« Back to Blog

AANAPISI.net Travel Grant and APAHE Pre-Conference


Facebook Twitter Mail

APAHE Pre-Conference
April 5-7, 2017

I am so happy that I got the opportunity to attend the APAHE conference, particularly the AANAPISI pre-conference section. During this session, I got to network with people from different AANAPiSI designated institutions. As we came together in the round tables, our groups discussed the various topics about summer programming to alternative funding streams for support programs. The topics that resonated with me the most were increasing student engagement and creating an inclusive college culture.

Kathy Dong1At UC Irvine, we are tackling these issues much slower than expected because I believe that a lot of people have not realized the campus culture is still submerged with the model minority myth. Therefore, they are not even aware that our campus is an AANAPISI campus. How have we been tackling this issue? I believe that we still lack discussion, but the round table discussions at APAHE helped me think of ideas on how to find new methods to reach more students and change campus culture. One of the campuses I found a lot of inspiration from was Sacramento State, specifically the Full Circle Project. During the conference, I attended their workshop and learned how they built their culture. In short, it took a lot of work and I truly admired how they institutionalized the program. They are also in progress in expanding their space. Within a short period of time, they were able to spread the word and truly brand the program as a signature activity of their campus. I think that is when students find their stories most powerful- their needs are recognized and validated. From these perspectives, I realize that the at UCI we talk a lot about campus climate, but moreover, we need to be talk about campus culture. Those two ideas are interconnected so the next working group meeting I participate I plan to bring up some ideas brewed at the conference.

Kathy Dong2

The ideas I plan to share is 1) to reach out to our Office of Institutional Research so we can find disaggregated data for the APIA community, 2) gather key stakeholders to begin a discussion about campus culture, 3) use technology to adapt the needs of a new generation of students, 4) include faculty into the picture, but help them understand the philosophy in student affairs and 5) implement data collection strategies since that can be a large gap. Kathy Dong3Due to most of the schools in their first cycles, I did not receive as much knowledge about assessment and evaluation. However, during lunch at the buffet, I managed to learn more about programs set with assessment and evaluation . Why assessment and evaluation? How does it connect with the other two issues I mentioned above? If our school strengthens assessment and evaluation foundation, we can share that the programs work and also continuously change based on the feedback. The University of Hawaii Manoa presentation proved to me that anything is possible. All of the knowledge gathering helps me in my pursuit to be a better student affairs professional as well as a stronger programmer. Overall, the conference was a great space to unite with the APIA community as well as strategize ideas for our institutions. The AANAPISI pre-conference session allowed me to be in community and talk in depth about the small and large issues I feel we all have at our institutions. Thank you APIASF for selecting me and I can’t wait to see what is more to come!

Kathy Dong
University of California, Irvine

Photos included: 1) On stage with the APAHE Outreach Committee, 2) At lunch with other APAHE attendees, 3) Met Michelle Nguyen from an AANAPISI school in Texas and got to know her better!

View More Blog