SA Camp 3.0

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be on the planning committee for Student Affairs Camp 2017 (aka SA Camp 3.0). As a grad student, I participated in the very first SA Camp in 2014 and as a first-year professional I presented as a “Camp Counselor” during SA Camp 2.0 in 2016. It is by far my favorite professional development opportunity.

You may be curious about why anyone would want to spend a weekend, in the summer, at a conference… Well, the entire point is that SA Camp is actually based on an unConference model. SA Campers do yoga, hike, meditate, and enjoy the New England weather. We do these activities while having conversations that range from casual to intense, but are all meaningful, intentional, and encourage us to get outside of our comfort level. Seriously, it is adult summer camp! After each SA Camp I have felt refreshed and ready for the fall semester to begin.

The connections that I have made during SA Camp have had a major impact on my life, professionally and personally. Little did I know that just six months after my most recent SA Camp experience, I would run into a fellow camper during an interview! I knew Brianne worked at Endicott College, but I didn’t realize I would see her. Sure enough, as I walked in the Student Center, Brianne’s office was right in front of me. I knocked and she gave me a huge hug while welcoming me to her campus. I could not have asked for a better way to start a daylong interview, or to feel more welcome at a new institution. The day of my interview started on such a positive note by seeing Brianne and sure enough I’ve been fortunate to work at Endicott ever since! The true beauty of SA Camp is that campers come from all over and you never know what new connections you will make.

Please join me this summer in Keene, NH for SA Camp 3.0. If you have questions, feel free to reach out via email!

For more information and to register online please visit the event page at

Jillian Toce, M.Ed.
SA Camp Planning Committee
Area Director, Endicott College

Directorate Board Friday: Kelly Levine

Kelly Levine, Maine State Coordinator

Current Title and Institution: Resident Director and Student Activities Coordinator at Southern Maine Community College

What do you do as the Resident Director and Student Activities Coordinator?
I do a little bit of everything in my role at SMCC. I am the RD for Surfsite Hall at SMCC. Surfsite is an all-male hall with around 135 residents. As part of my role as an RD, I directly supervise 3 RAs and indirectly supervise another 7, oversee the Residence Life Front Desk (open 24/7), serve on-call for the South Portland campus every other week, oversee student conduct in my building, and more. As a Student Activities Coordinator, I put on weekly programming for the SMCC community, and I advise the Student Activities Committee, which plans large scale programming on our campus.

What do you love about working at your current institution?
The residential population on my campus is very small. Only around 450 students live on the South Portland campus. I love working in a community that is this small because I truly am able to get to know the students that live here. Many of our students are high risk, high need students, so having the opportunity to develop relationships with them is incredibly important. I wouldn’t be able to help my students in quite the same way if I did not have the ability to get to know them as well as I do. I absolutely love the students that I get to work with.

How did you get involved in the New England College Personnel Association (NECPA)?
I am very new to NECPA. I relocated to Maine in August 2016 after completing a graduate program in Ohio. After relocating, I was looking for ways to network in the region, so I attended the Entry Level Professionals Workshop in late September. While at the workshop, I talked to John Mayo about professional development opportunities in Maine, and he mentioned that NECPA was looking for a Maine State Rep. I joined the board a few weeks later.

When you aren’t working or focusing on your NECPA role, how do you spend your free time?
I adopted a dog a few months ago. Her name is Zully, and she is a two year old Alaskan Husky mix. I spent a lot of time playing with her and walking her near campus.

Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education?
It’s less who and more what. As an undergraduate student, I was extremely involved in NACURH, and my senior year of undergrad, I coordinated the programming for NEACURH conferences. Giving younger students the chance to present at conferences and seeing how excited they were with what they accomplished inspired me to pursue a career working with students. I entered the Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel M.Ed. program at Kent State directly after I graduated.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?
I think the most valuable lesson that I have learned so far in my career is to be open to new opportunities. So many of the experiences that I’ve had have happened because I was willing to try new things and deviate from the path that I had planned for myself.

What is on your Higher Ed bucket list?
I don’t know that this is something that I’ve really thought about. I just started my first full-time job, and I’m really eager to continue learning and figuring out things here. My next steps will be long-term planning!

Why should professionals in New England get involved in NECPA?
I would love to see more professionals, especially those in Maine, join NECPA. As more professionals that join us, we will be able to provide more networking opportunities and have a greater collection of ideas and resources. Each member has the ability to better our organization!

New England at ACPA17: Accepted Program by Kathleen Gillon

Preferred Name: Kathleen E. Gillon, Ph.D.

Employer: University of Maine

Position: Visiting Assistant Professor, Higher Education

Title of your Program: Identifying and Challenging Urbanormativity in Student Affairs Practice

As student affairs educators engage in discussions regarding social identities, especially as they
relate to power, privilege, and oppression, less attention is often given to the role of sociogeographic identity and the ways in which space and place inform social systems and identities, especially as they relate to post-secondary educational opportunity and participation.

More so, when space is actually considered, it is often within an urban context (Khattri, Riley, & Kane, 1997), subsequently silencing the lives and experiences of rural people and places. Recent scholarship has helped to not only explain this focus on the urban experience but also to provide language to discuss the ways in which people and places with urban identities are privileged within our society while those with rural identities are often marginalized, othered, and deemed deficient.

Although rural students continue to participate in higher education at rates lower than their (sub)urban counterparts as well as below the national average, urbanormativity – the focus/privileging of urban, people, and places – has caused this population of students and their
unique experiences/needs to go largely ignored. The purpose of this program session is to engage practitioners-scholars in a critical dialogue regarding the role that space and place play in shaping identities, specifically for rural college students. Together, we will discuss ways in which our educational practices may contribute to urbanormativity and how we can work to challenge these practices at both an institutional and individual level.

What you look forward to most for ACPA17: Connecting with colleagues from across the country

New England at ACPA17: Accepted Program by Leah Hakkola

Preferred Name: Leah Hakkola

Employer: University of Maine

Position: Assistant Professor, Higher Education Program

Title of your program: Discourses of Difference in College Admissions

This paper examines how discourses of difference are constructed in college admissions processes and programing, with a focus on how language and images influence the college choice process for students and impact the goal to increase diversity in sustainable ways. Use of Critical Discourse Analysis highlights how college admissions representatives interpret and understand diversity and they communicate these understandings to prospective students. Methods include an analysis of interviews focusing on how recruiters understand “diversity” in their engagement with prospective students.
I am very much looking forward to networking and connecting with other scholars and practitioners in the field who are interested in engaging with critical theories and perspectives focusing on supporting diversity, equity and social justice in higher education.