Leaning Into Motherhood-How’s it going you might ask?

Written on Sunday morning, July 28.
Back on March 10th, I wrote an entry about how I have chosen to lean in to motherhood and take a 1 year unpaid maternity leave. The last time I did not have a full time job was 14 years ago in college and even those were part-time. So, for this career women, taking this time away from work was going to be a big change. If you did not get a chance to read that past blog entry here it is: When do you lean in and when do you lean back


Successful Teams = Life-Long Friendships Made

Growing up, my parents sent my sister and I to a small Catholic elementary school called Mount St. Mary’s. I pretty much had the same classmates from 1st to 8th grade. What they didn’t realize they were doing by sending me to MSM was that I would experience the magic of forming life long friends. When high school arrived, majority of them went to the a different high school and myself and one other classmate went to the other local high school. As I moved through high school, I yearn to experience that close-knit group feeling. It wasn’t until I went to college and joined the Associated Students Productions Programming board and living on campus that I would meet a group of people who would then become life long friends.

I tell this story because it hit me today, as I looked out on to the college soccer fields, that it was just last May, I lead a group of student leaders who formed a bond that will forever give them life-long friends. It was on the same soccer field that Jose Mayen (AS VP) and Doris Vargas (PTK VP) started a tradition of Student Government vs Phi Theta Kappa Honors “end of the year” soccer game. I was looking out onto the soccer fields because a week ago, we lost Jose to a car accident. In my 12 years of advising student leaders, he was the first student leader I ever lost. His leadership, he willingness to include everyone, and his ability to be there for his team made last year’s student government team bond so well, they all became life long friends. As they all learned about Jose’s passing, it hit me how much they had grown to appreciate each other. Something that comes not too often. It makes me really proud that I was part of it.

Student life departments, student leadership programs, student engagement practices in the classroom; they all offer students the opportunity to bond with other students. They get to experience what is feels like to be part of a team either from experiencing an overnight leadership retreat together, weekend conference or simply meeting every week. And maybe, if the timing is right and so is that advisor or teacher, the students will form friendships that will last a lifetime.

In the field of student affairs, you have to ask yourself, do you have the magic, the energy, the desire, to build student teams? Do you know the tools? It can be learned. It for sure comes with practice. And boy, I pray you get to experience it some day. And I pray you also have a student like Jose.

Below is a picture of 2011-2012 ASCC board at their Spring Leadership Retreat. Jose is in the back row, 3rd person from the left.



When do you Lean In and when do you Lean Back?

This weekend, the hottest topic up for discussion is the launch of Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg new book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” and her non-profit LeanIn.org. I was excited to see Sheryl make the cover of Time. The cover story and the essay by Sheryl are excellent reads. I highly recommend you pick up a copy for yourself. After reading the article on Friday night and catching the response from the panel on “This Week” this morning, it got me thinking about my own personal journey.


Find a Student

A theme that kept running through my head this week was “Find a Student”. For faculty, it is pretty clear that they will have a student to teach to on their first day of classes. I wonder if they think about running their lesson plan by a student first? For Student Affairs professionals, our work is often planning for students needs. May it be faster Financial Aid processing, processing their grades in Admissions, or making sure all the dorm furniture is ready for move in day. I’m learning this week, that as I make plans for the fall semester, I have to remember to include a student. Especially, recently with planning the next big lecture, or our new service of Xbox game rentals. Having that student engagement in the planning makes such a difference. They provide the feedback you forgot you needed and you provide the engagement that connects them to the college.

Student government or Res Life Council can be excellent places to find a student. I’m also hoping that by engaging my student government officers now, they will be ready for the additional work student government will be once they start their fall classes. As much as they say “It’s summer Victoria!”, I’m hoping they will appreciate the time management lesson later. :)


Seeing student affairs in a new way

“In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell, teach or preach, as I am in how you choose to live and give.”-Newark mayor Cory Booker from the world according to Gayle”O” Magazine.

This quote has really been sitting with me, especially in my work in student affairs. I’m very good at keeping data and writing reports about how many students my area serves and what they are learning and what we are doing, etc. I love sharing them and I love teaching others about student leadership and engagement. But now, I can’t help but think “How much do I Give? How am I Living student leadership? Student engagement? I know I “give” tons of energy towards advising and planning events, etc. I know I have the passion to create ways to keep student engagement happening both in the classroom and outside the classroom. However, as I look at my own life, I wonder what others see me doing? I think it all goes back to intention. Intention is what humans can see and feel from each other. Feeling a shift happening…


Phi Theta Kappa Nashville Convention Workshop “Come Together” PowerPoint and Handout

I’m back from the amazing Phi Theta Kappa 94th Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, April 11-April 15, 2012. It was awesome! Between staying at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center to hearing authors Amy Chua and Malcolm Gladwell speak, to sharing the weekend with 4 thousand Phi Theta Kappa students and their advisors, plus my mom, and to top it off, my college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter Beta Zeta Nu, Canaada College, Redwood City CA , brought home the award for 4th finalist for Most Distinguished Chapter out of 1300 chapters!! First time in the college’s history. I was so proud of our students and their advisors.

I attended the convention as a guest to co-present with their co-advisor Paul Roselli. Our workshop title was: “Come Together! How to Build Better Relationships Between Your Phi Theta Kappa Chapter and the Associated Students.”
For those who attended (thank you!), for those who were unable to attend, here is our PowerPoint and Handout for you to download.
PowerPoint: Final PTK ASCC Breakout Come together
Handout: PTk AS Come Together Handout

Everyone, keep up the great work!


Know “your” Accrediation Chapter

Greetings fellow student affairs professionals!
At some point in your career, you will be asked to write a specific chapter for the institution’s accreditation report. Accreditation comes every 6 years. At the community college level in CA, the area of Student Life often is given the Accreditation standard: II.B.3.b. The institution provides an environment that encourages personal and civic responsibility, as well as intellectual, aesthetic, and personal development for all of its students.

It is spring break on my campus, and I FINALLY found the time time to get my chapter done.

My advice for you, read another college’s chapter, make an outline, and realize you will probably have to make time out of the office to get it done. Between student government meetings, planning commencement, and updating your department’s website, finding the time to write the chapter you are in charge of will be hard to find. But you know what, you will get it done :)



Renew and be refueled

Student Affairs/Student Services Tip of the Month

  • Renew your NASPA Membership Today! www.naspa.org
    This last month, I renewed my NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) one of the leading national professional organizations for our field, yearly membership. It has been a few years since I was a member, and boy, I did not realize what I was missing. In away, the last few weeks of catching up on trends, hot topics, etc. has refueled my passion for this field. Thanks NASPA!

Day in the Life

It’s been awhile since I had sometime to share some thoughts on student affairs and student services. I love sharing stuff, especially for my New Student Affairs Professional blog readers.  So I thought, why not share “a day in the life” moment. Here is some highlights from an email I sent to my Vice President of Student Services before I left for the weekend. You will find, that in our field of student affairs, we wearing many hats which makes for a far from boring job AND we could use another hour in the day, but hey, lunch breaks are meant to be spent not in meetings or at your desk but at your favorite spot on campus where no student can find ya 😉

Jan. 13-email
“Hi Robin! Hi Debbie!
I need to cancel for Tuesday, with it being the first day of classes. Debbie, I was wondering if we could find another time Robin and I could meet. Mondays between 3-5 are really good for me or Friday mornings after 9am. Here is my report for now.
Center for Student Life and Leadership Development update for Jan 13.
-ASCC-all set for Spirit Thursday on Jan. 19th even with a Rain Plan. If it rains, we are moving it to the Theatre Lobby. Have already spoken to the theatre manager.
-ASCC mtgs now Tues. 3:30-5pm.
-The AS president came in today to work on the BOT report. Awesome PowerPoint. You will be impressed.
*ID Card and Sallie Mae Payment plans
-We are still following what A&R and the Business office requested which is not to give ID cards to students with payment plans because we think it will open a flood gate for students wanted other things such as transcripts which are also not allowed unless students have a zero balance.
*SLO Team 6
-I sent email reminders to members asking for updated on 2011-2012 SLO’s no reports yet
-Trackdac-no info uploaded yet. Struggling to find time to get it done. I am keeping really good notes, it just finding the time to enter it in.
*Accreditation team
-I have read over all my part, past one and what other colleges have written. However, I have not started writing my part. Just need to find the time and get it done.
HELP-I do need some guidance on what other offices I should include in mind. Need to ask my committee chair.
*Social Justice Series
-I have joined Romeo and a handful of instructors to develop a Social Justice Series for the Spring Semester. First event is an Student Panel on the Occupy Movement, scheduled for Jan. 31, 10am, Main theatre. We are organizing student speakers from Cal, SfState and Davis who have participated in the Occupy movement on their campus to shared their experience.
*Leadership Class
-Almost done with the course outline. I wanted to be done by today, but I had to get ahead on upcoming campus events.
*Student Trustee Nominee Elections
-Dates set for March 20 and March 21. Packet will be available starting February 21.
Next week, just stop by if you need anything particular from me.
Thanks! Have a great weekend,

Are you Linked In?

This week I’m presenting a workshop at the California Community College Student Affairs Association Professional 2011 Conference in Sacramento. As part of the Board of Directors, we started brainstorming topics and I couldn’t help but bring up my personal experience. As someone who recently changes jobs, I learned that I was the only in the hiring pool with an online professional portfolio. After I was hired, the student on the committee shared with me “it made a real difference that the committee could see examples of my work and read about experiences in student affairs  in an simple easy way”. So, I volunteered to lead a workshop on how to create your own online portfolio. Here is a few things I’ve learned:

  • If you are not ready or have the time to develop an online portfolio, LinkedIn is a great place to start!
  • The Education field is slowing starting to use social media for hiring, so I encourage to keep working on your resume and essay questions..ahh but guess what..you can also have those documents posted online!
  • The bonus of starting an online portfolio is it gets you organized. You get to showcase examples of the work you are most proud of, show your resume, and develop new ideas all in one place, AND it forces you stay on top of it.