Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Statement on the ACPA Student Affairs Credential Program

ACPA’s announcement last week that it created an implementation team to outline policies and practice for credentialing individuals in student affairs has launched a lively and thoughtful exchange of responses and suggestions.  Consistent with our value and history of member engagement and voice in association activities, we are excited to share next steps with you and invite conversation about the voluntary ACPA Student Affairs Credential Program.

Many professions such as law, medicine, and teaching, have processes by which members of that profession demonstrate they have the skills and knowledge required to perform their responsibilities. Given the diversity of paths of entry into student affairs and related work, ACPA is using the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies to create a voluntary program that accomplishes the same goal – demonstration of a common set of skills and knowledge for those working in the field. We value the myriad ways individuals can enter our international profession. This diversity of experience adds a richness of professional practice that contributes to the field and enhances our students’ time at our institutions. The goal is not to regulate programs that prepare professionals for our field or the paths individuals take into the profession, but rather to build on the solid foundation they offer by providing an opportunity for a professional’s skill and knowledge to be validated and to bolster our value of continuous professional development.

There are two components to the credentialing process that the implementation team will explore. The first is what is currently being called the Student Affairs Register. To be a member of the Register, an individual must demonstrate that she meets the “basic” level of the professional competencies. To maintain membership in in the Register, the individual must then complete a yet to-be-determined number of approved Continuing Education Units each year. The second component of the ACPA Student Affairs Credential Program is Specialized Skills Certification. In this component, individuals would demonstrate knowledge and skills at the “advanced” level of a specified competency or sub-category of a competency.

Clearly, at this stage there are more questions than answers about both components of the Credential Program. The ACPA Credential Implementation Team was formed to explore these questions and to suggest resolution through a structure, and set of processes and procedures. Your input is essential in bringing questions, suggestions, and possibilities to the forefront of the team as it proceeds in the development of this program. The ACPA Credential Implementation Team will be setting up multiple opportunities for feedback and input, one of which will be a blog to share your thoughts. Please watch for an announcement later this week with the URL for that blog.

As the program continues to develop we will provide updates to keep you informed.

Steve Tyrell, Chair ACPA Credential Implementation Team
Heidi Levine, ACPA President