From the President

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Stephen John Quaye
ACPA President

In late September 2017, the ACPA Governing Board and Assembly Leadership introduced our six Operational Truths regarding the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization (SIRJD). As an Association, ACPA – College Student Educators International believes:

  1.  All forms of oppression are linked.
  2.  Racism and colonization are real, present, enduring, intersectional, and systemic forms of oppression.
  3.  Racism and colonization have informed the experience of all of us in higher education.
  4.  Advocacy and social change require us to work to dismantle racism and colonization in higher education.
  5.  Our collective education, research and scholarship, advocacy, and capacity will create positive change in higher education.
  6. We believe in and have hope for our individual capacity, desire, and drive to grow, learn, and change.

These operational truths guide our work as student affairs/services professionals. We enter this work believing that racism and colonization are everyday realities and that people, ultimately, can grow, change, and learn.

Since we launched this Strategic Imperative, many of you have wondered: what does this look like in practice? Let me share three ways that it looks like for me, as ACPA president.

First, it means unlearning internalized oppression. As a black cisgender man, I have internalized so many negative messages about what it means to live in my black body. I am a thug. I am a gangster. I come from a single-parent household. I am unintelligent. So much of my life has been spent trying to counter these messages and unlearn the dire impact on my life. SIRJD means unlearning internalized dominance and how that plays out in my life.

Second, it means learning. When the ACPA Governing Board introduced the Strategic Imperative, we centered racial justice. In the process, we received feedback from the Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous Network that the Imperative was not inclusive of their politicized experiences with colonization. Learning this was painful, as it meant admitting that I did not know this reality and working to address it. Learning is not always joyous. Sometimes it comes through pain, frustration, and embarrassment. And yet, we still must learn.

Finally, it means embracing the messiness and moving forward even when we do not know exactly how. Although the International Office will be sharing more resources in the coming months about how to concretize SIRJD, I encourage you to not treat these resources as the sole answer for moving forward. Think of the connection between SIRJD and your work. Where do racism and colonization show up? What structures are in place that reinforce hierarchical decision-making? Whose voices and experiences do you privilege the most in your organization? How do you make decisions about who is important based on what they are wearing? Does your office reinforce “professional” dress? “Professional” for whom? Who decides that?

Reflecting on these questions enables you to think of what racial justice and decolonization look like in your practice without needing to get it “right” before acting. I look forward to engaging with you about the Strategic Imperative, as we work to make our world more just.

 

The Strength of Us

FROM ONE DUPONT CIRCLE

The Strength of Us

Cynthia H. Love
Executive Director

Separately we are as fragile as reeds and as easily broken.  But together we are as strong as reeds tied in a bundle.
Inspired by the Talmud

I want to talk about the strength of us—as individuals, as a community of people dedicated to student learning and development and as ACPA—College Student Educators International, a long-tenured member of the Higher Education Secretariat in Washington D.C. I also want to talk about our fragility.  

For some of our members, our tenure as an Association (95th Anniversary 2019), our legacy as scholar practitioners (Journal of College Student Development since 1954) and our place at the Secretariat table denote strength, continuity, and strategic influence. For some of our members, these same attributes denote selling out to a capitalist system, complicity with white supremacy and alignment with institutions where racism and colonization seem intractable. As hard as it is to admit, both are true.

The facts are that ACPA – College Student Educators International is a not-for-profit corporation (part of a larger dominant capitalist order) (Incite, 2017), almost 100 years old (within the life cycle of Jim Crow) and, as part of higher education writ large, complicit in the influence of Whiteness on relationships, campus climate, culture, ecology, policy and scholarship (Cabrera, Franklin, & Watson, 2017). We have internalized the idea that power—the ability to create change—equals money. We have been and remain part of the structural mechanism facilitating the marginalization of people of color, colonized people, and others.

John Dugan (2011) describes our balancing act as an Association chartered as a non-profit and social justice educators and activists:

Historically, we have held an activist orientation because that compass is a powerful guide and catalyst for transformation of structures, organizational and administration practices. An organization can provide structural evidence that it values learning centered and inclusive practices, but individual actors must also embrace these practices for them to manifest in meaningful ways. Until organizations begin uniquely targeting both structures and behaviors, it will be difficult to fully integrate learning-centered and inclusive practices. (p. 399)

I am excited about the progress we have made over the past three years to work on both structures and behaviors within ACPA. Yet, as Astin and Astin (2015) suggest, “equity is our unfinished agenda” in higher education. There is so much yet to do. I believe much of the major organizational shift towards the realization of justice within our own organization began in the 2011-2012 time frame. This was a soul-searching moment when ACPA had to dig deep into its own identity during the attempted NASPA/ACPA consolidation.

In 2011, Peter and Marcia Baxter Magdola described ACPA in this way:

We are applying post conventional organizational theories within our “own house” at ACPA to support continuing reduction of functional silos and to disrupt traditional structural features that reinforce unequal power dynamics.

To persist and succeed in the Magdola’s vision, I have identified five needs that I believe we must meet. I spoke about the first need in my opening remarks to ACPA as the new Executive Director more than three years ago. I said that we need more crown fires, also known as agents of change, to catalyze organizational shifts. We need to let them do what they do best, get rid of old wood and make room for new growth.  

Second, we need iterative, organization wide assessment of every operation and every aspect of what we offer to members for valid evidence of diversity, equity and inclusion plans and progress. We started this process in 2014 with an organizational audit using the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB). In three areas: Vision, Strategy, and Business Case; Leadership and Accountability; and Structure and Implementation, we scored lower than any of us could have thought possible.  This was a wake up call.  

Since that time, we assembled a working group that published Developmental Pathways to Trans Inclusion on College Campuses, completed the Leadership Pathways process and still have many of the recommendations of that team to implement. We then repeated the GDIB one year later.  Our scores improved slightly.  Frustrating, but true.

Past-President Donna Lee convened a Governing Board and Assembly retreat in November 2016 and at its conclusion, the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice was adopted and updated to include Decolonization in July 2017. Launching this Imperative has not been a seamless process for any of us and there is a creative tension in our midst that can serve us well if we bring our whole and willing selves to the work.

Third, we need leadership throughout every part of our Association—Governing Board, Assembly, Commissions, Coalitions, Communities of Practice, States, Networks to buy in to changing the paradigm from where we are to one where diversity, equity and inclusion are hard-wired into the business case of our Association.  

Last year, ACPA was invited to provide input to the AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Campus Climate, Inclusion, and Civility, and I am proud of several of the key questions we were able to bring forward. Most important, “Are diversity and inclusion initiatives directly tied to the mission and strategic goals of the institution?”  I am also proud of the fact that ACPA has asked itself this question and responded affirmatively.  Now we have to “put meat on the bones.”

Fourth, we need the ability to talk openly and directly (not via social media) with one another about high stakes, emotional, controversial topics as a means to increase our resiliency and strength.  

Fifth, and finally, we need the central organizing principle of everything we do to be the realization of human dignity.  This will take mutual respect, civility, mercy and grace.

I know of very few organizations as willing as ACPA – College Student Educators International to call out what is not working within our own organization as well as higher education, to do the rigorous research required to identify ways to improve, to translate that scholarship into practice, to share and mentor students. These are our strengths.  

Our fragility emerges when we do all of these things and fail to extend civility, mercy and grace to one another. We are not alone in this failure, perhaps comforting to some and a complete frustration to others. This difference in perception can become another way in which we silo ourselves and I believe this is what we must avoid if we really want to bring our vision to fruition.


References

Astin, A. W., & Astin, H. S. (2015). Achieving equity in higher education: The unfinished agenda. Journal of College and Character, 16(2), 65-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2194587X.2015.1024799

Cabrera, N. L., Franklin, J. D., & Watson, J. S. (2017). Whiteness in higher education: The invisible missing link in diversity and racial analyses. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Dugan, J. P. (2011). Advancing inclusive and learning-centered practice: Redesigning student affairs work. In P. Magolda, & M. B. Baxter Magolda (Eds.), Contested issues in student affairs: Diverse perspectives and respectful dialogue (pp. 394-406). Sterling, VA: Stylus

Incite. (Eds.). (2017). The revolution will not be funded: Beyond the nonprofit industrial complex. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Magolda, P. M., & Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2011). Contested issues in student affairs: Diverse perspectives and respectful dialogue. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Taking Charge of Your Own Competency

Taking Charge of Your Own Competency

From One Dupont Circle
Cindi Love

Executive Director

“Your driver is on the steer (at the wheel) driving you and you can feel free to doze in the car; this is trust built on competence. Competence is to ensure that your actions put people’s hearts at ease when things are in your hands.”
Israelmore Ayivor

I want to act in such a way that people’s hearts are put at ease.  So, how do I increase my competence?  This is the essential question for all of us who want to support students on their paths to self-authorship and in order to grow ourselves professionally and personally. Over the last several months I’ve listened to members and other colleagues who are struggling with this question due to budgetary reductions on their campuses.  

Whether they are newer professionals seeking support or more seasoned professionals trying to provide support, the dilemma is the same.  “Soft dollars” for travel and professional development are shrinking at most publicly funded institutions and it doesn’t look like a temporary challenge.  

The good news is that growth and competency are not dependent on another person or an institution that employs me.  I am not minimizing the very deep concerns about funding issues for our institutions nor the challenges these cuts pose for ACPA and our operating budget.   I am acknowledging the reality of the times in which we are living and working.  I can’t stop my path to self-actualization because someone else won’t pay my way.  We can’t fix gaps in our budget by making members pay more. We have to get creative.  

As an individual, I have to reprioritize the ways in which I invest in myself.  As an Association, we have to offer high quality and lower cost alternatives.  It is for that reason that we entered into partnership with Worker Bee TV in 2015 to launch ACPA Video on Demand (VOD) and with Professor Peter Lake in 2016 to develop and launch Compliance U™.

We chose these partnerships because we need to increase access, reduce costs and ensure that an ACPA membership provides a clear pathway to increased competency for everyone who chooses to engage.  The good news is that we listened early on to our ACPA Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology and its recommendation to “develop the infrastructure and resources appropriate to ensure sustainability and relevance in digital technologies.”  Our alliance with Worker Bee makes part of this recommendation feasible and achievable.

We know people are tuning in and using our content 24/7/365 on ACPA Video on Demand, so we decided to build on that success and implement several of other the recommendations of the Task Force. (Thank you to Dr. Kent Porterfield for creating this Task Force and Ed Cabellon and Tony Doody for leading the effort of a diverse cross section of scholars, practitioners, educators, administrators, and business partners).

The Task Force also recommended that we:

  • Design training and development opportunities to enhance college student educators’  (and professional) use of digital technologies;
  • Establish and grow strategic collaborations and partnerships;
  • Identify key higher education associations, organizations, business partners, authors, scholars, researchers and change agents with whom to strategically partner;
  • Partner with key graduate level faculty from higher education (or related) programs to discover what digital teaching modules could lay the foundation for future implementation. Begin with small pilot programs across various in-person, blended, and online programs.

I want to focus on the last recommendation about partnership with key graduate level faculty.  Allow me to formally introduce Professor Peter Lake to those of you who may not know him. Peter is professor of law, Charles A. Dana chair and director of the Center for Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law and an internationally recognized expert on higher education law and policy. He authored The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University (Lake, 2013) and his newest book, The Four Corners of Title IX Regulatory Compliance: A Primer for American Colleges and Universities.

We found great synergy for the Task Force recommendations in our strategic alliance with Professor Peter Lake and faculty in the development of Compliance U™.  This platform began as a concept that Professor Lake used in his scholarship to describe the impact of hyper-regulation on colleges and universities. It has come to life in Compliance U™ as a facilitative learning vehicle to meet the challenges of higher education—a regulated industry in transition.  

Professor Lake says, “I have watched our field change dramatically during the course of my 25 years in the field, both as a law professor and nationally-recognized higher education law and policy expert. Legal regulation has exploded, impacting the nature of our educational conversations. Political winds at the local, state and federal levels influence the dynamic nature of compliance—‘due diligence’ is now a permanent feature of our work.”

Many higher education professionals wish to have and need to have intensive law and policy training, and, at the same time, do not desire to pursue another degree, cannot afford to do so, and cannot leave their responsibilities on campus to attend classes. They need badging or credentialing opportunities that are cost effective, resource sensitive, time efficient, competency and outcome learning-based, and tailored to promote the goals of higher education.

Compliance U™ is designed to reduce the total costs of training by 50 percent with the majority of content on-line and the content is provided by the best and brightest in the Law, Policy and Governance (LPG) area who align themselves with our core values of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.  

Ayivor’s definition of competence comes full circle in ACPA’s offering of ACPA Video on Demand and Compliance U™, providing the pathways whereby my actions can put people’s hearts at ease when things are in my hands.  It’s a tall order to be competent and it is not always easy to discern a pathway to support development. I am excited about our opportunities with ACPA Video On Demand (VOD) and Compliance U™ for higher education professionals to systematically gain competency in the foundational, intermediate and advanced areas for student affairs professionals.

References

Lake, P. F. (2013). The rights and responsibilities of the modern university: The rise of the facilitator university (2nd ed.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

From the President

From the President

Stephen John Quaye
ACPA President

As President of ACPA I have the opportunity to preside over #ACPA18 in Houston, Texas, the bellwether state for anti-LGBTQ legislation in the United States. In the process, I also get to facilitate dialogue about the Governing Board’s decision to remain in Houston.  

Holding the #ACPA18 Convention in Houston means we get to ask ourselves the questions that are confronting so many members on their campuses.  

What does it really mean to be a social justice educator in a place that promotes ideas, policies, practices and/or programs that contradict our values?  What should we do? What can we do? What does it truly mean to live out the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice?

The Governing Board has concluded that staying in Houston directly aligns the Association with the new Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice, which urges us to intentionally and directly engage with issues of race and racism at their intersections of identity, including nationality, gender identity, immigration status, socioeconomic status, disability, and geography.  

In the case of Houston, immigrants, documented and not, as well as trans people, have been singled out and denied legal protections. They now live with less assurance of safety than even a few months ago.

This is why I believe that there may not be a better place than Houston right now to do our work as social justice educators. Convention is a place and time that can engage the largest percentage of our members and allows us to directly support our Texas-based colleagues and member campuses.   

We’ve been on the ground in Houston as grassroots advocates and supporting our colleagues at the ACLU, Equality Texas, Trans Texas, and the Texas Business Alliance since the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was defeated in 2015 (Mulvaney, 2016).  

Immediately after HERO failed, ACPA Executive Director Cindi Love and Deputy Executive Director Tricia Fechter Gates visited Houston in January 2016. Meetings included the Mayor of Houston, representatives from the Police Department, the ACLU, Trans Texas and Equality Texas and several human rights organizations in Houston. The overwhelming sentiment was that ACPA was welcome in Houston, and our advocacy and commitment to social justice was and continues to be needed now more than ever.

Our Convention in Houston will encourage us to think deeply, innovatively, and boldly about the ways that race and racism shape the experiences of those in our institutions and those who strive to obtain a higher education. We do not believe we should forego these opportunities and, therefore, we are remaining in Texas as social justice educators, as justice seekers, and in solidarity with our colleagues on campuses and those in the ACLU, Equality Texas, Trans Texas, and other human rights organizations.

I understand the perspective of members who believe we should withdraw from Houston and not invest any ACPA funds there. And I also hold the perspective of the significance of showing up, working alongside our trans colleagues and students, and advocating to foster change on the ground. For those who cannot attend for fear of safety or due to a desire to not spend money in Texas, we will provide virtual opportunities for engagement. We are raising funds for these purposes.   

In closing, I encourage you to visit the Frequently Asked Page on the #ACPA18 website to learn more about our rationale for remaining in Houston. I hope you will continue to share feedback and ideas with me. I appreciate your engagement in ACPA and am pleased to serve as your President.  

Reference

Mulvaney, E. (2016, January 28). City concerned for conference business in post-HERO Houston. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/economy/article/City-concerned-for-conference-business-in-6791478.php

In Pursuit of a Diverse Community

Donna LeeUPDATES, NEWS, & ANNOUNCEMENTS
FROM THE PRESIDENT

In Pursuit of a Diverse Community
Donna Lee, ACPA President

As we open our campuses to usher in a new academic year, we recognize that we are starting this year at one of the most tumultuous and challenging times in recent years. This has been an especially difficult summer: terrorist attacks around the world, shootings of unarmed black men, attacks on police protecting demonstrators, targeted killing of LGBTQ people, and a presidential campaign in which we hear messages of violence and hate. All of these events and challenges have had an indelible impact on each of us. And it is clear that we all have much to learn as we engage in difficult dialogues in our diverse communities. But have we truly nurtured this diverse community on our campuses?

The process of creating a diverse community is an amorphous one – dynamic and ever changing. Earlier initiatives to diversify our campuses have focused exclusively on demographics and increasing numbers of historically underrepresented populations on campus, especially racial groups. Other approaches have been aimed at developing programs, initiatives, and services, all designed to help students from underrepresented populations succeed in a dominant culture. The deficit in these exclusive approaches is that diversity is perceived as an end – a stagnant, fixed outcome.

Many campuses have since begun to recognize the need to embrace an approach that conceptualizes diversity as core and essential to the mission to educate students for responsible and engaged citizenship and leadership in local and global communities. As such, diversity must become part of the fabric of our institutions, connected and integrated into all aspects of our learning communities. Respect and value for diversity should be reflected in our social interactions, our practices, programs, resources and services, and in a curriculum that represents a body of knowledge that spans diverse cultures, traditions, histories, and values. An important part of the process is a critical assessment of what we are teaching, how we are teaching it, who is doing the teaching, and the contexts in which the learning occurs. How well does our curriculum – in and out of the classroom – teach students about diverse groups? Are students given opportunities to reflect on their own identities, heritage, and cultural traditions? Do we provide knowledge of social issues such as power and privilege, bias, and discrimination? Do we relate diversity issues to students’ majors? Do we prepare students to work with people from different cultural backgrounds? Do we challenge our students to consider the implications of diverse worldviews, perceptions, and values? Do we provide opportunities for students to engage in dialogue across difference? A diverse community is one that is inclusive, welcoming, and respectful in which each member values difference, and at the same time, this diverse community affirms the central importance of our common humanity.

The emergence of a truly diverse campus involves incremental and progressive change. Although diversity issues are broader than merely increasing numbers, progress in educating all students to effectively engage in a diverse and global society can be especially challenging in an environment that is culturally and ethnically homogenous. Underrepresented populations cannot be expected to conform and assimilate into the mainstream culture; instead, all populations should be able to merge to form an integrated campus community that is culturally synergistic, a campus community in which all are affirmed and valued. Boyer (1990) describes this community: “a place where freedom of expression is uncompromisingly protected and where civility is powerfully affirmed” (p.17); “a place where the well-being of each member is sensitively considered” (p.47); “a place where the sacredness of each person is honored and where diversity is aggressively pursued” (p.25).

As we aggressively seek and recruit diverse students, it is imperative that we challenge ourselves to consider the following: Are we prepared to educate a diverse population? Is our campus environment one in which members from underrepresented populations can thrive? Are our curricula, our practices, and pedagogies appropriate for these populations? Of equal importance is the diversity of our faculty and staff. On many campuses, as the racial and ethnic diversity of student populations have experienced steady growth, the same growth among our faculty and professional staff is not seen. The presence of a diverse faculty and staff body provides students with diverse role models and mentors, opportunities to learn from different perspectives and voices, and exposure to new ways of knowing and learning. The research literature suggests that student engagement with diversity not only is related to changes in attitudes, openness to difference, and commitments to social justice, but it is also related to satisfaction, academic success, and cognitive development for all students (Taylor, Apprey, Hill, McGrann, & Wang, 2010). To this end, as we consider issues of diversity and multiculturalism and create dynamic learning environments, we must adopt a comprehensive approach that includes the following components:

1. Learning experiences that expand all students’ knowledge of multiculturalism and its implications as they are prepared to engage in their communities – both local and global;
2. Programs, services, and resources that recognize and address the developmental needs and learning styles of diverse populations;
3. Aggressive strategies to intentionally diversify the campus community. A campus community that is rich in its diversity – across multiple identities – provides the container for this multicultural education, outreach, and support to occur.

Recognizing this need for a comprehensive approach, attention must be given to the inclusion of underrepresented populations, support and outreach to these groups, campus climate issues, the inclusion of diversity in the curriculum – in and out of the classroom. Strategies must be aimed at seeking multiple perspectives and voices, promoting growth through dialogue in the campus community, the curriculum and the classroom, creating linkages between the in class and out of class learning, and building connections between the campus and local and global communities, understanding the systemic issues related to diversity, power, and privilege, and developing a heightened sense of commitment to create positive social change. And the work of creating a diverse community must be shared by all in that community. While departments and administrators focused on diversity play a crucial role, the responsibility for thinking about the implications of diversity must be distributed much more broadly among students, staff and faculty, and administrators. And diversity must be reflected in mission statements, strategic plans, campus priorities, decision-making, and resource allocations.

Our campuses are embedded in a society wracked by ongoing challenges that are deep and confusing and from whose conflicts, violence, and pain they will never be immune. But our campuses are powerful learning containers in which we should aspire both to model what our world could be and to educate those who will be the ones who will improve it. The vision should be to create a campus community that can engage across difference, cultivate empathy, have conversations of respect, and learn and grow from each other as we educate ourselves for a diverse world and create positive social change through a shared responsibility in support of the common good.

In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.
John F. Kennedy
Commencement Address at American University, June 10 1963


References
Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. New York, NY: The
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Taylor, O., Apprey, C. B., Hill, G., McGrann, L., & Wang, J. (2010). Diversifying the faculty. Peer
Review, 12(3). Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/diversifying-faculty

Creating a Culture of Advocacy at the Intersection of Avoidance & Adversity

Dr. Cindi Love, Ed.D.UPDATES, NEWS, & ANNOUNCEMENTS
FROM ONE DUPONT CIRCLE

Creating a Culture of Advocacy at the Intersection of Avoidance & Adversity

by Cindi Love, ACPA Executive Director


How can we, as higher education & student affairs professionals, advocate for full equity & inclusion at the institutional-level?

How can we answer the call for transformation of structural oppression?

How can we demonstrate more effectively the critical role of co-curricular engagement in the realization of human dignity?

There are a few basic activities that seem to catalyze and sustain positive change that I want to share within our higher education community. And, there are some harsh realities.

We are not keeping pace with other global institutions in diversity, equity and inclusion. Many very large for-profit and multinational corporations have been forced to do better because their profits depend on market leadership with finely tuned global acuity and cultural competence.

When I came to work at ACPA in March 2014, the Executive Team of the Governing Board asked me to conduct an organizational audit of effectiveness based on mission, vision and core values. I did so. One of the tools that I used for these types of audits is the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB), a platform launched ten years ago by the Diversity Collegium (www.diversitycollegium.org) to help corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) systematically address discrimination in their organizations.

At JLM 2014, I reviewed the results with our leaders. We scored slightly below the 50 percent level between Level 2 Reactive and Level 3 Proactive. There was evidence of stalemate in some areas including:

  • Response to the voices and needs of our native, aboriginal and indigenous members
  • Pathways to leadership for persons of color
  • Accessibility for persons with disabilities
  • Full inclusion of LGBT persons
  • Response to the voices and needs of people with certain religious, spiritual and secular identities

Following the 2014 organizational audit, another group of leaders at JLM 2015 completed two sections of the GDIB: (1) D&I Vision, Strategy and Business Case and (2) Leadership and Accountability.

We again scored slightly below 50 percent. The Leadership Pathways Project, Elders in Residence Program, Developmental Pathways to Trans Inclusion on College Campuses, Community Conversations on Racism, the ACPA Bias Protocol and Deconstructing Racism in the Academy Series were all developed to improve our organizational performance in equity and inclusion.

We’ve made progress and we have a lot of work to do.  It is important to understand and accept that inclusion is not a one-time effort or exercise, a project or a program.  It is, in many ways, at the very heart of student affairs work.

Over a decade, use of the GDIB has revealed that organizations must systematically measure what they really want to change. They must understand and identify benchmarks for diversity and inclusion within the macro view of the social and political system and climate in which they operate and in which they are planning transformation. We need only read the headlines about higher education to discern why this external scan is so important.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and campus communities may address the same issues from very different religious and socio-political perspectives. These issues must also be viewed against the backdrop of rapid social change, substantial polarization in the political arena, political challenges to the freedoms of expression and religion, and high-profile instances of violence and terrorism. Catalytic events—even those that take place far from a campus—unrecognized needs, and pent-up demand. (AGB, p. 16)

Leaders have to locate themselves within this working environment and ask questions of themselves.  Are they catalyst, compliant or conformist?  Are they committed to creating cultures of advocacy or avoidance?  Are they focused more on risk management than students and staff at risk?  We have to continue to ask the same questions of ourselves as association members.

There is more pressure to commit to diversity, equity and inclusion than there has been in the past. The Association of Governing Boards makes very few public statements to trustees, but on August 25, 2016, they issued CAMPUS CLIMATE, INCLUSION, and CIVILITY.

I highly recommend that you read it cover to cover.  If you do not serve on a Board of Trustees, take a copy to your SSAO, President, Provost or Chancellor and ask them to read it if they have not.

The AGB Board of Directors, in approving this important statement, realizes that some of the recommended practices presented herein will raise concerns. Some will prompt difficult conversations and will challenge boards to address the questions that result. However, governing bodies bear ultimate responsibility to ensure that effective policies are in place and followed in order to uphold institutional mission, values, and educational quality for all who are part of their institutional community.

I was invited to serve on the AGB Task Force that helped identify the complexity of issues, fundamental values and foundational principles that anchor the statement.  Artis Hampshire-Cowan, AGB Senior Fellow and former senior vice president and secretary at Howard University is to be commended for her thought leadership and facilitation.  As you can imagine, the dialogue was intense.

Bottom line, the Report confirms what the GDIB case studies for the past decade reveal, that commitment and action to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion must emanate first and continuously from “the top.” This transformation cannot be delegated to a Director or Division or Department. It belongs first to the people with the most resistance to change and the power to change.  This leadership makes all the difference in whether a campus pursues real equity and inclusion or not.

I was very proud that Fred P. Pestello was chosen for a central quote in the statement.  He is President of Saint Louis University, an ACPA member institution, home of past-President Kent Porterfield and the place where we filmed Deconstructing Racism in the Academy after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

I recommend that you watch his interview on ACPA Video on Demand, and I want to share his quote from the AGB report.

At the outset, we simply talked and listened to one another. We worked to find areas of understanding and agreement— and not dwell on our differences. Throughout those discussions, we in positions of leadership strove to speak using the poetry of compassion, respect, and dignity, rather than the prose of fear, power, and threats.

Fred P. Pestello President, Saint Louis University

Well said.

Presidential Remarks Delivered at the 2016 Convention

Donna LeePresidential Remarks Delivered at the 2016 Convention

From the President

Donna Lee, ACPA President

Ubuntu. I am because we are. I am because we are. Ubuntu is a beautiful concept in African culture. At its most basic, Ubuntu can be translated as “human kindness” but its meaning is more vast and carries so much more depth – it embodies connection, community, and mutual caring for all. Ubuntu is about the essence of being human…for caring, sharing, and being in harmony with each other. Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes, “a person is a person through other persons, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. You seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.” And when I reflect upon my life’s journey, and the experiences and encounters leading up to this moment at which I stand before you, I am struck by the power of Ubuntu. I am because we are.

I have never been able to forecast where the steps I took in life would lead me, but I have always trusted in my inner voice, my intuition, my spirit to lead me to those destinations I am meant for.  If you had asked me several years ago if I saw myself as a dean or as a vice president, or now as the President of ACPA – College Student Educators International I would have said, “no way!” Yet, now I stand here as the 77th President of our Association, the 7th African-American to step into this position of service.

I must first pay homage to and honor those who have come before me, who through their acts, words, and deeds, have forged and paved paths, opened doors, and created spaces for me to be the woman I am today. I thank them for the strength of their shoulders, allowing me to stand upon them. I give honor to those who have trail blazed a path for me to be here, especially my mother and my grandmother. I pay homage to May L. Cheney, Mary T. Howard, and Anne S. Pruitt, women who made it possible for me to stand here before you today. I have a responsibility to hold close by these pieces of my history. And I have the responsibility to exalt those values that enabled these phenomenal women to persevere. The tears once held back by my ancestors can be shed, but now as tears of joy that come from knowing that their energies have been transformed into the hope that we see represented in our present.

It is important that I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today. I pay my respects to their elders past and present.

 I honor those in my present – sisters like Patty Perillo, who honored me with her generous introduction and who has been a source of friendship, inspiration, and love throughout the years…and the colleagues, friends, and leaders throughout our Association who have supported and nourished me, especially over this past year, my colleagues on the Governing Board, members of the Assembly, the staff of the International Office, and brothers like Kent Porterfield and Gavin Henning whose sage and gentle leadership have guided and paved a way forward for our Association. I thank the professionals and friends with whom I have been privileged to serve at Rollins College, Agnes Scott, and now at my new home, Macalester College. I thank those in my present for their powerful arms and hands outstretched to steady and guide me. I honor those who will come after me – I ready my shoulders to hold them up.

I am because we are.

I am Donna Lee. I sign my name using my middle initial A…for Ann. I use the pronouns she, her, hers. I am a woman of color, single mother of a beautiful brown boy, educator, change agent, feminist.  I am reminded by Audre Lorde that I am the product of my multiple identities and the intersections between and among them. I am from New York, oldest child of a working-class family, the product of a multiracial family – confusing and sometimes hurtful as I was too dark in some worlds and too light in others. As a young girl, I was a very introverted child, reflective and pensive. I attended parochial school during my early years. I remember my teacher giving a lesson on love. “God’s love is everywhere,” she said.  “He watches over all that is good.  God watches over his children. God will never let you fall, never let you get hurt.”  As I looked down at my scarred and scabbed knees – knees that suffered from my many falls from the tree in my back yard or where I hit the sidewalk as I was running or skipping, or the numerous times I would fall off my neon green bike with the banana seat. As I looked at my knees I questioned my own worth, my own place in the world.

    When I was teased by my white peers about the color of my skin…skin that they called dirty, and my hair that they called “Brillo,” my beautiful grandmother helped me to embrace and love my beautiful brown skin and my lovely coiled hair that I could style in oh so many wonderful ways. My journey of self-discovery took me to the military, where I discovered my voice as a woman, an education at a small, private liberal arts institution, where I discovered my niche, a degree in counseling where I discovered a passion for empowering others to be their best selves…all these things helped me to define and get a sense of who I am. My calling, my responsibility in life is to make the world a better place, and I have found a vocation that enables me to use my gifts and abilities to touch the lives of others in ways that are transformative.

I am a work in progress. At times, my confidence wavers. I make mistakes. Fear and self doubt sometimes invade my psyche. I remember my surprise when asked to serve in the role of interim dean. I think part of this was attributed to the fact that most of the models for me in this role were white men in suits.  I have typically worked in predominately white environments, and I have always been very aware of the impact my presence had on my colleagues – I usually wear my hair in braids, twists, or cornrows; my jewelry is ethnic, and my dress is not always considered to be conservative.  I know that for some, my presence makes them nervous…makes them uncomfortable…

When I transitioned into the role of a SSAO, I was advised that I would need to take out my “dreds” if I wanted to be successful…I was wearing cornrows.

I felt blessed to have been selected to serve as a VPSL, but experienced conflicting feelings about my role. It was an honor to be recognized as that college’s first black vice president, but at the same time, I was troubled by the fact that in the 21st century that my brown face was a cause for celebration.

I continue to agonize over the fact that there is still much work to accomplish across our institutions of higher learning.  I have been vividly aware of the lack of a critical mass of faces like mine in key roles, and often I am the only brown face at the table.  Because of this, I sometimes feel an enormous pressure to represent.

Reflection carries the connotation of bending back, mirroring, and returning to oneself.  It calls upon each of us to look, examine, turn and return, and bend our understanding of self and the impact we make.  It was the birth of my son, Jonathan, that gave me greater pause to engage in this bending, mirroring, and understanding who I am, who I will be, what I am purposed to do. When I looked into his innocent eyes, I was filled with almost an unbearable and conflicting mix of emotions…overwhelming love and joy and a profound sense of peace and connection… and at the same time, a sense of guilt and pain…and fear. I had just brought an innocent life into a fractured world…a world that would judge him for the color of his skin…a world plagued by chaos, devastation, and strife. I realized quickly that the fear I was feeling was obscuring the hope that could be. And as I look again into the innocent eyes of my son, I recognize the light of the future breaking over him, and I realize my responsibility in doing my part now…in the present…to make the world a better place. To do my part in mending our world.

My story is the why of my work…why I show up the way that I do. My story informs how I construct my identity, make choices, take action. My story tells why I feel called to serve. But I am because we are. And it’s the weavings of our collective stories that become the tapestry that is ACPA. And the story of ACPA…the story of us is a compelling one.

We serve as part of a noble profession, one that transforms lives, transforms communities, transforms our world. Our work is intentional, grounded in theory and guided by best practices. ACPA is a community of learners, educators, professionals, colleagues, and friends with a shared commitment to being instruments of change. Our story is one that is rooted in a history of dignity, equity, inclusion, and justice that goes all the way back to the time when 9 bold women noticed a gap and filled it. Evolving out of the disciplines of counseling and human development, we have remained steadfast as we are guided and defined by those things we value: our students and their learning, diversity and multicultural competence, dignity and respect, openness, inclusion, access, involvement, growth, outreach, advocacy, and action.

Our story is one of community.  The root meaning of community is derived from the Latin word, communitatus, meaning “the changes or exchanges that connect people.”  The earliest form of connection among groups of people was seen in the social divisions within traditional and indigenous societies. Kinship was at the center, and there was a distinct sense of identity and belonging, a sense that strengthened its members’ ability to bond and survive.  Life was profoundly egalitarian.  Hierarchies, dominant groups, class structures, and other status systems did not exist.  Leaders needed to be modest, generous, and selfless; leadership was transient and situational.  The process of making decisions was open to all as all voices were welcomed and valued.  Honor, respect, pride, dignity, and responsibility were core values.  Behaviors not aligned with these values were confronted quickly.  There was an emphasis on communal sharing, caring, and taking care of each other.  There was a spirit of cooperation and a genuine compassion for others.  There was an underlying ethic of reciprocity…you did not take something from another member without giving something in return. Life was cooperative and reciprocal. This is the same understanding behind the meaning of community: the changes that we go through, the exchanges we experience with others, the connections we make with one another, the ethic of care are the very things that nurture us, teach us, bond us, heal us.

And as we continue to nourish the things that make us ACPA, lifting up and weaving together the thousands of stories of us, we create our community, and in creating real community, we need to covenant with one another. We need to work together. We need to commit to an honorable reciprocity, never taking from one another without giving something of substance in return. At the core of a strong community is a genuine compassion for the welfare of others, a collective responsibility for the common good.

In an increasingly complex and global world, in a time where the issues and challenges of our world can feel overwhelming, I focus my attention on the light of the future – the work that we do, for what we do, what we teach is what will change the world. Our curriculum is one of hope and transformation…the light of the future. And as we work towards the common good, we must never forget the power that is ACPA…the interconnections among us, the importance of turning to one another to discover what we might create together, how we might help each other, how we might strengthen one another. The truth is that we can only persevere through challenges when we truly work together.

Three years ago, my friend Kent Porterfield reminded us of the transition we were experiencing as a community, describing the phases we would move through as we forged a way forward: the first of these being a “letting go” phase, a process of ending a former era; the second, the “in between,” a time of shaping new ways, a time of foundation-laying, of building, of creating new identities. Kent Porterfield and Gavin Henning shepherded us through these phases with a bold vision, a tireless energy, a passion for our work, and a lightness of touch. I am deeply indebted to them for their powerful leadership. Because of them, we are now moving into the third phase of that transition – the “new beginning,” a time when the seeds are beginning to sprout – new identities emerge, ideas are fully formed, the impact of changes are becoming visible.  It is with humility that I stand before you readying my back and shoulders to provide leadership as we embark upon this new and exciting phase in our Association.

All around us we can see the fruits of our labor:

Research and scholarship continues to ground, inform, shape, and guide our practice. It is a tenet of who we are and will continue to define our future and the future of higher education. We have made great strides in the promulgation of our research: About Campus, our scholarly magazine, will now have a wider reach via an online profile, and work is underway to use social media as a way to further engage readers. The Journal of College Student Development remains one of the most highly regarded journals in higher education, especially around issues of social justice, equity, and inclusion. Through our commissions, coalitions and networks, state and international chapters, senior scholars, task forces, and other entity groups, we promote scholarship and new knowledge in social justice education, student learning and success, assessment, global learning, mental health, sexual misconduct, and many other critical issues. As we look to the future, this commitment to research and scholarship must remain one of the highest of our priorities, and we will need to continue to invest in this priority, with a particular emphasis on linking our research and scholarship to our practice. We must continue to create opportunities for emerging scholars – both faculty and practitioners, supporting new research, exploring new ways to disseminate knowledge, enhancing existing initiatives, including research grants, programs like Dissertation of the Year, the Writers Workshop, and other opportunities aimed at amplifying the voices of our scholars.  This strategic investment is critical as we continue to shape and impact policy and practice in the field.

Professional development remains a cornerstone of our Association, and we are on the cusp of harnessing the powerful ways it shows up throughout ACPA. A partnership with NASPA resulting in the publishing of Professional Competencies provides a roadmap for our professional development. MyPROfolio will innovate the manner in which we engage in our professional development, providing an intentional and universal tool to reflect on, document, and deliver learning and knowledge. As we continue to immerse ourselves in this new tool, reflective and reflexive practice will become our norm.

Our entity groups have been the major source of content for our digital platform, ACPA Video on Demand, significantly expanding the reach of information and making professional development more accessible to our members…and even beyond our membership; this past year, over 42,000 individuals accessed digital segments through this platform. We have an opportunity to package this work in such a way that positions ACPA as the go-to Association for professional development.

We held our largest Residential Curriculum Institute in our history and created a new model for the Donna Bourrassa Mid-Level Managers Institute, increasing revenues while maintaining the high quality curriculum. Perhaps this model is one that can be applied across our institutes.

Nurturing a community of mentors and mentoring relationships through the spectrum of our membership – practitioners to faculty, undergrads to senior professionals – is a unique and special part of who we are and is an integral part of the journey of growth and development. We will continue to develop strategies and create initiatives to support and lift up the beauty and power of mentoring.

Much work was done to get us to this point of having our first Convention outside of the U.S., and key partnerships with global leaders and educators have brought us closer to realizing who we are as ACPA – International. It is important that we continue to engage in a process of understanding what International means to us and how we can authentically live this out.  Following up on the work of the feedback group created earlier this year, we will begin to develop a salient plan to move forward. My commitment is to create a working group that will partner with me in this endeavor. If we are to be truly international in our membership and global in our scholarship and practice, it is critical that we continue to push beyond the borders of the U.S., but it is just as critical that we not proceed in ways that further marginalize any group. It is important to acknowledge that the impact of us being in this space today has meant that members of our community – in particular, structures exist that may exclude members who identify as Trans from being physically in community with us. This kind of dissonance is something we need to reconcile as we nourish the community we want to be.

It was with intentionality that I shared my story with you. It is through the sharing of our stories that we begin to connect across our common humanity. Each one of us has a compelling story to tell, and it is incumbent upon each of us to give space for those stories to be told and shared…to nourish strong relationships within our community…to weave together the story that is ACPA. In this endeavor, I encourage you to begin reflecting on your own story…who are you? What are those beliefs you hold close? What are those things that encourage your heart? Who are the people…what are the experiences that have shaped and defined you along your journey? What is your “why?” As leaders, we need to employ both our heads and our hearts in pursuit of building community and affecting positive change. I recognize, however, that because of issues related to power and privilege, bias and oppression, hierarchies and systems, some stories are not heard…or even told.  You may be familiar with StoryCorps. That initiative is a mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. The sharing of stories is “to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.” I am committed to lifting up each of our stories, building on the work that has already been done: training and education of ACPA leadership, opening opportunities and casting a wider net to ensure diverse and representative voice in leadership roles, examining practices that may inadvertently create barriers to hearing our stories. The strength, power, and beauty of our community can be heard in the symphonic notes played by each individual member.  The work of the Leadership Pathways provides a foundation upon from which we can begin to think about ways that we can capture and project the stories that make up our community.

I also commit to engaging in a thoughtful process to review and assess our structures, our governance, and our practices, ensuring alignment with our core values and identifying strategies to enhance, transform, restructure as needed. We need to hone in on what matters to our community, getting really clear on who we are, clearly articulate our “why”, and then create the structures that will serve to advance us. The governing board has already begun to immerse themselves in these critical conversations. This undertaking will involve an intentional process of listening, gathering information, documenting experiences, finding where the gaps are, noticing where voices are missing, and engaging in an iterative and reflective feedback loop. This will take a shared commitment across our membership and a trust in each other and the process to create the community to which we aspire.

As we enter this “new beginning” savoring the fruits, continuing to water the seeds, preparing the soil for new crops, we must move forward with a fearlessness, for when we are fearless, we are motivated by what is in our hearts, and we remain grounded in our core values. Fearlessness also has love at its core, and this love is coupled with reflection and discernment, allowing us to move toward what is good and right. And in this unprecedented time in higher education where the work that we do is under such scrutiny and in a world that is getting increasingly complex and messy, the light of the future is in who we are as ACPA…an Association…a community with almost a 92 year legacy of values-based practice, research, and education, an Association that centers student learning and development, an Association whose commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice is just what is needed to change the world. Moving in this fearlessness, we can define the agenda for higher education. Moving in this fearlessness, we can open, create, and shape the spaces that empower students to find, raise, and place their voices in the world in ways that are transformative.

The Hopi Elders share words of wisdom:

Here is a river flowing now very fast.

It is so great and swift,

That there are those who will be afraid,

Who will try to hold on to the shore,

They are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know that the river has its destination.

The elders say we must let go of the shore,

Push off into the middle of the river,

And keep our heads above water.

And I say see who is there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history we are to take nothing personally,

Least of all ourselves, for the moment we do,

Our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over.

Gather yourselves.

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

For we are the ones we have been waiting for.

And as I stand before you today I focus on the light of this powerful Association. I can let go of the shore and move forward with a fearlessness, inviting in what the world offers me, not seeking a destination, but my direction. I take time to breathe and pause, staying in my present, but with an eye to the future, staying focused on taking one step at a time. I wade fully into the water, keeping my head above, buoyed by the work, words, acts, and deeds of my foremothers and fathers, and supported by the outstretched arms and hands of the people around me. And with each step I continually ready my back and shoulders, making them strong for the next generation of leaders to stand on. Ubuntu. I am because we are.

Where Were You When?

Dr. Cindi Love, Ed.D.

From One Dupont Circle: Where Were You When? 

Cindi Love
ACPA Executive Director

Where were you when you heard about the recent murders of people in Minneapolis, Istanbul, Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Nice and Munich?

Do you know anyone in any of those places?  Friend, relative, co-worker, member of a community with which you identify?

How did you feel when you first heard about these killings?

What do you want to do about this situation?

How will you do it?

When will you start?

These are the six questions that crisis counselors are trained to first ask people who are processing their exposure to a human-engineered act of mass murder or terrorism.

The answers to these questions help the counselor quickly assess and react more effectively to respondent’s location within the predictable stages of grief and loss (Jennings, 2003).

Research indicates that the psychological effects of terrorism inflicted by human beings lasts longer than those from natural disasters and accidents, almost doubling the average time that people report cessation of measurable PTSD like symptoms, from 18 to 36 months. In addition, these acts of terror affect the mental health of a higher percentage of people than that recorded for natural or accidental disasters (Selzler & Grandbois, 2011).

The six question process can help you navigate the stages of grief for students, colleagues and yourself as we move forward together each day on our campuses as professionals in student learning and development.

The world feels shaky to some and as if it is imploding to others. Some people are using social media like a numbing drug and others are using the real thing. Some people are praying and others are cursing the universe. Some people are staying in bed all day and others cannot sleep. Some are compartmentalizing and will have to unpack later. Some are stuffing their grief away.  We are all coping in a new normal in which our traditional sanctuaries do not necessarily feel safe.

Servaty-Seib’s (2006) research suggests that college campuses can be difficult places to experience grief.

It’s important for faculty and staff to acknowledge the emotional and cognitive effect that experiencing a death loss has on students. With greater acknowledgement, students are likely to feel greater support, experience less isolation and, therefore, function more effectively.

What plans are we making for students who will return to campus after break?  What does support look like?  What is helpful?  What is not helpful?  We are operating in an unprecedented time of distrust and unrest and I am so grateful for the sensitive and experienced leadership of many ACPA members.

In 2015, ACPA President Kent Porterfield was at ground zero of Ferguson at Saint Louis University.  Mamta Accapadi, faculty of ACPA’s Mid-Level Management Institute and VP Student Affairs at Rollins University in Orlando was at the epicenter of student response along with Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia Community College who had to tell his community that they lost seven students in the massacre at Pulse. ACPA’s current President, Donna Lee, is Vice President of Student Affairs at Macalester in St. Paul, Minnesota and has supported that campus through multiple protests by the larger community.   We need to support them and our many colleagues who are engaging with students around the world.  We need to learn from them and with them.

No one has all the answers. However, each one of us can listen to another human being. It is very important to hear the stories of those who bear the brunt of our national failures—people of color and, particularly, young Black men who arrive on campus this fall.

Despite two years of discussions and protests, police shootings have not declined nationally.  Black Americans remain 2.5 times as likely as whites to be fatally shot by police.  Some professionals will attempt to separate this reality from campus climate as if the Ivory Tower in not, in fact, Ivory—born out of white supremacy and built on the backs of Black people.

We must be in the business of strengthening our communities and our campuses within them and insisting on the translation of research into equitable and inclusive climates for all.  We must engage rigorously in the development of culturally competent leadership at every level.  Human dignity can no longer be an assertion without realization.  Activist scholars have been researching, observing and recording campus climate, failures and successes for more than a century.  It is time to dig deeply into their work and make it real in campus life.

The convergence between frontline activism and scholarship emerged after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968 and remains one of the most effective means of understanding and addressing the egregious effects of educational, economic and political apartheid in America.  It is this intersection of thought and action that can lead to a radical vision and revolutionary courage necessary for reform in police control, health and welfare, cultural development and definition. (Grady-Willis, 160-161).

I am deeply grateful for the scholarship of ACPA members in these areas.  If you have not read the recent compilation from About Campus, please take time this week to do so.

In Conflict as a Catalyst for Learning, Rashné R. Jehangir challenges her students and herself to engage with tough issues like class, race, gender, disability, and homophobia. How does she help them learn from, and even embrace, the conflict that inevitably arises?

In Confessions of a Recovering Racist, Donna M. Hauer shares an experience of making a misinformed judgement, and how the student she put in a box made her realize she was make assumptions that weren’t true.

In Difficult Conversations, Debra Miretzky and Sharon Stevens share their experience launching a series of campus conversations focused on raising personal awareness and building relationships across difference.

In Multiracial in a Monoracial World, Samuel D. Museus, April L. Yee, and Susan A. Lambe interview four undergraduate students of color about their experiences on a ‘colorblind campus.’ The students tell their own stories of discrimination, frustration, and willingness to have the race conversation that their peers don’t want to engage in.

In Racism and Sexism in Cyberspace, Samuel D. Museus and Kimberly A. Truong report on the negative consequences of the ubiquitous radicalized and sexualized stereotype of Asian American college students that appear online.

In Black Within Black, Chrystal A. George Mwangi and Sharon Fries-Britt disrupt the idea of a monolithic experience among Black students by reporting on Black within-group diversity and the perceptions and experiences of Black immigrants in higher education.

Beyond Discourse to Emancipatory Action by Penny A. Pasque and Hailey Neubauer describes one undergraduate student’s transformational story of self-discovery and personal development frames this discussion of the importance of undergraduate involvement in social justice research.

Frank Shushok, Jr. in A Candid Conversation about Schools, Culture, and the Widening Opportunity Gap in America interviews Robert D. Putnam about our attention to the worsening problem of inequality of opportunity in American society.

Jennifer Meyer Schrage in A Sea of Change on the Horizon contends that adjudication-only models of conflict resolution limit opportunities for restorative justice and student learning, for both those who have caused harm and those who have suffered harm.

Sydnee Viray and Robert J. Nash in Taming the Madvocate argue that advocates must move beyond anger in order to be effective.

Reginald Wilson in Educating for Diversity explains why achieving cultural diversity on campus requires nothing less than a complete transformation of our institutions of higher learning. This means reinventing everything, from the canon to the classroom and beyond.

Forest B. Wortham in Engaging Prospective and Admitting African American and Other Minority Students Before They Arrive on Campus talks about the waning effectiveness of traditional methods of connecting with incoming Wittenberg University minority students and how to help them find their places.

Researchers, scholar practitioners and students have deep wisdom to add to this critical time in our history in higher education.  What are you thinking, reading and writing? Start with the simple questions posed at the beginning of this article and, if you are willing, share with our community.  Email a blog post to be included on our website to [email protected].


References

Jennings, G. S. (2003). Tarrant County Region 11 Education Service Center, Crisis Counseling

Selzler, B., & Grandbois, D. (2011). Best practices for psychological support of communities after a disaster. WIT Transactions on the Built Environment, 119, 291-302.

Servaty-Seib, H. (2006, April 4). Study: Grief has impact on college students’ academic performance. Retrieved from  HYPERLINK “http://www.purdue.edu/uns/html4ever/2006/060404.Seib.study.htmlhttp://www.purdue.edu/uns/html4ever/2006/060404.Seib.study.html

From One Dupont Circle: Are We Creating Cultures of Advocacy or Avoidance?

FROM ONE DUPONT CIRCLE
Are We Creating Cultures of Advocacy or Avoidance?

Cindi Love
Executive Director

In February, 2016 I attended the 37th Annual National Conference on Law in Higher Education in Orlando, Florida.  The theme was Compliance, Consumers and the Constitution:  Managing the Law and Policy Expectations of Conflicting Constituencies in Higher Education’s Second Civil Rights Revolution.

Each year, Peter Lake, Director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law, gathers general counsels of colleges and universities with student affairs professionals working in conduct, Title IX, compliance, as well as campus police.

I was asked to provide the opening keynote.  I chose the topic Constructing Cultures of Advocacy in Which Delineated Rights Are Not Abstractions, but Realities.

The second keynote was by William Creeley, Vice President of Legal and Public Advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).  He spoke about the mission of FIRE, its Stand Up for Speech and Green Light projects.

The timing of these presentations seemed right for the attendees.  There is so much at stake right now in higher education and in our broader society.  Analysts from the Higher Education Research Institute anticipate that the level of student civil engagement, including campus protests, will be at the highest level in 50 years by the end of 2017.

I am not confident that risk-averse campuses will endure this season of discontent well.  This makes me fear for the safety of everyone within the community.  I fear that we are creating cultures of avoidance (of risk) rather than cultures of advocacy.

In our isolated efforts to minimize liability and risk (legal exposure, bad publicity and stakeholder backlash) we sometimes postpone or escalate the emergence of more serious problems by placing narrow policy standards over the individual needs and experiences of people. And, educators may fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Risk reduction lacks the conscious decision to support individual growth in moral and ethical decision-making, social identity development, and cultural competency.  Student learning and development are unintended consequences rather than an intentional outcome in these settings. (Schrage and Giacomini, 2009)

Creeley’s review of 400+ campus policies regarding protected speech suggested that we have major work to do.

FIRE has launched the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project as a large-scale national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. Working in rapid succession and in multiple federal circuits, the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project seeks to generate additional legal precedent, widespread media coverage, and numerous policy revisions. Ultimately, this Project is working to generate the pressure necessary to rebalance the incentives on campus in favor of free expression.  Efforts to suppress this constitutional right will predictably escalate the sense of urgency for activists.

My recommendation is to be proactive in teaching effective civic engagement, informing students of their rights and creating supportive campus environments in which no one gets hurt. Create an ethos of communication, non-violent contestation, and civility.  Chancellors and Presidents must lead this cultural transformation.

Naturally, no one wants FIRE to call them up or send a letter suggesting that the campus is going to be exposed to litigation and liability for violation of freedom of expression or assembly or abuses of academic freedom.  And, the way to avoid those calls is to avoid suppression of the constitutional rights on students on public universities.

Here are a few questions for campuses to consider.

  • Are freedom of speech and assembly addressed in your campus climate surveys?
  • Is there education for first year students on civil engagement and civil disobedience, constitutional rights, guidelines for non-violent assembly, and protest?
  • Are there clear guidelines in place for campus safety officers regarding use of force?
  • If a Memorandum of Understanding is in place with a local city police department, does it include policies and practices centered on student learning and development?
  • Is Chancellor evaluation tied directly to campus climate?

My hope is that we are better prepared for student unrest than we were in 1970.  This will only be true if we are developing cultures of advocacy rather than avoidance and part of that process means guaranteeing, at minimum, protected speech.
Reference

Schrage, J. M., & Giacomini, N. G. (2009). Reframing campus conflict: Student conduct practices through a social justice lens. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

UPDATES, NEWS, & ANNOUNCEMENTS: FROM THE PRESIDENT

UPDATES, NEWS, & ANNOUNCEMENTS: FROM THE PRESIDENT

Gavin W. Henning
President

On March 6, 2016, ACPA – College Student Educators International will make history. For the first time ever, the association will hold its convention outside of the United States. The 2016 ACPA Annual Convention will be significant and exemplify the mission and values of the association.

ACPA16 is a truly an international event. First, because of our host city. Montréal, originally called Ville-Marie (City of Mary) is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the center of the city. Montréal, which is actually on an island, is the largest city in Québec, the second largest in Canada (behind Toronto), and the 9th largest in North America. French is the city’s official language and 56% of the population speaks both French and English. Interestingly, Montréal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.

There are 60 internationally-focused programs being offered. Some of the programs relate to internationalization. Other programs are facilitated by individuals from outside the United States. During ACPA16, we are also piloting a Student Leader Global Summit powered by IASAS, ACPA, and Lead365. College students from around the world will come to Montréal for three days of leadership training.

As always, we will have a number of sessions related to student learning and development – the heart of our association’s mission. There are amply opportunities to discover emergent research and scholarship through educational sessions and double the number of research papers and posters typically offered. One featured session showcases findings from the upcoming 3rd edition of How College Affects Students. In another featured session, Marilee Bresciani Ludvik will discuss the use of neuroscience to improve student success, which highlights findings from her book The Neuroscience of Learning. In addition, this year we will have a program track centered on instruction and teaching which includes nearly 30 programs.

A hallmark of ACPA is our values regarding equity and inclusion. Each opening and closing speaker lives these values and furthers them in the work they do. Speakers include Irshad Manji who is an advocate of reformist interpretation of Islam; Jack Saddleback, who is the first transgender and fourth Aboriginal individual to serve as President of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union; Martine Desjardines, former student leader of the “2012 Maple Spring” in which college students protested tuition raises; and Jay Smooth, founder of New York City’s longest running hip hop program.

In addition, there will be a program track regarding race and racism which includes over 60 sessions on topics such as support services for Native Indian and Aboriginal/First Nations students, using Critical Race Theory to support students of color, Black male identity development and engagement, and many more. There are 17 sessions as part of the Transgender and Trans Identity program track. Session topics include the intersectionality of Black Queer identity formations in college, transgender student sexual health, creating Trans* inclusive college and university campuses, and more.

An ACPA annual convention would not be complete without activities especially focused on professional development. There will be special educational sessions devoted to job search and recruitment processes. ACPA is partnering with Peter Lake to offer a certificate in Title IX compliance. There will also be certificate program tracks on the following topics: globalization with a focus on social justice and inclusion, scholarship with a focus on student learning, and technology.

Rounding out the convention experience are receptions, open meetings, and other networking events throughout the event. Take the time to get involved with a commission, coalition, community of practice, or state or international division. These smaller professional communities provide additional opportunities for connecting and learning from others.

For those not able to attend convention, we also have a number of opportunities to participate. These include live and recorded sessions, Twitter backchannel, and ACPA Video On Demand after the convention has ended on March 9th. Monitor the ACPA convention website for details.

The 2016 convention is an historic event for ACPA. I hope you will join us onsite or virtually!

Are We Creating Cultures of Advocacy or Avoidance?

FROM ONE DUPONT CIRCLE
Are We Creating Cultures of Advocacy or Avoidance?

Cindi Love
Executive Director

In February, 2016 I attended the 37th Annual National Conference on Law in Higher Education in Orlando, Florida.  The theme was Compliance, Consumers and the Constitution:  Managing the Law and Policy Expectations of Conflicting Constituencies in Higher Education’s Second Civil Rights Revolution.

Each year, Peter Lake, Director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law, gathers general counsels of colleges and universities with student affairs professionals working in conduct, Title IX, compliance, as well as campus police.

I was asked to provide the opening keynote.  I chose the topic Constructing Cultures of Advocacy in Which Delineated Rights Are Not Abstractions, but Realities.

The second keynote was by William Creeley, Vice President of Legal and Public Advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).  He spoke about the mission of FIRE, its Stand Up for Speech and Green Light projects.

The timing of these presentations seemed right for the attendees.  There is so much at stake right now in higher education and in our broader society.  Analysts from the Higher Education Research Institute anticipate that the level of student civil engagement, including campus protests, will be at the highest level in 50 years by the end of 2017.

I am not confident that risk-averse campuses will endure this season of discontent well.  This makes me fear for the safety of everyone within the community.  I fear that we are creating cultures of avoidance (of risk) rather than cultures of advocacy.

In our isolated efforts to minimize liability and risk (legal exposure, bad publicity and stakeholder backlash) we sometimes postpone or escalate the emergence of more serious problems by placing narrow policy standards over the individual needs and experiences of people. And, educators may fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Risk reduction lacks the conscious decision to support individual growth in moral and ethical decision-making, social identity development, and cultural competency.  Student learning and development are unintended consequences rather than an intentional outcome in these settings. (Schrage and Giacomini, 2009)

Creeley’s review of 400+ campus policies regarding protected speech suggested that we have major work to do.

FIRE has launched the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project as a large-scale national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. Working in rapid succession and in multiple federal circuits, the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project seeks to generate additional legal precedent, widespread media coverage, and numerous policy revisions. Ultimately, this Project is working to generate the pressure necessary to rebalance the incentives on campus in favor of free expression.  Efforts to suppress this constitutional right will predictably escalate the sense of urgency for activists.

My recommendation is to be proactive in teaching effective civic engagement, informing students of their rights and creating supportive campus environments in which no one gets hurt. Create an ethos of communication, non-violent contestation, and civility.  Chancellors and Presidents must lead this cultural transformation.

Naturally, no one wants FIRE to call them up or send a letter suggesting that the campus is going to be exposed to litigation and liability for violation of freedom of expression or assembly or abuses of academic freedom.  And, the way to avoid those calls is to avoid suppression of the constitutional rights on students on public universities.

Here are a few questions for campuses to consider.

  • Are freedom of speech and assembly addressed in your campus climate surveys?
  • Is there education for first year students on civil engagement and civil disobedience, constitutional rights, guidelines for non-violent assembly, and protest?
  • Are there clear guidelines in place for campus safety officers regarding use of force?
  • If a Memorandum of Understanding is in place with a local city police department, does it include policies and practices centered on student learning and development?
  • Is Chancellor evaluation tied directly to campus climate?

My hope is that we are better prepared for student unrest than we were in 1970.  This will only be true if we are developing cultures of advocacy rather than avoidance and part of that process means guaranteeing, at minimum, protected speech.


Reference

Schrage, J. M., & Giacomini, N. G. (2009). Reframing campus conflict: Student conduct practices through a social justice lens. Sterling, VA: Stylus.