The Importance of Environments

Paul Eaton

Welcome to the summer issue of Developments. One of our publications’ goals is to help bridge theory to practice, and over the next several months we will be introducing several new innovations that we hope will inspire you to utilize our articles and publication in new ways.  The first of these is for us to become more highly engaged on social media.  I encourage you to utilize our new official Developments hashtag (#ACPADev) on Twitter and Facebook as you read, think, and critique the articles in this issue.

My selected theme for this issue is “the importance of environments.”  Student affairs practitioners have always been concerned with creating positive, supporting, and engaging learning environments, but this issue of Developments appears to raise some new environmental challenges into the consciousness of our work.  I encourage you to begin with Marisa Vernon’s insightful discussion of looking beyond the immediate campus environment into the lived experiences and environments of our students.  As always, Marisa raises issues that impact practitioners not only on Community College campuses, but all of our campuses.  It is important as educators and practitioners that we do not always rush to judgment about our students – their complex lives, much like our own, requires empathy and understanding of life beyond the walls or digital architectures of our campuses.

As educators and practitioners, we also seek to ensure that our programs and initiatives will impact students in measurable ways.  Several articles in this issue address this important part of our work.  Our Series on Global Education continues by providing examples of International Service Learning and Study Abroad Experiential Learning as important to fulfilling international multicultural competence.  Alex Lange and J. Matthew Garrett help us think about intentionally using our environments on campus for student leadership development.

Members of the Pan African Network have contributed an important piece to this issue reflecting on the cases of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, and the ongoing work of ensuring our campus environments continue to focus on issues of justice, multiculturalism, equality, equity, and connection to larger community and cultural issues, especially for Black males.

Vicki Wise and Lisa Hatfield help us think about how we can use the ACPA & NASPA Student Affairs Competencies in developing employee evaluation tools, while Jeffrey Sun helps us think about how the larger environmental influences of big data impact our campuses, particularly from the perspective of Legal responsibility.

Finally, I am happy to introduce our newest Global Affairs Columnist, Tadd Kruse.  Tadd has a wealth of experience working internationally in higher education and student affairs.  He will be writing twice a year and adds an important voice to our understanding about working with students internationally, and viewing our work from a more international perspective.  I know you will find his articles timely as well as insightful and educational, especially for those of us that have not worked outside the United States.

Stay tuned over the next several months as we continue to enhance our publication and its use in your daily work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *