2023 Regional Director Elections

Candidate profiles for the current regional director elections are available below. The candidates who receive the most votes for their respective offices will be installed as such at the Regional Conferences in 2023. Eligible voting members will receive notices regarding voting in the election via email.

The Region II, VI, and VIII elections will occur from May 8 to May 25 at 11 p.m. Eastern. The Region IV election will occur from May 12 to May 26 at 11 p.m. Eastern.

Candidates in elections have been asked not to campaign on their behalf, and the same is asked of all ACUI members. All of the information below was submitted by the candidates; the content has not been edited by ACUI. You are encouraged to contact candidates with any questions regarding their candidacy.

Region II

There is one candidate for one Region II director position, which carries a two-year commitment. You can find the candidate profile below; select each question to view responses.

Kat Masters, Texas State University

Kat Masters is the conference services coordinator at Texas State University. Romero can be reached at knr95@txstate.edu.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing ACUI's regions and how should the Association respond?
I believe one of the most significant issues facing ACU I’s regions is the simple fact that so many student affairs professionals are leaving the field, ultimately depleting the volunteer pool for our Regions. Professionals are leaving the field due to lack of pay or lack of flexibility in schedule. I am aware these are not issues the association can address. However, there are ways the association can provide a light for our professionals to fall in love and remember our why, like ACUI has always done for me. We, as an association, can do this by providing more free and affordable professional development opportunities, especially for volunteers. Maybe there is a way to discount conference registration for regional volunteers, making that institutional commitment more obtainable and giving that professional who may be a part of a different association the opportunity to get involved with ours. Our programming and free online professional development during the pandemic was exceptional; although we could not meet in-person, I felt that our bond as an association grew tighter than before. Since the pandemic has mellowed out and in-person events have begun again, the online platform for free learning has somewhat been halted at the regional level. It would be awesome if, regionally, we could provide more free educational content for our members. It is difficult as we all go from 0 to 100 at our individual institutions, but to take a little time, even just for a round table, could be an outlet for regional members they do not currently have. A safe space, a place to bounce ideas and grow as a region, is something we can easily give to our members. This leads me to my next point, and I believe we regionally need to focus more on self-care and provide content centered on how to have conversations around self-care. If there is one thing I have learned while working full-time and going back to school for my master’s degree, it is that if you do not take care of yourself, there is no chance you can take care of your students and employees. But having those conversations about needing a mental health day can be difficult. It is hard to admit you need a day or to admit you need a 30-minute wellness break sometimes. Suppose we can center discussions around the acceptance of self-care and address how to have those conversations. In that case, I think we can change the narrative, and it won’t necessarily be a daunting conversation but the norm in our field. I genuinely believe that between those two efforts, the association and help bring back the why and help retain members and volunteers within the association and the field. 
Relevant Experiences
Over eight years of experience working directly in events & conferences in Higher Education. Four years served as Region II Business Manager with significant involvement in conference execution.
Educational Background
  • M.Ed in Student Affairs in Higher Education, May 2023  
  • Texas State University  
  • B.B.A. in Accounting, May 2017 
  • West Texas A&M University  
Kat Masters

Region IV

There is two candidates for one Region IV director position, which carries a two-year commitment. You can find the candidate profile below; select each question to view responses.

Dana Bonifacio-Sample, Portland Community College

Dana Bonifacio-Sample is the director of student life & leadership at Portland Community College. Bonifacio-Sample may be reached at dana.bonifaciosample@pcc.edu.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing ACUI's regions and how should the Association respond?
Regions are facing many important issues that were amplified during the pandemic and continue to be at the forefront of Student Union, Activity, and Community Building professionals’ minds. -Staff burnout that leads to reduced ACUI volunteer applications and availability -Declining enrollment and student fee revenues that limit staff travel budgets -Belonging, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are key topics for learning within our Association. Need for more people of color within ACUI, volunteer roles, and within the field -Region IV (and each Region) is unique. Region IV covers a vast area of the Western United States and Canada. It is extremely challenging to bring the members of the Region together due to the thousands of miles between areas. Responses The Association is aware of the challenges faced by the Regions. Establishing the work group to explore member concerns was a great first step in identifying and addressing these challenges. Providing and marketing short term volunteer opportunities to all experience level members to increase awareness of less demanding opportunities. Continue to utilize Zoom and other web-based platforms to reduce costs and time commitments of members looking to be more engaged with ACUI. 
Relevant Experiences

Association of College Unions International (ACUI), 2009-Present 

  • 2019-2022 Education Council 
    • Co-Convener
  • 2019 Conference Planning Team, 2017-2019 
  • ACUI Education and Research Fund Committee Member, 2015-2019  
    • Honors Ceremony Planning Committee, 2017-2019 
  • Women in Leadership Community of Practice 
    • Co-Chair,2015-2016 
    • Chair,2014-2015 
    • Co-Chair,2012-2014
  • ACUI Region IV Conference Volunteer, 2014 
  • Annual Conference Volunteer -2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 
  • Region 9 Scholarship Committee, 2010 

SEC Union Directors Annual Meeting, 2016, 2017 

Visit Anchorage, Anchorage Convention & Tourism Bureau, 2011 – 2015 

Northwest Union Directors Annual Meeting, 2012-2014 

Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (NASPA) 2009-2012, 2016-Present 

  • 2011 Annual Conference Program Reviewer 
Educational Background
  • Master of Science in Education- Higher Education, Educational Admin. & Higher Ed -Southern Illinois University Carbondale -2011
  • Bachelor is Science - Social Work -Southern Illinois University Carbondale -2003 
Dana Bonifacio-Sample

Erin Dewese, University of Colorado–Boulder

Erin Dewese is the director, Center for Student Involvement at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Dewese may be reached at Erin.Dewese@colorado.edu.

What do you believe are the most important issues facing ACUI's regions and how should the Association respond?

If selected to serve as the Region IV Director, my main goal will be to support Region IV institutions and the Regional Leadership team build upon the great work that is being done, while also adapting, developing, and building for the future through member engagement, programs, resources, and networking opportunities. I have had the privilege to serve in a variety of roles within ACUI and while reflecting on the opportunity to serve in the Regional Director position, the following issues came to mind that would be important to address and work on while in this role:  

Staff Engagement and Retention: 

As student affairs professionals continue to carve out their path within this field, or as they look to engage in a new field, it is critical for associations like ACUI to ensure that the time people are investing to attend conferences, serve in volunteer roles, or engage in online learning opportunities, is worth it. If people are choosing to invest their time with ACUI it is our responsibility as an association to ensure there is a return on their investment. How are we marketing opportunities within the association to students and staff to invest in themselves personally and professionally by learning new skills and networking with colleagues across the globe.  


This one may be an issue that is more unique to Region IV, but I think it is one that is important to note and address. Region IV is geographically big and therefore there are some unique challenges when thinking about engaging campuses across the region. In Region IV, we can’t host a “drive-in” experience and expect for everyone to be able to attend. Often flying to a regional conference can be the same amount as it is to fly to an annual conference. Fortunately, the pandemic gave us all the opportunity to learn more about ways technology can connect us. If elected to this role, I want to focus on finding creative ways to connect campuses with similar needs and help members network across the region and association. Additionally, ensuring that the investment that institutions and staff are making to be engaged at regional (and association) level activities are worth the time and financial investment they are making to be involved.  

Understanding Institutional Needs: 

I have been away from the Region IV Leadership team for a few years, and I would love to focus on learning more about the needs of campuses and identifying ways that ACUI can help through innovative programs, new services, and on-demand resources that support the work that is done at the campus level. It is a financial investment on behalf of a campus to be a member within ACUI and with campus budgets continually being in flux, it is important to ensure institutions find the investment “worth it”. 

Relevant Experiences
Professionally I have worked in Higher Education since 2005 when I worked in Residential Education as a graduate assistant while working on my Masters degree. Since that time, I have worked in several function areas including, Housing & Residence Life, Academic Advising, the Student Union, and Student Involvement. I have been at the University of Colorado Boulder for twelve years in a variety of positions, but I am currently the Director of the Center for Student Involvement and have been in this role for almost two years. Within ACUI I have had the privilege to serve in several different roles, both at the regional and association level. As a member of previous Region IV Leadership Teams, I have served as the Communications Coordinator for two years and before that held the role as Educational Programs Coordinator. In 2020-2021 I was on the Conference Planning team for the NYC conference, that pivoted to be a virtual conference experience during the global pandemic. 
Educational Background
  • M.Ed. Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Utah  
  • B.A. in Communication Studies; minor in Leadership Studies from Humboldt State University 
Erin Dewese

Region VI

There is one candidate for one Region VI director position, which carries a two-year commitment. You can find the candidate profile below; select each question to view responses.

Heather Wagoner, Virginia Tech

Heather Wagoner is the director, student engagement and campus life at Virginia Tech. Wagoner may be reached at hwagoner@vt.edu.
What do you believe are the most important issues facing ACUI's regions and how should the Association respond?

As we continue to evolve and understand the impact of COVID on our profession and association, we must remain steadfast in our goal to uplift the critical work of student union and student activities professionals. We are the community builders, the educators, and the champions that allow our students and community to feel seen, heard and valued. With this in mind, the submit the following as the most important issues facing ACUI’s regions and how the Association could respond. 

1. The role of the regions 

a. It is important that we clarify the role of the region including expectations for regional leadership, regional membership and regional activities. Without clear expectations, measuring progress and success is challenging and leads to conflict and confusion on the best path forward. The Association, in tandem with regional leadership, should examine the proposal put forward when re-creating regions and evaluate the ideals of the document with the reality of the regions. This, alongside the work of the regional task force, should be used to create a strategic plan that showcases direct, shared work to move the association forward.  

2. Research and Services 

a. Region VI has conducted a needs assessment of regional members in 2022 and 2023 and found numerous services and information that would benefit our members. The Association should (a) invest in better website and cloud options so that regions can gather and post data in easy, on-going ways. This includes a salary database, position description database, student and staff training documents, and annual reports from member institutions. Further, the association should consider investing team resources in assessing the needs of members across regions and creating the most in-demand research and services.  

3. Financial solvency  

a. Regional budgets are on a vast spectrum, thus affecting the experiences of both member institutions and regional leadership volunteers. The volatile landscape of regional finances creates a feeling of “the haves and the have nots.” Working hand in hand with regional leadership, the Association should consider the desired experiences for members and create reports that show different financial plans to support said experiences.  

4. Freedom and Creativity  

a. Regions are a fertile ground for creative, “let’s try it” ideas that could benefit the association as a whole. I am proud that Region VI is trying a new model for our regional conference, with three host sites over the course of the same weekend. This is a new way of thinking and if successful, could give another model for others to try. I applaud the association’s willingness to allow regions to experiment and ask for continued support in this way. 

Relevant Experiences

Professionally, I have worked in Student Unions and Activities since 2003 where I began my journey as the graduate assistant for Carolina Productions. I adore engagement work and feel that this work is where I belong. It is a thrill to watch students and staff grow, becoming more confident and skilled with each experience. To be In my twentieth year in higher education –at what is very likely the halfway point in my career – it’s truly the professional ride of a lifetime.  

My ACUI volunteer experience has been focused. I have served as the Region VI Regional Director since January 2022 and am so enjoying working with a group of dedicated leaders to highlight the best of what we do each day—creating community. I also served on the 2021 Conference Planning Team (NYC turned virtual conference).  

Outside of ACUI, I have volunteered with my son’s school’s PTA as PTA treasurer from 2018-2020. I remain an active member of the PTA. 

Educational Background
I have my B.S in Communication Studies (emphasis in public relations) from James Madison University (’02). My M. Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina (’05). My Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Evaluation from the University of Kentucky (’17). My dissertation focused on the experiences of women student leaders and reviewed the intersection of gender and social roles and leadership expectations. 
Heather Wagoner

Region VIII

There is one candidate for one Region VIII director position, which carries a two-year commitment. You can find the candidate profile below; select each question to view responses.

Adam Dunbar, University of Massachusetts–Lowell

Adam Dunbar is the director, student affairs at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell. Dunbar can be reached at Adam_Dunbar@uml.edu.
What do you believe are the most important issues facing ACUI's regions and how should the Association respond?

One of the most important issues facing ACUI’s regions is engagement and continuing to build community as members struggle to fit professional development into their list of competing priorities. Professionals today want to learn, share ideas, work through challenging situations, find commonality with one another, and volunteer their time to help themselves and others grow. Where that fits into someone’s day, however, even for one hour, is becoming more of a challenge. If people are choosing to invest their time with ACUI it is our responsibility to ensure there is a return on their investment. Knowing that by choosing us they are choosing not to do something else, we have an obligation to ensure their engagement experience meets their expectations. Because of that, we need to make sure those investments are something that enrich, diversify, and enhance members professionally. For us to truly respond to and meet this need, it is our job as those in leadership roles to work towards cultivating and facilitating new opportunities in ways that people don’t want to miss out on. This should be done by connecting with members 1:1 via face-to-face interactions, social media, and other engagement platforms to get the pulse of our members. Only through this will we start to regain the pulse of our regions again, and get the feedback needed to make informed decisions for members. 

Another issue we face is the need for an improved marketing strategy. Recognizing we get flooded with emails daily, an email campaign alone to market events, deadlines, and other offerings is simply not enough. We need to focus more globally on how we learn about events and opportunities. When you look at marketing through this lens, it cannot be argued that word-of-mouth conversations, strong social media presence, and developing targeted marketing campaigns via the mail create well-rounded, inclusive, and strategic campaigns that optimize visibility while providing multiple means of delivery. I also believe that personal connection plays a large part in someone’s decision to participate in an event or experience. Utilizing current volunteers and members to help recruit new ones is often the simplest yet most impactful way to recruit people. One new way we have started to do this, particularly targeting those abroad is with the appointment of an International Communications Liaison whose goal is to engage members overseas to create ways beyond emails for members to see value in programmatic and network opportunities we are offering as a region. These efforts are done through utilization of overseas professional networks, face to face communications, and involvement in other ACUI offerings beyond the region. Beyond this role, we are taking a more targeted approach with our communications liaisons to grow our reach through targeted and increased social media presence, creating a seamless marketing approach between the conference and regional opportunities, and ensuring our marketing efforts are multifaceted.  By continuing to develop and enhance these efforts we will surely take our marketing strategy to the next level and address this current need. 

Relevant Experiences

When looking at my relevant professional experience in relation to being a volunteer, a few items come to mind. One of them is my ability to supervise a team in a fast-paced environment. Inclusive of (2) full-time staff members, (2) graduate fellows, and a number of International and domestic students, I oversee a staff of (50) that manage the day-to-day operations in our student center which yields over (7,500) events a year. In addition to this, I collaborate daily with faculty, staff, and external guests for all major events and help them to realize their event goals.  

Additionally, I have been actively involved in DEI initiatives across our campus. I am trained as one of our Intergroup Dialogue facilitators on campus to help facilitate conversations around race and ethnicity for students, faculty and staff. I was a member on the University’s Council on Social Justice and Inclusion, and have served as a member of the Culture and Climate Committee aimed at changing campus culture surrounding DEI across all areas of campus. 

In Region VIII since 2011 and currently serving as regional director, I have been Student RD, an Ed Council Member, Conference Volunteer Coordinator, Non-US-Program Coordinator, Host chair, Conference Chair, and Interim Education Coordinator. In all of these roles, I have been intentional on helping to engage the region with programs and initiatives ranging from monthly webinars and social justice programming, to putting on a regional conference. I also recently served as a member of the 2022 Annual Conference CPT in Chicago.   

I also have a M.Ed in Higher Education Administration, and understand the value of involvement and sharing knowledge between colleagues. 

Educational Background
  • High School - 2007 
  • B.S. Criminal Justice - 2011 
  • M.Ed Education Administration – 2014 
Adam Dunbar

There are many situations in which ACUI members are asked for their vote. For instance, Board of Trustees or regional director elections and some new initiatives or bylaw changes that require member approval. To be eligible to vote in any ACUI election, you must be a member at an institution in good standing. Regional elections are limited to those members in the particular region holding the election.

If you have any questions regarding ACUI elections, please contact the ACUI Central Office at 812.245.2284 or acui@acui.org.