Grounding Student Affairs Work in Technology : ACPA/NASPA Approves Updated Competencies

Screenshot 2015-08-24 19.45.07On Monday, August 24th, 2015, NASPA and ACPA released the second version of the Student Affairs Competencies. There were a number of changes, but the primary change I will be celebrating in this blog is….. Technology!

First released in 2010, the jointly developed Student Affairs Competencies serve as a resource for the field especially in developing curricula, professional development opportunities, and even job descriptions. Over the past year, a dynamic group called the Professional Competencies Task Force unpacked the relevancy of the competencies and considered changes after five years in practice.

Find the entire document here!

The major changes include

  • Removing Technology as a thread that ran through the original competencies, instead establishing it as a standalone competency
  • Changing the name of “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” to “Social Justice and Inclusion
  • Combining “Ethical Professional Practice” and “Personal Foundations” to create the “Personal and Ethical Foundations” Competency
  • Changing the name of “Advising and Helping” to “Advising and Supporting
  • There is also a number of language considerations, such as using “Foundational” instead of “Basic
  • Shifting the idea of threads between competencies to the intersection of competencies. A visual representation of this is included below.

Screenshot 2015-08-24 20.08.58

I am honored to be included as a reference in the competencies document, citing a one of my publications, “Trending now: Digital leadership education using social media and the social change model” in the Journal of Leadership Studies.

Over the next month I will be highlighting this new Technology competency as it relates to theory, research and practice. I will begin by exploring Foundational skills, then Intermediate and Advanced ones.

I want to acknowledge the hard work of the task force and its members, who reached out to two groups of which I am a part – the ACPA Digital Task Force and the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community – in the creation of the Technology competency. Special thanks to Dr. John Hoffman, who served as our advocate on the competencies task force through the creation and approval process.


Final Thoughts

I think this is an amazing place to start conversations, programming, research, exploration and practice around technology. Making technology a stand alone competency declares  to our field that it is a major and essentail part of our work in higher education.

I find the competency to be holistic. Whether you are an avid tech user or delayed adopter, this addition defines and gives significance to technology skills for every level of our field. It also calls attention to the impact, use and experiences of our students with technology through the lens of learning and development. Finally, I appreciate the language of the Technology competency because it spans a variety of components such as digital identity, scholarship, technology tools, social media, and personal learning networks.

This new competency solidifies technology as an essential part of our work, not just a fad that can be embraced by some and not others.

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