Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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

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