Taking Charge of Your Own Competency
From One Dupont Circle
“Your driver is on the steer (at the wheel) driving you and you can feel free to doze in the car; this is trust built on competence. Competence is to ensure that your actions put people’s hearts at ease when things are in your hands.”
I want to act in such a way that people’s hearts are put at ease. So, how do I increase my competence? This is the essential question for all of us who want to support students on their paths to self-authorship and in order to grow ourselves professionally and personally. Over the last several months I’ve listened to members and other colleagues who are struggling with this question due to budgetary reductions on their campuses.
Whether they are newer professionals seeking support or more seasoned professionals trying to provide support, the dilemma is the same. “Soft dollars” for travel and professional development are shrinking at most publicly funded institutions and it doesn’t look like a temporary challenge.
The good news is that growth and competency are not dependent on another person or an institution that employs me. I am not minimizing the very deep concerns about funding issues for our institutions nor the challenges these cuts pose for ACPA and our operating budget. I am acknowledging the reality of the times in which we are living and working. I can’t stop my path to self-actualization because someone else won’t pay my way. We can’t fix gaps in our budget by making members pay more. We have to get creative.
As an individual, I have to reprioritize the ways in which I invest in myself. As an Association, we have to offer high quality and lower cost alternatives. It is for that reason that we entered into partnership with Worker Bee TV in 2015 to launch ACPA Video on Demand (VOD) and with Professor Peter Lake in 2016 to develop and launch Compliance U™.
We chose these partnerships because we need to increase access, reduce costs and ensure that an ACPA membership provides a clear pathway to increased competency for everyone who chooses to engage. The good news is that we listened early on to our ACPA Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology and its recommendation to “develop the infrastructure and resources appropriate to ensure sustainability and relevance in digital technologies.” Our alliance with Worker Bee makes part of this recommendation feasible and achievable.
We know people are tuning in and using our content 24/7/365 on ACPA Video on Demand, so we decided to build on that success and implement several of other the recommendations of the Task Force. (Thank you to Dr. Kent Porterfield for creating this Task Force and Ed Cabellon and Tony Doody for leading the effort of a diverse cross section of scholars, practitioners, educators, administrators, and business partners).
The Task Force also recommended that we:
- Design training and development opportunities to enhance college student educators’ (and professional) use of digital technologies;
- Establish and grow strategic collaborations and partnerships;
- Identify key higher education associations, organizations, business partners, authors, scholars, researchers and change agents with whom to strategically partner;
- Partner with key graduate level faculty from higher education (or related) programs to discover what digital teaching modules could lay the foundation for future implementation. Begin with small pilot programs across various in-person, blended, and online programs.
I want to focus on the last recommendation about partnership with key graduate level faculty. Allow me to formally introduce Professor Peter Lake to those of you who may not know him. Peter is professor of law, Charles A. Dana chair and director of the Center for Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law and an internationally recognized expert on higher education law and policy. He authored The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University (Lake, 2013) and his newest book, The Four Corners of Title IX Regulatory Compliance: A Primer for American Colleges and Universities.
We found great synergy for the Task Force recommendations in our strategic alliance with Professor Peter Lake and faculty in the development of Compliance U™. This platform began as a concept that Professor Lake used in his scholarship to describe the impact of hyper-regulation on colleges and universities. It has come to life in Compliance U™ as a facilitative learning vehicle to meet the challenges of higher education—a regulated industry in transition.
Professor Lake says, “I have watched our field change dramatically during the course of my 25 years in the field, both as a law professor and nationally-recognized higher education law and policy expert. Legal regulation has exploded, impacting the nature of our educational conversations. Political winds at the local, state and federal levels influence the dynamic nature of compliance—‘due diligence’ is now a permanent feature of our work.”
Many higher education professionals wish to have and need to have intensive law and policy training, and, at the same time, do not desire to pursue another degree, cannot afford to do so, and cannot leave their responsibilities on campus to attend classes. They need badging or credentialing opportunities that are cost effective, resource sensitive, time efficient, competency and outcome learning-based, and tailored to promote the goals of higher education.
Compliance U™ is designed to reduce the total costs of training by 50 percent with the majority of content on-line and the content is provided by the best and brightest in the Law, Policy and Governance (LPG) area who align themselves with our core values of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Ayivor’s definition of competence comes full circle in ACPA’s offering of ACPA Video on Demand and Compliance U™, providing the pathways whereby my actions can put people’s hearts at ease when things are in my hands. It’s a tall order to be competent and it is not always easy to discern a pathway to support development. I am excited about our opportunities with ACPA Video On Demand (VOD) and Compliance U™ for higher education professionals to systematically gain competency in the foundational, intermediate and advanced areas for student affairs professionals.
Lake, P. F. (2013). The rights and responsibilities of the modern university: The rise of the facilitator university (2nd ed.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.