College Student Educators as Scholars Part II

From the President's Desk

In my December post, I argued that college student educators are scholars if we use Boyer’s (1990) definition of scholarship. Boyer articulated four different types of scholarship: discovery, integration, application, and teaching and learning. The scholarship of discovery is what many of us typically envision when we think about research – gathering data that leads to new knowledge. Scholarship of integration concerns making connections of knowledge across disciplines. The scholarship of application occurs when new understandings arise out of utilization of discovered knowledge. Finally, scholarship of teaching and learning is work that examines how to effectively develop skills for knowledge creation and acquisition. College student educators engage in all of those activities in the course of their work. Sometimes they are creating new knowledge in their practice. Other times, they may be integrating knowledge across multiple domains when implementing a program or service. Integrating theory into practice is application. And, college student educators participate in teaching and learning.

Boyer further states that simply engaging in discovery, integration, application, and teaching/learning is not sufficient for scholarship. In a talk he gave to the National Association of Physical Education in Higher Education in 1995 (published in the journal Quest in 1996), Boyer outlines standards to define scholarship.

  1. First, the work must have clear goals.
  2. Appropriate methods are used
  3. Resources are used adequately
  4. Results are significant
  5. Effective communication of the results
  6. Reflective self-critique

Building on Boyer’s (1996) work Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff (1997) refined those standards and offered the following guidelines for scholarship:

  1. Clear goals
  2. Adequate preparation
  3. Appropriate methods
  4. Significant results
  5. Effective presentation
  6. Reflective critique

Five years later, Mentkowski and Loacker (2002) identified another set of six criteria for scholarship:

  1. The activity requires a high level of discipline-expertise.
  2. The activity breaks new ground, is innovative.
  3. The activity can be replicated or elaborated.
  4. The work and its results can be documented.
  5. The work and its results can be peer-reviewed.
  6. The activity has significance and impact.

Integrating Glassick et al. (1997) and Mentkowski and Loacker’s (2002) criteria for scholarship, the following standards for student affairs scholarship (regardless of type: discovery, intergration, application, or teaching and learning) could be specified:

  1. The activity requires a high level of discipline-related expertise: The activity should take into account literature including student development theory, leadership theory, organizational development theory, change theory, and communication. In addition, expertise in fostering student learning and success should also be included.
  2. The activity is innovative: An activity that is similar to activities done on other campuses may not be notable in the student affairs arena. The activity should employ a novel approach to supporting students
  3. The activity has significant impact: Similar to the activity being novel, the impact must be significant. The impact could be on individual students, a department, or institution.
  4. The activity is effectively presented: The activity is effectively shared with key stakeholder groups in form and content appropriate for each target audience so they can understand what the activity is and its impact.
  5. The activity includes reflective critique: The college student educator reflects on the activity to identify what went well and what could be improved.
  6. The activity can be peer-reviewed. Boyer (1995) describes four types of evidence that can be used to evaluate scholarship: self-assessment, peer evaluation, student evaluation, and client evaluation. While self-assessment is important, review by peers with knowledge of the activity provides external, expert feedback and validation.

These six criteria can be used to guide scholarship for college student educators

and ACPA can assist. Through our many professional development activities such as the Donna M. Bourassa Mid-Level Managers Institute that took place the first week in January or the upcoming annual convention in Montréal, individuals can develop the discipline-related expertise. There are numerous opportunities to share the activity with others. These outlets include the Journal of College Student Development, About Campus, Developments, Coalition/Commission/State newsletters, as well as conferences and conventions. ACPA’s myPROfolio provides a structure for reflective critique. This platform provides the functionality of a portfolio for documenting achievements with space for reflecting on these. Finally, ACPA provides opportunity for peer-review. This takes place through our publications but also through the review process for state conferences and the annual convention.

          College student educators can be scholars through their practice and ACPA supports the development of this scholarship through our programs and services. How are you a scholar?

References

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Boyer, E. (1996). From scholarship reconsidered to scholarship assessed. Quest 48, 129-139. 

Glassick, C. E., M. T. Huber, and G. I. Maeroff. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mentkowski, M., & Loaker, G. (2002). Enacting a collaborative scholarship of assessment. In T. Banta (Ed.), Building a scholarship of assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

College Student Educators as Scholars

From the President's Desk

ACPA President’s Blog – December 2015 - College Student Educators as Scholars

Recently, I was invited to write a piece for the second issue of Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry, coming out in the spring of 2016. It is an open-sourced journal started by Daniel Newhart at Oregon State University to stimulate discourse regarding student affairs assessment. Daniel’s vision is for the field to move beyond simply implementing assessment, but also thinking about assessment and considering it as inquiry. Contemplating what I could contribute to this vision, I began pondering the notion student affairs assessment as scholarship.

I went to my bookshelf and dusted off some texts regarding scholarship in higher education. The first one I took off the shelf was Banta and Associates’ Building a Scholarship of Assessment (2002). I also wanted to explore the general concept of scholarship, not just its relationship to assessment. The texts I reviewed included the pivotal work by Ernest Boyer, Scholarship Reconsider (1990), Scholarship Assessed (Glassick, Huber, Maerof, 1997), and The Scholarship of Teaching of Learning (Hutchings, Taylor-Huber, & Ciccone, 2011). The latter two extended the vision Boyer first espoused in 1990.

In an attempt to expand the understanding of scholarship in education and thus contribution of faculty to education, Boyer articulated four different types of scholarship: discovery, integration, application, and teaching and learning. The scholarship of discovery is what many of us typically envision when we think about research – gathering data that leads to new knowledge. Scholarship of integration concerns making connections of knowledge across disciplines. The scholarship of application occurs when new understandings arise out of utilization of discovered knowledge. Finally, scholarship of teaching and learning is work that examines how to effectively develop skills for knowledge creation and acquisition. College student educators engage in all of those activities in the course of their work. Sometimes they are creating new knowledge in their practice. Other times, they may be integrating knowledge across multiple domains when implementing a program or service. Integrating theory into practice is application. And, college student educators are involved in teaching and learning.

In the journey to explore assessment as scholarship and what that means today, I came to the realization that college student educators are engaged in the four types of scholarship that Boyer are articulated.  

Which these activities do you engage in: discovery, integration, application, teaching and learning? Is simply engaging in any of these scholarly activities sufficient to be considered a scholar?

References

Banta, T. and Associates (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Boyer, E., Moser, D., Ream, T., Braxton, J., and Associates (2016). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate (Expanded edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Glassick, C. E., M. T. Huber, and G. I. Maeroff. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hutchings, P., Taylor-Huber, M., and Ciccone, A. (2011). Scholarship of teaching and learning reconsidered. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

What Should College Students Learn?

From the President's Desk

This summer in my June blog post, I discussed the concept that college completion and student learning are two sides of the same coin – we cannot foster one without fostering the other. College completion, be it a certificate, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or more is important today because more jobs requiring advanced education and average personal earnings increase with education attained. But, focusing on college completion isn’t enough. A certificate or diploma doesn’t document learning. It simply demonstrates that a student has successfully completed a set number of credit hours in a prescribed curriculum. My bachelor’s diploma says that I graduated with a dual major in psychology and sociology. One can assume that I learned something about psychology and sociology, but what did I actually learn? Did I acquire any knowledge outside of these two topics? Since a diploma doesn’t certify learning, we don’t know what a graduate actually learns. Even a transcript doesn’t acknowledge what was specifically learned. It simply lists all courses taken and the assigned grade for each. As such, we need to concentrate on completion and student learning and be able to document what a college graduate knows, can do, and values.

The next logical question is, “what should college graduates know, be able to do, and value?” Where should this conversation begin? The first step is to identify broad areas of learning. These areas are attitudes, skills, knowledge, and habits of mind (which are also known as dispositions). Attitudes may include appreciation for diversity, love of learning, or respect for community. Skills may include the ability to solve a quadratic equation, build a model suspension bridge, or administer an allergy vaccination. Knowledge may include listing in chronological order the battles of the Revolutionary War, describing the types of grasses naturally occurring in the southern United States, or comparing the beliefs of Calvinism and Catholicism. Habits of mind may include persisting, thinking about thinking (metacognition), and applying past knowledge to new learning. These four broad areas of learning are the first step in identifying what college graduates should know or be able to do.

Within each of these broad areas, domains of learning should be identified. One can begin from scratch, and there are processes that can be implemented to identify of these domains. Or, one could turn to existing frameworks such as Learning Reconsidered, CAS Learning Domains and Dimensions, or the AAC&U Essential Learning Outcomes.

Learning Reconsidered (Keeling, 2004), identifies seven learning domains:

  1. Cognitive complexity
  2. Knowledge acquisition
  3. Humanitarianism
  4. Civic engagement
  5. Interpersonal and intrapersonal competence
  6. Practical competence
  7. Persistence and achievement

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) (2015) has also developed Learning Domains and Dimensions (http://bit.ly/1BMuITB) that include:

  1. Knowledge acquisition, construction, integration, and application
  2. Cognitive complexity
  3. Intrapersonal development
  4. Interpersonal development
  5. Humanitarianism and civic engagement
  6. Practical competence

(NOTE: The 9th edition of the Blue Book of standards was released last month. Get your copy at http://www.cas.edu/store_home.asp)

Yet, another leaning goal framework has been developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) (n.d.). Their Essential Learning Outcomes (https://www.aacu.org/leap/essential-learning-outcomes) includes four domain areas:

  1. Knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world
  2. Intellectual and practical skills
  3. Personal and social responsibility
  4. Integrative and applied learning

In addition to these frameworks, the Lumina Foundation (2015) introduced the Degree Qualifications Profile (http://degreeprofile.org). The DQP, as it’s called, identifies clearly defined learning outcomes for each degree level (associate, bachelor, master). The domains for these outcomes include:

  1. Specialized knowledge
  2. Broad and integrative knowledge
  3. Intellectual skills
  4. Applied and collaborative learning
  5. Civic and global learning

A quick glance at these frameworks is all that is needed to see the overlap of learning domains across them. This commonality would suggest a level of agreement regarding the knowledge and skills a U.S. college graduate should have.

Once the domains have been established, it is helpful to define the dimensions that comprise each domain. Dimensions are component parts of domains. For example, the “interpersonal competence” domain in the CAS Learning Domains and Dimensions includes meaningful relationships, interdependence, collaboration, and effective leadership.

After the domains and dimensions have been decided upon, it is useful to consider levels of learning. Taking CAS Learning Domains and Dimensions again, “effective leadership” can have multiple levels ranging in complexity from leading a committee in a small student organization to being president of a large, multifaceted organization. Learning taxonomies such as those made attributed to Benjamin Bloom (1984) provide a structure for development such levels. Bloom’s revised cognitive taxonomy includes six levels ranging from the basic to the most complex: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create (Anderson et al., 2000). There are also taxonomies for psychomotor and affective learning. It is not necessarily important to be able to remember each level in each domain. Rather, it’s more critical to recognize that there are multiple levels to learning and then apply this concept to the development of levels within dimensions of learning domains.

Here is the hierarchy of learning with broad areas of learning (attitudes, skills, knowledge, dispositions), then more specific categories

          --Domains of learning

                    --Dimensions of learning

                              --Levels of learning

                                        --Outcomes of learning

Creating learning domains, dimensions, and levels are vital tools for college student educators. They can be used to create learning outcomes, to identify strategies for fostering those outcomes, and provide direction in assessing those outcomes. These domains, dimensions, and levels also provide the groundwork college student educators can use do demonstrate their impact on learning and tell the story of their work.

ACPA has resources to assist with this work. These include:

  • Professional Development
    • Residential Curriculum Institute (October 18-21) in Indianapolis
    • Sessions at ACPA16 in Montréal
  • Connections and Networking
    • Commission for Assessment and Evaluation
  • Documents
    • Accreditation and the Student Affairs Educator
    • Assessment in Practice

How are you going to tell the story of your contribution to student learning and development?

References

Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., … Wittrock, M. C. (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, abridged edition (1 edition). New York: Pearson.

Association of American Colleges adn Universities. (n.d.). Essential learning outcomes. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/leap/essential-learning-outcomes

Bloom, B. (1984). Taxonomy of educational objectives book 1: Cognitive domain (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Publishing Company.

Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. (2015). CAS learning domains and dimensions. In CAS professional standards for higher education (9th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

Keeling, R. (Ed.). (2004). Learning reconsidered: A campus-wide focus on the student experience. ACPA - College Student Educators International and NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Lumina Foundation. (2015). Degree qualifications profile. Retrieved from http://degreeprofile.org

 

Fulfilling Our Promise to Students: Fostering and Demonstrating Student Learning and Success

From the President's Desk

The benefit of June, July, and August on many college campuses is that the pace slows down allowing time for reflection and planning for the coming academic year. I’ve spent those months continuing to consider our role as college student educators in fostering student learning and success.

Currently, a great deal of focus is on student learning in higher education. President Obama’s completion agenda centers on post-secondary certificate or degree completion. The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AACU) (n.d.) Essential Learning Outcomes and the Lumina Foundation’s (2015) Degree Qualification Profile (DQP) identify the knowledge and skills U.S. college graduates should have. There are increasing calls for accountability from a variety of constituencies inside and outside higher education. As part of this call for accountability, the federal government is requesting demonstration of learning outcomes. In addition, legislatures, parents, and students are seeking validation of the return on their financial investment in higher education. And, employers are lamenting that college graduates don’t possess critical knowledge and skills to effectively perform in the workforce. There is a great deal at stake for higher education if we can’t foster learning and then demonstrate what students acquire from their college experience. While accountability is one reason higher education needs to focus on student learning, it shouldn’t be the only reason. Our job is students’ education and we should be able to demonstrate our role in it.

While the current focus on accountability in higher education is centered on student learning across the entire collegiate experience, college student educators should be able to articulate the unique impact we have on student learning. To be an equal partner on campus and compete for valuable resources we need to be able to effectively articulate our contributions to student success. In a resource deficient collegiate environment decisions regarding financial allocations are based (or at least should be) on evidence of contribution to the educational mission of the institution. We need to focus on fostering and documenting student learning and success to demonstrate the connection to that mission. ACPA-College Student Educators International is providing an opportunity this fall to assist in achieving this goal.

ACPA will sponsor the 2015 Presidential Symposium: Fulfilling Our Promise to Students: Fostering and Demonstrating Student Learning and Success on September 29th from 1pm-5pm ET/12pm-4pm CT/11am-3pm MT/10am-2pm PT. This is an innovative, action-oriented, engaging educational opportunity with a live event hosted  at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and “campus participation parties” across  North America. Our goal is to create a learning community of more than 5,000 people for the world’s largest online professional development event.

An activity focusing on student learning wouldn’t be a quality one if it didn’t have its own learning outcomes. As a result of attending this event, participants will be able to:

  • Describe benefits of increasing accountability for student learning and development,
  • Identify current state of affairs regarding accountability for student learning and development, and
  • Articulate guidelines, strategies, and methods for improving accountability for student learning and development

The symposium will be composed of three content modules guided by the following questions:

  • Why is it important for colleges and universities to focus on student learning and development?
  • In what ways do student affairs educators foster student learning and development?
  • How can student affairs educators effectively demonstrate our impact?

Each module will be comprised of two 12-15 minute high intensity talks. After each module will be an opportunity for a “campus conversation” allowing individuals at participating campuses to discuss and apply the information to their own context. Individual workbooks and facilitator guides will be distributed for reflection and discussion. Individuals who are not part of a campus site will be able to participate at a regional campus site or join hosted virtual conversations with other colleagues. The “campus conversation” after the final module will be dedicated to campus-based action planning identifying ways to improve fostering and demonstrating student learning.

All talks will be recorded enabling registered participants to use them for future professional development or in graduate courses. In addition, all materials for the symposium (recordings, manuals, supplemental resources) will be packaged to create a “professional development in a box” that can be used if an individual, department, or division isn’t able to participate synchronously on September 29th.   

Hopefully, you are as excited as we are about this innovative opportunity and want to know how to sign up as an individual, department, division, or graduate preparation program. ACPA wants to make this high-quality educational event cost effective. The cost is a mere $19 per individual or $99 per site (for as many people who can fit into a room to view the streaming). With many webinars running as high as $400 for 60 minutes, this symposium is sure to be one of the most economical educational events of the academic year.

To register simply visit http://www.myacpa.org/events/2015-presidential-symposium-fulfilling-our-promises-students-fostering-and-demonstrating. I hope you will join 5,000 of your colleagues and participate in the 2015 ACPA Presidential Symposium.  

References

Association of American Colleges and Universities. (n.d.). Essential learning outcomes. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/leap/essential-learning-outcomes

Lumina Foundation. (2015). Degree qualifications profile. Retrieved from http://degreeprofile.org

JLM Summary and Association Update

From the President's Desk

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Each July all of the leaders from ACPA convene for a time of training, reflection, and planning. This year’s July Leadership Meeting took place July 6-9, in Montréal, Quebec, site of the 2016 ACPA Annual Convention. Meeting attendees included governing board members, coalition chairs, state and international division chairs, commission chairs, the community of practice chair, and the convention planning team. All totaled, there were close to 100 participants. I want to use this month’s blog post to provide a summary of that meeting including key items that the board discussed.

The first day of the meeting was comprised of a daylong training for all leaders. We had the privilege of learning about the First Peoples of Canada from Dr. Karl Hele, Associate Professor and Director of First People’s Studies at Concordia University (in Montréal). You can find information regarding First Peoples of Canada by visiting http://firstpeoplesofcanada.com. This talk was followed by a training session to increase leaders’ international intercultural competence. During this training Executive Director Cindi Love introduced the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks. Leaders participated in an initial assessment of ACPA using the benchmarks. In addition, the leaders witnessed a demo of myPROfolio, an innovative portfolio and professional development content delivery system. More information will be coming soon and ACPA16 convention participants will be able to try out the system. After the first day of training leaders worked in their individual entity areas to continue planning and reflecting.

The ACPA Governing Board had a full agenda with a number of important projects to discuss. The Pathways to Leadership Task Force presented their report to the governing board. This group co-chaired by past ACPA President Kathleen Kerr and past Director of Equity and Inclusion Kathy Obear explored issues that expedite as well as hinder individuals from obtaining leadership roles in the association. This report, along with recommendations, will be posted on the ACPA website for public comment soon with the final report presented to the board at their October meeting.

Another important discussion topic was the Professional Competencies Task Force Report. This task force reviewed and offered revisions to the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies published in 2010. ACPA Co-Chair (and past ACPA President) Patty Perillo shared an overview of the review process, suggested changes to the competencies, and provides recommendations to support implementation of the revised competencies. The ACPA and NASPA boards are reviewing the competencies report during their July meetings and will be voting on the revisions and recommendations in August. If approved, they will be published shortly after in time for the new academic year.

The board heard an update from the Sexual Violence Prevention Implementation Team, chaired by Jody Jessup-Anger and Keith Edwards. This group is responsible for implementing the recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on Sexual Violence Prevention appointed by Kent Porterfield in the spring of 2014. The team is drafting a monograph in time for the start of classes that will be a guide for sexual violence prevention. They are also developing a Sexual Violence Prevention Institute, starting a commission regarding sexual violence prevention, and creating research and scholarship opportunities. Stay tuned for more details.

The Digital Task Force Implementation team, chaired by Tony Doody and Ed Cabellon, provided an update on their work. This group is implementing recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology also charged by Kent Porterfield in the spring of 2014. They are developing an integrated digital dissemination plan for the association, facilitator materials for What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube – a book regarding digital reputation, and discussing the development of resources related to the forthcoming technology professional competency.

The Task Force on Standing Committees, chaired by Stacey Pearson-Wharton, shared their findings and recommendations to the board. The task force reviewed the role of the standing committees (now called coalitions) within ACPA. This report, as well as other information gleaned during the July Leadership Meeting, suggested that our organizational structure is not as effective as it could be and may even hinder ACPA’s ability to fulfill it’s mission. The ACPA Governing Board will begin examining the structure and identifying solutions that allow ACPA to achieve our goals.

The convention team was busy identifying locations for various convention events; discussing open, closing, and other special activities; and planning the curriculum. They were working diligently to create the most educational, transformational, and enjoyable convention experience in ACPA history.

Montréal was a wonderful host city for our July Leadership meeting and will be the perfect location of our convention in March. Register now to attend by visiting http://convention.myacpa.org/montreal2016/. You can also propose a program by visiting http://convention.myacpa.org/montreal2016/submit-a-program-proposal/. The city combined with the convention curriculum and events will make ACPA16 a memorable, if not the most memorable, convention you will experience. I look forward to seeing YOU in Montréal!

Leadership Pathways Working Group Report

From the President's Desk

On behalf of the Leadership Pathways Working Group and the Governing Board, we are pleased to share the draft report of the Leadership Pathways Working Group. We invite all members of ACPA-College Student Educators International to read, reflect, and share thoughts on the report. The report will be open for public comment until Friday, 4 September, 2015. We look forward to your feedback!

Gavin Henning ACPA President

ACPA LEADERSHIP PATHWAYS WORKING GROUP

Draft Report #1, 6/28/15

July 2015

INTRODUCTION:

This report summarizes work and recommendations of the ACPA Leadership Pathways Working Group. The purpose of the Working Group, as charged by the ACPA Governing Board at the June 2014 Leadership Meeting, was to:

  • Assess the current practices for encouraging/supporting members to move in to leadership roles. Note any that encourage a more diverse representation as well as any that may in advertently not advance ACPA goals of equity and inclusion.
  • Areas to explore include Governing Board, Assembly Leadership and Entity Group Leadership, Editors, Foundation Board, Convention Planning Teams, Appointments to Presidential Task Forces and similar groups, etc.
  • Identify effective practices that result in a more diverse representation among leaders.
  • Identify current practices that may, unintentionally, result in a more homogeneous group of leaders.
  • Develop recommendations for changes and new practices, as needed.

The Working Group first convened in October 2014 chaired by Drs. Kathy Obear and Kathleen Kerr. Membership over the course of the last ten months included:

Danielle Morgan Acosta, Laura Bayless, Paul Brown, Jason Cottrell, Jennifer Ferrell, John Garland, Ebelia Hernandez, Leilani Kupo, Victoria Livingston, Allyson Logie-Eustace, Heather Lou, Cindi Love, Karol Martinez-Doane, Amanda Mollet, Jenny Small, Susan Sullivan, Chandar Supersad.

The rationale for the working group was as follows:

  • ACPA has long been committed to preparing college student educators to support the academic and personal success of the increasingly diverse student population served by college campuses.
  • ACPA has a long legacy of both valuing and working to create greater equity and inclusion within the organization and higher education.
  • As ACPA continues to be an association that is responsive to the expressed needs of members for professional growth and development, advocacy and informed decision-making, it is essential that ACPA leaders reflect the demographics of the membership for several reasons:
    • Members may be more likely to believe that ACPA is an accessible, transparent organization.
    • Members may be more likely to feel their perspectives will be represented and considered during planning and decision-making processes.
    • Members may be more likely to believe they can serve as a leader in ACPA if they “see themselves” in the current leadership.
    • Members may be more likely to believe that they can find a “home” in ACPA as they anticipate that programs and services will continue to shift and change to better meet the increasingly complex, diverse needs among all members.
    • Potential new members may choose to join ACPA if they view the association as a place where people across group identities are successful leaders and contributors to the organization.

PROCESS:

Conversations were held with various ACPA leaders in advance of the ACPA 2015 Convention in Tampa FL, USA to better understand access to leadership opportunities.  Leadership representing the following ACPA entities were interviewed: Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee, ACPA Foundation, 2015 & 2016 Convention Teams, SCW, SCGSNP/Ambassadors, CMA, SCLGBTA, SSAO Advisory Board, External Relations Advisory Board, Books and Media Board, Faculty at Large/Research & Scholarship Advisory Group, International Divisions, ACPA Sustainability Advisory Committee, Developments, Involvement Team, Awards Committee, About Campus, Commissions, California CPA, ACPA Task Forces & Working Groups.

Conversations were also facilitated at the ACPA 2015 Convention with:

State Presidents, Commission Chairs, and Standing Committee Chairs.

Questions asked during these conversations included:

  1. How does your group currently recruit and engage members to become leaders in your group? What are your current formal/informal processes?
  2. Do you intentionally recruit members who reflect the diversity of ACPA members? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. Do you intentionally recruit members who have a high level of cultural competence and/or competence around issues of equity and inclusion? If so, how is competence measured?  How do you recruit?
  4. How would you describe your current leaders with respect to depth of cultural competence and/or competence around issues of equity and inclusion?
  5. How would you describe your current leaders with respect to how their group identities reflect the breadth of diversity among ACPA members?
  6. Do you intentionally train members on increasing their cultural competence and/or competence around issues of equity and inclusion? If so, how?
  7. As you think about your group’s recruitment and engagement practices for leadership, have there been any identified unintentional barriers for members of marginalized groups? What are they? How have you worked to mitigate these barriers?
  8. What are you thinking about that might help open up your processes to increase the chances of engaging people who are more culturally competent and/or better reflective the full diversity of identities among the ACPA membership?

The notes from these conversations, as well as the minutes from the Working Group’s multiple meetings were then analyzed for themes, and the following recommendations emerged.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Require all leaders to attend and participate in training that advances their cultural competence.
  2. Provide education to leaders in order to reduce how frequently the presence of diversity with is conflated with cultural competence. While the Working Group recognizes the importance of heterogeneity in our leaders and entity groups, this cannot be the sole measure used to determine if the Association is living its values as they relate to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice education.
  3. Systemically infuse cultural competence expectations into positions via application processes, leadership position descriptions, performance reviews, etc.
  4. Find ways to encourage and empower members and leaders to move away from measuring the diversity of the Association, Association leadership, and Association entity groups in a personal, subjective way. For example, currently it seems as though many leaders personally “measure” the diversity of their entity groups in terms of every identity (visible or otherwise) against the diversity of ACPA as a whole. Instead, ACPA should develop an objective way to measure/evaluate cultural competence in leaders. Leaders desire this. We believe that the ACPA Governing Board will be well served by the:
    • A.   Development or adoption of a formal tool for assessment to guide strategy and measure progress in managing diversity, creating equity, fostering inclusion, cultural competence and promulgation of social justice education.
    • B.   Use of benchmarking with other organizations with similar commitments to cultural competence, diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice (outside higher education/student affairs and within).
    • C.   Regular scheduling of training for all elected and non-elected leaders that is accessible and competency based (ACPA Video On Demand can provide a 24/7, 365 day per year platform).
    • D.   Proactive encouragement/incentivizing of ACPA Grow, Ambassador, NextGen, New Professional Institute (NPI) and Mid-Level Management Institute cohorts to attend a “Leadership at ACPA” session on ACPA Video On Demand.
  5. Adopt, perhaps via a by-law change, a process for an open call for nominations and applications for every leadership opportunity that exists within the Association, and articulate a standard and transparent process for selection (if not election) of leaders by a representative body which includes Coalition Chairs and the Director of Equity and Inclusion, among others.
  6. Similarly, develop an “appeal” process to be utilized by those not appointed to leadership positions when they have concerns about process and/or decision-making, perhaps utilizing the ACPA Ethics Committee, so that concerns are addressed in a fair, objective, and transparent manner. Additional training and competency will need to be provided to the Ethics Committee if it is to assume this role.
  7. Publish on the webpage and in other prominent locations how leadership roles require and utilize concepts of cultural competence – what this looks like may differ depending on the function of the role. Reiterate ACPA’s commitment to attract, retain and develop leaders whose group memberships reflect those of the association members
  8. Review entity group best practices and member recommendations for additional next steps.
  9. Conduct focus groups with individuals who have membership in various identity groups to gain a better understanding of the experience of the general membership. The interviews of this Working Group were conducted exclusively with those who were already (at some level) part of the organization’s leadership.

NEXT STEPS:

The ACPA Governing Board will be asked review as a “first read” this report at the 2015 ACPA July Leadership Meeting in Montreal. With their permission, the draft report will then be posted on the ACPA website and call for membership comment will be issued.  Our hope is that this important step will offer additional opportunities for input and suggestions, and provide membership with necessary transparency and an update on the Working Group’s progress. Following the period of membership review, a second draft of this report, incorporating comments and suggestions, will be submitted to the Governing Board in time for their October meeting. At that meeting, the Governing Board will be asked to vote to accept the report and appoint an implementation team to move forward with the accepted recommendations.

In addition, at the 2015 ACPA July Leadership Meeting in Montreal, Cindi Love, Executive Director, will introduce the Governing Board and all elected/appointed leaders to information about evolving international standards/benchmarking for diversity, equity inclusion and cultural competence. 

CONCLUSION:

Diversity and Inclusion have emerged as a worldwide practice. As such, (they) require standards to help ensure that the work is done at the highest quality level possible.[1]

We submit this report to the ACPA Governing Board with:

(1) Key findings regarding current ACPA practices for encouraging/supporting diverse representation of members in all leadership roles

(2) Recommendations for adoption of standards and changes to ensure greater access and participation in leadership by all members

(3) An expression of confidence that ACPA represents and serves members who care deeply about the values of cultural competence, diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. And, our process provided evidence that current practices and caring about our values do not seamlessly translate into equity and inclusion in leadership.  By extension, we do not create greater diversity or catalyze justice for all members.

Challenges

Within our membership and leadership, we have varying levels of understanding and interpretation of the basic definitions of diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice education, activism and advocacy. 

Our members and leaders are passionate about affirming and asserting these values in student affairs and higher education and our members do not always feel empowered or competent to do so on our campuses or in our Association.  Or, they feel rebuffed or excluded.

Some believe that they are not “chosen” for positions on campuses or in ACPA because they are too “out there” for the “expected demeanor of student affairs professionals in leadership in ACPA.”  Some feel our nominations process closes doors rather than opening them.

Some are deeply frustrated with what they perceive as inaction by ACPA, Student Affairs and higher education campus leaders on issues of justice, particularly in areas of white supremacy, whiteness, power & privilege, Anti-Blackness and racism as well as trans*, gender non-conforming, gender queer, Asian-Pacific Islander (API) and native/indigenous people. 

What to do?  What to say?

We will not always agree on the best tactics or even the language that should describe what we want to do or who we are. These all change over time. And, we will be immune to change unless we agree on what we need to do as first actions and intentionally take those actions.

One key finding is that ACPA needs to consider adoption of a formal framework for assessment with benchmarks that correspond to our stated philosophy about change agency, its role as an Association, core values, mission and vision.

We hope that the recommendations of our team are embraced by the ACPA Governing Board and infused into our work as a collective community. 

We have an opportunity to offer thought leadership to higher education around the world about inclusion and social justice and model inclusion in leadership roles in unprecedented ways.

We can amplify the voices of those who feel they have no voice as well as those who understand how to translate our best research into practice. 

We can mobilize members of our community to make meaningful change in campus climates where white supremacy and hegemony prevail.

We have an extraordinary opportunity to change traditional partnerships/alliances in higher education from those engrained in white power and privilege to those that affirm and lift up leadership by the “rest of us.”

Thank you for this opportunity to serve our members.

[1]O’Mara, J. & Richter, A. (2014) Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks: Standards for Organizations Around the Worldwww.diversitycollegium.org.

Two Sides to the Same Coin: Importance of Student Learning and Completion

From the President's Desk

Over the last two months, through ACPA Video On Demand and the ACPA President’s Blog, I have been discussing the completion agenda and the role college student educators play in promoting retention and graduation. Most recently, I have discussed the importance of moving from serendipity to intentionality in student learning. These two issues – completion and student learning – must be integrated as they are not different concepts, but two sides of the same coin: student success.

National attention has been focused on graduation rates in higher education and President Obama’s Completion Agenda. In February of 2009, President Obama outlined this educational priority with the goal of attaining the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020 (Kanter, Ochoa, Nassif, & Chong, 2011). According to 2012 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranked 19th out of 28 countries studied (Weston, 2014). There is clearly work do be done on this front and as such this topic continues to occupy headlines in national papers and higher education publications.

Degree attainment is an important goal to emphasize. As examined in my May post, President Obama presented three reasons supporting the completion agenda. The first was that a college degree is required for 60% of jobs. In addition to being a requirement for the majority of careers, individuals with a college degree earn 40% more over a lifetime than those without. This is a significant individual financial value. Finally, President Obama believed that an educated citizenry was needed for an engaged democracy (Kanter, Ochoa, Nassif, & Chong, 2011). In the same post, I also posited that a greater number of individuals with college degrees provide skilled labor, an economic benefit to the country. A greater number of Americans graduating from college clearly affords advantages for individuals and the U.S.

While increasing the proportion of Americans holding bachelor’s degrees is a worthy goal with significant benefits individually and collectively, I believe the conversation is incomplete. What does receiving a bachelor’s degree mean, really? A college diploma simply documents that a student met a set of requirements by satisfactorily passing a sufficient number of courses, counted by the obsolete credit hour, within a specific curricular framework (general education, major, and electives). A diploma does not validate skill or knowledge attainment. While the assumption is that students must have learned something in order to pass a course and receive credit, the acquired learning is not documented in official institutional records. Rather, the transcript merely shows a grade for each course rather than documentation of knowledge or skill attainment.

This national discourse needs to move beyond completion solely to graduation AND learning. The college degree will continue to be a critical component of the higher education landscape. Currently, and for the near future, the credential a college degree represents is valued across society. It is the currency of education and entry into graduate study, specific professions, and the job market overall.

The next phase in the completion conversation is a “both and” conversation, rather than an “either or” discussion. Educators and policy makers need to be considering college graduation and knowledge/skill attainment, together as two parts of the same goal – two sides of the same student success coin. College graduates without critical thinking, problem solving, communication, ethical reasoning, and other essential skills will not be successful in a today’s job market despite a diploma. An increased proportion of U.S. citizens with bachelor’s degrees devoid of these skills and knowledge will be unequipped to address the rapidly changing, complex challenges our global community confronts. Accomplishing the completion agenda will be irrelevant if college graduates do not acquire vital skills and knowledge.

It is time for Completion Agenda 2.0 that includes discussion of the skills and knowledge every college graduate should possess in addition to increasing overall graduation rates. Fortunately, those conversations have begun (and some have been going on for some time) by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and through the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) sponsored by the Lumina Foundation. These dialogues can no longer exist on the fringes of higher education. They need to be front and center, integrated in all discussions of student success. As college student educators, we need to be the thought leaders furthering this national conversation and examining how our work advances college completion as well as skill and knowledge acquisition of those graduates.

References

Kanter, M., Ochoa, E., Nassif, R., & Chong, F. (2011). Meeting President Obama’s 2020 college completion goal. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/meeting-president-obamas-2020-college-completion-goal.

Weston, L. (2014). OECD: The US has fallen behind other countries in college completion. BusinessInsider (2014, September 9). Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-falls-behind-in-college-competition-....

The Completion Agenda: Opportunities for College Student Educators

From the President's Desk

Regardless of the news source one turns to, the completion agenda is in the headlines of the higher education section. It’s also the hot topic on the radar screens of policymakers’ and college presidents. While many higher education officials are concerned with the impact this federal policy has on higher education at the national, state, and local level, we as college student educators can actualize the opportunity the completion agenda presents. This policy provides a chance to demonstrate the impact we have on the success of college students.

In February of 2009, President Obama outlined his completion agenda with the goal of attaining the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020 (Kanter, Ochoa, Nassif, & Chong, 2011). According to 2012 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 19th out of 28 countries studies (Weston, 2014). There is some work to be done on this front.

President Obama presented three reasons supporting this policy. The first was that a college degree is required for 60% of jobs. In addition to being a requirement for the majority of jobs, an individual with a college degree earns 40% more over a lifetime than those without. This is a significant financial benefit. Finally, President Obama believed that an educated citizenry was needed for an engaged democracy (Kanter, Ochoa, Nassif, & Chong, 2011).

 

Future of Higher Education Funding

This policy position has influenced conversations regarding state funding for higher education with a new focus on program-based budgeting. With this budgeting model state allocations are based on results, in this case completion rates, rather than the number of students enrolled, which has been the traditional model. As of January 2015, 34 states had some form of program-based budgeting for higher education funding although the percentage of overall funding based on graduation percentages does vary (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2015).

We can debate the pros and cons of this form of program-based budgeting, but it appears to be the future higher education funding model. With continued financial issues impacting colleges and universities including Louisiana State University (O’Donoghue, 2015), student affairs budgets are in jeopardy requiring vice presidents to not only advocate for more resources but also defend current resources.

At ACPA16 in Tampa, ACPA sponsored a panel of five college presidents who came up through the ranks of student affairs. These presidents included Joe Bertolino from Lyndon State College, Marybeth Cooper from Springfield College, Tom Jackson from Blackhills State University, Steve Tyrell from North Country Community College, and Karen Whitney from Clarion University. During this panel each president emphatically stated the need for college student educators to demonstrate their impact on retention and graduation. The continued that support of retention and graduation is the key to demonstrating value within a college or university.

 

Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

Some may view the issue of declining resources and centralized focus on retention as a crisis facing college student educators – a crisis that shifts to a financial bottom line, not students. However, a focus on retention actually centers on students and how educators can help each individual graduate.  When one takes a moment to reviews the literature regarding retention and graduation, college student educators play a key role many of those success factors.

John Braxton, William Doyle, Harold Hartley, Amy Hirschy, Willis Jones, and Michael McLendon published Rethinking College Student Retention in November of 2013. (For a review of the book in the Journal of College Student Development 55(6), visit https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_college_student_development/v055/55.6.henning.html) In this text, the authors discuss their theories of retention for residential colleges and commuter institutions explaining how they tested each. The factors influencing retention in residential colleges include:

  1. Commitment to getting a degree.
  2. Commitment to attending an institution.
  3. Social integration (degree of social affiliation and congruency of beliefs, norms, and values of the community – in other words “connection” and “fit”)(antecedents include). Social integration can be deconstructed into:
    1. Commitment of the institution to student welfare: Concern by the institution to the growth and development of students.
    2. Community potential: Feeling connected to a group of individuals.
    3. Institutional integrity: Words and actions of faculty and staff are congruence with mission and values.
    4. Proactive social adjustment: Ability to adjust in a proactive manner to overcome challenges.
    5. Psychosocial engagement: Amount of psychological energy students invest in social interactions with peers and their participation in extracurricular activities.
    6. Ability to pay: Satisfaction with cost of attending/seeing college as a financial value.

The components in the theory of retention at commuter colleges include the following:

  1. Student entry characteristics (SES, parents education, ability, race, gender, etc.).
  2. External environment (finances, support, work, family, community).
  3. Campus environment, which includes:
    1. Student characteristics interaction with campus environment (being motivated to adapt to this type of environment, motivation to graduate, and self-efficacy)
    2. Organizational characteristics that foster academic and intellectual development including,
      1. Commitment of the institution to student welfare: Concern by the institution to the growth and development of students
      2. Institutional integrity: Words and actions of faculty and staff are congruence with mission and values

Upon reviewing these two theories, it’s clear that college student educators play a major role in retention. Here are just some of the roles we play:

  • We demonstrate that the institution cares.
  • We connect students with campus communities.
  • We support them as they continually adjust.
  • We create opportunities to engage.
  • We are also conduits to support the mission and values of the institution.

What Can We Do and How Can ACPA Help

First, college student educators must become familiar with retention theory. As professionals it is our responsibility to bring theory into practice. When we use theory, we build and hone our practice on research rather relying on anecdotes and ideas of what “might work.” Being familiar with theory also permits college student educators to better tell the story of our impact on student success. And, in language that faculty are familiar – research and scholarship. And perhaps more importantly, we will be able to describe the outcomes of our work in the words of university leaders and educational policy makers – retention and graduation.

The focus on completion presents college student educators with an opportunity to be more intentional in our work but to also demonstrate our impact beyond housing students, feeding students, and helping them have fun.

ACPA is here to help you leverage this opportunity. Review the research and scholarship that ACPA generates and disseminates in the Journal of College Student Development, About Campus, Developments, as well as ACPA sponsored books and monographs. Bridge theory to practice by attending a professional development institute such as the Student Affairs Assessment Institute or the Residential Curriculum Institute. Connect with colleagues doing similar work. ACPA’s state chapters, coalitions (formerly standing committees), commissions, and newly created communities of practice provide these connection opportunities.

We have an opportunity in front of us. Rather than seeing it as a crisis or obstacle, we should leverage it to demonstrate our impact, but more importantly to help students succeed. ACPA can assist you in your journey. Tap into the resources now!

 

References

Donoghue, J. (2015). LSU drafting ‘academic bankruptcy’ plan in response to budget crisis. The Times-Picayne (2015, April 22). Retrieved from http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/lsu_academic_bankruptcy.html

Kanter, M., Ochoa, E., Nassif, R., & Chong, F. (2011). Meeting President Obama’s 2020 college completion goal. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/meeting-president-obamas-2020-college-completion-goal.

National Conference of State Legislatures (2015, January 13). Performance-Based Funding for Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/performance-funding.aspx

Weston, L. (2014). OECD: The US has fallen behind other countries in college completion. BusinessInsider (2014, September 9). Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-falls-behind-in-college-competition-... .

Public Statement: Indiana & the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

From the President's Desk

Dear Colleague:

On 26 March 2015, the Governor of Indiana signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, one of several so-called religious liberty bills recently vetted by states.   

ACPA—College Student Educators International views these bills, in all of their forms, and in all of the states and countries that produce them, as overt acts of discrimination against LGBT people.  We believe these bills are destructive to the well being of our colleagues living and working in Indiana, as well as other communities throughout the United States and around the world. We protest passage of the law in Indiana and deeply object to its blatant disregard for human dignity.  We join with hundreds of corporations and organizations in this protest.

We have been in direct contact with the Governor Mike Pence’s office (317-232-4567), the Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (317-232-9677) and Senate President David Long (317-232-9416) stating our deep concern and request for repeal of this egregious law.  We encourage each of you to call their offices as well.  In addition, we have launched a MoveOn petition which we invite you to sign.

CLICK THIS LINK TO SIGN THE PETITION!  >>

Background Information

There is increasing attention on the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) in the United States due to their highly publicized movements in Mississippi, Georgia, and Indiana. 

This movement to “restore religious liberty” by stigmatizing and excluding LGBT people is inspired by historical campaigns like those waged by Anita Bryant in the 1970s and by Fred Phelps in the last decade.  

In addition, corporations like Hobby Lobby have prevailed in lawsuits and can now deny benefits, services, and recognition to same-sex families.  This corporation is not the only one to deny these benefits.  For profit and not-for-profit organizations have done so for many years and continue to do so in states that have not moved forward to affirm marriage for same-sex couples.

Current Situation

Some ACPA members have suggested that our association should boycott Indiana as a site for our meetings until this law is overturned.  We completed calls this morning with state advocacy group leaders and ACPA members in Indiana to ask for their recommendations on what actions can best support them.  And, we are engaged in conversations with our peer higher education associations regarding the use of boycotts because the majority of our groups have existing contracts for meetings in the state.   

To the maximum extent feasible, we want to ensure that any action we take will best amplify the voices of advocates on the ground, mobilize our members to support them and partner with them in the ways that local leaders find most impactful.  There are members who have suggested that the State of Indiana may well be the crucible where the work of student affairs is needed at this time more than ever.

The impact of discrimination is everywhere.  We know that we must also be everywhere, whether virtually or face to face - including Indiana, in order to fulfill our vision to “lead the student affairs profession and the higher education community in providing outreach, advocacy, research, and professional development to foster college student learning.”  The question is whether we are most effective showing up in Indiana or boycotting?

We are scheduled to hold our 2015 Residential Curriculum Institute (RCI) in Indiana in October 2015. Our member campus, Indiana State University, is hosting this program at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. We will be in discussion with them throughout the next several weeks to hear what our members need and want to us to do.  

What are some immediate actions we are taking?

  • We are writing the US and Indiana State Chambers of Commerce, State Sales Tax Auditor and other business/industry councils and regulating agencies and insist that discriminators in Indiana identify themselves openly and in advance in order to fully advise our LGBT identified members and allies who wish to make an informed choice about purchasing from them.
  • We have written and called the Governor and the legislative members who agreed to this law and recommended that they reverse it because it is the right thing to do.  We are inviting our entire database of 26,000 people to sign it.  You can choose whether to do so or not.
  • We will support our members in Indiana in the local actions that they believe best support justice seeking.
  • We will continue to consult with local, state, national and international groups who are engaged in countering this type of legislation in every state in the United States.

Our goal is for long-term, sustainable, positive and inclusive change - a model of which we witnessed recently in Montgomery, Alabama during the reenactment of the final leg of the Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights - a 50 year goal not yet reached, but where remarkable progress has been made. 

Thank you.

Respectfully,

Gavin Henning, President Donna Lee, Vice-President Kent Porterfield, Past-President Cindi Love, Executive Director John Garland, Director of Equity & Inclusion

Border Crossings & Navigating Differences

From the President's Desk

Dear Colleague,

Thank you so much for being part of the ACPA 2015 Convention experience.  Whether you were physically in Tampa, on-line with our new ACPA Video On Demand Digital Pass or engaging via social media (#ACPA15, #SAThanks and more), your voice and energy were important and valued as part of the experience for everyone.  We learned a lot together.

In spite of major weather delays and cancellations, 2900 people were able to engage with one another in Tampa in more than 658 sessions including live streams of the opening and closing sessions with:

  • Eboo Patel
  • Jose Antonio Vargas
  • Steph Hammerman
  • Stephen Quaye
  • Jamie Washington
  • Laverne Cox
  • Gavin Henning

And, there were so many session choices that it was really hard to choose… 

George Kuh and Jillian Kinzie were spot-on in their discussion of the Degree Qualifications Profile  and the future of assessment in student affairs.  Our Presidential Panel was comprised exclusively of university senior administrators who came to those roles through student affairs administration. They shared extraordinary insight about the stark differences in the two roles and made strong cases for proactive cross-disciplinary engagement by student affairs professionals with academic affairs and faculty personnel.

Forty people completed certificates of participation in Law & Policy & Title IX.  Seventy-seven undergrads attended NextGen including new members from Tribal Colleges.

We celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma, the launch of our new ACPA Video On Demand Series Confronting the Reality of Racism in the Academy  and the contributions of more than 200 members at our Awards Ceremony. 

More than 40 Ambassadors infused their enthusiasm and passion for our field into events throughout Convention and Faculty Pay It Forward friends were  excited to engage in dialogue at the Thought Leaders gathering.

There were multiple opportunities for face-to-face dialogue and feedback about “how we are doing” as an Association, areas where we are doing well and places where we need to improve. We want to share the information gathered from those sessions as well as unscheduled opportunities to engage with one another (see below).

And, don’t forget to use Tell Us on our website (www.myacpa.org) to add anything new at any time or call Cindi Love directly at 972-358-5907 or Tweet at @drcindilove. 

When the surveys for Convention are complete, we will share that information with you as well.  More than 900 people have completed surveys at the time of this posting.

Thank you!

Gavin Henning, President Donna Lee, Vice-President Kent Porterfield, Past President Cindi Love, Executive Director

 

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

                                                                                          --Rumi

FEEDBACK

Sometimes feedback feels really great and sometimes it feels difficult to absorb.  Either way, we are committed to the conversations and continuous improvement.  Thank you so much for telling us what you think and feel.  

We want to begin with the feedback that we received in the unscheduled moments at Convention.  One of these opportunities was during an event created by the T* Circle.  In addition, an open letter was shared with some Convention attendees and members by the T*Circle.  It is a blog post.  Please take time to review it.

We also collected thoughts and responses from members during our hallway conversations, in regular sessions, in the Town Hall and Leadership Conversation Hour.  These are summarized below with some of our most current processing of the feedback within the Leadership and staff teams.

How was the decision made to go to Montréal in 2016?

A:  The Governing Board for 2012-2013 approved the selection of Montréal as the location for ACPA’s 2016 Annual Convention.

The choice to go to Montréal was made in accordance with the globalization recommendations in the Strategic Plan adopted in 2011. Members contributed hundreds of ideas for the Strategic Plan and the idea that we need to “lean into” our commitments to international students and globalization were part of those recommendations. 

Over the past 24 months, ACPA leaders have been guided in their continuing work by three Association documents: The 2013-2016 ACPA Strategic Plan; The ACPA Globalization Strategic Plan and the ACPA Recruitment and Retention Plan.

These require intentional strategies for globalization in alignment with our organization's valuing of cross cultural competence, diversity and inclusiveness which bridge needs of professionals across institutional types, institutional control, and institutional locales.  

These goals compel all of us to challenge and change US centric practices and, by extension, choice of event locations. We must now see our border crossings as opportunities to practice cultural diplomacy as well as advocacy at the contested intersections of many social and political issues--immigration, treatment of women and other groups for whom human rights are less afforded by dominant groups. 

Several of our leaders are deeply engaged in work with global institutions at the center of this dialogue about human dignity and we deeply value the understanding and recommendations they are bringing to ACPA's evolution as an association within the sphere of global higher education.  

Although we are incomplete in our own work, we are awake to the many possibilities for improvement. 

Montréal was not chosen to exclude people, but rather to include many more people, to inform, raise awareness and educate about accessibility and accountability in higher education and global society for all.  

Q:  What about challenges for Trans* identified members trying to enter Canada?

A: Some persons who are Trans* identified and who have not completed medical transition may be refused entry to Montréal if these individuals challenge border officials to accept the birth marker on their passports relative when compared to photographs and current expression. 

It is important to note that border crossing for Trans* identified persons is not seamless coming into the US. Similar constraints apply.

Our decision to go to Montréal in 2016 for our Annual Convention may result for other non-trans identified individuals being refused travel visas by Québec just as some individuals from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have long been refused entry to the US for our conventions even with visa support by ACPA. 

We recognize that events held in the US have historically not and do not now offer access for everyone.  

For many years, the United States prohibited border crossing for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as refusing travel visas and immigration applications for individuals from many nations.  This remains true for some non-US citizens even though those living with HIV are no longer restricted.  

The same is true for some Native People in sovereign nations in the US who present sovereign credentials. 

Q:  What about challenges for undocumented persons living in the US who attempt to enter Canada?

A: Persons living in the US as undocumented citizens may need to choose to enter Canada using their citizenship documents from their respective non-US country or may choose to attend Convention with a digital pass to avoid the potential risk of rejection at the Canadian border or exposing themselves to risk of detection at the US border.

One of our speakers at the Tampa 2015 Convention, Jose Antonio Vargas, has been arrested in the past by US authorities for his undocumented status while attending a meeting in McAllen, Texas. Our choice to engage him as a speaker was part of our advocacy for undocumented persons. There is no current protection for undocumented residents of the US who do not have green cards, student, religious worker, visitor or other types of visas.

ACPA has never required documentation of citizenship for membership or attendance of any event.  It is not our intent to do so.  All are welcome and we will provide letters needed for visa applications  for visitors for educational purposes beginning March 2015 until the cut off date established by Canada (probably December 2015).

International students attending universities in the United States need to contact the Border Official Office in Québec before entering the country to ensure that they can freely return to the United States. Visitor or visa status in the U.S. is not automatically transferrable to any nation. 

Q:  ACPA seems to lack substantive representation by Trans* identified persons in leadership positions or on staff.  This seems to also be the case in Trans* identified persons leading sessions at Convention.

A: Over the last 90+ years, ACPA has been challenged to increase representation in all of these areas by underserved and underrepresented individuals and groups. In most cases, we responded well in advance of our peer associations.  This does not mean that we always responded without advocates and activists pointing the way before we were awake to the opportunity.  Persons who identify with underserved groups have, however, consistently been asked to serve and have served on convention teams, leadership teams of all types, and as speakers and presenters. 

We welcome and appreciate colleagues who bring “disruptive” and respectful ideas raised by social justice educators, advocates and activists in our midst. Student affairs professionals are “disrupters” of the norms on campuses and, therefore, we expect and express gratitude for these opportunities in our Association.  We are an organization dedicated to developing pathways to leadership and participation for all members who wish to serve and we do not discriminate in employment on any basis.  

We do not require any individual to self-identify in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, gender expression, age, size, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, sovereign nation status or differing ability to run for an office, serve on a Commission or Standing Committee, Task Force or Institute or Convention committee nor apply for employment. 

We do ask for this information and, when provided, take it into account in extending a call for participation if there are clear indicators of underrepresentation.  This is always challenging when there are fewer individuals representing a particular group as in the case of indigenous, First Nation or Native People, Trans* identified and more.  And, the field of student affairs is not large, so the pool of prospective applicants is further diminished.

Twelve employees and two contractors staff the International Office. Two identify as African American. One identifies as Native American, one as Eastern Indian, one as Latina.  Eight members identify as “white.” Two identify as gender-queer or Trans*.

Our employment of non-white and non-gender or sexual orientation dominant culture individuals aligns with our goals for outreach and advocacy on educational issues of concern in American postsecondary settings as well as higher education and tertiary education abroad.  We do not currently employ any individuals who are differently abled by federal definition.

While we do not set “compositional or structural” goals that can be tokenizing, we are absolutely committed to effective representation for all member voices in all areas. 

We will continue to improve. Based on a request from members to have “numerical” data about representation, we will now ask all elected leaders and all Commission, Standing Committee and Task Force participants to volunteer their identification in terms of race and ethnicity as well as gender expression/identity and sexual orientation.

We accept and actively engage the challenge of programming from the perspective of members who are most challenged by the current state of social, political, educational, religious, ability, legal restrictions and freedoms in the world. We grieve when we are less skillful than we should and can be and we learn and reset. 

We hope our members will continue to respectfully confront areas of deficiency just as they would choose to do on their campuses.   

ACPA wants to provide thought leadership on the issues of inclusion for our members who are growing and increasing in their understanding and cultural competency.  There are no human beings who have perfected the capacity to navigate all difference.  And, we are humbled by the opportunity. 

Thank you.

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