Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reflection on ACPA Presidential Symposium

What a great day! Just under 100 colleagues from around Iowa (and a few from neighboring states) came together last Wednesday for the first-ever ACPA Presidential Symposium. We co-sponsored this one-day conference with the Iowa Student Personnel Association, and together helped frame and facilitate conversations about ways in which we can be more intentional fostering student success. 

In the morning I encouraged participants to embrace the challenge presented in the Future of Student Affairs report to shift from just focusing on increasing access to higher education in order to be more focused on helping students, once enrolled, to succeed. I shared four particular areas I had spoken about in my presidential address in Baltimore this past March: creating more inclusive campus communities, being more intentional in our work with transfer students, addressing student mental health issues and needs, and harnessing both the potential and challenges related to social media.

Our outstanding break-out session facilitators brought tremendous expertise in these areas and helped participants think about what practices they could bring back to their campuses in order to meet this imperative. Here are just a few of the “take-aways” participants shared at the end of the day:
  • Plans to review campus policies and protocols to ensure that they provide an equitable framework for our work with all students;
  • Learning about a web resource for transfer students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics);
  • Introduction to a range of social media resources that can help us connect students in their sharing and reflecting; and
  • Increasing our knowledge about some of the factors and challenges related to student mental health crises.
I’d love to hear about what you’re doing on your campuses to create innovative and high-impact practices to help our students succeed!


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