For this episode of my classroom edition series, I’ve invited three student affairs professionals in senior-level positions to give their perspective on digital leadership in higher education. Note: I moderated this panel (and the others in the classroom edition) for my Florida State University graduate-level course, Technology in Higher Ed. Tonantzin Oseguera, Damien Peña, and Peter A. Konwerski are our three panelists, and they break down what it’s like to be in an executive position in higher education, their social media approaches, and how campuses can and should implement digital leadership training.
Notes from this Episode
More about the Panelists
Dr. Tonantzin Oseguera is a first-generation college student born and raised in Mexico City. She is a student affairs professional dedicated to the retention, care, and persistence of high-risk student populations.
Dr. Oseguera has served in student affairs administration, advising student government, evolving campus activities and developing student leadership programs for more than 14 years. Currently, she serves as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Cal State Fullerton, with oversight for, Dean of Students, Diversity Initiatives and Resource Centers, Student Life and Leadership, Housing and Residence Life, and Title IX.
Before coming to Cal State Fullerton, Oseguera worked at UC Riverside and was responsible for managing student organizations, guiding the Associated Student Program Board, the Fraternity Sorority Involvement Center, campus orientation, and first-year programs. Her responsibilities also included athletics student fan engagement and supporting campus spirit and traditions.
Prior to her post at UC Riverside, Oseguera was director of student activities and leadership programs at Portland State University. She also spent time as associate director of leadership education and activities at Chapman University.
Oseguera earned her doctorate in higher education at USC. She has a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with an emphasis in gerontology from Colorado State University. Her research focuses on underrepresented students and underserved populations in higher education.
Damien Peña was born and raised in the agricultural city of Oxnard, California. The oldest of four children, Damien was the first in his family to graduate from high school and pursue college. His parents worked hard as construction laborers, school custodians, and school cafeteria workers to demonstrate strong work ethic and responsibility to their children.
Damien graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Northridge in 1995 with a degree in Chicano Studies and Sociology. He entered Arizona State University and graduated with his Master of Social Work Degree in 1997. After producing a master’s thesis titled “Effective methods in enhancing self-worth in low income, minority students,” he worked as a licensed behavioral school therapist in Phoenix for four years. Subsequently, Damien returned to Ventura County to work at California Lutheran University (CLU). During his tenure at CLU, he oversaw 5 academic support programs at the university, including the federally funded TRiO programs.
Damien currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Ventura College. In June 2009, Damien was recognized for his outstanding contributions to students and the university and was awarded the Division of Student Affairs’ Pillar of Excellence Award, which is equivalent to an “employee of the year” award. In 2010, Damien was selected by the CI students to receive the Maximus award for outstanding administrator. Later that year, he was selected as the El Concilio del Condado Ventura Latino Leader of the Year for the work he has done promoting the college experience to Latinos in Ventura County. In 2011, he and his wife received the Parents of the Year Award from the Autism Society of Ventura County for their work enhancing Autism Awareness in our county.
Damien’s leadership is evidenced by his extensive involvement in higher education and the community. He has presented at over 225 conferences for students, staff, administrators, and professionals over the years in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington D.C. Damien has been actively involved in various organizations, including Future Leaders of America since 1986. For the past 20 years, he has served as a consultant, teacher, and presenter to a number of Federal TRIO Programs across Southern California. He is the author of 12 funded federal and local grants and will write for two more grants in the coming year.
His strong sense of social responsibility to the Latino community shines through in his educational pursuits and is evidenced by his dissertation topic: The experience of Latino male student leaders on college campuses.
He is the humbled son of Jess and Hilda Valenzuela, a proud husband to his wife, Dr. Edlyn Peña, and a loving father to his son, Diego.
Peter A. Konwerski, Ed.D. serves as Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs at the George Washington University. As the Dean of Student Affairs, Peter is the chief student affairs officer for GW, managing a diverse staff of educational professionals responsible for academic success; student academic engagement; parent engagement; and wellness, education, and prevention for GW undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
In addition to his administrative work, he also holds academic appointments at GW in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the Human Services program in the Sociology Department in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. In those roles he teaches and advises Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral students and supports a number of student research and service projects. Within the Human Services program, he teaches courses such as “Human Services and Community: Empowerment for Social Change”; “Seminar in Human Services: Current Issues”; “Program Planning and Development for Service Agencies”; and “Spirituality and Service”.
Peter earned his Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, and Doctorate in Education and Human Development from GW. His doctoral dissertation was titled “Exploring Impact on Student Participants through Campus Community Service in Higher Education.”
Peter has dedicated his entire career to leading and enhancing various aspects of GW’s student services and student life organization, previously serving as Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Associate Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Executive Director for Administrative Partnerships, Executive Director of the Marvin Center and Student Activities Center, and founding Director of the Office of Community Service.
About Josie and The Podcast
In each episode, Dr. Josie Ahlquist – digital leadership author, researcher, and speaker – connects tech and leadership in education. This podcast will bring you leaders on-campus and online. From Senior Vice Presidents on Snapchat, YouTubers receiving billions of views and new media professionals. All through the lens of social media and leadership. Josie hopes you will not only learn from these digital leaders but also laugh as we all explore how to be our best selves online and off.
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