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Digital Identity Development: Orientation and Career Services
February 8, 2012 - 7:24pm

Is digital identity development part of your institution's orientation program? It's understandable if it isn't. After all, orientation programs are generally at capacity and an extra addition to the schedule is nearly impossible. However, I suspect that eventually, digital identity development will be present at almost all orientation programs.

A recent Syracuse University news release about career development workshops for seniors included a session on using social media. The session would show graduating seniors "how social media can play an integral role in making job connections and how networking is the key to finding that first opportunity." Co-lead by Kim Brown, alumni programs coordinator for Career Services, and Dan Klamm, assistant director of digital and social media for Syracuse University, this looks like a really worthwhile opportunity for Syracuse students.

So then I started thinking about the connections between digital identity development, orientation, first year experience programs, and career services. What if we created sessions during orientation, and within our first year experience (FYE) curricula, where career services worked with students to develop their social media fluency and digital identity? Working with students right away instead of the usual senior-focused events (obviously still needed and beneficial), a long-term development that involved orientation programs, FYE courses, academic advising, and career services. Perhaps this is already being done at your institution...if so, please feel free to share your experiences and structure in the comments.

It would be amazing to see a collaboration on digital identity development between the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA), The National Resource Center for The FYE & Students in Transition, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Constructing spaces for knowledge exchange and changing the traditional patterns of involvement, this could potentially re-orient the traditional career services model where students typically only seek assistance during their final year of school. Having career services practitioners at the front lines of digital identity development, working collaboratively with orientation and FYE professionals, this could be a major development in how higher education utilizes social media and formalizes digital identity development initiatives.





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