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Introducing The Student Affairs Digital Task Force

Since 2013 I have been researching and supporting campus executives’ social media strategies. At first, my primary focus was vice presidents, which soon expanded to college and university presidents. As a result of this research, I’ve presented on the topic probably over 100 times, written dozens of blog posts and I am even publishing a book this summer that features over 40 campus leaders. 

Through the tail end of writing the book, I discovered an untapped audience and a number of unresolved questions related to associate/assistant vice presidents/deans of students (i.e. number two’s) and social media. Not only have I not written about them on my blog, but I’ve discovered some of the most engaging emerging executives online are from this level. 

For many reasons, number 2’s are carving out the future of the Higher Ed C-suite and social media. 

These titles are also entry points for those that aspire to the executive level in higher education, where the transition from mid to senior-level can be distinct, and very public. I, too, aim to turn my attention to being a resource for these professionals.

A few of these critical considerations and guiding questions include:

  • What are specific impactful digital practices for AVP/Deans/serving in #2 positions, primarily serving in student affairs divisions? 
  • What leaders provide guiding models to follow that currently serve in AVPs, Dean and #2 positions?
  • Navigating the digital dynamics between AVP/VP and even campus president.
    • For example, how to not outshine your VP/President online. How do you give critical digital feedback to your VP or President who has some questionable social media choices, or no presence whatsoever?
  • How does one handle (publicly and privately) a national conflict tied to your campus and/or your position? 
  • What are the realistic practices to engage consistently and on what social media platforms?
  • What wellness practices need to be established and role modeled within executive positions connected and complicated with social media and technology?
  • Are there suggested social media/PR methods to follow during a position transition?
    • For example, when starting a #2 role or promotion to VP position? How do you position your digital platforms to prepare for a VP role and/or search process? 
  • What does the future look like for digital engagement of campus executives – as we prepare future higher education leaders who aspire to serve in AVP/Dean roles and above?
  • What other common challenges are professionals at this level facing that tie back to social media, technology, and mobile communication? 

With so many juicy questions – I put on my researcher and facilitator hats and began reaching out to a handful of highly engaging and well-respected Associate Vice Presidents, Deans of Students and Vice Presidents who could speak to some of these questions in order to produce tangible tools and guiding practices. 

The Student Affairs Digital Task Force Members 

Exploring the future of social media for student affairs executives, especially AVPs, Deans and aspiring executives.

The primary outcome of the task force will be to produce a guidebook to support AVP/Dean of Students positions. We began meeting in the fall of 2019 and will continue dialoguing through the first part of 2020.  

I am thrilled to share the roster of The Student Affairs Task Force. I highly encourage you to connect with them!


Tricia Brand

Chief Diversity Officer at Portland Community College

Connect with Tricia: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn


Mordecai I. Brownlee

Vice President for Student Success at St. Philip’s College

Connect with Mordecia: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Blog/Website


Juan R Guardia

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at University of Cincinnati

Connect with Juan: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn


Jenny Hall-Jones

Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Ohio University

Connect with Jenny: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn


Adam Peck

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Stephen F. Austin State University

Connect with Adam: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube


Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs at James Madison University

Connect with Tim: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Blog/Website


Tonantzin Oseguera

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at California State University, Fullerton

Connect with Tonantzin: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn


Gourjoine M. Wade

Associate Vice President & Dean of Students at Grambling State University

Connect with Gourjoine: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn


Josie Ahlquist

Digital Engagement & Leadership Consultant and Speaker

Connect with Josie: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, Website, Podcast 


Want to get involved?

Do you currently (or aim to very soon) serve in an AVP, Dean or #2 role in Student Affairs – or previously did?  

Are you curious about exploring the social media use of campus leaders? Interested in being part of creating knowledge (writing, researching, designing) that can be disseminated throughout the field?

Please consider submitting your interest for phase II of the task force. Add your information with this form and I’ll be in touch!

If you’ve got questions or ideas you can also email me directly at info@josieoldsite.meljudsonclientportal.com

Not ready for another committee – I get it! Stay updated on our progress, give feedback on content AND network with other current and future executives in this Facebook group I created two years ago called The Connected Exec Community.

You can also stay updated on the project and all my work by subscribing to my monthly newsletter (yes I promise only monthly). 

Social Media Resources for Campus Executives

Finally, if you are looking for resources immediately – well I’ve got just a few for you! 

Blog Posts and ebooks

Josie & The Podcast Episodes with Executives 

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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