Sunday, November 16, 2008

Minnesota - Returning Home
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA Vice President 2008-09

It has been amazing. I graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1985 and returned for the first time in 2007. Then less than a year later I returned to speak. Then one more great chance to return to Minnesota - the Minnesota College Personnel Association conference. Three times in one year after nearly 23 years absent. What a fantastic state and even more wonderful people.

While in Minnesota I was reminded of how caring and open the people were in that state. I also observed how progressive Minneapolis was as a major city and how strong the MCPA, as an organization, really is today.

The MCPA conference had representatives from all levels within the profession - faculty, newer professionals, middles, and seniors. The conference had nearly 60% of its attendees also ACPA members! The members were also engaging, interested in ACPA, and fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Watch and Learn
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA Vice President 2008-09

Greetings! I was happy to read the comments from my colleague and friend Gerome Stephens and would echo the amazing experience I had at the recent ACPA Summer Leadership Meeting (SLM). While he commented on the affective components of the trip I will comment on some of my logistical observations and reflections. First an introduction – I am Michael D. Anthony, and currently serve as Interim Director of the University of Louisville's new Cultural Center. I too am assisting Dr. Jackson in his "tri-presidency" with ACPA (VP, President, Past-President), and am honored to do so. I am happy to share my thoughts, insights, ah-ha's and learnings through this experience in hopes that the most we can all learn from this journey. I am also a PhD student here at U of L, part-time of course, and unlike Gerome have been quite involved with ACPA throughout my four years in the field. I currently serve as Past-President of the Kentucky state division of ACPA, known as CPAK.

SLM brought together nearly 100 passionate student affairs faculty and practitioners, most of whom are volunteers, to discuss the work of ACPA. This is no simple task, and Dr. Patty Perillo and her team at Davidson College in Davidson, NC should be proud to have pulled off a very successful event. The Association's Governing Board and International Office staff put in a full day on Wednesday July 9th, modeling the hard work they expect of the rest of the assembly leadership. On Thursday the rest of the team arrived and immediately got to work. There was a good balance of work and play throughout the weekend, which I appreciated very much. The work of the leadership continued through Saturday and closed with another half day of work for the Governing Board and International Staff on Sunday July 13th. The most powerful take-away from this meeting of the leadership of our Association was that collaboration and talking across "silos" is critical. Of course most of us already know that, but to see it in action is a beautiful thing. As I sit here at yet another conference/meeting - this time on the West Coast, reflecting on my experiences a few weeks ago, I'm re-energized by the example I saw at Davidson. I am also hopeful of the future of our profession with organizations like ACPA working hard to support and educate our faculty and practitioners.

I titled this post watch and learn because I did a lot of that at the SLM. As a rising professional anxious to contribute to the work we're doing at every opportunity; it was an exercise in patience and humility to sit back and just listen, watch and learn. I was intentional about challenging my need to be heard and my need to contribute verbally. By doing something different, and stepping out of my place of comfort, I positioned myself to learn in a very unique way; to observe and take in all of the information, concepts and ideas; and then to process this experience in ways I could not have imagined. I am happy to be a part of Dr. Jackson's team, and know that he invites all who read this to be a part of the business of improving our profession. The door is open, and the invitation is made. Until next time...

The first post of many from Gerome... This I Believe

I should introduce myself because I am not Dr. Tom Jackson. Don’t be alarmed; I have been asked to blog along side him through his experience as ACPA vice president and, in the near future, president. I am currently a PhD student at the University of Louisville working in the Office of Student Leadership. I will be Dr. Jackson’s ACPA intern and look forward to the experience.

I am new to ACPA, but being in higher education as a profession for the past 5 years have some basic knowledge of the organization. I recently expanded that knowledge as I attended the 2008 Summer Leadership Meeting held on the beautiful campus of Davidson College in North Carolina. It was an amazing and intense four days. I met many very motivated and distinguished professionals. I consider myself very lucky to have been in the presence of these individuals, each working to expand and continue the mission of ACPA.

Now, more than a week after my experience I recognize that I left with a great deal of knowledge of the organization and new professional contacts. We all have those moments during a meeting, conference, or workshop that we know is going to stick with us more deeply than others. These moments are unfortunately all too rare. I had one of these experiences at the end of the first full day of the workshop. Patty Perillo, the current ACPA president, presented her take on the NPR initiative “This I Believe.” I will not soon forget it. She titled her session ACPA Believes. Her remarks reminded us that any organization is only as strong as its volunteers and members. She took it one step further and challenged each of us to know what we believe. Being sure (or at least well aware) of yourself translates into your work. We all know this idea. Being moved by her presentation and interactions with the group I ordered the book, This I Believe, on when I made it back to my room that night.

This past Saturday I read almost half of the personal philosophies in the book. Each of which was not over 500 words and met the heart of the writer. I am now challenged to continue reading and develop my personal philosophy. I would encourage you to find a copy of this text. I have not recently been so moved by words. This is probably because I am a doctoral student and read statistics textbooks and research. You know where I am coming from. This is the one you need to pick-up. It applies to all of us and will hopefully connect with your mind and heart as it has with mine. Check back in soon for progress on my personal philosophy and more about my experience with ACPA.

E. Gerome Stephens
University of Louisville

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Attending CHEMA & Getting Great Quality Time with Other Officers
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA Vice President 2008-09

Last week, May 23-25, 2008 I attended the Council for Higher Education Management Associations (CHEMA). This is an organization that consists of several groups that are similar to ACPA. You may be familiar with a few of them: NASPA, NIRSA, ACUHO-I, NACE, ASJA, and many others.

What was so wonderful was the opportunity to have valuable quality time to converse and share ideas with other officers within other organizations. Many of the Executive Directors of these associations were also at CHEMA. I learn a great deal about many organizations and gained many ideas on how to help advance ACPA.

What was also impressive was the overall effort by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Through their efforts they encouraged several major hotels to complimentary provide the hotel rooms for the events. Each meal was incredible, the hospitality was amazing, and we simply had a lot of fun. While I live in Louisville, and have been here only 1.5 years, I learned so much about the city. This really is a cool city with a lot to offer. Obviously one of the goals for hosting an event like this was to encourage organizations to consider Louisville. It is hard to imagine too many other cities being so supportive of our type of higher education associations. There really is a lot to offer, a lot to do, and many attributes to see. Even the Mayor came out to speak to us. This in a town of 1,000,000. You gotta love it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Emails and Organization
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA Vice President 2008-09

A few weeks ago I was meeting with a member of my staff who I asked to assist me while I serve as VP, President, and Past President. Michael Anthony coordinates our leadership programs at the University of Louisville and one day I might be working for him. But this time I asked him to serve as my "assistant to" person. You know, the person that makes the calls, sets up the meetings, and follows through with items. Put another way, he is the opposite of all my limitations.

I have learned as Vice President of a division at a large research university, and a place where I have a Chief of Staff and Assistant to the VPSA, that having a person like this is invaluable. I am spoiled. As I thought about my limitations, and the expectations many ACPA members would have of me as their VP or President, I just knew I needed more help. Michael and talked about our roles and some of the additional support people we may bring onboard. These would be folks like graduate and undergraduate students that we truly want to have a meaningful experience.

I have also learned about the email. Now I already get more than a hundred emails in a day (and probably write that many, too). But since I have been the ACPA VP that number seems to have grown a bit. Gone are the days of waiting a week to get to some of these items. ACPA moves faster behind the scenes then we know and there always is a flurry of activity going on. Keeping up with it, while trying to move your own division along can be challenging -- and I say this as someone that has always prided themselves on being in balance.

I know we have many good initiatives going on right now. Some of these might not even make a headline right now but they are laying a foundation for many big things to come. As practitioners in Student Affairs we know the importance of process and solid foundations. I feel good about our leadership and what we are trying to do. More later.

Friday, April 4, 2008

CSPA-New York -- What an amazing group!
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA Vice President 2008-09

There I was, simply enjoying the half dozen receptions I was attending or crashing at ACPA Atlanta when a friend realized I was an officer. I reminded them I was "only" the VP-Elect and didn't assume office until the following day. To them it didn't matter because in that room, at that moment, I was it. A representative of ACPA.

This is not an uncommon experience for me. Everyday I am asked to bring greetings either as the Vice President for Student Affairs or on behalf of the University President at the University of Louisville. It happens so often I keep a few canned thoughts and stories in my pocket just in case. However, this was slightly different. CSPA-NY is one of the strongest and largest state associations in ACPA. The room was packed with colleagues and friends. There was a buzz of camaraderie that I really did not want to interrupt with "welcoming words." Still, Peter Fagen, the state association President, invited me to say a few words. How could I not "step up?"

As I took the podium I went into speech mode. While it could seem it was just me saying kind words about CSPA-NY, honestly, it was much, much more than that. This truly is an amazing group of practitioners. Their attentiveness to each of my words was incredible. It was instantly clear to me the enormous pride CSPA-NY has in its members, leaders, and association. I hope other state associations get the chance to see this organization's strength. They really do make a difference.

So what did I say? Naturally I thanked them for all that they do, acknowledged that I knew of many of their contributions to the profession, and spoke about what we all should remember when we return to campus - that we work with and serve students. More on this in a future blog.

Up until that point I was just an "elect." That night, in public, at this event, I assumed my place as the VP. CSPA-NY helped me do this and I sincerely look forward to working with this state association in the future.

Welcome from the ACPA-VP -- Tom Jackson, Jr.

Humbled. Honored. Privileged. These are words that describe my thoughts as I reflect upon the enormous opportunity to serve as ACPA's Vice President. Wow. I truly am honored to have been elected and to serve this profession in such a meaningful and very important way. Just yesterday I was visiting several web pages on the ACPA website and stumbled upon the long list of former presidents. To think my name will be among them later is not only a scary thought but a humbling thought.

Welcome to my blog. Why a blog? As I sat and listened to the many ACPA leaders discuss topics of interest to them during a recent Assembly meeting, the thought hit me - I should have a blog so all members of ACPA could share in this experience. Understanding that process, transparency, integrity, and opportunity are all values or attributes of our association, it just seemed fitting that a blog by the VP, and later President, could possibly bridge my role as your VP to the work you are doing every day on your campus. In one session I joked about using the web and having a webcast. The group became excited about the thought. That was not my intention at the time but it spoke to how important technology is to the membership. This is one way, one small way, that I can try and stay very connected to the entire membership using a "technology" that is very common to our practitioners.

In this blog it is my hope that I will share my thoughts about events, initiatives or programs I may be attending or considering; and even share my calendar so members can identify opportunities to meet with me when I may be in their area. This is something I am very open to and have the full support to do from my university and employer - University of Louisville.

Please feel free to share with me your thoughts directly, or to comment on any of my posts. I look forward to serving the Association and our Profession.