L.A.M.P. – From One Dupont Circle

From March 1-July 1, 2014, the ACPA Leadership Team asked me to review ACPA’s Strategic Plan for 2013-2016, complete an Organizational Audit and meet ACPA members around the world.

As you can imagine, the ‘meet people’ assignment was the most fun.  I’ve spoken to more than 1000 ACPA members now.  What did I learn and discover?

You care.  You commit.  You challenge.  You connect.

I am so proud to be included in the sharing, deep thinking, highly professional, rigorously evaluating, ‘all in,’ advocating and optimistic community we call ACPA – College Student Educators International.  Your core values are ‘bone deep.’  You challenge yourselves to do better every day and feel genuine remorse when you fail.  You are always looking for ways to reconcile and restore relationships.  I have found a new professional home.  Thank you for welcoming me so warmly.

I have looked at the outcomes of each strategic initiative in terms of investment of time, talent and money.  I have used a method of assessment called Project Sieve on each goal to determine alignment with mission, vision and core values.  Think of this as a way of ‘forcing’ each goal through a sieve composed of mission, vision and core values as well as benefit to members, to the field of higher education and civil society.  The priorities that ‘survive’ the sieve should have high correlation in all areas.

We’ve completed 61 percent of the goals originally set.  We are at the mid-point of the 2013-2016 time frame for the current strategic plan.  It is a great time to review and recalibrate as needed.  Times change and we have to change with them to remain relevant and authentic to our community.  For example, we have added an area of focus on digital competency, innovation and implementation.  We signed a strategic agreement with Erik Qualman to catalyze this work and President Kent Porterfield assembled a Digital Task Force that is already deeply engaged.

Sexual assault and violence have moved to the forefront in higher education prevention planning along with the mega-issues of accountability, affordability and accessibility.  We signed a strategic agreement with WE END VIOLENCE to partner in a research project nationwide on prevention training.  Again, President Porterfield issued a call for membership to a Task Force on Sexual Violence. More than 160 people applied for or were nominated to be a part of this important work and are engaged in some way .

In June, we gathered people from throughout the United States in a Presidential Symposium on the mega-issues and a white paper is under development for those proceedings.

I encourage you to check in at the ACPA Website at least once each week.  Something new is happening every day at ACPA.  Follow us on Twitter @ACPA and Facebook and use our new community forum “Tell Us” on our home page.  We want and need to hear your wisdom, constructive criticism and concerns for one another and for our work together.

Here are my thoughts on the strategic priorities for the next 16 months.  Think of the acronym L.A.M.P.

Lead. Amplify. Mobilize. Partner. (L.A.M.P.)

  • We must invest in brand development and differentiation in order to effectively and rapidly amplify the voices of our thought leaders and, by extension, our Association.  We must disseminate this leadership digitally and in face-to-face experiences, activities and events.
  • We must participate proactively in policy discussions and recommendations for development in Washington D.C. and at the state level, engaging our task forces quickly and effectively as well as our broad membership for input and specifically with our entities for thought leadership.  Ultimately, we must engage in a global context for the emerging issues of concern for students everywhere.
  • We must partner deeply and widely with peer and functional associations as well as new allies, sponsors and donors.
  • We must authentically represent ourselves based on our unique strengths rather than our weaknesses
  • We must look for the concentrations of relevance at the intersections of our activities.  These are the places that have the deepest positive impact for members and allies.

We have a great team at the International Office, the majority of whom have only worked at ACPA for a year or less.   I’ve asked them to take on new roles and responsibilities and to organize into two teams:  Team Global Community Interchange and Team Belong.  Tricia Fechter is now the Deputy Executive Director.  Chris McRoberts leads Team Global Community Interchange.  I am currently leading Team Belong while we conduct a search for that Team Leader. They have done yeoman’s work in a very short period of time.  Much more to come!

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