When. When we design, or redesign, learning experiences, on campus, we help, connect, units, and people who on a very large and decentralized.
Campus. Might not ever be talking to each other that was pre and po and during and post coveted right. And so we helped design, the conversations. That helped move the work forward. Um, our design, consultation, work in the past six months has been highly collaborative, because of that. We've had to break silos, and find, allies, in a way that we never had to before. And obviously we could not have done this. The work that we do at the hub without our i.t partners. Without college, teams, without, the faculty, champions and the mentors, that we have, so it's truly been a team effort to stay, student centered. While at the same time helping faculty, and staff. Navigate, new circumstances. When we worked with student affairs, this summer in helping them rethink, their fall welcome. We did so strategically. So i'm going to give one of those examples, of how, we function as a hub on campus, so we did so strategically, in coordination. With the grad school. With our academic, academic, advancement, network, who were each also planning for new grad student new faculty and new staff and admin, orientation. And we also took lessons learned from our consult, with the undergrad, new student orientation. That had been planned, earlier. Keeping in mind that those units would never have interacted, with each other, previously. And because we wanted to make this a concerted. Effort. Not only to just align, intentions. And best practices but also to share ideas, amongst the group and make sure that we're not replicating. Content, and processes, that were already done. With staff that were already stretched, in time and capacity. We wanted this to be to be efficient, so we needed that conversation, to happen. So that those units were not. Doing work that was already happened. So this extended, conversation. Really helped us identify, for instance that we had three main patterns, and what we were looking for in all those groups. We needed, a need to share there was a need to share information. There was, a need for in-person, connectivity. However that looked like, and that we needed a type of resource, there. Those were patterns that we noticed across, all of those, that type of work, that student affairs could really benefit from because we were already doing that work so connecting them with other groups really helped, and we use this pattern to guide all those different groups. Through the planning of that work and in that sense the hub. Helped provide the strategy. The strategic, planning around around this. With student affairs specifically, what quickly became, evident for us. Was the need to create a sense of belonging, obviously for new and returning, students without the physical space to do so. So we had to help the student affairs, team. Map, out, uh their past, events, for welcome week, we decided on the most relevant ones with the caveat. And almost a sense of loss or grief right that those events, would not be the same, and they were not translatable. Directly, onto online spaces. And in this case we pushed for social media campaigns. And communications. As. A synchronous, connectivity, between people, and we emphasized. The importance of meeting students where they were, so we had to do this work with the group, to communicate, with students, to do research, with students, embed them in that planning. Ask questions, check social media to get a sense of their struggles and their needs in order to address them, in that planning. This year was obviously, a band-aid, approach. But i think we learned a lot and i hope that we continue. Uh in this trajectory. Sarah, that response, actually is a perfect, segue. Uh to this, question that i want to direct to kristin. Um. Sarah spoke to. Belonging. And and being able to collaborate and connect, and communication. Is the center of that. And i know kristin you've worked in a variety of student affairs functional, areas. What are you seeing from that communication, perspective, to help us advance, and how we do this work. Yeah absolutely, first of all i want to hire sarah and bring her and have her help us, as well, um, so that was really cool to hear what y'all are doing.
Um You know i think that, you mentioned social media and that's been a big one that's how we are communicating, not just with, students, but with parents, as well. That's been a huge. Tool for us sometimes. Really great and really helpful, sometimes, it's frustrating, because we get. A lot of negative feedback, that way too so. But i i think it's really important and one of the things that has become. Even more important with social media is understanding. Which audience we're speaking to where. Um, you know and that continues, you continue, to have to educate. Um our colleagues, about that all the time, that, you know if you're talking on facebook, you're talking to parents if you're talking on instagram, you're talking to students or tick tock or, snapchat. You know that those are. You're not going to be talking to students on facebook, right that's not where they're at so like, we there's a constant, need to to educate, about that, um as well as what what does that look like it's not just promotional. You're actually, engaging, in a conversation. Um i think some of the other tools, that i've seen really. People latch on to, you know. Email, of course is essential. Um but it's also overwhelming. At this point because, things that you would have said in passing to somebody are now an email. I constantly, tell people you either get me in a meeting or you get me to respond to an email i cannot do both at this point. And so, having communications. Channel tools, like slack. Microsoft, teams, group me, those have become. Really useful. Um especially, when we're doing so much of the, planning, around, how, things are going to look different or trying to, get out of particular, communication. Within a certain amount of time or whatever that looks like i think that those have been. Essential, and they've helped people manage. The more urgent communication. Um versus, an email communication, that may take a little bit longer to respond, to, um i know you know one of the things, that. I talk about with my team is. There's times when i'm out of the office and you can slack, me still. But there's also times when i'm out of the office that i'm not going to check anything and that becomes a text you know so like i, i have like different, like levels, of communication. That i offer to people. Based on how out of the office, i need to be. Um. And of course i'm pretty much always, out of the office right now but um online, or not online. And then of course i think there's there's video, which, has um pros and cons. Um, you know i. I have people that i'm in meetings with that never have their video on, and i that makes me a little sad i totally understand it makes me a little sad just because i want to connect with them. Um but i totally, understand, it too, um. And i find that, i have, i have to build myself, up to be in certain meetings. Uh and if i don't have that time to prep for that meeting, it can really be draining, for me, um i also happen to be somebody, uh, joe probably knows this about me i happen to be somebody that shows pretty much whatever i'm thinking on my face. And when all they can see is your face, that's that can be very challenging. So, uh it takes a lot of work and a lot of energy, to. Manage my faith. During those meetings. Um i think one of the the biggest, challenges, that we've seen in this area when we're talking about like online. Tools, um. The, and granted some of this because of covet has become more, of a rapid. Um, shift, is just, adjusting, what we're doing. We've all learned, how to work in person, for the most part in higher ed, um, and so, it's been really challenging for some people to adjust that i think it's been. Really positive, too for some people i'm i'm, an introvert. So having it, having time to like write something, instead of have a phone call about it, or a. Face-to-face, meeting about it, i sometimes, love that, um. I was actually talking with somebody earlier about how i, i really hate talking on the phone but i will say i'll text you all day if you need me to, um, but yeah i think having some of that has been really great because it's caused us to be a little bit more thoughtful, about how we communicate. And it allows some of those people that maybe. Wouldn't have engaged, previously. So like i've seen in my. Zoom meetings, i have some introverts, on my staff who wouldn't talk that much in our staff meetings but we'll chat, all day long, and so i get to hear from those folks. A little bit more now so i think that there's. The, there's some been some advantages, to, almost, really like. Forcing, student affairs, and forcing, higher ed to go digital.
You Know and it's interesting, because i know that, even before. Um. Kovid we've always talked about shifting. Uh, shifting the integration of technology, and how does that. Impact. In-person. Communication. Or in-person, services. And. And now the conversation, during covet has been once we're out of it hopefully, in in the near future. Do we, um. Is there now a hybrid way of doing in-person, versus, online, and whether it's communication, tools or systems, and so i've seen. Many student services. Move to tools and systems online, and they're and they're using these new hybrid approaches, are going to continue, using these hybrid approaches. Uh in fact i think in preparation, for this, um. I read about a university in australia, that's leveraging. Artificial, intelligence, cognitive, systems, that are allowing, students to access, information, now, 24, hours a day seven days a week 360. 365, days all year round. And information, is ranging from admissions. To class information to even how. Even just specific, student engagement. Inquiries. What does this mean, uh i'm curious what does this mean for traditional in-person, student support, services, in the future. Sarah. Yeah so i think that, it has a lot of implications, beyond, even student services, and higher education, and it's a trend that we should keep an eye on so i'm glad that you mentioned that example, but. There of course, are. Ethical. And equity concerns, about some of those tools, and we should be mindful and critical about their applications, i want to make myself myself really clear there but and it does not replace, in-person, connections. But i do think that there are strong benefits, particularly, when it comes to attracting, and retaining, students. We're seeing a raise. In admission processes, for instance, because of the current circumstances. Where students are going to choose. Whether they're online or in-person programs, based on how quickly they can get accepted. And how quickly they can get. Answers to those questions that they might have, so that's one very small example, where advances, in technology, and ai. Can make a difference and again it doesn't replace, the human connection, but in our current circumstances. That's something that might push a student. And their decision making process. Around, the overall, experience. Of an institution, or program because that experience starts early on, before even being admitted. I'm glad to hear that, joe did you want to add to that. I think we often frame. This technology, versus. You know uh on campus, as that duality, it's like you know it's like this or that high touch high versus high tech. Let me offer a different perspective, on that, i think there's an end. I think we talk about then you know. I think. Vice chancellor, or vice provost. For uc irvine michael dennen talked about this in one of the interviews that he had, says, they have about 30 000 students. They have 30 000 unique. Student experience. And each of those students will have their own definition, of student success. So as we face the the reality, of you know, tightening the budget, and maybe constraints. Ahead of us, i would offer the suggestion, that maybe there are things that the technology, like sarah said, can can do for efficiency. And, and you know quick responses.
To Complement. Those things that we need to do in person. Um so i think there's a there's a way of their way of looking at this i think we often, you know do this high touch versus high tech i think there is another, option which is how do we complement those technologies, so that we can be efficient. But also, take care of the specific, needs of the students so, certainly. Self-service, is a big part of that, you know and and getting the information right away and i think sarah. One of the things i love about this panel i think we is, we all, care about social justice and equity. And i think to me that's the core of the work that we do, you know in terms of and i think proven 19. Has it has. Highlighted, the need for to be equitable. Uh talk about like the you know the, differences, and the demographics. And the differences, that they have so i think we have to keep that in the you know in the mindset of folks so as sarah mentioned there are you know constraints. And opportunities, for that, but i think that offer that there's a third way of looking at this is how do we complement. One of the work that we do in person. Online. Um and not just like this or that. So so you're you're actually going into this, uh it's a very perfect, example or segue to the challenges, you know. Christian, obviously, covid, has pushed campuses, to expedite, technology, integration. Uh. Going high touch. High tech. What are some of the unexpected, challenges, or unintended, consequences. That you have seen, as campuses, have pivoted, from in person to online. Yeah i think one of the and i won't don't know that it's unexpected. But um. Definitely. Unintended. One of the biggest challenges, that we're seeing for both students, and staff i think is that isolation. Factor. We, you know we talk about how technology, allows us to be more connected, and i absolutely, 100 percent believe it does. I have friends, all over the nation because of technology. And i love that. But there's also challenges, to how we present ourselves, online, or virtually. As opposed to just being. With other people right and i use that language about presenting. Ourselves, very intentionally. Because i do think there's a presentation. Aspect to it um we do put forward, a different. Um. Aspect, of our personality. Or ourselves. When we're online, or when we're virtual. You know you talk you see a lot of um. Folks talking about the social media social media and how we represent, ourselves, on social media and you only get like this, very small glimpse, and i don't know if you all have seen some of the memes with like the instagram, picture and it's got the perfect picture, and then you look behind it and like it's just a hot mess behind it right. Um and i think some of that happens, here as well where we're. Very much, like styling. And, um. Making sure that people see what we want them to see. Of what we're doing, and so it's it's that, turning off our cameras or putting our game face on or or whatever. Um, and i think one of the other challenges, at least from the staff side of things but i suspect, our students are feeling this too. Um in higher ed we've, long struggled with that balance between, work and life right and technology. We know for a while has been making that even harder, people are always, you know able to get to their email now because it's on their phone or whatever that is i think. Being at home, makes it even harder, to separate, that, so like when am i at work, and when am i at home if my laptop, is always, here. Um or if i'm if i'm always, working. So i think it's been really hard to set those boundaries. And it's something that, even when we set them we have to consistently. Over time. Re-emphasize. Them and reset, them, over and over and over again. Um and i think that can be really really, challenging. For folks, and and i think like i said i think that's going to happen with our students, too, when our so much of our programming, happens in the same format, as our classes, are delivered. It can be really, really frustrating, for a student to even want to engage with that, um but also, just, in general like. If they do, when does, when do they separate their work time. From. When they're supposed to be kind of having downtime, or relaxing. Joe you spoke to, some of the, uh inequities, such as inequities. And you've worked with many first-generation. Students you identified, yourself as one at the beginning. Um and um there's been an impact, on our bipoc, communities. Uh. How have these shifts, impacted these communities. Yeah i appreciate, i mentioned earlier i appreciate, the, the, context of social justice and equity in our conversation, today because, as you said i do work with many students, on campus, and you know other other campuses but i think mental health is certainly one of those things that that we deal with i think you know kristen talked about that, um it's not like copenhagen, is the only thing that's going on.
Right So i mean there's racial. Unrest political unrest. Financial insecurities. You know those are things that i think are contributing, to the mental health and actually, even kristin talk about this the presentation. You know for ourselves, online, i think you know, studies after studies of studies have, shown that social media, if not used you know, in in. Appropriate, ways can lead to mental health issues because of again the comparing yourself to other people. Um, and then being online performing, all the time, so that's one i think. It's hard enough as it is as a first generation. To navigate, the university, physically. And again and even if we provide a road map, you know it's hard to do that, it's even harder. Um for first gen i think and the folks in this in this communities, to navigate university, in in. In a virtual way. And i will i will own up to the fact that i think our systems, are so. Um, not designed, well. You know how many times how many websites, have had students needed to navigate, before they even, admit you know the point of admissions. I think you can kind of if you look if you do like a student journey map, you can count the number of websites, that present themselves. Differently. Uh different maybe conflicting, information, barrage, of communications. You know those are things that i think are never inhibitors, to success. As opposed to ones that promote success. Um. Sense of belonging. I think someone mentioned their earlier sense of belonging is a big part, especially, now when your identity, is just based on, zoom. Right in, classroom, and so. You know i think in our university. We did a survey i think it was, sprinkle water and that's one of the things that came up is you know how do we promote, the sense of community, building within the classroom, and i think sense of belonging, came out you know it wasn't one things that, you know promote. As a matter of fact one of my projects. Right now then that i'm working on is uh, preferred. Pronouns. And. And named for names because again that's how we see each other now students how they present themselves and so being misgendered. Being you know, uh, wrong wrong names, those really impact mental health and our identity. So even things that we don't think about. Those. Little things. Matter, you know to our you know to to our students and our staff. Of course the last is financially. Right i think, i think for many of our students who one work on campus they don't have the opportunity anymore, you know for the most part. Um. Family expectation. Is a different one i think kristin talked about. When do you separate, the, you know the work from, from home. For our students. You know especially first gen so you know whose parents don't don't have the sense of like. How much it takes. To to study. There's certain expectations, you're at home now so help me babysit. Or help me do the chores and i've heard. Personally. From some of our students that like they can only study after hours. Right because his parents are expecting them to to help out with the chores. And lastly i think even.
You Know i was those, in a face time with my. My sister-in-law, yesterday, and one of them you know one of her kids is a, college student. And then another one is a elementary, school student. And it reminded me it's like we're lucky we're privileged to have different spaces. Like can you imagine. Families, with, a studio. Or an apartment that have you know five or six, family members. And i'm watching, my i mean my 13 year old. Nephew, doing like a zoom exercise, you know exercise. In front of the zoom. Can you imagine like having like my studio. With maybe three or four kids. Studying. I don't know how that works and so you know it's, it's really heartbreaking, to to think about those things, you know so i think once we design our systems as we design the way we provide services we have to be mindful about the impact of the, you know the way we do things to students and their families. This is very insightful. Thoughts, and reflections, joe, kristen did you want to add to joe's comments. Yeah i mean i think all of that is. All of that is so important for us to keep in mind, the other thing that. That has really been interesting, for me to to learn with our first-gen, students. Um, is the fact that they have no experience, of what college, looks like. Pre-covered. Yes, um and so we've had some really great stories, from students, who were like yes virtual orientation, was awesome. Because they never went, knew what orientation, was like before that right, um it's, you know it reminds me my son is a freshman, in, high school. Uh this year and he's doing virtual schooling, and he loves it, but he has no interest in going into the building, ever so you know it's just, it is interesting. How this is also, setting. Kind of an expectation. Like. We're gonna have to, do some additional, education, and orientation. Once we go back in person. If that's what we go to for these first generation, students as well. And i also add. Other outlier, communities, or marginalized. International. Students they're just there's just an array, of different. Populations. That are just, truly definitely, impacted. By this um. By this and the inequities, that exist. Kirsten i want to stay with you. With this next question campuses, are challenged to create co-curricular, experiences. That align with public health guidelines. What are the challenges, and issues, um, that you are seeing. Yeah um this has been huge this has been. I think we've had a meeting about this at least once a week since the beginning of the semester if not before. Trying to figure out how do we provide, an experience.
For Students who are actually on campus, so we're in a currently, at virginia tech we're in a, hybrid model. So we have. Some. Most of our students. Have some class. On campus. In person. Uh for for the semester. And so. One of the things that we've noticed, and we have a very active parents facebook, group, one of the things that we keep hearing, is. Comments from parents that. You know there's not enough for students to do they're stuck in their rooms. Um. And, we need to you know the university, needs to do more to. To provide activities, for these students. And then when we provide, activities, we get the feedback, that, why, why are you having students gather in person that's not safe so, um there's a little bit of uh we can't quite do anything right but we're trying. Um and so i think there's a there's a lot of challenge too with the fact that we plan these activities, and students don't come because actually. They're not doing as bad as their parents, think they are or they're not interested in that particular, activity i think there's probably a number of reasons. That they're not coming. Um, or they're scared too they don't want to be around that many people i think that we often kind of glaze over the fact that we do have students with, some serious health concerns, that are scared by this this virus. So, um i think there's been so many challenges, like i said we've been meeting. Regularly, to talk about how do we do more in-person, programming. How do we do more in-person programming, with less staff who are in person because we also have staff with health health concerns. One of the things that we've been, starting to push, at virginia, tech that i just um. Think has some potential, is the side concept of a pod, i don't know if you all have, heard about this or, if other places are using it but this idea that we have like, maybe, 10 12 students, who have committed, to each other that they're going to follow. Uh, safety standards so that they're safe with each other.
And Being in a smaller group and being in a, room even or you know whatever in a smaller space. Because, they are not going out. And, you know. Hanging out with other people, and not, not wearing their mask or whatever. Um and so we've been really trying to push that but even that has its challenges, because we have first-year, students, who. Have not, found people, that they want to be in a pod with or don't know enough about how to meet people because they've been hanging out in the room so. I think it's. It's, it's going to continue, to be a challenge and it's going to be something that we continue. Um. To work on, i also think some of this. Is. Pretty typical, of, a. College. Um, in the fall right but students are experiencing, a lot of we, are always going to have students that struggle, to meet. Other people, or to get engaged, on campus. This is just slightly exacerbated. By the, the, current. Uh situation, we're in. I feel like you're, eavesdropping, in the conversations, we're having at uc berkeley as well so you, those challenges. Very much are real. Also on our, this side of the coast. Joe you wanted to add. It's complementary, to what what kristen said you know that the um, engagement, community building, i was talking with a student leader the other day. And. It's, you talk about, how the university, provides a lot of, your virtual, events. And it goes well but you know teacher joe again to the jokes like yeah but those are. Resume. You know and we don't want to have to like we're on zoom already for many hours we don't want to be on zoom. You know and we go there just if we want to check out a linkedin workshop. But, it's like a forced interaction. Right so, you hear about zoom fatigue. You don't hear about discord, fatigue. Right it is a sense of like, the performative, and as as kirsten said it's like you have to perform, in front of uh you know zoom in from, your professors.
So It's like, they themselves. Are experiencing, this you know how do we how do they build the community and, one of the things that came out of that conversation. Is, the sense of how do you. How do you create the sense of serendipity, right like the moments of certain opinion work because this is where you meet friends it's not you're in the meetings you're doing the events, it's, before the event where you're hanging out you know in front of the yard at the yard and said by the way joe this is blah blah, or after the meetings. So that to me you know so we thought about that's like that's the part that's missing. Right it's just those moments of certain difficulty, and, you know how do you create those you can't create those on zoom, like everyone's like okay, folks we're ready to move we're ready to meet and everyone's like this. And have them have people probably have their videos off. And how do you recognize, folks saying, oh, by the way this is maria, from you know santa cruz, you know it's like and you have like 100 people. Staring at you or half of them don't have their videos on. So so that's the challenge that they pose is like first of all yes we as a university. We do a lot of events, as a matter a lot of events, but for students like god this is another one of those you know, university, functions, you know do we need to, first of all it's not cool you know, secondly we have our space. So, that's that's the inside that i bet i think compliments, what what kristen just said you know we're trying our best, but it's not well it's never gonna be enough you know, so joe what advice would you give to student affairs practitioners. When they're trying to be innovative, with technology, tools and resources, these separate, moments. You know what i have said this from the very beginning. Talk with your students, i learned a lot i don't buy, this mindset, as administrators. Without time for students. I call bs on that. Because if we're not working with our students we're not meeting with our students, how are we supposed to serve our students. They know forget about tradition, and michael sorelle said that he's like, we're not here for tradition, we're here to serve our students of today. So to me it's like who are your experts. Have conversation, with students. We're serving, them. Thank you joe. So. I'm gonna pivot a little bit and we're gonna have a little fun here. And, um. And i gave i did give the panel a heads up on this question in advance, so it's sort of a but i think it's kind of a fun one is, um it's regarding, your favorite app on your mobile phone that you feel. Every student affairs practitioner. Or college student should have so your choice. But um i will start, with. Sarah. Well. Um. Not in a professional, setting, but, i, have, a. I'm a recent. Uh, user of tick tock, and so. Finally catching up on the trend, but, it's really got me uh, almost addicted, so, i would recommend, it though because it does provide kind of a light, comic, relief, at the end of the day and i think we all need that. It, also in a weird way does increase that human connection that we're missing because you see real people, in comparison, to what, kristen, and joe you've been mentioning. The you know what you see within the zoom. Uh frame. Framework. You you tend to see the opposite on tick tock like the reality, of, you know what if you looked, a little bit under you might see that i'm maybe. Maybe not wearing sweatpants. You might see you know that i have a. Stack of snacks, next to you because i've been stress eating, that i have a teenager, upstairs and a toddler downstairs. Right like the the reality, and the connection that we need i think that's been um, i'm finding, this, uh, and using tick-tock, lately. That's my proudest moment but it's always fun. That's awesome sir i was going to say i too i'm a new user of tick tock i actually, went through an orientation, with my daughter, about a month ago so.
I'm With you on that one. Kristen what's what app do you recommend. Um, well so i'm a big fan of puzzle games. Um and the reason i say games, so. I don't ever play this during meetings. Uh. No sometimes i play it during meetings. Um. So i have a hard time focusing, like on one thing at a time right and so a lot of times i'll be checking my email or whatever and then i don't hear what's going on, um. But if i'm doing a puzzle game or something i'm still listening to what's going on but i'm allowing my, my brain you know like it's it gives me just enough busy. To still engage, in the conversation. Still be focused. But also like keep that part of my brain that's like slightly, bored, by whatever is going on that's not relevant to me, um engaged so i've been playing two dots, that's my um. Favorite puzzle game of the moment, so, um yeah i like to have that if i'm not playing on my. Phone a lot of times i'm cross stitching during meetings, actually, because it helps me. I, joke a little bit but it's sort of true like if i'm stabbing, the fabric with a needle i'm not stabbing, somebody, else, so. That's better than my stress eating so that's good, that's a good good tip. That's awesome to hear. Because i've seen that i've seen that in meetings and just to know that you're doing that behind the zoom screen is pretty cool too. Um and definitely. Um this is uh it's almost like games on apps are the 21st, century, version of doodling, right from back in the day so. Joe. All right i got. A lot of them but um, what it took, let me i'll tell you too, what, yeah i love tech talk, um. I have pokemon, go, because that that you know i think glenn and every christian were all pokemon, players, and i don't know sarah if you are but he allows me to go outside. Um but boomerang. That's been like a good thing for me uh it's boomerang, a lot is an add-on to, emails, and it allows you to turn off or not even get, emails, and you can say, you know um. You can give an announcement, too like you know a response, to whoever. Is sending email, with exceptions. Um, you know there's an acceptance list, but i love boomerang, for a couple reasons, one is giving me this sense of life separation. You know kristin talked about last time about you know one i'm going to be really off, and for me it's important, to, put for myself, to to disengage. And also to model.
That The behavior that i want my staff to see which is to say yes i'm, busy, i know you, i'm one of the busiest people on campus probably, you know we're all busy, but to say, yes i don't have to work. You know at evenings or weekends. I'm modeling, that to my staff and so for people who say, it's impossible, it's impossible to disconnect. I've done it, and again, i think i do a lot of work, but i think it's important for us to, to show that downtime. Is necessary. Cognitive destiny cognitive, overload that's too much. Thanks michelle. What's what's on your phone. Yeah what's your favorite. Oh my goodness i think that, you hit it it's pokemon, go, i think that, um, similarly, i need something, to kind of take a break. And there have been times when um. I don't have a lot, and and it forces me to get outside, a little bit even if it's just going outside my front door and walking on my front lawn to get my, my kilometers. And and i don't know and i think that. Pokemon go is doing a really good job in recognizing. How covet, is impacting, so remote, raids and not different things like that, so i feel like the, uh i'm totally out of myself as a pokemon, go person here, um. But uh i do feel like they've done a real like that's a great example. Of. A, game, that has, a, service that has totally, adapted. Um, to the times, like it's really cool to see, how they've done that. Good good lessons there, very much so pre-covet, i used to, walk outside my office and just take a walk around and i might do a raid and i'm i'm literally hanging with a residential, student. Looking at me i'm all dressed up all nice i'm looking at them they you know they're in their their college gear, and it's a great way to just break the ice when all of a sudden we're just talking about, did you catch it. Can i share a story. Huh, can i share a story because it's an awesome one. So one day like i was you know of course i'm in my suit, and i was playing pokemon, with, students. And then my, vice chancellor, was walking. And my students were like. Oh, are you in trouble. And then actually my vice chancellor reacted differently, which is and she tells me this goes, joe i'm glad you're playing pokemon, go because you get to see the campus, that's how students see it, and so i get you know in addition to like 15 minute walk you know you do this 15 minute walk in the morning 15 minute walk the afternoon. I actually get to see the campus. Beyond, my office and just like, i'm glad you're doing that i'm glad that you're engaging with students so, you know have a vice chancellor is pretty cool by chester clemoon, and and she even says like you know if you're not engaging online you're missing half the conversation. That's awesome joe, you definitely have to tag your vice chancellor now say you listen you gotta shout out on this. Podcast, webcast. So let's wrap up. Um this podcast, is called student affairs now. And so from a uh technology, transformation. Or leadership, perspective. What are you pondering. Questioning. What are you excited, about or what's troubling you and if we can take. Uh if you can take 60 to 90 seconds to wrap up your thoughts that'd be great. Uh let's start with joe. Oh yeah i'm thinking about a lot of things, especially, now that's why i love being part of these, these panels because i love you know i i learn a lot from colleagues. Um i'm thinking about how do we be more, equitable. You know i'm talking about accessibility.
Universal, Design, how do we transform, the way we perform our work how do we provide service to students. How can we simultaneously. Simultaneously. Scale our services, while providing, personalized. System. Services to you to meet the unique experiences, of our students. Uh i'm thinking about what is the work of the future, not just the future of work. Um, what's the future of student affairs i want to see. That's a big thing on my mind, and then, how can we create inclusive, space for conversations. I think that's been a big part is how do we engage our students, and i think. I'll own it i think i don't think we're doing enough, good enough uh, you know. Effort to engage our students. Um and then i'm thinking about this idea of. Uh location, you know like this. Location, elasticity. And this is a this is a term that uh vice chance i'm not a chancellor for berkeley. Use recently, it's like we're so dependent, on on, on, going to places, you know professional development, learning teaching. And so how do we engage in local locations to elicit. Mysticity. And the last pieces i. Thinking about especially in the world of you know the world of politics now like how do we. Transform, our. Our, mission. You know and and. Of the university. And simultaneously. What is our role in. Meeting those student success, and what that's what does human, success, mean like now for students. Sarah. Um i'm looking forward to seeing how, institutions. Continue, tackling, uh similarly. Issues of diverse, diversity, equity and inclusion. In our current environment, but also how it will. Transcend. The current situation. When, we one day go back on campus so hopefully, this is not just for the time being, i'm also really excited. To be part of conversations, like this one because for the first time in history really we are all facing the same. Uh challenges, and so it's uh, refreshing, in a way. To see that we are facing the same, uh issues, and that, maybe there's an opportunity, for. Cross-institutional. Conversations. That haven't happened before, so. Um, you know thank you glenn for organizing, this but i'm hoping that this is also the model, for, further conversations. In the future. As i'm listening to this i, completely, agree with what you're saying. It is. Definitely, impacting, all of us. And kristin why don't you wrap us up. Um yeah great, a lot of uh both what joe and sarah said are things that are on my mind um, you know, the virtual, programming. And digital engagement, of our students i think is going to continue to be.
Really Important, and that it can't just be a live streamed. Uh in-person, event. Um so that we really have to adjust and learn how to program, online. I'm also really really concerned. About the, stress and mental health that, our current situation, is putting on, university, staff. And faculty. From somebody, who does a lot of advocacy around mental health for, higher ed professionals. Like that has been top of my mind for a while now. We're looking at a spring with no spring break. And. How do we. You know if we're going to be programming, for students, all semester, long how where do we get to take a break where do we get to, have that time to do the work where that's not you know in person student work i have some real. Concerns, there and i think it's also. A little bit different for student affairs, even, than other. Higher ed staff because student affairs. The services we provide to students are often, in person and if we have students on campus. We want our student affairs staff, on campus. Well that's all great and well but like what about, you know all these other folks that are also supposed to be supporting, the campus but have the, opportunity, to stay home so i think there's some. Um. Going to be a little bit of discord, there on campuses, and then finally. Kind of what, what. Sarah was saying which is that i feel like we've learned some really valuable, lessons, and i hope we don't just go back to. Work as usual but i hope that we really, take some of the things that worked well for us during. This time, and continue, to implement those going forward i'm really hoping that we see things like, more flexible, working arrangements, and teleworking, and things like that that, really open up, the possibilities. For other people, to. Do these sorts of jobs, and also, just to have better, um. You know like i said mental health that's my big thing to have better mental health and better balance. Thank you, and i want to actually thank all of you, and on this panel for taking. Time today to be on this episode, of student affairs now so joe sabado, from university of california santa barbara, kristen edel from virginia, tech university, and sarah greter from michigan, state university. Thank you so much. If you are interested, in contacting. Any of our panelists, please go to our website, to get their social media account. And while you're there as a reminder. Please subscribe, to our student first now newsletter, you can visit us at. Studentaffairsnow.com. Please check out our archives. As well we are our episode, list is growing, and it's wonderful to see, the variety, of topics that are emerging. Um please subscribe to the podcast. Invite others to subscribe. Share us on social. And leave us a five star review. So. Please, definitely look for us, retweet, us share, like us, um our community, is definitely growing again i want to thank our sponsor, stylist, publishing for joining, um our team and um and just being a sponsor of our student affairs now podcast. So. If you have any other topics please reach out let me know, again my name is glenda, guzman, thanks again, to today's guest and to everyone who is watching, and listening. Please, take care, see you next time. Goodbye. You.