From the Editor: A New Era for Developments: A Goodbye from the Editor, Amanda Suniti Niskode-Dossett

From the Editor: A New Era for Developments: A Goodbye from the Editor, Amanda Suniti Niskode-Dossett

Amanda Suniti Niskodé-Dossett

We are proud to present the Fall 2012 issue of Developments. The purpose of this publication is to stimulate your thinking and enhance your work.

Writing this letter is particularly bittersweet because this my last issue serving as Editor. Working on Developments has been an incredible honor and privilege. As a reviewer, Associate Editor, and Editor I have seen the publication grow and develop because of excellent editorial board members and continuing support from the leaders of ACPA. I want to take this opportunity to share my reflections about Developments and the important role it plays within the association as well as its new era and new leadership. Then, as always, I provide a snapshot of this issue.

I believe the momentum of Developments over the last few years stems from the scholar-practitioners—Editorial Board members, authors, and ACPA Commission, and Standing Committee leaders—who worked to create a product that stimulates the thinking and enhances the work of readers. Their creativity, openness to change, and commitment has helped to establish a publication of which I am extremely proud.

However, I am proud not only of our final product but also of our editorial approach. The way in which we work with authors is something that is meaningful for the Developments team and, hopefully, for the authors as well. When the board members and I talk about the “identity” of Developments, we discuss our editorial approach as something we want to be a hallmark of the publication. This approach is based on how we can balance the “voice” of the authors yet also make and suggest changes that lead to high-quality, well-written pieces.

Another thing I love about Developments is its variety of content and style among articles. This variety enables us to offer senior, seasoned, and new writers to publish articles designed specifically for ACPA members. Our current Focus Areas include Perspectives, Innovative Ideas, Next Generation, Research & Assessment, Commentaries, Columns, Series, and Updates, News, & Announcements. Yet within each of these Focus Areas, there is great variety in writing styles—ranging from scholarly pieces to narratives. This variety enables us to share the diverse ideas that are part of our association and work to meet the needs of the ACPA’s faculty, staff, and student members.

I hope that Developments continues to be a source of professional development for both readers and writers. For any reader who is committed to being a scholar-practitioner, I believe Developments is an excellent tool to utilize in your own reflection, staff development, and instruction. For writers—new, seasoned, and senior—I invite you to examine Developments as a unique place to publish ideas that will advance the work of your colleagues.

In the past few years, we have streamlined internal structures and processes to meet the growing number of submissions. We have also worked to solidify our identity as a publication for professional development while maintaining flexibility in order to meet the needs of readers and the trends in our profession. Now that we have laid this groundwork, Developments has infinite possibilities at its doorstep; I am thrilled to see what happens next and I hope ACPA members are too.

Thus, a new era begins with Developments. We will announce the new Editor in November as well as a new changes and additional to the board. As Developments continues to be very important to me, I hope to continue to serve in a contributing editor capacity.

Given this time of transition, we will publish a special issue for the fourth and final Developments of the year. It will include a welcome letter from the new Editor as well as a readership survey. We invite you to provide feedback at that time so that we may continue to help you fully enjoy and utilize the publication.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank the wonderful people who have made Developments successful and a particularly rewarding experience for me. Thank you to Richie Stevens, past Editor who brought me on as a reviewer and Associate Editor. Richie has been a wonderful mentor, friend, and advocate for the publication. Thank you also to Amy Hirschy, former Associate Editor, who invited me to write an article for Developments, enabling me to get involved with the publication.

The team that I worked with the past few years has also been amazing. Senior editorial board members, John Garland, Jim Love, and Heather FitzGerald have worked diligently the past three years to not only edit articles but also help to shape the direction of the publication. Their patience, care, and commitment have been outstanding. Thank you Jim, Heather, and John. In the past year, I also had the privilege to work with six new team members whose skills, insights, and work ethic was unbelievable; thus, I offer a special thank you to Teniell Trolian, Z Nicolazzo, Krista Soria, Jaci Jenkins Lindburg, Susan Barclay, and Stephanie Bondi. I am very blessed to know and work with each one of them.

Last, but not least, I want to thank the authors and readers of Developments articles. To the authors, please know that it has been a pleasure to work with you; I learned so much through the process of reviewing and editing articles—your ideas, patience, and thoughtfulness are inspiring. Thank you for the time and effort you gave to producing meaningful articles for ACPA members. To the readers, thank you for turning to Developments as a tool to stimulate your thinking and enhance your work.

A Snapshot of Fall 2012 (Volume 10: Issue 3)

As always, I am happy to present a snapshot of this issue.

I hope you appreciate the ideas posed in the articles and use them in your staff meetings, professional development sessions, graduate preparation classroom, and/or in conversations with colleagues or those you supervise. I encourage readers to utilize the discussion questions that are included in many of the articles.

The Developments editorial board always welcomes feedback and creative article ideas. Please contact the Editor to share your thoughts. To learn more about utilizing Developments or submitting an article, please visit the publication’s Web site.


In Celebrating 40 Years of Title IX, Racheal L. Stimpson writes

  • This year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which bars sexual discrimination at institutions of education. In April 2011, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Title IX policy clarification, also known as the Dear Colleague letter. With the anniversary and the OCR “Dear Colleague” letter, Title IX is once again thrust into the forefront of higher education.

To celebrate this legislation’s special anniversary, Stimpson discusses Title IX’s history as well as current and future challenges.

After reading this article, think about the perspectives of students, staff, and faculty on your campus. Is there a general sense that we have achieved gender equity and that we no longer need Title IX? What impact does your answer have on your daily work? What about the impact on your colleagues’ work?

Innovative Ideas

According to Nathan K. Lindsay and Jesse A. Riggs,

  • When student affairs professionals use an overabundance of paper and pencil surveys, survey fatigue among respondents and data entry errors can cause significant problems. To combat these challenges, a number of innovative technological options are available for collecting data from students, parents, faculty, and staff

In their article, Five Innovative Technologies for Student Affairs Assessment, the authors address how clicker technology, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital recorders, optimal mark read (OMR) scanners, and online surveys are used at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

They ask readers, “What are some of the pros and cons associated with the use of each of these technologies?” How might you advocate for support to utilize these in your work?

Sponsored Series

This issue features the final parts of two excellent series, Expanding the Frame—Applying Universal Design (UD) in Higher Education and Assessment in Student Affairs: A Focus on Functional Units.

First, in Expanding the Frame—Applying Universal Design in Higher Education, sponsored by the Standing Committee for Disability, the authors advocate for UD becoming a standard framework for designing learning environments within ACPA and for individual members’ use. In her article, Creating a Culture of Inclusive Leadership: The Intersection of Student Affairs and Universal Design, Jaci Jenkins Lindburg explains why UD is integral to her work:

I want students to be aware of the social injustices that exist and learn how they can play a role in creating positive change. In order to achieve these goals, I integrate the concepts of Universal Design into my leadership development work.

She also challenges readers to consider the following question:

In what ways do you role model inclusion and accessibility to the students you work with each day and how can you help these students begin to use principles of Universal Design in their own outreach as student leaders?

Then in Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Respectful, Intentional, Reflective Teaching Jeanne L. Higbee shares her story and explains how we can reduce the need for accommodations through Universal Instructional Design (UID).

A primary goal of UID is to enable students to participate fully without the provision of accommodations that can mistakenly be perceived as “making exceptions” for student with disabilities. UID is not equivalent to the elimination of sign language interpreters, note takers, or textbooks in Braille, which I refer to as “structural accommodations.”

What is your understanding of UID? Compare your understanding of this topic before and after readings Higbee’s thoughtful article.

Second, in Assessment in Student Affairs: A Focus on Functional Units, sponsored by the Commission for Assessment and Evaluation, Series coordinators, Matt Fifolt and Kimberly Kline, share highlight from the articles on careers services and student conduct.

Paradigms for Assessing Success in Career Services: In the first article of Part II of this series, Jessica Turos and Patrick Roberts juxtapose the concept of outcomes-based assessment in career services with reports that are historically requested by this unit, namely demographic, satisfaction, and needs data. The authors highlight practical strategies that demonstrate both direct and indirect student learning and promote students’ continued career success.

Assessment in Student Conduct Programs—Strategies, Resources, and Tools: In the second article, Kyle Tschepikow and Jeremy Inabinet explore opportunities related to assessing learning outcomes in student conduct programs. The authors describe competencies that promote student learning and development throughout the conduct process and identify strategies, resources, and tools that support professionals assessing conduct offices and their programs.

Consider their discussion questions as you read these two intriguing articles:

  • What types of evidence would support the finding that learning occurred through a student’s involvement with career services or student conduct?
  • In what ways might community expectations be expressed in learning outcomes for student conduct?
  • How can a shift towards outcome measures alleviate some of the pressure that career services experiences for placement data?

Feature Columns

We are proud to continue to offer feature columns in Developments that address current global, legal, and ethical issues facing our profession.

In his article, Helping International Students Connect with Peers, Jason E. Lane reflects upon a recent study indicating, “Many international students have a difficult time making meaningful friendships while studying in the United States.” He argues that, “what is more important is that the findings of this study should cause student affairs practitioners to pause and ask what they can do help foster such friendships.” Lane shares his perspective on what readers can do support international students beyond a typical programming model.

Then Jeffrey C. Sun addresses a very timely issue in his article, Voting Legislation Impacting College Students: A System of Increased Integrity or Barriers? He addresses “some of the legislation’s key components and explain how they present potentially significant burdens on college students.” Sun poses interesting questions for readers including:

What policies and processes does your institution have that present barriers to participation much like the effect of some of the state election laws? What mechanisms do you have to consider the intended and unintended consequences of these policies and processes?

Do you know the answers to these questions? Read Sun’s informative article and then apply what you learn to your own campus.

Finally, in The Ethics of Student Confidentiality & Student Affairs, Shammah Bermudez and André Durham discuss some of the nuances and challenges that arise around sharing information. They state:

Student affairs professionals typically have access to sensitive and confidential information. Students seek out student affairs professionals when facing any number of stresses, challenges, or crises. They often share deeply personal information with the expectation that confidentiality will be maintained. In most situations on most campuses, student affairs professionals are able to uphold this expectation. However, sometimes confidential information is shared, intentionally or unintentionally.

The authors also offer the following advice: “A good rule to use when deciding whether to share student information is to ask yourself, ‘Why am I sharing this information?’ and ‘How will it benefit the student?’”

Do you agree or disagree? Can you think of situations in your own career when the ethics of student confidentiality arose? How did you handle that situation? Would you handle a similar situation in the same way if it happened again?

Updates, News, & Announcements

In From the President: A Critical Question, Keith B. Humphrey shares his perspective on the voluntary system of accountability. Then in From One Dupont Circle, Executive Director, Gregory Roberts provides readers with a quarterly update, focusing the upcoming convention as well three timely issues facing our profession:

  • U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear the Texas college admission question (affirmative action)
  • Special programs to enhance collegiate treatment of returning veterans, who are taking advantage of their GI privileges in greater numbers
  • Republican and Democratic National Conventions (GOP in Tampa and DNC in Charlotte)

Finally, we share two important announcements. John A. Mueller highlights the Professional Development and Course Materials from the National Study on Women in Higher Education and Student Affairs:

ACPA’s Commission for Professional Preparation (CPP) is pleased to announce the availability of three sets of slideshows and annotated bibliographies (free and downloadable) for courses and/or professional development opportunities. These materials were developed through a CPP grant awarded to Dr. Penny Pasque and Brenton Wimmer, the National Study on Women in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of Oklahoma.

Then, learn more about the ACPA Annual Convention 2013 and this year’s theme Inspiring Communities of Wellbeing, which invites us to embrace grander possibilities individually and within community.

We look forward to the Commissions Corner returning in the Spring issue.

Thank you again for reading Developments.

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