CACSD 2018 Conference Theme

Being Well: Holistic wellness amidst brokenness

The 2018 CACSD Conference seeks to explore wellness issues and practices as student life practitioners grapple with the responsibility of providing safe and healthy environments where students can learn, develop and grow. A holistic approach to wellness that encompasses the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical is the hope and desire for both ourselves and our students. Yet often the stresses of life and our own brokenness keep us from experiencing this kind of wellness.

The keynote sessions, workshops and activities of the conference will seek to explore ways of building resilience both personally and professionally. As caregivers for others, student life professionals sometimes neglect their own well-being. In an effort to embody the elements of wellness in ourselves, opportunities for assessment and facilitation of our own personal wellbeing will be provided for conference attendees.

In addition to examining our own wellness, we will take a deep look at ways and means of promoting student wellness on our campuses. Through the sharing of strategies and programs, it is our hope that each attendee will be able to go back to their own campuses with new energy for the difficult task of caring for students who are hurting deeply.

The 2018 conference will be held from May 22-25 at Booth University College in Winnipeg, MB


Manitoba Regional Meeting 2017

031317-01On November 16th, 2017, Steinbach Bible College hosted the 2017-2018 Manitoba CACSD Regional Conference. Eighteen Student Development professionals from Steinbach Bible College, Canadian Mennonite University, Booth University, and Providence University College gathered together to share a day of reconnection and discussion.

After catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, we began our day with a time of worship led by Danielle Morton (CMU) complete with call and response, contemplation, song, and scripture. Following our time of worship, Debi van Duin (Providence) delivered an insightful session on the “Psychology of Communities”. Debi explained how Christian communities are meant to work using a passage of scripture from Ephesians 4 and then presented points on the secular view of successful communities – all the while highlighting both similarities and differences between the two community types.

After a delicious lunch catered by Steinbach’s Main Bread and Butter, we received a tour of the Steinbach Bible College campus from SBC president, Rob Reimer and then finished the day with round-table discussions led by Jessy Fehr (SBC). At this year’s round-table, we discussed collaborations for the next CACSD General Conference being held at Booth University, how to approach including students across the gender spectrum in residence, and what processes each school is developing for sexual violence/consent education and investigations.

It is always an informative and fruitful experience to get together with our colleagues from other local institutions and we look forward to meeting with the rest of you at the next General Conference in May 2018.

– Sarah Lageer

2017 CACSD conference bibliography

Here are many of the resources we (Keith and Kristie) mentioned during our time together:

Benne, Robert, 2001, Quality with Soul. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Benne’s text investigates five different Christian institutions to consider what makes them schools that exhibit “Quality with Soul.” Keith referenced this book in the third talk when considering Vision, Ethos, and People as the markers for excellent institutions.

Brueggemann, Walter, 2001, The Prophetic Imagination. Fortress Press.

In this book, Brueggeman studies the role of the Old Testament prophets and the ministry of Jesus and their role in the life of the people of God who have become numb under the power/knowledge regimes of what he terms “The Royal Consciousness.”

Dr. Brueggeman writes this primarily for people in church ministry, but I think it is apt for any of us working in higher education. Keith referenced this in his final talk as he considered the role of having a Gospel perspective that allows us to imagine “future alternative realities.”

Guthrie, David S., 1997, Student Affairs Reconsidered. University Press of Amer.

The homework I gave on student learning comes from this text edited by David S. Guthrie. Celebrating its 20th year in publication, Guthrie’s book remains one of the best works that attempts to understand various roles in student development from a Christian perspective. Keith had this at the ready to talk about regarding our foundational commitments in Christian student development (but didn’t quite get to it).

Inazu, John D., 2016, Confident Pluralism. University of Chicago Press.

Inazu explores the question concerning our ability (and responsibility) to remain steadfast in our commitments, while also being open to voices different than our own. Kristie referenced this as a possible resource for understanding conversations regarding diversity and inclusions at our universities. (A short video of Inazu from Q Ideas here:

Kelly, Kevin, 2017, The Inevitable. Penguin.

OK, he doesn’t talk about aliens and the church in this one… but this text was central in Keith’s considerations of how to be thinking about the future. Kevin Kelly’s focuses on future trends in technology, so don’t expect it to be higher education focused.

(Read his short piece on Nerd Theology here:

Postman, Neil, 1996, The End of Education. Vintage Books.

Keith referenced this in his third talk on foundations. Postman challenges the dominant narratives about education and offers a new set of stories that could function to reorient learning. In the higher education program, Keith pairs this with Wolterstorff’s Educating for Shalom (see below).

Selingo, Jeffrey J., 2015, College (un)Bound. Amazon Pub.

Selingo’s 2015 work has become ironically dated (largely due to his fascination with Massive Open Online Courses). Nevertheless, Selingo’s consideration of the unbundling of higher education in America is particularly apt for us and suggests that higher learning will soon look anything but traditional. Keith referenced this alongside the Herman Miller research in his third talk.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas et al, 2004, Educating for Shalom. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

This is a collection of essays and addresses by philosopher and educator Nicholas Wolterstorff. It is a poignant work on the purpose of Christian higher education and, ultimately, is working to answer, “What is Christian higher education for?” If there were one book I (Keith) would offer as a starting point to consider the integration of faith and learning, it would be this one. Some of the essays are relatively dense and academic and many others are really quite accessible.

Yancey, George A., 2010, Neither Jew Nor Gentile. Oxford University Press.

Dr. Yancey’s research on Protestant higher education in the US is amongst the best research in the field on the problems of race in HED and possible ways forward. Keith and Kristie referenced this in the second talk on diversity and inclusion.

Geneva’s Christian View of Diversity document:


Referenced by Others:

Crouch, Andy, 2013, Culture Making. InterVarsity Press.

Crouch’s book was referenced in Micah’s presentation on pop music and (perhaps) a few other places throughout the week.

DePree, Max, 2004, Leadership is an Art. Crown Business.

Depree was mentioned by Wally and Terry during Wally’s opening address, and he is also the son of the founder of Herman Miller furniture company.

Smith, James K. A., 2009, Desiring the Kingdom. Baker Academic.

Smith, James K. A., 2016, You Are What You Love. Brazos Press.

Smith has been an influential voice in the work of Christian higher education. The first of these titles is an important consideration/loving critique of the “worldview studies” that many of our institutions are doing. He offers a call to reconsider a Christian anthropology that defines us and our students as something more than “brains on sticks.” I’ve found him particularly helpful in thinking about how we educate in the classroom, on the athletic fields (pitches), in the residence halls, and beyond. The second of the two is a more popularized version of his ideas.

Vance, J. D., 2016, Hillbilly Elegy. Harper.

A top selling book in the US and what many believe is an explanation of the Trump Phenomenon. Terry mentioned this in his talk on Day 2. You can also take Vance out for a run as he does a long interview on the Ezra Kline show. Warning, there may be some salty language in the interview. (

Plenary Speakers

Kristie and Keith MartelK and K

Kristie Martel serves at Geneva College as the Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion. She studied Chemistry at Kenyon College, where she was involved in the ministry of the Coalition for Christian Outreach as a student. Kristie holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Geneva College. She enjoys running, tennis, interior design, fashion, makeup artistry, and cheesecake.

Keith R. Martel, PhD is the Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Arts in Higher Education Program at Geneva College. He is the co-author of Storied Leadership and an avid cycling and outdoor enthusiast. He currently has his mind wrapped up in philosophical ramblings concerning higher education and technology. On twitter @krmartel and  @StoriedLeader

Keith and Kristie live in Beaver Falls, PA with their two children, Simone and Gavin, and dog Echo.


2017 Conference Schedule

Friday, May 26, 2017 – Monday, May 29, 2017

Pre-conference trip in the mountains (separate registration)

Monday, May 29, 2017

2:00pm – Registration Opens (arrivals welcome anytime)     

4:00pm – Campus Tours

5:00pm – Welcome Reception – Courtyard

5:30pm – BBQ Dinner – Courtyard

7:00pm – Welcome and Worship                   

8:00pm – Fireside conversation or explore the city

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

7:30-8:30am – Breakfast

8:45am – Worship and Devotion

9:15am – Keynote Speaker – Keith and Kristie Martel

10:15am – Break

10:30am – Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

12:30pm – Lunch

1:00pm – Banff Excursions (options/cost on your own)

  • Banff Gondola & mountain top walk
  • Cave & Basin or Turtle Mountain hikes
  • Banff Shopping
  • Canmore to Banff Bike ride

5:30pm – Supper in Banff (on your own)

7:30pm  – Optional Activities: Return to Ambrose or Hot Springs (bring your bathing suit!)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

7:00-8:30am – Breakfast

7:00am – CACSD Fun Run

8:45 am     Workshop I

9:45 am   Coffee Break – Lower Atrium

10:00 am – Keynote Speakers – Keith and Kristie Martel 

11:15 am – Chapel (starts at 11:30)

12:15pm – Lunch & Round Table Discussions (offsite)                   

2:00pm – Workshop II

3:15pm – Break/Optional Campus and Residence Tour

4:00pm – CACSD Annual General Meeting                    

6:30pm – Closing Banquet  

8:30pm – Activities: Peace Bridge River Walk Downtown, Peters Drive-In, Fireside

Thursday, June 1, 2017

8:30-9:30am – Breakfast  

10:00am – Keynote Speakers – Keith and Kristie Martel

11:00am – Worship and Communion

12:00pm – Lunch

1:00pm – Post Conference Excursions

2017 Conference Theme

The Next 150: Preparing Students to Thrive in a Complex World

-5starstravelAs Canada celebrates its 150th year in 2017, This CACSD will focus on and celebrate the past while looking to the next 150 years and what lies ahead in Christian Higher Education. The contemporary moment in higher education is accented by issues that require a complex response. The political and religious history that shaped the residential schools, the human effects on the global climate, economic instability, changing perspectives on gender and sexuality, technological transformations, mental health issues on the rise, and an increasingly globalizing, diverse and pluralistic world confront students and challenge them to seek ways to engage the world. All require a sustainable, robust and faithful response informed by the gospel. Christian student development professionals stand in a unique position to mentor and support students through this learning process.  Join this pivotal conversation at the Annual CACSD conference in Calgary.

CACSD Pre-Conference

Only 6 spots left!

Cultivating Awareness and Developing Skills: Experiential Learning in the Rocky Mountains

66b8290c-8216-4ad0-bc9b-44b169e5f7e3When: Friday, May 26 to Monday, May 29   Who: Beginner to Advanced Hikers/Campers

f6407057-db17-4c1f-991f-3b0367fee3d9Join Dr. Wally Rude as he leads this unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiential-based outdoor adventure in the Rocky Mountains. You will spend time hiking, learning about experiential and outdoor education student development theory, plant and wildlife identification, and more! Another goal is ab074323-a4c3-4624-bb0d-d0f3cf14085athat participants will cultivate an awareness of God’s presence through scripture, prayer, natural beauty,
silence, and outdoor activity.This Pre-Conference event is limited to 12 participants accepted on a first-come basis. Please consider joining this outdoor adventure experience that will equip and train student development professionals for effective leadership.

This Outdoor Adventure Includes:

  • Experienced hiking guide
  • Transportation to and from Waterton National Park
  • National park passes
  • 3-night campsite rental with running water and toilet facilities
  • All food and drink
  • Tents, tarps, dishes, maps, first aid, bug spray, and other supplies
  • Cooking stoves, fuel, and cleaning supplies
  • Maps, firewood, matches, camp chairs, etc.
  • Resource binder with readings and prayers
  • Packing list – emailed to participants
  • Experienced nurse who will oversee any safety or medical concerns along the way   

Does Not Include:

  • Flight to Calgary

Early Bird (on or before April 22, 2017): $163
Regular (from May 6 to May 20): $200


Hiking Guide – Wally, Nurse – Paula, Menu Planner – Andrea


Email Wally or Andrea if you have any questions or are seeking additional information about this pre-conference at: OR andrea.hensen@ambrose.eduimg19

Alberta Regional Meeting

By Shannon Weiss – Three Hills, AB

On November 23rd, 2016 Prairie College hosted the 2016-2017 Alberta CACSD Regional Conference.  Twenty-five Student Development professionals from Alberta Bible College, Burman University, Ambrose University, Kings University and Prairie College were in attendance for a day of making connections and learning from one another.

fullsizerenderWe began our day hearing from Prairie’s President Mr. Mark Maxwell, followed by a time of hearing an introduction from each school featuring their Student Development team’s mandate and/or approach. It was interesting to see the diversity of our joy’s and challenges!

This was followed by various roundtable discussions on topics like Spiritual formation, Student Success, Human Sexuality, Sports and Discipleship, and Leadership Development with various Student Development Professionals hosting these important discussions.

We continued our fellowship over lunch in Prairie’s dining hall which was an excellent time to connect on a different level.  The afternoon was filled with more roundtable discussions on the same topics. The discussions proved interesting as many of our schools have chosen different approaches to various important issues.

We ended our time together with Shannon Weiss, Director of Student Development for Women at Prairie, sharing her thoughts on what has kept her in student development for over 16 years. She is finishing up at Prairie in February and moving into full-time overseas mission work in Mozambique Africa.

It was an encouraging and informative day of reconnecting with colleagues and friends.

We look forward to seeing everyone again at the Canadian conference.



Manitoba Regional Meeting – 2016

by Samantha Groenendijk

On October 27th, 2016 Providence University College hosted the 2016-2017 Manitoba CACSD Regional Conference. Seventeen Student Development professionals from Steinbach Bible College, Canadian Mennonite University and Providence University College were present for a day of fellowship, re-centering and professional development.


We began our day with a devotional time led by Jessy Fehr and Carla Ackerman (SBC), followed by lunch and tours of Providence’s new spaces. Our afternoon included a conversation around the topic of Healthy Student Sexuality, hosted by Sandra Loeppky and Charlie Peronto. We finished our day with a roundtable, during which we discussed how to more effectively communicate information to students as well as the tabling of the Manitoba Provincial Government’s “Bill 15: The Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Act” and what it will mean for our institutions. This bill will require all post-secondary institutions in Manitoba to have appropriate policies, procedures and educational opportunities in place to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus.

Our connections throughout the day were both refreshing and informative. It is always a blessing to be reminded that you are not alone in your efforts to serve students well and to gain a renewed sense of purpose in the work you’re doing for the Kingdom. We look forward to next year’s Regional Conference to be hosted by Steinbach Bible College.