What’s the difference between a Standing Committee and a Commission? What is a Core Council and what do those groups do? How does the Executive Council and National Office Staff work together and what roles do they play?

For several years we have been hearing these and other questions from you about the structure and operations of ACPA. Previous surveys and assessments have shared some common themes—the ACPA organizational structure is too confusing and too large to be as efficient and “nimble” as it needs to be to serve your needs. As a result, in fall 2004 Dr. Patty Perillo, from UMBC, was charged to work with a diverse and representative Taskforce to examine ACPA’s current governance structure.


In 2004, ACPA President Dr. Jeanne Steffes charged this Taskforce to consider the re-organization and re-engineering of the ACPA structure, ultimately developing a framework for ACPA, based upon member needs, organizational and operational efficiencies, and the changing landscape of higher education and its constituent institutions. The Taskforce’s major goals are to recommend a governance structure that is clear and easy to understand, provide suggestions for streamlining governance and Executive Council operations, and help maximize opportunities for a connected sense of the organization.

Precipitating Factors/Why Now?

That we are called now to this action is inspired by many factors. These include the decision to not merge with NASPA, the installation of a new executive director, and the national trend toward increased associational professionalization, delivering more services with less reliance upon a volunteer base. Most importantly, the wisdom of our members and the thoughtful comments of outside consultants suggest that we will not thrive&mdahs;and may even begin to suffer negative consequences—should change not be carefully examined and implemented today.

Although ACPA has been in existence since 1924, it has been an independent Association only since 1992. In 13 years as an independent Association, we have made a variety of thoughtful, strategic decisions that have positioned us to serve the diverse needs of college student educators nationally, and increasingly, internationally. Not surprisingly, however, the complex developmental processes we know drive positive change in our students is also part of a vital organizational life. As we “mature,” it is time for ACPA to look inward and develop a planful strategy for growth.

Governance Taskforce Membership

The Taskforce is comprised of diverse members, representing many constituencies within ACPA from graduate students and new professionals, standing committee and commission chairs, past presidents, faculty, and senior student affairs officers. They are committed to our organization and its vitality and want to represent your voice and seek your input. Taskforce members include: Patty Perillo (Chair), Greg Blimling, Mela Dutka, Lee Hawthorne Keith Humphrey, Tom Jackson, Richard Johnson, Myra Morgan, Stacey Pearson, Julie Ramsey, Greg Roberts, Matt Soldner, Jeanne Steffes, Chris Strong, Bridget Turner Kelly, Lynn Willett, and Liz Whitt.


All ACPA members will have an opportunity to give feedback to the process and will have a chance to vote on the final proposed structural change. The Taskforce has already solicited feedback at the 2005 ACPA convention and through over 40 consultation interviews with current ACPA members post convention. All ACPA members are encouraged to contribute ideas and feedback via; there is a link on this website which provides members an opportunity to submit ideas. The Taskforce will convene in the fall and begin to formulate an organizational model for the Association based on the information and materials that we have gathered during the last ten months, as well as materials compiled over the past six years as ACPA members have been engaged in this dialogue for quite some time.

The Taskforce will disseminate information to the membership (i.e., via special ACPA Website, ACPA E-Alerts, Developments) in January 2006 and will have open forum sessions and a marketing campaign at ACPA’s 2006 Indianapolis Convention. All ACPA’s members will be encouraged to vote on this new governance structure in April 2006.

Thank you In Advance for Your Feedback!

This is an important time for ACPA to stabilize itself in membership and focus, grow as a responsive and easy to understand organization, and help our members meet the needs of student affairs professionals around the world. Thank you in advance for being an active part of this process. For more information, please contact Patty Perillo, Chair of the ACPA Governance Taskforce, at [email protected] or 410-455-1394 or visit the Governance Taskforce website at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *