Calling all 12,000 leaders in NASPA. One of the underlying motivations that links us as profes- sionals is our desire to make a difference as leaders in student affairs. Our collective and varied leadership efforts are needed now more than ever. We must ask ourselves, however, what
should leadership look like if we are the leading voice for student affairs
administration, policy, and practice? From my perspective, leadership must be ready to engage
in creating an expanded vision of NASPA, and leaders must be ready for change.
Who are these leaders I am describing? These leaders are all of us who work together through
NASPA to bring about the kind of change necessary to address today’s challenges in higher
education. Addressing these challenges requires a willingness to look hard at ourselves as an association to determine how we build on our strengths and expand our reach. How do we continue
to be relevant, nimble, and effective as a 21st-century higher education association?
As leaders in student affairs, we cannot afford to let change affect us. We must decide through
our various leadership roles to engage, influence, and create change directly. We must also be
willing to make the necessary changes to sustain our association’s vision and mission and function even more effectively as an influential body in higher education. We must come together
as a coalition of leaders that are multi-talented, multi-faceted, and able to multi-task to generate new ideas and solutions to problems we currently face or anticipate. John Kotter in Leading
Change (Harvard Business Press, 1996) describes eight signature criteria to effect change in an
organization. One of those criterion is creating a sense of urgency among the members of an
organization. With a shared sense of urgency, the members sharpen their focus to work together
to create the necessary, relevant, and significant changes.
It has been my experience that such urgency also facilitates our best strategic thinking, planning, and action steps for the greater good. Ultimately, we must stand together as NASPA members to make significant change in the profession a reality. That sense of urgency is prompted by
the state in which higher education finds itself. It needs our voice, our best thinking, and our
contributions through research, programs, policies, and advocacy.
From the broad perspective to day-to-day operations, this issue of Leadership Exchange
explores many of the changes senior student affairs officers (SSAOs) are successfully navigating
in working with senior management, colleagues, and students. Whether they are identifying
new partnerships or seeking new revenue sources, SSAOs are bringing higher levels of creative
and entrepreneurial skills to their positions as they learn to operate in what one colleague has
described as the “new normal.”
I count on NASPA members to expand their leadership involvement in our association by
serving as informed participants in the strategic planning process that is commencing this sum-
mer. It is our hope, when appropriate, that you can align your respective areas of responsibilities
with NASPA’s future plan to become a stronger leading voice for student affairs and a more
active participant in higher education.
Change is best achieved through people who embrace a shared vision. Our collective vision
must be to sustain one of the most vital and long-established rights afforded to citizens by
participating fully in transforming the education of college and university students. The results
of our shared vision can be multiplied many times over as we create and share through NASPA.
I am counting on you to join me in this exciting journey.
Administrators in Higher Education
Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy
Nancy E. Grund
James E. Scott Academy
James Conneely, Chair
Berenecea Johnson Eanes
Harry Le Grande
Wm. Gregory Sawyer
Renee Barnett Terry
Leadership Exchange is published
four times a year for senior student
affairs officers in higher education.
Letters to the editor are welcome.
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Copyright © 2011 by the National
Association of Student Personnel
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Patricia Telles Irvin