Dr. Susan Salvador chose a career in the student affairs profession as an undergraduate student. Originally studying psychology to later become a psychologist, Susan met her resident director and was immediately intrigued by the job and professional opportunities. Following this realization, Dr. Salvador fell in love with student affairs, and knew she wanted to become a senior student affairs officer.
During her career in student affairs, Dr. Salvador was always a community college practitioner, appreciating the diversity of their students and the opportunities community colleges provide. It has always been a privilege to Salvador to support students’ academic journeys. This focus can be seen in her previous work helping to establish residence halls at community colleges including service on a task force for the State University of New York system for housing at community colleges. Further, Salvador served as the Regional II Director for the American Association for Women at Community Colleges and a representative to the League for Innovation in the Community College. She has also been a lecturer for student affairs work, and was chosen to serve as an international administrative exchange delegate in Australia. Dr. Salvador was a prominent contributing author to Learning Reconsidered, and prior to this was on the writing team for the Principles of Good Practice in Student Affairs inventory statements.
The diverse and meaningful work in student affairs throughout Salvador’s career can also be seen in her ACPA involvement. Noting that everyone takes a unique path through ACPA, Salvador began her involvement immediately upon joining ACPA and the Commission for Student Development in the Two Year College. This opportunity was the base on which she grew in the organization. Moving from a directorate board member, Salvador became the Chair of the Commission, as well as a member of the Nominations Committee. From this point, Salvador moved to directing all commissions, a role which placed her as a member of the ACPA Executive Council. Her involvement grew from here including service as a Trustee of the ACPA Foundation, a member of the Grants Committee, and more.
Following this experience from commissions to the Executive Council, Dr. Salvador decided to run for the position of ACPA President. Being appointed to this position is a moment and honor that Salvador cherishes. As President, Salvador further oversaw discussions on the potential consolidation of ACPA and NASPA and the vote by both organizations on the proposal for the consolidation. While navigating this process, both associations’ governing bodies endorsed the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies document and focused to disseminate it nationally. In addition, the final report of the Taskforce on the Future of Student Affairs was approved just prior to her service as president, sparking much discussion. Salvador helped members through this discussion and its effects. Throughout her presidency, Salvador maintained her admiration for community colleges and was an advocate for not only these institutions, but also the implications of transfer students moving to four-year institutions.
Since her service as ACPA President, Dr. Salvador has continued to contribute in meaningful ways, including working with an organization entitled LEAD365, a collegiate leadership conference, by serving as the Foundation Executive Director. Reflecting on her time with ACPA, Salvador says one word comes to mind, “spirit.” The Latin word for breathe; it represents the nuances of who we are as professionals and the students we serve. Salvador describes ACPA as a space for human interaction and an amplifier of change using publications and journals, combined with human growth and passion.