How does access to a live feed of what people around you are saying effect your perception of the climate of your campuses, your professional association, or society at large? Regardless of whether you view YikYak as “harmless” or “harmful”, a conversation about the intersections of social media, social justice and social change and what to do about it is a critical next step. How do social justice movements utilize social media to foster social change? What concepts of social justice translate to a digital space? How might social media posts interrupt forward progress towards inclusivity? Finally, what role do all of these platforms play in our lives as student affairs professionals, as social justice activists, and as people who desire a more inclusive and equitable climate in higher education?

On this episode, Heather Shea Gasser discusses these questions and more with social media and social justice experts Paul Gordon Brown and Vernon Wall. Provide feedback and ask questions of our guests by tweeting to #higheredlive during the show and we’ll do our best to incorporate them into the conversation.


Episode Host

Heather Shea

Heather Shea

Heather Shea's career in student affairs spans nearly two decades and five different campuses, and involves experience in many different functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, women’s centers, student activities, leadership development, and commuter/nontraditional student services–she identifies as a student affairs generalist. Heather is currently serving as the director of Women*s Student Services in the Division of Student Affairs at Michigan State University having just completed her Ph.D. in MSU's HALE (Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education) Program. She completed her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University in 2000. Connect with Heather on Twitter at @heather_shea_


Vernon Wall

Vernon has accumulated over 25 years of professional Student Affairs experience at Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill. He has experience in Greek life, new student orientation, student activities, leadership development, global education and university housing. Vernon currently lives in Washington DC where he serves as the Director for Business Development for LeaderShape, Inc. Prior to this position, Vernon served as the Senior Director for Professional Development, Research & Scholarship for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA – College Student Educators International). He received his B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University and his M.S. degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Indiana University. In the spring of 1998, Vernon served as a member of the Student Life Staff with the Semester at Sea program accompanying 600 students on a voyage around the world. Vernon has received numerous awards for his contributions to the quality of student life, is a nationally known speaker in the areas of social justice and leadership styles and is one of the founders and facilitators of the Social Justice Training Institute. Vernon has written several articles and has co-edited two books on issues of inclusion on today’s college campus. His award-winning programs and presentations have been seen by thousands of students, faculty, and staff on campuses across the country and have been described as being “a learning experience – with a touch of wildness.” Learn more at or tweet to @vernonAwall


Paul Gordon Brown

Paul Gordon Brown is a scholar, consultant and speaker working on the fringes of where student learning and development intersect with technology, social media and design. Paul has over 10 years of professional experience in higher education and student affairs in a diverse array of functional areas including residential education, honors programs, academic advising, and student activities. Currently serving as the Acting Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Paul has extensive experience in student affairs, in the classroom and in working within blended student and academic affairs environments. An experienced presenter, Paul has had accepted and given over 40 refereed presentations at national and regional conferences. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the State University of New York College at Geneseo, and a Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. Paul has also studied at Miami University in Oxford, OH and at New College, Oxford University, in the United Kingdom. Paul is also currently a full time PhD student at Boston College in the Higher Education program. Find out more at and follow along at @paulgordonbrown.