Dr. Denny Bubrig
Region III Director-Elect
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Southern Mississippi
NASPA is its members. Never has a statement by Dr. Gwen Dungy been more accurate.
I am humbled to be considered amidst many great candidates for the role of NASPA Region III Director. The direction moving forward is challenging, at best, in our current environment. Using creativity, a willingness to have critical conversations and gain appropriate buy-in, and simply taking the time to engage, I believe we can advance forward with the statement by Dr. Dungy at the heart. I believe this centers on several elements as outlined in the following sections.
Strengthening State Connections and Regional KC’s
In Region III, we are fortunate to have several strong state-level organizations. With current financial conditions of our institutions, how can we either strengthen those that need a boost, or, how can we partner with the states who have good infrastructures and encourage the next step in their delivery? Similarly with our regional KC’s, what are our capabilities to advance regionally produced content related to the topics of the KC’s? I believe the answer to this is multi-tiered. By deepening our partnerships with regional associations, deepening our volunteer pool across institutional type, demographic, and other lines we can develop leaders for these areas. Further, we can capitalize on passion and creativity for the topical areas of the KCs. If we can develop core groups for the KC’s, we have a great chance to produce regionally directed material to benefit our colleagues.
Alternative Options to Current Opportunities
Many events across the spectrum transitioned successfully to online opportunities, only missing the in-person aspects of the meetings/conferences. Without attempting to hinder or create challenges for events such as Summer Symposium, can we offer online supplements for those events should a person not be able to physically be there but would like to take part in programming? Why can’t we take a page from our national efforts and develop regionally-based discussion groups similar in nature to the AVP national effort? While efforts are made to poll leaders, we need to ask all of you and build accordingly.
Region III has taken a great step forward in advancing the SERVE initiative on the regional level. How can we expand the concept of developing our depth of regional volunteers and leadership? We need to expand our volunteer and leadership pool which can lead to extended outreach and deepening membership within the region. This could take the shape of a mentorship program, enhancing our partnerships with graduate programs or even extending our professional development with resources outside of higher education.
We have to navigate the short term, while also keeping an eye on the long term. We have begun to identify our conference sites years out now, we identify our Regional Director well ahead of their term. Let’s extend that to other critical roles too. For example, can we shift our strategic thinking so that it is built upon every two to three years rather than reset unless a reset is truly determined to be needed? I believe the answer to this, and other similar questions, is “yes.”
While I believe this to be a recognized function of this role, I also believe a firm statement on a commitment to outreach is warranted. Especially now in our current time with the polarization and challenges we are all feeling, it is incumbent upon the Regional Director to outreach, to listen, and to build as much consensus as possible on various elements as their term progresses.
I thank you again for the opportunity to be considered. As I mentioned before, knowing that our region is graced with a high volume of outstanding student affairs administrators that can easily fill these shoes, I am humbled to potentially be considered for this role. With this in mind, I commit to building on efforts currently underway while trying to remain innovative and strategic as we move into the coming years.