Professional Bio

prof bio photo and quoteDr. Josie Ahlquist is a digital leadership educator, discovering the intersection of digital communication technologies and leadership development in higher education.  She believes in challenging how education thinks about social media for community building, leadership development, and student services.


Josie received her EdD from California Lutheran University doctoral program, studying higher education leadership. She is an alumna of Northern Arizona University with a Masters degree in Counseling and holds undergraduate degrees from South Dakota State University, where she double-majored in Sociology and Human Development and Family Studies.


Josie’s research is grant funded and award winning.  Her dissertation was on college student leaders and their behaviors and experiences with social media. Utilizing a mixed methodology she sought out an understanding and definition of digital student leadership and produced six pillars of digital student leadership education. She also conducted a study on Student Affairs Senior Level Administrators who are high users of social media, which produced a Digital Leadership Framework and Digital Decision Making Model in Higher Ed. Dr. Ahlquist maintains an active research agenda, currently undertaking three separate research projects with colleagues around the globe and holds a research associate position with Florida State University.

Student Affairs Educator

She is very attuned to the landscape of higher education and is passionate about developing leadership capacity of college students, as well as administrators. She brings over a decade of experience in the field of higher education in areas such as student activities, campus recreation, student unions, marketing, residence life, judicial affairs, student leadership and new student orientation.  Dr. Ahlquist has served as adjunct faculty at Azusa Pacific University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago and New England College. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member withFlorida State University teaching undergraduate and master level courses.

Speaker and Consultant

As an international leadership speaker, Josie has trained thousands of students and education professionals. Her vision is to provide a digital remix on how to empower leaders of the 21st century. Her presentations balance between education and entertainment, using high energy and interaction along with learning outcomes and attendee reflection. She has spoken to a variety of campuses around the world including Thompson Rivers University, Occidental College, Wittenburg University, Fresno State University, Indiana University Southeast, New York University Abu Dhabi and Rollins College.

International Presence

Josie is committed to advancing research, knowledge, and skill around technology for higher education faculty and administrative leadership around the world. She has served on the 2014 NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) Technology Summit and currently is the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community Emerging Practices Coordinator.  Josie was appointed to the ACPA (American College Personnel Association) President’s Task Force on Digital Technology, co-chairing the Research and Scholarship team. She has also provided education in the following countries, United States, Canada, Mexico and United Arab Emirates.


For the third year in a row she has been named to the “Top 50 Must Read Higher Education Technology Blogs” by Ed Tech Magazine.  As a writer, she is a co-author in the Handbook of Student Affairs Administration textbook, writing the chapter on Computer-Mediated Communication and Social Media. She is also published in The Journal of Leadership Studies, in a thought piece called Trending Now: Digital Leadership Education using Social Media and the Social Change Model.  She is also a co-editor and author in the New Directions in Student Services volume, Engaging the Digital Generation,” as well as co-editor and author in the recently published New Directions in Student Leadership, “Going Digital in Student Leadership.” Josie is currently writing a book with Stylus Publishing, set to release summer 2018 on Digital Leadership in Higher Education.

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