Letter from the President: Raymond Rogers

The 2017 Conference Committee, under Stephanie Bird’s leadership, put together an amazing conference that won’t soon be forgotten.  While speaking to folks since the conference, I’ve heard many compliment San Antonio, the Riverwalk, the conference’s diverse sessions, the Denim and Diamonds President’s Reception, and our exceedingly popular Tuesday night event, “An Evening in Old San Antonio,” featuring the very memorable Spazmatics concert.

While I agree that those were all top notch and memorable, for me, the highlight had to have been our opening keynote, Julian Castro.   His messages of inclusion, compassion, responsibility and optimism set the tone, not only for our conference but for our association as well.  His words reminded me of our call to service, beyond the daily noise of our jobs and to the larger role we play in supporting our students and staffs in discovering their passion and following their calling.

Conferences of this caliber and scale don’t occur without the tireless work, creativity and innovation of our many volunteers.  I want to formally thank all of you who contributed to making our 10-year celebration one to remember.  And speaking of volunteers, I’d like to congratulate and thank Gary Alan Miller, Director of UNC-Chapel Hill Career Services, for taking on the Assistant Conference Chair role for the 2018 conference in Atlanta.  He and Tim Harding (2018 Conference Chair) are already hard at work, building upon the success of the San Antonio conference.  Just having heard some of their preliminary ideas, I’m already looking forward to December.

And, in case you missed it, we held elections for the four transitioning positions on the 2018-19 SoACE Board.  We had a fantastic slate of candidates this year.  I was especially proud to see unprecedented interest in the Director – Finance position, typically one of the more difficult roles to fill.  Heartfelt congratulations go out to Charlie Wilder (Mississippi State University) as President-Elect, Kelly Lerch (Enterprise Holdings) as Director – Finance, Emmanuela Stanislaus (Florida International University) as Director – College Knowledge Groups, and Cheryl Hicks (Wake Forest University) as Director – Diversity and Inclusion.  Their roles will officially begin in July.  Welcome to the SoACE board.

SoACE had a very successful 2017 and we definitely have much more to do in 2018.



Using Insta-Language to Connect with Students

By Andrew Kohls, Assistant Director, Kansas State University Career Center

As an aging millennial, the drive to conquer all available social media apps is real! This is especially true with student affairs professionals, as we see our students effortlessly switch back and forth between platforms. For me, the big push came when I realized more and more students were dropping Facebook or not creating an account at all. I wanted to get away from Facebook and place my efforts on beefing up my Instagram account, where I could better connect with the “younger” world!

Looking back, I think I was forced to create an Instagram account to connect to a website or another app; I honestly can’t remember. I knew it was there, but I rarely touched it. (Kind of like some of our students and their LinkedIn accounts!) Like every “big” decision in my life, I wanted to seek input from experts who were familiar with the topics I was not. For my Insta-overhaul, I consulted only the best: my high school cousins and one of my faithful student workers! ☺

As I was looking through other Instagram accounts, I noticed that most people had a little blurb about them underneath their profile name. To be consistent, I realized that I also needed something! I texted my experts right away and said,

“Hey! I need a catchy, cool blurb for my Instagram! Can you help?”

Their responses…

“What does that even mean?”
“Like the part that goes under your name?”
“You mean, a bio?”

Obviously I needed a lesson on Insta-language! Once the experts finally understood what I was talking about, the A-HA moment happened!

They responded…
“What do you want viewers to know about you?”
“What do you want it to encompass?”

MIND.BLOWN! Suddenly, I felt as if I were the student and they were the professionals (which in this case, they were!). As a career advisor, my mind immediately went to cover letter and resume development. The questions these students had just asked me are the same questions I ask my students daily! I’m always looking for parallels between my students’ worlds and how they can apply their skills to university careers, and THIS.WAS.IT!

Since my breakthrough, I’ve started using Insta-language with all of my students, particularly my first-year students. Of course, I still use the Instagram “bio” (not blurb!) example to discuss tailoring documents to their intended audiences, but I’ve also started using “Finstas” to discuss personal branding and specific content that may not be appropriate for employers to see. (P.S. “Finstas” are Instagram accounts that students set up, in addition to their regular Instagram accounts, to post certain content they may not want everyone to see!) I’ve also used Instagram “followers” to discuss networking, which enables students to look at their own accounts, explain why they follow certain people, and how they can apply that same concept with networking for their careers.

Overall, my students have reacted very positively to my use of “ Insta-language connections.” The key is to keep the convos light. Be mindful that some students DO NOT want you to know anything about their social media presence, and that’s ok. But above all, stay positive, make clear connections, and HAVE FUN!

This article was originally published by the author at https://studentaffairscollective.org/insta-language-connect-students-sasome.


Andrew Kohls received a B.S. in Psychology from Kansas Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. He is currently an Assistant Director in the Career Center at Kansas State University, working with the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design, as well as graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kohls also serves as an instructor, working with first-year students every fall as part of the K-State First Program. He has been working in higher education since 2010, having previous experience in immigration advising, orientation programming, and admissions. Connect with him at: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewkohls Instagram: @andkoh52


Sam Ratcliffe, 2017 Southern Star Award Recipient

The Southern Star Award may be presented to a person or persons to recognize significant and outstanding contributions to the profession, to society, or to SoACE.  The Southern Star Award is a prestigious recognition of service and contributions exceeded only in significance within SoACE by the Founders Award. SoACE was proud to present Sam Ratcliffe, Director of Career Services at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), with the 2017 Southern Star Award at the Annual Conference in December. This award was also presented to Kent Phillips, recently retired Educator Relations Manager at Disney World Wide Services, who will be featured at a later time.

When Past President Mary Mahoney presented Sam with the award in December, she stated from Sam’s letter of nomination that he “has a strong national reputation in career services leadership and expertise in many areas, including external review processes, professional standards, professional competencies, assessment, and accountability in career services. He was previously recognized by his national peers on the Ten Most Visionary Leaders in Career Services list for two years in a row… He has given countless hours to his profession over the years and is very deserving of the Southern Star Award.”

Sam Ratcliffe, Ph.D. is a consultant, researcher, author, and frequent presenter on key topics related to career services. Receiving the Southern Star Award for significant and outstanding contributions to the profession adds to a long list of accolades that he has received in the course of his career.

A former president of both the Virginia (VACE) and Eastern (EACE) Associations of College and Employers, Sam received the distinguished service award from both organizations. He has served on the board of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) as College Director, Vice President-College, and President. Sam also provided career services expertise for ten years as a member of the board of directors for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). Sam has also been a faculty member for leadership studies courses and director of career services at VMI for many years.

Sam is a thought leader and influencer on multiple national issues including career competencies, ethical principles, accountability, external review processes, leadership development, advocacy, outcomes assessment, professional standards, and career services practitioner competencies.  He has been consistently recognized as a top visionary and forward thinking leader in the profession.

He is also one of 35 members of the prestigious NACE Academy of Fellows. This recognition is for his professional contributions to the advancement of knowledge, leadership, and excellence in professional practice.

The call for nominations for the 2018 Southern Star Award will be announced in the fall. When the time comes, please consider nominating a colleague. A list of past award recipients and selection criteria can be found on the Awards and Recognition page of the SoACE website.