ACPA implemented its Senior Scholars Program in 1984. In support of ACPA and the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization, the mission of the ACPA Senior Scholars is three-fold:

  • To identify and support early career scholars through the Emerging Scholars program;
  • To encourage critical inquiry that advances knowledge of students and student affairs in higher/tertiary education; and
  • To serve as an advisory board that leverages collective wisdom and expertise for the Association.

The Senior Scholars Program provides scholars with a continuing opportunity to promote scholarship through the presentation of programs of interest to the profession at each national convention and to serve the association on projects related to their fields of interest. In 2021, Senior Scholars published a Statement of Action to guide their work in alignment with the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization. ACPA Senior Scholars represent the best of engaged scholarship relevant to student affairs work in higher education. Scholars are senior members of the profession (i.e., generally full professors or senior student affairs officers) who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to ACPA’s mission transforming higher education by creating and sharing influential scholarship, shaping critically reflective practice, and advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments. A maximum of 12 Senior Scholars can hold active membership. Senior Scholars must be or become members of ACPA and maintain their membership throughout their term. Senior Scholars serve terms of five years. The term begins at the end of the convention following their appointment as Senior Scholar. Senior Scholars are strongly encouraged to attend the convention at the time of their appointment to begin their orientation to the group.


Seniors Scholars must attend at least four ACPA national conventions during their five-year term and be active participants in the work of the Senior Scholars. Meetings are held the day prior to and day of the convention opening session. For the ACPA 2024 convention in Chicago, IL, those dates are Sunday, March 17 and Monday, March 18. In addition to participating in national conventions, Senior Scholars will endeavor to participate in conference calls throughout the year (typically four meetings). When possible, an optional in-person meeting may be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). All Senior Scholars are expected to participate in the annual review and selection of Emerging Scholars and Senior Scholars. Project leaders may coordinate other meetings as needed so that groups who oversee specific initiatives can organize for report outs during the Senior Scholar meetings/conference calls.

Senior Scholars are expected to serve the organization by participating in at least one scholarly leadership commitment annually, including, but not limited to:

  1. Coordinating ACPA Senior Scholars session proposal process for the ACPA national convention
  2. Directing the Emerging Scholar and Senior Scholar review, selection, and orientation processes
  3. Serving on committees or liaising with relevant groups (e.g., Senior Student Affairs Officers) of the Association
  4. Leading efforts to support ACPA’s mission, vision, and values and the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization
  5. Serving on the Publications Committee of ACPA, the ACPA Awards Committee, or the Marylu McEwen Dissertation of the Year Award Selection Committee
  6. Leading the Senior Scholar Grant Program
  7. Collaborating with the Senior Student Affairs Officer (SSAO) Advisory Board to develop an agenda for research and scholarship and identifying topics for research and scholarship that address day to day issues and concerns faced by senior student affairs officers in their professional practice
  8. Coordinating research papers and posters on the convention program team (can be a current scholar or a scholar chosen for this role by the Senior Scholars group)
  9. Advancing the scholarship agenda of ACPA


ACPA Senior Scholar Diplomates are encouraged to continue to serve the association and to be involved with Senior Scholar activities as they are interested and able. Diplomate status is conferred upon Senior Scholars who have fulfilled Scholar expectations and participated in at least four of five (2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029) ACPA national convention meetings during the Senior Scholar term.


New Senior Scholars will be recognized at the ACPA Award Ceremony at the convention following their appointment (i.e., 2024 in Chicago). Senior Scholars complete their term of service at the close of their 2029 convention; scholars achieving Diplomate status will be recognized for this designation at the Award Ceremony at that last convention.


To nominate a deserving colleague, please forward their name and contact information to Lori Patton Davis ([email protected]) or Ximena Zúñiga  ([email protected] ) in advance of the September 25, 2023 deadline for submission of all application materials. Nominees will be invited to apply for consideration by submitting the materials listed below.


To apply for ACPA Senior Scholars, submit a single PDF document with the following materials:

(a) cover letter with responses to questions below (no more than 250 words per question) and

(b) current CV.

  1. How can you help the Senior Scholars advance our statement of action?
  2.  How do your scholarly interests and trajectory align with those found in ACPA’s A Bold Vision Forward: A Framework for the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization? 
  3. How will being a part of Senior Scholars contribute to your scholarly and professional development?
  4. What role would you like to see the Senior Scholars play for the association and the field of student affairs?

Please submit the PDF application by 11:59 pm (EST) on Monday, September 25, 2023 to Ximena Zúñiga ([email protected]). Please indicate “Senior Scholars Application— YOUR LAST NAME” in the subject line of the email. Applicants will be notified in December 2023. For additional information about ACPA’s Senior Scholars Program, contact Drs. Lori Patton Davis ([email protected])  or Ximena Zúñiga ([email protected]).

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