Tag Archives: student life

Getting Involved on Campus – a Techie Perspective

As a technologist in student affairs who does not interact with students in my formal position, I envy my colleagues who deal with students everyday. I enjoy my interactions with students and staff discussing about student development, leadership and social issues and so I look for opportunities to be able to be involved with the student affairs community outside my formal technical role.

In my position as an IT administrator in a central department that serves all of student affairs, I get exposed to the business processes of all the departments when implementing or developing web applications and vendor systems. In the course of the projects, the discussions with directors/programmers revolve around business requirements, timelines, funding  and resources. On the other side with my technical colleagues, discussions revolve around  server/network infrastructures, security, development standards.  Unfortunately,  discussions about student afairs and student lives in general rarely get discussed. Throughout my career, I have identified opportunities around the campus to see where I could get involved as a non-techie.

Here are some activities I’ve participated in the last few years:

* Serve as organizational advisor for the Filipino-American interest organization and Latino fraternity
* Participate as staff representative for a student led fee committee (http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/sfac)
* Serve as staff representative to student staff divisional meeting
* Review freshman applications for the Admissions department
* Serve as facilitator for summer transition program dedicated towards first generation students (http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/eop/step)
* Serve as member of student resource team (http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/srt)
* Serve as a mentor through a mentorship program
* Provide letter of recommendations and references for graduate schools/jobs
* Participant as a panelist for career development course

My involvement with the programs above are for two reasons: 1) I personally enjoy the experience and 2) I feel the experience provide me with reminders of why I do my job and provides me with a sense of purpose.

Based on your experience, what other opportunities can you recommend?

New Job Title: “Social Media Lifeguard”?

A colleague of mine tells me “You’re like a lifeguard, you tell us how far to go in the ocean and where to go, and you call us back if we go too far but you don’t stop us from going into the water.”

To put what he said into context, a group of us, some folks from our student life office and some technical staff from my office which is the central technology department for the Division of Student Affairs, had just seen a demo of a product to manage student organizations.  The authentication used by the vendor product uses facebook connect.  While the vendor product was really beyond what we could ever build and everyone watching the demo, including me were very impressed with the product, I unfortunately had to dampen the enthusiasm of those present. I had to mention that using facebook connect may not be an idea that will be readily accepted as an option by security administrators on campus. Using a third party like facebook for authentication for an official campus system is a new concept on my campus.  In my role as the Associate Director of Information Systems and Software Development, I unfortunately have to play  the role of  “bad guy” sometimes. Many times,  some of these concerns I share are not even necessarily mine, but I do have to share them anyways.  I think in general, I am more flexible in how far to push boundaries when using new technologies, relative to some of my technical colleagues. However, I still do need to represent their perspectives. Fortunately, I’ve built up my reputation with the departments I have served throughout the years that I’m not a “nay-sayer” and I’m a strong advocate for their programs and innovative technologies. My reputation allows me to be frank with my concerns as someone charged with protecting student academic and health information and enforcing security and electronic policies.

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