ACPA Senior Scholars Program 2020–2025

ACPA implemented its Senior Scholars Program in 1984. ACPA Senior Scholars advocate for the integration of scholarship into the practice of student affairs. Senior Scholars, through the creation of an engaged scholar network, keep abreast of promising work and identify critical issues that could benefit from inquiry and attention. The Senior Scholars Program provides scholars with a continuing opportunity to promote scholarship through the presentation of programs of interest to the profession at each national convention and to serve the association on projects related to their fields of interest.

ACPA Senior Scholars represent the best of engaged scholarship relevant to student affairs work in higher education. Scholars are senior members of the profession (e.g., generally full professors or senior student affairs officers) who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to ACPA’s mission of generating and disseminating knowledge and who have the commitment to further advance research and theory. A maximum of twelve Senior Scholars can hold active membership. Senior Scholars must be or become members of ACPA and maintain that their membership throughout their term. Senior Scholars serve terms of five years. The term begins at the end of the convention following the appointment as Senior Scholar. Senior Scholars are strongly encouraged to attend the convention at the time of their appointment to begin their orientation to the group.

Diplomate status is conferred upon Senior Scholars who have fulfilled Scholar expectations and participated in at least four of five (2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025) ACPA national convention meetings during the Senior Scholar term. Meetings are held the day prior to and day of the convention opening session. In Nashville, those dates are Sunday, March 1 and Monday, March 2.

Nominations for 2020 are now closed. For additional information, contact Raechele Pope ( or Maureen Wilson (    

Expectations of Senior Scholars

Seniors Scholars must attend at least four ACPA national conventions during their five-year term and be active participants in the work of the Senior Scholars. In addition to participating in national conventions, Senior Scholars will endeavor to participate in conference calls throughout the year (typically four meetings). When possible an optional in-person meeting may be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). All Senior Scholars are expected to participate in the annual review and selection of Emerging Scholars and Senior Scholars. Project leaders may coordinate other meetings as needed so that groups who are in charge of specific initiatives can organize for report outs during the Senior Scholar meetings/conference calls.

Senior Scholars are expected to serve the organization by participating in at least one scholarly leadership commitment annually, including:

  1. Coordinating ACPA Seniors Scholar session proposal process for the ACPA national convention
  2. Directing the Emerging Scholar and Senior Scholar review, selection, and orientation processes
  3. Serving on committees or liaising with relevant groups (e.g., Senior Student Affairs Officers) of the Association
  4. Leading efforts to support ACPA’s mission, vision, and values (
  5. Serving on the Publications Committee of ACPA, the ACPA Awards Committee, or the Marylu McEwen Dissertation of the Year Award Selection Committee
  6. Leading the Senior Scholar Grant Program
  7. Collaborating with the Senior Student Affairs Officer (SSAO) Advisory Board to develop an agenda for research and scholarship and identifying topics for research and scholarship that address day to day issues and concerns faced by senior student affairs officers in their professional practice
  8. Coordinating research papers and posters on the convention program team (can be a current scholar or a scholar chosen for this role by the Senior Scholars group)
  9. Participating in or leading “Big Idea Projects” generated by Senior Scholars
  10. Advancing research themes and activities associated with being “Stewards of Scholarship”

Expectations of Diplomates

ACPA Senior Scholar Diplomates are encouraged to continue to serve the association and to be involved with Senior Scholar activities as they are interested and able. Diplomates may be designated to serve on the Program Team to coordinate research papers and posters or on publications or award selection committees.

Orientation and End of Service

Newly appointed Senior Scholars will be oriented to their role via a conference call with at least one current Senior Scholar prior to their first ACPA National Convention meeting. New Senior Scholars will be recognized at the ACPA Award Ceremony at the convention following their appointment (i.e., 2020 in Nashville). Senior Scholars complete their term of service at the close of their fifth convention. Scholars achieving Diplomate status will be recognized for this designation at the ACPA Award Ceremony at their last convention.

Nominations for 2020 are now closed. For additional information, contact Raechele Pope ( or Maureen Wilson (    

2019 Senior Scholars

Dawn R. Johnson, Syracuse University

John A. Mueller, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Penny A. Pasque, North Carolina State University