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Authenticity and Vulnerability as a VPSA

Leading Online: Authenticity and Vulnerability as a VPSA

The Leading Online series features campus leaders who, even before COVID-19, have embraced social media and a variety of other digital communication tools.

This week learn from a panel of Vice Presidents for Student Affairs who have successfully built relationships with their community by leading online. They will share how they’ve navigated and invested in authenticity and vulnerability on platforms like social media to email and video calls. Tune in to hear how the field of student affairs is currently navigating, and how the field is changing for the future.

The Leading Online series will provide those who serve in public-facing positions within institutions of higher education a purposeful and practical framework to lead online. This series will also be helpful to those that support senior-level positions such as president, chancellor, vice presidents, provosts, and deans.

Highlighted Content from Panelists

Links to what was mentioned during the Lead Online panel.

A Love Letter to my Colleagues, by Mamta Accapadi

Authenticity Principles informed by Cultural Identity: South Asian terms

  • Adaab- respect, humanness (comes from Urdu, and is a prevalent value in Islamic cultures)
  • Bhakti- devotional love (Hindi)
  • Shakti- strength (like the infinite source of strength) (Hindi)
  • Humdardi- compassion/empathy, with a sense of shared emotion (Urdu)
  • Rehem- mercy (Urdu)

Additional Resources from Josie

Twitter Lists

Subscribe to Josie’s newsletter, Digital Leadership Download

 From speaking, workshops, coaching and consulting, Josie has transformed her services that can be delivered 100% remotely.


Cissy Petty, VP for Student Affairs, George Washington University

Dr. M.L. “Cissy” Petty began her tenure as the inaugural Dean of the Student Experience and Associate Vice Provost of the George Washington University on July 23, 2018.  In August 2019, she was appointed Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, serving on the GW president’s executive cabinet. Dr. Petty’s professional career showcases her dedication to students and her commitment to her community.

Dr. Petty has taught at the graduate and undergraduate level in courses ranging from leadership development to counseling and serves on numerous university committees.  She publishes in areas of professional leadership, coaching, and development.  She serves in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), and The Florida State University on a number of leadership boards.

Mamta Accapadi, VP for Student Affairs, Rollins College

Mamta Motwani Accapadi is mom to a loving and fierce sixth grader. Professionally, she has served as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Rollins College since 2013. Prior to this role, she served as dean of student life at Oregon State University, and has held administrative and teaching positions at the University of Houston, The University of Texas at Austin, and Schreiner University. She has served as a consultant on diversity and inclusion efforts, specifically focusing on the development and empowerment of employee resource groups. Mamta’s commitments are rooted in the support of leadership pipeline development and mentorship opportunities for historically underrepresented communities. As a scholar-practitioner, her research interests include Asian American identity development, social justice education, and issues impacting women of color. She attended The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, a master’s and Ph.D in higher education administration.

Keith Humphrey, VP for Student Affairs, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Dr. Humphrey joined Cal Poly in December 2012 as Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA). He leads one of the largest divisions on campus by delivering high-impact programs and services that advance student learning, development and success. He leads a senior executive team to develop and implement year-round Student Affairs programming, services, and events that, research shows, will directly impact the progression, retention, and graduation rates of students. He is part of the university leadership that advocates to our community, policy makers, and Chancellor’s Office for all student engagement and campus-wide programming that occurs outside of the classroom at Cal Poly. Prior to joining Cal Poly, Dr. Humphrey was the assistant vice president and dean of students at the University of Arizona. He was also the associate dean of students, director of orientation and served as the assistant professor of practice and coordinator of the master’s program in higher education at the university’s Center for the Study of Higher Education.

Lamar Hylton, VP for Student Affairs, Kent State University

Lamar R. Hylton, Ph.D. currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs at Kent State University. In this role, he provides vision, executive leadership, oversight, and direction for Student Affairs and student services that serve an engaged and diverse student population. He also represents Student Affairs on several institutional committees and work groups. Utilizing experiences drawn from his dissertation research, and as a first-generation college graduate three times over, Dr. Hylton is personally invested in giving back to the students that he serves. He works towards impacting academic achievement, college satisfaction, and student success. Prior to this role, Dr. Hylton served as the Dean of Students at Kent State. He has served in a variety of different roles in fraternity & sorority life, residence life, student conduct, student activities, commuter student programs, leadership development, and multicultural affairs. A native of Columbus, OH, Dr. Hylton received his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music-Performance from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD; his master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Ohio University in Athens, OH; and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Morgan State.

About Josie

Dr. Josie Ahlquist

Dr. Josie Ahlquist is a digital engagement and leadership researcher, speaker, and consultant. She teaches teens, young adults, education professionals, and campus executives how to humanize technology tools and prioritize building online community.

She also serves as a research associate and instructor at Florida State University, creating curriculum to build digital literacy and leadership skills for undergraduates up to doctorate level students. She is extensively published and maintains an active blog and podcast (Josie & The Podcast), which have received accolades from EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World, comes out in July 2020.

Josie received her doctorate from California Lutheran University in Higher Education Leadership, Masters in Education from Northern Arizona University. She majored in sociology and human development at South Dakota State University.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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