It is an honor to be asked to lead the ACPA Credentialing Implementation Team. For those of you who don’t know me, let me briefly introduce myself.
I have been in the field for 34 years. For 23 years I was a practitioner, including 14 years as Vice President for Student Affairs at two Catholic colleges. In 2002, I moved to the faculty when I came to Canisius College in Buffalo, NY to head the master’s program in College Student Personnel Administration. Canisius is a theory-to-practice based program, and many of you know that we bring all of our students to the ACPA Convention each year. I am confident that the experience I have gained in my long career on “both sides of the house” will help me to contribute to the process ACPA begun.
ACPA President Keith Humphrey has sent me a lot of material to read, and I had a long conversation with my predecessor, Steve Tyrell. It was after my meeting with Steve that I agreed to accept this responsibility for our profession. I invite all ACPA members to continue to post their thoughts to this blog, as well as to contact any member of the Credentialing Implementation Team with any ideas. My hope is that we create an initiative that helps advance our profession by being reflective of the input of our members.
Dr. Sandy Estanek
The Governing Board decided to form a group to develop the processes and procedures for professional credentialing months ago. I will be serving as the chair of that group, ACPA’s Credential Implementation Team (herein referred to CIT). I want to echo Heidi Levine’s comments last week where she invited members of our profession to fully engage in the discussion of professional credentialing. There are many examples out there that the team will be looking at in the months ahead to guide our work. Equally important, the Team will be guided by the exchange found on-line and at various events.
We will be following these on-line discussions and will provide our perspectives to the discussion whenever possible. We hope that professionals and others engage in this on-line forum as various threads have emerged and will contginue to do so in the discussions current and ahead. For instance, the latest exchange has raised questions by some whether a credentialing process is needed or not. Clearly there are divergent points of view evident on this topic. The Credentialing Implementation Team (herein referred to as CIT) has been charged by ACPA’s Governing Board to develop policies, structures and procedures for professional credentialling over the next 17-18 months. Thus, the Team will not, per se, be engaging in the debate on whether to proceed forward or not. Nevertheless, I know members of the team are interested in understanding where there are concerns with any part of establishing a credentialing process so that perhaps we can adequately address and even dispel some of those concerns in what we create in the months ahead.
There have been a few threads that have also emerged in the last few weeks worth noting here. One thread has to do with the relationship between professional credentialing and graduate preparation programs. There are many questions raised already and we probably could dedicate a thread to this area of the discussion. Another thread that has emerged is the question around how the jointly-adopted professional competencies will relate to professional credentialing. A third has been the how the Register will accept those without graduate prep work as credentialed in the Register in the future. All important threads and all reflect the dedication and commitment professionals have for insuring the advancement of the profession. Whatever unfolds in discussions ahead of us, whether on-line or face to face, it is important that we continue to underscore that our best work will surely emerge out of critical discussions and thoughtful exchanges. As chair of the CIT – we look forward to the dialogue!
Dr. Steve Tyrell, Chair, ACPA’s Credential Implementation Team, Vice President for Student Affairs, Alfred State College
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 voluntaryACPA 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