From the Chair
After an amazingly long and mild autumn, winter has finally come to southwest Virginia. The cold, gray days make me long to snuggle up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea, to hibernate. But I'm also aware that underneath the snow my bulbs are biding their time and that the earliest bloomers will be sending out green shoots before too many more weeks have passed. Things are happening, even if I can't see them, and the renewed energy of spring is just around the corner.
I think that this time of year within ACPA is very much like that. The mid-year leadership meeting and the flurry of activity which inevitably follows now seem like distant memories. And it's been a very long time since many of us saw each other. But things have been happening, and the energy which convention brings is coming into view.
One of these "green shoots" is the new Commission VII research grant. Elsewhere in this newsletter is the call for proposals, which includes guidelines for submissions. While Commission VII has a long history of recognizing the importance of graduate student research through the Joan Dallum award, to actively support new counseling-related research is an exciting development. Most of us endorse the concept of the "scientist-practitioner" model, but the reality for most counseling professionals is that the resources needed to carry out the scientist part of that model are in short supply. This grant should help to supply the financial support needed to engage in this important activity.
Many of us have also been hard at work preparing for convention. Continuing our tradition of offering a speaker or workshop during the Sunday afternoon prior to the opening session, the directorate discussed topics which we thought would be timely and of interest to the widest possible range of Commission VII members. Themes which emerged through our discussion dealt with the growing difficulties we perceive our students to have in establishing both their own identity and interpersonal intimacy. Around this same time I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Richard Keeling speak to student affairs staff and faculty on my own campus. Dr. Keeling addressed these very issues, touching on societal trends which have contributed to and exacerbated these difficulties, resulting mental health issues, and how we can best respond to our students and their needs. I am thrilled that, in coordination with the ACPA national office and convention planning committee, we are able to bring Dr. Keeling to convention and have him speak with us on Sunday afternoon. I know that his session will be highly engaging, thought provoking and motivational, and I look forward to the discussions which I am sure will follow.
For those of you who will be at convention, be sure to check out the list of sponsored and CE-bearing programs, as well as Commission meetings and events taking place in Washington. Please plan to attend as many of these as possible, including our open and business meetings. It is through the committed involvement of our members that Commission VII remains a vital professional home to counseling and psychology professionals and a strong voice for these issues within the broader field of student affairs. And to those members who are unable to be at convention, the spring newsletter and Commission VII listserv will continue to be great avenues for staying connected and "in the loop" about commission activities and projects.
Finally, I want to extend a hearty congratulations and welcome to our new directorate members: Emily Carter, University of Delaware; Keisa King, graduate student representative from Ball State University; Linda Lewis, University of Florida; Kip Matthews, University of Georgia; Stacey Pearson, University of Michigan; Matt Torres, University of Maryland Baltimore; and Naijian Zhang, Westchester University. We had the largest slate of nominees and highest level of participation in voting that I can remember for some time.
Have a great semester, and see you in DC!