The 2012 NEACUHO Annual Conference took place last week, and I was extremely fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to attend along with seven other members from the BSU Residence Life & Housing Staff. I had no idea what to expect, as this was my first annual conference of any kind. I was eager to network with some of the most influential names in housing/student affairs.
Throughout the three day conference, we had a lot of fun, made some great connections, and learned a lot of new things to take back and apply to the work we do with students.
I want to share with you all that I learned, in hopes that you may find some things that will improve the work that you do, and so that we can all make progress towards the mission of student affairs: To Promote Student Learning.
We got to Northeastern on Wednesday, June 6, checked-in, and went to the opening banquet where we heard from the current NEACUHO President (Paula Randazza – “Raz”) and others from the Host Committee, Program Committee, Executive Board, and the many Past Presidents (over 13) that were in attendance. It was an early night, and everyone was eager to attend the programming session the following day… Here are my notes:
Thursday, June 7
9am – Keynote – Alma Sealine – President of ACUHO-I spoke about being hungry, and maintaining that hunger. She ended her inspiring speech with this video clip: http://youtu.be/hmaDtbQ1nuA
- What makes you Hungry?
- How do you maintain your passion for what you are hungry for?
- What does this video tell you about perseverance?
10:15- 11:30 – TED Talks
Motivation at its Finest - Elvis Gyan, Area Coordinator, The College of St. Rose
Recognition is of utmost importance
- Physically applaude for a job well done! (anywhere, not just in formal places)
- Your staff doesn’t care how much you know…until they know how much you care
- Become invested in staff members’ career path
What is the tone of your department?
- Too serious? Too informal?
- What is the work environment like?
- Put humor to work!!!
- Don’t put off praise!
- Give leadership roles to reward performance, like running a staff meeting
- Enhance Team spirit!
- Ask the VP to recognize staff – It means more coming from them!
- Social gatherings are great ways to boost morale
Themed work days…
- Friendly Contests
- Sports day (Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Etc…)
- Red/ White / Blue Day
- Random Hat Day
- Ugly Sweater Day
- Halloween Dress Up
- Potluck/ Pizza Day
- Create / Provide Benchmarks to ascertain and then reward staff with time off
- Provide resources (stress management)
- Energizer bunny award for most energetic
- Tootsie roll for those on a roll
- Mountain Dew for a can do attitude
- Superman Doll/Action Figure for super RA
- California raisins for highest percentage of raisin their productivity
- ET for out of this world performance
- Personal Messages/Notes
- Make Your Own YouTube clips or Motivational Video
Shifting students attitudes towards Fire Safety - Loydes Vazquez, Asst. Residence Director Wagner College
Fire could happen to anyone!
Assess the needs of institution:
- # of fire safety violations
- Types of violations
- Evacuation time – 7 minutes?
- Student attitude evaluation
Develop a Fire safety campaign:
- Establish a common thread – please stand if…..
- Send a constant message
- Door tags / get out, stay alive, period.
- Bulletin Boards / October is national fire prevention month
- Evacuation cards -
- Yellow card – toxic smoke issues
- After 7 minutes give out Red Cards – would you have made it out alive?
- Use this teachable moment to talk to students outside while they wait
- Have fire chief address students directly to let them know that it is not a joke
Create partnership with your fire department:
- Invite to RA Training and programming initiatives
- Mix n’ Mingle Events
- Fire Safety Workshops (At New Student Orientation)
- “What not to buy your student” Webpage or Handout
- Educate volunteers on move in day of what NOT to allow in
It isn’t just Facebook Anymore - Jeffrey Dessources, Residence Hall Director, Long Island University
The structural transformation of the public sphere by Jurgen Habermas
The sphere of private people who join together to form a public = Social Media
Check out Webstagram!
Oj Simpson was the first shift of social media – from private to public
- Real world – inside of people houses
- Paris Hilton Sex Tape
- VH1 Celebreality – Flavor of Love
Facebook = more personal connection – 1 billion users projected by 2013
- New students use FB groups the most / first 2 weeks of college
- Seniors are not using FB pages of institution
- 1/3 of FB spend less time on site than 6 months ago
- 46% think FB will fade away / 43% think it will stay
- FB use use is dropping because of personality traits of users
Millennials want to be celebrities…
- Twitter = direct contact to everyone and gives students a dash of hope that the celebrity will respond or retweet them!
- Talk with students about branding and the concepts of such a celebrity status
- Lady Gaga = most twitter followers
- Twitter allows for instantaneous actions, and this aspect separates it from FB
- Twitter inspires revolutions (the unrest in Egypt / Koney 2012)
- Celebrities are leading the discussion online and affecting student life
- CNN has over 5 millions followers … Millennials want it NOW!
- Connections made via social media – follow followers of followers
Use a student on twitter rather than a department…
- Student = Celebrity
- Find a student who will be tweeter and use them to market initiatives of your office/department
- Give students incentives, and they will follow
- Scavenger hunts / Name that place
- Free movie ticket to first in office – test engagement
- #kicksoftheday \ interact with mascot / sports / swap program
- Students want instantaneous action
2:30-3:30 – Engaging and Training Today’s Students and Staffs - Nancy Hunter Denney, Zing! Leadership, LLC
Learn what it means to be the “go” so that you can reach and teach
Keep it fast paced to keep up with and engage student
“Today’s the day, and I’m the one”
Stop and think of the potential influence you will have on students…
When you hit complete silence…
- Pass out 3×5 cards – have audience write anonymous questions - have audience answer Questions (pass and share)
- If you dont know, reply with “that is very interesting, what does someone else think?”
If you keep your expectations high enough, they will try to meet them…
- Spend more time on the inspiration rather than the content
- “what are we trying to accomplish as a result of this …. ?”
Use no more than 5 slides with 5 bullets per slide & 5 words per bullet…
- You become the connector, personally magnetic, and full of respect
- Make it about your style, spend time rehearsing in front of mirror, not making it look pretty
- Think before you speak!
- Have a plan with end goal(s) in mind
- Keep a reasonable pace while balancing wellness along the way
- Be the technically competent one
- Create a positive growth environment
Set expectations up front…
- What are the take always?
- Why are you/they here?
- What is your/their motivation? – don’t ignore it, work with it!
- Be personally competent!
The most engaging presenter I have ever seen…
- Funny, clever, relevant, interesting, confident, uplifting, lighthearted, not too serious, prepared, modeling strategies, shows emotion, enables audience participation, and is dynamic and fast paced!
What is it that will reach and teach?
- Behaviors that are rewarded are repeated!
No fail presentation format:
- Opening hook
- Opening exercise or demo
- Review of goals
- Inspiration for listening
- Teaching of content
- Closing exercise
- Review of major points
- Closing unhook
3:45-4:45 – Creating a Professional - Matthew Gregory & Sokhoeun Peov, Residence Directors, Johnson & Wales
Identify, Build, Transition, Remember, Create
Self assessments to try…
Find a Friendtour / mentor:
- Create an action plan – submit to your supervisor (Stanley Carpenter = 12 month action plan)
- Make time for intentionality
- Know the In’s and out’s of how an institution runs and operates
Create your OWN philosophy and how it relates to the mission of your department or institution:
- Alignment of personal values and ethics
- Understand legal aspects of higher education
- Equity and access and related policies
- Diversity – How can I go outside of my comfort zone?
- External relations and collaboration
- Make a connection to each CAS standard
- Articulate job functions and goals
- Practice your elevator pitch
- Practice mock interview questions with mentor
- Understand and be able to articulate the impact of incompetent legacies – What are the students perceptions?
Negative Nancy’s… “let’s look at why they might be doing this”… “this is why I do this”
- Help students understand why and where colleagues are coming from
- Motivation is internal – What is going to push you further?
- Follow up to colleague with an informal resolution
- “You seem down, what’s going on?”
How have you helped a colleague who wasn’t happy with their job?
Friday, June 8
9-10:15 – Many Stakeholders: One Mission - Jennifer Crane, Assoc. Director- Residential Education, Quinnipiac University
5 types of interactions with faculty – Cox & Orehovec (2007):
- Disagreement – teach and leave mentality
- Functional – Pushes connections farther
- Personal interactions
- Mentoring – This is the goal!
Pascarella & Terenzini (2004):
- Student satisfaction and attrition
- Promote intellectual development
- Promotes a endemic motivation
- Increased persistence – commitment to 2nd year
- Provide students with a purpose
- Student validation = Retention
- Faculty/staff lunch – programs
- Cohort selections
- Family orientations
- Personalized advising
- Borderless learning
- Take stock of opportunities currently available
- Summer reading – bring programs related to what was learned
- Faculty and resident lecture series
- Faculty community seminar series-dinner
- Hot Coffee Hot Topics
- The psychology of survival – zombie feel
- Obtain copies of syllabus ad incorporated areas into programming
- Pie with professors
- Write a question, get a piece of pie – outside the classroom
- Give faculty a job to do at event – scoop ice cream
- Go to faculty presentations, meetings, etc…
- Touch base the day after and solicit feedback
- Last lecture series for faculty who are retiring
- Invite faculty stakeholders to RA training portions – behind closed doors
- National assessments can help solve retention
- Make it less scary for faculty
- ”Safety in numbers”
- ”Faculty members have huge egos” – students they will want to help, us (professionals), it’s a duty for them
- Write notes to recognize faculty work – “pump the ego”
- What is YOUR philosophy?
- Can you articulate it?
- Why is this important?
Getting ahead of Campus Politics - Derek Zuckerman, Assistant Vice Provost for Residential Life, Iona College
- This is one session that I really wanted to attend, but we had to present our case study during this time…
- “More often than not, campus politics play an integral role in the allocation of resources. As budgets have tightened, everyone is being asked to do more with less. This program will allow you to identify the politics at work in your organization, recognize power relationships, and garner new ideas for how to get things done. This interactive workshop will change your perceptions of how you can “play the game” of campus politics.” http://www.northeastern.edu/reslife/neacuho/sessions.html
11 – Case Study Presentation (We won 1st place!!)
COMING SOON – An article about our experience!
3 – 4 – Planning Implementing & Marketing your Campus Housing Vision - Katie Karp, Project Manager, Brailsford & Dunlavey & Jen Richardson, Director of Residence Life, The College of St. Rose
Your vision needs to further institution mission in order to be successful:
- Focus groups and stakeholder interviews
- Off-campus housing market analysis
- Peer benchmark analysis
- Survey analysis and demand-based programming – input from students
- Concept development
- Phasing and Financial analysis
- Feasibility study
- Concept refinement focus groups
- Detailed user interviews
- Massing / site analysis
Phase I business plan…
- Gain approval and consensus building – with community partners
- Professional Selections
- Architect / engineering firm
- Construction manager
- Financial institution
- Commissioning Agent
- Third-party Testing
- Geothermal engineer
- Geotechnical engineer
- Design & Construction
- Program – # of beds, amenities, etc…
- Design reviews
- Coast estimate comparisons
4:15-5:15 - Leadership TRAINing: Getting Emerging Leaders on Track
Ryan Greelish, Resident Director, Bridgewater State University / Justin McCauley, Residential Learning Communities Coordinator/RD, Bridgewater State University / Peter “Max” Quinn, Graduate Intern, Bridgewater State University
“Ever wonder how our young “passengers” first learn how to plan a program, request room reservations or join a committee before they are “conductors” on campus? Well why not have your department be the first to help them get “on board”?! Join us to learn how our six week long leadership series has made a difference. We will tell you all about our mentorship roles, assessment tools used and the social change projects that the students created. We would be happy to answer any questions that participants may have about creating a similar program on your campus!”
Here is a copy of our presentation: Leadership TRAINing
The NEACUHO experience that I had was extremely empowering. It gave me a sense of purpose and belonging, and a new passion to continue to develop best practices, to collaborate, and to network with colleagues from across the region (and nation) in order to provide the best services and create the best experience possible for our students. Thank you to BSU, my mentors, and all of those who made the 2012 Annual Conference possible! I can’t wait until next year!