Facebook for Orientation Webinar Recap

This post originally appeared at The Student Affairs Blog.

I had the pleasure of joining a “Facebook for Orientation” Webinar with Jennifer Sherry of Virginia Commonwealth and Beth Oakley with University of Windsor. While my colleagues shared how Facebook can be utilized at the university and department level to communicate and engage students, I shared the use of Facebook in a first-year seminar for community building and networking within a specific program.  

Much of my campus time is spent coordinating a
 scholarship program that enrolls 100 new students each year (I should be reading applications right now). These students have long been Facebook users, as I shared here. Inspired by ideas from Tania Dudina over at the Student Leader Blog, I took advantage of that Facebook comfort and created a social networking assignment for the course last fall.


To introduce the topic, I shared my own social networks and links for our program Facebook accounts, a
 group and a profile. This video explanation of social networks was helpful and moved the emphasis beyond Facebook privacy settings to the actual functions of a social network. 


Social Networking Assignment

1. Identify and join a new social network. Try Facebook, if not already a member (98% were Facebook users).

  • A list of networks is available here.
  • Upon creating your new social network profile, identify 5 new friends or links. Make a screenshot of your new network homepage, save as a jpg, attach, and submit via email.

2. Now that you are on Facebook, locate an alumni/ae of the program with whom to link.

  • Interview your new alumni link regarding their advice for first-year students, favorite memories, motivational quotes or career choices.
  • Create a PowerPoint slide of your alumni interview highlights. Submit it as an email attachment.

Response to this assignment was favorable and students researched a variety of creative networks. Many of our alumni are new Facebook users and enjoyed the opportunity to link back with the program. Next fall we will include the alumni assignment and may introduce blogging and wikis. We’ll see where it takes us.

Many thanks to the folks at Swift Kick for coordinating the webinar!

Facebook for Orientation webinar

I am joining a panel of student affairs folks for a webinar titled Facebook for Orientation today. Each of us will share a little about how we utilize the Facebook network for linking with our new students at enrollment and beyond. The webinar is sponsored by the very cool people at SwiftKick, creators of RedRover and founders of the Student Affairs Blog. It will be at 12 noon CST. Join us to share in the discussion!

Register here.

Self-handicapping behaviors of college students

This NY Times article indicates that ego protection and lowered expectations are the reason some college students protect their failures through a behavior called self-handicapping. Using and creating excuses for poor academic performance allows students to plan for and evade success. If unchallenged, self-handicapping behaviors frequently carry over into the workplace, stereotyping individuals early in their careers. This is a great reference for students needing to take responsibility in their college education. Read more at The Student Affairs Blog.



New in the Toolbox: Emotional Intelligence

My spare time this month has been used to prepare for and complete certification in the use of the Emotional Quotient inventory or 
EQ-i. Emotional-social intelligence is a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills, and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand and relate with others, and cope with daily demands. Understanding and assessing EQ in business and leadership coaching is common and research indicates that that the tool is equally useful in the academic setting with an 85% predictor rate for college success. I look forward to building expertise with this assessment and employing it to assist the transition of my first-year students.

The EQ-i is assessed through an online survey resulting in measurements of five areas: interpersonal, intrapersonal, stress management, adaptability, and general mood. Fifteen subscales or facets provide dimension to these scale areas.

EQ-i will join the College Student Inventory and MAP-Works in the toolbox of assessments that I rely upon for identifying issues challenging students in those first few crucial weeks of college. The College Student Inventory provides me with timely and strategic information on my students prior to their enrollment. Most importantly, it allows me to identify those with high need for student service intervention. MAP-Works is offered to students in the third week of enrollment and is a new complement to our campus retention initiatives. It aggregates student perception upon arrival and integration to the institution. Both surveys are great mediums for creating relationships with new students.

I will introduce the proportions of the EQ-i in greater depth with future posts.

What’s in your student retention toolbox?  

eighteen and life?

Welcome to eighteen and life. This is not a blog about Skid Row or the classic song by Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo made famous by the vocals of Sebastian Bach. That being said, the song was an inspiration to the thought processes that you will find here. And although the original 18 and Life lyrics end tragically, my experience is that for students making the choice of post-secondary education, the age of 18 can be a stepping off point to opportunity.


I have built a career in college student affairs around the decision-making of 18-year olds, first in admissions and then as a program director and first-year seminar instructor. I have crossed paths with thousands of students poised on the brink of dynamic educations and careers. Some do not make it. Most do. But not always without a struggle.

Join me as I discuss service to students and efforts to build successful first-year to graduation retention programs. I’ll share the humor and challenges in this transformation and invite you to share yours. The folks over at The Student Affairs Blog are kind enough to let me write there as well, so you’ll see an occasional cross-post.

18 and life to go.