Dear NASPA AVP Colleagues,
For many of us the fall semester has begun, and I am sure I speak for all of us when I say that the weeks and months leading up to that traditional “game day” when we opened our campuses and welcomed our students has been unlike anything we could ever have imagined. I find myself filled with a deep sense of loss as I look at everything that could have been and will never be again. Humankind has suffered in every way, and the losses have ranged from the small, almost insignificant, to the large, not so easy to shrug off. How does one cope with these types of unimaginable losses, and continue to do the work that is part of our calling? In Munin and White’s (2019), Keep Calm and Call the Dean of Students, Sue Wasiolek, contributing author of a chapter titled “Wrinkles, Gray Hair, and Enormous Gratitude” writes about her four decades as a dean of students and the exhausting, all-encompassing, irrefutable fact that “serving as a dean of students is not a job but a way of life”. And yet, she reminds us that it is also a job that is about “creating a life that provides energy, joy and relevance”. Of course she is right. We all have that ability to choose how we wish to live our calling. And, that choice can be one of love and surrender to what is. Ultimately we are all empowered with the ability to make decisions that would allow us to bring our best self to our job at any moment.
In keeping with our collective calling, the AVP Steering Committee continues to actively work to bring you new and innovative ways to keep you abreast and informed on best practice strategies and solutions for handling our current crisis du jour. Recently we hosted a session called Fiscal Year 20-21: A conversation with Chief Business Student Affairs Officers. This interactive live briefing included higher education leaders from both finance and student affairs areas discussing their expectations and strategies for resource management over the next fiscal year. Watch out for future sessions coming to you this fall.
The AVP Cohort Connections, another signature initiative of the AVP Steering Committee, kicked off to a great start this summer with over 70 participants who signed up to join an AVP Cohort. The community developed through these cohort connections gives us all an opportunity to use each other as resource and support guides.
Take time to submit a program proposal for the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference slated to be held from March 17-March 26. Program proposals are being accepted through October 1.
What types of topics would you like to engage in with your AVPeeps? We are looking to develop and implement a diversity of programs that will continue to enrich and engage our membership. If you have a topic you would like to learn more about and/or engage with your colleagues drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, finally, while I am fully aware that the fall semester will probably bring us many challenging situations, I wish us all strength and the presence of mind to handle it in the best way possible. May we be safe, may we be happy, may we be healthy and may we find the space to feel the joy that is possible even in these difficult circumstances.
Shadia A. Sachedina, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice President for Student Success & Dean of Students
Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY
Chair, NASPA AVP Steering Committee
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