I haven’t posted anything on here lately. In fact, it’s been over thirteen months since I last put something up on my blog. There have been times when I felt like writing, but was simply too tired or just wanted to relax instead of writing. Then, there were times when I had the time, but had a block on topic ideas. I was okay with that. I figured when the right time came, when I would have both the availability of time and an idea, I would write a new blog post. Hopefully, that time is now. After all, I’m headed home on an Amtrak train with plenty of time to spare.
For the past four days, I had the opportunity to attend the first-ever institute hosted by ASCA, the Association for Student Conduct Administration. The ASCA Title IX and Student Conduct Training Institute, held in Baltimore, MD, brought together about 200 people from across the country who wanted to learn ways that we can better serve our students and institutions when investigating and adjudicating alleged incidents of sexual assault/misconduct. The fact that this institute almost sold-out demonstrates both the importance we place on this issue and the level of trust our profession places in the leadership of ASCA to provide high quality learning experiences. This institute did not fall short of that expectation.
For several days, and nights, I engaged in small group and large group conversations that helped reinforce the learning foundations needed to conduct quality investigations. Impressively, the organizers had the foresight that in order for this institute to be successful, smaller groups would be needed to encourage dialogue and build connections. Yet, equally important, as a training institute, the same material needed to be presented to all participants. Again, this was accomplished, as I spent the majority of my time with about 40 colleagues, 2 facilitators, and a curriculum team member. Meal times were spent in casual conversation that spanned both the personal and professional, providing more opportunities to meet others at the institute as well as get to know my small group members better. It was evident that those involved in making this institute happen put a lot of time and energy into ensuring a quality experience for all of us in attendance. The review of information, in an environment that encourages open dialogue, while providing hands-on learning experiences, for 200 people is not easy to accomplish. Yet, ASCA did it. Events, such as the the dog appearing out of nowhere during practice portion, added some light moments to the depth and complexity of this work.
The closing comments during the last session showed just how much everyone got out of the experience. The backchannel on Twitter throughout the institute had many excellent examples of what was resonating with attendees. It was also a great way to see how my colleagues were making meaning of what they were learning in their small groups.
For my student affairs colleagues looking for a engaging experience that will build your understanding, enhance your skills, and provide practice on conducting Title IX investigations with a committed group of professionals, look for the second ASCA Title IX and Student Conduct Training Institute coming in 2016.
Special thanks to all the attendees, the ASCA organization, my small Green team, and our team’s leaders (Brian Tomlinson, Matt Gregory, and Rachel King) for a great experience. And, congratulations to ASCA on a successful first institute.