Resources for Senior Student Affairs Officers
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Student Life in Catholic Higher Education: Advancing Good Practice

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Senior Student Affairs Officers



2022 Senior Student Affairs Officers Conference

Saturday, February 5, 2022

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Join us in-person at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC for this year's conference. Can't wait to see you there!


Student affairs professionals provide opportunities for personal growth and help students make healthy decisions within a framework of Catholic values. Given their pivotal role on a Catholic campus, ACCU offers these resources to assist them professionally and personally:

  • Student Life in Catholic Higher Education: Advancing Good Practice contains the collected wisdom of both current and former student affairs leaders, this book offers a blend of practical advice and personal reflection on leading student life at a Catholic institution.
  • Reprinted in 2017, Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs in Catholic Higher Education has long been the standard for understanding and assessing a vision of student affairs at Catholic colleges and universities.
  • Strengthening Catholic Identity – Student Affairs: This installment of a 12-part brochure series provides an overview of how student affairs seeks to develop students spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically in the context of Catholic values and Christian community.
  • In 2017, ACCU launched a conference specially designed for senior officers in student affairs. Bringing together expert speakers and representatives from Catholic colleges and universities across the country and beyond, this annual session equips senior leaders in student affairs with new skills and new ideas for working through the evolving challenges of their profession. More information on the upcoming conference will be posted soon.



United on the Verge: 2021 Senior Student Affairs Officers Conference

A 2021 ACCU Annual Meeting Pre-Conference Session

Thursday, February 4, 2021

12:30 - 5:30 p.m. (EST)


The 2021 conference offered senior leaders in student affairs the opportunity to reconnect with one another and focus on the mission in our daily work through a year of challenges unlike any we've ever known. Discussions centered "on the verge" of what's to come through the work of student affairs professionals now and in the future, with a focus on a mission-centered core, enhanced student partnerships with community, and being actively engaged in the Catholic call to action for racial justice.


The 2021 ACCU Annual Meeting pre-conferences included plenary sessions for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion OfficersStudent Affairs Officers, and Mission Officers attended jointly by participants of all three meetings. 

Thank you to everyone who engaged in extraordinary dialogue and collaborations on February 4!



Conference Schedule

12:30 - 12:40 p.m. Welcome and Conference Overview
12:40 - 1:05 p.m.

Connecting on the Verge: Senior Student Affairs Officers Breakout Sessions
2020 has been a year unlike anyone expected. As senior student affairs officers, we have had to navigate and attempt to integrate the personal with the professional, often with no division or break between the two. As colleagues, let's connect and use this time to check in and allow space for vulnerable conversations while we support and lift up one another. Attendees are encouraged to bring an artifact that represents their experience during this year to "share and tell" with your appointed small group.

1:05 - 1:15 p.m.
Promising Practices Updates & The Re-Envisioning Project
1:15 - 1:20 p.m. Break
1:20 - 2:20 p.m.

Collaborative Plenary Session 1
Finding God While on the Verge: Retaining and implementing mission at the core of Catholic higher education during challenging times and beyond
Where is God in all of this? How is that brought back to campus? Mission is more meaningful nowadays than ever and Catholic higher education's advantage. Let's discuss how we might bring more life to discussions on campus, infuse this into the student experience, and celebrate our mission and Catholic identity. Attendees are encouraged to bring their institution's mission statement to be used for self-reflection throughout the session.

Abbot John Klassen, Saint John's Abbey
Sr. Michaela Hedican, Former Prioress of the Saint Benedict's Monastery

Moderator:  Mary Geller, Vice President for Student Development, College of Saint Benedict

2:20 - 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Collaborative Plenary Session 2
Partnered on the Verge: Fostering Student Collaborations with Student Affairs, Mission, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officers
Join us for a conversation with panelists on fostering partnerships across campus, bridging communication and outreach divides during the crises of the past year, working together alongside students, demonstrating active listening, and incorporating the student voice.

Keesha Burke-Henderson, Director of Diversity and International Student Success, Mount Mercy University
Lawrence A. Burnley, Vice President, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University of Dayton
Ra'Neisha Carter, Student, Mount St. Joseph University
Janet Cox, Dean of Students, Mount St. Joseph University
Rayshawn Eastman, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Mount St. Joseph University
Sr. Karen Elliott, C.PP.S., D.Min., Director of Mission Integration, Mount St. Joseph University
Kaylee Ferguson, Student, Mount St. Joseph University
William Fischer, Vice President for Student Development, University of Dayton
Nate Klein, Vice President for Student Success, Mount Mercy University
Emma Lantz, SGA President, Mount Mercy University
Crystal Sullivan, Executive Director of Campus Ministry, University of Dayton

Moderator: Matt Goodwin, Associate Vice President & Dean of Students, Saint Joseph's College

3:30 - 3:35 p.m. Break
3:35 - 4:30 p.m.

Collaborative Plenary Session 3
The Catholic Call to Action on the Verge: Creating a unified and united Catholic voice on racial justice


Liz Ortiz, Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Equity, DePaul University
Adam Setmeyer, Vice President of Mission & Ministry and Director of Campus Ministry, Marian University
Christopher Whitt, Vice Provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Creighton University

Moderator:  Chris Haug, Vice President for Student Affairs, Neumann University     

4:30 - 4:45 p.m.

Closing Prayer and Remarks

Julianne Wallace, Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Alvernia University

Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., President, ACCU

4:45 - 5:30 p.m.

Fellowship and Key Findings Forum
Our day will conclude with round-robin style breakout conversations, loose and lighthearted, as well as time for self-reflection. We will unpack the day's experiences, share key findings, and "break bread" together with your favorite beverage or snack of choice.


Questions? Please contact

Many thanks to our 2021 SSAO Conference Planning Committee for their assistance in planning this year's conference!

Janet Cox, Dean of Students, Mount St. Joseph University
Mary Geller, Vice President for Student Development, College of Saint Benedict
Matt Goodwin, Associate Vice President & Dean of Students, Saint Joseph's College
Chris Haug, Vice President for Student Affairs, Neumann University
Nate Klein, Vice President for Student Success, Mount Mercy University

Additional gratitude to ASACCU for their support in planning the conference!


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