acpa boldly transforms higher education

ACPA transforms higher education by creating and sharing influential scholarship, shaping critically reflective practice, and advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments.

Eliminating
Oppression

We are focused on reducing the oppression of communities of color at the intersections of their identities. We understand that this work is constant and ongoing. We deliver on this mission by:

  • Providing leading research and scholarship
  • Offering tools for personal, professional, and career development
  • Enabling members to put theory into practice, actively informing and reshaping higher education

Deeply Rooted

We trace our roots back to 1924, when May L. Cheney created the National Association of Appointment Secretaries (NAAS), an organization that helped match graduating students with positions. At this time, women were not allowed to join many other associations, so the creation of NAAS laid the foundation for ACPA’s focus on equity and inclusivity.

In 1931, the name American College Personnel Association (ACPA) was adopted to more widely reflect the organization’s work “on the promotion and development by various means of people engaged in personnel responsibilities at the college level.”

Since the adoption of our new strategic imperative in 2016, we have been focused on racial justice and decolonization, ensuring that all communities benefit equally from the services and resources ACPA has to offer. When you join ACPA, you’ll be joining a force of, on average, 6,500 individual and 500 institutional members.

ACPA defined a new mission statement in 2019. Learn how it came to be by watching this video from 2020-2021 ACPA President, Vernon A. Wall.

excellence in equity

Through an intersectional and intentional approach, we are dedicated to addressing racial justice and decolonization in student affairs and in higher education globally. Racial justice and decolonization are the Strategic Imperatives of our moment in time in higher education, meaning that this mission is embodied in all the work we do.