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!

Attending ACPA 2020 and looking for sessions to attend?

If you are planning to attend ACPA 2020 this March occurring from the 2nd to 5th there will be a variety of presenters within the New England region that will be there. We encourage you to attend these sessions if the topics are of interest to you. Here is a list of presenters, their institutions, session numbers, and session topics. Gavin Henning who is a Past President of both ACPA and CAS will be presenting three sessions: (PRE-CONVENTION) Promoting Equity and Inclusion Through Socially Just Assessment, Implementing Socially Just Assessment: Methods for Practice, (PRE-CONVENTION) Conducting Program Review Using the CAS Standards. Matthew Gregory who is the NECPA Operations Coordinator will also be presenting a session: So you want to be a Senior SA Pro? You can learn more about the ACPA20 convention going to:

AmeriCorps Vista Experience at University of Maine at Presque Isle

Written By: Mary Ndukwe

As part of the Northern New England Campus VISTA collaboration, my host site is a part of the Maine Campus Compact. This coalition of 18 member campuses purpose is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.

The goal of my position at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) is to develop programs that will increase access and retention to higher education for low income individuals. Working on a university campus was the major influence for me to want to pursue a career in higher education. I work with UMPI’s TRiO programs such as Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services addressing and improving college access. This project will support retention efforts on campus particularly as it relates to early college, low income and first-generation students. It will also serve an essential role in expanding our focus on building upon and sustaining programs that promote community service, civic engagement, diversity, and inclusion.

With UMPI being a small institution I have had the opportunity to build connections and learn about different areas within student affairs. As a recent graduate, working alongside student activities and residence life as a professional has been a great way to interact with students. Regarding my professional development, I am involved in some of the university committees working with professional staff and faculty. Also, during my term as a VISTA, I have had the opportunity to attend a conference and training related to higher education. Serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA has been an extraordinary introduction into the world of higher education.