21: Making Higher Ed Leaders Digitally Savvy at Florida State University w/ Josie Ahlquist

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Josie Ahlquist, Research Associate & Instructor at Florida State University, talks about how important it is for higher ed leaders to be digitally savvy and how they can get there at your institution.

Attracting today's new post,traditional learners, means adopting new enromant strategies. Keelicseducations data driven enterprise, wide approach to enrolment growth isuniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this neweducation, landscape and Helex has just published the second edition of theirenrolment growth playbook, with fifty percent brand new content on howinstitutions can solve today's most pressing andromant growth challengesdownload it today for free at Helocks, Educationcom, playbook, you're, listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show. Welcome back to an Roman GrotoUniversity, I'm Eri, Golson AVP of marketing, ATD heelics education andwere here today with Josie Alquist, speaker, author and research, associatean instructor in the Leadership Learning Research Center at Florida,State University Josy. Welcome to the show, thanks for having me we're goingto have a great conversation today about how important it is for hiredleaders to be digitally savvy. But before we get too deep into that Josy,can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Floridastate and your role there? So I am based in Los Angeles, so which I knowis confusing, because Florida state is dethnily in Talhasse Florida. So I domy work with them remote and I teach and research online and through theleadership learning research center. I I developed a course called leadershipin the digital age, where I equipped students to be leaders in thisvery digitally connected world using leadership theories as well asleadership capacity skills that fit in digital context and then we're doingjust some really cool research to answer questions about how to helpstudents as well as faculty staff, not just survive tech, but maybe how wecould actually thrive with things like social media and it's just a reallycool opportunity to be able to blend the two things I love the most inthat's leadership and social media loveet an let's dive right into theirjosy. Why do you think it is so important for Hirat leaders today to bedigitally savvy? So I think, there's a variety of levels and what you'vecalled digially savvy, because, especially as you look at veryexecutive roles, there is probably some skills gaps as well as comfortabilitywith tools or just not having the time. If you think about a campus presidentand the other priorities of their day, it may not be snapchat and that's okay, so what I kind of see it as a scale, sodigitally savva could actually look...

...much differently. Based upon yourposition and even your personality. I think all of us that work in educationthat are serving students need to at least be aware of andknowledgeable oftools, especially the ones that are used the most by students or incomingstudents, because if you look at the highest users of especially mobile and social,the highest users are are incoming, so middle school and high school students,as well as traditional age, college students, and so just like anythingelse that they were all almost all of them were doing XYZ behavior. We wouldwant to understand and know about it, even if we're not physically onsnapchat er, on instagram or even on dating applications, but the usages arevery high. So I'm not telling people you need to be on these APPs, but we atleast need to know the tools and trends this second level. To that I call theexperimenters and the explorers. So these are the professionals withineducation that are willing to get their hands dirty and exploring new tools asthey come out, they're having a a physical presence, themselve and thenfinally, kind of that top level is educators who are advancing andinfluencing how we're using the tools in both application conversation andthat's where I really see the power of especially executives on campus orwithin even attech companies being able to push that conversation even furtherand role modeling, because when you have a campus president or a seniorvice president on something like snapchat or instagram. That kind ofsets a tone for the entire campus of what that could look like for others,or even the accessibility that I find students just crave and enjoy. I reallylove that idea of having digital role models of your institution. If you areworking with a new institution out, how do they go about creating those rolemodels on campus? Well, first, just look around. You may already have someprofessionals or faculty or even digital influenceor students that arealready highly engaged and where some campuses, some professionals mayactually feel like they're, not supported in being active and curatingcontent and being a digital leader. So I think it's important to actuallyacknowledge them and say like learn from them. You already have your owninfluencers and educators on your campus. I love to go to campuses and tohelp educate everyone, but a lot of times. There's people right on thatcampus. That could be that role model and that educator for them, and thenthe next piece is look for those that already kind of have a personality thatmight align with certain platforms so, for example, on snapchat or oninstagram. What is highly engaged with is something that's quite timely andalmost playful, whereas you may have...

...another leader on campus, wheresomething like twitter or facebook. ORT might be more fueled with knowledgebased or you know where you can feature research or practice that might aline alittle bit better with them. So we had to both look at what we have and thenearmark people that we think their personalities and whatever they'redoing as far as like producing services on the campus match the platform anddefinitely don't push people and shame people onto platforms, because I don'tfind you know like we might get a college president on to twitter, but ifI don't see them a year later using it, even though you develop that fullstrategy for them, if it just really didn't fit, but maybe it was actuallyfacebook was a better match for them or maybe even blogging or podcasting. So,even if it's just one platform, I think that's something to strategize aroundand even to celebrate, really love that idea of maybe suggesting to theseleaders go and explore these channels and and see which ones just you enjoyin general. Before deciding you wanted to be this very strategic part, F ofyour presence and personnality, an a campus, really love that. Can you giveus some examples of highred leaders, doing social or digital wealth and thekinds of things that they're doing absolutely so a couple resources incase you just want to be able to look through a lot of individuals that Ifound out there is this fall. I wrote two blogs. One is twenty fivepresidents to follow on twitter and there's definitely way more. So this isa Defitti Securi, and many individuals gave me their opinions about that. Butthe one that was harder to curate was twenty and I had to made it make itless because they were harder to find twenty presidents to follow onInstagram, because if you look at the demographics and if you want to connectwith students or incoming Instagram, is your platform actually way over twitteror even facebook and so m? I found those some presidents that were reallydoing some engaging interactive things so, like Ericebec she's, a president atcowstate university channel islands and even her presence on all the platforms,they make sure that it's there's accessibility behind it. So you'll seeyou know like not only the transcripts but they'll they'l write out like inany video and basicall. You can read the words and not just shear them,because we take in information that way on indigital platforms to MichaelBenson, he's from Eastern Kentucky University in all his platforms fromtwitter to Instagram, you'll, see him and his family, like on the weekends,but you'll also see him celebrating people on his campus, and you can justtell like he just absolutely loves that campus community, and so you can reallytell that's like his true, authentic, genuine self, the other one that mostpeople have heard of, especially they've done some looking into, as faras president goes is hip hop, Prez...

Walter Kimberell from a DillardUniversity who was on my podcast, and you know, just such a cool story andembracing branding is actually a really good thing. You don't have to lose yourhumanity by having a strategy, is social media and so you're going to seehim something unique that I find that he's blogking more often on medium. Inaddition to having a presence and a lot of different places- and then you'vegot Ken- I don't know if I'm Goin to say he's e last name right, Kan, Fuch,Sosuheri, Florida yeah, so I mean serious, like strategy, but also you'llsee an instagram video of him doing the cinnamon challenge or him grilling. Andso I give all these personal examples as that's where I find I don't need totell even a denof students- or I don't know a resident director that or afaculty member like put out content and strategy and marketing about yourcampus or what you're doing those are actually easy things to do. I find whatleaders are not as comfortable doing is giving a small peak into them, and themis people, and that's where I find students especially want they don't want to connect withdepartment, pages or logos. People want to connect with people, and especiallyfor youth and young adults that have grownup with accessibility from Kim Cardashi Anto Justin Bieber. They want to knowtheir college president and I'm not saying like open up your entire lifeand, like you know, air all. Your dirt, but there's some really simple ways.You can do that from you know. Maybe it's a photo with yourfamily or the Internet loves animals. If you have a dog or a cat or it', agold fish, your community could actually like really get behind thatand then the last two is like personality and and even your hobbiesor something that you can share about. Sat a handful of people as well asideas for you to connect kind of that advance skill really good stuff, and Ithink it is the authenticity portion of that that folks find trouble straddlingyou've written about how important it is for hihred leaders to have thisvalues based personal digical media strategy. Can you explain exactly whatyou mean by that? So I think, especially as I justchallenge to think about how you arent just this professional presence andbrand of whatever position you have, but there has to be some heart and soulbehind it and and including sharing that personal but hard, and so when youthink about the heart of education start to think about what brought youinto this field and what continues to keep you here, because I know we're allmillionaires in education. I know there's got to be some deeper thingsbehind your intention to be in this field and how could that live out onfacebook or on instagram? How could you...

...move that goal further along based onhow you use these tools and building strategy behind that, and so that couldbe not even for your job like what are your ambitions for your life and foryour career? The question that I end every podcast episode with wellactually Kno, it's the second one. Now behius is a little bit of a Downer, butit's real like what do you? What do you want? Your very last social media postto be like, if you knew this last weet, was it. What would you want thatmessage should be because you know you may choose a close. Your facebookaccount at any minute or keep it open forever and these it might be weird tosay, but we go back and we meme memorialize individuals. We rememberthem, and it's not just. What is on facebook on twitter is how your romata'bird, but it's a piece of it and you have a choice in what you want to putout there. And so how could you already fuel your strategy with your valueslike what you value in your life and why you're working in in education? Sothat's why I believe it's got to be holistic. It can't be just yourprofessional goals, it can be you as a real person and that's where I thinkyouryou'll start to find more meaning behind it and not just marketing. Youcan look for deeper metrics, that's not just the number of people that followyou, but maybe like the relationships and the difference that you can makethat aligns both on and offline juste any advice to Hireid leaders who areconcerned that concerned about having a public social media profile in generalbecause of the potential PR consequences. They've seen take placewith their colleagues with Coles within higher education or those who had thisidea that they can maintain and manage separate public and private facingprofiles. Absolutely so it's easy and I'm pretty much free to sign up for most social media platforms, even fromdepartmental pages and there's really no accountability. If all of a sudden,you decide you're, not going to do that anymore or delete it or whatnot, and wedo see plenty of examples in the field and in society of those that arestumbling and that's honestly, why? I teach the course that I do at Floridastate and offer the education I do for executives and faculty and staff. IsWe're not really having the real conversations about how to navigatesocial media as human beings? Because I don't know, if you all experience thisthrough the election in the US, but you could have a really meaningful dialoguewith those of you that, like on Facebook, that maybe saw the samepolitical beliefs that you did. But in that fame conversation you could havepeople back in your high school or your hometown or you R, your vented family,that don't have those same views hat all of a sudden. Your Post, explodesand you've got these intersecting communities that you're all of a suddenmanaging. So it's not just marketing.

That's happening on social, especiallyfor us as people and not offices, and so how are we navigating how we makingdecisions that we can feel empowered by? How can we not be silenced by thesetools? How can we, you know, be empowered to even onplug when we needto, because if anything were giving guidelines and policies about tech andsocial media butwe're, not giving thes skills to be well to Thriv, again thrive withthem from students all the way up to executive? So what I suggestindividuals do is to look out into the landscape of those that are yourcurrent level so from. If you are a graduate student to a faculty member to you know, provose look out into thelandscape. Who else is active on social media? What are they doing? Becausewhat you can do is you can lurk? You don't even have to know these peopleand and and pay attention to how o these twitter, or, if they're, bloggingand and even learning, maybe things they do- that you definitely would notdo and learning if a platform is evengoing to work for you, because you can't take a pause to decide if you dowant to invest the time into a platform, because we're all very busy people andtime and technology is a real issue that it's easy to say yes to a platform,but it's a little bit harder to actually make a pretty long term impact.So, look at t you, your peers, also look above you like where you want inyour career to be going. So, if you're already thinking about okay in a coupleyears, I plan to do a search for this next level up. Well, you probablyshould already get a sense of what is almost the norms and the examples outthere of individuals at that level as it relates to social. But I also wantyou to really invest in almost some reverse mentoring, because if you wantto learn and really know about platforms, most likefully, it's goingto be those that are younger or newer into the field, and that means currentstudents. So students love to talk about social media. You just get himgoing: Afkeout, let' snap chat or tinder or instagram stories, and andthey'll note, not all of Tham, but a lot of them would love to give youinsight about that, and even asking the question like. Oh what as the dean ofstudents or you know, I don't know the vice present inroman management. Wouldyou want to like what would you want me or my office to be creating on theseplatforms that you as a student would value? Because I don't know if we'reasking that question enough, even though we're going out and creating allthese platforms, so have some people that you're looking out at out into thefield and then also just like anything else, skills were learning to buildreach out to some of those mentors to ask those questions about how we're allnavigating, because it might look a little bit different to each chos Yosuch good stuff. What are some next...

...steps for hired leaders who want toembrace technology? They want to be more digitally savvy, but they honestlyjust feel intimidated by all the new tools and channels out there and justaren't sure where to start. First, I may honestly tha that just what I wastalking about is starting to pay attention to the landscape of thosethat are active and and lurking and learning from them. And taking note-and you know you can set up a twitter count-that's not even your name if that means that at least you're on there andstarting to observe and and pay attention and then figuring out. Whatis it that really drives me right now? In my life, in the work that I'm doingand seeing how you could connect the dots based on also your personality andyour time that might fit onto certain platforms, so I don't want you to feellike well. All the college presidents are all the deans that I'm seeingthey're all on these XYZ platforms, because well maybe for you actuallyyoutube is going to be the perfect place for you based upon you know,answering those strategy, questions of Xyz and that and that's okay too.Actually, I think that would be really exciting. wouldbut I meank atminimum. What I would love to see is getting on just one platform, gettingcomfortable having consistent and quality content, and even if it's justone and exploring it experiment with it, and to feel empower to share your realvoice and again, that's not to say your real voice is saying you know thehorrible day you had that day or how you know the horrible. This otherdepartment is on Kipus like we. We do represent our institutions, ourorganizations. You have to carry that over into digital platforms, that that real voice that you would have onCapus it connects onto your twitter account is to, but you can't hidebehind hardware and software if you're, if your outcomes or that you want toconnect with students or alumni or faculty or even donors, because we wantto see those personalities, and I call the relationships behind social media,the intent for Hartware, so that you're putting in heart behind it like there's,meaning, there's realness, there's genuineness, and maybe this in effortto humanize tech and that's not to glorify it to say it can replace allthese other things in physical spaces. We do really well, but these are toolsthat are available for us to try to make them better, because who betterwhat other industry better to improve tools that may are definitely not perfect, whobetter to just try to turn the dial slightly to make something likefacebook and twitter and instagram just a little bit of a better place to logonto because that again, is where, where our students are, and of course Ican be your advocate. I want to be able to help and support individuals throughtheir journeys. Sometimes you just need...

...an extra pair of eyes or insights orencouragement, so you can always reach out to me. I do some coaching and thenjust some cheerleading on this side that that I find we really need rightnow that you don't have to figure out all on your own so find who thatadvocate. Nalli is for you Jose the absolute best. What is the best placefor listeners to connect with you if they have any followd questions or doneed that advocate yeah, so Mi blog is josiaquiscom. I also have the podcastJosie in the podcast. You can e his name H, my goodness, and you can email me atJosi at Josie alkwostcom. You always fout me on twitter at Josiaquest andthen, of course, I love MES one instagram at Joseapqui awesome thanks againt. So much fordoing yesterday, Josee Ota you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes were your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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