ACPA and NASPA are the largest higher education associations for student affairs practitioners. With a total membership of almost 20,000 student affairs professionals, these two associations play a pivotal role in the future of the profession. The topic du jour for most association members has been the conversation taking place regarding the issue of consolidation. Taking two associations and turning them into one mega-student-affairs association is no small task. According to the latest consolidation proposal, unification has been an ongoing conversation topic for the past 30 years. However, this latest attempt at creating a single association has achieved a momentum that hasn't occurred in prior years. It would appear that we are at the cusp of the creation of a brand new organization. With a tentative consolidation vote to take place in the spring of 2011, student affairs professionals are scrambling to find out information about the future of ACPA and NASPA.
Both associations have created centralized information portals for their members:
With so much information being presented on both association sites, it can be a bit overwhelming. I know that I have had a heck of a time keeping track of all of the various communication channels that have been used to disseminate information and to capture member feedback. As a friend and member of both associations, I am hesitant to critique the communication strategy of this process, but I think things need to be more streamlined. The conversation seems to be getting quite fragmented due to too many disparate channels. An upcoming webinar on consolidation (For ACPA members, Monday, December 13, 2010, 2pm–3:30pm EST, Registration is required) should hopefully clarify some of the recent proposals. I know that I will be "attending."
Having said that, here are a few of the information pieces / feedback forums that I have found to be quite helpful as I formulate my own opinions regarding consolidation:
- Proposal for the Consolidation of ACPA and NASPA - the definitive document on what the new association might look like.
- ACPA Consolidation Frequently Asked Questions - a great read on questions that a lot of members have asked.
- Advantages and Disadvantages of ACPA/NASPA Consolidation - I'm a fan of content that lists the pros and cons. Consolidation is an extremely complex process.
- Consolidation Concerns and Rationale - I really appreciate this sentiment: "Instead of a house divided, why not move forward united?"
- NASPA Public Comment Board - You have to sift through the comments, but there are some good points that have been submitted.
- ACPA Consolidation Discussion Board on Facebook - I'm not sure if Facebook is the right place for commentary, but there are some insightful posts that caught my eye.
- ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas - this is worth another read as it showcases how the future association might approach technology (thread vs. competency)
I think that consolidation will eventually happen. Both associations have served their members well and a newly formed association will continue the traditions and legacies of both organizations. I applaud all of the leaders involved in the process as most of them are employed at institutions throughout the country. Their service is inspiring as they help to transform the future of student affairs.
What do you think? Is consolidation going to happen? Why? Why not?
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