It is my honor to recognize Dr. CJ Woods for leading this Association over the past year. Many of you probably don’t know this, but CJ transitioned into a new role at Texas A&M as the Chief of Staff for the president during his tenure as the SACSA president. Can you imagine moving into such an important paid position while simultaneously managing such an important volunteer position? Well, CJ pulled it off.
Under his leadership, 1) the volunteer database was fully realized; 2) the conference chair was added to the Executive Council; and 3) the first phase of the by-law amendments were adopted in an effort to align our policies to practice. These accomplishments weren’t sexy, but they were extremely necessary for enhancing the effectiveness of the Association.
I really appreciate CJ’s leadership, but also his willingness to show me the ropes. Plus, he’s just one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. It is my pleasure to present this plaque to CJ recognizing his leadership as the 2018-19 SACSA President. Thank you CJ for your service to SACSA!
Dr. Pam Havice from Clemson University introduced me to SACSA when she nominated me for the Dissertation of the Year Award in 2006. And I went to Jacksonville, FL to receive that award and ended up receiving so much more – I found my professional home. Over the last 14 years, I have been given opportunities to volunteer at conferences; serve as the Sponsors & Exhibitors Chair; once as a Conference Registration Chair; and as a Reviewer of the College Student Affairs Journal. All of these volunteer opportunities have lead me to this point, and I am honored to serve this Association…you…as your next President. Your leadership team will focus on the following goals this next year:
- What is SACSA’s value proposition? In an increasingly competitive market for professional development opportunities, we must be able to clearly articulate SACSA’s why. We all have our own experiences and stories, but we need to continue to find ways to effectively share SACSA’s why with our colleagues across the region.
- We must refocus our efforts on member recruitment and retention. We all heard Joe Buck share the declining membership numbers on Saturday. I believe this is resolvable with a very intentional recruitment plan. This plan will involve several strategies, but I want to highlight two. 1) We will start planting seeds for the conference in Birmingham in 2021. We need to get SACSA out in front of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama over the next 18 months. 2) We need your help. By a show of hands, how many of you will promise to recruit just one colleague to join SACSA and attend next year’s conference? If we each just do our small part, our membership concerns will be resolved.
- We are going to enhance our undergraduate and graduate student symposiums and CSAO summit by reintroducing a grad prep program fair. And, there’s opportunity for SACSA to lead the way on career readiness for our graduate students. We will share more later on how these will all interplay for a more robust experience.
There’s much to accomplish over the next year, but these three goals will be our priorities. We also have the opportunity to acknowledge two major milestones next year. The Foundation Board will be celebrating 30 years. And it will be Joe Buck’s 20th-year as our Executive Director.
As we wrap up our time here in Raleigh, I am pleased to introduce Angela Taylor from the University of Louisville, who will serve as our 2020 Conference Chair in Norfolk, VA on November 7-9.
Thanks to each of you for attending this conference. And thanks again to Kimberly Lowry and her conference team for their tireless work to provide us all with this amazing experience. It is my sincere hope that you have found opportunities to connect with old colleagues, develop new friendships, and enhance your skills and knowledge to make a difference in the lives of the students with whom you work. I look forward to seeing you in Norfolk where we will “Advance our Vision.”