Boston 2010… what a great experience! I hope that each of you who had the opportunity to attend this year’s conference found it to be everything you expected and more. Past-President Tom Jackson Jr., Convention Chair Robin Diana and their teams did an outstanding job planning and orchestrating the ACPA International Convention in Boston. The challenge to build on this year’s success has been acknowledged and we look forward to going beyond these expectations at the ACPA Conference in Baltimore 2011… Patty Perillo, 2011 Convention Chair and her convention planning team have already started the planning for BMORE in Baltimore!
As I embark on my journey as ACPA President for the 2010-2011 year I look forward to the opportunity to build on ACPA’s past success as a leader in higher education. I see the next year as a year in which ACPA will continue to take the lead in advancing the profession of student affairs. We will remain strong, focused, and committed to the efforts we have undertaken in the past while moving forward and continuing to address our strategic priorities.
As the president of ACPA, I will continue to be guided by ACPA’s strategic priorities which include: Knowledge & Competencies; Professional & Career Development; and Membership & Recruitment. As members of ACPA, it is important for each of us to keep these priorities before us.
While I use these strategic priorities as guidelines, my presidency will focus on four primary areas as well as support. These areas include:
1) Our students who are veterans of the armed forces and their families. We need to strengthen and ensure our services meet the needs of these veterans. We need to partner with faculty and staff to ensure our veterans are not overlooked in the educational process. We cannot forget their families. We need to ensure services are available, whether through our campuses or community partners, that expand beyond the traditional campus services. Our veterans cannot and should not be separated from the issues of their families who may also have adjustment concerns.
2) Learning and understanding more about community college students as well as the student services staff who serve them. What strategies, philosophies, and approaches are used by community college student services colleagues? How can a better understanding of community colleges help us in our efforts? What should staff and faculty at two and four colleges learn from and partner with to best serve students?
3) The continual globalization of ACPA which includes an increased international presence, including membership, growth of study abroad, research and the sharing of knowledge.
4) Growing in our ability to serve our students as the stresses and pressures they face continue to mount. Our need to enhance the ways we assist our students with the “invisible book bags” they carry … which are filled with issues related to work, mental health, finances, and family, just to name a few. How can we approach and assist students differently? How can we recognize that to do the same thing harder is not the answer.
For those of you who were at the ACPA 2010 Conference at Boston you may have had the opportunity to attend the business meeting to hear my mentor, Monroe Community College President Emeritus R. Thomas Flynn, speak. He shared that one simple question has always been at the heart of his success. Reflecting on his earliest days in college student personal administration at Rutgers University to his most recent position as President of Monroe Community College, for President Flynn the question has always been “Is it good for the students?”
We need to ensure that we maintain a similar focus and remember why we chose the career path we have… for most of us that is to have a positive impact on our students and our campus communities.
I ask that you join me in this next year as we look forward to making a difference on our campuses and preparing for ACPA Baltimore 2011 in being more… be more intentional, be more principled, be more connected, be more engaged, be more happy, be more inclusive. Be more of what makes you who you are!