With just a couple of weeks from ACPA16 in Montréal, its hard to believe my term as ACPA President is nearing its end. The time has gone by so quickly. As I look towards convention next month, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on my past year as president.
It certainly has been an exciting year. I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to meet people from around the world, all of whom dedicate their lives daily to the success of college students. Connecting with people from China, Italy, France, Spain, Poland, Belgium, The Caribbean, Canada, and across the United States has been a highlight of my presidency. The commitment and passion these individuals have for college student success is inspiring.
ACPA has accomplished many things in the last 12 months. Last July, the Governing Boards of both ACPA and NASPA approved the 2nd edition of the professional competencies. In the fall our associations commissioned a task force to develop resources to support the use of those competencies. That group should have the first set of resources available this summer.
We made strides toward becoming more international. I am excited to end my term during the first convention that ACPA will have outside of the United States. Our partnership with the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) has been instrumental in the planning of this major event. We are collaborating with the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS), as well as LEAD365, to co-sponsor a Global Student Leadership Summit which will be co-located with our convention. I have also created an international feedback group who has been providing recommendations to ACPA leadership regarding how we can better realize the “International” in our tagline: College Student Educators – International.
I’m proud of the scholarship produced this year. The Journal of College Student Development has remained one of the most regarded journals in higher education and is positioned to stay this way with the newly installed editorial board led by Deb Liddell. About Campus, our scholarly magazine, is now available online. Editor Frank Shushock is developing future scholars with the About Campus Writing Retreat, whose inaugural meeting was July 2015. In August 2015, The Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force published Beyond Compliance: Addressing Sexual Violence in Higher Education, a critical resource for addressing sexual violence on campuses. The Commission for Two Year Colleges published Remediation to Graduation: Directions for Research and Policy Practice in Developmental Education. ACPA and NASPA co-sponsored the book Coordinating Student Affairs Divisional Assessment. ACPA also co-published the groundbreaking book The Neuroscience of Learning: Enhancing Creativity, Compassion, Critical Thinking, and Peace in Higher Education edited by Marilee Bresciani Ludvik.
ACPA’s professional development this year was also outstanding. We had our largest Residential Curriculum Institute ever. Our hybrid Presidential Symposium focusing on student learning with an estimated 2000 participants from over 100 colleges in the Western Hemisphere. In addition, the event had 2 billion Twitter impressions and over 1900 tweets to the symposium hashtag. The Commissions sponsored 49 different webinars with nearly 3400 people participating. We have engaged more than 42,000 individuals through ACPA Video on Demand.
The area of most growth personally, has been regarding equity and inclusion. As a college student educator, I have a responsibility to be cultural competent so that I can create an optimal learning environment for all of my students. As President of ACPA, I have heard accounts of the aggressions and microagressions our members and students experienced on their campuses, and even in ACPA. It has been gut-wrenching. I’ve had to confront my privilege in ways that I haven’t done before. I’ve realized how much I don’t know and how much I have to learn. The Governing Board and association leadership have been engaged in equity and inclusion training to increase the cultural competence of leaders. Individually, and collectively, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Toward this, I have commissioned a committee to implement recommendations from the Leadership Pathways Task Force. The original task force, led by Kathy Obear and Kathleen Kerr, studied barriers to leadership for members and identified remedies to ensure inclusion. The Governing Board has had conversations regarding structural discrimination within the association and will continue explore this issue and remedies to address it.
It has been a transformative year for me personally and professionally. I learned more than I could have imagined in this role and ACPA continues to provide me with the best professional development I’ve ever had. As I transition to Past-President, my hope is that ACPA is a little bit better because I have served as President. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the association and field that I love.
ACPA President 2015-2016