Monday, April 27, 2009

From Your ACPA President: ACPA as a Leader of our Global Profession
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA President 2009-10

by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA President 2009-10

The past month has been a very rewarding and active 30 days. ACPA is involved and active in so many things – all of them clearly impact our large membership in many unique ways. In this “mail call” I hope to talk about some of ACPA’s international interests and our efforts to advance our global profession while partnering with other countries and associations to improve campus environments for our students.

ACPA has a responsibility to our students across the globe. As the profession’s leader, it isn’t just about the members or those working and residing in the United States. ACPA’s work is also critical to the success of our students outside of our borders. ACPA has institutional members from 27 different counties. These range from China to the Middle East, from South Africa to the Caribbean. Each of these countries brings a unique perspective to the association, yet so subtly, similar challenges on one’s campus. In many respects this speaks to the similarity of our students across the globe.

As a global leader it is ACPA’s expectation that we simply not reach out to countries to build membership. This is a very shallow and disingenuous approach that does little to serve the global profession. It is more the expectation of ACPA that we reach out to partner, to collaborate, to inspire and to learn from other countries. In our global efforts ACPA (like other associations) has learned that we do not always have the answer. In fact, many times the answers rest in the challenges (and solutions) that other countries have used. Take for example Housing and Residence Life. Taiwan and Hong Kong have very elaborate structures that house college students. While they may not have the depth of theoretical foundation that often comes with decades worth of scholarly research in student development, they do have simplicity – they are safe, feel like home, and are conducive to learning. They are every bit as well built, if not better built than many residence facilities on our colleges’ campuses today. Some also have incorporated “green” technologies or enable students to monitor or pay for utility usage in a manner some of our students in the United States could only wish to do. Some of these residence structures have used technology and engineering many in the U.S. would not have the resources to even try. Imagine building a residence hall on the side of a hill/mountain. Imagine, because space is such a premium, putting a full recreational soccer field with bleachers on top of the structure. Just imagine the engineering and creativity that went into a project of that magnitude.

ACPA will continue to work with our many friends across the globe to assist in developing country specific research and implementation strategies to best serve students. ACPA also will work to better improve the international environment on our respective campuses to become a place that feels safe and open to the influx of international students now attending our campuses. This is your ACPA and this is part of our value system. It truly is very interconnected. Weeeeee!

(Above photo taken overlooking Taipei, Taiwan from the academic/student services building at Lung Hwa University. Pictured are Dr. Jackson, Dr. Juing-Huei Su (Dean of Students), and his student affairs staff.

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