Monday, August 31, 2015

First-Year Convocation Ceremonies for Incoming Students at Universities Across the United States

The beginning of the academic year always sparks a sense of renewal in my mind and also in the minds of many higher education faculty across the country (and beyond). I always look forward to our university's convocation ceremony, because this first-year ceremony marks the beginning of the students's academic journey at our university.

Here is this year's video focused on our first-year convocation ceremony. This video was uploaded from my Periscope video (where slightly under 70 people viewed the ceremony. Although my arm was shaky, and my mind was focused on the next steps for these students, this video captured the essence of this important moment in the lives of the almost 2,000 first-year students on campus.

While you are enjoying this video (which features some of my most favorite speakers), take a look at these first-year convocation videos as well:

Missouri State University's New Student Convocation Ceremony

Kansas State University's - New Student Convocation Ceremony

Does your college or university offer a similar experience for incoming students? The new student (or freshmen) convocation ceremony enables the students to experience a special event before they have the REAL experience in a four-year time frame. Also, please let me know if you have a video to add to the list. :)


Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards
- Twitter/Instagram - @drjtedwards
- drjtedwards at

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Vote for Our #SXSWEdu Session - Higher Education Hack Tech Tools for Completion - #55HigherEd

I am very excited to announce that we submitted a proposal to SXSWEdu for a third year! You can vote for our session here! and I am looking forward to (possibly) presenting at the South By Southwest Edu conference in Austin, TX! Here's are several tweets and audience member notes from last year's session:

This was an incredible experience last year and I connected with amazing people from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and also individuals from various educational organizations in Texas as beyond! I left the conference with a wealth of ideas for implementing best practices at our institution of higher education AND also neat research (and social media engagement ideas).

I am especially passionate about this year's #SXSWEdu proposal because it connects several of my professional interests in one proposal: technology, retention ideas, scalable solutions for higher education, and social media. Also, I like the continue the conversation after the conference and this year will definitely enable us to continue the conversation.

Here's our proposal video:

Here are the Learning Objectives for the session!
1 - To identify the MOST COMMON problems encountered by higher education administrators, faculty, staff, and students.
2 - To explore low-cost and higher-cost technological, programmatic, and service-based solutions for addressing the MOST common higher education problems.
3 - To connect with other participants to form two higher education learning communities: 1) teaching and learning and 2) higher education solutions.

Dr. Jennifer Edwards - Taking a selfie in the green room before the #55HigherEd Session
Higher education administrators, faculty, and staff encounter common problems that negatively impact student success at their early college high school, community college, or university. These common problems usually include: recruitment, developmental education, retention, on-time graduation rates (completion), increasing costs, changing demographics, workplace readiness (marketable skills), and budget constraints.

A picture of our name placards!
Through this session, participants will identify higher education problems, explore low-cost and higher-cost solutions, and connect with others through social media-based, higher education learning communities (on Facebook and Twitter). - 

When you have a chance, vote for our session on #SXSWEdu's panel picker. If you attended last year's conference, you know that we have a great time presenting and we LOVE engaging with our audience! :)

Thank you!

- Dr. Jennifer Edwards

Thursday, August 20, 2015

5 Ways to Avoid Discouragement When Writing Grant Proposals (A Tip Sheet for Tenure Track Professors)

My goals for this year include writing a grants for the Texas Social Media Research Institute (@TSMRI). Grants will definitely be important for our success at TSMRI because it will enable us to provide more students with internships.

I know each of these grants will help get closer to our goal, but sometimes you can become DISCOURAGED. :(

5 Ways to Avoid Discouragement When Writing Grant Proposals
1 - Realize each unfunded grant application is a step in the right direction.
2 - Reading the comments will make your next proposal better.
3 - Grant writing builds long-lasting research
4 - Think about providing funding for undergraduate research
experiences for your students.
5 - You can still include unfunded proposals on your CV.

What would you add to the list?


Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards
- Twitter/Instagram - @drjtedwards
- drjtedwards at