2018 NASPA Annual Conference

NASPA Pre-Conference Workshop Highlights

The 2018 NASPA Annual Conference offers almost 800 sessions made up of 50-minute general interest sessions, scholarly papers, innovation station programs, poster sessions, the very popular SA Speaks sessions, 2-hour extended sessions, and incredible 75-minute featured speakers. All of these learning opportunities are packed into three days in an effort to provide our members with a variety of ways to learn about timely topics and issues in student affairs. Our most focused and hands-on experiences take place on the Saturday and Sunday leading up to Sunday evening’s Opening Session. These are our half-day and full-day pre-conference workshops led by our industry experts who are ready to provide you with very focused and robust educational offerings. This Blog will highlight some of the full-day pre-conference sessions being offered at our 100th gathering in Philadelphia!

In order to register for most of NASPA’s pre-conference sessions you must be registered for the NASPA Annual Conference. There are three pre-conference sessions that don’t apply to that rule. You can register for the following two-day conferences without registering for the Annual Conference: International Symposium, Community Colleges Institute, and the Undergraduate Pre-conference Workshop.

At the International Symposium, participants will walk away with new and diverse student affairs perspectives and the opportunity to create new international connections in order to bridge global boundaries. Participants should attend the International Symposium to develop an increased awareness and knowledge of regional trends and international perspectives on student affairs and services; network with contact from multiple regions of the world; and to collect skills that can be used to promote internationally oriented practice, professional dialogue, and research. During the International Symposium, participants will be able to be a part of the global exchange, in which they will have the opportunity to exchange university swag from different institutions across the world! Additionally, participants also have the opportunity to partake in Dinner and Dialogue, a dinner where participants are able to break bread with international student affairs professionals and converse on critical global issues affecting higher education.

The Community College Institute (CCI) is a unique opportunity for community college professionals to come together and rethink the ways in which they organize programs of study, methods of instruction, and student support services. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn from and engage with other community college professionals on a variety of critical issues that affect them. With the continued focused on student success and completion, community colleges are uniquely positioned to lead the way for student success. The CCI offers attendees a chance to discuss issues specific to community colleges in a more intimate environment that promotes intentional dialogue and learning. This year the focus will be on Pathways to Success and will welcome two keynotes, Dr. Donald Guy Generals, President of Community College of Philadelphia, and Dr. Dhanfu Elston, Complete College America’s Vice President of Strategy for Guided Pathways and Purpose First.

At the Asian Pacific Islanders Promoting Educational eXcellence (APPEX) Pre-conference session participants will take away a stronger sense of community by meeting other supportive professionals of all levels, regions, and functional areas through the Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community (APIKC). Participants also gain a better understanding of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are essential to navigating a successful practice of leadership in higher education settings. APPEX is designed for any student affairs professionals who self-identify as Asian, Pacific Islander, and/or Desi American and seek to enhance their personal and professional development through a multi-culturally competent and holistic context. As an interactive pre-conference session, APPEX meaningfully engages its participants through large group activities, individual reflections, small group discussions, panels, presentations, and networking opportunities, which focus on leadership development, intersection of identities, current issues, and career growth.

Participants from past APPEX Pre-conferences have said:

“I loved the guest speaker and panel members. I thought the conversations were really insightful and thought provoking.”

“I loved being able to connect with other APIDA grads and professionals!”

“As a new professional, I am so happy [presenters] offered tips that [were] so applicable for where I am at in my early stages of my career in higher education.”

“Great pre-conference institute overall and it offered a home base at NASPA.”

The Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community (LKC) Institute: The Bell for Community, Inspiration & Action in Higher Education is an institute for Latinx/a/o higher education professionals and graduate students to be inspired to consider senior leadership roles including but not limited to directors, vice presidents, chancellors, and presidents. This full day session offers a support network to aspiring Latinx/a/o student affairs leaders through interactive discussions about culturally relevant topics, leadership and career development, networking and fellowship opportunities among Latinx/a/o graduate students and professionals working in different roles in higher education institutions around the country. Participants will have an opportunity to interact and network with senior Latinx/a/o higher education professionals; examine how Latinx/a/o professionals explore the racial diaspora and intersectionality of their identities in their personal lives as well as in higher education, specifically as student affairs administrators with a focus on understanding our multiple identities; learn 3-5 tips or action items they can apply in their ongoing professional development and 3-5 tips or action items they can apply as they consider advancing to senior leadership roles in higher education; and gain a better understanding of how community colleges impact Latinx/a/o students and how Latinx/a/o administrators can apply this knowledge to impact change. Dr. David Gómez, President of Hostos Community College is the confirmed keynote speaker. Also hear from Dr. Salvador B. Mena, one of the founders of the LKC and the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The “what I wish I knew” segment from four senior Latinx/a/o higher education professionals is a great takeaway. Cost for this pre-conference includes lunch!

 Participants from past LKC Pre-conferences have said:

“I was motivated by the fact that I was surrounded by inspiring Latinos. LKC is my home within NASPA.”

“I felt very supported by the LKC during a time in my career where I do not usually feel supported.”

“I love spending time with la comunidad and find this to be one of the most valuable aspects of the NASPA conference.”

“The LKC continues to be my professional chosen family and the pre-conference is my way to (reconnect with many Latinx/a/o colleagues entrenched in similar work around retention, graduation, and identity development.”

“This experience was enlightening and encouraging; it made an impact on me not only that day, but throughout the entire conference through connections and an overall feeling of support and belonging.”

The African American Male Summit is a popular pre-conference session that gives participants the chance to interact with senior student affairs African American men. The Summit provides participants with an authentic assessment of their goals and a starting point for their personal professional career trajectory unlike any other workshop or institute format. The Summit has been described as a “life changing experience”. Through engaging dialogue based around identified competencies, individual practitioners will be able to participate in areas that help guide their own professional development around the various opportunities that are presented to them. 

Participants interested in deepening their supervision skills through self-reflection, community building, and the application of an identity-conscious framework should attend Supervision Across Racial Identities: Tools for Identity Conscious Practices. Most student affairs professionals supervise at some point in their career, but rarely receive skill building around supervision and management. Professional development is often focused on skill building in functional areas yet often ignores the lived experiences of micro-aggressions, discrimination, and hostility in the workplace that prevent learning and growth. More often than not the dynamics of oppression and privilege show up in a supervisory relationship. The combination of a lack of training on supervision as well as the old adage of “not playing favorites” spells disaster for supervision across identities. This session will provide supervisors with the insight and skills needed.

Transforming the Meeting: Creating, Empowering, and Act of Hosting Socially Just Conversations is a ridiculously-interactive workshop will learn an actual toolkit of ideas/activities called “The Art of Hosting” that will truly change the way they approach building more capacity on campus to have difficult conversations on campus and create the change that that we desperately need to lift up underrepresented voices. If you are in any way tired of having the same meetings over and over again resulting in no actual change, this is the workshop for you. This is hands-on, action-oriented, and results-driven. The facilitator Ken Schneck is a stand-up comic/storyteller in Cleveland. This is sure to be an entertainingly good time as you learn new skills!

For individuals who are new to, or seeking, a directorship in student affairs, the Student Affairs Director Competency Development Pre-conference will introduce them to a comprehensive framework of skills (or competencies) that have been identified for director-level roles. These competencies have been vetted with new and long-term directors, as well senior leaders at multiple institutions. So, at a very basic level, this workshop provides a means and a guide to identify skills necessary for career advancement. In addition, as a part of the workshop, participants will take an associated self-assessment, which will provide them concrete feedback on their current skill level for each competency. Additionally, participants will think through how they might find support, training, and experience to improve their confidence or experience-level in a given competency. To help develop these action plans, participants will review their responses and placements, talk with peers, brainstorm structured goals, and hear from participants who have used the rubric in their own professional development. Participants should come to the workshop if they're seeking a director-level role or seeking to grow in their director-level role. These roles can often have more ambiguous expectations and parameters than prior positions. This workshop and set of competencies attempts to provide concrete guidance for participants to help focus their professional development. We also hope that the competencies and workshop activities will provide them with language that they can use to market their existing accomplishments. This workshop will be very discursive and active. In addition to the main speakers, who have developed the identified Director-level competencies, there will also be co-facilitators who have completed the associated self-assessment. They will provide their perspective on what they took from the self-assessment and different strategies they've adopted to act upon that information. Diverse perspectives are provided to participants as they consider their own results and next steps.

As student affairs educators, the role of the assistant/associate vice president is critical to advancing the profession. Director to AVP: Advice for Those who Aspire to be an AVP will cover four primary topics crucial for those who aspire to become an AVP. Through professional development advice, the session will also focus on the skills and experience needed to be successful as an AVP. At the end of this session participants will be able to identify components of the AVP role, at least two skill sets necessary to being a successful AVP, the differences between role of director or AVP, and the personal preparation necessary to become an AVP. Geared towards those who aspire to be AVPs, the day will be split between topic areas and open discussion. Having the opportunity to not only hear from those who have already made that leap (in the morning panel) but also being provided networking opportunities with other AVPs (in the afternoon) from across our field is invaluable. The process of advancing to senior leaderships in any field is difficult–attending this pre-con will provide valuable insight that will inform your preparation. 

Discrimination, Not Just an Undergraduate Issue: Discriminatory Behavior Experienced at the Graduate and Professional Level is brought to you by the Administrators in Graduate and Professional Student Services (AGAPSS) Knowledge community. AGAPSS brings together student affairs professionals who service this unique population of students for networking, knowledge sharing, and best practice creation. Discrimination impacts graduate and professional students differently than undergraduate students. Participants will take away a variety of tactical suggestions on servicing graduate and professional students who experience discrimination. This year, as NASPA celebrates its 100th year anniversary, AGAPSS celebrates 20 years of Graduate and Professional Student Services. And there will be cupcakes to celebrate! The pre-con will be held at The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Student Center allowing participants an opportunity to see a fantastic facility at another institution. Snagging ideas is welcome! 

The New Professionals & Graduate Students Symposium offers an opportunity for new professional and graduate students to share knowledge and experiences with people who are in a similar position in the field. This pre-conference not only allows for learning from one another, but also focuses on expanding your network. By attending this pre-conference attendees will gain knowledge shared by their peers about their approach to and involvement with student activism.

Ever been addicted to a silly game on your phone or computer? Do you have a project or activity that you'd like your students to get hooked on that way? Game Design for Student Success: Creating Pathways to Mastery through College to Career lifts the hood on what makes games so addictive and shows participants how to apply those principles to the activities or resources they'd like to see their students use more or better. Participants will leave with a working plan for applying game design principles to the project or initiative of their choice. It's almost impossible to take full advantage of what you learn from a conference workshop, even a full day workshop, without follow-on help. This workshop includes follow up with and by the facilitator for up to six weeks after the workshop is over.

To view the many other full-day and half-day pre-conference sessions being offered, go here.

To see the 2018 NASPA Annual Conference full schedule go here and click on Full Schedule on the top right.

Thank you to the pre-conference workshop leaders who contributed to this blog.

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