Recently, NIU staff member Shana Ware proposed a new professional knowledge community—the Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention, Education and Response Knowledge Community—which was accepted and adopted by the NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education professional association. Ware, who coordinates Advocacy Services in the Counseling and Consultation Services Department, now serves as the co-vice chair of the Knowledge Community, which is the 33rd to be recognized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).
Along with her colleagues Constance Adams from St. Mary’s College and Wanda Swan from Emory University, Ware proposed the knowledge community to create a space for student affairs professionals to hold intentional conversations about issues that are connected with sexual and relationship violence, education and response.
“Sexual violence has been an issue that has always been paired with other issues,” Ware says. “Creating this space will help to create an intentional focus on the work that is long overdue.”
Ware met Adams and Swan through their joint efforts in founding CAPPA (Campus Advocates & Prevention Professional Association), with other founding members across the nation. CAPPA was created by and for campus-based professionals who work to educate their campuses and colleagues about interpersonal/gender-based violence in all its forms. They advocate for and support students who have been affected by dating or domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The new NASPA Knowledge Community will expand conversations about sexual and dating violence to include all student affairs administrators.
“By approaching NASPA, which is one of the primary organizations that represents the body of professionals in student affairs, we felt that this would be an appropriate space to create such synergy amongst professionals,” says Ware.
The knowledge community aims to provide resources to professionals working on all facets of campus interpersonal violence, including investigators, conduct administrators, prevention professionals, advocates and top level administrators. Another goal is to ensure that campus violence prevention and response efforts are student-centered and evidence-informed. Additionally, the community hopes to bring together campus professionals for ongoing support, to share best practices and to develop expertise in the field.
Ware says, “Because I am serving as co-vice chair to the knowledge community, I have an awesome opportunity to connect with colleagues across the country around some innovative ideas around prevention, response and collaboration with key stakeholders. NIU has an opportunity to become a model institution in relation to this work by being innovative, taking risks and challenging the status quo. My hope is that I can continue to be involved in these discussions at the top level in helping NIU to continue to move in a direction that sets our institution apart from the rest.”