Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Personal Values & Principles and Thoughts on Student Affairs, Technology, and Leadership

I started my blog because I needed a place to share ideas and process my thoughts. Six years later since my first post on October 21, 2010, I have posted 383 articles on professional and personal topics. As I read through what I have written, it’s fascinating how in some ways my perspectives have evolved yet some of my core principles have not changed. Listed below are thoughts on my personal values and principles, leadership, and student affairs and technology.

Personal Values and Principles

Reasons I Value Diversity and Inclusion in The Workplace
I was interviewed for a course on ethical leadership a couple of months ago. One of the questions was what drives my value system and priorities at work.  I suppose I had not thought of this before, but it was during that interview that I realized providing equal access to opportunities, inclusion, and appreciating diversity are very important values of mine.   As I was asked additional questions about why these were so important to me, I realized it was my experiences feeling marginalized while growing up, in college, and even at work when I did not fit in the norms that really drive me to ensure those around me have the opportunities to be included and differences are valued. [More …]

A Reflection on My Career in Student Affairs
Where I find most personal satisfaction is working with students and the other activities outside my technologist role. Serving in  student fee advisory committeestudent resource team, reading admissions applications, and serving as student organization advisor provide me with reminders of who I am ultimately serving, the students, and that I am able to somehow make a difference in their lives is what motivates me. As an aside, moving forward with new technologies like social media and mobile web, I have also found these activities very critical to my understanding of the culture and trends of students today. [More…]

Reflecting on Why I Love My Job in Student Affairs
If I view my job in student affairs IT as just about computers, I’m missing the bigger picture. In the end, it’s about helping students succeed through technology and my roles as discussion leader, organizational advisor, mentor, and a facilitator. In my role as the director/leader in my IT organization, it’s about helping my staff and my colleagues grow, create an environment where they feel personally satisfied with what they do and that they feel they are contributing. Ultimately, my job is about helping people and helping build communities. I am also part of the UCSB community. [More…]

Nowhere I’d Rather Be Than in Student Affairs
It is during the most challenging times of my job when I find myself thinking how blessed I am to have my job in student affairs, specifically as an IT leader within student affairs. The sometimes convoluted nature of higher education bureaucracy, the pressure of having to deliver critical technology services with the limited amount of resources, and having to juggle competing priorities make it challenging some days. But, even with these challenges, actually, because of these challenges, that I feel blessed to have my job. I can easily look beyond the day-to-day frustrations because I know that at the end of the day, what matters is that my colleagues and I, the work we do, have a very important purpose – to help students succeed. [More…]

UCSB STEP Program – Nourishment for My Soul
Personally, STEP program provides me with the opportunity to build connections with the students and even if most of them will never contact me again, I consider it such a privilege and honor to be a part of their introduction to their new lives at UCSB. My one-week STEP experience is enough to provide nourishment for my soul to provide me with the motivation and sense of purpose for the rest of the year. [More…]

Why I Love My Job in Student Affairs at UCSB
Through technologies, I help serve the UCSB community so students may successfully navigate the university and prepare them for their careers and develop as human beings. However, it is through the personal connections I’ve made with the few students that really makes me realize how blessed I am to be in a position wherein I can make a difference in their lives. [More…]

Pilipino Graduation and What My Job Really Means
One of the reasons why I actively seek out opportunities to work with students, in addition to the fact that I do find enjoyment working with them, is because I do feel that for me to be able to do my job effectively; I need to be reminded of who I serve. These are students who have come to the university for different reasons, with different aspirations.  For many of them, attending UCSB required their families to sacrifice. These are students who must find ways to succeed at the university against increasing tuition and declining resources. [More…]

Thoughts on Leadership

My Professional Vision as Higher Education IT Leader (DRAFT)
How often, or have you thought about your core ideologies and your future as a professional? I personally haven’t myself but as I lead my organization through a strategic planning process and as I learn more about how to develop successful organizations, I began to think about how I could apply that process for me personally. Using ideas from a book by Jim Collins called “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”, I came up with some initial thoughts below. [More…]

IT Organizational Management & Leadership
One of the lessons I’ve learned is that to be an effective organizational leader you need to be an effective manager and to be an effective manager, you need to be an effective leader. In short, leadership and management go hand in hand when it comes to delivering results. [More…]

Leading in Stressful Times
As managers, don’t lose sight of the idea that our staff are human beings and not just units of resources. If organizations are to be productive, managers must make themselves available and build relationships with staff to build an engaged workforce. Being too short-sighted and just giving orders to complete tasks can lead to unintended and counterproductive consequences. [More…]

Assertiveness: My Leadership Challenge as an Asian American
Throughout my career, one personal trait that’s been perceived as negative when it came to my leadership style has been my assertiveness, or rather lack of. From the feedback I’ve received, I’ve been seen as not direct and not confrontational when dealing with conflicts. Whether that’s because of my personality or because of my cultural upbringing, I don’t know why I have not been seen as “assertive” as other folks would like me to be. [More..]

My IT Organization’s Guiding Values and Principles
As I’ve been with my organization for more than 15 years, I have a good sense of our culture, our strengths, capabilities, and areas of improvements. I firmly believe that we are a very capable organization proven by what we’ve been able to do and we can continue/improve our delivery of quality solutions and excellent customer service. We have a dedicated, highly knowledgeable and skilled team with strong support from our senior management. It is for these reasons that I strive for the idea that when people think of THE model higher education IT, they think UCSB SIS&T!  

I believe the guiding values and principles of my organization have to be able to stand through time in the midst of ever-changing technology landscapes and dynamic customer services and needs. It is with this mindset that these guiding values and principles were formulated. [More…]

Leadership is About Connecting, More than Communicating
Leadership in my opinion is about influence, not control. A leader’s ability to influence others ultimately comes down to how they are perceived by those they lead. Leaders who can establish connections, who can make others feel like they matter and they are understood are the ones who will have the most influence. [More…]

Leadership – Bruce Lee style
“I can best describe Joe Sabado as the ‘Bruce Lee’ of managers.  People would ask Bruce Lee what his ‘system’ was, and he would say he didn’t have a ‘system’.  His style was the style of no style.  Likewise, Joe doesn’t have a management style, because no single method works with everyone, or at all times.”

 “Joe is a master at understanding people, and their current situation.  Joe always looks to adapt himself to the other person, and even to the other person’s mood.” [More…]

My Perspective on IT Leadership for 2012
The demands of our customers and employees are changing fast and as an organization, our ability to adapt, not react is critical.  One challenge I see in my position then ishow to promote our core mission while keeping up with the trends. [More…]

Student Affairs and Technology

Student Affairs Digital Technology for Student Success
Academic and co-curricular programs, student services, enrollment management services, and other administrative services offered by highered institutions are aimed to support and promote student learning, development, and success. [More…]

Student Affairs Org Technology Leadership Competencies – MindMap
What are the competencies required to be an effective student affairs technology leader at an organizational level? This is a question I pondered while reviewing the Technology Competency Area within the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Area for Student Affairs Educators. I specifically mentioned “at an organizational level” because managing/leading the appropriate/effective use of technology at the divisional level is different from one who is leading the efforts at the national or individual levels. [More…]

Technology Responsibilities & Qualifications for Senior Student Affairs Officers
I do think technology leadership needs to be present at the highest level of student affairs organizations. At the minimum, CSAOs cannot abdicate their roles as information technology managers and they must either develop the skills, knowledge, and dispositions as described in the new technology competency area and/or include a position that can provide leadership to lead the effective adoption, utilization, and assessment/evaluation of technology in student affairs. [More…]

Future of Student Affairs and Information Technology

Dean of Student Affairs Technology – A Proposed Role
How come there are Dean of Academic Technology positions but not a Dean of Student Affairs Technology? This is a question that crosses my mind from time to time. According to Kevin Guidry’s research on the history of student affairs and technology, technology has been a part of student affairs for decades but I’m not sure as to why such a position has not existed before. [More…]

A Glimpse of Student Affairs in the (Near) Future?
There will come a point in the near future when these five forces — mobile, social media, data, sensors (internet of things) and location, as Robert Scoble and Shel Israel call them in their book “Age of Context” will transform student affairs. [More…]
The Need for a Common Higher Education Data Model

It seems to me that until a common structured data higher education data model that can be used as a standard exists, higher education institutions will not be able to develop holistic assessment of student success and to provide services such as advising that use curricular and co-curricular information. [More…]

Technologies, Assessment, and the Future of Student Affairs
The future of student affairs will include consumer technologies including mobile, data, sensors, social media, cloud, wearable computing, and location-based systems. This possibility is by no means a stretch if one is to consider what already exists outside the world of academia and follow consumer technology trends. [More…]

Personal Recap of Western Regional Career in Student Affairs Day (WRCSAD) 2015

I attended the Western Regional Career in Student Affairs Day at UCLA this last Saturday, Oct 17, with the UCSB’s NASPA Undergraduate Fellowship Program (NUFP) team. This was an opportunity for our undergraduate students to learn more about student affairs as a profession and to meet other students and professionals in the field. I also attended to be a panelist for a session on Social Media in Student Affairs. As it was with the previous years I have attended, I left the conference with a sense of renewal and commitment to my role as a student affairs professional. The event was well planned, the sessions were informative and the speakers were all knowledgeable. I sensed those involved in the planning and those who participated a deep commitment to serving students and to learning about student affairs. Beyond the learning was also the fun moments getting re-acquainted with friends and colleagues I interact with through social media as well as meeting new friends. Here are some of the personal highlights (I can remember) of the conference:

Dr. Sumun (Sumi) Pendakur‘s keynote speech (“The Personal, The Political, and The Professional”). Dr. Pendakur delivered a dynamic speech about the intersections of her personal upbringing and her profession. As she said, “we all come from somewhere” and so she spent some time introducing her parents, specifically her dad, and how their experiences informed and shaped her world views and her activism. She shared her personal story because as she said, “personal narrative informs our work we do.”  She spoke about our obligations as student affairs professionals in serving all students and to promote success for all students, not just for some. She asked the question “are they graduating and thriving or are they surviving”? Dr. Pendakur also shared some strategies to get the most out of this conference and they are applicable to our daily work as well. For one, she suggests doing some relationship building – purposeful networking. In addition, she suggested self care/renewal. Conferences this size can be a challenge for introverts (like me) and it’s okay to find a corner some place alone to re-energize ourselves on our own. Lastly, she suggested pushing the edge / practice taking risks. Ask questions and challenge. We need to practice asking questions and we don’t have to be SSAOs to be asking questions. We can ask questions wherever we sit in the institution.

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Reflections from Senior Affairs Officers. Four seasoned administrators (Dr. Jeff Klaus from CSU Long Beach, Dr. Sumun Pendakur from Harvey Mudd College, Dr. Suzanne Seplow from UCLA, and VP Henry Gee, Rio Hondo Community College) along with the facilitator Dr. Mink-Salas from Azusa Pacific University shared some really valuable insights on their experiences and they also shared important lessons.

Personally, watching two Asian American senior administrators on the panel was a welcome sight. As I wrote on this blog post, we need more Asian American mentors/advocates in higher education. The messages from all of the panelists were all valuable but the messages from VP Henry Gee and Dr. Pendakur spoke to me as an Asian American.

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This session really made me think of where I am in my career and where I would like to go in my career. It was during this session when I had this “Eureka” moment of what my purpose in student affairs has been though I never realized what it was. This was to shape my institution and higher ed in general to best serve the interest of students!

The other important insight I got from this session was the idea that I don’t want to be pigeonholed as an “IT guy” because I’ve primarily been in student affairs IT for most of my career. I have always seen myself as student affairs professional who works primarily with technologies to promote student success and also one who has played several roles as an organizational advisor, mentor, FYE discussion leader, multicultural programming facilitators, etc. The challenge and interest for me has been on how to bridge the gap between IT and student affairs and in general, how to use technology more effectively within the context of student affairs. It is still my goal to be in a senior administrator someday to be able to solve the challenge I posed through a position of Dean of Student Affairs Technology, a role that does not yet exist. This role needs to be at the highest level in student affairs organizations sitting along side other senior student affairs officers (SSAO) table. As this role still does not exist, I continue to advocate that an IT director or one who is in charge of enterprise technology initiatives within student affairs need to be at the SSAO table.

Black Lives Matter in the Ivory Tower: Trials and Triumph in Navigating Anti-Racist Work session. This was a session that had been planned to be facilitated by a UCLA senior student affairs official along with a panel, but due to the on-going investigation of the “Kanye Western” theme party which involved racial overtones, Dr. Dougherty, the facilitator was not able to attend. Apparently, the other panelists from other universities were able to attend as well. Two professionals, Diana Victa from Cal State Los Angeles, and Patricia Nguyen from UCLA (and UCSB alum) effectively facilitated the hard topics of how to promote anti-racism efforts on campus and the barriers facing these efforts. Participants spent time sharing their thoughts about anti-racism challenges and opportunities at their own campuses. Undergraduate students spoke about the challenges of being expected and devoting time towards fighting for social justice while already facing heavy academic work. Some professionals spoke about their personal challenges and how they found their voices in the process. When asked why we attended the session, I shared that I wanted to learn about the topics and more importantly, to listen to raw and unfiltered voices from those who are impacted by racism. I shared that we don’t have enough spaces to have honest conversations about racism on our campuses. It was a powerful session, indeed. One of the comments shared by a new pro and a former student activist was the myth of resource constraint in response to the idea that we need to be patient in our anti-racism fight. as we can’t solve the problem in one day. As the attendee stated, “how is is that money somehow magically appears after a crisis and when the university’s ranking is going down and donors stop donating as the result of a crisis when students have been talking with the administration for a long time before the crisis.”

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photo courtesy of Grace Bagunu

Social Media in Student Affairs session. I sat on a panel with  VP Henry Gee and Jennifer Rodil with Grace Bagunu as the moderator. We spoke about the role of social media at the personal, campus, and professional organization levels. As VP Gee shared, Grace was the first social media account manager for NASPA Region 6, and she was instrumental in getting VP Gee to use social media. Jennifer also credited Grace as her social media mentor. I personally met my co-presenters through social media first and have become friends since we met and so this session was a fun one to be a part of.

VP Gee spoke about why he joined Twitter at the urging of Grace and why he joined Facebook (to listen to feedback about his programs). He also provided important responses to questions from the audience on how to appropriately use social media as it relates to job searching and networking. Jennifer provided her insight on how she manages her department’s social media presence as well as strategies on promoting engagement with the NASPA Region 6 twitter account as well as the Instagram account. A question was asked by an audience member on how to effectively manage time spent on posting contents and managing social media accounts. Jennifer suggested having a schedule of postings and along with the schedule are the types of contents to post. I spoke about specific uses of social media at UCSB. I cited how I used facebook to share information about the status of our IT services during the power outage since our email server was out of service. Since we couldn’t send messages through our email server, facebook became the primary medium to communicate with our UCSB customers about the statuses of our services until we were able to have email service up and running again. The second example I provided was the significance of social media during a crisis. I specifically spoke about the tragic Isla Vista shooting on Mary 23rd, 2014. Social media became the medium for real-time communication (I learned about the shooting the minute shots were fired from students I advise through their facebook statuses), community building (show of support within the local UCSB community and across the globe on social media), and event coordination (series of events were held that following week along with a memorial at UCSB’s Harder Stadium attended by 20,000+).

I also spoke about the reasons why I blog including why I started (I was frustrated because I had a lot of ideas but I didn’t feel heard at my campus so my blog became a platform for me to express my ideas), what my purpose for blogging (promote student affairs technology and leadership), some strategies and tools I use, as well as how I address the common challenge of how to write authentically (I don’t share everything but what I do share are true to my heart).

Some audience members also shared their success stories including how they used social media on campus. One of the stories shared by the creator of the account was the use of twitter to inform students of food on the UCLA campus. The twitter account is called @hungry_bruin.

Several attendees spoke to the panel after the session for several minutes thanking us and to exchange other ideas.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Higher Education session. I was late to this session because of the last session but I am glad I attended as I learned some valuable insights from the panel which made me think about the value of understanding policies, making ethical decisions, and the increasing difficult choices to be made as one advances in the management hierarchy. The topics of institutional responsibility and ethics were discussed as it relates to things we probably don’t think about as ethical issues. As one of the panelists shared, staff don’t own the money used to run the university. Students are paying for the services and so when a staff comes into work late, they’re taking resources away from the students. A panelist shared his guiding principle when making tough decisions – “Did I follow the policy and did I practice fundamental fairness in the process?”

A topic also discussed was the issue of individual right and freedom of expression. As one of the panelist shared, one has the freedom of expression but they don’t have the freedom of consequences. As senior administrators, they must help frame the consequences of students’ actions in this term “I’m not saying you’re right or wrong but how is that being perceived? Is that the message you want to send out?”

The three sessions I attended were informative and they led me to reflect on my role as a student affairs professional and how I view my role at my university as well as my career path. In addition to the value provided by the sessions, the most valuable experiences I got out of the conferences came during the breaks and lunch. These were the times when I had the chance to connect with our NUFP fellows and mentors but also to re-connect with friends I have not seen in a while as well as to meet new ones. Attending this conference with my fellow and our NUFP team was a wonderful experience we could build upon to further develop our relationships and to learn more about each other.

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UCSB NUFP Team (photo courtesy of Klint Jaramillo).

The conference was also an opportunity to connect with other Filipin@-Americans in student affairs. We started this tradition of taking a group photo at conferences starting last year and this photo below is a part of that tradition. It was nice finally meeting other Fil-Am professionals I met via social media face to face for the first time.

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Pin@ys in Student Affairs (photo courtesy of Grace Bagunu)

 

Ten Predictions for Student Affairs of 2018

From time to time, I like to think about what student affairs and even higher education in general will look like maybe about three or four year from now. These predictions are based on general observations happening on my campus, reading technology trends both inside and outside higher education, and reading about general landscape of higher education. These are not based on formal research, so I don’t have citations to provide:)  Here are some personal thoughts on what 2018 in student affairs may look like. Some may be considered outrageous and low likely chance of even becoming reality, but one can explore beyond the realm of reality, right? It will be fun to just look at these predictions in 2019. Here they are:

1.  Assessment will become more important as the need for greater accountability increases. Assessment as part of a formal job duties will also become more prevalent. This will require new skill sets for staff including how to conduct assessment as well as how to use technologies to analyze data. Some organizations may even have data scientists who will explore and design ways to use data for student success.  The use of machine learning, an advanced predictive analytic, will be used in different areas of student affairs and enrollment management services. While big data is the big talk now, the focus will be on algorithms.

2.  Greater use of consumer technologies in the workplace including social media, cloud, mobile, wearable computing, and Internet of Things. I wrote on this blog post how these technologies can all work together in student affairs. Wearable computing and Internet of Things will pose challenges to IT organizations when it comes to securing information and protecting networks. In addition, the use of these technologies for cheating will pose challenges to judicial affairs and academic staff.

3. Outsourcing of student affairs services as the need for 24/7 availability increases. These services could include 24/7 counseling hotlines for suicide prevention. As more online courses are offered, the traditional 8 to 5 local work hours will require extended hours of operations as students from different time zones (global) requiring instructional technology and student services support.

4. Organizational re-structuring will occur to accommodate the needs of the diverse student body including veterans, undocumented, LGBTQIA, international, and non-traditional students.

5. Health, wellness, and campus safety will become even bigger issues.

6. New student development theories or revisions of existing theories incorporating digital aspect of identities will be introduced.

7. Budget constraints will lead some student affairs organizations to find different sources for funding and/or cost cutting efforts. These efforts could include a formation of development offices within student affairs as well as consolidation of multiple offices. Partnership with vendors in exchange for access to student data (hopefully aggregated and not personally identifiable information) and insights may be a path taken by some organizations.

8. A new controversial social media platform, like Yik Yak, will be created and will lead campuses and student affairs professionals to react extremely against the platform. The use of virtual/Augmented reality technologies like Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens with the new platform will make privacy/confidentiality/cyberbullying issues even become more significant.

9. With technology finally added as a part of the ACPA/NASPA professional competency area for student affairs, discussions around the importance of technology’s role in student learning, professional development, and administrative use will lead to a creation of a new Senior Student Affairs Officers (SSAO) position focusing on technology such as the one I proposed here – Dean of Student Affairs Technology.

10. An additional role that may be created in some student affairs organizations is that of Chief Innovations Officer or a role that’s dedicated to exploring new ideas. Given lack of resources, increasing demands to be more effective/efficient, and the need to respond to the fast-changing needs of students, some student affairs organizations will move towards disruptive instead of incremental innovation efforts.

Bonus prediction: New technologies will confuse higher education staff even more on the appropriate use of FERPA.

What other predictions do you have?

 

Year in Review – Professional/Memorable Moments of 2013-2014

Academic year 2013-2014 was a year filled with accomplishments and memorable events that impacted me professionally and personally. It was a year of connecting and working with new students, UCSB colleagues, as well as professionals from all over the country I met via social media. It was a year I committed myself to learning as much as possible about student affairs, IT, and higher education through books and my personal learning networks. Below are some highlights as well as memorable moments that impacted me personally and professionally.

Student Information Systems & Technology (SIS&T):

Our student affairs division and my department started working on several major projects this year as part of a comprehensive suite of technology initiatives we will be working on for the next few years. Amongst those projects I directed/managed include:

  • Student Financial Systems Project – a redesign/migration of our existing undergraduate/graduate financial aid and scholarships system.
  • Adoption/implementation of communication/collaboration applications:
        • Emma (mass e-mailing solution)
        • BaseCamp (project management)
        • Google Analytics
        • Sitefinity (web content management system)
        • Sharepoint
        • Intelliresponse (knowledge base system)
        • Policy & Procedure Management (PPM) – document workflow approval system
  • Communication Collaborative (CommCollab) – a divisional communication initiative aimed to advance the mission of our division using the network of staff from within our division using the tools mentioned above.
  • Cloud Services Usage Guidelines
  • Data Retention/Destruction Guidelines

We are indeed busy with projects, but our department likes to have fun as well. Our department retreat last December was one of the most fun events I’ve had with my colleagues. Check out this youtube video of our team having fun – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU_P6a3nKp0.

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UCSB STEP Program (August 2013)

I was a Transitions course facilitator for this one-week summer bridge program for under-represented and first generation students.  Just like the previous three years, it was a very enjoyable and satisfying experience, personally and professionally. This one week in August is my probably my favorite week of the year because I get to meet new students. These are students who are eager to learn and who are in a major transition in their lives. It’s amazing to watch the transformation that happens in a week. Personally, my interactions with the students are reminders of why I work in student affairs.

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Foundations – New Student Affairs Professional Development Program (October 2013 – June 2014)


Foundations is a cohort-based program professional development program for new student affairs professionals at UCSB. It’s a new program intended to introduce new staff about theories and issues applicable to their roles. The program started with a three half-day “New Professional Institute” in October to introduce the participants to professional competencies, student affair structures, and overview of topics to be discussed during the year. Each month, we had a session devoted to topics including work/life balance, workplace communication, creating change, technology, shared governance/student leadership, and budget/salaries. After each session, a survey was conducted to assess the effectiveness of  the event. I was fortunate enough to have been one of the program’s coordinators. I enjoyed working with the coordinating team and our cohort members.

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Gaucho U Learning and Leadership Program (October 2013 – May 2014)

I was a mentor for a team of 12 staff (cohort G) for this university-wide professional development program. It’s a cohort-based training and development program founded on the UC Core Competency Model. I was a participant two years ago and that experience provided me with some perspective on how to serve as a mentor effectively. Our project was to implement a prototype of a mobile version of our campus homepage. Part of the effort included research by the members on what other UC campuses have already in place, as well as soliciting feedback from our campus via a survey of mobile use and preferences. From what I know, this is the first campus-wide survey regarding mobile usage that’s ever been done at UCSB. What I loved about this program was the opportunity to work and mentor staff from other parts of the campus I would never have had the chance to interact with if it was not for this program. The best part of the experience for me is watching the members develop as leaders. There was one staff in particular who was very shy at the beginning of the program but I had the hunch she could serve as an effective leader for our group, based on the initial interactions I had with her. I selected her as one of the team leaders and it was amazing watching her come out of her shell and show her leadership skills.

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NASPA Undergraduate Fellowship Program (NUFP) (October 2013 – June 2014)

NUFP is a program designed to provide mentorship to underrepresented students interested in pursuing careers in higher education and student affairs. Students are provided with opportunities to learn more about student affairs via activities and discussions, including a trip to the NASPA national conference. I was a mentor this year and it was an amazing experience working with the highly motivated, smart, and very involved students. Some of the highlights include a trip to the Western Regional Careers in Student Affairs Day in November at CSU Long Beach. It is during this trip that I had the opportunity to interact with some of our NUFP fellows and talk about their interests and issues. It was also during this conference where I met a few student affairs colleagues I met through social media for the first time face-to-face.

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The trip to the NASPA national conference in Baltimore last March was a fun experience for the mentors and our fellows. The trip provided our team to get to know more about each other. It was an educational experience for all of us, learning more about issues/trends in student affairs and networking with other graduate students and professionals outside our campus.

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The year ended with the fellows presenting their research topics to the campus. The topics included the use of resource center towards student success, multiracial identities, and LGBTQIA. The event was attended by our Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, other senior student affairs officers, staff, and students. Watching the fellows present, including my mentee, Navkira (Navi) Kaur, was a moment of pride and joy.

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External Review of Texas A&M University (TAMU) Student Affairs IT Department (September 2013 – December 2013)

I had the honor and privilege of leading an external review team to examine the IT department as part of TAMU Division of Student Affairs’ assessment efforts. I consider it a privilege because I was recommended by their IT Director for my online reputation as one who is experienced in student affairs technology. I learned a lot from this experience. For one, I was able to get a glimpse of another student affairs IT department and compare it with my own IT department. In addition, I read many IT and technology-related books, including ITIL framework, governance, and funding models. It was one of the most intense project I’ve experienced professionally. As the team leader, I had to quickly develop rapport with the other members (TAMU staff) virtually (web conference calls), and plan the three day on-site visit. As soon as I arrived on the campus and got my luggage in my room, the work immediately started with a meeting with some of their student affairs senior leadership to outline the expectations during the visit. For the next three days, it was back-to-back meetings all day, interviewing different constituencies including the IT group, the divisional customers, and the division’s senior student affairs officers (Vice Presidents). The days ended with a team meeting in the evening to review our notes. The on-site visit ended with a presentation of our findings to the directors and IT staff. My work was not done after the visit as I still had to produce a report of our findings and recommendations, with input from the other team members. In the end, it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my career. What I remember from this experience are the friendly TAMU staff and the very polite student leaders. The student representative on our team was the student body Vice-President and he wore his cadet uniform the whole time I was there. He was very formal and very respectful, addressing me and other staff with “yes, sir/yes, ma’am.” He had very thoughtful input and added a very important perspective to the process.

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NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) – (October 2013 – June 2014)

NASPA is one of the two major student affairs professionals organization. I became more involved with NASPA this year through NUFP as well as through their technology initiatives. I attended the national conference for the first time and I was very impressed with the programming and the size of attendance. I was honored to be asked to participate in a two-day technology summit in Washington, DC to talk about issues and trends related to student affair technology. The group represented different constituencies in higher education and student affairs. One of the many highlights of the tech summit was meeting other colleagues I met via twitter for the first time face-to-face. While we’ve only interacted virtually before the tech summit, it was as if we’ve known each other and have been friends for a while.

NASPA Tech Summit (February 28th – March 1st) – Washington, DC

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NASPA National Conference (March 14th – 19th)

The trip to the national conference in Baltimore was a very memorable experience. Spending time with our NUFP team, meeting and spending time with someone from Scotland, learning about student affairs issues/trends all contributed to a week I will never forget. In addition, I also had the opportunity to meet other Asian-Americans and Filipino-American colleagues. We also had a #sachat meetup. This is a get together of folks who are part of the #sachat twitter community.

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Kapatirang Pilipino (KP) – (Spring 2014)

KP is the Filipin@-American student organization at UCSB. As an undergraduate student, I was very involved as a member and a leader. I was also KP’s staff advisor for years. A few years ago, KP leaders decided to go with a new staff advisor, and so I gradually became less-involved with the organization to a point where I did not know many Filipin@-American students. I was invited to attend an event during Spring quarter this year and I was more than glad to attend. What a wonderful feeling it was to be able to meet the students, including a group of them, who are part of my “KP family” lineage. One of KP’s long running tradition/program is the Kuya/Ate (big brother/sister) program that promotes the idea of mentoring by more experienced members to new members. As years had gone by, these “family lines” continued.

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I also attended KP’s 35th anniversary celebration. I met additional students and reunited with some alums. One highlight of this celebration was getting to serve a lechon – a whole roasted pig.

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Isla Vista Shooting Tragedy (May 23rd)

The tragedy that happened in Isla Vista on May 23rd when we lost some of our students really impacted me personally. UCSB/Isla Vista is a community I’ve been a part of since 1991 when I entered UCSB as a freshman. While I didn’t know the students we lost, I felt angry, lost, and confused. At the same time, in the midst of this horrible tragedy was a display of community I have never seen before. From my colleagues volunteering their time to counsel and provide any needed services, moments after the shooting, to the candlelight vigil attended by 5,000 students and community members, to the 22,000+ who attended the memorial at our stadium, these actions/events really confirmed why I love my job and while I’m still at UCSB.

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Commencement Ceremonies (June 12, 2014)

I volunteered to be part of the commencement ceremonies for the first time this year and what a fun experience that was. Helping students inside our gym as they line up and watching them find their friends so they can march together was a really satisfying moment for me. I also got to work with my wife, who helped coordinate the College of Engineering and Sciences Commencement Ceremony.

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STEP Program in August started the year for me and I ended this year by saying goodbye to one of the students, Ange, I met three years ago via this program. I am very honored for her to consider me as a mentor. Ange will be spending the next three years in China pursuing her Masters Degree.

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I also received a very nice “thank you note” from a student I just recently met through KP. The note was particularly significant to me because it showed that as a student affairs professional, I can be a difference in students lives the first days they arrive on campus, like at STEP Program, or during their last months here at UCSB.

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I’m excited and the same time anxious to what the next academic year brings. There are significant changes in our division with the retirement of our senior leadership and the change in leadership will provide opportunities and challenges.

No Accomplishment Is Done Alone

I’m always puzzled as to why most winners of award shows like Golden Globe claim and act like they had not prepared a speech when they accept their awards on stage. Maybe it’s a Hollywood practice to not prepare a speech as part of a superstition. I’m not in the movie industry, so I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that for most of these winners, this may be the only time in their lives when they will get this type of accolade and to not prepare for it doesn’t make sense. Here’s my other take, this would be an amazing opportunity to express their gratitude to those they work with. They must have someone to thank and so why not make sure to use this maybe once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to highlight the work of others and what they mean to them.

Personally and professionally, I have had many folks helped me, open doors for me, to get to where I am now. My family, friends, teachers, co-workers, and mentors are just some of these folks whose I am very grateful for. The way I look at it, no accomplishment is done alone.