Congrats to the newly hooded Dr. Ed Cabellon for recently completing his PhD. His dissertation topic caught my eye: Redefining student affairs through digital technology: a ten-year historiography of digital technology use by student affairs administrators. On his site, he has a new post on a technology implementation model for student affairs (SA), which is based upon his dissertation.
After reading his dissertation and new technology model, I realized that our orientations to SAIT are quite different. To use an analogy, if we look at SAIT on a scale from SA-centric to IT-centric, I would consider Dr. Ed left-of-center in perspective and education, while I would rate myself as right-of-center. So my take of his message in these pieces has to be considered in light of my perspective.
The implementation model discusses a process or progression for trying, testing, and implementing technology within the context of SA administrators – not so much IT pros. I took away a number of important points.
Important point #1: Acknowledge technology biases
Ed points out that as adult SA administrators, we need to acknowledge that our view of technology may differ from our staff and students. We may have ideas about technology uses that are based in fixed perceptions and attitudes. To be engaged, we need to ask questions and go where they do. I see this as a very pronounced issue in millennials that work in SA and in SAIT.
Important point #2: Explore technology, both personally and professionally
The article makes the point that by using technology that our students are using, we can increase engagement and retention – two important KPIs.
Important point #3: Leverage systems across multiple departments and colleagues – but start with a pilot.
Ed touches on the necessity to identify service strategies for IT (to use the ITIL terminology) and apply that strategy to multiple units where appropriate. My own IT unit is quite concerned about this. But he also points out that we shouldn’t try to bite off more than we can chew. Start with a pilot, obtain success, then expand the service. This is a great method that works well in my experience.
Important point #4: Build communities of practice
This is SO IMPORTANT. Experience teaches that it’s not enough to build it. We must support the community by engaging our IT customers to create communities of practice. We have done this in a number of enterprise services. COPs can help IT determine service design moving forward.