Growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, I entered the educational system as a Spanish speaking, low income student who struggled to adapt to the people, the environment and the curriculum around him. The thought of attending college was never in my plans, as financially my family could not support that effort; academically, my grades were not outstanding; environmentally, it was not the norm. However, my ability to excel athletically landed me a baseball scholarship at the University of Texas at Brownsville and at Texas A&M Kingsville. Higher education had changed the course of my life and my family’s life forever! My turbulent undergraduate experience, as a first generation Latino college student, was filled with uncertainty, remedial courses, academic probation, conduct hearings and misguided career aspirations. These trials shaped who I am today and set the foundation for a life-long passion of higher education, as well as a desire to be a great teacher and mentor to students.
My entry into the Student Affairs profession began with working in university recreation programs. I currently serve as the Senior Associate Director of Campus Recreation at The University of Texas at San Antonio. In my role, I supervise 5 professionals, 3 graduate assistants and 150 students, all while having oversight and management of programming, services and facilities. I also support and lead the department’s efforts in strategic planning, annual reporting, assessment, human resources and risk management, as well as assist in the preparation and management of a $7.5M budget. I am a member of NASPA, the NASPA Texas Advisory Board and the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), as well as a graduate of the NASPA/SACSA Mid-Managers Institute and Leadership UTSA. I have been involved with TACUSPA by serving on the Board of Directors, assisting with the development of the current Strategic Plan, attending, volunteering and presenting at conferences, serving as Treasurer of the Foundation, co-chairing the Foundation Golf Tournament and chairing the Financial Advisory Board.
Below are some qualities that not only better define who I am, but would be extremely beneficial to the board, the association and the membership if elected. By heart and at my core:
· I am a dreamer, who can inspire a shared vison by creating images that excite people about possibilities and the future.
· I am an optimist, who sees the good in all and remains positive no matter the outcome.
· I am a strategist, who thoroughly enjoys the development, execution and evaluation of a game plan, while putting the right action plans, objectives, people and metrics in place to be successful.
· I am my grandma, who was humble, resilient, hardworking, valued people, built strong relationships, kind hearted, inclusive and displayed authenticity.
· I am a family man, who stays true to his values and loves his role of making a profound impact as a husband, father, son, brother, church member, volunteer coach and mentor in the community.
· I am an underdog, who has already achieved more than what he thought was possible, yet is still driven by the continued pursuits of once again beating the odds to achieve even greater success.
Hello fellow TACUSPA Members. It is with great confidence and enthusiasm that I humbly come before you to ask for your support in serving you as your next TACUSPA President. I believe that my leadership experiences inside and outside the association have sufficiently prepared me to take on this challenging role.
In joining TACUSPA, I quickly found a group of talented and passionate educators who have helped me build a broader scope of knowledge and network within Student Affairs. My membership in TACUSPA has given me the opportunity to attract more professionals to the association in order to engage them in broader conversations about how we can best serve our students. As I attended sessions and spoke with colleagues, I found that if you stripped away the titles and functional areas, the challenges we all face are very closely connected and at times interwoven. I witnessed the passion and dedication for the development and success of students, along with the commitment to learn from each other. I saw the opportunity to get involved at the ground level and quickly make a difference. TACUSPA became my choice, my place and my family.
As your next President, I promise to speak respectfully of the past, realistically about the present and optimistically about the future. I will ensure that all conversations and decisions hold true to our core values, while continuing to execute the association’s current strategic plan and beginning conversations on what we want TACUSPA to “BE” when we hit our 100th anniversary in 2025. The dreamer in me sees a vibrant knowledge community, a trend setter and a model for other state associations. I see over 1000 members, multiple professional association partnerships, a healthy and sustainable corporate sponsorship revenue stream, an even stronger donor base, an increased online learning presence, long standing conference sponsors, over 400 conference attendees and perhaps even a permanent professional position to mitigate the increased operational workloads created by growth.
My position as Treasurer for three years allowed me to gain a unique fiscal and executive view of the entire association, its operational capacities and its investments. In order for the association to keep up with increased operational costs of doing business, the increased cost of conference venues, adequately funding strategic efforts and the need to continually enhance professional development, research and technology, we must investigate and implement strategies to generate additional income. This will allow us to continue to thrive and push our efforts further towards our vision.
In order to continue to diversify and increase TACUSPA’s membership, we must remain competitive, attractive, needed and relevant. Each year, there are a multitude of professional development opportunities and associations looking to recruit members from Texas, thus we must win the differentiators of quality, price, value, convenience and reputation. We must look to recruit and retain new members from non-traditional functional areas and underrepresented populations. We must identify, market and consistently tell our story to institutions and individuals that are not current members, all while continuing to add value to those that are.
It would be a privilege to serve you as your next President. No matter the outcome, I promise to continue working with each of you to make TACUSPA your choice, your place and your family.
I’ve spent my professional career in Student Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington where I began my work in July 2000. My first twelve years were spent working in residence life in a variety of roles including the Director of Apartment life for 5 ½ years. Since December 2012, I have served as the Director of Planning, Assessment and Student Success for the Division of Student Affairs. In this role I have the opportunity to work with the 20+ departments and programs in our Division to assist them in development of annual assessment plans and reports while also analyzing, collecting and disseminating Division level data that shows how Student Affairs positively impacts the student experience and student success. In addition to my role with assessment and reporting, I am responsible for our first year experience course where I select course instructors and peer leaders, develop curriculum, and collect and analyze data related to course outcomes.
My experience in TACUSPA began in 2010 when I was asked to serve on the conference planning committee as the registration chair. I instantly fell in love with TACUSPA and the unique opportunity it provides to professionals in Texas to connect with Student Affairs administrators, professionals, and graduate students. I continued my work with the organization by serving as the Awards and Recognition Chairperson for two years, serving as Conference Co-Chair in 2014, and in my current role on the Board of Directors at the Director for Administration.
I am honored to be nominated to serve as the President-Elect on the TACUSPA Board of Directors. I have enjoyed my work with TACUSPA and look forward to the opportunity to continue serving an organization that that is passionate about meeting its members’ needs and providing the best possible professional development for student affairs professionals across the state.
TACUSPA is a growing and thriving organization that is at the forefront of relevant issues facing higher education. If elected, I would assist in the development of a new strategic plan that will take the organization into the next three to five years. I would encourage the board to think of creative ways to deliver quality educational programs that educate the membership on important issues facing our campuses. I would strive to continue the good work of our past and current presidents in regards to building collaborations with outside organizations to advocate that Student Affairs has a seat at the table for important initiatives at the state level. We will continue to grow our membership and ensure the membership is diverse across institution size, type and location. Most importantly, I would hope to increase involvement across the organization through volunteer opportunities and outreach.
I believe I have the skills necessary to serve as President-Elect for TACUSPA. I am committed to TACUSPA’s success and would love to continue my work with this organization that has offered me so many opportunities to learn and grow as a professional. I look forward to the opportunity to serve TACUSPA in this new role.
Director of Administration
Since 2000, I have worked full-time, serving students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. I currently serve as the University Housing Officer as at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. I have worked in various functional areas, including student activities, university center, Honors Program, and housing. Throughout my career, I served on many university committees, such as our alcohol and drug abuse prevention team, homecoming week, university strategic planning, student conduct appellate board, and welcome week.
I currently serve TACUSPA as the Director of Membership and previously served as the Vice-President of Membership and Marketing from 2012-2016 (the position was split in 2016). During this time, membership increased over 30%, membership categories were re-organized and added, and outreach to graduate programs enhanced. I first joined TACUSPA in 2000 as a graduate student and volunteered on the conference committee. In addition, I have served on several conference committees, volunteered at conferences, and was the newsletter editor for two years.
Outside of the university, I volunteer with community organizations such as the Little Lady Bulldogs Volleyball League and the Women’s Shelter of South Texas. I also volunteered with Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority at the local and international levels as chapter advisor, regional coordinator, and international philanthropy resources specialist.
TACUSPA has been my primary professional association for the last 17 years. Serving as the TACUSPA Director of Membership has been extremely rewarding and I am looking forward to the opportunity of serving as the Director of Administration. A primary role of the Director of Administration is to be the ‘keeper of the rules’ for the Association and I am well versed in the TACUSPA Operations Manual, Constitution, and By-Laws. During my terms, I have worked with the current and previous Directors of Administration to update the Association’s governing documents to ensure they are current and in congruence with actual operations, as well as seeing that Board decisions were reflected in the operations manual. I’m a stickler for ensuring that written policies, procedures, and other documents are in-line with operations and I look forward to continuing this important task. Recognizing the outstanding work of our colleagues is vital and I will work diligently to ensure that the awards nomination and selection process is implemented efficiently and effectively.
I accepted the nomination for Director of Administration because I have the knowledge, skills, and experience to continue guiding the Association through this time of immense growth. My desire is to have an Association that enriches the experiences of all its members through quality professional development opportunities and recognition of outstanding work in the State of Texas. It would be an honor to have you vote for me as the Director of Administration.
I currently serve as the Dean of Students/ Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of North Texas. In my role, I supervise many departments and initiatives such as Greek Life, Conduct, Survivor Advocate, Dean of Students, Student Legal, Student Sustainability, and the Substance Abuse Resource Center. I have the distinct honor of chairing our CARE Team, our Clery team as well as serving as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
I have been active in a number of professional organizations including TACUSPA, SWACUHO, TEXDOS, NAACOP, SACSA, NASPA and NABITA. TACUSPA has been an exciting professional home for me doing presentations and creating the inaugural Midlevel Managers track in 2016. I served as the Chair of the Texas Dean of Students organization for two years helping lead a group of fantastic individuals who on a daily basis to remove obstacles for all of our students. I was also a faculty member at the Midlevel Managers Institute for SACSA/NASPA for 2013 and 2014.
I have presented at many local, state, regional and national conferences on issues facing our college students today from Title IX, Clery, Social Media, Disruptive Students, & CARE teams. I have even been published in the Huffington post regarding our role assisting survivors of sexual assault. I am currently working as a Primary investigator on a grant given to UNT from the Texas Attorney General on assisting students who are victims of sexual violence and intimate partner violence. I also serve as UNT’s representative on the Cultivating Safe College Campuses with 8 other institutions in the North Texas region.
I am excited for the opportunity to run for the Director of Administration on the TACUSPA Board! TACUSPA has opened doors for many of us in the state and for me personally. I appreciate the professional relationships that I have built from TACUSPA and only hope to develop more in this role.
I would be honored to serve on the TACUSPA Board as the Director of Administration. In this role I am excited to coordinate activities regarding the awards and recognition committees and special projects for TACUSPA as well as keep the organization abreast of changes to the constitution and By-Laws.
I have served a number of leadership roles throughout my life and can honestly say I have been honored to serve each one of them. Each time I have added to the organization that I am a part of as well as learned a great deal myself to the inner operations of an organization. I am extremely dedicated to the organization and see myself fully invested in TACUSPA while serving on the Board.
Mercedes holds a BA in Management and a MAA in Organizational Development, from the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). Additionally, she is perusing her Doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership Studies at Our Lady of the Lake.
Mercedes is currently the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at UIW. She enjoys working with students, alumni and assisting the Alumni Board of Directors with planning monthly events, providing support with legislative affairs and managing special projects. Having held leadership positions on various committees and organizations throughout the years, Mercedes has managed bylaws, constitutions, maintained operations and provided leadership and supervised special projects; South Texas Panhellenic Conference, Girls on the Run Inc., Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority, UIW Alumni Association Board and the UIW Student Alumni Association Board.
Mercedes has been an active member of TACUSPA since her young professional years, where she and her group were chosen as winners of the TACUSPA Graduate Student Case-Study Competition. She has been a TACUSPA scholarship recipient in both 2013 and 2015 and was selected as a TACUSPA fellow in 2015. Mercedes is the current chair for the awards and recognitions committee which includes leadership of special projects and activities to be held at the 2017 TACUSPA conference.
It is with great passion and enthusiasm that I accept my nomination for Director of Administration. Over the past years I have had the opportunity to observe and collaborate with multiple TACUSPA leaders. After my first TACUSPA conference I knew this is where I was meant to put forth my energy and create a new era of administration initiatives that would best benefit the current and prospective membership.
I have handled numerous legislative and operational projects with the organizations I oversee. As Director of Administration I will have attained the experience of coordinating the awards and recognition committee, ensuring all changes of the bylaws and activities are communicated directly to all membership and help each person grow within TACUSPA. I am dedicated to serving as a servant leader of this organization and help make decisions in the best interest of all TACUSPA members.
Director of Membership
My name is Hope Garcia, and I serve as the Director of Student Services for The University of North Texas at the New College at Frisco. I have just completed my 11th year working in Student Affairs in areas such as Housing, Leadership & Service, Large-Scale Programming, Student Alumni, Sustainability, Spiritual Life, Assessment and Strategic Planning. Being involved in various sides of student services has been wonderfully educational and rewarding, and my most recent position at our new off-site instructional facility has brought very new areas to my plate such as Disability Accommodations, Counseling, Conduct, Admissions, Registrar, and Financial Aid, likely the most generalist position anyone could ask for that brings new rewards and challenges to my plate each day! What a great profession to work in.
I earned my BA in Psychology from UT Austin, MS in Higher Education/Student Affairs from UNT, and PhD in Higher Education Administration at UNT.
TACUSPA is a wonderfully unique professional association because there is a place for every person who works in Student Affairs within the State of Texas, which means that it’s just large enough to network on a wide breadth of scale and just small enough to see familiar faces who know your name and encourage your professional and personal growth. I have had the pleasure of being involved with this organization each year since my first year as a graduate student! This alone is a testament to this organizations unique, strong and caring membership.
In the past, I have served as the Newsletter Editor as well as the Director Technology, and it has been several years since I have served in an official role outside of a committee or mentoring role for TACUSPA. I believe this allows healthy variations of leadership to cycle in and out and to constantly grow for the better. “Growth” is something that finds its way onto every goal list from business to politics to enrollment, but in this instance the simply sustaining or numbers or increasing our numbers actually leads to personal and professional growth of the entire membership because TACUSPA is a place where a wealth of knowledge and support is shared.
Given our political climate, it is more than ever important to make certain that through our membership, tertiary institutions of varying levels and the many levels of student services within them are represented in this important space. We can be assured that change is headed our way in higher education, but the amount of invaluable information that is housed in each of our roles, departments and institutions is just what a neighboring institution may need to support their students, goals, or institutional livelihood.
I would like to work towards not only increasing the number of represented organizations and members from the varying levels of higher education (4-year, 2-year, private, for-profit, professional, residential, etc.) but, along with my colleagues, ensure that the space TACUSPA provides is one that encourages the across-the-table talk and knowledge-sharing that would provide equal benefit to these various institutional types and in turn, a holistic benefit to higher education and the students and communities each of us touch.
I have spent 14 years working as a student affairs professional in the state of Texas. In this time, I have worked at two large, public universities and about five years working at a two-year college. My professional career has included greek life, social justice training and education, first year programs, parent and family programs and student retention programming. I hope to bring my experience working across disciplines and institution types to my role as the Director of Membership. I enjoy engaging people and I feel that the association could benefit from my ability to connect and include people in our outreach and recruitment efforts.
As a former board member, serving as the first Director of Assessment, I have seen the hard work and dedication it takes to lead a comprehensive, state-wide organization and I feel that my time in leadership allowed me continue to grow collegial relationships across the state. I have also formally served as the Chair of Assessment and Evaluation for our conference in Corpus Christi in addition to being a chosen as a presenter at conferences.
I have chosen to seek candidacy for the position of Director of Membership because I feel that my experience and enthusiasm for TACUSPA make me an excellent candidate. As I have previously stated, I have various institutional experiences and roles, but what I have gained most from my time in student affairs administration is the need for collaboration. As most of us have experienced, our resources are limited and becoming more and more limited. In a time of limited resources, it is even more critical that we come together and work together for the greater good of our institutions and our state. There is no organization like TACUSPA in our state that has the ability to bring higher education professionals together across multiple disciplines, divisions, and institutions.
As the Director of Membership, my plan is to increase the reach of our association and broaden our membership to include institutions that do not typically participate. Although I feel that our association has done an excellent job at increasing in size and attendance at the annual conference through partnerships and collaboration with associations, I feel that we cannot ever get comfortable until we are able to find a way to connect with all types of institution in our state. My experience working at a two-year college gave me insight into the unique challenges of two-year institutions and I think finding ways to be more intentional in engaging two-year colleges is an obvious place to start. In addition, the annual conference may not be feasible for all institutions, but there are other things we could do as an association to engage these institutions and make their membership in the association more valuable.
Over my time in various roles dating all the way back to childhood, I have never been afraid to engage people. I enjoy finding a way to connect myself and others and in student affairs I am lucky to do that every day for the betterment of the student (and parent and family) experience. As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “I am proud of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege-my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” I think TACUSPA is a great community of people who come together from various experiences, backgrounds, and institutions and I hope to increase the diversity of our membership and work towards even greater collaborations and accomplishments. Please join with me and allow me to serve in this position for you and for all of the people who are yet to be involved. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
I have had the honor of working in Student Affairs since I was a student working on a community college and university campus in the early 1990s. Since then I have had experiences working with Recreational Sports, Student Activities, Facilities Management, Student Newspaper, Student Conduct and Student Government. I currently serve as the Assistant Vice President for Student Life at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. I received my Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from A&M-Corpus Christi on December 2016. I graduated from Southwest Texas State University (now known as Texas State University) in 1996, with my Master’s degree and from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 1994, with my Bachelor’s degree.
Prior to my current position, I served three years as the Executive Director for Student Life and eight years as the Director of the University Center & Student Activities department. Before then, I worked as an administrator for Grand Canyon Equity Partners, LLC, and served as the Assistant Director for Recreational Sports and adjunct instructor for the College of Education at TAMU-CC. I have also worked for the Corpus Christi Independent School District as a head softball coach and secondary teacher.
I enjoy working with students and feel my strengths lie in personnel management, building relationships, and developing young professionals as they prepare for their careers.
I am honored to have been nominated for the Director of Membership position for TACUSPA. I have been involved with the association since I began my career at TAMU-CC. I recall going to my first conference in El Paso and being eager about getting involved with the conference planning team the following year. Over the years, I have been involved in various capacities with TACUSPA either through serving on committees or conference planning teams, presenting, and/or volunteering at conferences. I’ve served as the chair for the Awards Committee and most recently served as the Co-Chair for the 2015 Conference held in Corpus Christi. I have also been involved in the past as a Regional Team Leader for the Association of College Unions International (ACUI).
Now that I have completed my doctorate degree, I want to become more involved with TACSUPA to show my appreciation for all that the association has done for me in my development as a professional. I feel my experiences as a committee chair, conference planning co-chair and team member, as well as my leadership roles on campus and through ACUI are an excellent match for serving in this position. Having worked with various individuals and colleagues over the years has provided me with a network that may assist in continuing to grow the association’s membership and relationships. In particular, I’d like to explore ways in which we engage Student Affairs professionals in Texas who have not been involved with TACUSPA in the past.
Director of Research
For the last eleven years, I have served as an advocate and leader in student affairs in the areas of fraternity/sorority life, student leadership programs, volunteer/community service, residence life and new student programs within the state of Texas. I hold a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education from Tarleton State University which is also where my career in student affairs began. I also hold a Doctor of Education from the University of North Texas, a feat that I am extremely proud of as a first-generation college student. I currently serve as the Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Texas at Arlington where I have worked since 2012. In addition to TACUSPA, I have also volunteered with NASPA-TX serving previously as the Membership Coordinator, AFA Region IV Board, TACUSPA Annual Meeting Planning Committee.
I am excited to accept my nomination for the TACUSPA Director of Research. My research interests include leadership behavior, generational leadership, and the AVP/VPSA position. My interest in this position stems from my passion and commitment to research and scholarly activity within the field of student affairs. I believe for us to remain relevant within the field of higher education we must continue to share our stories, best practices, scholarly work, and research which can impact our state and institutions. With the implementation of our peer-reviewed TACUSPA Journal, we have a unique opportunity to showcase scholarly publications of our members. Given the opportunity, I will make this publication a priority to raise the level of prominence within our field.
Additionally, I have been privileged to receive (2) research grants from TACUSPA in the past to support my research. While the nature of our work keeps us busy at times, I do believe we should look for more opportunities of scholarly inquiry. Such grants help assist and encourage such activities with the goal of sharing new ideas, theories, and practices which can inform our work and the professional development of members. As the Director of Research, I believe in encouraging more research activities of our members should also remain a priority through the research grant program.
I have been so privileged to work within the state of Texas and serve as a TACUSPA member for the duration of my career. I believe in the direction of this association and would be honored to serve my peers in this role. Thank you in advance for this opportunity.
I have served as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at The University of Texas at Arlington since August 2015. Current responsibilities include assisting & leading a variety of campus life initiatives while overseeing six student affairs departments. My research interests include student retention & persistence, and higher education leadership.
I have been an active member of several professional organizations, most notably TACUSPA and NASPA. I have been a TACUSPA member for two years, and I went from attending the conference in my first year, to being selected as a panelist for a session during the 2016 TACUSPA Conference, and serving on the TACUSPA Student Affairs on Campus Journal editorial board. In addition to serving as a reviewer, I led the majority of the revisions to the submission criteria for the Journal.
As a first-generation college graduate, born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas I am a proud two-time graduate of the University of Kansas. I earned my doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln while serving as an administrator in academic and student affairs. While I am not a native Texan, I attended several family reunions in Texas and as a kid I always wanted to live here. Frankly, I love amusement parks, and Arlington’s Six Flags Over Texas had the best rollercoaster I had ever ridden!
I am humbled and excited to be nominated for TACUSPA Director of Research. Earlier this spring I briefly imagined the possibility of running as a candidate in the conclusion of my second year as a member of this great professional organization. Now that imagination is a reality. I have accepted the nomination to serve as Director of Research because I am committed to advancing our field through research and practice.
In fact, writing this statement of candidacy reminds me of writing my doctoral application essay eight years ago. In that essay I described my goals for obtaining a doctoral degree, which included being a practitioner-scholar. Ultimately my doctoral work centered on the role of student affairs in supporting student retention through student engagement. Currently, through the support of a TACUSPA Research Grant, I am collaborating with a colleague to research professional development of senior-level administrators. I share this with you, so you have some understanding of my commitment and desire to advancing our field through both research and practice.
If elected, as Director of Research I will utilize the TACUSPA 2015-2020 Strategic Plan as a roadmap to advancing the field and this organization through the development and dissemination of knowledge. As a current member of the TACUSPA Journal Editorial Board, I have experience reviewing journal submissions and insight on how the Editorial Board functions. With the help of the Editorial Board we will build on the foundation of those before us, while focusing on adding to the quantity and quality of research representing student affairs in Texas. As a member of the Board of Directors I am confident I will add value because of my diversity of experiences in student and academic affairs at multiple universities. All in all, your vote for me is a vote for a professional committed to this position and the work it requires to be successful.
My name is Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards (@drjtedwards) and I have been a proud member of the student affairs community in Texas since 2002. Currently, I serve as the Assistant Vice-President for Student Success and Multicultural Initiatives and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Tarleton State University. Prior to my current roles, I served in student affairs roles at Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University. In 2011, I served as the first Vice-President for Education and Professional Development (TACUSPA) and as co-chair for the Graduate Education and Research committee. Prior to leadership roles in TACUSPA, I also received the Dissertation of the Year Award.
In addition to student affairs experiences, I also taught courses at the community college level for Lone Star College and Blinn College. Each year, I involve 20-30 graduate students and 20 undergraduate students in research experiences through the Texas Social Media Research Institute. Many of these students present their research at regional and national conferences.
My research fields include social media, higher education, high-impact educational practices, and student success (retention, on-time graduation, and student success technology data). In the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate to author over 50 publications and presentations in the communication and higher education research fields. I also lead two initiatives for our university: a) serving as the leader of the American Association of State Colleges and University’s Re-Imagining the First-Year Initiative and b) serving as a co-leader for the EAB – Student Success Collaborative.
I strongly believe in higher education research and the impact that it can have on the life of our students and their families. Through higher education research, we have the potential to impact future generations of Texas college students and the overall economy of Texas. Keeping the TACUSPA mission and the state’s higher education (60X30) plan in mind, I plan to provide the following initiatives for the TACUSPA membership:
- Forming an TACUSPA Research Team – Focused on Multi-Institutional Research and
Potential Best Practices for Texas Institutions
- Monthly Research-Focused Twitter Chats for TACUSPA – Focused on Timely Issues in
- Virtual Research Affinity Groups – Sharing Research and Forming Connections
- Professional Development Drive-In Workshops focused on Higher Education Research
I am excited about the potential opportunity to work with TACUSPA in this capacity! If I can do anything to help your institutions, please do not hesitate to contact me - @drjtedwards.
For the past seven years, I have been serving as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Sam Houston State University. My areas of responsibility include the university’s refund disbursement system, financial literacy programming, divisional research and assessment, and divisional professional development training. I also chair several university-wide and community committees, including a leadership program which provides scholarships to high school seniors.
In addition to TACUSPA, my professional affiliations include membership in Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), National Association of Campus Card Users (NACCU), and The Texas Association of Collegiate Financial Education Professionals (TACFEP). I have shared my passion for leadership and service in several roles with these organizations including: NACCU Board of Directors and as National Past-President; founding member of TACFEP and inaugural TACFEP Board of Directors; and NASPA Board of Directors. I am particularly proud of my service as NACCU’s Chair of Education, where under my leadership the New Professionals Institute and pre-conference Professional Development Sessions were created.
I have more than 14 years of research experience, having published my research findings in both professional and academic journals. I have a particular interest in the educational and research components of the refund disbursement systems profession and collegiate financial literacy programming. I have presented my research findings at national conferences and numerous local, regional, and statewide meetings and symposiums.
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Master of Arts in Student Personnel Services from Northwestern State University. I received my doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University. I enjoy sharing my life with my husband and two daughters.
TACUSPA has been extremely instrumental in connecting me with colleagues around the state who share the same vision and goals for the field of Student Affairs. My interest in the Director of Research position stems from my passion for the very core of the association’s purpose - to promote discussion and research regarding the most effective methods of aiding students in their intellectual, social, moral and personal development.
Research continues to gain a greater role and importance in Student Affairs. Research-based assessment within our field in no longer an exception, it is an expectation. An expectation from departmental and divisional leadership to presidents, cabinets and board of regents. As the state’s association of student affairs professionals, TACUSPA must be positioned to be a leader in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of research-based information and findings. I feel that with my research experience and leadership skills, I can become a vital member of the TACUSPA Board as its Director of Research. I will champion for new opportunities to channel research findings and the sharing of latest trends with the membership as we all strengthening programming for the most effective method of aiding colleagues and students in their intellectual and personal development.
If elected, I would build upon the great success TACUSPA has seen in recent years and expand the role of research to benefit our membership base as we serve a broader range of student affairs professionals. My experience as a practitioner, researcher, and administrator has given me an innovative perspective and spirit that I want to share with our membership as we all work together for TACUSPA’s continued growth. Furthermore, I would like to continue the work of the TACUSPA leadership by continuing to develop new, creative platforms to share relevant, informative research-based information to members throughout our state in a timely fashion. I want to explore collaborative opportunities with other associations and groups to help us identify ways where we might pool our resources to benefit all members. As we all work together to find best practices to address the diverse challenges we are facing in serving students’ diverse needs and concerns, we will not only be learn from one another; but also, we will be building a stronger association, better informed teams, improving practices and developing communities on our campuses and across our state.
I have been in the field of student affairs in the state of Texas for more than 15 years. I am currently an Assistant Professor at Angelo State University where I teach graduate courses in Student Development & Leadership in Higher Education M.Ed. program.
I previously served as Dean of Students at Texas Tech University. During this time, my role included Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, chairperson for the Behavioral Intervention Team and Director of the Center for Campus Life. I have broad experiences in student affairs, including professional experiences in fraternity and sorority life, housing, admissions, assessment, conduct, collegiate spirit programs, first year experience, and orientation.
My areas of research interest include the strategic prevention of sexual violence, at-risk student processes, behavioral intervention teams, and innovations in addressing organization misconduct. I completed my Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Texas Tech University in 2010.
I would appreciate the opportunity to serve as Director of Research for TACUSPA in the upcoming year. My first professional involvement experiences were as a graduate student attending TACUSPA in 1998. If elected to the board, I would have the opportunity to offer similar opportunities for involvement with our association to other graduate students and professionals in our field.
In this role, I look forward to working with Student Affairs On Campus, our association journal. I was recently asked to review for Student Affairs On Campus and excited by the quality of submissions from our members. I would hope to increase submissions to the journal and expand its overall visibility and benefit to our members. So often, members do not make submissions because they are not asked or they think they do not have sufficient content. I would work with members to generate ideas, develop their submissions, and make the process more accessible to scholars at all levels. I have served on the editorial boards for 2 professional association journals – the Journal for Behavioral Intervention Teams and the Journal of Campus Title IX Compliance and Best Practices. I also regularly review journal articles for Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies.
I also hope to continue to broaden the scholarly work of our association through our research grants and case study competitions. These opportunities benefit emerging scholars by supporting opportunities for research and engagement, and they serve to identify best practices in student affairs. The role of TACUSPA in the state of Texas and the field of student affairs needs to be preserved and expanded. I hope to be part of that vision as a member of your board. Thank you.
Director of Technology
My career in higher education spans over ten years, and my current role is Assistant Director of Academic Advising at Blinn College. As with all positions in higher education, the Assistant Director must wear many hats. I am responsible for supervising employees, introducing new initiatives, managing the content of websites, serving as co-leader of the Behavioral Intervention Team, managing the Electronic Advising Center, and promoting professional development opportunities.
I have been an active member of several professional organizations in higher education including: TACUSPA, NACADA (National Academic Advising Association), and TEXAAN (Texas Academic Advising Network). Through these organizations, I have gained experience by making presentations on technology in academic advising at a state conference, serving as co-chair for the Central Region in Texas, participating in a case-study competition while in graduate school, and volunteering. I currently serve on the TACUSPA Awards and Recognition Committee and volunteer at the annual conferences. I have been a member of TACUSPA since 2012. Of these organizations I belong to, the one that resonates the most with me is TACUSPA.
I earned the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of North Texas and obtained the Masters of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Sam Houston State University.
I am honored to be nominated for Director of Technology for an association that I firmly support. I accepted the nomination to serve as Director of Technology because I believe technology bridges the gap for TACUSPA members. TACUSPA is recognized as a premier association in Texas because of its dedication to the field of higher education. If I am elected to serve, my commitment will be to maintain accurate and up-to-date content for our website and webinars and be diligent in keeping up with the trends in technology because technology is always evolving. I look forward to the opportunity to serve TACUSPA and support the organization’s communication and professional development efforts through the use of technology.