Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Speaker Spotlight: Rey Junco

With only 47 days left to go until the Annual Conference, I wanted to spotlight another speaker. Dr. Rey Junco is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of Disability Services in the Department of Academic Development and Counseling at Lock Haven University. He is widely regarded as a leading scholar on social media in higher education. Take a few moments to read Rey's article, "Using Emerging Technologies to Engage Students and Enhance Their Success," in the September issue of Academic Advising Today. You can follow him on twitter.com/reyjunco and check out his blog.

I wanted NACADA members to gain insight into what Rey will be speaking about at the opening session, so he took the time to answer a few questions.

Brad Popiolek: Why were you interested in speaking at the NACADA Annual Conference?

Rey Junco: It's a fascinating coincidence that ten years ago I presented one of my first national conference sessions at the NACADA conference in Orlando. That was four years before Facebook launched. Clearly, the technologies available and the ways that students interact with them, grow and learn because of them, and are challenged by them has changed considerably. I'm excited to be sharing what I've learned in these ten years about how we, as advisors, can best use technology to support our students.

BP: Describe some of your research interests and how they may relate to academic advising.

RJ: I focus on assessing the impact of emerging technologies on student psychosocial development, engagement, and success. Lately, I've focused a lot on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. While there is a good deal of interest in using newer technologies in higher education, research examining educational and developmental outcomes is scarce. Therefore, I focus on clarifying the impacts that social media have on our students through data-driven approaches. My goal is for advisors to be able to use my results to decide which technologies will be most effective to use with their students and to uncover the most effective ways to use them.

BP: What are possible topics that NACADA members can anticipate hearing about from you?

RJ: Most people think that, because of my research, I'm a digital evangelist. In reality, I take a very measured approach in considering educationally-relevant uses of technology. While attendees will hear me talk about the positive outcomes of student technology use, they'll also hear me talk about the pitfalls. Additionally, I believe it's important not to categorize all students as having equal technology skills just because they are younger than we are or grew up at a time when our society is saturated by technology. So, attendees will also hear me talk about digital inequalities in student ownership and use of technology, something that is of great importance and interest to me.

Rey Junco will be speaking at the Opening General Session on Sunday, October 3 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in the Coronado Ballroom

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