I’m sending this update today from the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania College Personnel Association (PCPA). For this year’s conference, I was the chair of the programming committee. We’ve got a pretty incredible line-up of presentations this year, if I do say so myself.
The conference theme is “Navigating Change,” and as I think about this post, I think about the ways that professional development has changed in the short time I have been in the student affairs field. While I have really enjoyed the decentralized, always “on” nature of the Student Affairs Collective Blog and the #sachat community, I have also found a lot of value in building connections with my local division of ACPA.
When I entered the field I wasn’t aware of the major professional organizations, and I certainly wasn’t self-assured or self-motivated enough to reach out to these groups and get involved in their work. PCPA, however, was a small and inviting organization. It made it easy for me to network with other professionals from across the commonwealth and to get my feet wet while presenting at conferences. I never imagined I would sit on an executive board or serve as a mentor to other young professionals. I have had all of these opportunities, thanks to PCPA and the great folks who have reached out to me in this organization.
In this era of limited professional development funding, take a look at what your local and regional organizations are offering and see if they could be a part of your PD plan. If #sachat and the Student Affairs Collective blog are awesome, free PD opportunities, think of your local organizations as awesome, low-cost opportunities to get out of your campus bubble and make connections in your area.