Research & scholarship

ACPA believes research & scholarship efforts are a pillar of the profession and we support the advancement and sharing of knowledge relevant to college students and their learning, and the effectiveness of student affairs and student services professionals and their institutions.

ACPA Standards for Demographic Questions

ACPA has received feedback via the 2012 Membership Survey, the ACPA 2013 Convention Evaluation and the ACPA Equity & Inclusion Advisory Board that some members experience the individual membership form, convention registration forms and survey/assessment questions as marginalizing. We have received concerns that the individual membership form asks members to self-disclosure personal details. Depending on institutional policies and processes, the individual membership form may be seen by supervisors, accounting personnel and others who should not have access to an individual’s personal or social identity information. In this proposal, we delineate questions that are most appropriate to ask via the individual membership and professional development event registration forms from those most appropriate to ask via supplemental assessment instruments to eliminate these concerns about exposure and privacy.

This proposal presents a set of standards recommending an inclusive way to collect demographic information from members and/or event participants. We recognize, however, that demographic questions should be reviewed and updated annually by the Equity & Inclusion Advisory Board and the Governing Board Director of Membership Development with respect to evolving nomenclature and definitions.

Download the Standards for Demographic Questions Proposal to the Governing Board (PDF)


Requests to access membership for research and assessment purposes

ACPA is committed to supporting and advancing scholarship in the field of higher education and student affairs. Interested individuals should review the guidelines and instructions for requests to access membership information for research and assessment purposes. All researchers must be ACPA members prior to submitting a request.

Fill out the Request to Obtain Membership Information for Research Assessment Purposes Form


ACPA is committed to supporting and advancing scholarship in the field of higher education and student affairs. To that end, the following guidelines and procedures have been put in place for members interested in accessing ACPA’s membership for research and assessment purposes. The following principles serve as the foundation for the development of these procedures:

  • Research requests must fit with the mission and purpose of ACPA, be culturally appropriate, and comply with ACPA’s statement on non-discrimination* and ethical principles.**
  • Review of research requests will not include making judgments on the quality and rigor of the study as this is evidenced by the researcher’s home institutional review procedures and IRB approval, which must accompany each request.
  • Research supported by ACPA must be conducted in a timely fashion in relation to the request preferably within a year’s time.
  • Current ACPA policy does not allow for the release of e-mail addresses of members; however, ACPA does provide the service of sending an e-mail message and follow-up announcement, on behalf of the member researcher, on a timed schedule. This schedule will be determined, by ACPA, in consultation with the researcher. (Please note that ACPA policy allows for only one e-mail blast per week to members.)
  • All requests from ACPA members will be treated equally without regard to leadership or membership status.
  • ACPA has a responsibility to protect members’ rights and confidentiality. In addition, consistent with ethical research practice, research submitted for review must adhere to expectations regarding participant anonymity, confidentiality, and privacy. (nb: see definitions below).
  • The process must provide assurance that ACPA members will not be unreasonably burdened by research participation requests. As such, the Association will closely monitor the number of requests and will not approve more than three (3) research requests per academic semester.
  • Researchers will be required to provide a copy of a one-page abstract of the thesis/dissertation or study for possible posting on the ACPA Web site. Researchers will also be encouraged to submit proposals for national convention programs and manuscripts to ACPA publications.
  • Non-members requesting membership lists will be directed to contact ACPA’s contractor, MGI Lists, to purchase the information according to the contractual fee structure. In these instances, ACPA strongly encourages non-members to become a member of the association to gain from the benefits of membership.

For the purposes of clarity in expectation, the following definitions may serve as guidelines for researchers proposing studies using ACPA members:

Anonymity: Refers to one’s ability to participate in research without being identified. Respondents are not identifiable because either identity information is not requested or not disclosed. Anonymity should guarantee respondents that their name (or other information) will not be released or used.

Confidentiality: Refers to the treatment of information that an individual has knowingly disclosed in a relationship of trust, and with the expectation that this information will not be disclosed to unauthorized parties. Confidentiality guarantees respondents that their data will not be shared in a way that can be traced back to them. This agreement made with respondents is formalized through the statement of informed consent.

Privacy: Guarantees that access to personal information is not disclosed without respondent’s consent.

  • It is the policy of ACPA to promote equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. ACPA also complies with the District of Columbia Human Rights Law. The association does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, affection/sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or disability in any of is policies or practices. This non-discrimination policy covers membership and access to association programs and activities including, but not limited to, national conventions, workshops, placement services, publications, educational services, and employment.


  • Fill out the Request to Obtain Membership Information for Research Assessment Purposes Form
  • Elements of the application include descriptions of the purpose of the study; connection of proposed research to ACPA’s mission and core values; identification of who is being accessed (all ACPA members or subgroups); copy of IRB proposal and approval; and statement of anticipated risks if not included in IRB application; name of faculty advisor (if student requester) and contact information; timeline and duration of project; signature indicating compliance with research ethics and non-discrimination statements.

Review and Approval Process

  • Applications will be reviewed by the Director of Educational Programs and Publications, the designated person in the international office. All requesters will receive a confirmation of receipt. If the proposal meets all criteria, and the number of requests has not exceeded the maximum three (3) per semester, the international office will approve requests. In the event of any question or discrepancies, the international office will consult with the Director of Research and Scholarship, who will provide a second review of the request and application. Under typical circumstances, we expect that applicants should receive a decision within two to four weeks time. In more complicated requests, or when the Director of Research and Scholarship is consulted, the time may be extended.
  • Each request is reviewed for duplication of prior research topics and sample populations. Duplicate or similar research topics and sample populations will not be scheduled in the same academic semester, including summer.
  • If a researcher desires to send material to a specific commission or standing committee, the researcher should contact the chair of that group who can send an e-mail through ACPA web-based services.
  •  Requests to communicate with ACPA members via ACPA listservs will not be approved as listservs are primarily an informational vehicle for the association.

Fee Structure

  • Members whose research requests are approved by ACPA will not be assessed a fee.
  • Non-members requesting a member list will be directed to contact ACPA’s contractor, MGI Lists, whose information is provided in the Membership section of the ACPA Web site. Prices for mailing labels for non-members are available from MGI Lists; non-members are strongly encouraged to join the association at a cost of $129 or $79 for those who are employed at member institutions.

Terms and Conditions

  • An approval letter will be signed by the International Office and/or the Director of Research and Scholarship outlining all expectations and requirements. In addition, all letters of invitation to study participants must include language that the study has been approved by an appropriate IRB board and that the research internally approved by ACPA in accordance with our contractual obligations with MGI Lists.
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