Gavin W. Henning

On March 6, 2016, ACPA – College Student Educators International will make history. For the first time ever, the association will hold its convention outside of the United States. The 2016 ACPA Annual Convention will be significant and exemplify the mission and values of the association.

ACPA16 is a truly an international event. First, because of our host city. Montréal, originally called Ville-Marie (City of Mary) is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the center of the city. Montréal, which is actually on an island, is the largest city in Québec, the second largest in Canada (behind Toronto), and the 9th largest in North America. French is the city’s official language and 56% of the population speaks both French and English. Interestingly, Montréal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.

There are 60 internationally-focused programs being offered. Some of the programs relate to internationalization. Other programs are facilitated by individuals from outside the United States. During ACPA16, we are also piloting a Student Leader Global Summit powered by IASAS, ACPA, and Lead365. College students from around the world will come to Montréal for three days of leadership training.

As always, we will have a number of sessions related to student learning and development – the heart of our association’s mission. There are amply opportunities to discover emergent research and scholarship through educational sessions and double the number of research papers and posters typically offered. One featured session showcases findings from the upcoming 3rd edition of How College Affects Students. In another featured session, Marilee Bresciani Ludvik will discuss the use of neuroscience to improve student success, which highlights findings from her book The Neuroscience of Learning. In addition, this year we will have a program track centered on instruction and teaching which includes nearly 30 programs.

A hallmark of ACPA is our values regarding equity and inclusion. Each opening and closing speaker lives these values and furthers them in the work they do. Speakers include Irshad Manji who is an advocate of reformist interpretation of Islam; Jack Saddleback, who is the first transgender and fourth Aboriginal individual to serve as President of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union; Martine Desjardines, former student leader of the “2012 Maple Spring” in which college students protested tuition raises; and Jay Smooth, founder of New York City’s longest running hip hop program.

In addition, there will be a program track regarding race and racism which includes over 60 sessions on topics such as support services for Native Indian and Aboriginal/First Nations students, using Critical Race Theory to support students of color, Black male identity development and engagement, and many more. There are 17 sessions as part of the Transgender and Trans Identity program track. Session topics include the intersectionality of Black Queer identity formations in college, transgender student sexual health, creating Trans* inclusive college and university campuses, and more.

An ACPA annual convention would not be complete without activities especially focused on professional development. There will be special educational sessions devoted to job search and recruitment processes. ACPA is partnering with Peter Lake to offer a certificate in Title IX compliance. There will also be certificate program tracks on the following topics: globalization with a focus on social justice and inclusion, scholarship with a focus on student learning, and technology.

Rounding out the convention experience are receptions, open meetings, and other networking events throughout the event. Take the time to get involved with a commission, coalition, community of practice, or state or international division. These smaller professional communities provide additional opportunities for connecting and learning from others.

For those not able to attend convention, we also have a number of opportunities to participate. These include live and recorded sessions, Twitter backchannel, and ACPA Video On Demand after the convention has ended on March 9th. Monitor the ACPA convention website for details.

The 2016 convention is an historic event for ACPA. I hope you will join us onsite or virtually!

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