by Tiffani Ziemann
When I first started grad school, I joined the Association of Student Conduct Administration (at the time, ASJA) because my graduate assistantship was in student conduct and my supervisor suggested it as a professional development opportunity. In my graduate program, we were also encouraged to consider joining either ACPA or NAPSA to further our involvement in and understanding of the field. Without much thought, I joined ACPA. I went to the Conventions and enjoyed my experience, but didn’t really think much about ACPA outside of March.
When I got my first professional position after grad school, my focus wasn’t solely student conduct. With limited professional development funds, I thought it made more sense to move away from ASCA and focus my resources on ACPA to have a broader development experience. For the first year or so, I really only thought of ACPA around Convention time.
During a Convention, I reconnected with a colleague I had met a few years earlier at my first Convention. He had been kind enough to serve as a resource for me during my graduate experience and we decided to catch up while at the conference. He shared his experiences on the Commission for Student Conduct and Legal Issues and encouraged me to get involved. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but I decided to look into it. I went to the open session for the Commission and met some current members. When I met these folks, I found the community I had been missing since I had left ASCA: people who were passionate about and invested in student conduct. I was home.
After those interactions, I decided to run for a directorate body position for the Commission. That decision changed everything. I began to experience ACPA in an entirely new way. When I went to Convention, I had this whole new network of people. I had colleagues from campuses across the country with similar experiences and interests as me. It made a much more comfortable Convention experience for me.
Additionally, ACPA became a year-long commitment. I was engaged in the work of the organization and Commission throughout the year, not just around Convention time. It opened my eyes to all of the opportunities that ACPA offered. The understanding and experience was only magnified when I was elected to the Commission leadership, including the Chair position.
Being Chair gave me opportunities and access to ACPA leadership that I never thought I would have, especially so early in my career. I was able to sit at the table with other Commission Chairs and discuss issues that had a real impact on our members. It made me feel connected to ACPA in a way that I didn’t feel possible.
Joining a Commission was a great decision for me. Joining this particular Commission was one of the best decisions I could ever make. I feel engaged with ACPA every day. Though my day to day work does not have much student conduct, this CSLI helps me maintain a connection to the field I love and has introduced me to some of the best professionals I know. Without this Commission, I would have missed out on so much that ACPA and our field has to offer.
Tiffani Ziemann has worked at Ithaca College since 2006 where she is currently an Area Coordinator for the Offices of Residential Life and Judicial Affairs. She has also been serving as the College’s Title IX Coordinator since August 2014.