2018 NASPA Annual Conference

Pre-conference presenters share more: Sunday afternoon 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.


The NASPA LEAD Initiative: Moving Beyond the Basics – Utilizing Competencies, Skills, and Agency to Grow in Civic and Community Change is for NASPA LEAD Initiative campus representatives and individuals interest in civic and community engagement. Participants will have an opportunity to explore the NASPA/ACPA professional competencies as a complement to the recently released community engaged practitioners competencies. The presenters will guide participants through exercises outlining the knowledge, skills, and agency an individual could explore as an active participant in one’s community. This session is presented in partnership with the NASPA LEAD Initiative and Campus Compact.

Healing the Divide: Tools for Addressing Polarization and Conflict is a fun and interactive skill-building workshop. Through understanding, appreciation and skill-building, participants will leave the workshop with tangible tools and knowledge for more effective conflict management that they can apply on their campuses. Ever-greater political, racial, and socio-economic polarization within communities and on campuses has introduced new challenges that educators need to address. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn to accurately interpret the statements and actions of people with different intercultural conflict styles, recognize and manage the emotional challenges of conflict as they occur, appreciate styles of conflict different from their own, and dapt your communicative approach for more effective conflict management.

Designing & Implementing an Extended Orientation Experience will give participants tangible strategies for an institution that does not have an extended orientation experience that might want to start one. Extended orientation experiences are housed in many different functional areas at institutions (offices of orientation, student involvement, leadership development, community service, intramural sports, residential life, etc.); thus, professionals from all functional areas are invited to this pre-conference to strategize how to design and implement an extended orientation experience. Participants will receive a workbook to begin to plan out how they can get strategic on extended orientation. The workbook will walk them through tangible strategies when thinking about all components of developing an extended orientation experience including operations & logistics, student leader staffing, curriculum development, engaging campus & community partners, fiscal resources, niche programs for specialized populations, assessment, etc.

Spirituality, Secularism, and Religion in Higher Education: Where We've Been, Where We Are, And Where We’re Going is being hosted by the Spirituality & Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community. Attend this pre-conference to see the current work in spiritual, religious, & secular engagement on campus as part of an arc that is bound up in the history and future of the student affairs profession and higher education. Hear from experts in inter-religious engagement on campus who will offer their insights on where we have been and are going. This session will draw together participants from a host of environments, from secular to religious-based campuses, public to private, religious life to general student affairs practitioners. Participants will be engaged to weave a rich tapestry of how to apply this new knowledge into their work. Presenters discuss how it is critical to look backwards before one can look forward. As we are in a tense moment of deep political and philosophical divides on many of our campuses, the past holds some clues for how to move forward. Participants join together to imagine the future of religious, secular, & spiritual engagement on the college campus.

Student Affairs Moms’ Quests for Work-life Integration will provide a supportive space for moms who are balancing the demands of their family and work in student affairs to reflect on values and priorities, listen to practical tips from facilitators and attendees, and devise a plan to promote work-life integration. Women who are committed to constantly serving others in our lives need space to connect in community and focus on themselves. This workshop provides a safe and supportive space to do just this. The S.A.M.S. Facebook group is home to over 5,000 members seeking this support virtually—this pre-conference workshop extends to an in-person community. While there is no silver bullet to perfect the art of work-life balance, hearing tips and stories from others in similar situations can help participants consider actions they can take in their own lives.

Utilizing Alternative Programming Formats to Engage Millennials will teach participants how to design programs aimed towards digitally-savvy and/or overcommitted students. Participants should come to this workshop if they are seeking easy and free ways to infuse technology and/or gaming techniques to augment traditional programs. Participants will walk away with individualized action plans for how to enhance efforts on their campuses. The Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) acknowledges the importance of using “multiple formats, strategies, and contexts” for program delivery and “technology that facilitates learning and development…” This workshop will help participants achieve this recommended standard for educational programming.

Showing up for and with Each Other: Solidarity Among Communities of Color provides a space where student affairs professionals of color can critically reflect on what solidarity means for them. Given our histories and the state of our country, it’s important to make space for these conversations and center the voices of those who are marginalized. It is important to engage in this dialogue with the understanding that as people of color we may all experience racism, but we all experience it differently. Come to this workshop if you’d like to build community amongst people of color and talk deeply about what solidarity looks like across our communities and institutions. There may be moments of discomfort during our time together, but we believe that in order to heal and grow we must hold each other accountable. Our hope is to engage critically and learn from and with each other about ways to be in solidarity. Presenters hope to provide strategies to take back to your campus to engage across communities of color and uplift each other!

Financial Wellness Personalized: Applications and Self Exploration for the Student Affairs Professional seeks to improve the financial health of student affairs practitioners in hopes of increasing knowledge in financial literacy and exploring financial wellness for the self and its influence on working with students. It is important for professionals to understand their own financial wellness and the influential factors in order to best serve their students. By providing a deeper, more holistic look into how individuals define financial wellness, the objective is to enlighten professionals on the messaging received around earning and managing money and discuss how our understanding of financial wellness affects the education that our students receive around it. A study by the American Psychological Association reports that money is a major cause of stress among the American population (2015). Financial wellness is not only important at a student level but on a greater level for professionals as well. While institutions are doing more to offer support and education in this area for students, the same cannot necessarily be said for faculty and staff. Additionally, many professionals who are expected to educate students on the importance of making smarter financial decisions struggle with their own financial wellness. For many student affairs practitioners, our students approach us with all types of problems in their lives; and in many cases, they are related to finances which increase stress and sources of conflict in relationships. Furthermore, finances are related to self-perception, self-esteem, and one’s decision-making process. So, whether or not session attendees work within financial education, it is important to consider financial wellness, both in the context of personal well-being as well and its role when developing programs and services. While the focus at the pre-conference is on financial wellness and education, this session is unique as presenters take a look at financial education through an intersectionality lens. Presenters will be focusing on the influential factors and barriers that identity poses to students’ and our own perceptions and our interactions with money. Highlighted are historical, political, and societal factors that influence the messaging professionals and our students receive and subsequent behaviors. The emphasis in this session will be on the development of professionals’ personal financial wellness identities and developing their own based on factors related to all aspects of their identities and how we understand and educate our students around money.

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