Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

2023 Status Update: Digital Leadership in Higher Education

2023 status update: digital leadership in higher education

March is a big month over in Dr. Josieville. It marks 20 years since I met my husband Lloyd and 3 years since I turned in the final edits of my book: Digital Leadership in Higher Education.

Now that we are three years from when I put on the final touches, I wanted to share my reflections: what things I would add to it, what I would edit, and what I think I got wrong.

I’ll also discuss the core frameworks of this work, and I’ll share a few pointers I came across during the book writing process for all future authors! 

Podcast listeners can enjoy 30% off the book (e-book, regular book, etc.). Just use the code DLHE2023 (Offer expires 4/30/2023) through Stylus Publishing. 

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Notes from this Episode:

[00:00:00] I am thrilled to reintroduce you to University FM, formally known as Alumni FM. It’s the same great team now producing podcasts that tell stories across campus. Their mission is to elevate the voices of your institution, whether it’s alumni, students, faculty, or leadership. University FM is the only podcast agency focused on helping educational institutions make shows that are worthy of people’s attention. They’re easy to work with, from strategy to execution. And let me tell you, as the producers of Josie and the Podcast Season Five, I can attest. So, go visit www.university.fm or email Robert at robert@university.fm for a free podcast discovery call. Links are all in the show notes.

Hello and welcome to Josie and the Podcast. I’m Josie, and I am so darn happy you all are joining me today. What does it mean to lead in the digital space with heart and humanity? On this podcast, I spend time answering this question, with a good old heart, soul, and lots of substance. My goal is to share conversations that encourage you, empower you, and even entertain you to rethink digital strategy for yourself and the organizations you support.

Oh, my gosh, we are already at mid-March. Holy moly, 2023 is really happening. And you would think I lived in Seattle because we have been getting so much rain. If you don’t know, I’m based in Los Angeles. We get rain, but there has been snow out, like, near Burbank. There’s been hail in my backyard. It’s very wild, you all. I hope you all are good, wherever you are in the world with, like, this winter, spring weather. I’m from Wyoming. We talk about weather like it’s the starter kit to a conversation. So, that’s what I’m starting with today.

[00:02:29] A couple other things that are going on in my world that I want to share and celebrate. I got a couple new team members, kind of, like, the unofficial, like, obviously I have my business name, but like my internal team name is Team Josie. And I’ve got a new marketing manager, Chelsi. She has a couple podcasts. I even think I’ll probably bring her on this podcast sometime. She’s just phenomenal. She used to work in higher ed. Now, she’s like a mommy influencer, doing all of the things, both for her kids and for me and for her own businesses.

And then, I have a new digital strategist, because I’m taking on more consulting clients that require some more help in the behind-the-scenes, Danisha. And she also supports other campuses out there, and has got her own consulting business, too. So, I just absolutely love bringing together more diverse voices onto my team to even increase… You know, I can only do so much. And I’m learning so much from them. And I think that the colleges and universities that we work with get to benefit, too.

Something else that’s happening coming up this month on March 18th is it will be 20 years since I met my husband. Wow, that’s just nuts to me. I was, I was a little baby. At South Dakota State University, his improv touring company that he created at UMass via Chicago, called Mission IMPROVable, came to my school. Not only did they come there, I was in charge of the event. I was that wildly involved college student at every period of my college career, and this was my last event on the Student Activities Board. And honestly, I was super burned out. I didn’t really want to have a comedy show. I wanted a magician and my programming board outvoted me. And it was just that time of year, and you all in student activities will get this, like it was hard to promote it and to get people and to sell tickets. And then, this young man walks in the auditorium with… and those from the early 2000s, because this, well, trends just come around back again, right? So, the clothes we were wearing in the late ’90s and early 2000s are back. But he was wearing a sweater vest, which he still has. And gosh, it was kind of love at first sight. I was smitten, and I was two months before I was going to graduate and go get my master’s, I had already basically accepted to go to Northern Arizona University. He was based in Chicago. And we hung out after the show. He gave me his number. And this is how funny where I was in my life of, “There’s no way he’s going to call me. I gave him my number. What do, what do the kids do? I don’t even know how to date.”

And so, he called me a couple of days later and I said, “Who is this?” He still gives me such a hard time about that because I just was so focused on what was coming next my senior year in college. We kept talking. It was back in the day when we have, we had AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). So, I remember hurrying back to my apartment to see if he had messaged me, and messaging back and forth. And then, so I was on my parents’ cell phone plan. It was the thing that finally got me to change carriers and to, like, do the big girl thing and get my own plan. Because I went with Sprint because he was on Sprint, because if you called each other within network, the minutes didn’t count. Because before, I was like doing calling cards. And you all don’t understand. If you just don’t understand, like, what we had to go through, you had to just talk to each other.

[00:06:48] So, we were long-distance for two years. And he is the reason why I moved to LA. Didn’t have a job. When I first moved to LA after I graduated from grad school, like, I was temping, I temp at Lucky Magazine. You know, I was thankful that I was able to get my first full-time role at Cal State LA in housing. But gosh, 20 years ago, it is nuts. We, kind of, tell our full story, and then you’d get to know us on a podcast episode we did seasons ago, called Content Creators in Love. I feel like we are, maybe, due for an updated one of those. I’m going to take a couple days off, and we’re going down to Dana Point to a little resort. He surfs, like, every second he can. So, there is surfing right out into the ocean. And so, that’s going to be really nice, because this month, this month and April is nuts. So, to be able to, like, have a moment to really soak that in, because coming the first week of April, I am going to NASPA, a student affairs conference, in Boston. I go to the annual conference pretty much every year, if not also the Western regional that’s held on the West Coast.

And I think I mentioned it in my kickoff episode, but I’m being honored as a pillar of the profession with… there’s a number of other people that are part of the class of 2023. So, that is just going to be so joyous. And Lloyd’s actually coming with me to celebrate. And NASPA falls on my birthday. So, we’re going to extend the time longer in Boston. He grew up out there. So, that’s going to be a fun time. But if you are going to NASPA, a couple sessions to keep an eye out for, that I’m very excited about, I’m going to try to get some audio recordings and see the quality because these conversations that happen at conferences are just… you want to scale them. You don’t want to just like live, happen and then not ever be heard or seen again outside a conference room. And so, I might replay one of these on the podcast, fingers crossed.

So, the first one is called Segmented, Scattered, and Misunderstood: The State of Marketing and Communications of Student Affairs. I’m doing this with DJ Hauschild from TVP Communications. He helped me do a lot of data analysis for that benchmark research. And I’ve talked about that research on a recent podcast episode. So, go check that out. The other two are panels full of campus leaders. The first one from Group Selfies to Public Statements: Digital Strategies for Student Affairs Executives. It’s a panel full of vice presidents. And then, the second one, #Presidential: Digital Leadership Pathways for New Presidents, I’ve got four new presidents all coming from student-facing paths. And we’re going to talk about their career paths, their digital strategies, their support. And so, that one’s going to be really great as well.

[00:10:01] For today, what I’m digging into, because I also hit another mile-marker. You know, when you look at time hop, March is always, kind of, triggering. Now that, in the U.S., at least March was, we went from open to closed in 2020. Right before that, March 1st, 2020, I submitted my final revisions to my publisher of my book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World. And so, you’re like, wait, the book came out in September. Yeah, it takes that long to do the final kit and caboodle and turning it into the real stuff. I know if you self-publish, or I’m sure maybe some publishing companies work on a faster timeline, but that was when I said, okay, I promise not to do anything else with it.

And so, ironically, when two weeks later, our globe, our households, as humans, we faced something pretty significant that impacted digital leadership a bit in practice, in philosophy, and in impact. And so, I wanted to talk a little bit about, now that we are three years out from when I put the final touches on this sucker, my reflections, what things that I think I would add to it, what I would edit, what I think I maybe got wrong, and just some other reflections that I’ve had. And then, at the end, I’ll just give a few pointers or suggestions of what I learned in writing a book. I get asked a lot, are you writing another book? And the answer is no, I’m not writing one. I still don’t know if I would write another book, unless it was with someone else or a team, because it’s just more fun. One special thing that my publisher has offered to gift you all is a discount on the book until the end of April of 2023. Go to the show notes. There is a code for 30% off. It’s both the paperback and the e-book. And then, it also includes free shipping to U.S. and Canada. So, go get that book.

In case you have never heard me talk about the book, Digital Leadership in Higher Ed, I’m going to give a quick background. Some of the core frameworks, so this could be also, you know, maybe you still getting the book isn’t a reality for you. So, you can grab some of the core frameworks of it. And then, again, I’ll kind of share my three-year post reflections of how I would want to go about it a little bit differently.

A core part of it is to document in that moment of time, how did we get here with technology, especially social media, in higher education? So, the first part is, I don’t, at all, want to call it a lit review, but I did want to give, kind of, a crash course of available tools, how they’re showing up in higher ed, how I, kind of, built a framework to digital leadership that’s honestly started decades before me in things like digital identity, digital citizenship, and a lot of other frameworks. So, sometimes you could debate leadership and digital. Obviously, I’m like making the case, right, that this doesn’t come out of nowhere. And then, giving you some specific platforms at how I’ve seen them in the work.

But the real heart of the book is in part two, where you start to see even more “real-time examples” of leaders in higher ed, and then, also, me starting to connect theory and practice to both online and offline practices, and defining what the framework of digital leadership is, which I’ll share in a moment, which if you were to really boil it down, it’s enacting whatever your why is for leading, both online and offline. And you, as in anything, need to have a little bit of discernment about what you’re going to have for breakfast, but also what you’re… how you want to show up on Instagram.

And that strategy, while some people can look at the question of how you want to show up on Instagram as something less than, versus other things in our life, it actually, if you approach it with a purpose-driven, values-based strategy, you can have something that’s impactful. All of this comes from about six years of research that started with a little baby research project in my doc program of vice presidents of student affairs. And it just kept growing to presidents, directors, deans. And I started to see themes of both common practices and philosophies of digital leaders, but also gaps. And the biggest gap was strategy. Even today, the most well-known and respected campus leaders don’t have a defined strategy. They wouldn’t be able to answer if their practices and tactics are working or how to evaluate them. And so, that was also a core component of the book, especially as you got further along.

[00:15:56] And so, something like a discernment roadmap that I provide, kind of, gives that starter pack of, like, how do I even start to answer the question of, what platform should I be on? What impact do I want to make? And so, there was a ton of self-reflection in the book. There were exercises embedded throughout, which you can still find on my website, because what I know in leadership, and hopefully you do, too, is self-awareness is a core part of it. So, I didn’t just want to throw at you facts and stories, but I tried to activate you to be continually thinking about how you situated yourself within the examples, within the frameworks.

And then, the very last part of the book, we start to think about innovation and thinking about the future, giving, again, lots of case studies, but also some forward-thinking where-we-need-to-go-from-here kinds of discussions. So, as I bring it back out to give you, kind of, like okay, here’s some stuff you could grab and go with right now. And I’ll also link to any podcast or blogs that I’ve written about these frameworks. If you’ve ever heard me speak or want to, I definitely use these frameworks as a guiding post to what I’m sharing, not just, let’s make your Instagram look cute and have you go viral. Because digital leadership is something that is going to enact your values. Especially for public-facing campus leaders, it’s going to connect with your institution’s values and it’s going to feel very purposeful.

It also should be community-centered. And this is an approach that may differentiate me from others that coach on social media or coach executives, is I want there to be engagement and interaction. And this is what fuels the five guiding principles of digital leadership. The first one, number one is connection. We want you on platforms to have strategies and having clear goals with the pursuit of building relationships and community online, that’s going to impact offline, too.

One way to do that is the second guiding principle is, what I have found is needed, is personalization. Many of these high-profile positions, those position titles are intimidating. And just having you be more removed from access and interaction, there are ways — and it can be so simple — to humanize you with what you share on your website, on your blog, on your Instagram that’s going to influence, number three which is strategy. We want to have very clear yet flexible strategy that’s going to align back with your values. So, strategy isn’t to be confused with tactics, but it does need to be very connected back to goals. And I feel like that’s going to be a future shorty episode, is maybe to give you all the difference between those.

The number four is change. And this came, especially from the research, is those leaders that I interviewed that I found to be highly engaged online and their community was really embracing that, those practices, they admitted these tools are going to change. This world’s going to change. Higher ed’s going to change it. And I can embrace that. I may not always like it, but I’m also going to surround myself with people that can help me. So, they know they don’t have to be an expert on TikTok, but they do need to understand what it is because their audience and their community are using it and might be there.

[00:20:05] Josie and the Podcast is also sponsored by Campus Sonar, who partners with higher ed campuses and associations that value marketing and communications as a strategic ally. Together, they empower leaders with insights, from online conversation and social listening data, to develop and align their strategies with the goals of the institutions they serve. Join Campus Sonar and me, along with an expert panel, about how campus leaders can increase institutional advocacy on March 23rd. Register on the Campus Sonar website or find the link in the show notes.

[00:20:47] And number five, which I think also sets this book aside from, maybe, others on social media, is the fifth principle is legacy. This weaves into why I use leadership, is because we want to make an impact using these tools. What are your goals? What are the short- and long-term things you want to accomplish because you are going to be creating a podcast or that you’re going to stay on Twitter?

Okay, so that’s the core meat and potatoes of the book. Five of the chapters are all built around one of those guiding principles. There is another framework that, since the book has come out and a podcast I’ve released on it, I find people really gravitate to that I will quickly explain. It’s called the eight meaningful types of content. So, there’s this methodology called content analysis, where you can look at all of your posts, from your institutional accounts to your personal accounts, and find themes of what you tend to post the most. And if you were to categorize them in buckets, I worked with Campus Sonar on this project, and we looked at hundreds of accounts. And we found eight themes. And these both communicate the current practices, but also, we’ve included the framework to make sure that we’re trying to create a holistic types of content that, sometimes, leaders may shy away from that we need to see more of.

So, again, I’ll link to the full podcast episode that’ll dig way more into examples. The eight are educational, community, promotional, inspirational, your story, day in the life, advocacy, and industry. And if I was to rank in 2023 where I see us as an industry in higher ed and leaders, the ones that we need to lean into more are advocacy, community, and inspirational. I think we’ve actually gone a long way in day in the life. We’ve always gone overboard with promotional. I’ve even seen some big gains in your story. So, if I was to, kind of, like, put a wish list out there, that’s what those would be.

The one other framework I want to share that’s in the book is a digital discernment roadmap for digital leaders. If you were to come to me to say, “I don’t know where to start, what platforms do I go on, what people, what do… I don’t know what to do,” we would first start with getting clear on who your people are. In any context, no matter the platform, online, offline, who are the people you need to engage with the most, this part of the roadmap is called community engagement and stakeholder activation.

The second is going to be, okay, now, what tools and strategies are all out there that could connect back to your people? Alumni donors are, like, top of the list. And this could even just be a short-term roadmap, like, “Right in this season, of this year, I need to focus on this audience and this goal.” Okay, what digital tools would be the best use for those? Okay, let’s talk about email. Let’s talk about website integration. Let’s talk about a platform.

And then, the next part of the roadmap is, okay, what are we going to think about in a content strategy real-time, both in that’s going to go out one directional, but also what you’re going to contribute real-time in interaction and engagement, because then we loop that back around with the intended purpose, what’s a longer-term intended purpose? Okay, maybe you have an advancement goal that you’re trying to reach, but maybe you are also trying to increase the amount of relationships you have with X type of alumni donors. You could break it down from demographics, from geographies, all those things. And now, you feel like, not only you have this roadmap, but a reason for the why you’re doing it, and not just, “I’m posting on Instagram to try to raise money.” I don’t think anybody would want to, not only post that content, but probably interact with it.

Okay. So, as I think about the books out there, I’m super proud of it. I’ve got like 12 of them sitting behind me. And again, go get the discount code. Use it before the end of April.

There’s some things, as I think about, if I was to ever do an updated version or 2.0. If my publisher is listening to this, this is not a pitch. I’m not giving you an idea, either. This is almost like, well, just listen to this episode and the refresh is right here. I did spend a ton of time in the first… So, there’s three parts of the book. I would say the first part, maybe I was still so ingrained with the dissertation, was chapters one and two, where there was so much, again, I don’t want to call it a lit review, but there was a lot of history terminology and background, which I think in higher ed we do appreciate. And I wanted to make sure, for anyone that just wasn’t familiar with, not only platforms, but application in higher ed, that they would see I was trying to connect all of these dots.

The challenge came to be, because I started writing this in 2016, I had to edit it so many times. And it wasn’t always like, “There’s a new platform I need to add in here, or a piece of research,” just things got outdated from, when I first started to write it, TikTok wasn’t a thing. It was, oh my gosh, Musical.ly. And then, TikTok bought Musical.ly. And so, it was just always this constant… I mean, that’s a reality, too. But there, if you check out some of those, first part of the book, there’s going to be platforms that are not listed. There’s going to be, for example, like, Instagram has changed itself like 1,200 times. And so, that’s… I think if I was to write it again, or, you know, like, again, I would probably minimize that and/or make that an appendix that you can find on my website, or something like that.

And I did try to talk honestly about the tools. It wasn’t ever this like, okay, I’m just an all-out cheerleader. I talked about ethical considerations. But I think now where we are compared to 2020, when you have a Twitter CEO like Elon Musk, or continual, I mean, like politician choices, I think that needed to be even more clearly documented, communicated, and giving people more discernment tools. Because I just lose track of how many times I’m having conversations or I’m getting questions about, honestly, like, what is my threshold? When do I hit rock bottom on a platform? That’s why Mastodon just keeps coming up. I’m not trying to put money on anything. It’s fine if you’re here and there, but it’s really not about taking your people to another platform and hoping to replicate. They are all so distinct. And, at the end of the day, just like whatever helps you sleep better because we’re all just trying to get a good night’s sleep.

The other discussion and topic that I think now I would spend much more space on is crisis communications. In the chapter, oh, I don’t have them memorized anymore, but the president of Dillard University, Walter Kimbrough, well, previous president, Hip Hop Prez, he has an entire chapter. And there is some elements about crisis communications and just some ethical considerations. And I know I think I would want to give more case studies, more examples, and some frameworks on, not if, but when, and when “when” turns into, okay, now you’re on your 12th crisis in the month, because the reality is, through COVID, we went through them constantly and we continually are faced with those, whether if you’re a social media manager, a CMO, or a president. And that would definitely be something that, in a future version, I would want to clearly approach.

[00:29:38] The next one is actually very inspired by my last podcast guest, Teresa, where we talk about thought leadership. And I kind of allude to it in the episode, but I don’t know if I’ve really talked about it here on the podcast. And this goes pretty deep into, like, student affairs land on Twitter. But there has been some people out there that referred to them as thought leaders who were blogging or doing their thing. And maybe, that wasn’t so well-received because, not necessarily like their thoughts were bad, but it was a status symbol, almost, this popularity thing or just that, maybe there wasn’t research to back it up. But anyway, in student affairs, there was a lot of, like, kind of, poking at thought leadership. And so, I brought this up to her because she uses, just like I use digital leadership, she uses thought leadership, that phrase, that framework, with her presidents, with her boards. And I do think in other pockets of campus, and even probably now in student affairs, it’s fine. And I really appreciated how she differentiated, and I would agree, that it’s about impact. It’s not about popularity or how many followers you have. And she talked about influencers, which is really more about yourself versus the industry, which would be thought leadership.

The other thing that I think I needed to talk about even more to say, this is what I’m not I’m talking about, is I find a lot of vice presidents want to come across as positive. They want to be well-liked and popular. And we actually need them to be purposeful. We need them to be strategic. And maybe, it’s not always them speaking out because that’d be better for the president or the chancellor to do, but I do think it’s important to differentiate, when I say digital leadership, it isn’t just all sunshines and rainbows and selfies and socials, like I talked about at the end of that episode, that you do have to use your platforms and voice for more amplified ways.

[00:31:54] That’s why I use purpose so much. And maybe, your purpose is that you want to lift up, you want to empower, you want to spread positivity. But I think what we’ve learned, and I think hopefully clearly discussed since the pandemic, is toxic positivity can cripple an organization and a leader and those who are throughout the organization chart, that it just felt so, literally, toxic, that it might be hard things to say. But it also can be really simple to say something. Now, this is something hard we’re going through, or to admit that you messed up. Not only do I think your people would find that refreshing, but extremely important.

So, make sure to go check out that episode, if you haven’t already, because that, just even recently, I think would really influence the way I might reclaim thought leadership. Because the last part of what I appreciate she talked about, and I did give examples in the book, but I just don’t think I hit it on the head maybe as I should have, because I talk about social media as an example of where you could put your leadership and your impact. But we do need to look at other storytelling and communication tools, from inside higher ed, the chronicle, heck, get on your local radio station. Like, all communication tools that are in our toolkit. It’s not just these platforms that we actually don’t own. And I think, if I was to do a 2.0, I would want to pull more examples. And that’s what TVP Communications does, is they are an aid in a lot of media relations. And their strategy is more than just digital strategy. It’s an entire communication strategy.

And the last piece that, honestly, my goal, I looked at who I was featuring. I was strategic on trying to, for example, make sure I had community colleges and different identities and different examples and situations. And I would say, while the book is both aspirational for mid-level and extremely applicable for executives, we really need more meaty guidance and just a place for discussion throughout the organization, from new professionals to entry to mid-level, because I just couldn’t be that to everyone.

I also need to say where I think I missed the mark. I really started to realize this when I integrated the book in my Florida State University master’s and doctoral online course, called Technology in Higher Education. And I asked my students, “I want you to critique this,” the book that they were trying to read, “just like you would any other type of literature,” even though I was their faculty. And I had to really get them to do that and to listen to that. 

And a couple of them took me up on it. Despite my efforts to include numerous professionals of color, background, gender identity, one can’t really create a rubric for diversity or inclusion — and it’s not just a checklist you complete or get a gold star. Even though, I think, in the back of my mind, I tried. I am self-aware, I come from a privileged perspective. I may have been born in a trailer park, but I am a cis white woman. Even the privilege I hold from not working at a campus today and on my own is not shared by thousands of the majority of higher ed. And I actually stated some of this upfront in the book. 

But going back to how leaders can’t be all positive and rainbows, there’s two parts of this. I do think, if I was to write this again, and I have done a lot of my own work being willing to step into criticism and conflict. I think I tip-toed around it, and not just in strategy, but it went deeper around diversity, equity, and inclusion. BIPOC and anyone from a minoritized identity, especially if you’re in a predominantly white institution or maybe your geographic location, your campus culture, or even, heck, who is your supervisor, just being on Twitter or sharing your why/your purpose comes with a huge risk. Going back to my Florida State class and my research for this book and my work, the saying that came up repeatedly, especially for minoritized identities, is “risk” and is it worth it? 

Even women, the literature is very clearly out there — being a woman online has higher risks. So, this came out in the research that there’s so much fear and repercussions, both the fear and the actuality that we see. And some of it we don’t, that we don’t even know some of the close-door conversations, the shaming, the suggestions, the questions one might get when you are trying to enact your “why” online.

And so, I would get responses like, “Josie, I’ve got to lock everything down. There’s too much risk. I want to share who I am, my hobbies, my values, but it’s just not worth it.” And I could see how some parts of the book may have looked a little bit too fluffy, warm, and fuzzy, and not in actuality what was happening, not just in higher ed but the whole world, and what to do or not do about it. And I want to acknowledge that.

So, if I was to re-write this, I would want to speak very clearly and frankly about the stories and struggles, and calling out systems of oppression in higher ed and even how those show up and who or who can’t use these tools in the way that I was proposing and finding digital leadership could be. And also, though, how some have overcome it, how, in real terms, others are navigating it. And not just out of fear, but also so a reader would understand that they’re not alone.

And this was my intent of featuring so many diverse stories, is so people could see themselves. Maybe, they are far from being a president yet or a director, but someone that looks like them is on a tool using it in a way that they could possibly see themselves could be one path.

But the reality is, also, higher ed has a privilege problem, including on social media. That many campuses have created written and unwritten rules about who can be themselves, whether how they do their hair, what they wear, or what they post. And that sucks. I could see how some readers could find the book to be too surface-level and a missed opportunity to challenge the industry. This also relates to how, in a future version, I would also want to speak more directly about mental health and wellness, whether you are a social media manager or an executive, that, as I was mentioning earlier about ethics, these tools can cause real harm to us as humans and how you can take care of yourselves, your people, and still use the platforms with purpose.

[00:39:53] The last piece about the book that I would go in differently is, maybe, this is just a reality, but I do think, with the pandemic, we had so many people make new life decisions — retiring, changing positions. I can’t keep track of all of the people I featured and, like, where they are now. And I try my best. And so, on my book website, we’ve gone through and updated all of them, I think. But for example, like, even so Walter Kimbrough, he moved on from the presidency into the sabbatical time he’s on, he is calling also the interim time. And he’s at Morehouse now. Mordecai Brownlee, he went from vice president to president. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, who’s been on the podcast, but she was at the president in San Antonio. And now, she’s at San Jose. Latanya Ree Smiles, she was based on a campus at UCLA. And then, like, two different positions now, she’s at RevUp. Daria Willis went from president of Everett Community College and now is president at Howard Community College. And then, there was one. I’m not going to lie, I was super bummed higher ed lost her. But you know what? I don’t blame her for moving on. And it was the funnest feature to write, because it was about her and her dogs, ResLife Pups. Marci Walton. She used to be at Xavier. And now yeah, she is rocking it as learning an organizational excellence consultant with ComPsych.

So, this is where I turn it to you, because this book wasn’t just my thoughts. It was leadership. It was the frameworks. It was all fueled by research when I was seeing it in action. I would love to hear you all what you all think, how has leadership changed since March of 2020 to today? How do you see the enactment of digital leadership being changed? And where do we need to go? These are all things I would love to hear from you.

And for those that are curious or currently writing a book, I’ve got four things that I want you to consider. Number one, surround yourself with a team, not just people that you’re paying and you’re having help you logistically. Make a group WeChat or a text thread and just a place where you can be, like, real and give updates, because you are going to need a core group. The second piece, and I would have to remind myself of this, like, 12 times, books take a long bleeping time. All of my timelines were so wrong. And what has been affirming, actually, I’ve heard a number of people recently, not in, like, I’m talking about books that are about subjects, not stories, even though those might take long, too. But four years is kind of an average. And so, I kind of felt way better about that.

Number three is, I’ve come to peace with people asking you immediately or even after when the next one is. It actually is a compliment. Again, they’re just here to celebrate you. But be prepared for that question. And then, number four, have a party. I couldn’t party in person. It came out like the worst of the times of the pandemic. But I did it digitally. Last NASPA conference, I did do a meetup. So, you feel like, other than having something physical, which is awesome, you can literally put a bow on it.

[00:43:39] My call-to-action at the end of this episode is bringing it back to you. And the fact that knowing the gaps, in my research and this book, what I know is we need more research and writing on entry and mid-level digital leadership. We also need more research that is framing and centering identity is also critical. And so, I’m calling all my masters and doc students, faculty, researchers, take my book, the frameworks, apply them. Including a critical eye, I want you to remix and redefine them. And I cannot wait to hear what you find. I’m also curious how we would define digital leadership in K-12. What about other industries? Or, could this framework, maybe, bring it over into those two? Or, maybe just as simple as, how would you define digital leadership?

Thanks for joining me in this shorty episode of Josie and the Podcast. Join the conversation online. I’m @josieahlquist. The podcast is on Twitter and Instagram. Remember, the show notes can also be found online at josieahlquist.com/podcast. I would be so darn appreciative, not only if you pick up my book, but if you subscribe to this podcast, you’d pass it on, you write a little review. That helps so, so very much. And if you’re interested in learning more about the work that I do, like consulting, speaking, or coaching, check me out at josieahlquist.com.

I’m sending lots of love to our podcast sponsors, Campus Sonar and University FM. Special thanks to University FM that produced this show. And to you, I’m sending digital hugs, loves, and waves to whatever corner of the world you’re listening in from. This has been Josie and the Podcast.

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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