2016-2018 NCCPA’s President’s Pen
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In celebration of our 50th anniversary, I am embarking on a tour of 50 outstanding colleges and universities throughout the state and visiting student affairs leaders on these campuses. I invite you to follow along in this journey by liking NCCPA’s Facebook Page which features blog entries from these visits. The goal of this blog is to celebrate the work of student affairs in our state while also engaging leaders on questions ranging from how the profession has changed over their careers to how student affairs can support students involved in the Black Lives Matter movement on our campuses.
We are at a critical point in the history of higher education in our state and nation. The advent of social media has continued to broaden the awareness of the centuries-old struggles of the most marginalized members of our societies and campuses. The strong decades-long commitment of the ACPA-College Student Educators International and our state chapter in advocating for our students is in constant need of refreshing. As we reflect on how we can collectively use our voice and whatever privilege we have to make a difference in the lives of students, I am reminded of what one of my mentors Lee Williams once told me; she explained that much of student affairs work is standing in the gap. There are often gaps in between students and faculty, staff and parents, faculty and administrators, educators and governing boards, students and other students, legislators and institutions… and the list continues. This metaphor speaks to the many differing perspectives on our college campuses and beyond about what the work of colleges and universities truly is, and how we can all work to keep our collective focus on the learning, growth and development of our students. Also, as North Carolina campuses face the realities of discriminatory measures like HB2, student affairs educators and other higher education professionals can serve as active advocates on our campuses to state loudly and clearly that we cannot expect our students to learn if we cannot first commit to their safety and affirm their value as members of our community.
It is critical to connect, support and celebrate one another while engaged in this important work. So if you haven’t heard this enough recently thank you! Thank you for the early mornings and late nights! Thank you for all of those extra things you do, not because they are your job, but because you know the difference they can make in students’ lives!
I hope to see you all at fall conference!
All the best,
Alan Mueller, Ed.D. (he/him/his)
Assistant Dean of Students for Activities, Leadership and Intercultural Education