From the President – February 2020

Written by Craig Elliott, ACPA President

This is a time of celebration. As I reflect on the past year, I am proud of the work that we have accomplished. I am proud of the leaders we have serving this Association. And I am proud of the foundation we have put in place to support the next 100 years of this Association. We are ready to create, shape, and continue to transform the profession and higher education. While not all of the work has been visible, it has been profound, and I am excited for the coming year.

My grandfather worked as a tradesman for water and power in Los Angeles, CA. He worked there at a time of significant growth for the area, and he contributed to the infrastructure of the county during that growth. Right now, Los Angeles is one of the most populated areas in the country, and I often think of my grandfather’s work, and that of his colleagues, to create a foundation to support families, businesses, and many industries.

One of the things my grandfather taught me when I was growing up is the importance of a foundation, and having a clear vision and a strong plan for the foundation. A foundation is an underlying base of support for a structure (or an organization), but it also needs an understanding of the purpose for the structure and a plan for how it will be used—otherwise it will fail. My grandfather helped me understand that vision and planning are essential to the strength, longevity, and success of the foundation and the structure you are building. The vision and plan are the foundation to the foundation if you will.

When I think about the work we have done in this Association in the last few years, it is clear to me we have been working on the next phase of the vision and the plan, and we are now beginning to shape the tangible foundation to support ACPA at 100 year and beyond. Under the leadership of the most recent ACPA past presidents, Donna Lee, Stephen John Quaye, and Jamie Washington, as well as the work of numerous leaders in the Association, we have established a clear vision for the future of our work in higher education, which is centralizing our work in research and scholarship, practice, and social justice. Those three years have led us to a new mission statement and a new, vibrant sense of purpose. That is our why.

In the last year, we have been considering and shaping what this foundation will be used for. We used the mission statement to guide the creation and development of a new strategic plan. This plan is a key cornerstone for our work ahead. We have also  both deepended and expanded the scholarship from our scholars, and are shaping a profound new framework for practice. In particular, we supported the introduction of an important new cornerstone in the profession: The Bold Vision Forward: A Framework for the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization. Another significant cornerstone has been our investment in our membership and in the leadership pipeline. ACPA exists because of, and for, its members, and we have worked to provide value for being a member; additionally, we recognize the strength of the Association is its volunteer leadership, and we need to continue to provide pathways and opportunities for our members to serve. We have done some important and meaningful work that has significantly increased the number of members who are running for leadership positions. And we have invested in the onboarding training that we offer those leaders so that they can effectively serve and access the support and resources they need.

These cornerstones of the last year will support the work of the Association for the next 100 years.

And I am excited about what is coming next. We have a fantastic incoming president in Vernon Wall. He is ready to lead this Association forward, to continue the foundation building, to implement the strategic plan, and the continuing investment in our membership and leaders. We have an exceptional and engaged Governing Board, with new members coming on board, who are ready and excited to partner with Vernon on this work. And we have a talented International Office staff to support us. We have the vision and the plan, and we are ready.

I am excited to be with many of you in Nashville at our annual convention, and to join in our continued work and engagement in the next year. It has been a pleasure to serve you and this Association, and to be a part of something important and significant.

In gratitude,

Craig Elliott
2019-2020 ACPA President