Crafting an #SATech Research Agenda

Brian Bourke

February 6, 2016

A small group of dedicated TKC members (and supporters) have undertaken the task of crafting a research agenda. The purpose of the research agenda is to provide a broad, but pointed framework to guide scholarly endeavors pertinent to the four pillars of the TKC. In a future blog post (after the 2016 Annual Conference), we will share the research agenda itself.

The first major part of the research agenda development process has been looking at the Technology professional competencies. Through this process, individual competencies were grouped thematically: Trends, Research, and Knowledge-Base Development; Leadership and Governance (Policy and Guidelines); Assessment and Implementation for Education & Program Planning; Applied and/or Soft Skills for Using Technology; Information Literacy and Management; Learning & Development (Mentoring, Modeling, & Professional Development); Inclusion and Access; and, Workplace Communication and Collaboration. In attempting to organize Technology competencies thematically, we realized drawing clear lines would be difficult, and ended up with overlap across themes. Those overlaps are being examined in concert with previously published literature.

Another step we’ve taken is an examination of published literature related to technology in student affairs. To date, we have examined 31 published articles. Of the 31 articles, 18 were published between 2011-2015; the remaining 13 were published between 2004-2010. In the world of technology, where things change rapidly, a large portion of that literature is out of date. Several articles and reports not part of this analysis were excluded due to either addressing outdated technology (e.g. Myspace) or not addressing the role of student affairs (i.e. not connected to the Technology professional competencies).

This process has been critical to the formation of the TKC research agenda. The future steps have the potential to be more critical to the final research agenda product. After the draft of the research agenda is shared at the TKC business meeting during the Annual Conference in Indianapolis, the draft will also be shared to all TKC members via blog post. After a brief period of review, feedback will be solicited. We want to ensure that the research agenda not only reflects what has been previously disseminated through scholarly and professional outlets, but that it reflects the perspectives of TKC members.

Ultimately, the purpose of a TKC Research Agenda is to have a living document that any member of the TKC or NASPA can use. Use of the research agenda can take many shapes and forms, not limited to the production of research. Because the professional competencies are used to guide the creation of the research agenda, the research agenda will help practitioners gain a sense of future directions in scholarship pertinent to technology in student affairs. Practitioners, graduate students, and faculty will be able to look to the TKC research agenda for a glimpse beyond the horizon for future touch-points as we continue to advance our professional knowledge base.

Dr. Brian Bourke is a faculty member in the postsecondary education master’s program at Murray State University, where he focuses on student affairs professional preparation. As a member of the TKC, he serves as a Faculty in Residence. In addition to his work with the TKC, Brian advocates for meaningful approaches to assessment in student affairs, starting in graduate preparation programs. When he isn’t preparing future student affairs leaders, Brian enjoys time with his wife and 3-year old daughter, and time in his woodworking shop.

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