Commissions Corner

Commissions Corner

Laura A. Bayless
Coordinator-Elect for Commissions
Saint Mary’s College of Maryland
Heather Shea Gasser
Coordinator for Commissions
University of Idaho

This issue of Developments highlights the work of four Commissions and one Task Force:

  • Academic Support in Higher Education
  • Commuter Students and Adult Learners
  • Recreation and Athletics
  • Student Involvement
  • The new Task Force for Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Take a moment to read these brief articles. We expect you will find resources to assist in your work on your campus. Commissions and Task Forces produce a number of important professional development opportunities, ranging from webinars to publications to in-person training opportunities. It is never too late to become involved yourself: contact any Commission Chair for information about how to make a difference in ACPA and in the field through work in Commissions.

Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education

Adrianna Guram, Chair

The Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education (CASHE) provides support and professional development opportunities for individuals in higher education institutions who work within the areas of academic support. These areas include (but are not limited to) academic advising, developmental education, and college learning centers. Our mission is to inform professionals in academic support services of issues and trends impacting student academic success. Professionals who affiliate with CASHE regularly engage students by providing direct services to assist students in achieving academic success.  Based upon the CASHE mission statement, the commission members keep a pulse on topics of concern specific to their professional niche. Discussions within this context pertain to serving special student populations, including academically at-risk students, international students, and first-generation college students and sharing specific techniques or best practices related to providing academic support.

To enhance the role that academic support professionals play in the daily lives of our students, CASHE is committed to highlighting best practices across the spectrum of academic support units.  We supported programs at the 2012 ACPA Convention, prepared a “virtual” book club with our membership in 2012, and looking ahead at the possible creation of an Institute for Academic Support.

We encourage individuals to join our group on Facebook to connect with current issues and topics, connect via LinkedIn, and to read our quarterly newsletter for updates on the Commission and scholarly writing by our members.  We invite you to become active in the Commission through one of our various opportunities for involvement.  Please direct questions to the Commission Chair, Adrianna Guram.

The Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners

Margaret Langford

The origins of the Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners trace back to the growing interest in commuter students and their special needs that emerged during the early 1970s.  ACPA’s Commission II (Admissions and Orientation) agreed to host the Commuter Task Force in 1975. The Association officially created Commission XVII (Commuter Programs) at the1978 ACPA National Convention. At the 1988 ACPA National Convention, the Commission added Adult Learners to their title, and action that clearly indicated that adult learners, a significant constituency within the overall commuter student population, are an integral and vital part of the Commission’s overall advocacy, networking, and education efforts. During the summer of 2002, the current name, Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners, was formally adopted.

The Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners (CCSAL) provides a network of contacts and support for professionals serving commuter students and adult learners. Opportunities for learning about effective programs and services, encouraging original research, sharing data, and discussing the needs/concerns of these populations are a large part of the Commission experience. The mission of CCSAL includes

  • Providing a network of contacts and support for those serving commuter student and adult learners;
  • Providing a forum for discussing and advocating on behalf commuter and adult student needs and concerns; and
  • Promoting the generation and sharing of data, research, services, and programs, which effectively enhance commuter and adult students’ development.

Here’s what we are working on now:

  • Sponsored Programs: If you were at the 2012 ACPA Convention, the CCSAL Sponsored Programs had some great information on how to serve commuter students and adult learners, including our annual offering “More Than A Place to Park.”
  • Commission Awards: Congratulations to our Award winners! A list of award winners is available on the CCSAL Web site.
  • Convention Showcase: The CCSAL table at the Convention Showcase had information on what we’re doing and how you can get involved.
  • E-Newsletter: Want to get published? Consider writing an article about serving commuter students and/or adult learners for our e-newsletter.
  • Directorate Nominations and Elections: CCSAL welcomed new directorate members this spring. Check out our website to meet them.

Want to get involved? CCSAL is always happy to welcome new members! You can find more information on the CCSAL Web site. You can also contact the CCSAL Chair, Gerry Elizondo.

Commission for Recreation and Athletics 

Mike Fulford, Chair

The Commission for Recreation and Athletics (CRA) is a fairly new commission (established in 2009), but, in a short time, this commission has been very engaged in the profession and serving its members and ACPA. CRA’s mission is to provide ACPA members with opportunities for professional development regarding issues of importance in campus recreational sports and inter-collegiate (varsity) athletics. In addition, acting within the ACPA governance structure and with the ACPA International Office, CRA assists in positioning ACPA to be an informed voice on campus recreation and athletics issues, as those issues intersect with student affairs and with the strategic objectives of ACPA as an association.

Since its inception, the commission has aligned its focus with the association and the unique lens in which it operates within the areas of campus recreation and athletics.  These areas of focus involve three goals:

  • Offer professional development opportunities that explore the impact of participation in recreational sports and athletics on students.
  • Create and disseminate knowledge, contribute to existing ACPA publications/materials, and develop additional professional development publications/materials and opportunities that expand the knowledge on campus recreation and intercollegiate athletics in support of informed and effective practice.
  • Develop professional competencies that articulate the knowledge and skills needed by student affairs professionals who serve in or address issues in campus recreation and/or athletics.

CRA’s membership has been busy over the past two years.  CRA members have spent significant amount of time working to develop a thought paper and support the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) to challenge the development of policies in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) that will have a negative impact on the ability of institutions to earn revenue through hosting basketball camps. The issue is on-going and CRA is a vocal participant in these discussions as a representative of ACPA.  The leadership of Scott Hirko, past Chair of the CRA, has allowed the CRA to have a presence in these conversations and while the CRA’s thought paper was being developed.

In addition to developing the infrastructure of the commission, another project includes working closely with ACPA and NIRSA to make the upcoming co-located 2013 convention in Las Vegas a huge success. This has been a great opportunity for two associations to prove that collaboration is possible at the highest level and to bring professionals in campus recreation closer to their colleagues in other student affairs functional areas.

As CRA grows, we would like to encourage interested professionals to become involved in our Commission. Members may run for positions on the Directorate, help with the new awards process, assist in the development of the inaugural ACPA Institute in collaboration with NIRSA that is slated for Fall 2012, and submit sponsored programs for the annual convention.  As a newly established commission, this is a great time for ACPA members to get involved and obtain experience in a leadership role with CRA.

If you are interested in the Commission for Recreation and Athletics, additional information about the commission is available on the Commission Web site.  Please direct questions to the Commission Chair, Mike Fulford.

Commission for Student Involvement 

Marlena Martinez Love, Chair

One of ACPA’s oldest entity groups, the Commission for Student Involvement (CSI), exists to support and advance the work of student affairs educators who promote student engagement, foster change, and encourage students’ development through activities in four focus areas: community service/service learning, leadership education, clubs and organizations, and fraternity and sorority affairs. While CSI is known to many as the “fun commission,” we also mean business!

The Commission continues to enhance the ACPA member experience by offering top-notch educational programs, exploring ways to integrate CSI values and ACPA action (like the 2011 Dress for Success Drive), and advocating co-curricular learning that is equally important to what students learn inside the classroom. CSI has an active listserv, an invaluable benefit that engages members in resource sharing and brainstorming on a variety of topic areas. Through our awards and recognition programs, CSI is able to support new research about our four focus areas and acknowledge campus best practices that shape the field.

CSI commits to providing a year-round professional development experience and engaging members through volunteer, educational, and networking opportunities. Volunteer opportunities exist for professionals at every level and range from participating in dial-a-dialogues, to working on CSI’s focus areas from serving in an elected CSI leadership role, to publishing in a variety of commission venues. While Convention programming is a major component of our activities, CSI also actively engages members outside of the Convention period to enhance the overall experience and improve services to ACPA and to our field.

The Commission has undertaken a number of major initiatives this year, including streamlining our online elections process, revamping the leadership structure for Directorate and Leadership Team operations, enhancing our social media presence, creating a mid-year meeting, developing real and virtual resources to best meet the needs of our members, and drastically rethinking the way we approach the work of the Commission. After 50 years of growing and learning as an ACPA entity, CSI is entering an exciting new phase of existence. Made possible through the vision and dedication of incredible volunteers, CSI members have created a Task Force to rethink, retool, and reimagine our purpose and to chart the course for a reinvigorated path forward. To learn more about the evolution of CSI and how you can help shape our shared future, please visit the Commission Web site  or contact CSI Chair, MarlenaMartinez Love.

Many seasoned ACPA members get their start in CSI and many new members join our efforts every year. For many, CSI is their home within ACPA. Whether you are a first-year graduate student, a mid-level manager, or seasoned faculty member, we welcome you to join in the conversation and be a part of CSI’s evolution. If you are interested in the Commission for Student Involvement, additional information about the commission is available on the Commission Web site.  CSI also is active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Please direct questions to the Commission Chair, Marlena Martinez Love.

Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness Task Force

Kathy Adams Riester, Interim Chair

College and university professionals are often challenged to develop new areas of expertise as issues arise across the country and on our own campuses.  Many of us have had to work quickly to develop behavior assessment/management teams, critical incident response teams, continuity of business plans, and pandemic plans to address issues of safety and violence on campus. ACPA has created a new Task Force on Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness to help assist you with these new demands.  The purpose of this Task Force is to provide ACPA Members with knowledge and skill development in the areas of Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness on college and university campuses. Additionally, the Task Force will be an informed voice on issues, concerns, and best practices in these areas for the field of Higher Education.

The Task Force on Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness kicked off its inaugural year at the ACPA Annual Convention in Louisville.  There will be two sponsored programs: one that focuses on combining student and staff behavior assessment and management teams and the other on emergency response to natural disasters on campus.

Additionally, the Task Force was at the Convention Showcase on March 26 and held an Informational Meeting on March 27.  Future plans include the creation of a clearinghouse of Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness resources.  The Task Force will also develop trainings to allow professionals at various levels to add skills, knowledge, and resources that are appropriate for their level of responsibility. If you have any questions and/or are interested in getting involved, please contact the Interim Chair of the Task Force, Kathy Adams Riester.

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