Student Engagement Through Digital Data in “Engaging the Digital Generation”

New Directions for Student Services, Number 155, Engaging the Digital Generation was released on September 5, 2016. Under the leadership of editors Dr. Ed Cabellon and Dr. Josie AhlquistEngaging the Digital Generation is now available online and the print edition is available for pre-order. This dynamic volume of the New Directions Series discusses effective practices and strategies to mitigate challenges faced by college students and student affairs leaders related to digital engagement, social media, and technology.

Student Engagement Through Digital Data

Dr. Liz Gross and I co-authored the chapter, Student Engagement Through Digital Data. We explore pertinent research and theory, and offer strategies to leverage digital tools in recruitment, learning, and co-curricular engagement to generate measurable outcomes.   In our chapter, we cover the following topics:

  • Student Engagement and Involvement
         Research and Theory
         Measuring Student Engagement
         Social Media and Student Engagement
  • Collecting and Assessing Digital Data
         Types of Digital Data
         Ethics of Digital Data Collection and Analysis
         Measuring Social Media Activity – Account Based
         Finding and Analyzing Public Online Posts
  • Collecting Digital Data From Campus-Based Systems
         Integrating Social Media Outreach Through Digital Targeting
  • Measuring Student Success Through Co-Curricular Involvement
  • Implementing Automated Reporting Systems
         Making Digital Data Meaningful to Potential Collaborators
  • Using Social Media Outcomes to Inform Student Affairs Initiatives
         Mitigate Reticence with Data and Measurable Outcomes

Chapters and Contributors

This volume also includes dynamic chapter contributions by a group of talented scholars to help curate discourse about integrating and implementing digital technology strategies into student affairs initiatives. Other chapters include:

  • A Historical Perspective on Student Affairs Professionals’ Use of Digital Technology by Dr. Cabellon and Dr. Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
  • The Digital Identity of Student Affairs Professionals by Dr. Ahlquist
  • A Strategic Necessity: Building Senior Leadership’s Fluency in Digital Technology by Dr. Kara Kolomitz and Dr. Cabellon
  • College Student Development in Digital Spaces by Dr. Paul Gordon Brown
  • Setting the Course: Strategies for Writing Digital and Social Guidelines by Dr. Laura Pasquini

Gratitude and Conclusion

This is my first blog post via What better way is there to launch my own blog than by introducing a new collaborative project? Working with a group of scholars that focuses more on collaboration than competition embodies the true spirit of digital education and leadership. I am personally grateful to Ed & Josie for inviting me to write, and equally grateful to Liz for being such a terrific partner on the journey to finishing our chapter. This book’s content is realistic, scholarly, and applicable to the day-to-day work of student affairs educators in practice. May reading the book be just as much fun for you as it was rewarding for me to contribute!


Author: Dr. Jason L. Meriwether

Jason L. Meriwether, Ph.D. offers workshops for college & university communities and higher education conferences which include keynote addresses and team trainings. Jason's specialization includes hazing prevention education, creating measurable strategic plans & enrollment management initiatives, exploring how digital media influences learning, and developing an authentic leadership brand. Jason fills every experience with energy & enthusiasm while offering interactive and engaging sessions and discussions designed to meet robust goals and learning outcomes.

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