James E. Scott Academy

VP for Student Affairs

The James E. Scott Academy is led by a board comprised of 20 accomplished vice presidents for student affairs (or the equivalent) who lead divisions at a wide variety of institutional types throughout NASPAs seven regions. The primary role of the Board is to provide advice and thought leadership on critical issues in student affairs and higher education and to advise the NASPA president and staff regarding these issues.  Additionally, the Board plays a key role in identifying principles of effective student affairs practice for recognizing and responding to the trends and challenges present in the field and in higher education more broadly.  Lastly, the Academy sponsors programs that provide opportunities for VPSAs to dialogue and learn with other vice presidents.

Message from the Academy Board Chair

Higher education is an ever-changing landscape. Few SSAOs believe that their jobs are what they expected when they began their journey in student affairs. Changes in the political backdrop, student behaviors and expectations, and the public’s attitude toward the value of higher education are challenging us to rethink our jobs daily. Student affairs professionals must understand the importance of engaging as change agents. This is a time of great potential for higher education leadership to engage a diverse constituency, collaborate, and effect substantial operational change. Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future. With this framework and understanding in mind, members of the James E. Scott Academy Board provide advice and thought leadership on critical issues in student affairs and higher education. The Board addresses current critical issues as well as provides visionary guidance on trends and opportunities in higher education.
– Lynette Cook-Francis, Chair, James E. Scott Academy Board


The Academy was established in response to NASPA's initiative to provide continued professional education and development to meet the needs of vice presidents for student affairs, offering skill development in the areas of leadership and executive effectiveness.

In 1994, NASPA President James E. Scott appointed the Committee on Future Skills and Knowledge for Student Affairs Leaders, charging the committee with examining how VPSAs develop and refine professional skills throughout their careers and making recommendations on a deliberate process for continual professional development. The committee, consisting of VPSAs conducted a review of relevant theoretical constructs and applications affecting the future work of VPSAs and assessed pressing leadership effectiveness needs through extensive research and dialogue with VPSAs across the country.

By the end of 1997, the NASPA Board transformed the Committee on Future Skills and Knowledge into the National Academy for Leadership and Executive Effectiveness. On January 9, 1999, the Academy launched its first national Institute. In March 2003, the Academy was renamed in honor of past president James E. Scott.


One of the best resources available to you is the wide range of professional development opportunities. This list contains both our “Hosted Events,” workshops and webinars that we plan and manage, and some “Related Events,” hosted by the NASPA Central Office or other NASPA Constituent Groups. To see a full listing of NASPA events, please see the Events page.


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Board Membership

The James E. Scott Academy Board is comprised of accomplished chief student affairs officers from throughout  all of NASPA's seven regions.  Board members serve at institutions that reflect a diversity of institutional types including public and private, two-year and four-year, and large and small colleges and universities.

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