News from your Regional Director

Shana Warkentine Meyer, Regional Director

June 24, 2019

Your NASPA IV-W Advisory Board was hard at work for you in Fargo, North Dakota! The Region IV-W Conference Committee & Advisory Board met for strategic planning and information sharing June 12-14.

NASPA’s vision is “Fulfilling the promise of higher education.” Our mission states: “As the leading voice of student affairs, NASPA drives innovation and evidence-based, student-centered practice throughout higher education, nationally and globally.” The four strategic goals the Board focused on are: Advocacy for Student Success; Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice; Research & Scholarship; and Professional Development & Engagement.

Our board members are thoughtful, inspiring, and student-centered. Just a sampling of some of our philosophical discussions that served as a foundation to our strategic planning:

  • Conversations on the definition of “student success.” Is it simply graduation or is it a metric of student development, whether or not they graduate? How do we measure finding one’s place in the world—whether it is within an institution of higher education, in the labor force, or defined in another way?
  • Discussions about the cost of higher education. How we can make higher education more affordable? A focus on alumni was also discussed. We cannot talk about the cost of higher education without talking about the impact of student loans after students graduate or leave college. How do we continue to advocate for these former students, and not just our current, enrolled population?
  • Brainstorming about opportunities to leverage partnerships with other associations. We’d like to continue to work alongside our colleagues to further develop and discover best practices.
  • Thinking about the role of student affairs professionals as “higher education” professionals, working alongside our faculty. We’d like to become better partners to our institutions with graduate programs.
  • Considering ways NASPA can improve institutions, student learning, development, and success—as well as how these ideas can be part of our ongoing tactics toward achieving the goals set within the association’s strategic plan.

At the end of our discussions, each Board member created at least one goal to advance their position on the Board toward the strategic plan goals. These goals will be compiled, with a focus on common threads to develop our region’s strategic plan.

One of the biggest discussions of the Board meeting was the Board’s fiduciary responsibility in building a budget. Maintaining low conference rates and determining how to do so was a key discussion point, as well as the feasibility of conference scholarships. We also discussed the importance of historical budgetary expenditures and if they are necessary for the future. Rudy Trejo, our Corporate Sponsors liaison, led a discussion on how board members might assist in the search for corporate partners who may help us achieve regional budgetary goals through their financial donations and sponsorships.

Other items of note:

  • The Region met our NASPA Foundation donation and donor goals! A large THANK YOU to all the members of the region who made a donation.
  • The Regional SERVE Academy is in its third cohort. This project was a Regional Director initiative, and with my term ending in March, there was discussion if the Regional SERVE Academy should continue. In a straw poll, there was overwhelming support of the program. I will create legislation to be presented at the fall regional conference to continue the SERVE program under our next RD’s leadership (Teresa Clounch, Fort Hays State University, Kansas).
  • Registration for the fall conference and the New Professionals Institute is LIVE! The conference hotel and location are awesome…..We hope to see you in Fargo, ND, October 28-30! 

There is so much going on in Region IV-W, but we are always open to doing MORE! What could our region provide that would be helpful to you, your students, your campus? What thoughts or suggestions do you have on ways we can enhance our work on the strategic plan? What types of communication would you like to receive? I’d love to hear from you as we continue to develop our focus for the future. Our region IS our members!

Until next time,

Shana Meyer

NASPA IV-W Regional Director

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