Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Life as an SSAO and ACPA President
by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr., ACPA President 2009-10

Yesterday was a wonderful day. It was a day filled with the usual items that I must deal with as a Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) and a day filled with the usual items I must deal with as President for ACPA. It was a fun "crashing together" of lots of "stuff." As I reflected on my day yesterday it inspired me to write about it in this blog.

Being a VPSA is mostly joyful. It is joyful when one is surrounded by wonderful colleagues and a supportive team. I have that at the University of Louisville, so most of my days are truly joyful. Being ACPA President is mostly joyful also. It is humbling to know that my words, as your President, resonate beyond our U.S. borders. It amazes me that our collective efforts can inspire better learning environments for our students, improved opportunities for our colleagues, and better policies globally. As President, I am surrounded by some wonderful colleagues, so most of my days are truly joyful.

Yesterday, as VPSA, I had the pleasure of meeting with one of my new doctoral interns, working with another VP as our teams collaboratively work on several projects together, I listened (in my office) to a passionate student who is attempting to change the concealed carry laws on campus and in the state, was part of a strategic media meeting discussing how we will address a matter in Student Affairs (one that I must be the public point person on), and I received roughly 70 emails (but I sent roughly 35). Poor Greg Roberts, I probably sent 20 to him! He and I also spoke on the phone twice and I also was part of a Corporate Strategy Conference call with several others (talking about how we utilize our ACPA corporate friends). Today, so far, has been very similar. I met with my faculty friends and a representative from Liberia as we consider expanding our award-winning and internationally known service-learning program. I also had lunch with another faculty and dear colleague (Dr. Michael Cuyjet) and a new friend (the college roommate of another ACPA colleague who put us all together since we didn't know we lived in the same city). This afternoon I will return phone calls and work on ACPA stuff.

Meeting with that doctoral intern was clearly my highlight. It is so easy to reflect back to when the roles were reversed and it was me, sitting there talking to the VPSA, eager for experience and opportunity. To me, that is the true essence of the work I do, helping our students.

That was my day as VPSA. Honestly, my day as ACPA President blended right into my role as VPSA. Really, an email is an email some days since, like all of you, I have a fixed amount of time in my day and my ability to respond to work and ACPA are limited by so many other factors. Still, yesterday I probably spent three hours on ACPA related items between phone calls, emails, and projects. Today will likely be another three hours. That is the norm these days.

A couple days ago I looked at my list of items we are working on in ACPA. I had 34 items on that list before a few more items entered my head. Now certainly I am not working on these items alone. In fact, most of these items I just have to be aware of since we have an incredible volunteer network that continues to try and improve our association hourly. Still, some of these items are more cumbersome to manage or understand than others. Here is some of that list:
  1. Convention placement budget
  2. Collaboration with other associations
  3. Task Force on the Future of Student Affairs
  4. Future convention locations
  5. Strategic goals
  6. International summit
  7. Follow-up with CACUSS (Canada) and CTLPA (Caribbean) associations
  8. Veterans agenda items
  9. Corporate relations
  10. Exhibits at convention
  11. Boston 2010 updates
  12. New association marketing strategies
  13. ACPA/NASPA competencies
  14. Professional research agenda
  15. Enough is Enough - Campus violence
  16. Boston collaborative programs (Cultural Fest and SCM)
  17. Web page improvements
  18. Publications
  19. ACPA President Developments article (I have to write it for the next issue)
  20. Diamond honoree promotions assistance
  21. Future face to face Governing Board meetings
  22. International Office staffing
  23. Working with ROTCs as an association
  24. ACPA study tours
  25. Deciding which activities of the association I can attend next fall
  26. Updating LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages
  27. Preparing for this Fridays monthly "public chat on AIM"
  28. Working with specialty colleges
  29. Determining what we need to do to establish our International Hispanic Leadership Institute
  30. Setting the Summer Leadership Meeting (SLM) schedule
  31. Setting the SLM Governing Board agendas (we have FIVE Governing Board meetings)
  32. Keeping up with developments in membership and placement implementation committees
  33. Addressing member concerns
  34. Staying up on Job Target implementation (new placement software)
  35. Discussing/Approving the ACPA Equity Statement
  36. Convention shell discussions
  37. Sustainability efforts
  38. Honoring retired faculty or recently deceased members
That seems to be the list as I recall it today. I am sure there are another ten items I have left off, and there are some emerging that might make that list the next time I blog about this subject.

I share these thoughts and this list to provide each of you some insight into my days not only as a VPSA but more importantly, as your ACPA President. Serving in both positions is rewarding and very meaningful. Knowing the impact I can have on student success everyday is most rewarding and meaningful. Weeee!

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