Letter from the President, June 2020

A week or so before our annual convention this year, I was chatting with ACPA’s Executive Director – Chris Moody.  We were walking through my schedule as incoming president and preparing for our time in Nashville.   I had also put the final touches on some priorities for my term and decided to share them with Chris.  After I proudly shared what I hoped to accomplish during the upcoming year, Chris paused and said: “Keep in mind, ACPA leaders don’t choose their legacies, legacies choose ACPA leaders.” 

Truer words have never been spoken. 

I, like you, never imagined that our work as student affairs scholars and practitioners would shift dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  On a recent Zoom call, I noticed that a participant stated repeatedly: “When we return to normal . . . .”  After the person said this three separate times on the call, I felt compelled to say something.  My comment:  “You do know that from this point on, there will be no normal as we know it in higher education.  There will be a new normal.”  All that we do on college and university campuses has been impacted.  We are forging a new path.  This is new territory for us.  As our past has shown us, I have no doubt that we will rise to the challenge. 

During this pandemic, as an association, ACPA pledges to:

  • work to provide resources and support for our members.
  • represent our members in higher education policy conversations.
  • work with our higher education partner associations to launch creative initiatives that support the higher education community during this time.
  • continue to forecast our financial future (as an association) in these uncertain times.
  • monitor the daily updates on the pandemic’s impact on higher education.
  • keep the impact of COVID-19 on historically marginalized groups front and center in all conversations and initiatives.

The words “unprecedented” and “uncertain” may seem overused to some, but this is where we are as a profession.  Our strength is in our community of creative and resilient members who are called to navigate this time in history.  ACPA is on this journey with you.  Let us know how we can be of assistance. 

Vernon A. Wall
2020-2021 ACPA President

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