CACUSS is a comprehensive organization consisting of networks and Communities of Practice representing many topical and functional areas of Student Affairs and Services.
In Spring 2014, CACUSS underwent an organizational change process which moved our organization from having 6 "divisions" to a more nimble, responsive structure intended to evolved and grow to meet the diverse needs of our membership and beyond.
March 2015, we are pleased to announce the following Communities within CACUSS:
Communities and Networks
Aboriginal Student Services Assembly (NASSA) Contact--
We will focus on best practices in supporting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis students and work collectively to improve student experiences and success in post-secondary education.
We share common concerns regarding accessibility, equity, inclusion, and promotion of barrier-free campus communities for students with disabilities. We will share and discuss campus policies on inclusion as well as implications of federal and provincial legislation.
Academic Learning Contact--
We will focus on exploring and sharing knowledge and practices in academic learning and skill development. Our focus is to discuss the situation of academic learning/skill development within student affairs/services and the unique nature of our work within that context.
Community Engaged Learning Contact--
We bring together professionals who are interested in service-learning and community-based learning to network, share resources, strategies and best practices. We hope to share lessons related to building strong community partnerships and citizens equipped for life-long civic engagement.
Co-Curricular Record Contact--
Our purpose is to provide the opportunity and space for professionals across Canada to discuss the design, implementation, and best practices in delivery of a co-curricular record program. We will discuss research and strategies; challenges and successes.
Digital Communications Contact--
We will focus on best practices in digital communications with all audiences within the post-secondary environment. Our primary objective is to create a community of sharing effective engagement strategies using digital mediums.
Equity Seeking Groups Contact--
We endeavour to share knowledge among professionals responsible for equity work across CACUSS. We will share best practices regarding outreach programs directed at students who are part of equity seeking groups. This group will support CACUSS in our commitment to generate/share knowledge regarding equity issues in ways that represent the diverse CACUSS membership.
Integrated Academic/Professional Advising Contact--
We hope to bring together advising professionals from a range of roles such as academic, career, learning support, admissions, financial aid, student life, and student success. The focus will be on the core practice of student development and success regardless of the scope of advising (i.e. transactional or developmental). We will discuss common issues such as campus coordination, diversity or approaches/structures, increased attention on advising, bridging faculty and student affairs, and more.
Internationalization in Student Affairs Contact--
The Internationalization in Student Affairs Community of Practice aims to integrate international concerns, broadly construed, into everyday student services programming. To that end the CoP will share best practices and develop capacity to support international students and internationalization across Canadian campuses, and across internal divisions. Areas of focus will include promoting intercultural development and cross-cultural communication skills in students, recognizing and supporting international students through transition periods, using the strengths model (vs. deficit model) in international student programming and support services; and helping Student Affairs professionals address internationalization challenges with a cross-functional area approach.
Leadership Educators Contact--
We are a strong, supportive, and networked community of leadership educators in Canada. We share best practices generate new and innovative ideas, and collaboratively support our emerging professional development needs. We also hope to share research findings between institutions.
Orientation, Transition, Retention Contact--
We will share and discuss promising practices, current issues, and research related to orientation, retention, and transition programs at colleges and universities.
Post-Secondary Student Counselling Contact—
We focus on best practices in providing counselling services in a post-secondary context. We will provide leadership and advocacy for counselors and counselling services, facilitate professional development, provide opportunities for communication and networking, and support/recognize counselling initiatives and innovations.
Campus Mental Health Contact—
We are a collaborative, collegial, inclusive, and vibrant community which shares a vision to support student mental health informed by the Systemic Approach/PSSMH Guide. We hope to share knowledge, skills, and expertise that enable improvement of campus conditions for mental health of students.
Research Assessment, Evaluation Contact--
Research, assessment, and evaluation of educational programs are a means by which student affairs professionals can measure student learning and development and appraise the quality of co-curricular programs and services. We will promote and share relevant literature and design resources that support skill development in assessment and evaluation.
Spirituality and Religious Pluralism Contact--
We will focus on sharing best practices, developing tools, strategies and professional development opportunities. We hope to engage in research, discuss issues and emerging trends on campus spirituality and faith programming. Please click here to see the Spirituality and Religious Pluralism Community Charter.
Student Case Managers Contact--
The Case Management Network will provide a platform for professionals working within roles which support students who identify at being “at-risk” or in distress due to complex needs that may not fit within the current college or university system. Our goal is to share case management approaches, to communicate, identify best practices, share information, conduct research, and support one another.
Student Conduct Contact--
We will create, encourage, and support opportunities for professional development and resource sharing on the topics of student conduct, and the intersection of mental health, student advocacy, and threat assessment. We hope to build a resource hub on these important topics.
Student Health & Wellness Contact--
We bring together professionals who are focused on student health and wellness in its broadest definition. We include programs, health practitioners and researchers with an interest in health and wellbeing for post-secondary students. We will support the administration of the National College Health Assessment instrument, share data and best practices, and support professional development.
Student Peer Support Programs Contact--
We hope to connect professionals that supervise, support and/or coordinate student peer support programs. We hope to share resources, strategies, and best practices in programs such as peer mentors, peer helpers, and peer leaders.
Students with Family Responsibilities Contact--
We will focus on providing connections across colleges/universities for individuals interested in improving services for students with family responsibilities. We hope to share and generate new ideas for services and programs for this population of students.
New/Emerging Networks and Communities of Practice click HERE for resources and more.
What is a Community of Practice?
CACUSS Communities of Practice are the formal professional communities of the association and are based on the concepts of communities of practice,. Communities of Practice provide an entry point to the association for new professionals, facilitate professional networking and community for all members, and support the vision and strategic goals of the association by:
- creating and sharing knowledge,
- supporting professional networking and connections,
- fostering and promoting relevant research
- designing and delivering programs and resources that promote the professional and personal development of our members,
- identifying issues that require advocacy, and/or
- identifying trends and key initiatives that could become new organizational priorities.
 “A community of practice is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals” Cambrige, D., Kaplan, S., & Suter, V. (2005). Community of Practice Design Guide
. Retrieved May2010, from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/NLI0531.pdf (2005)
What is a Network?
Networks provide a less formal mechanism for members with common interests or roles to discuss shared concerns, challenges and ideas. Networks may be based on regional differences/issues, institutional roles (e.g., new professional through senior student affairs officers) and emerging issues.