Tech Savvy Is Essential to Student Affairs, Survey Finds

People who work in student affairs say that using modern media—including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—has become a big part of their jobs, according to the results of a new survey.

That is not, of course, an earth-shattering insight. But the extent to which those and other technological tools play a role in the working lives of student-affairs professionals surprised Kevin Valliere, a graduate student in student-affairs administration at Texas A&M University at College Station, who conducted the survey.

Of the 315 respondents, 71 percent said they used Facebook for professional purposes, 63 percent used Twitter, and 49 percent used YouTube. “Productivity” programs such as Microsoft Office, presentation software, and e-mail still reigned among the “most useful” tools, but social-media platforms ranked not far behind.

In an open-ended question, nearly 20 percent of respondents explicitly mentioned that coding and Web design might become useful skills for student-affairs workers in the future.

The survey was unscientific and probably skewed toward more tech-savvy members of the field, said Mr. Valliere, who is a member of the Technology Knowledge Community of Naspa—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, a professional association.

Nevertheless, he said, “the sheer proportion of those who believed that social media and other technological platforms had a real place in student affairs says quite a bit about where we might expect our profession to be heading in the next several years.”

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