Monday, May 21, 2012

From Boots to Books: How to Deal with Increase in Veterans On-Campus

By: Jenifer Kautzman, Assistant Registrar-Coordinator of Veteran Student Services (Missouri State University)

The Department of Veterans Affairs says enrollment of veterans in college has increased 16-fold and well over 500,000 veterans have traded in their uniforms for text books. With the development of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan coming to an end, colleges across the state are bound to see dramatic increases of veterans attending classes. At Missouri State University we've developed the Veteran Student Services office and Veterans Incentive Program to meet the growing demands of this unique group of students. After a 42% increase in the number of GI Bill recipients from Fall 2008 to Fall 2009 and foreseeing additional increases in enrollment after implementation of the upcoming Post 9/11 GI Bill our school realized that we needed to make some changes if we were going effectively handle with the volume of questions and processing that accompany VA Benefits. That was three years ago…and we’ve learned a LOT about ourselves, student-veterans and how to bridge the gap between warriors and their education. 

I’d like to share what we’ve learned so that other professionals in higher education can gain insight from our experiences. I’ll start with a brief history of our support services for veterans.

Prior to summer 2010 we assisted veteran students with their applications, certification and questions about GI Bill by utilizing a full-time staff member whose primary responsibilities were not related to veterans. They functioned in a dual role and that worked…for a while!  Then Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) GI Bill came on the scene and we quickly realized that a dedicated full-time position was necessary. We founded the Veteran Student Services (VSS) office in June 2010 as a function of our Office of the Registrar. We had a separate office entrance for VSS and the goal of this office was to assist veteran students with the application, certification and questions about their Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits (GI Bill) on a full-time base. We staffed this office with a full-time School Certifying Official (that’s me) and two VA work study students then quickly got up to speed on Chapter 33 and the all of the other benefits available to veteran students. Within a couple of months in the position, I came to realize that veterans were not just unique because of the type of federal benefit they used to pay for school…they had challenges and barriers to success that were much different than those of other students I had interacted with on-campus in the past. In order to learn more about these students and hopefully help them succeed in higher education in greater numbers, I applied for a FIPSE grant which would help me hire more staff and dedicate resources to student-veterans. In October 2010 FIPSE announced that Missouri State University was one of 15 schools in the nation to be awarded the Centers of Excellence in Veteran Student Success (CEVSS) grant. This gave us a 3-year, $387,000 opportunity to develop enhanced veteran programs at our 4-year (Springfield, MO) and 2-year (West Plains, MO) campuses. The goal of the program is to increase enrollment, persistence and graduation of student-veterans.

Out of that grant we developed what we call the Veterans Incentive Program or VIP. This program is designed to address the specific transition issues that veterans face as they leave military service and enter civilian life through educational institutions. We have certainly had some “growing pains” in developing a comprehensive veteran-friendly program and subsequently a veteran-friendly campus. When we first launched the program we knew very little about out student-veterans. The only interaction with veterans that we had was the few times a year our VA education benefit recipients had questions about their benefits. The only “tracking system" we had to gauge success of those students was a simple spreadsheet on a shared drive that listed the students who received education benefits and the type of benefit they were using. We immediately sought to fix this by increasing our interaction with students and developing new ways to gauge success through data collection and analysis. One of the first steps we took was to create a veteran “lounge” where students could interact with each other and have a safe place, among fellow warriors, where they could take a break from the daily grind of school, work and family to relax. We also hired a full-time VIP Coordinator who could devote time to discovering the challenges/needs of our student-veterans and then develop specific support systems to face those demands. 

We definitely felt overwhelmed at first; we were not sure what direction to start with since we didn’t really know much about our student-veterans yet. Our first attempt at VIP was a membership driven, closely monitored, mentorship program where students would elect to become “VIP” and in exchange, they would receive extensive follow-up and assistance. We thought that GPA was a good measure of success and so we instituted a GPA requirement that asked students to maintain a specific GPA once entering the program. If at any point during their membership in VIP they fell below that GPA we would intervene with one-on-one advising and required meetings with the Coordinator. We also felt that financial, family and emotional assistance were important factors for success and had built-in mechanisms to watch for red flags in any of those categories (steps included required tasks to correct issues before they became major concerns). After about 6-months of that model, it became clear to us that this was not what our students needed or wanted! While beginning to implement our plan, we were concurrently gathering data about our student-veterans. We realized the following: we had a lot more student-veterans on-campus than we even realized, many were not receiving VA benefits, and only a small handful were signing up for our VIP program. Not only that, very few veterans were using the Lounge we had created. We wanted to know why this was happening so we talked to our students and began listening to what they had to say! We made some fundamental changes in our program, including a different leadership model, and re-structured VIP…the result has been phenomenal and we’ve accomplished more in the past few months than I ever expected possible! We now have 3 full-time and 4 part-time employees who work only in Veteran Student Services. Our lounge is more popular than it’s ever been before with an average of 10 students per day. 

Top 10 Ways to Support Veterans On-Campus
  • Ask: The best advice I can give is talk to your student-veterans. Reach out to the student-veterans you have on-campus and let them tell you what they need or want.
  •  Listen: If your students are talking to you…do something with that information! Share your insights with others on-campus and start to build ways to fulfill the needs of your students.
  • Dedicate: I believe every campus today should have at a bare minimum a full-time VA school certifying official. Staff who are dedicated to veterans show a level of commitment from the school that earns loyalty from student-veterans.
  • Invest: The old adage “you’ve got to give some to gain some” is very true when it comes to student-veterans. You have to invest resources specifically to student-veterans in order to gain new students and keep the ones you have.
  • Support: The most important element that makes our program work on-campus is the support we get from higher administration. They want our office and our students to be successful. Building trust relationships with decision makers on-campus and having those folks support our efforts has made all the difference in our success.
  • Provide: One of the key components of our support structure at Missouri State is our veteran lounge and the staff we have in the office. Once you know what your veterans need and you have the staff/resources to begin meeting those needs you have to let veterans know you’re there and you care. Providing them opportunities to engage and develop relationships is vital step to success.
  • Collaborate: Develop a group of folks on your campus who have the desire to support veterans and the power to make things happen on-campus and get this group together to discuss what you can do to support veteran students. Utilize the resources that are already established on-campus.
  • Community: This is a two-fold concept. Not only do we strive to create a community for student-veterans on-campus but we want to engage with the community that surrounds them. We have received amazing donations from the surrounding community. All of the furniture in the lounge was donated by local businesses. We have a local coffee house donating coffee whenever we need it and we have members of the community on an advisory board we’ve developed. Partner with folks in your community to support your efforts.
  • Be Real: Veterans appreciate authenticity. They don’t want to hear “everything is wonderful and great” if that’s not reality. Develop programs/services that are of real value to student-veterans.
  • Sustain: Whatever program you develop or policies you implement be sure that you can sustain those efforts over the long haul. This is where campus and community support become vital. Our grant will exhaust next year…everything we’re doing now we’re doing with sustainability in mind. It will be important to support veterans for many years to come. Even when the wars are over…we will still have warriors trading in their boots for books.
For information on how to help Veterans on your campuses, use the provided resources:
American Council on Education (ACE) Veteran Friendly Toolkit:
Association of Veterans Education Certifying Officials (AVEC)
National Association of Veterans Program Administrators (NAVPA)  

MoCPA Election Results are in!!

Congratulations to the newly elected 
2012-2013 MoCPA Executive Board!!!!

President Elect – Rose Viau, Northwest Missouri State University
Member at Large - Michael Ignacio, Southeast Missouri State University 
Member at Large - Adam Vaughn, University of Phoenix- Kansas City
Secretary – Open
Public Institution Rep – Trent Ball, SEMO
Two-Year Rep – Joe Gilgour, State Fair Community College
Private Institution Rep- Nicolette Yevich, Central Methodist (Appointed to fill remaining 1 year of term left vacant by a departing board member)
Sponsorship Chair- Lucas Gorham – University of Missouri

Reflecting on MoCPA's 40th

Summer is upon us and the end of another successful year has come.  While summer means different things for each of us, we hope you are taking some time to recharge before the fall.  For MoCPA, part of our recharge is a celebration of what we have accomplished.

Our Annual Conference has evolved into an event that left attendees greatly impressed!  With the additions of a pre-conference workshop, attendance by state higher education officials, and enhanced program offerings our attendance soared to over 130.  We have our sights set on 150 for 2012 and know we can do it!  Our Support Staff Drive-In made for another great conference opportunity with approximately 40 attendees collaborating together at Westminster College in Fulton, MO.  This year also saw a new theme-specific drive-in workshop as Drury University hosted the MoCPA Crisis Recovery and Response Workshop.  Special shout-outs go to Angel McAdams, Nikki Cornwell, and Mindy Maddux and their conference teams respectively for the success of these conferences!

We also have many non-conference successes that have helped MoCPA reach new heights.  Todd Foley, our outgoing Publicity Chair, has worked hard to help us develop our identity with a new logo and design theme for our publications.  Todd also brought MoCPA the Ruby Society to help support graduate students and community college professionals.  Working with Todd, Claire Wiegand has worked to develop our new “News Blasts” (which you are reading now!) and has done a fantastic job getting the word out about our efforts.

We expect nothing but the best from MoCPA and are excited about the upcoming year.  Our elections have just wrapped and we welcome several new faces to the board.  Be sure to read the separate article in this news blast about our new additions.  This year will bring our Annual Conference to a new location as we move to Tan-Tar-A for a new experience!  We have yet to determine the location for this year’s Support Staff Drive-In, but we will be ready with another great professional development experience.

Before closing, I would like to extend opportunities for you to help the MoCPA Executive Board lay the course for the upcoming year.  Our Board has developed a tradition of meeting at different college and universities in Missouri.  Consider inviting us to your campus to meet you and your Student Affairs professionals!  We meet four times a year and would be happy to consider your school as a place to meet.  Also, be sure to let us know what is important to you.  Our Crisis Response and Recovery Workshop was a tremendous success and we would enjoy the opportunity to offer other theme-specific workshop events.  Let us know what you would like to see.

2011-12 was MoCPA’s 40th anniversary and the whole year was an amazing success!  2012-13 is a new year with new opportunities and we look forward to supporting your professional efforts however we can!   We’ll see you this fall at Tan-Tar-A!

Scott P. Shields
2012-13 MoCPA President

"The Professional Perspective"

MoCPA is a progressive state organization that takes pride in being current. In the past few months, many controversial changes have been proposed to higher education administration.  We would like to provide a safe and supportive venue for Missouri  higher education professionals to discuss and debate some of the relevant issues.  You, as members, can submit and discuss the questions on the MOCPA Facebook page MoCPA facebook page. You can also submit questions to

Question for May

"Given the current Missouri House bill "Don't Say Gay" 170.370. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.

How do you handle political rhetoric when the effect would be clearly against an already established institutional policy?

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Exciting Opportunity from Jessica Pettitt

The "It Gets Better" campaign is good and it isn't doing enough. It doesn't get better for everyone.

To make a difference, we need to examine ourselves, build, prepare, and support better LGBT Allies.

I am... Safe Zone is an answer.

Limited and Exclusive Offer


There is a problem. Largely, we know there is a problem. Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia – the irrational fear of anything perceived to not be heterosexual and/or gender conforming. Heteronormativity encompasses the privilege of straight male-bodied men expressing themselves in a masculine manner in relationship with straight female-bodied women expressing themselves in a feminine manner. LGBT Ally Development programs are developed to help build supportive climates, offer educated referral services, and provide compassionate listeners to those in need. These programs are often called Safe Zone Programs.

Non-white LGBQ folks are 65% less comfortable than white LGBQ on campus.

Moreover, within the "LGBT" community we argue about communities, language, terms, labels, etc., which are not visible within the community. The "It Gets Better" campaign is intended to provide hope and optimism to gay and lesbian youth contemplating suicide. The "family" people sometimes refer to within the LGBT community at times is extended to straight allies. However the intersections of dominant identities shows up in our Ally Development that limits members of the family and allows for the most privileged of voices to set an agenda that is self indulgent and is leaving many, many people out.

The truth is — it does get better — for some — and for others it doesn't or won't — unless we do something different RIGHT NOW.

Trans folks report even higher levels of intimidation, exclusion, bullying, feeling like a target.

Safe Zone Programs are quite common on college campuses, usually presented as an organized system of training and recognizing campus allies. Participants attend 1-8 hours worth of LGBT training ranging from language and cultural education, local and national resources, coming out processes and identity development models, and sensitivity education that interrupts bias and makes appropriate referrals or responses as needed.

51% of LGBT students, faculty, and staff conceal their sexual orientation/gender identity to avoid intimidation or harassment.

I have worked on various campuses in developing and administering Safe Zone programs as a graduate student and professional staff member. Now, as a full-time social justice speaker and consultant, I have worked with dozens of campuses to develop, update, assess, market, and administer trainings of trainers and curriculum, leading to a better understanding of campus climate and its improvement. After seven years of traveling campus to campus — I decided to take a stand — This is my Safe Zone Manifesto.

Participation in a Safe Zone training is the #1 factor looked for by those seeking.

A Safe Zone curriculum and the training of its trainers MUST be able to facilitate conversations that address the complicated realities of both dominant and subordinated identities represented within the "LGBT" and Ally communities. Even further, trainers and curriculum developers need to be self-reflective and understand their own privileges and lenses that they themselves are bringing to the education and training process. Tough conversations addressing language, power, bias, policy, procedures, exposure, awareness, and collusion MUST be and play a significant role in Ally Development.

Program participant: "I felt energized at every step of the way. Jessica is a GREAT facilitator."

My personal motto is — if you name a problem, be a part of a solution. I bring you — I am... Safe Zone. I have developed a three-part DVD program that takes viewers through three different highly interactive programs addressing what is typically missing in standard Safe Zone programs. I am also including a jam-packed Resource Disc with assessment tools, articles, suggestion starting places, facilitator guides, and much more. The idea is that any individual or group can watch, participate, and learn how to be a better and more inclusive LGBT Ally. I am... Safe Zone could be the starting point for your organizations Safe Zone program or it can help existing Allies be even better.

I am... Safe Zone includes three interactive DVDs:

          • Disc 1: Sticks and Stones: LGBT 101
          • Disc 2: Gender This!
          • Disc 3: Messages I Learned
***Plus a bonus Resource Disc including Facilitator Guides for all of the activities***

This limited pre-sales offer gives you 50% off!

For $250 you get 3 interactive DVDs and the bonus Resource Disc including Facilitator Guides for all of the activities. After July 1, 2012, the regular price for this training package will be $500. The estimated ship date is June 30, 2012.

To be part of the solution — click here.

For more information about Jessica Pettitt, please visit her website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Diversity Diva-Teaching the Value of Differences

Below is the column that I wrote for the Kansas City Star that ran last month. Although the column is directed at parents raising children, I think it's equally applicable to the employees, faculty and staff who work in educational institutions.
I'm someone who worked to put myself through college and then later in life, put myself through law school. In law school, even though starting in my late 20s, I was considered a non-traditional student because I wasn't fresh out of high school. 

As I learned then and as I see now in my life, the environment of higher education, more than most, truly has an openness to new ideas. It's almost palpable. People aren't perfect at colleges. And plenty of people bring biases to their education and to their jobs and take the same ones with them when they leave or graduate. 

But compared to the rest of society, educational institutions are more open and liberal to different ways of thinking. I love that. It means that people tend to be less defensive when discussions of difference, diversity and discrimination come up. And because even the smallest college attracts a variety of people, it means that people have already begun questioning the comfortable viewpoints of the world they bring to a college environment. In fact, for many - students and employees of a college or university alike - that environment is the first place they find their world views challenged.

Most people in a workplace find doing the job they were hired to do to be the most important "task" they have to master. And, of course, that is the key priority. However, doing almost any job involves cooperation and collaboration with other people. Therefore, while diversity may seem one of those topics that are a long distance from the bottom line, actually dealing with differences is totally intertwined with the bottom line. 

The single most important aspect that a college campus must embrace is understanding that differences come in all stripes and patterns. It's not just about race or gender or sexual orientation or any of the major and important differences that people bring to the table. Sometimes the difference may be as seemingly subtle as counseling the student who feels people don't understand how she talks because she has a thick "rural" accent. Other times the issue may be understanding that the student who has a large number of tattoos on his arm isn't any less serious about his education than his more "clean cut" peers. The examples are endless.

Not only do people have a large number of differences to deal with in a college setting, there are also a large number of contradictions to navigate. Sometimes the contradictions are no more than the ones in your head between the person in front of you and the stereotype you've developed from limited information.

Colleges are a great breeding ground for encouraging good habits in dealing with and support other people. The best habit of all for any one, in any position, in a college environment is developing the art of respectful engagement. With respectful engagement you treat all people as being of value and you have a genuine curiosity about figuring out what makes them who they are and of doing so without judgment.

While that sounds easy, it takes conscious observation to make sure that you are actually practicing it.


Parents, teach your kids the value of differences

I’ve recently found myself speaking at educational institutions about diversity as much as I talk to corporations and organizations.

Speaking at schools reminds me that how people view and respond to the differences of others starts long before they enter the workforce.

For many, college becomes the place where young adults break through the comfort barriers of their upbringing.

I recently talked to a young black woman who is urban born and bred and attends a rural, predominantly white college.

She was dealing with fundamental differences on every level and sought my advice.

Some of her complaints about going to a predominantly white institution as a racial minority were depressingly familiar, legitimate and painful.

But what I also heard in what she shared was a naive, self-centered surprise of how the world outside her figurative back yard operated.

The details of our conversation haunted me because it highlighted how our “villages” generally do a poor job of preparing its future adults for the workplace when it comes to dealing with others. Especially if the others are different. And don’t let them be “too” different.

Generally speaking, we teach kids the importance of competition and accomplishment. We teach the importance of following rules and avoiding trouble. We may even throw in a few lessons on good citizenship and good sportsmanship.

But most parents — with few exceptions — don’t really raise their kids to value the differences in others. And much of that is because you can’t teach what you don’t know.

Dealing with diversity is a mind-set, not a checklist. It’s not knowing this many facts about that racial group or the history of all religious groups, for example. It’s about having a comfort level with difference and with change.

That’s an ideal way of thinking children develop before they begin their higher education. And the young adults who hone those thinking skills in college have a distinct edge when they enter the work world.

Unless you are rich and will have an entry-level job as the CEO of your family’s company, no employee will ever have the luxury of being an expert only on people who are exactly like them.

No matter how much privilege you enter the work world with because of your personal demographics, you’re going to have to work with and for other people. No matter how much historical and current discrimination a group you are a member of experience, you’re going to have work with and for other people.

You can’t control what those differences will be and dismissing the differences of others because of discomfort, inconvenience or resentment will only take you so far.

So I have a public service announcement to people currently parenting our future workforce: Remind your children early and often that it’s not all about them. That other races, religions, physical abilities, sexual orientations and just plain different ways of looking at the world exist.

It’s not about de-emphasizing anything about your family, community or heritage. It’s merely about preparing them to coexist with others.

They’re going to learn — whether you prepare them or not.

For more information about Michelle T. Johnson and to contact there about speaking at your school or conducting diversity workshops please call her at 816-225-8153 or write her at

Acquiring Knowledge vs. Task Completion: Professional Development or Training?

Conferences, seminars, workshops, webinars, professional associations, professional affiliations required, suggested, encouraged, supported – as professionals we are usually provided training (often on the job) to successfully complete the positions we are hired to perform, yet are we often provided and do we take advantage of the opportunity for professional development?

Professional development expands our skills and knowledge base in practical ways that are applicable to the true role of a professional, in any position and throughout our careers.  Both training and professional development have valuable roles in our field.  We believe that there is often confusion regarding training and professional development with people assuming that they are the same and provide similar benefits to the work that we do.

Taking the approach that both are necessary, we acknowledge that understanding the two areas and why they are required for success in your career is important. There is a clear difference in how we utilize what we learn in each venue, one is a day to day approach and is task oriented; the other improves your approach to your work and how we perform as professionals.

Below, both are operationally defined for this article.

Training: defined activities geared toward learning the specifics of your position, the “what to do when” that leads to task completion.  Training is often provided within your institution or by other professionals well versed in the target area or information being taught.  Training can be viewed as the pragmatic approach being applied to the particular situation.

 Professional Development: the acquisition and integration of knowledge that underscores your approach to any position or situation and provides the “why and how to do it” that is the foundation of professionalism in everything that you do.  Professional development occurs at conferences, within professional associations or from colleagues and mentors that share their experience and perspective; it can be viewed as the theoretical based approach applied to the practical situation.

Review the following differences in the examples provided below:

Training: increases your ability to understand and perform the task at hand.
Professional Development: increases your ability to utilize the proper approach and make the best use of your time and resources, it increases your efficiency.

Training: provides the rationale to ask the question, “what do I do now?”
Professional Development: provides the process to “why I am doing it and how do I do it?”

Training: helps to improve the ability to recognize a challenge.
Professional Development: helps to identify the approach to overcoming the challenge.

Professional development provides the foundation to increase in our work the level of competency, the noted efficiency and professional approach necessary to continue to move forward in your career versus “keeping your job”. The key benefits of being active and involved in your professional associations and organizations will assist you beyond the normal “networking realm” and create skills and abilities that are transferrable and critical to both personal and professional life. 

Consider the following professional development opportunities:

Joining and Utilizing Membership within a Professional Association: membership is one thing, active membership is another. After paying your dues and “getting on the roster” become invested in the organization – read the constitution and by-laws, join a committee, become a Board member or officer – lead the charge – you have a responsibility as a professional to make sure that your membership is more than a few dollars and an occasional vote – it is a voice and example of the professional commitment to the work you do.

Active Participation in Workshops/Seminars: when attending a workshop or seminar, review the information, ask questions, plan to engage and be “present” during the session. In the current economic climate, attending professional conferences and seminars is becoming rare; when the opportunity presents itself to attend make the most of it! As a professional, share ideas and challenges as well as solutions, and never leave a workshop or seminar without at least three business cards – build that supportive network every chance you get.

Networking with Other Professionals: create a network of colleagues, within and external to your institution that you can have honest and direct dialogue with regularly.  Often our “academic islands” lead to stagnation and a sense of “being in this alone”. Change that situation by discussing best and promising practices, challenges in day to day duties and responsibilities and expand your understanding of professionalism.

Providing or Receiving Mentoring: successful mentoring relationships are reciprocal and help both mentors and mentees assess and understand the professional world from different perspectives and vantage points. Seeking appropriate and developmental mentor/mentee relationships will set the stage for growth and provide the opportunity to ask questions, collaborate, brainstorm ideas as well as share challenges and successes.

Set Goals: on a personal note, when establishing your goals for your professional development they must be realistic at the starting point, attainable within your abilities, achievable in your level of dedication, but most importantly, challenging. In order to gain the level of professionalism you are striving for, you must go beyond your comfort zone and be stretched; the resulting growth is yours and a testament to the field.

As professionals we often understand the need for training yet underestimate the importance of professional development.  The goal of this article was to highlight that training and professional development in concert create the well rounded professional who is competent in addressing the tasks and duties of his or her title and possesses the judgment and expertise necessary to do so with diligence and dedication. 

To continue the conversation, please feel free to contact us at the email addresses below.

Trent Ball, Associate Dean of Students (
Valdis Zalite, Director of TRIO/Student Support Services (
Academic Support Centers/TRIO
Southeast Missouri State University

Adapted from an article previously published in the ACPA’s Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education (CASHE) Corner Newsletter

Sticks and Stones No More

Joel Hermann – Saint Louis University

The onset of collegiate bullying and insensitivity towards students with differences has created a culture in which the “Words Can Never Hurt Me” clause becomes quite weak.

To take a stand against derogatory language, Special Olympics and an organization known as Best Buddies have launched the “Stop the R-Word” campaign.  Through this campaign, people are encouraged to pledge against using the word retard(ed) in their daily vernacular.  To learn more about the efforts, visit

On March 7, 2012, Special Olympics and Best Buddies held the National “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day.  In conjunction with this nation-wide event, Saint Louis University’s circle of Omicron Delta Kappa held a signature drive and encouraged students to be aware of how they use words. 

“ODK membership is comprised of some of the greatest leaders on campus.  As such, we wanted to encourage SLU students to follow our lead and eliminate this word from our vocabulary,” Julie Silver, Vice President of Saint Louis University’s ODK Circle, said.  “This was such a great cause and we see harmful language as such a nasty element of college life.  It’s our job, as leaders on campus, to take the first step towards educating our peers and making a change.”

In addition to spreading awareness and encouraging student, staff and faculty support throughout the day, the SLU ODK circle gathered nearly 250 pledges against using the r-word.

“I really enjoyed educating people about the National ‘Spread the Word’ Day event,” Silver said.  “It was great to see how many people were in support of the initiative.  As long as the goal of eliminating use of the word is present, then we are making great strides.”

The importance of People-First Language has become a large topic of discussion throughout colleges and universities.  Educating students that a classmate is a “person with a disability” versus a “disabled person” is not an easy task.  However, each small step forward makes the process worthwhile. 

Crisis Planning Workshop

Mark your Calendar!!!!
Friday, April 20th
Crisis Planning Workshop @ Drury University in Springfield, MO

Bring a team of 4 + for $25 per person. 
Session Topics:
·         What we can learn from Joplin
·         Identifying hazards and assessing risk and vulnerability
·         Emergency Planning: Re-evaluating your campus plans policies and procedures
·         Exercising your plans: Ensuring your campus emergency plans are actionable
·         Plus time to work with your team on your plan

Want more information? Contact Mindy Maddux,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lordy, lordy…we look good for 40!

Greetings to all of our Missouri colleagues from across the state!  I hope this message finds you enjoying another great year in higher education and working with wonderful students at your respective campuses.  It seems like we just welcomed students to our families…and now we are preparing for them to leave once again.  

It has been a great year for the Missouri College Personnel Association, a monumental one in so many ways.  For those of you who were able to join us at our annual conference last fall, you witnessed many milestones for our Association.  Just in case you missed it, here is a quick review:
  • Our second largest conference in recent history!
  • The first ever MoCPA Boat Cruise, sponsored by Chartwell’s.
  •  The celebration of our 40th Anniversary as an Association.
  •  A special guest appearance by Dr. Heidi Levine, President of ACPA (College Student Educators International) and Dean of Students at Cornell College (IA).
  • The introduction of ACPA’s professional competencies into our programming curriculum 
  • We raised over $2,000 in our 3rd Annual Silent Auction, another record for the Association.
Perhaps one of the most exciting and innovative programs we started this year was the creation of the Ruby Society, a foundation in honor of our 40th Anniversary developed to support community college and graduate student initiatives throughout the Association.  Our executive board talked a lot about what we can do to make our anniversary a special one and how we can best commemorate and honor our history.  Our solution was to create the Ruby Society and invite people to become members for a minimum donation of $40.00. 

Of course, there are many other things happening that make this a great time to be a member of MoCPA.     The “Best of MoCPA” program from this year’s conference was selected to present at the ACPA Convention (March 24-28, 2012 in Louisville, KY).  We are also hosting a professional drive-in workshop in Springfield, MO focusing on disaster and crisis preparedness.  And finally, it is with great excitement that we begin planning MoCPA’s fall 2012 annual conference, held for the first time at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Lake Ozark, MO. 

As President, I feel that we are making some great things happen and providing valuable professional development opportunities for all of our higher education colleagues around the state.  I look back at the many things we have accomplished and am proud to be part of such a talented group of professionals who dedicate their careers to education and service.  I hope that you agree with me, and find yourself excited and engaged with MoCPA in 2012!

Jackie Weber
MoCPA President

MoCPA Needs You!

Be part of the team than helped bring you the biggest annual conference in years, free webinars, news from the world of higher education, and many additional great opportunities to collaborate and grow as leaders!  

Join the MoCPA Executive Board or the MoCPA Annual Conference Committee and help us continue to fly high into the next academic year!

Open Positions
Position openings for the upcoming year are listed below.  Position descriptions can be found on the MoCPA Elections and Nominations website.
  • Elected Board positions: Institutional Representative for 2-Year Institutions, two Members-At-Large, Secretary, and President-Elect.
  • Appointed Board positions: Treasurer and Technology Chair
  • 2012 Conference Committee positions:  Educational Session Committee, Programming Committee, Keynote Committee, Registration Committee, Graduate Student Initiatives Committee, Conference Logistics Committee, Networking Committee, Silent Auction Committee, Adornment Committee, & Sponsorship Committee.
Interested Candidates
  • MoCPA Executive Board: If you or someone you know is interested, please visit the Executive BoardElections website. Nominations are due on Friday, March 16th.
  • 2012 Conference Committee:  If you or someone you know is interested, please visit the Conference Planning Team Application website. Applications are due no later than 5pm on Friday, March 16.
  • Elections for Executive Board will happen in mid-late March 19th - 30th
  • Appointments for Executive Board positions will be awarded at the conclusion of the election.
  • Appointments to the Conference Committee will happen no later than Wednesday, March 28.  Please note, all selected committee members must attend the onsite planning at Tan-Tar-A on Friday, April 6.  

Help Us Celebrate Seussational Service!!!

Registration is now open CLICK HERE

Come join us for the 2011 MoCPA Support Staff Drive-In Conference! The conference will be held Friday, March 2, at Westminster College in Fulton, MO.  The annual support staff drive-in conference has always been known to offer a day of excellent informational sessions, networking and fun!  It’s great to see colleagues from other higher education institutions year after year and this year will be no different!  

Please consider joining us at this conference and invite you colleagues to come along too! We are excited to see everyone and discuss such topics as diversity, online resources, living a balanced lifestyle, getting the most out of social media, and so much more.

 If you have any questions, do not hesitation to contact Nikki Cornwell, Support Staff Drive-In Conference Chair at

Taking Time for You

By Judy Frueh WHNP, BC
Clinic Supervisor University Wellness Center, Northwest Missouri State University

This is a very quick way to help you prioritize and help you get a little more out of life:

When was the last time you focused on you?  Please take a minute, grab a pencil and a piece of paper.  Divide your paper into fourths.  In one corner, quickly write ten things that bring you JOY.  In another corner, quickly write five to seven TIME WASTERS.  Now when I say this, I don’t mean working 40 hours a week, but this could mean driving 45 minutes to work.  See the difference?   Next corner I want you to write down 10 things that help you FUNCTION AT YOUR BEST.  For example, I find I feel better and function better if I have at least 72 ounces of water a day.    The fourth corner, please right down things/people who DEPEND ON YOU.  This can be anything from feeding the dog to serving on various community boards. 

 Now that we have a list of these four items, let’s think about the six aspects of the wellness wheel.  How are you doing in these areas? The 6 aspects are: physical, emotional, intellectual, social/family, occupational, and spiritual. People usually have two/three they do really well and two/three they do not so great.  Let’s think about the two/three areas we aren’t doing so well. 

Think about all your lists.  What do YOU want to add to your life and what can you take away but yet still add value?  Now make two attainable goals for yourself in the next four weeks.  This can be simple goals such as increasing your fruit intake by two servings each day, walking 10,000 extra steps, balancing your checking account, reducing your alcohol consumption, or visiting a family member.   Share your goals with your loved ones and review your goals in four weeks. 

For more information contact me .  I love helping people feel better inside and out!  Good luck with your goal setting and your focus on YOU.  You will be rewarded for your efforts!

Breaking the Silence Against Violence

By Bradley Whitsell
Residence Life Complex Director, Northwest Missouri State University

Violence of all kinds surrounds our campus and communities every single day and it is time speak out against this violence and teach our students how they can impact their campus and possibly save a life.  In the past years two years I have done several presentations at conferences and residence halls about violence prevention. In each presentation almost every person in the room raised their hand to the question, “How many of you know of someone that has been involved in some sort of act of violence?” .

The students that raised their hands are walking around our campuses, living in our residence halls, eating in our cafeterias and leading our student organizations. This is why it is important for professionals to be the example and help educate students about violence prevention.   Below are some tips, pointers, and suggestions I have learned over the years on developing an effective violence prevention program.  Hopefully these tips can help you can have similar presentations on your campus if they are not happening already.
  • Collaboration- I developed a good relationship with counselors, health educators and professors from the psychology department to help with the presentation.
  • Resources- Tell students about all the resources they have on their campus and how to gain access to them.
  • Personal Stories- Personal stories are very powerful and can be effective, however the person needs to be comfortable sharing.  I share a couple personal stories of my own and it’s the most effective part of the presentation.
  • Relative- I use a popular song by Eminem to not only relate to the students and start meaningful conversations, but show the pattern of domestic violence through lyrics.
  • Prevention Tools- I talk about a few prevention tools that students can use anywhere they are to stop violent acts. I then give scenarios so they can practice what they have learned.
  • Show you care- Believe it or not, we actually do care about our students!  Make sure your students know that you care and want them to be safe and successful not only in their college career but in their life.

It’s Placement Season! Let MoCPA Help YOU for Free!

Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking a new student affairs position this year, placement season is upon us.  Let MoCPA help! 


We will help you advertise your position for free on the MoCPAJob Opportunities in Missouri page of our website and our MoCPAFacebook page.  Email Scott Shields, MoCPA President-Elect and outgoing Technology Chair, at Please include institution, department, and position title with a link to an online full post for your position. 

      Be sure to check the aforementioned pages and “Like” us on Facebook to find out about openings coming up at Missouri institutions.

Good luck to all our colleagues!