Thursday, May 5, 2011

MoCPA Executive Board Membership – A Career Game Changer

Many great college professionals have considered getting involved in state, regional, or national student affairs organizations, but haven’t for one reason or another.  For those who just haven’t taken the step, I have a great experience to share.  Getting involved in MoCPA’s Executive Board has been a game changing experience for my career and I hope you’ll read on and consider taking that next step.
In the spring of 2010, I was in the 11th year of my professional career.  Beyond going to conferences and presenting at a few, I had never gotten directly involved with the operations of any organization like MoCPA, UMR-ACUHO, or ACPA.  Then, I was nominated by one of my Hall Directors to run for the Public Institution Representative (PIR) position with MoCPA.  After speaking to MoCPA President, Dr.  Jackie Elliott, I was persuaded to run because it was a position that I could really make my own.  Dr. Elliott indicated that if I didn’t win the position there was still an appointed position I would be great for, serving as the Technology Chair.  It was the relationships I had built with Dr. Elliott and my PIR nominator that made this possible and led to me winning my PIR election.  Ultimately, I agreed to accept the Technology Chair and hold both offices.  I was interested in both, so why not?
My time on MoCPA Exec has been amazing.  I have been able to grow the PIR position by reaching out to student affairs professionals across the state.  Free online resources have enabled me to create online recruitment forms to build a list of 150 student affairs professionals from across the state, most of whom aren’t MoCPA members.  This lets me keep them informed of issues, events and resources available across the state.   We have been able to increase outreach and build interest in what MoCPA has to offer and the response has been positive.  In building these professional networks, I have also put myself in a position to take current issues from around the state and bring them to MoCPA’s attention. 
In my role as Technology Chair, I have been able to put my computer skills to work by completely revamping the MoCPA website.  We’ve updated our use of Facebook pages and I’m currently in the process of designing the annual conference website for MoCPA’s 40th anniversary celebration.  On top of this, my personal amateur photographer hobby has come in quite handy for posting photos of the events MoCPA does and posting photos of award winners from our conferences.
I have enjoyed the colleagues and friends I have made serving on this committee.  Executive Board meetings have taken us to the University of Central Missouri, Park University, and Drury University to allow me to see schools I have never visited before.   These collaborations and travels have resulted in great state-wide colleagues that I can pick up the phone and with at any time. 
MoCPA has been great to me and I look forward to moving into the second year of my terms in both roles.  It is this experience that has made me strongly consider running for other offices and considering positions with UMR-ACUHO at the regional level.  As MoCPA elections are coming up, stay tuned to our Facebook page and the MoCPA website for details on which positions are open, nominations, and elections. 
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on the ballot soon!
Scott P. Shields
Area Coordinator, Residential Life
Northwest Missouri State University

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