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.