mid-level community of practice

Thank you for stopping by to learn more about the ACPA Mid-Level Community of Practice (MLCoP). Take some time to look through our content and don’t hesitate to share how you’d like to get involved. Use the menu below to jump to a section of interest. 

Please contact us at mlcop@acpa.nche.edu or connect with the members of our Directorate Body with questions or ideas.

Our Mission

ACPA’s Mid-Level Community of Practice’s (MLCOP) Mission is to encourage, develop, and deliver programs and services focused on the needs of mid-level professionals in student affairs and higher education.

our purpose

The purposes for MLCOP are:

  1. To provide programs and services for the unique needs of mid-level professionals.
  2. To foster a community of practice that will sustain and enrich mid-level professionals throughout the year.
  3. To provide ongoing professional development opportunities through convention programs, leadership opportunities within ACPA, webinars, publications, and other forms of programming throughout the year designed for mid-level professionals.

MLCop History

During the 2012 ACPA July Leadership Meeting, the idea of creating an entity group to support mid-level professionals within ACPA began while Dr. Alice Mitchell was serving on the ACPA Governing Board as the member-at-large for mid-level professionals. Working along with Dr. Susan Sullivan, the member-at-large-elect for mid-level professionals, they began working with ACPA to establish the Mid-Level Community of Practice.

In March 2013, Mitchell drafted a proposal to the ACPA President Kathleen Kerr to establish an entity group for mid-level professionals. It was then approved by the ACPA Governing Board to establish a three year pilot entity called Mid-Level Community of Practice (MLCOP).

Over the next year Mitchell, Sullivan, and Dave Zamansky begin the work to formalize MLCOP as an established entity within ACPA. Dr. Nicky Damania was brought onto the team and worked on establishing an online presence and professional development opportunities.

In spring of 2013, the ACPA Governing Board revised its bylaws and recognized a Community of Practice as a standalone entity group. Finally on August 12, 2013, ACPA announced the establishment of Mid-Level Community of Practice to its membership.

Zamansky was appointed to serve as the first Chair, while Mitchell and Sullivan served as the representatives from the ACPA Governing Board.

Soon a group of 13 ACPA mid-level professionals were nominated, selected, and accepted to serve as the first directorate for ACPA’s first community of Practice, MLCOP (March 2014-March 2015). Those 13 individuals were: Alex Becking, Georgia Tech; Kristin Carpenter, University of New Hampshire; Jennifer Cox, Longwood University; Nicky Damania, University of Nevada, Reno; Kristin Dees, California Lutheran University; Lisa Evaneski, State University of New York at Oswego; Joe Halter, University of Colorado-Denver; Nate Hastings, University of New Hampshire; Beth John, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; Kia Kuresman, National Labor College; Benjamin Meoz, California Polytechnic State University; Jen Rentschler, University of Georgia; Jeanne Sevigny, State University of New York at Oswego.

The directorate worked hard over the next year to establish itself through programs at convention, webinars, article discussions, and more.

how we define Mid-Level Professional

Recognizing that many definitions or conceptualizations exist, MLCOP defines mid-level professionals as those with more than five years of full-time experience in higher education who are not senior professionals. The mid-level is a broad categorization. Recognizing this breadth, within this mid-level it is possible that formal or informal subgroups might develop to represent those who are early, mid, or senior within the mid-level itself.  If such subgroups develop better to focus on programs and services designed for mid-level professionals, we welcome and encourage the formation of such subgroups.

For some professionals, mid-level is a position at which they wish to remain for their professional careers. The reasons for doing so are as unique as the individuals themselves and which may encompass not only professional concerns but personal concerns as well. Likewise, some professionals see the mid-level as a stepping-stone to senior level opportunities. It is for this broad group of mid-level professionals that the MLCOP wishes to offer programs and services designed to enrich their professional practice.

News & Updates

Virtual Collective Visioning Sessions

Join the ACPA@100 Planning Team for VIRTUAL collective visioning sessions! Engage in conversations on the values and social norms that should guide our profession and Association as we prepare to meet the challenges of the next 100 years. Data collected via these...

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The Next 100 Years Podcast Series

The ACPA@100 Planning Committee seeks speakers for The Next 100 Years PodCast Series! Share your ACPA story while imagining what's to come in student affairs and higher education in the next 100 years. The committee hopes to have 2-3 speakers for each topic below to...

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Past Webinars through July 2021

Lessons from the field: Reflections on principles and practices to set your team up for success recorded: Friday, July 23, 2021 12pm-1:30 pm eastern Join former colleagues in a dialogue about the work we do, how to be good stewards, cultivating agency and potential,...

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MLCOP Suggested Reading List

Additional resources from our recent webinar on May 15,2020 Queers Need Resources Additional resources sample documents (links are case-sensitive): Alumni Funding proposal, Rutgers University: https://bit.ly/3eeuf0L Event tracking form: https://bit.ly/3efTGis Multiple...

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upcoming MLCOP events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Meet the Directorate

Dale O'Neill, PhD
Dale O'Neill, PhD



Loyola University New Orleans


Alex Matiash
Alex Matiash

Past Chair


University of Oregon

Jason Mockford
Jason Mockford

Chair Elect


California Polytechnic State University

Abby Priehs
Abby Priehs

Directorate Member (Professional Development)


Cornell University

Brandee Nicholson
Brandee Nicholson

Directorate Member (Newsletter)


Cornell University

Brian Lackman

Directorate Member (Membership/Volunteers)


University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Get Involved in mlcop

Become a member of the Mid-Level Community of Practice! Actively participate in opportunities that provide resources and support to members, both personally and professionally, with care, respect, and encouragement.

Ready to join?

Joining an Entity through the ACPA Member Portal automatically identifies you as a member of that Entity! When updating your profile denoting MLCOP entity involvement, you will begin to receive Entity communications and have access to any resources MLCOP shares.  This is the first step to involvement with MLCOP!

  1. Click here to log into the ACPA member portal
  2. Navigate to “My Account” in the upper right corner
  3. On the dropdown, click “My Profile”
  4. Update your Personal Information and use the tabs across the top to update your Entity Involvement Profile

Contact MLCOP via email at mlcop@acpa.nche.edu to learn more about ACPA’s Mid-Level Community of Practice.

Any ACPA member can become involved and there are varying levels of involvement:

  • Contribute to the Monthly MLCOP Newsletter. Each month, the MLCOP publishes a newsletter which includes articles about best practices in student affairs/services, current trends in higher education, research opportunities, as well as Mid-Level Professional Spotlights.  
  • Attend a program.  Throughout the upcoming year, we will host an array of professional development opportunities for you to engage in.  Many of these webinars and roundtables are free to you as an ACPA member. In addition, if you are unable to attend, there will be a recording that can be provided to you.
  • Serve as a reviewer. Each year, MLCOP asks for volunteers to review our Mid-Level Management Institute scholarship applications, annual awards, and convention endorsed programs.
  • Submit to be an endorsed program for Convention.
  • Attend our open business meeting at the annual ACPA convention.

Mlcop Awards and Scholarships

The depth and quality of work by student affairs educators, higher education scholars, and faculty colleagues too often goes unrecognized. Get Involved with MLCoP by recognizing and nominating a colleague, supervisor or supervisee, mentor, or other leader for an Award or Scholarship.

Start gathering information today and get ready to recognize colleague!

Donna M. Bourassa Mid-Level Management Institute Scholarship

The Mid-Level Community of Practice is offering a scholarship to attend the Donna M. Bourassa Mid-Level Management Institute. MLCOP will cover the registration costs for one ACPA member to attend this transformational professional development opportunity.

Applications are now closed.  Please visit us again in October forinformation concerning the 2024 scholarship.

MLCOP Annual Awards

Exceptional Mid-Level Professional Award

This award recognizes contributions made by an individual mid-level professional to the field of student affairs or higher education. Mid-Level Professionals are those who have been in the field for more than five years and are not a Senior Student Affairs Officer.

Mid-Level Practitioner-Scholar Award

This award recognizes contributions made by an individual or group currently active in MLCOP. The recipient(s) of this award will have created a body of work throughout the year that further expands the mission of MLCOP.

Outstanding Commitment to the Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization (SIRJD)

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to the Strategic Imperative for Social Justice and Decolonization. The nominee should be a mid-level professional.  Mid-Level Professionals are those who have been in the field for more than five years and are not a Senior Student Affairs Officer.

Distinguished Service to the Mid-Level Community of Practice

This award recognizes contributions made by an individual or group currently active in MLCOP. The recipient(s) of this award will have created a body of work throughout the year that further expands the mission of MLCOP. 

Notable Entity Partner Award

This award recognizes the contributions of an ACPA Entity Group or an individual working within another ACPA Entity Group.  Individuals or groups who have made a significant contribution to the Mid-Level Community of Practice should be nominated for this award.

Applications for awards are now closed.   More information to come in October 2023.