Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

Your Digital Dean of Students

Leading Online: Your Digital Dean of Students

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 Dean of Students who have successfully built relationships with their community by leading online. 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.

Instagram Story screenshot. Text reads 'Glitter is litter!! As graduation approaches, please remember - glitter is litter! Out beautiful campus is a habitat for a number of endangered species. There is a threatened salamander habitat just below this bridge. Please say no to confetti on campus!' Image is a bridge on campus covered in glitter and confetti.
Martha Compton (@ctxdos) using Instagram Stories to connect with her campus community

When the dog drops while working from home.

♬ original sound – dr_gabewillis

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.


Gabe Willis, Dean of Student Affairs, Southeastern Louisiana University

Dr. Gabe Willis became a member of the Southeastern family in August of 2013. He was hired as an Academic Advisor in the Center for Student Excellence where he worked to challenge, engage, and grow young freshman minds.

Since accepting the role as Director, Willis has worked to increase his involvement and productivity at Southeastern. He has also spearheaded the University’s early alert system, The Lion Intervention Network or LINK. Dr. Willis has lead and served on a number of committees including, the Alcohol Use and Education Advisory Committee, University Policy on Hazing, and Student Opinion of Teaching Survey (SOT) Committee to name a few. Dr. Willis has also been appointed as Deputy Title IX Coordinator where he oversees the Campus Assault, Response, and Education Team (CARE). In the Fall 2018 semester, Dr. Willis was appointed to Interim Dean of Students. In the Spring of 2019 – he assumed the full-time role.

Justin Lawhead, Dean of Students, University of Memphis

Justin Lawhead serves as the Chief Health and Safety Officer and Dean of Students at the University of Memphis. He has more than 20 years of experience in higher education in the areas of student leadership training, program coordination, advising and assessment. He directs a comprehensive student development program designed to enhance the educational experience for University of Memphis students. His research interests include the impact of social media on identity development and co-curricular contributions to employment competencies. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Education in Educational Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration from the University of Memphis by completing his dissertation studying the effects of fraternity and sorority participation on leadership identity development.

Gourjoine M. Wade, AVP & Dean of Students, Grambling State University

Gourjoine M. Wade currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Grambling State University. A Monroe, Louisiana Native and Grambling State University Alum, Wade is a high impact, outcomes-driven student affairs practitioner and current Doctoral Candidate in Higher Education Leadership & Management at Walden University. Wade has dedicated his professional career towards finding innovative and strategic ways to expand higher education attainment for those who desire it. Dean Wade is a student advocate who continues to foster a sincere passion to serve students, especially first-generation and HBCU students. A husband and father, Wade practices self-care by way of keeping up with technology trends, taking cruises, going to the movies, funko pop collecting, and he is a fan of Game of Thrones.

Martha Compton, Dean of Students, Concordia University Texas

Martha Compton M.A. is the Dean of Students at Concordia University Texas, located in Austin Texas. In this role, she leads a number of student affairs areas, including Residential Life, Student Activities, the Counseling Center, Orientation, First Year Experience, Transition Programs, and Family and Parent Programs. Martha also serves as a deputy Title IX coordinator and leads the university’s CARE team. She previously served as Director of Community Standards & Student Responsibility at Ohio University. Martha spent six years at University of Texas at Austin prior to that, first as an Assistant Director of Student Judicial Services, and then as Associate Director and Coordinator of Academic Integrity. Additionally, she spent just over six years as Assistant Director for the Office of Student Conduct at North Carolina State University and two years as a Resident Director at Appalachian State University. Martha holds a B.A. in English from Keene State College, in Keene, NH, a M.A. in Student Development from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and is currently a doctoral student in Higher Education at Ohio University. Martha in in her fourth year of service as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Student Conduct Administration and currently serves as president of the association.

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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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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