An individual development plan originally written for Organization and Administration in Higher Education in the Fall of 2016. Revised February 1, 2018.

This individual development plan will analyze information from three areas: 1) the 2015 NASPA TECHNE conference archive, located on the NASPA Online Learning Community; 2) Articles and reports regarding technology adoption found on EDUCAUSE.edu; and 3) additional articles found in the Harvard Business Review.  A literature review will be completed, with an analysis tailored to my future career goals completed at the end.  The topic of technology has been the focus of both my graduate teaching assistantship, as well as my area of specialization within the College Student Services Administration program, Science, Technology & Society.  Creating change in the workplace through effective adoption of technology will be explored, with a special focus on the newly created technology competency, published in the ACPA / NASPA professional competency areas for student affairs educators.

ACPA / NASPA Professional Competencies

This individual development plan has provided me with two areas of growth in regard to the ACPA / NASPA Professional Competencies — First, I could review both the ACPA / NASPA technology competency, and the rubric, which will also be used in my thesis research. Second, I “re-attended” the 2015 NASPA TECHNE conference, as the conference was hosted entirely online, and as a paying attendee, I still have access to the conference archives. It is worth mentioning that the timing of this professional development is well aligned with the recent activity related to the professional competencies, and the NASPA TECHNE conference:

  • ACPA / NASPA Professional Competencies released on August 7, 2015
  • NASPA TECHNE conference went live October 15th, 2015
  • ACPA / NAPSA Professional Competency Rubrics released, October 28th, 2016

As stated in the ACPA / NASPA Professional Competencies (2015),

Professional growth in this competency area is marked by shifts from understanding to application as well as from application to facilitation and leadership. Intermediate and advanced level outcomes also involve more innovativeness in the use of technology to engage students and others in learning processes. (p. 15)

The sessions that I explored in the NASPA TECHNE conference covered what the new, “stand-alone” technology competency meant for professionals in student affairs. As literature in both the Harvard Business Review and EDUCASE also emphasized, quality communication and collaboration is essential to being able to adequately move an organization towards effective adoption and implementation of technology in the workplace. Three stages for the technology competency were created: Foundational Outcomes; Intermediate Outcomes, and Advanced Outcomes.

Foundational outcomes, uses the word “foundational” instead of “beginning” as one can’t move forward without having thefoundational knowledge to adequately assess, create, and make use of emerging information & communication technologies. During the TECHNE presentations on the technology competency, the foundational learning outcomes were emphasized to have knowledge of current best practices, and systems of technology; be able to understand what constitutes a quality information source; understand and implement ethical and legal use of information technology and associated data; be able to understand “digital identity”; and be able to make use of social media and digital collaboration tools to build learning communities and events for students and professional staff.

A conference session on the implementation of the intermediate technology competency discussed building proficiency in data use and legal compliance in ones’ work, as well as making use of a wide variety digital tools in the workplace.  The NASPA TECHNE workshops emphasized building the capacity to teach and lead others throughout all areas of competency. The advanced proficiency is focused largely on the ability to maintain and encourage learning in the workplace through all areas of the professional competencies.  The 10 competency areas are not a final route to professional proficiency.  Included in the competencies is a diagram that shows the interactive nature of the competencies, as well as the increased complexity, and collaboration among all the competencies as the professional moves from foundational, to intermediate, and advanced levels of proficiency (ACPA & NASPA, 2015).  To truly be advanced in any competency, the student affairs professional must also have competency and understanding of some sort, in all 10 of the competency areas (ACPA & NASPA, 2015; (ACPA & NASPA, 2016).

Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review provides information & case studies that are not necessarily situated within the field of higher education.  Just as we learned in our organization & administration class, business tools can be useful for work in student affairs. Many of the fresh perspectives that HBR provides can be connected directly to the work I reviewed in EDUCAUSE as well as to the NASPA TECHNE conference.  The article by Wessel, Levie, & Siegel (2016) described the ecosystem needed to keep organizations relevant, regarding technology adoption both in the workplace, as well as in their own business processes, products, & strategies. From this article, I found it important to look back on the section of this organization & administration course that talked about cultural dynamics of the workplace during change.  Technology introduces change that influences every aspect of even the most complex of organizations — it is whether these organizations can accept the changes and communicate a vision successfully to stakeholders that decides the relevance of an organization in an environment riddled with technology change and disruption (Wessel, Levie, & Siegel, 2016).  An article written by Herminia Ibarra & Morten Hansen (2011), highlighted the importance of global networking and connections, and seeking to connect your workplace to the outside world, to better situate your company to be adaptive to technological change.  Chambers (2015) explored his work as the CEO of CISCO, and how their company managed to stay ahead of rapid technological changes both in the workplace and in their products.  A key focus of this article was maintaining a “start-up mentality,” even when working in a very large and complex technology corporation like CISCO (Chambers, 2015, p. 37).  Additionally, Chambers (2015) discussed the need to be bold enough to disrupt yourself, and even your own past work, when appropriate, as it is often the correct move for a company to make.

EDUCAUSE

EDUCAUSE provides thought leadership in the areas of information technology (IT) & higher education. Their tagline “Why IT Matters in Higher Education,” positions their charge as a leading community and resource for IT professionals seeking to impact higher education in a positive way.  The article written by Brenda J. Allen (2016) combines thinking in organizational change, diversity, and information technology to outline strategies for effective technology adoption as specific to higher education’s changing student demographic and technology needs.  Insights gained from this article included the need for technology focused strategic goals and planning, as well as enhanced educational initiatives that focus on both technology and on diversity (Allen, 2016).  Hoit (2015), asked some difficult questions around technology adoption and cultural change:

  • Which IT efforts do we outsource, and which do we handle in-house?
  • How much of the campus IT services should be on premier versus in the cloud? (p. 62)

These questions led to a further discussion of the changing information technology field in higher education, and what it means for an organizations culture.  Recognizing this change, and embracing it when it occurs, is crucial to make sure a team is keeping up new demands on the IT professional and changes in technology access (Hoit, 2015).  The literature that I reviewed from EDUCAUSE provided much practical insight into how to implement many of the items listed in the ACPA / NASPA competencies, while maintaining a more administrative and over-arching perspective on higher education as an institution, rather than connected directly to work in student affairs.

Analysis & Conclusion

When exploring the topic of technology adoption strategies in higher education, I often found the theme of communication technology discussed, as it diffuses across the workplace more rapidly and more intensively than other technologies. Largely synonymous with effective technology adoption is a change in the workplace culture and productivity (for better, or for worse), and one of the fastest ways to change the dynamics of how things get done in the workplace is through the adoption or modification of communications infrastructure.  Other themes such as collaboration, organizational ecology and ecosystems, and continued investment in professional development opportunities were present in much of the literature that I reviewed.  This individual development experience has provided me with a solid beginning step into understanding and working to implement the ACPA / NASPA Professional Competencies in my work in student affairs and higher education.  The value I got from revisiting the NASPA TECHNE conference was well worth more the price of the entire conference — being able to return to the content archive, allowed me to take it in at a slower pace, and reflect more on how I want to show up as a professional who is experienced in technology implementation and development in higher education.  Furthermore, being able to return to the conference a second time allowed me to take more detailed notes, and retain the vast knowledge that was collected in the conversations and presentations available in the NASPA online learning platform.

As I reflect on a paper that I wrote during the first term of the CSSA program, in our programs and functions course, I had discussed my future for competency in technology, as well as my aspiration to be a Dean or Vice Provost of Digital Culture (a job that is yet to commonly exist), while maintaining a scholar-practitioner focus on technology studies in higher education.  While these are all still true, and goals of mine, I appreciate being able to have a more refined answer to where I want to be professionally when I finish the CSSA program, especially in relation to technology adoption techniques in the workplace.  Now having over a year of work experience as the Graduate Communications Assistant for the Student Affairs Office of Communications & Marketing, and after completing three internships with technology and assessment as the primary focus — I aspire to reach an executive level position in the University or Community College setting, with a focus being either a Chief of Information or of Technology as my primary role.  Having reviewed literature from EDUCAUSE, and the Harvard Business Review that discusses the role of senior and middle leadership during technology adoption in the workplace, I aspire to become a leader in whichever office I find myself working in.  Striving to be at an advanced level of technology competency, while working to build community, trust, and to inform others about best practices and adoption strategies for the technologies of the future is my primary goal.  I look forward to continuing this professional development journey, and helping others along the way.

References

ACPA — College Student Educators International & NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (2015). Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators. Washington, DC.

ACPA—College Student Educators International & NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. (2016). ACPA/NASPA Professional competencies rubrics.

Allen, B. J. (2016, Oct. 17). Optimizing technology’s promise. EDUCAUSE review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/10/optimizing-technologys-promise

Bernier, B. (2015, Oct. 12). The next gen IT leader. EDUCAUSE review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/10/the-next-gen-it-leader

Bruce, D. (2016, Sept. 19). Team culture: If you don’t build it, Someone else will. EDUCAUSE review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/blogs/2016/9/team-culture-if-you-dont-build-it-someone-else-will

Chambers, J. (May 2015). How we did it… Cisco’s CEO on staying ahead of technology shifts. Harvard Business Review. pp. 35-38

Clotfelter, J., & McClure, P. (2016, Oct. 17). Culture change and IT leadership. EDUCAUSE review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/10/culture-change-and-it-leadership

Gale, T. (2015, January 26). Communication the value of IT at your university. EDUCAUSE review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/1/communicating-the-value-of-it-at-your-university

Hoit, M. (2015, April 27). Change management and cultural resistance. EDUCAUSE review.

Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/4/change-management-and-cultural-resistance

Ibarra, H., & Hansen, M. July/ August 2011. Are you a collaborative leader? Harvard Business Review. pp. 68-74

NASPA TECHNE. (n.d.). (Online Conference) Retrieved from https://olc.naspa.org

Reid, H., & Ramarajan, L. June 2016. Managing the high intensity workplace. Harvard Business Review. pp. 84-90

Wessel, M., Levie, A., & Siegel, R. (November 2016). Legacy ecosystem: They separate you from your customer. Harvard Business Review. pp. 68-74

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