Sometimes, your dreams do end up coming true! As an undergrad Justin used to half joke that he would love to teach in Criminal Justice or Political Science at a college level; in truth, the half joke was that he really wished for this to happen. As of fall 2017, Justin has been hired on to teach in Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University! Similar in some ways to the courses Justin has taught prior at Illinois State University in the School of Social Work, this course will have a broader focus on the field of conflict resolution with a unique focus on the Criminal Justice System both in the U.S. and Internationally. Justin’s course will have a theoretical foundation of restorative justice theory and cover mediation in a variety of settings including community policing, judicial (small claims and criminal courts), PK-16, community based (non-financial matter), international reconciliation projects, and other applications of conflict resolution. At the discrepancy of the Chief Judge, participants who complete the course are eligible for certification from the 11th Judicial Circuit of McLean County as a mediator for several mediation opportunities in McLean County.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, and AlotAboutNothing (in case you didn’t catch it, that last one wasn’t real…or was it/is it by now); doesn’t it seem that there’s a new social media trend or app every time you turn around? From the sound of that opener, you’d guess this post was going to be a complaint piece about social media; your guess would be wrong. Quite the opposite, this post is more a celebration and general primer as to how social media interacts/ should interact with HigherEd; I’ll save social media marketing in HigherEd as well as some other fun social media topics I have planned for another time.
Social media has become something that is inescapable, and thanks to social media you cannot escape the things you do and the people you know; I’m talking to all of you who have had old or distant relatives find you on such sites and are now posting pictures/ posts involving you and embarrassing kid/baby photos. But the inescapable element of social media goes much further than just great grandma calling you pookie in front of your hundreds/ thousands of friends and followers; there is a new age-old saying, “what goes on the net, stays on the net…for everyone to see”. So the real question you have to be asking yourself, or rather your university is “how can I get the right message out to all of my stakeholders”; and that would be the million dollar question.
The first major step a HigherEd professional or institution must take to GET OUT THERE and claim your digital identity. Far too often have I seen fake Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts claiming to be somebody; and without an official account to stand against them, these posers can do a lot of damage. But, enough with the scare tactics, you’re here to find out what you should be doing, and the answer is simple, read. That’s right, read, read, and read some more; social media trends are constantly changing so the best way to stay ahead of the game is to read the playbook. If I was to ask you what are the top 3 social media platforms out there today (just focusing on the U.S), hand down most of you might say Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and you would be wrong. Depending who you talk to, they wouldn’t even put Instagram on the map anymore. The fact of the matter is that if you check out this highly informed article, you’d see that the #2 spot actually goes to a social media platform that I haven’t even mentioned yet; that’s right, that giant in the internet sky, Google +. Funny enough, this overtaking by Google + makes it look like Google + did the proverbial tap on the shoulder and cut in line to Twitter when it was looking the other way.
So are you still asking yourself what you should be doing to make sure that you shine in the face off social media doubt? Good, then listen up. Everyone, and I do mean everyone (Institutions included) should do what they can to increase their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and overall presence online. To do this you should be putting yourself out there on those “hot” social media platforms which means, if you cannot say yes to having every one of the below accounts, you need to finish/like/ comment on this post and then click on over and set one up!
- Facebook– The mother of all social media; great for social and business relations, but just make sure to keep them separate if you have professional ethics/guidelines to adhere to (oh yes, there will be a post all about these fun do’s and don’ts)
- Google +– This new kid on the block comes with the backing of arguably the most powerful and recognizable search engine in the known galaxy. At the rate this platform is growing, it would pay to get in on it now so that you have some roots for when it decides to go toe to toe with Facebook/ other competitors (and this day of reckoning is upon us).
- Twitter- For how pointless some people may claim Twitter is, it is far more powerful/ useful than it may even know right now. Thanks to Twitters character limitations/ lack of fancy picture posts, its reads very much like a news ticker; the addition of #hashtags makes Twitter a viable resource for pulling in parties that may be interested in topics you are tweeting about.
- LinkedIn– For many of us (myself included) this has become the “professional” version of Facebook; in the way that LinkedIn is really aimed at business connections, business trends/news, and of course getting you a job.
For us in Student Affairs/ HigherEd, it is all the more important to make sure that we are on the ball with these trends as we serve those who are most affected by them; the students. As such, wouldn’t it be fair to say that we would all benefit from being able to engage with our students and even our other stakeholders (donors included) on the new playing field? I know this has been a lot to digest, but trust me, you’ll thank me someday; you can send those thanks via my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (or at least by the end of this article, you should have an account to do so)!
- Social media is on your resume whether you want it to be or not (techi.com)
- You are the social media you’re using (infographic) (siliconrepublic.com)
- Which Social Networks Should I Use for My Business? (fliptop.com)
- Your Facebook, Twitter popularity may land you a job (ibnlive.in.com)
- Why G+ will Win the “Consolidation & Isolation” Game (business2community.com)
I know from my own education that if I hadn’t encountered two or three individuals that spent extra time with me, I’m sure I would have been in jail.” – Steve Jobs
Well, when I said that the 2nd post would be far away, I wasn’t kidding; do you like how by posting this now after saying a 2nd post was coming soon I also established some credibility/ trust with you? So, while I know that almost everyone is a Student Affairs expert, let’s just humor me and placate those who may not be aware of what this field is; who knows, maybe we’ll all learn something.
I have been working in Student Affairs for almost 5 years, and yes it has all been for the glamour, fame, and riches; in case you didn’t catch it, this is that moment we all wish sarcasm could truly transfer to the written word. In all seriousness, such rewards are far and few between in the realm of Higher Education and Student Affairs. The reality is that most of us get into this business for the same reason teachers and social workers get into their own, because we love to help and make a difference. I know, from the sound of that, we come across as those people you see trying to raise funds to feed disenfranchised children. On that note I feel it my responsibility, for the sake of all Student Affairs professionals to clear the air that in fact we are here to serve the children; the children being your 18 and older children who have been working on/striving towards that pie in the sky dream, a college degree.
Now don’t think I have sold out on you just yet, but let’s examine what Student Affairs is from a business aspect. Imagine you are an investor and you want to invest in the future of a college student, a Student Affairs professional is who you want/ need on your team to “maximize” your investment; in this sense, Student Affairs professionals are those guys who spend their days and nights pondering “how can we improve our higher education system in every aspect”? In this regard Student Affairs are much like the guys who were first enlisted to put a man on the moon; people may have laughed at them at the time, but history proved that they weren’t just shooting for the moon (you know you love the puns).
So in case you haven’t yet seen the picture in this blog post illustrating the many facets of the Student Affairs arena, take a look; you may be surprised to see what fun/ critical areas of operation fall under this field. So no next time you’re out on the street and you see a guy typing on his phone while mumbling something about student housing assignments, write ups, financial aid, or pretty much anything else that keeps U.S. Higher Ed in business, put your hand on their shoulder (some warning to the person may be advised to avoid legal/martial arts response) and tell them “it’s all going to be okay…summer is just around the corner”.