Like on many of our campuses, summer is no longer a ‘slow’ time for ACPA – College Student Educators International. We began the summer months with the ACPA Presidential Symposium, “A Time for Rethinking Student Affairs,” hosted at Saint Louis University. The program examined issues of affordability, access, and accountability in higher education through the lens of student affairs. I am pleased to tell you that 92 people attended the Symposium and 186 tuned in to our live stream. Additionally, 147 people contributed on Twitter.
As a follow-up to the Symposium, Tony Cawthon and Mary Howard Hamilton are working on a thought piece that will be released to ACPA members in the near future. It is our hope that this thought piece and the videos we have posted on the ACPA website will continue to foster further dialogue and action on these issues. You can access the videos of Dr. Martha Kanter, Dr. Jillian Kinzie, and Dr. Diana Natalicio on the ACPA website. I encourage you to take some time to explore the content and consider how it can apply to your own work on your campuses. Additional programming on this topic is planned for the 2015 Convention in Tampa, and I encourage you to attend and participate.
In a recent blog post, Reflections on Intent and Impact, I wrote that ACPA must take some concrete steps to create positive changes for greater equity and inclusion within the Association. One idea for change I shared in my post was to create a community dialogue forum in a visible place on the ACPA website. At this time, I am excited to tell you the community forum on ACPA’s website has gone live! I extend a special thanks to the ACPA staff for making this happen. The forum is easily accessible on the front page of the website by clicking “TELL US.” Executive Director Cindi Love has posted an introductory statement and made the first contribution to the forum. I hope ACPA members will see this as one positive step forward and a demonstration of our commitment as ACPA leaders to ongoing, sustainable dialogue and interactions within the Association. Together, I believe we can move ACPA forward in ways that will change us for the better. I encourage ACPA members to use the forum to share ideas, concerns, advice, and recommendations. I also want to take this opportunity to share that four “face-to-face” community gatherings (listening posts) are being planned around the United States between December 1 and early March. At the 2015 Convention, a fifth session will be offered as part of the Town Hall meeting.
The Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology in Student Affairs and the Presidential Task Force on Sexual Violence in Higher Education Task Force both met this summer at the International Office in Washington, D.C. The #ACPAdigital group is exploring holistic experiential learning in a digital and social age with an emphasis on better preparing digital educators to embrace digital students. The sexual violence group is examining ACPA’s role in addressing issues of sexual violence in higher education and recommending strategies. I am excited about the excellent work I know these task forces will produce in the coming year.
Our vision for ACPA is bold. It challenges us to Lead, Amplify, Mobilize, and Partner, and it calls us to be thought leaders in higher education. Working together to advance ACPA’s ambitious goals, ACPA leaders enjoyed a productive few days together in Tampa at the July Leadership meeting. We discussed and activated strategic opportunities, participated in professional development activities, and engaged in professional networking. It was truly an inspiring and energizing time. Our future is bright.
With a new academic year upon us, I want to close by wishing each and every one of you a successful and prosperous year. Thank you for what you do for your students, your institutions, higher education, and our world.