In March 2024, ACPA will return to Chicago, Illinois for its Annual Convention–a celebration of the association’s 100th year. I encourage you to consider applying to serve as the ACPA24 Convention Chair! Leading the ACPA Annual Convention planning efforts, in collaboration with the ACPA International Office staff and team of dedicated volunteers, is a transformative opportunity to serve the profession and shape the convention experience for those who participate.

About Chicago

We intentionally chose Chicago because it was the site of the first convention in 1924. The Annual Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois ten times before, in 1924, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1962, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1987, and 1997. Returning to Chicago for the eleventh time in our 100-year history gives us an opportunity to showcase the third largest city in the U.S., home to nearly three million people. I invite you to learn more about the land, the people, and the history, the people of Chicago:

As this particular convention marks the 100th Anniversary of ACPA as an association, I ask that we come to know and honor the history and people of Chicago. It will help guide and lead our learning at ACPA24. According to the ACPA History website, “ACPA traces its beginnings to May L. Cheney who organized a teacher placement office at the University of California, Berkeley, and who became the first president of ACPA’s predecessor, the National Association of Appointment Secretaries (NAAS), in 1924. Called ‘Appointment Secretaries’ because they helped graduating students find appropriate positions, nine of them established NAAS in Chicago at the organizational meeting held during the annual educators’ convention,” as guests of the National Association of Deans of Women (NADW). 

Our convention in Chicago will be held on land that is and has long been a center for Native peoples. The area is the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe, or the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. Many other Nations consider this area their traditional homeland, including the Myaamia, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac and Fox, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, Kickapoo, and Mascouten. According to the Art Institute of Chicago,  “The region has long been a center for Indigenous people to gather, trade, and maintain kinship ties. Today, one of the largest urban American Indian communities in the United States resides in Chicago. Members of this community continue to contribute to the life of this city and to celebrate their heritage, practice traditions, and care for the land and waterways.”

We also recognize that Chicago specifically, and the United States broadly was built at the often-fatal expense of forcefully enslaved Black people. We must acknowledge that much of what we know of this country today, including its culture, economic growth, and development has been made possible by the labor of enslaved Africans and their descendants who suffered the horror of the transatlantic trafficking, chattel slavery, and, later on, dehumanization through segregation and Jim Crow laws (Paramount Theatre, 2021).

Like those before us who convened in 1924 with the common purpose to promote and develop the work of appointment offices throughout the country, emphasizing cooperation, research and service, the ACPA24 Convention will advance issues of social justice and take action in alignment with ACPA’s Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization. It is in this solidarity and action we will bring together new and returning members of our community to reflect, engage, and continue to build our capacity to boldly transform higher education for the next 100 years.

About the ACPA Convention Chair Role

The Convention Chair is a key volunteer for the association: 

  • In partnership with the Vice President, sets the overall vision for the Convention. Has overall responsibility for the Annual Convention Program and Curriculum and serves as the cost center manager for the convention program budget, working directly with the International Office.
  • Leads the Convention Steering Team.
  • Sets and chairs all team meetings.
  • Appoints members of the Convention Steering Committee and Convention Planning Team through an open process, in consultation with the ACPA Vice President and International Office Team, and Convention Steering Committee leads for each area.
  • Serve as budget manager for convention program and curriculum costs, approve all expenditures, and oversee convention finances in conjunction with the Deputy Executive Director.
  • Implement the convention planning timetable and curriculum as developed by the Convention Steering Committee, Convention Program Team, and International Office Staff.
  • Consult with the Director of Professional Development regarding the convention budget, overall convention management, and overall schedule and promotion.
  • Consult with the local arrangements team regarding local arrangements and special amenities.
  • In conjunction with the program team, oversee the development of the convention program curriculum and planning cycle from program submission to convention execution.
  • Communicate with the Governing Board and various entity chairpersons concerning the development of the convention program.
  • Determine fiscal appropriations of the convention program budget and host functions in consultation with the International Office Staff.
  • Collect and coordinate reports from Convention Steering Committee and Convention Program Team; prepare and provide a Final Report within three (3) months after convention.

To Apply for ACPA24 Convention Chair

Chairing the ACPA Convention is a great feat, and often mentioned as one of the highlights of one’s career.  We welcome passionate candidates who have experience in setting a vision, leading volunteer teams to accomplish that vision, and building relationships with Association leaders and members alike to shape inclusive communities.  Join us in boldly transforming higher education. Applications are due Friday, July 22, 2022.

An open call for the ACPA24 Convention Planning Team membership and volunteers will be shared in the months following Convention Chair selection.

If you have any questions, please contact Tricia Fechter Gates, ACPA Deputy Executive Director, by email at or phone at 202.759-4825. 


heather shea headshot
Heather D. Shea, Ph.D.
ACPA Vice President (Incoming ACPA 2023-24 President)


Click here to apply for the ACPA24 Chair Position