Name: Thomas C. Segar, Ph.D.
Title: Vice President for Student Affairs & Affiliate Graduate Professor
College / University / Organization: Shepherd University
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.
I have been a member of ACPA since 1996, and have volunteered and presented at most of the annual conventions since 1998. My other involvement includes the following: member of the ACPA Certification Taskforce Subcommittee, Ancillary Programs Chair for the 2008 Convention Planning Team, and Next Generation Conference Co-Chair for the 2014 Convention Planning Team. I am currently a member of the ACPA Student Recruitment and Retention Work Group.
Please describe how you will work to advance ACPA’s Core Values if elected/appointed to this position.
The Director of External Relations position responsibilities include working closely with Association leadership and external partners to keep members informed and educated about challenges and opportunities relevant to the profession, their institutions, and their students. I will work to maintain open, accessible, and two-way lines of communication among ACPA leadership, members, and external entities. This includes providing avenues for on-going feedback and dialogue from every member. Involving all Association members and leaders in the process is one of the most important ways I can work to advance ACPA’s Core Values.
Having served other professional associations and worked with organizations that share connections with institutions of higher education I believe I have a firm understanding of the collaboration opportunities that can be established and enhanced through position. I would work to strengthen relationships with ACPA’s current partners and advance the Association’s outreach and advocacy through creating new partnerships.
Doing my own personal work around social justice, learning to recognize and own my dominant identities has helped me see the importance of using my voice as an ally. Creating the space for others to speak and be acknowledged, and to name inequities that disproportionally advantage or disadvantage others, is something I strive to do in practice. I would also do this as a member of the ACPA Governing Board.
After reviewing the qualifications of the position for which you are applying, please describe briefly below how you believe you meet each qualification.
We live in an interconnected and networked world where our actions are likely to impact others independent of our intentions. As a senior student affairs officer at a public regional institution I am keenly aware of this fact and continually navigate within this lived reality. This means that I practice seeking input, feedback, and guidance from others and consider the needs of all members of the institution’s community when making decisions.
My full-time position requires me to be knowledgeable and responsive to external issues that impact my institution and our students. I am fortunate to work with multiple constituent groups whose needs and concerns challenge me to be aware and responsive to a range of issues. Working in this type of institution-community environment has taught me how to be adaptable and accountable to help others.
I bring over 18 years of experience working as a professional in higher education and over six years as a senior student affairs officer. My other experiences include serving on non-profit boards, professional association executive boards, and working with local governments and state systems of higher education. These experiences have taught me how to serve in a leadership role in collaboration with others and to manage the steps necessary to bring about positive changes on behalf of others.
As a leader, how will you contribute to the work of the Association?
I will use my experience and knowledge of the Association and profession to give voice to emerging issues and seek opportunities that will enhance the work of the Association’s members. ACPA has had my time and attention for most of my career. At this point in my professional journey I would like to enhance my contribution to the Association.
One of the ways in which I see and interact with the world is through a social justice lens. I believe I can contribute to the Association’s work through naming dynamics of power, privilege, oppression, and omission as they show up. This practice is deeply embedded in my personal life and practice as an educator on a college campus, and I would continue this as a member of the Governing Board.
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?
One of the most powerful experiences I have had as a professional is learning to understand the influence of my own dominant and subordinated identities. This has given me the capacity to recognize how I can be dismissive and omissive when I do not intentionally consider how my privilege limits my awareness of the lived experiences of others. At the same time I have learned how to recognize and name inequities and injustices as they show up in practice because I have personally experienced them.
Many of our institutions and associations were not founded with the needs of all students mind. Therefore, we must continually work to address areas of omission and oppression in our daily work. I have learned to continually observe how my actions and areas of influence contribute to or detract from the inclusion of those whose voices are unheard and not included in decisions. Through this I am challenged to constantly scan the environment and pay attention to who is invited to participate in decision-making processes and who benefits from the outcomes of these decisions.