College / University / Organization: University of Pennsylvania
Position for which you are applying: Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs, Chair
In the space below, please describe your involvement with ACPA, including any leadership positions you have held .
I have been an active member of ACPA since 2007 and in that time, I have become increasingly involved in the organization. My participation in the annual convention began when I served as a recruitment representative for Michigan State University’s Department of Residence Life. I grew increasingly interested in the Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs and its affiliated Networks. Subsequently, I served as the Culture Fest Liaison for the Pan African Network from 2009 through 2010. This position was the catalyst that propelled my involvement in PAN, CMA, and ACPA. In 2010, I agreed to transition from the Culture Fest Liaison to the Co-Chair of Culture Fest. I also volunteered to write and edit the CMA Newsletter while effectively completing the tasks assigned to the PAN Outreach Co-Chair. After serving as the CMA Culture Fest Co-Chair for two years, as well as the PAN Public Relations Co-Chair, I followed a strong history of wisdom and tradition by meeting the responsibilities associated with the role of the Pan African Network Chair. Currently, I am blessed to work alongside a fantastic group of professionals as the Outgoing PAN Past-Chair and as the Equity and Inclusion Liaison for the ACPA 2014 Convention Planning Committee. I have been proud to serve the association in these capacities, as both groups have been intentional in their efforts to implement sustainable programs that address the diverse needs of students, faculty, and staff.
Please describe how you will work to advance ACPA’s Core Values if elected/appointed to this position.
Since my entry into the field, ACPA has had a positive impact on my professional, personal, and academic experiences. I am certain that ACPA was primed to support me in my professional development because of the core values the association is committed to upholding. I have incorporated these values into my work as a practitioner and leader in the field, and I hope to continue to contribute to CMA’s ability to espouse ACPA’s core values in a variety of ways. In order for CMA to thrive, members must feel that the committee is a safe space for the free exchange of dialogue and ideas. I am dedicated to building positive and collaborative relationships with members within each Network, while recognizing the importance of community-building within each Network, between each Network, and among other committees and commissions. The strength of the CMA community is drawn from a diversity of voice, experience, and thought. CMA stands on a foundation inspired by interculturalism and inclusion, and I’m motivated to educate, support, and advocate for ACPA membership utilizing a social justice lens. I am especially devoted to ACPA’s core values and I plan to work in partnership with my peers to ensure that we continue to critically engage the ideals surrounding inclusivity, universal design and practice, (physical and psychological) safety, accountability, and the creation of knowledge. In understanding the intersection of the committee’s culture, the needs of CMA’s constituency, and CMA’s goals, I believe my familiarity with CMA will be essential in advancing ACPA’s core values. I hope to build upon these intersections through strengthening our outreach efforts, further defining CMA’s mission, and involving the CMA Networks in making critical decisions.
After reviewing the qualifications of the position for which you are applying, please describe briefly below how you believe you meet each qualification.
As I continue to progress through my academic and professional career, I am reminded of the substantial transitions I have encountered that are now vital in assisting me identifying and addressing the various needs of students, faculty, and staff. I am skilled at seeking out appropriate resources to develop practical solutions. I am inspired to collaborate with different constituencies in ACPA, and I believe that my dedication to CMA can produce substantial results in the areas of organizational management, recruitment/outreach efforts, activism, and community development. Also, as a long-standing executive board member for PAN and CMA, I am familiar with the meeting schedule that takes place throughout the year and I can commit to the Assembly schedule. I am dependable, I have the capacity to fashion creative responses to difficult problems, I am relationship-centered, and I possess the ability to think innovatively and critically. I feel these qualities will be best put to use as the next CMA Chair.
As a leader, how will you contribute to the work of the Association?
With each year, I gain more insight into ACPA’s ability to produce progressive leaders and innovative research in higher education. Our annual conventions are a source of revitalization for practitioners and faculty, where they serve as an additional space for the reinvention of best practices. While serving as the CMA Chair, I expect to capitalize on our strengths as an organization in order to reinforce the needs, vision, and contributions of the SCMA. As a leader in ACPA, I believe that I have much to offer. I will assess the focus of our committee to ensure that our initiatives are working in tandem with ACPA’s core values and our Networks’ needs. I will further our efforts to build collaborative and productive relationships with our partners in ACPA, as well as other national associations in higher education. I will also represent and advocate for CMA’s constituency at the national level to ensure that our issues remain at the forefront of research and practice in higher education. My vision for CMA and the Networks is lofty, but I firmly believe that we possess the talent, skill, and passion necessary to push our committee forward.
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?
In reflecting on my experiences, I have come to learn and appreciate the significance of space and the power of our voices. I understand what it means to be underrepresented and to have my needs go unrecognized. I am not a victim. I am not a statistic. I am a whole person, with intersecting and complex identities. I view my encounters with bias in the field as a method of preparation for my work as an advocate and ally. I do not wish to represent the voices of many; rather, my hope for this position is to help strengthen our mission and organize our committee so that my peers are empowered to share their stories, their insight, and their wisdom.