Note from the Editorial Team

As we prepare for the 2020 ACPA National Convention in Nashville, we are excited to share this issue of Developments. This issue includes useful information and reflection about graduate students, new professionals, navigating life in relation to the job. We also are excited to share information about pedagogy and building community around identity and scholarship. Additionally, the work of student affairs professionals related to crisis, risk management, and campus tragedy is included here.

This issue shows the holistic work we do as leaders and learners as well as teachers and trainers. The complexity and importance of building and sustaining community, even in difficult times – maybe especially in difficult times is showcased in our author’s contributions. How we build those connections in order to navigate the constant change of higher education and society is important to explore and understand. The work here can help us continue to have those conversations in community even as the community itself is evolving.

I’ve never been in a job interview and been asked, “How do you do with complete stability?” The fact that question hasn’t come up is a reflection of the work we do and the world we live in. The importance of change is also relevant to this publication. As Developments also continues to change to meet the needs of student affairs students, practitioners, administrators, and faculty, we would like to invite you to join us in the work. We hope you will consider submitting a manuscript to share your thoughts about the issues facing college students and student affairs today. Or you might want to join us as a reviewer to get a perspective on what others’ are doing, thinking, and writing about. Let us know if you would like more information on how to contribute in whatever way makes sense for you.

Thank you for the work you do every day. Best of luck throughout the spring term.

Michelle L. Boettcher

Kyle Bishop

From the President – February 2020

Written by Craig Elliott, ACPA President

This is a time of celebration. As I reflect on the past year, I am proud of the work that we have accomplished. I am proud of the leaders we have serving this Association. And I am proud of the foundation we have put in place to support the next 100 years of this Association. We are ready to create, shape, and continue to transform the profession and higher education. While not all of the work has been visible, it has been profound, and I am excited for the coming year.

My grandfather worked as a tradesman for water and power in Los Angeles, CA. He worked there at a time of significant growth for the area, and he contributed to the infrastructure of the county during that growth. Right now, Los Angeles is one of the most populated areas in the country, and I often think of my grandfather’s work, and that of his colleagues, to create a foundation to support families, businesses, and many industries.

One of the things my grandfather taught me when I was growing up is the importance of a foundation, and having a clear vision and a strong plan for the foundation. A foundation is an underlying base of support for a structure (or an organization), but it also needs an understanding of the purpose for the structure and a plan for how it will be used—otherwise it will fail. My grandfather helped me understand that vision and planning are essential to the strength, longevity, and success of the foundation and the structure you are building. The vision and plan are the foundation to the foundation if you will.

When I think about the work we have done in this Association in the last few years, it is clear to me we have been working on the next phase of the vision and the plan, and we are now beginning to shape the tangible foundation to support ACPA at 100 year and beyond. Under the leadership of the most recent ACPA past presidents, Donna Lee, Stephen John Quaye, and Jamie Washington, as well as the work of numerous leaders in the Association, we have established a clear vision for the future of our work in higher education, which is centralizing our work in research and scholarship, practice, and social justice. Those three years have led us to a new mission statement and a new, vibrant sense of purpose. That is our why.

In the last year, we have been considering and shaping what this foundation will be used for. We used the mission statement to guide the creation and development of a new strategic plan. This plan is a key cornerstone for our work ahead. We have also  both deepended and expanded the scholarship from our scholars, and are shaping a profound new framework for practice. In particular, we supported the introduction of an important new cornerstone in the profession: The Bold Vision Forward: A Framework for the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization. Another significant cornerstone has been our investment in our membership and in the leadership pipeline. ACPA exists because of, and for, its members, and we have worked to provide value for being a member; additionally, we recognize the strength of the Association is its volunteer leadership, and we need to continue to provide pathways and opportunities for our members to serve. We have done some important and meaningful work that has significantly increased the number of members who are running for leadership positions. And we have invested in the onboarding training that we offer those leaders so that they can effectively serve and access the support and resources they need.

These cornerstones of the last year will support the work of the Association for the next 100 years.

And I am excited about what is coming next. We have a fantastic incoming president in Vernon Wall. He is ready to lead this Association forward, to continue the foundation building, to implement the strategic plan, and the continuing investment in our membership and leaders. We have an exceptional and engaged Governing Board, with new members coming on board, who are ready and excited to partner with Vernon on this work. And we have a talented International Office staff to support us. We have the vision and the plan, and we are ready.

I am excited to be with many of you in Nashville at our annual convention, and to join in our continued work and engagement in the next year. It has been a pleasure to serve you and this Association, and to be a part of something important and significant.

In gratitude,

Craig Elliott
2019-2020 ACPA President

From the Executive Director – February 2020

Greetings ACPA Members!

Living and working in Washington, D.C. for the last 15 years, I have adjusted to the fact that politics is a way of life in this city. It can be all consuming, particularly in years of U.S. presidential elections. With the U.S. in increasingly political turmoil since the 2016 election and the country polarized along party lines, I can feel the anticipation and tension as I walk down the street. For those not in D.C., I hope that your lives, conversations, and relationships are filled with more than perpetual election chatter, network and cable news alerts, and the latest social media posts of politicians. 

As ACPA prepares to come together in Nashville, Tennessee, I am reminded of the politics of divisiveness and exclusion that permeates many of the towns, cities, and states governments across the U.S. The erosion of civility, civic engagement, compromise, and communication on the national and international levels is also happening in your local communities and on your campuses. ACPA exists to assist our members in boldly transforming higher education, and it is only through the education of tomorrow’s leaders will we see positive social change in the world. I fully believe that student affairs and higher education professionals are at a critical juncture in shaping inclusive environments and creating communities of care on college campuses. Where else can we expect this central work to happen within the college and university administrative structures if not among those who work most closely with transforming the lives of each individual student?

 2020 is not some date in the future…it is here, it is now! As you plan for your personal and work-related resolutions and goals for the year ahead, there are two civic commitments I ask that you hold centrally and tightly:

First, I ask that you get involved in your campus and community’s efforts to ensure that students on your campus understanding their voting rights and processes. I have worked on several campuses where student voting in local, state, and national elections have been fraught with efforts to block or suppress their votes or where student voting drives have been led only by student government organizations or external/government relations offices. It is our responsibility as college student educators to be informed and to communicate to students about their voting rights and about how to go about ensuring that their vote and voice is counted. From hall directors to senior student affairs officers, each of us can make a difference in how students have access to having their vote counted. I ask that each of you become more educated and informed on how to best support students’ right to vote on your campus and in your local community. Here are a few resources to get started:

Second, there is great potential for the 2020 U.S. presidential election to consume our attention, yet it is not the only significant civic event occurring in this calendar year. The year 2020 is also the time when the U.S. Census data collection will occur. The U.S. Census is taken once every ten years to assess local, county, state, and national populations, the results of which will have meaningful financial, political, legislative and educational ramifications for the next ten years. Whether you realize or not, your campus is also involved in the collection of data for the U.S. Census. When I worked as an Assistant Vice President at American University, one of my departments was responsible for supporting the U.S. Census process for resident students living on campus. I recently read Inside Higher Education’s January 20, 2020 article on Colleges Prepare Students for 2020 Census, and believe it is critical that ACPA and our members amplify the importance of the 2020 Census to professionals and students on our campuses. This article provides a terrific overview of the importance of the 2020 Census, and outlines some of the challenges and reasons for this year’s count as well as some of the ways higher education institutions are responding. I hope you will take a few minutes to review this contribution and then take action to learn and influence what is happening on your campus and in your community. 

I acknowledge the scope of this article has been quite U.S.-centric, but the opportunities and implications ahead this year for members in the United States are too great to not dedicate focused time and attention. It is my promise to include a more global perspective in future articles, so I dedicate this text as a call to action for my U.S. based colleagues. Thank you for your leadership and effort that allow us to together continue to create bold, transformative actions that will change societies.


Chris Moody
ACPA Executive Director

Examining the relationship between community engagement and graduate student preparation // written by: April Perry, Christopher Ray and Lane Perry

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Latinx Network Writers Group: Demystifying the writing process for scholar-practitioners // written by: Ricardo Montelongo, Stephen Santa-Ramirez, Karla Cruze-Silva & Gary Santos Mendoza

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