Towards Imagination & Effectiveness: A Letter from the Editor

By Ted Cockle

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    January is electric.  The air is charged with possibility at the outset of a new year.  What will this new year hold? 

    For Ideas, the new year has sparked some exciting developments.  Though Ideas has been a great avenue for reflection in the past, busy schedules have kept it from being the robust resource it was envisioned to be.  We know the importance of your work with students and the practicalities of daily life can take priority over writing or seeking out new resources. 

    Reflecting on your comments in the recent ACSD survey, the scholarship team thought through the needs of our membership and how to best meet them through the resources Ideas could offer.


    Drawing from language in the original mission statement, our hope is that Ideas would become—through brief and thoughtful discussions—a hub for imagination and effectiveness.


    The call to imagine invites us to truly consider the ends of our work.  What is the goal of our profession?  What are the questions we have yet to answer fully?  What are the underlying assumptions we have that ought to be questioned?  What makes our work distinctly Christian?  These are areas for imagination.  Let us employ our minds and imagine what could be.


    The pursuit of effectiveness draws us towards the perfect means of accomplishing our work. Flowing from our imagined futures, effectiveness will be inherently more practical. How can we build on what we are already doing well?  Let’s come together to discuss effectiveness that we might elevate our collective work as Christians in student development.

    Our hope is that the renewed vision will encourage our community of professionals to press into the very heart and nature of our work through thoughtful engagement and discussion.

    At the heart of Ideas—and the heart of ACSD—is a spirit of collaboration.  If you have been imagining the future of our profession or have a way to improve effectiveness, consider sharing it with the rest of the association. 

    Here is the submission page.  If you’re working on an article idea, but need some help fleshing it out, I’d love to help.  Submit what you have and we’ll work with you from there.

    Rolling Submissions and a Publishing Calendar

    If you’re interested in writing for Ideas, submit your idea anytime.  We will be accepting submissions at any point in the year.  Once the articles have gone through our editing process, they will be slated for publication at a relevant point of the year (e.g. Publishing “5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Hours” in early May).

    New Sections 

    The section headers have been re-organized to reflect the topics that will spark imagination and effectiveness, including two new sections I’m particularly excited about.

    Current Issues: pertinent and pressing issues in our work with college students: e.g. current news, social justice, sexuality, emerging adulthood, drug and alcohol use, etc…

    Best Practices: innovative, effective and transferrable student development practices presented in an accessible and relevant way.

    Faith & Work: exploring the integration of faith and student development. 

    Research & Reviews: reviews and summaries of current literature on higher education and student development.

    Resources & People (new): Interviews, clips, and other resources to equip and empower the ACSD membership. 

    ACSD Collaboratives: Professional specific content including but not limited to: Career Service Professionals, Commuter Services, First Year Experience, Housing and Residence Life, Multicultural, New Professionals, Student Conduct/Behavioral Intervention, Student Engagement and Leadership, Student Success, etc.

    Stories (new): Compelling narratives from the front lines of student development work


    The scholarship team and I are excited about the future of Ideas and hope you will be too.  We cannot wait to see how you will help the ACSD membership expand our imagination and improve our effectiveness.

    Visit the submission page and consider joining the conversation.



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