Title: Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management & Student Affairs

College / University / Organization: Indiana University Southeast

Position for which you are applying: Director of External Relations

In the space below, please describe your involvement with ACPA, including any leadership positions you have held.

ACPA Committees   

  • Directorate, Commission for Student Conduct and Legal Issues  
  • Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology in Student Affairs 
  • 2016 Convention Program Team 

ACPA Publication 
Meriwether, J.L. & Hart, A.J. (in press).  Welcome to campus:  Strategies to increase 
            connectedness for LGBT students.  In R. Shepherd & J. Breslin (Eds.), ACPA Academic
            Support Monograph Series:  2014 Briefs on Academic Support in Higher
            Education.  Washington, D.C.:  ACPA. 

ACPA Blog Post 
Designing Your Digital Stamp: Resources for Higher Ed Students, Educators & Future Employers http://digitaltaskforce.myacpa.org/designing-your-digital-stamp/ 

ACPA Conference Presentations 

  • Hazing: Not Just a Greek Problem, Indianapolis, IN, 2014 
  • Welcome to Campus:  Strategies to Increase Connectedness for GLBTQ Students, Indianapolis, IN, 2014 
  • Promising Practice: Student Inclusion in Interactive Alcohol Abuse Education Initiatives, Las Vegas, NV, 2013 
  • The Glass Ceiling: Where are the Black Student Affairs Professionals?, Las Vegas, NV, 2013 
  • Win the Lawsuit & Save a Life - Real Talk About Greeks & Hazing, Las Vegas, NV, 2013 
  • I’m More Than My Hair, Professionalism in Higher Education, panelist, Louisville, KY, 2012 

Pan African Network Career and Mentoring Boot Camp 
Panelist & Small Group Discussion Leader, 2014 

African American Male & Female Summit (ACPA Pre-Conference Workshop) 
Chief Student Affairs Officers Panel, 2014 

National Conference Attendance 
Attended ACPA National Conference in 2002, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2014 

Conference Volunteerism 
2002, 2012, 2013, 2014 

ACPA Next Gen 
Funded Undergrad Students to ACPA Next Gen in 2013 (2) & 2014 (5) 

Accepted Presentations for 2015 National Conference 

  • Glass Ceilings or Mirrors? Career Trajectory for Black Student Affairs Professionals, presenter & panel moderator
  • Respect, Death, and Tradition: Exploring Greek Life Hazing and Violence, presenter 
  • Welcome Home: Residential Impact on Student Persistence & Revenue Indicators, Co-presenter 
  • Tweet the VP: Uncovering the Digitally Accessible SSAO, Co-presenter
  • Extended Session: Deconstructing Professionals: The Truth Behind Our Journeys, Co-presenter & panelist

Please describe how you will work to advance ACPA’s Core Values if elected/appointed to this position.

Should the membership choose to elect me, the Association’s Core Values will be upheld and reflected in every interaction.  This is not simply because I would have earned the honor of this position however, but because ACPA’s Core Values are already a living-breathing set of principles within my professional life.  I recall attending my first ACPA Conference in Long Beach, California in 2002.  It was evident that ACPA’s members believed in the organization, and felt purpose as members.  I remember deciding in that very moment that I was in the right place at the correct time.  I was grateful for the members of ACPA who were so much more experienced and knowledgeable about the Association making me feel at home. Moreover, I felt empowered as a professional and motivated to dedicate meaningful energy to the scholarship of this field.  When I finally sat down in my hotel room, flipped through my conference materials and read about the association’s mission, it became very real to me based on my exchanges with veteran members of the Association earlier that day.   

Many years later, I realize it is important that even if a person is unfamiliar with the Association’s Core Values or Mission, following an interaction with an ACPA member or leader, if presented with our values in writing, that person should say “yes, those values were actively demonstrated, and quite authentically displayed.”  Much like an evaluation, the Association’s Core Values can’t simply be dusted off for a one time meeting or review just to go back in the file. My work will reflect the values of the Association, not just in words or writing, or on a few occasions.  My best and most consistent effort will be to live those Core Values in action and by example each day. 

After reviewing the qualifications of the position for which you are applying, please describe briefly below how you believe you meet each qualification.

In my current role and in previous positions, monitoring legislative trends as well as precedent-setting judicial matters that impact education has been both a necessary element of my responsibilities and a guilty pleasure.  I deeply enjoy studying this element of government and policy.  I am often quoted as saying that “the only consistent agreement one can find between CNN, MSNBC & Fox News is the constant negative banter about college access and affordability” as part of the often questioned value of a four-year degree based on studies about college completion. With respect to the ability to counter these arguments, my experience in engaging local, regional, state, and federal officials, as well as my experience researching, presenting, and consulting about legal issues will be beneficial in my service to the Association if elected.   

My substantive experience writing grants that were funded, while engaging in fundraising for student affairs and enrollment management initiatives, will be tools to cultivate new opportunities for the Association to engage in partnerships, collaborations, and donor relationships.  Additionally, my experience in maintaining long-standing relationships with corporate partners, private donors, and foundations will be value-add to creating a development plan as well as sharing relevant opportunities with ACPA’s stakeholders.   

As the Association moves into stances on public policy, legislation, or social justice issues, my approach to this role would be to provide as much front-end data and information regarding upcoming or current policy matters as possible.   This ensures that ACPA’s governing board is operating in preventative and proactive realms as opposed to avoidable reactionary positions having not been empowered with information.  It is equally critical that I leverage this role to stay aware of pending public policy matters so that the Association is prepared to inform our membership early and often regarding impactful legislative and judicial matters. 

In summary, my work for ACPA in this position will be centered on research, early and accurate information sharing, relationship building, thoughtful analysis of data, and frequent written reporting.  My varied experiences will allow me to give the Association the highest level of service if elected for this position.  

As a leader, how will you contribute to the work of the Association?

This role provides the opportunity to contribute to ACPA and to advance the literature, scholarship, research, and professional development that are such critical aspects of our organization.  My zest for consensus building and commitment to measurable strategic planning, as well as my emphasis on using data to inform decisions will be assets to Association.  I believe that all work, no matter how hard, should be of value to learning.  I am not just an advocate for student learning, but a firm believer in connecting my work to learning for all involved.  This perspective will be helpful in deliberations about the course for ACPA, cultivating relationships, and advocating for the Association.   

My favorite two gifts from birth are my ability to encourage my colleagues and my penchant for bringing laughter with me into every room.  This does not mean that I lack the ability to be serious, (trust me I do) however, I believe that our best work comes when we are reminded to find the best in each other and in the moment.  A broken clock is correct at least twice a day.  It’s our job to look at that clock at just the right moment to find value.  If that approach doesn’t work, a third important gift is that I also know how to repair a broken clock.

After reading the introductory statement about the ACPA Leader Selection Process, take a moment to reflect on your own experiences at the intersections of equity, inclusion and diversity. How will your experiences help you in our work to champion equity, inclusion and diversity within and outside the ACPA community?

Diversity is not as simple as filling a room with people of different races, ethnicities, or practices with the expectation that magic happens.  In the same vein, inclusion is not as simple as the legalized construct of “critical mass” and certainly is not a quota.  Most importantly, inclusion is not limited to simply tolerating another idea or belief.  Equity is also often confused with financial status, or much like inclusion, misconstrued to be a quota or simply having a number of people from varying populations sharing space. Growing up in a very rural and agrarian area in southern Kentucky where diversity was consistently skewed as an issue of black or white, or male and female, all of these limited approaches were common practice, but were far from best practice.     

Before I understood the phrase social justice, I lived it.  I was frequently engaged with those persons who were denied a voice in the mainstream, and felt a calling to support, represent, and befriend those people who were outside of the circles of the decision makers and the influencers.  Although I was outside of the circle myself, my sense of fairness and value for individual expression led me to engage the power brokers of social, political, and financial capital in my community on behalf of those with less of this capital than I possessed.  These early experiences shaped me.  Through roles in undergraduate leadership, professional positions, and community involvement, I have stayed the course of my youth with respect to using my position to give voice to those who may not have it.  I have been fortunate to have been trained on the practical and scholarly nuances of diversity, equity, and inclusion along the path of my career, however, my passion is derived from the experiences of my youth.   

As an avid reader, one of my favorite books is The Difference, by Scott Page.  In this book, the author explores diversity from the perspective of ideas, heuristics, talent, and ability. I subscribe to this perspective because truly championing equity, inclusion and diversity requires that I use every moment to embrace the best in my students, peers, colleagues, and everyone around me so these concepts are organic, not orchestrated. Page’s text helped me see that critical mass is far less important than critical thinking.  My commitment to the role of Director of External Relations means that I will uphold these principals within the organization and throughout all of my interactions with our external partners, internal stakeholders, and friends of the Association.