The 2021 Tech Conference was a great event and chance to connect and learn from colleagues across the system. This conference featured standout keynotes from Dr. Rana el Kaliouby of Affectiva and Dr. José M. Hernández from Tierra Luna Engineering.
I got the chance to be part of two sessions during the conference. In our Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion track, I chatted with other panelists Tara Hughes (Maritime), Bethany Rizzardi (Humboldt State), and Patty Weyand (Cal State San Bernardino) about the value of soft skills, and how the term is a bit of a misnomer for the critical leadership skills that often get grouped under the term. Further, the term “soft” has a gendered connotation, and the cluster skills that are deemed soft are often found in roles that also happen to be predominantly held by women in IT – in communications, project management, and instructional design as examples. In preparing for the session, I came across a few good reads on the topic, including this Forbes article and Inc. article.
In the other session, titled Student Access and Connectivity – Data and Action, we shared data from a collaborative study with EDUCAUSE on student technology experiences during the pandemic. I then talked with campus CIOs Mark Hendricks (Sacramento State), Orlando Leon (Fresno State) and Bethany Rizzardi (Humboldt State) about the findings of the study, and what steps campuses are taking to support student connectivity and device access.
Overall, it was a great week of sessions and networking with colleagues and vendors.