I had the pleasure of teaching an online special topics course in the counselor education program at Bridgewater State University last semester. As part of this course, I assigned a task to locate a “technology resource” that would be helpful to those who serve as student organization advisors. I didn’t give them much more than that for direction and was pleased to see one of the students post about the SA Collaborative. At the recommendation of one of our editors, I’m happy to post this review from the student in my course, Steve Gianquitti. Steve is one of our new graduate assistants in my office and actually didn’t have prior knowledge of my connection with this community. Great to see new folks stumbling upon this great resource!
The Student Affairs Collaborative is an online blog where student affairs professionals can share knowledge and insight, post questions, and raise awareness on certain topics. This facilitates discussion about various student affairs topics and strategies. It is beneficial to student organizational advisors because they have an entire network of student affairs professionals that they can reach out to.
The Student Affairs Collaborative website can be found at http://thesabloggers.org/. It was created in 2006 as a peer-to-peer informal learning community. In the about section of the website, it mentions this site as a platform for student affairs professionals to connect, share, and learn from each other. These attributes provide a large online resource for education. They cover a wide variety of topics in relation to students’ leadership and development. The advising role and entailed responsibilities are often written about.
To mention the significance of what an advisor can learn from this website, I am going to tell you about my own experience with using the website. There were a few posts that I learned a lot from. If you look into the September, 2010 archive, there is a post by Licinda labeled “The Leadership Challenge re-read.” She talks about Kouzes and Posner’s book, “The Leadership Challenge” (2007). Licinda mentions how the main message she got from the book was how leadership should come from the heart and participatory leadership should be the focus, not positional leadership. From this post, other professionals then commented with their reactions. It motivated others to read the book, reinstated others philosophies, and other peers demonstrated how they could relate and connect to how Licinda is feeling. This demonstrates the beauty of this technology and what the website was intended for. I also read other inspiring posts, such as “The Unwritten Rules of Student Affairs,” which I encourage every emerging student affairs professional to read. (http://thesabloggers.org/2010/10/the-unwritten-rules-of-student-affairs/)
The site also provides the group’s twitter and facebook accounts as well as a student affairs directory. Speaking of twitter, a weekly student affairs chat is facilitated through their website. They have weekly daytime and evening sessions where there is a welcome session, followed by several questions, and then ending with a final thoughts and wrap up section. While researching this, I found many topics interesting to me. One week’s session from October 14, 2010, highlighted “Best Practices in Developing Grad Students.” I was interested in this topic considering I am a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at Bridgewater State University. I stumbled across my director’s post regarding question 2, “What is the best “assignment” or “task” that you give to GA’s to understand and learn your work?” Cindy Kane, my director, mentioned informational interviewing and providing a graduate assistant with an advising experience from the beginning were important. She also mentioned how she treats her GA staff like professionals and questioned whether other professionals did the same as well as their institutions as a whole. While I am grateful for Cindy’s thinking and how it has positively affected my graduate assistant experience, this example was to prove the point of how this web site is designed to facilitate discussion and for student affairs professionals to connect, share, and grow from each other’s experiences and beliefs.
As emerging or current student affairs or other professional educators, I urge you to view this website. It is a great online resource and a good way to connect with other professionals nationwide. If interested, you can also become a writer on the website. Under the more section, click “Be a Writer.” It will give you the information to have a trial account on the website. In my opinion, more professionals need to utilize this tool. This technological tool is extremely fascinating, innovative, and a must have online tool for all student affairs professionals.
What aspects of the SA Collaborative to you feel are most important to share with new graduate students in our field? Post your comments and I will share them with my class!
Steve Gianquitti can be reached at email@example.com.