2018 NASPA Annual Conference

Pre-conference Presenters share more on their topics: Sunday morning installment


As a follow up to our blog highlighting full-day pre-conferences, we've asked the half-day pre-conference presenters to tell us a little more about the topics they are bringing to #NASPA18. Thank you to the pre-conference presenters for contributing to these session highlights.


As NASPA celebrates the 100th annual conference, the Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Knowledge Community pauses to remember some of the darkest days in our profession and to reflect upon lessons learned from tragedies on our campuses. While nothing can replace the heartbreaking loss many campuses encountered, student affairs leaders involved in crisis response worked tirelessly to ensure that their lessons learned would improve campuses across the country. Stories of Courage: Lessons from 100 Years of Campus Safety and Violence Prevention will offer participants the chance to reflect upon these experiences and to consider their own role in campus safety and violence prevention. While the workshop will include a historical look at the events that shaped our profession, participants will also have the opportunity to reflect upon current campus safety issues, such as student activism, sexual assault prevention, and psychological emergencies. The workshop will include a policy update on legislative matters impacting campus safety and violence prevention. Attendees can reflect upon their own experiences responding to difficult situations on college campuses, whether they are low-profile situations that go relatively unnoticed or high-profile tragedies that gain national attention. Student affairs professionals will have the opportunity to learn from campus leaders who led some of the worst situations our profession has ever faced, as well as consider their own preparation for and learning from crisis response in their roles. Participants who are unable to attend the pre-conference workshop are encouraged to attend one of the other educational sessions sponsored by the Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Knowledge Community. 

Mind the Gap: Strategies for Bridging Student and Academic Affairs is great for student affairs practitioners, administrators and faculty alike! Interdisciplinary research teams, service learning, living learning programs, faculty fellows programs, and committees on student learning are all covered and discussed in a mini choose-your-own-adventure format. We all have a role to play to bridge the gap between academic affairs and student affairs. Regardless of your position or role within the academy, presenters discuss the currencies of academic and student affairs as well as strategies to fill the gap to better serve students. Attendees leave with a written action plan which employs strategies to fill the gap at their institutions. Participation is key. Come ready to engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues as we review the history of the gap, discuss cultural currencies, review the academic partnership continuum and share various frameworks in practice to ensure successful collaborators.

Becoming an Individual & Institutional Advocate for First-generation College Students will focus on advocacy of first-generation college students at an institutional and individual level for student affairs professionals of all functional areas and at all levels within a college or university. The presenters will explore the notion of challenging systemic deficit thinking as it pertains to first-generation college students. Deficit thinking impacts and informs educational policies that further exploit oppression toward disadvantaged populations (Valencia, 1997).  Changing the paradigm from deficit thinking can allow advocates to shift the focus to developing policies and strategies centered on strengths-based thinking. This pre-conference will support shifting from deficit thinking to promoting student success. The biggest takeaway for this pre-conference is to empower individuals to build individual and institutional advocates for first-generation college students. Participants will explore how to strategically develop campus-based advocacy efforts for this population of students. Attendees will focus on how to individually and institutionally promote change and advance the goal of student success for first-generation college students.  For those looking to engage with other first-generation college student advocates to build practical strategies on how to advance the services their institutions offer, this pre-conference is for you. The presenters will engage participants in theories that build the bridge between theory and practice by exploring methods to improve student success for first-generation college students on an individual and institutional level.

Participants should attend Bridging Relationships Across Difference: Using Intergroup Dialogue Method to Cultivate Global Student and Staff Leaders if they are looking to start, or further build intercultural competencies among students or staff. If a department is looking for methods to host difficult conversations, or just creating a space, for dialogue to exist, this session is for them. Participants will engage interactively with presenters and other participants to experience the effectiveness of dialogic methods. Walk away with concrete activities and methods to start promoting social justice and cultivating an inclusive campus, particularly with a look at how student and staff leaders. Come willing to learn, grow, teach, and share.

Addressing Student Mental Health: Understanding the Past in Order to Plan for the Future is ideal for those who lead or supervise counseling services on campuses, or for those who hope to during their careers. Participants will be able to describe the challenges related to student mental health that are projected to occur on their and other campuses over the next ten years and will create a 5-step plan to address the challenges they have identified for their campus. When back on campus, this plan can be used as a starting point for engaging others in conversation about addressing the mental health needs of students. An understanding of the history and development of counseling services on college campuses can support leaders as they plan to address current and future mental health needs of students.

Engaging Parents & Families in Supporting the Holistic Well-being of Students offers new ways to present information about campus safety, sexual and relationship violence, and alcohol and drug use to parents and family members. Some of the topics covered are often tough to discuss with parents and family members but greatly impact the holistic well-being of students. They are important topics that shouldn’t be skipped. These are critical issues that can prevent students from being successful. Parents and family members can be partners in helping address the issues. Talking about them is not a confession of guilt but instead a necessity for the best interest of all students. Expect a creative and engaging workshop.

Many people would like to write for publication, but don’t know the process, or don’t know how to shape their ideas into publishable pieces. Writing for Professional Publication: A NASPA Journals-sponsored Intensive Workshop will work through these challenges as well as others, and provide participants with an opportunity to talk with individuals involved with NASPA publications about how to make their writing publishable. This workshop is perfect for graduate students who are thinking about how to publish their work, people who’ve finished graduate degrees who want to publish, professionals with ideas they’d like to share through publishing, and even newer faculty who are new to the publishing process. Participants leave this workshop understanding what they want to write and why, and the beginning of a plan for accomplishing their writing goals. This is a highly interactive session where participants will have lots of opportunities to talk with others, receive coaching from presenters, and ask questions.

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