ACPA 2020 Professional Spotlight – Matthew Gregory

Presentation Topic: So, You want to be a Senior SA Pro?

By Matthew Gregory

There are three reasons behind choosing this topic:

  1. As the Vice Chair for Membership for the Commission for Administrative Leadership – the goal is to continually encourage those who are beginning in the field or growing in the field to be comfortable about what the future will be for Student Affairs Leadership.
  1. The session hopes to meet with those who are working towards being senior staff members and finding out where they are in their journey and what sorts of goals they have and questions they have as they move up into these roles.
  1. The session will review a recent Senior Roundtable where questions and feedback was solicited from multiple senior SA pro’s and hopefully provide some suggestions on what to be prepared for and learn from those who have been in their senior roles for either a short or lengthy period of time.

NECPA Graduate Spotlight February – Kristina Perreli

Name: Kristina Perrelli

School: University of Rhode Island

Program: Education

Type: Doctoral

Current employer: Currently, I am the Director of New Student Programs and part-time faculty at my institution.

What do you love about working there?

I have most enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and students. I have had opportunities to partner with faculty on research and writing, which has helped me develop as a scholar. I have worked with colleagues on many projects, including a professional development course on social justice for administrators. Students at my institution have gifted me so many learning opportunities that have impacted my teaching and that ways I work and show up in spaces as a student affairs practitioner.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend most of my free time with my partner and three children. We like to explore our home state of Rhode Island and to travel. If I have a free hour, I will most likely do some kind of physical exercise or go for a walk. Time outside and exercise are important to my overall well-being. I love reading for fun and to continue learning about all the topics that are exciting to me.

What is your favorite grad school course/experience and why?

I have had so many! My most favorite course experience was an independent study centered on teaching. I engaged in daily reflection while teaching a graduate course in my field. I reflected on my expectations for the experience, what happened in the classroom, and the strengths and challenges I experienced while preparing for and teaching the course. With support from a faculty mentor who is an excellent teacher, I had many learning moments. It helped shape the processes and lenses that continue to inform my teaching.

Who/what inspired you to get involved in higher education?

As a first-generation college student, I was the first in my family to navigate the structures and systems of higher education. The challenges and successes I experienced inside and outside the classroom during my undergraduate years led me to the field of student affairs. When making decisions about my career after college, I knew I wanted to help students navigate college.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?

So far, it is the value of cultivating community. I found the doctoral experience to be isolating at times. I have experienced similar isolation in work spaces. For me, community is built from feeling supported and working to support others. Identifying what supports feels like for me and then cultivating supportive relationships and spaces has proven essential to my ability to move forward in my scholarship and work.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?

I hope to someday support and mentor graduate students. So much of my experience has been shaped by others. I feel lucky to have mentoring relationships built on care and mutual respect. I want to continue that tradition.

What advice would you offer to those who are starting to search for grad programs?

I recommend doing what you can to learn about the culture of grad programs of interest to you. Think about the environment you want to learn in and ask questions that help you discern whether you will find that environment in a program. For me, those questions were: What are the mentoring philosophies of program faculty? How is social justice integrated into curriculum and teaching? Does the program create opportunities to engage in meaningful ways with students, faculty, and other scholars in my field? Am I able to take courses from other disciplines if this program does not offer content integral to my scholarship or interests? I also recommend talking with current and former students about their experiences. Ask what they like about the program and how the program can improve.

ACPA 2020 Professional Spotlight – Gavin Henning

ACPA 2020 Professional Spotlight – Gavin Henning

By Gavin Henning

Gavin Henning is a Professor of Higher Education at New England College in New Hampshire where he directs the Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Doctorate of Education programs. Gavin is a past president of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) and is a past president of ACPA – College Student Educators International. He has over 20 years’ experience in higher education assessment and institutional research and frequently consults and presents regionally, nationally, and internationally on the topic. His scholarship includes over 90 peer-reviewed presentations and over 90 invited presentations and keynotes regarding assessment. In addition, he has published articles and books on assessment including Student Affairs Assessment: Theory and Practice with Darby Roberts that serves as the foundational text for assessment courses in many higher education graduate programs. Gavin earned his Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of New Hampshire. Here are is an overview of sessions that he will be facilitated.

CAS Sessions at ACPA20

By Gavin Henning

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) is a consortium of 40 higher education associations whose goal is to develop standards of professional practice in the field. These standards are typically for co-curricular functional areas such as academic advising, housing and residence life, student activities, and orientation programs, although some of the standards are for office that may exist under academic affairs. CAS also develops cross-functional frameworks to address issues that transcend any one campus department including the first-year experience and addressing behavioral concerns. The standards and frameworks are primarily used for program development and self-assessment but may also be used for other purposes such as benchmarking and even individual certification. In many ways, the CAS Standards and Frameworks provide the foundation for practice in the field of higher education and student affairs.

I’ve been fortunate to be involved with CAS since 2012, when I was invited to represent ACPA – College Student Educators International. Each member organization may have up to two representatives. During my time on CAS, I’ve served as Member-at-Large for Resource Development, President, and now Past-President.

As part of our responsibilities as representatives from ACPA on CAS, Tim Gordon and I facilitate workshops on CAS at the annual convention. This year, Tim and I are co-facilitating a full-day pre-conference session on implementing a CAS self-study as well as three concurrent sessions on the following topics: Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Learning with CAS, Do It Yourself CAS Self-Study, and CAS Frameworks for Assessing Multifunctional Initiatives.

Socially Just Assessment

By Gavin Henning

An emerging topic in higher education assessment is socially just assessment. This refers to ensuring that assessment is implemented in a socially just way, but also using assessment as a vehicle for social justice. A colleague, Anne Lundquist, and I began talking about this topic two years ago during dinner at the 2018 NASPA annual conference. We were discussing a recent paper on culturally responsive assessment. Anne was telling me about a session she was doing the 2018 ACPA Annual Conference the following week on bias-free assessment. As our conversation continued, we discussed an idea of socially just assessment which was broader than both bias-free assessment and culturally responsive assessment. Anne invited me to co-present her session on bias-free assessment and we continued our discussion. Since that initial dialogue, Anne and I have developed a framework for socially just assessment that we have written and presented on individually and as a team at regional and national conferences. Socially just assessment aligns with ACPA’s values and specifically its strategic imperative for racial justice and decolonization.

Anne and I are offering a ½ pre-convention on social justice assessment at ACPA20 as well as an extended session on the topic. Those interested in the topic can also listen to podcasts with thought leaders on the topic.

Why should you attend ACPA 2020?

ACPA 2020 will be a fun event to learn about topics of interest that are applicable to our work as student affairs professionals. ACPA 2020 will have a lot of great opportunities to get involved and to be a part of this great convention community. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and connect with others while at the convention. Who knows you might reconnect with other student affairs professionals you might not have connected with recently. This event will also give you an opportunity to network with others in the field of higher education!


ACPA 2020 registration will be located on Level 1M of the Music City Center (MCC) in the hall by the Davidson Ballroom. Please visit during operating hours:

  • Sunday: March 1st, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Monday: March 2nd, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday: March 3rd, 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday: March 4th, 7:30 am to 2:00 pm

All paid participants and guests receive name badges, which are necessary for entrance to convention events. Name badges must be worn and visible at all time while attending convention events and activities. As a courtesy, lost name badges can be replaced at registration during open hours.

Volunteer Information:

Check-in at Convention Registration

Add to your ACPA 2020 experience by joining the volunteer team! Enjoy the opportunity to network, spend time with colleagues old and new, and get a behind-the-scenes perspective of the convention. Over 1,000 volunteer hours are needed to ensure that convention runs smoothly. Visit the registration area to sign-up as a volunteer or to check-in for your pre-scheduled experience!