Monday, December 8, 2014

Recap of the 2014 #SACSCOC Annual Meeting - Dec. 5th - Dec. 8th

Today, I created several higher education and blogging goals. These goals included: writing posts as soon as possible and posting these posts as soon as I arrive home from a conference, etc.

The #SACSCOC conference was amazing and I was pleased to connect with several individuals from other universities. I stored these business cards in a special part of my Vera bag, because one of my new years resolutions is to keep in contact with higher education connections formed during conferences.

Courtesy of @heatherplez

This SACSCOC conference was held in Nashville, TN and the attendees had several hotel options. I chose the Courtyard Marriott, because it was slightly cheaper than the other options. I traveled via shuttle to the hotel and connected with several SACSCOC attendees (one from Tarrant County College and the other from Savannah State University).

In fact, I was fortunate enough to have breakfast on two separate days with two of the individuals I hope to add to my highered contacts list!

One of the first sessions I attended was the Newcomers session and it featured the President of SACSCOC, Dr. Belle Wheelan. She is an outstanding woman and I always enjoy hearing her speak. Through the session, I learned about several new developments regarding SACSCOC.

After this session, I walked through the hallway and heard my name. One of my colleagues found me and I was pleased to see her familiar face. We exchanged notes and later discovered that we planned to attend the same session for the next conference slot. Surprisingly, I discovered the presenter was my fabulous sorority sister, Dr. Amanda Chesser Drum (yes, she is amazing). I look up to her for a variety of reasons and she always has a smile on her face.

Dr. Drum is from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi and she serves as the Executive Director of Strategic Engagement Initiatives. She is also charged with assessment and the SACSCOC 5th year reviews. She worked interactively with various departments under student life and other similar student services-focused departments to develop student learning outcomes that coincide with the CAS Standards. I thought this approach was very effective and it helped her developed her university's SACSCOC report. I plan to use the CAS Standards for an internal review process for several areas at the university for which I work in Texas.

Since I learned a wealth of information about section 2.10, I wanted to learn more about the QEP initiatives in the next session. This session was presented by Dr. Wayne Atchley from Tarleton State University and he did a dynamic job presenting his university's "Keeping It R.E.A.L" initiative for engaging students in the following areas: undergraduate research, leadership, study abroad/study away, service learning, and internships.

These individual sessions provided me with a stronger foundation for assessment for this next year. I feel fortunate to have this experience and I cannot wait to research additional innovative and dynamic ways to perform assessment (qualitative and quantitative) on our student learning outcomes.

Also, I followed the backchannel on Twitter for the #SACSCOC conference. Here's a recap of the conference so far:

I learned a wealth of information from the conference and I am fired up for assessment! Also, I wanted to add that I was especially excited that the Convention Center is a LEED certified building! :) This is very exciting to an environmental sustainability-focused millennial!

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Preparing for the SACSCOC Conference and Thinking Ahead to Assessment Bootcamp

Preparing for the SACSCOC Conference - I admit, this has been a long semester, but one of the most rewarding semesters so far!

Tomorrow (Saturday), I am headed to the SACSCOC annual conference. I am excited about placing the assessment hat on my head at this point in the semester.

It is extremely difficult to write the reports in the middle of the semester (in the midst of the activities), but I always look forward to small breaks. These breaks include: winter break, spring break, the break in May. These are typically my #highered "catch-up" times if I happen to be behind.

Thinking Ahead to the Winter Break
Here's the ideal set-up for assessment, Edwards-style. A quiet room, restricted interactions from others, and a great station on Pandora/Storify.

I am all packed and I am ready to attend my first SACSCOC conference! :)

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Friday, November 28, 2014

Neat Gift Basket Idea for #HigherEd Professionals!

I had to make quick gift basket for an upcoming women's conference and I wanted to provide a gift featuring personal touch with a professional flair! 

Something I would really want to receive and something I could really use! I always add a Dymo Label to make the gift look professional! My family purchased the machine last summer and it has been the best investment! 

Here are some additional pictures!

I had to make quick gift basket for an upcoming women's conference and I wanted to provide a gift featuring personal touch with a professional flair! 

Something I would really want to receive and something I could really use! I always add a Dymo Label to make the gift look professional! My family purchased the machine last summer and it has been the best investment! 

Here are some additonal pictures!



Friday, October 3, 2014

Multicultural Postdoctoral Fellowship--The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Here's a great announcement that can be found on the CRTNET listserv. 

Shawn D. Long, PhD,

Multicultural Postdoctoral Fellowship--The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte invites applications for our new Multicultural Postdoctoral Fellowship program ( to support its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and building a strong intellectual community of scholars from different backgrounds. The purpose of the Multicultural Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is to support the early development of scholars who show promise of distinguished research careers and who are from historically underrepresented groups.

Postdoctoral fellows will be engaged full-time in research and may teach up to two courses per academic year as part of their appointment. Fellows are required to be in-residence each semester during their appointment. The postdoctoral fellow will receive extensive university and program mentoring throughout their appointment. 

Applications for study in any discipline represented on campus are welcome. STEM applications are strongly encouraged. Please specify your discipline of interest when applying.

Applicants must have completed their doctoral degree within the past five years and no later than July 1st of the current year. The primary criterion for selection is evidence of scholarship potentially competitive for tenure track appointments at a research university. A critical secondary criterion is the support of prospective departments. 

All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents at the time of application; The University of North Carolina at Charlotte strongly encourages applications from African American, Native American and Hispanic scholars. Selection is contingent on the availability of an appropriate mentoring environment. 

Please include the following materials with your application:  curriculum vitae; a statement of research plans (1-3 pages) (this should describe your commitment to pursuing an academic career); graduate transcripts; a personal statement on why you should be selected for this program (1-3 pages); Writing samples (e.g. publications and/or dissertation chapters); three letters of recommendation. One letter should be from the applicant’s dissertation advisor or faculty mentor.

Applications are taken on-line at, position #POST40.The application deadline is December 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM EST.  Please contact Dr. Shawn D. Long at  or 704-687-0783 if you have any questions. 

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina's urban research university and has an enrollment of approximately 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in the state's largest metropolitan area, UNC Charlotte is among the fastest growing universities in the UNC system. 

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an EOE/AA employer and an ADVANCE Institution that strives to create an academic climate in which the dignity of all individuals is respected and maintained. Therefore, we celebrate diversity that includes, but is not limited to ability/disability, age, culture, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. 

Applicants are subject to criminal background check.

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, September 8, 2014

8 Apps for Higher Education Day!

This summer, I was fortunate to attend the "Apps for Higher Education Day" sponsored by the Center for Instructional Innovation (CII) at my higher education institution. This day was planned by some of my favorite people on campus! :)

This was definitely a fun day, but I realized that I really need to diversify my higher education apps!

Here is a list of the awesome higher education apps introduced!

1 - Blackboard Mobile (Paid)

2 - My Script Calculator (Free!)

3 - Device 6 ($3.99)
 (Interactive Novel)

4 - Essential Skeleton 4 (Free!)
 (3D Skeleton)

5 - Simple Rockets (Free!)

6 - Job Genie by Blackboard (Free!)
***One of my new favorites!***

7 - Duolingo (Free!)
*This has been a GREAT app for my language acquisition quest!

8 - Educreations (Free!)
(Screen Capturing App)

In addition, the workshop facilitators invited individuals to present their favorite app to the audience! This was definitely fun! Thank you CII for hosting this amazing event!

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beloit College Mindset List for the Freshmen Class of 2018!

Yes, another academic year is here! I am always excited about September! September also means that we have another group of amazing freshmen joining the university.

I always look for the upcoming Beloit College Mindset list. Here it is! - LINK

What was your most SURPRISING item from the list?

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, September 1, 2014

Work-Life Balance for Higher Education Professionals - Limiting E-mail from 8-5

This academic year, I focused on the importance of work life balance. When I began my current role, I was known for sending e-mail at 3am or 4am in the morning when I could not rest and for sending e-mail during peak hours of the weekend.

THEN it dawned on me, I was not promoting positive work-life balance for the team or for myself.

The team works so hard for the students, faculty, and staff at our campus that it is only right to respect their weekend and nights with their families (or time spent on hobbies).

No E-mail Outside of the Typical Workday to Promote Work-Life Balance...
Now, I do not send any e-mail outside of the 8-5 workday unless an emergency arises or if an important report is due and I need questions answered at the last minute.

Still Working...
However, I do work on e-mail on the weekend and I save each "to be sent" message in my drafts folder and I send the e-mails to the team early on Monday morning.

A Work in Progress...
This is one practice that I will definitely have to modify, because it could feel alarming to the team if they receive four e-mail messages from me at 8am in the morning. I plan to only send one message at a time (if they are not urgent) during certain time intervals in the morning.

Looking for More...
I definitely want to respect work balance for the team as well as myself. Therefore, I need to look for more practices that will contribute to a positive work environment.

Additional ideas?

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, August 25, 2014

#SAPros: Rethink Your Traditional Communication Methods

Student Affairs Professionals,

We are gearing up for a year academic year, the 2014-2015 academic year! Will your traditional, tried and true methods for communicating with students work this year? Probably not.

This year represents one year closer to the end of the millennial college population. Then, the next generation will be the "new silent generation".

Let's figure out HOW we CAN communicate with the incoming student populations, because traditional communication methods will not work!

Listen to this great session at SxSW about the importance of NON-TRADITIONAL communication methods!

What should student affairs professionals do differently?

,Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Convocation Ceremony Marks the End of Transition Week and the Beginning of Fall Classes!

Tonight was our final night of Transition Week and the night before our first day of class. This is always a magical experience for me because this event includes all of the FITC (first-time in college) freshmen at our university at one time in one place.

*I will blog about the Transition Week experience soon! Look forward to some great pictures!

This year, the event included speeches from the President, the Provost, and the VP for Student Services. EVERYONE (all faculty and staff attendees) is in their graduation regalia and all of the students have matching shirts. Truly an amazing ceremony.

I always anticipate the President and the Provost's speeches, because the speeches remind me of the actual graduation experience that many of these FTIC attendees will experience in four years.

The Provost always assigns the students their first homework task in our Academic Success Rally. This task requires the students to write five goals that they would like to achieve within the next four years. Then, the students are required to send an e-mail to the Provost. She categorizes the responses and highlights certain responses for all of the students to hear. The students' responses are never the same and I always sit in the ceremony in anticipation of her speech.

After the speeches are delivered, the students and other attendees always watch a sentimental video about the freshmen experience and the subsequent experiences the students will have until their senior year.

Then, the students walk in silence to the next aspect of the event, the candle lighting! Each student receives a candle (along with an explanation of the tradition) and then all attendees participate in a group photo for the incoming class that features their lit candles.

I am definitely fortunate to be part of the students's lives this year.

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Launch a Student-Run Social Media Endeavor - TSMRI's Session at SxSWedu 2014!

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) was selected to present a session at last year's SxSWedu event in Austin! We were very excited (as you can tell on the sound cloud file below, we had a great session!

Remember to VOTE for us this year! Here's the link -

Thanks to Dr. Sarah Maben and Dr. Paul Stafford for all of their hard work on this session!

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vote for @TSMRI's SxSWEdu Proposal - 55 Social Media Tips for #HigherEd Faculty and Staff!

This week, I am especially excited about the #SxSWedu proposal voting period! We are entering the second week and here is our proposal for the Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI):

Here are our "sharing stats"for the past week!

We definitely need more shares, please help us! Vote here -

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, August 11, 2014

7 Easy Ways for Professors to Prepare for the Fall Semester

News flash! There are only a few more weeks until the first day of school and we have to prepare!

Yes, you have your research to complete, but now it is time to focus on your classes!

Here's my to do list, feel free to adapt one or more items from this list for your "to do" list.

1 - Finish your syllabus. Considering creating your syllabus on Google Documents to quickly provide real-time edits for your students. Embed or link this syllabus in any similar courses on Blackboard.
*I plan to write about this later.

2 - Practice the names of each of your students. It is important to potentially avoid mispronunciations on the first day of class.

3 - Import the names of your students to your grade book.

4 - Create your assignments on Blackboard.

5 - Write the "action item" list of the first week of school. The "action item" list for my students usually includes: a) completing surveys focused on their familiarity with the course material, b) their familiarity with Google Documents, and c) their goals for the course.

6 - Pick your best outfit/suit for the first day of school. This day marks your first impression on the students and it can either make or break your year.

7 - Most importantly, send an e-mail to to the students before the course begins! Let them know that you are excited to meet them. Also, make sure you tell them about the textbook and the ISBN information.

8 - Also, remember to familiarize yourself with the new material regarding the content in your course (new videos, check the YouTube links, etc.). :) This is always extra hard for me, but it has to be done!

Good luck this semester! It will be a great one for you and your students!

*What did I miss? What would you add? Do not forget to breathe!

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Innovative University Marketing Strategy Via Video - Texas A&M is Happy! :)

I am always on the lookout for an innovative college or university marketing video. Whether the video is internal or external, it definitely strikes a chord with the viewers. These viewers might come from the university itself to universities (and others) located across the world. 

Videos enable others to experience your campus without actually setting foot on the campus. Boundless possibilities!

Videos are great, but one items that people commonly forget about videos is the captioning. If videos are captioned, it makes this more accessible. One more step, but definitely well worth it!

I need to learn more about the captioning features on YouTube. Does anyone have any great resources?

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, August 4, 2014

Goal Setting for the New Academic Year - From Balance to External Communication Strategies

Each year, I always set a new list of goals for the upcoming academic year. The first-year was focused on learning the new aspects of my job. Last year (the second year) was definitely focused on work-life balance and this year (the third year) will focus on continuing the message of the leadership and communication (the Texas Social Media Research Institute) aspects of my job both internally and externally. Here are my goals for the 2014-2015 academic year:

1 - Write at least three articles focused on student success, multicultural initiatives, and/or social media for the upcoming year.

2 - Create and sustain partnerships with others focused on my areas of interest (at other universities).
*I am a strong believer in the old saying, "If you continue to do the same old thing, you will get the same old result." Partnerships are definitely key!

3 - Continue to frequently post on social media outlets (including blogger, which is difficult to navigate sometimes).

4 - Provide innovative strategies for the leadership team in my area.

Here's a shameless plug - Follow me on Twitter - @drjtedwardsTSU

I know these are very ambitious goals, but I hope to achieve exceed each of the four goals listed above.

Please feel free to leave comments!

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Student Food Pantries on Colleges Campuses - A Potential Solution for Food Insecurity Among Our Students

Last year, I visited another university in Texas for one purpose, but I left with a completely different idea. When I visited, I was introduced to a student who wanted to start a food pantry on campus for students who experience food insecurity throughout the week.

Here are two approaches to "food pantries" on campus.

- Start a campus garden (maintained by student organizations/staff/faculty)

- Develop an in-house food pantry for students.

Montgomery Country Community College (MCCC) is developing such a program. Their Stock Up for Success Program is described here -

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

12th Annual Depression on College Campuses Conference - March 2014

I am always looking for great resources focused on college student wellness (including depression). Here's a great resource for higher education professions (faculty and staff) who would like to learn more about resources to help their students and research focused on college student depression.


J. Edwards - @drjtedwardsTSU