This time last year I was preparing to start my term as President for The Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators, more commonly known as TACUSPA. Our 96-year-old association is guided by a mission to enhance higher education and student success by cultivating relationships and engagement that promote leadership development among current and aspiring student affairs practitioners and scholars.
Over the years I’ve contributed my time, talent, and treasure and the last 365 day have been no different. Like any professional development experience, I’ve learned invaluable lessons that will continue to influence the way I engage with the profession and the world around me.
Last weekend we convened in Plano for the 2021 TACUSPA Conference with friends and colleagues from the state of Texas. Guided by our conference theme, Influence and Impact and Strategies to Accelerate Systemic Change within the Profession and Beyond, we gathered to learn and fellowship with old and new friends.
As I reflect on my tenure as President I’m reminded of the following quotes, which encompass the lessons learned as well as the actions taken to manage this honorable role:
- “Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.” – Brian Dyson
- “You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes becasue that’s where the fruit is.” – Will Rogers
- “Change before you have to.” – Jack Welch
- “Patience is also a form of action.” – Auguste Rodin
- “Friendship is one mind in two bodies.” -Mencius
- “Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect.” – Ann McGee-Cooper
- “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
I never do a great job capturing pictures, but here are a few I grabbed from other people’s posts. Please feel free to share more in the comments! Hopefully, I didn’t blink 😦 !!
Below I’ve included my final remarks as President.
Honor the space between no longer and not yet. That’s been my guiding principle as president during the last year. My involvement in TACUSPA has always centered on honoring the past, elevating the present, and supporting the future through intentional measures that advance our mission and our members. Guided by our strategic plan, this year we’ve completed several projects that will continue to influence and impact the Association.
- We created a Website Accessibility Task Force under the leadership of Caryn Hawkins, Director of Technology. The task force reviewed and evaluated the website’s content and developed recommendations to enhance the overall accessibility the association’s website, as well as best practices to adopt in our standard practice.
- We expanded the data fields required to renew membership, under the leadership of Staphany Lopez-Cornado. Historically, TACUSPA has had access to member’s names, titles, institutions, emails, and phone numbers. Through this recent expansion, TACUSPA will now have more accurate information about the membership, including information such as first-generation status, to support the Board’s efforts in making informed decisions regarding the programs, services, and resources offered to support our members.
- Last spring we introduced TACUSPA@Work, a 6-week virtual institute guided by TACUSPA’s core values: Development, Advocacy, and Networking. The TACUSPA@Work Institute included monthly panel discussions and cohort-based activities that supported participants leadership development and growth.
- TACUSPA Cafés were hosted throughout the year to discuss relevant issues impacting campuses and the communities they serve. During these events members are split into smaller breakout sessions to engage in informal discussions. Once complete, all groups reconvened and summarize their discussions with the larger group. These collaborative events create opportunities for networking and promote of knowledge exchange among the membership.
- Under the leadership of Teresa Simpson, Director of Research, we expanded our outreach to faculty as well as efforts to move research to practice through the research committee. This included the creation of a new research webpage, the collection of contemporary publications from our members, updates to the membership, the evaluation of institutional memberships to be more inclusive to graduate programs, faculty professional development, and became an official sponsor of the faculty in higher education listserv hosted through Sam Houston State University. As we look towards the future we look forward to continuing our efforts to conduct a research study on the State of Student Affairs in Texas.
- Under the leadership of Lacey Folsom, Director of Marketing, we also reimagined our marketing efforts and look forward to reviewing the analytics from the last year to better understand our reach and influence as well as our gaps.
- We also continued the tradition of hosting webinars, under the leadership of Diana Lee, Director of Education and Professional Development and Taylor Kemp, Webinar Chair. Webinars topics included lessons from derailed administrators that lost jobs, updates on the Texas legislative session, building an effective brand, and balancing a career in higher education and parenting.
- Finally, we hosted several small, but mighty projects including the virtual winter break resume exchange, the addition of association partners on our website, and efforts towards reestablishing affinity groups, which will continue into the future.
Overall, it’s been a great year and I’m proud of the traditions we’ve continued, the projects we’ve elevated, and the potential we’ve planted for the future. I’m also happy to share that in the coming weeks we’ll distribute an annual report that will capture this information for those interested in learning more.
I’d also like to take a moment to thank my conference chairs, Grisell Perez-Carey and Stephanie Martinez, as well as their conference planning team. Anyone that knows me knows that my expectations are high, but my work ethic runs deep, so in addition to seeking excellence I am always right in the trenches willing to do the work. However, this team exceeded my expectations in every way and provided me with a sense of peace during very uncertain times so I can’t thank them enough.
Finally, TACUSPA is a volunteer organization and 100% of our work is done by our dedicated members. We all have busy jobs and busy lives, yet so many make time to help our initiatives succeed. To everyone that contributed their time, talent, or listening ear, I sincerely thank you.