Are We Really That Different?

Are we really that different?

Paul Eaton
Editor
Louisiana State University

Writing the Editor’s introduction to Developments always gives me an opportunity to think critically. I try to title my introductory pieces around central metapatterns, questions, or themes running through the various articles of the Issue. This Issue of Developments has many themes and important questions for each of us to consider as we embark on the start of a new academic year.

This question – Are we really that different? – is one posed to us by Marisa Vernon, the newest columnist on our Developments team. Starting in this Issue, Marisa will be writing about the student development experience on the two-year college campus. Our profession has always recognized that every student matters, and Marisa’s column will help all members of our association think about the parallel and differential experiences of students attending two-year colleges. This new column is an important addition to the research and practical foci of our Association. Marisa’s column in this Issue challenges the notion that students attending two-year colleges are any different than those attending four-year colleges, and is an excellent starting point for important discussions in our profession that will break down institutional and professional boundaries. Everyone is invited to think critically about the changing landscapes of the student experience in higher education, and I believe Marisa will help each of us do this through her important new column.

What you will notice through the remainder of this Issue is a broad array of articles that do focus on our unique professional and personal differences.

Our series “Women As” continues with two powerful articles. Ann James shares a deeply personal reflection about infertility. Her piece strikes at our innate human desires for control: James notes her ability to control her career and educational attainment, but an inability to control the timing, and potentially possibility, of having a child. Joyce Lui highlights the impact of stereotypes and media imagery on Asian American women. Of particular importance in Lui’s piece is the analysis of Google search results. The algorithms and images returned demonstrate not only the pain and dangers associated with stereotyping, but also the way that stereotypes have moved from the social world to the digital world.

Our Legal Issues column highlights the important issue of emotional support animals on campus, with a special emphasis on housing policy. There is a growing awareness in our culture about mental and emotional health issues. Neal Hutchens raises important questions about professional practice and policy regarding support animals on campus. I believe his article should raise questions for individuals working beyond campus housing, ensuring that our facilities, classrooms, and campus environments are welcoming for students who may need the assistance of an emotional support animal.

Jason Lane asks whether Student Affairs Educators are prepared for the Pacific Century. Growing numbers of international students come from countries on the Asian continent, and, as Lane points out, the growing economic power of Asian countries gives us an obligation to prepare students for working, interacting, and taking leadership roles outside the United States.

Finally, President Kerr reflects on the June Leadership Meeting, where our Association Leadership took up some important questions regarding the multicultural nature of our profession. ACPA has always valued inclusion and social justice, but as President Kerr reminds us, ensuring that we are a truly multicultural organization is an ongoing struggle.

Are we really that different? Yes. No. Our Association, our colleagues, and our students are beautifully and individually unique. We each face our own personal struggles, have unique personal stories and cultural backgrounds, and have within us strengths and power all our own. Yet, there are many ways we are not that different. We all seek to be valued as a human being; we all seek to be part of a strong community of learners and professionals. Most importantly, as members of ACPA, we are all dedicated to enhancing the educational and lived experiences of our students.

Do good work this Fall.

About the Editor

Paul Eaton is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership & Research with concentrations in Higher Education & Curriculum Theory at Louisiana State University. 

Please e-mail inquiries to Paul Eaton.

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