Top 10 Things New Professionals Need to Know

Ideas and creativity in businessAs many of you are starting new positions this year, this webinar may be helpful to give you some important aspects of your job to think about. Presented by Kathryn Wojcik, Stephen Fleming, Cassie Harrington, and Taylor Ullrich in February 2017, this webinar is a must-watch for any new professional beginning a new job this academic year. This is especially helpful for graduate students entering their first professional job. Enjoy!

To view the webinar, visit







Post-Convention Reflections from the CGSNP Chair, Nick Fuselier


I think I can speak for all of us when I say that every single year after attending ACPA Convention, I return back to my campus on fire!  Convention has a way of coming just at the right time.  In the midst of a turbulent and troubling political climate in which our most vulnerable students are feeling unsafe, unheard, and uncared for… current issues in education policy, such as school “choice” vouchers and calls for budget cuts to programs designed to support students who are too often left behind… the list really goes on and on… but in the midst of all of this, I leave Convention feeling hopeful, inspired, re-energized, and equipped with new tools to best serve students and to best serve my community.

As I reflect on my time at Convention, so much comes up for me.  First, I am so grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with some of my most valued colleagues, all of whom impact my work in some way every single day.  I’m thankful to have developed some new professional relationships with folks who I have admired since my time as a graduate student.  And I think I’m most excited by my time getting to connect with those who are newest to our association – graduate students and new professionals.  These folks are the future of our field and I appreciate that ACPA has a dedicated space for us to learn from each other and grow together as emerging college student educators.  The community of ACPA, and the sub-communities found throughout the association, are some of my most cherished spaces.  In these spaces, I feel alive… I feel whole… I feel challenged… I feel taken care of.

Second, I am moved by ACPA’s bold strategic imperative for racial justice.  As a part of the Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals, I look forward to engaging in this call for a centering of racial justice in our work, not just as an entity group within the association, but as graduate students and new professionals in our everyday lives on our campuses and in our communities.  Hearing our outgoing President, Donna Lee, and our incoming President, Stephen John Quaye, make this call with an unwavering and unapologetic passion was moving.  I anticipate the operationalizing of this imperative will be challenging for us, as this kind of work is tough… it will be tough for white folks, like myself, to do the unlearning and unpacking that is necessary to engage in this work authentically… tough for folks of color, who often solely and unfairly bear the burden of teaching, coaching, and carrying people in dominant identity groups through this kind of work… tough for an association who has to own its history, its problems, and its challenges in today’s day and age.  Tough work is important work.  And as Donna Lee noted throughout Convention, we must engage in this work with love and compassion.

Last, I am thrilled to be moving into the Chair role for the Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals.  While our time together at Convention was a whirlwind, each day passing more quickly than the previous, I am pumped up by the energy and passion this team brings to the table.  I have to shout out our outgoing Directorate led by our outgoing Chair, Chad Mandala.  Thank you all for your commitment and leadership.  Moving forward, we have a lot of exciting work to do: a webinar series… the 8th Vector newsletter… the ACPA Ambassadors program… fundraising… case study competitions… not to mention all of our Convention-specific programs, and so much more!  I’m honored to work alongside our talented incoming Directorate and our engaged membership.  Get ready for a fun and fulfilling year!


Meet your 8th Vector Coordinators: Crystal and Stephen!

Each year, the 8th Vector is assigned coordinators to assist in managing posts and recruiting quality articles. This year, we are very excited to be authoring the blog and working with each of you to capture your voice and highlight your story. Here’s a little more about us:

Crystal HamiltonCrystal

I have been a member of the Graduate Student and New Professional Community of Practice for three years. I received my Bachelors degree in Finance from Old Dominion University and my Masters in Educational Leadership – Higher Education Administration from Valdosta State University. I have mostly worked with campus events, reservations, scheduling, and building facilities during my time in Higher Education. My interest in the 8th Vector sparked while I was the Scholarly Initiatives Coordinator for the Ambassador program couple of years ago. I am looking forward to assisting everyone who is interested in publishing in the 8th  Vector!

Stephen Fleming


I have been a member of ACPA and the Graduate Student and New Professional Community of Practice for four years. My education has been primarily at Rowan University in New Jersey where I completed my dual Bachelors degree in Mathematics and Elementary Education and my Masters in School Counseling. I am excited to begin a new journey at Temple University in Philadelphia as I pursue my Ed.D. in Higher Education. A majority of my background has been in Residence Life and Housing, but I have more recently transitioned to academic affairs in my role as Assistant Dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rowan University. I am very excited to be working with the 8th Vector as I have had an enjoyable experience publishing in it in the past and I hope I can provide a similar experience for anyone interested in exploring their professional writing.


This year, we have two main goals: to incorporate themes into the blog posts and to inform graduate students and new professionals on ways in which they can engage in publishing research-orientated pieces. We will have many themes before the convention and we encourage you to target those that resonate with you. To learn more about our themes, visit

We are already accepting submissions for our July/August postings! The summer is a great time to focus on writing and engaging in professional development. Knowing that many of you may be in transition between jobs, our theme is Navigating Your First Position. All submissions do not have to focus on this theme—we are simply giving direction to a topic that we hope to strongly represent. Submissions must be submitted to We are accepting submissions on an ongoing basis.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at We are excited to help you meet your writing and publishing goals. Have a wonderful summer!

A Message from ACPA Executive Director, Dr. Cindi Love

Cindi LoveI know I am not the first, but allow me to say, “Congratulations!” to each of you in our new Graduate Student and New Professional Community of Practice.  Your group is not really new, but you have adopted a newly formed structure that really reflects the times in which we are living when community is so very important and research has to translate into effective practice.

Over the past three years, I have engaged with Grads and New Professionals and with the Ambassadors every chance I get because you give me energy, support and great insights into our work in student affairs.  I am a seasoned professional–but in many ways a new professional in student affairs—in my first five years of work in the field.  You’ve been my “home within a home” at ACPA.  You are important to me and I want to share why you are so important to ACPA’s culture, continuing excellence and thought leadership as a higher education association.

  • Statistically, you are more likely to engage than any other demographic in our membership
  • Career advancement is important and you also want to make a real difference through your work
  • You are the most active on social media and the most likely to promote social justice causes within this space—especially if we share cool and engaging content for you to share and especially digital video (

Did you know that 75,000 people have viewed a segment on ACPA Video on Demand?  This is a place where you have helped share and can continue to share the ACPA core values far beyond our immediate membership.  I hope members of the Community of Practice will develop new videos and submit often.

 Looking forward to the next ten years, I predict that we’ll see an even greater emphasis placed on engagement that does not take place in “face to face” settings like Convention.  You will be our practitioner leaders in these efforts.

I want to invite you to an opportunity for best practice leadership right now.  In May, we launched the Where Respect Happens campaign with our peer associations, NASPA, NODA, ACUHO-I, ASCA, ACUI, NIRSA and ACHA.  I hope you will create your own video and upload it to the Campaign and download the free sticker, t-shirt and post-it card images for your use on your campus.  We believe this campaign is a great opportunity to amplify the voice of student affairs professionals within higher education and to support students as they navigate tough situations in their lives on campus.

When you send in your video or download the materials and use them, send me an e-mail and I will enter your name in a drawing for a free Compliance U™ course, Law, Policy and Governance in Higher Education:  Compliance 101.

We will draw September 22, 2017.

I will give you one fun example of how a campaign like this worked for a non-profit, Soulforce.  A group of youth activists raised $200 to print 10,000 stickers and blanketed them in a neighborhood in New York.  They took pictures of themselves posting the stickers in all sorts of places. A major newspaper picked up one of the photos and the story and advanced their cause with free publicity.

Wouldn’t it be cool if respect could go viral in this way?


An Artist Methodology Approach to Advising | Gerardo Guzman

Most student affairs professionals spend a lot of time advising and interacting with students. The topics we advise students on range from selecting a major and/or a career, navigating the institution, and succeeding in their academic and extra-curricular experiences. My job involves advising students on their financial aid and I initially struggled to identify my own advising style. Ironically, it was a Fine Arts Senior Seminar professor who helped me realize that the Artist Methodology I had gained as a Fine Art major could be applied to my position. The purpose of this article is to examine how an Artist Methodology can be applied to enhance advising skills.

Written by Gerardo Guzman of Florida Atlantic University.

What is an Artist Methodology?

An artist methodology is a set of methods that each person acquires throughout his/her personal and professional experiences as an artist. It is not a specific set of rules that are followed by all artists. A few select examples of methods that an artist can use include: Form, Freeform, and Realism. Artists can use a combination of methods that works best for them. For instance, I use three methods to create a piece of art and to advise my students: The Known, Observation, and Imagination.

The Known

The first step when I am working on an art piece is the Known. In other words, what do I know about the subject? Has there been a way that this subject has been successfully tackled before? If so, how can I improve upon the first piece? When advising a student, it is important to know who the subject is, what do I know about the student’s particular case and how can I improve upon their previous experience? For example, before meeting with a student I review all aspects of the student’s accounts, including academic history, financial holds, and academic holds. This allows me to be prepared to answer the student’s questions and to investigate possible solutions that may improve the student’s experience with our office and the university.


As an artist who focuses on surroundings to draw my inspiration for a piece of art, observation is a key step in my art creation process. Similarly, when meeting with students, I carefully observe not just what the students says, but how they are dressed, what they are not saying, and their non-verbal behaviors.  For example, I was speaking with a student at our front counter regarding his federal aid eligibility and how his income affected it. Although I answered his immediate question, his eye contact and tone of voice told me he had other questions. As he scanned the room and lowered his voice it became clear that he was uncomfortable discussing financial issues, so I invited him to my office. Once inside the office, his tone of voice immediately changed and became positive. He could focus on my answers instead of being worried about what the other students in the lobby were thinking of him.


My imagination allows me to create worlds in my head and convey my vision on my canvas. As an advisor, I use my imagination to put myself in my students’ shoes, allowing me to be more empathetic with each student’s situation. For example, I had a former student who was going through academic difficulty his sophomore year. He was placed on financial aid warning, as he had two consecutive semesters of failing grades. Initially, I found it difficult to empathize with his situation as our interactions were only via email. Once he came into my office, however, we discussed the issues he was facing at home. This helped me further understand his situation and come up with creative solutions that allowed him to get back on track with his academic studies and he eventually graduated with academic honors.


Being a good advisor is an art form that can be challenging to learn and master, especially as a new professional. My experience with art taught me the importance of Artistic Methodology when creating new pieces. This framework also helped me to focus my advising on observing, imagining, and finding out who each student is. By sharing my approach to art and advising, my hope is that it may inspire you to create your own Artistic Methodology that is based on your experiences and education.


Disabilities 101: What Every New Student Affairs Professional Needs to Know | Courtney McGonagle

Many new Student Affairs professionals do not have extensive experience working with students with disabilities or how to provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. Approximately 11 percent of college students have disabilities (United States Department of Education [USDOE], 2016), and while 94 percent of high school students with learning disabilities seek and receive appropriate accommodations, only 17 percent of college students seek accommodations (Krupnick, 2014, para. 10). In addition, “Learning disabled students are far more likely than others to drop out of four-year colleges” (Krupnick, 2014, para. 13). The eight-year graduation rate is 22% lower for students with learning disabilities (Krupnick, 2014). Given these statistics, it is important for Student Affairs professionals to increase their awareness of disabilities. The purpose of this article is to define student disabilities, explain how accommodations for students with disabilities work, and to provide specific tips for working with students with disabilities.

Written by Courtney McGonagle.

Defining Disabilities

Disability is defined as, “A condition that limits a person’s physical or mental abilities” (Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, n.d.). However, it is also important to remember that disability is defined differently under the Americans with Disabilities Act, known as the ADA. Under the ADA, disability is defined as, “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity” (ADA National Network, n.d., para. 2). The ADA protects individuals with both visible and invisible disabilities.

How to Refer Students to the Disability Services Office

            Students often fear notifying professors or professional staff about their disability. Often, students do not want to self-identify as having a disability, so please do not expect students to volunteer this information right away. In fact, some students may choose not to disclose their disability, preferring to keep this information confidential. Each student can choose whether to register with the campus Disability Services Office. As a student affairs professional, if you see a student struggling with classes, breach the subject carefully by asking the student how obtaining assistance may help them perform better. For example, if a student keeps running out of time on exams, let the student know about the possibility of getting tested in the disability services office which may result in affording them extra time to take exams.  This may make students realize the ways in which services, such as testing accommodations, can help them. This avoids simply telling students they merely “Aren’t good at a specific subject.” Refer students to the disability office, the website address, and/or help them contact the department for an appointment to learn more about the services that are offered.

How to Handle Students Who Have Received Accommodations?

After a student has gone to the disabilities services office and received accommodations for their disability, you may receive a Letter of Notification from the office stating a student’s specific accommodations. Read the letter carefully to ensure that you understand the accommodations that the student is entitled to receive. If you have any questions about the Letter of Notification or are unsure of the best way to accommodate the student, please contact the disabilities services office for assistance. Once a Letter of Notification is received, do not just sign it. The best approach is to contact the student (in person or via email) letting them know that you would like to meet with them individually. This allows professionals and students to be on the same page as far as accommodations go. This way, the student is being properly accommodated, which avoids potential problems in the future. This also makes students feel as though you want to help them, which potentially could improve their overall performance.


            Given the increasing numbers of students with disabilities, it is important for student affairs professionals to understand that disability is so much more than what a student “cannot do.” Students with disabilities are often hardworking, dedicated, and compelled to make themselves succeed. Additionally, they are protected under laws such as the ADA, which grants them access to an equal education. Therefore, as professionals, seek to understand students, research the laws that protect them, and engage student in dialogues about the disability services that are available on campus.




ADA National Network (n.d.). What is the definition of disability under the ADA? Retrieved from

Disability. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster learner’s dictionary. Retrieved from

Krupnick, M. (2014, February 13). Colleges respond to growing ranks of disabled students, The Hechinger Report. Retrieved from

United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2016). Fast facts: Students with disabilities. Retrieved from

Changing the World: Lessons Learned at the 2016 University Student Leaders Symposium | Thomas De Maio

There is educational value in learning from a variety of perspectives. One of the most advantageous ways to expand your horizons is to travel abroad. There are countless opportunities for students to see the world, including enrolling in an intensive two-week course in South America or studying abroad in Europe for a year. Higher education institutions around the world open their doors to people across the globe who seek to diversify their educational and cultural experiences. These opportunities are not limited to undergraduate students; in fact, there are a plethora of chances for graduate and professional students to learn abroad. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, it has become increasingly crucial for students to expand their learning beyond their current institution’s walls. As a Higher Education Leadership M.Ed. student at Florida Atlantic University, I had the great privilege of attending the 7th annual – 2016 University Student Leaders Symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam. Events like the University Student Leaders Symposium take participants outside of their comfort zone and allow them to learn about the real life educational and humanitarian needs that exist around the world. The purpose of this article is to share the lessons I learned by attending the 2016 University Leaders Symposium in hopes of motivating other students (including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students) to seek opportunities to study, volunteer, and/or travel abroad.

Written by Thomas De Maio of Florida Atlantic University.


The Experience

One of the most valuable things that attending the conference taught me is how privileged we are in the United States to not only have the ability to obtain a higher education, but also the fact that our universities are staffed with academic advisors and student affairs professionals whose job it is to help students succeed. One of the Symposium’s speaker, Dr. Angelina Yeun, Vice President of Hong Kong Polytechnic University discussed the cultural factors and challenges that they face in Chinese society.  For example, Dr. Yuen (2016) noted that in many Eastern cultures people are less likely to engage in community service and/or charity events focused on helping people other than their immediate family or friends. Without the sense of societal benevolence, there tends to be increased poverty and inequality within pockets of Eastern society. As an antidote to this problem, Dr. Yuen emphasized the importance of servant leadership. She noted that the concept of servant leadership already started to positively impact the city of Hong Kong. She also mentioned that in Eastern countries, such as China, higher education institutions do not have a student affairs staff. However, she did mention that demand is increasing for her higher education Master’s degree courses to learn more about leadership styles and the benefits of student affairs within higher education.

Implementing leadership styles and strategies that are taught in our higher education classes can help positively impact the world. One issue that higher education students and professionals can address is the impact of education on individuals, families, and countries. In Asia, a large percentage of women still do not have access to any formal education. If we can help educate and advocate for the rights of all people to have access to formal education, we can prepare people across the globe to address the challenges they face.

Some of the most memorable moments of my time in Vietnam were the multiple learning journeys that allowed attendees to volunteer their services. For example, attendees donated thousands of books to a local school and we helped build small bamboo bridges across a local river so villagers could traverse them on their way to school and work (HumanitarianAffairs, 2016). One of the most life-changing experiences on my trip to Vietnam was having the opportunity to visit Duong Lam, an ancient village. At Duong Lam we met with the villagers and learned firsthand about their ancient culture, religion, and traditions. My fellow humanitarians and I rolled up our sleeves and stepped outside of our comfort zones to assist the villagers with their daily chores, such as plowing and watering the fields, as well as prepping and cooking traditional Vietnamese dishes that have been made for centuries by these villagers and their ancestors. The work was difficult at first because of the hot sun and lack of clean drinking water or air conditioning. Although as the day wore on, the experience made me appreciate even more the daily tasks that these villagers complete to keep their village running.


Higher education graduate students are vested with a great privilege: the opportunity to obtain a high quality education in which the individual is equipped with the knowledge of making a positive impact in the world. The potential is there for us to not only impact students at our institutions, but to also enact change throughout the world. I encourage you to pursue opportunities that will allow you to study abroad through formal programs and/or by attending conferences like the University Student Leaders Symposium. We can, and I would argue are morally obligated to make the world a better place. In doing so, we make ourselves even better student affairs administrators and human beings.




HumanitarianAffairs (2016, Aug 7). 7th USLS 2016 . Retrieved from

Yuen, A. (2016, September 12). Angelina Yuen at the 7th USLS 2016 . Retrieved from