The NASPA Virtual Conference is the premier student affairs professional development event.
With over 7,000 student affairs educators, the NASPA Virtual Conference is the largest event of its kind. With featured speakers who engage participants in thoughtful reflection on the field, hundreds of educational sessions presented by student affairs educators, and networking events that both engage and inspire us to do our work on campus, this event is one not to be missed!
Plan Your Experience
The 2021 NASPA Annual Conference is going virtual! We are excited for you to experience all the fun and engaging activities our committee has planned for you.
Here is your first-gen session guide to #NASPA21.
The 2021 NASPA Annual Conference is now the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference.
*Registration fees are dependent on member status.
If you transferred your 2020 NASPA Annual Conference registration to 2021, be sure to review your email for details.
Pre-Conference Workshops are full-day (4 hours) or half-day (2 hours) learning sessions that will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the conference (March 17-19, 2021). Similar to the conference, these will be virtual sessions with interactive components.
While registering be sure to add Funding First-generation Efforts through Success Narratives and University Advancement, taking place on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19 from 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm ET, and learn how to build a dynamic relationship with your University Advancement team as well as develop your own skills as a compelling fundraiser.
Call For Programs
The Call for Programs is closed!
Be on the lookout for the published schedule.
Core Content Areas
The 2021 Conference Leadership Committee seeks conference proposals focusing on the four core content areas, (Re)Constructing the Community Climate, Supporting the Professional Life Cycle, Responding to Students' Changing Needs, and Prioritizing an Innovative and Sustainable Future. Expand the headers below to read more about the framing questions for each of these content areas.
(Re)Constructing the Community Climate
The contemporary socio-political and organizational climate has (re)disrupted trust in systems and processes, including in higher education and student affairs. College campuses have a responsibility and opportunity to (re)construct trust, and to better support students and their collegiate experiences. The possibility exists for communities where relationships, systems, and processes are productive and relevant. The 2021 Conference encourages proposals that will help us move toward possibilities motivated to (re)construct trust:
- What is the student affairs practitioner-educator role in creating a campus community climate that is welcoming and inclusive to all?
- What is the institution’s social responsibility in creating an inclusive environment that contributes to students’ development and growth for engagement in a diverse global community?
- In what ways does the program contribute to how student affairs professionals engage, communicate, and dialogue with students on issues of free speech and campus, local, state, and federal politics?
- How does the program contribute an enhanced understanding of the political climate, and how student affairs educators can have an impact on students’ learning and development?
- How can health and well-being be (re)constructed on college campuses? What does a healthy student life look like? How can we talk about the ways in which unhealthy habits exist and are perpetuated on college campuses? And how do we mitigate them? (i.e., healthy friendships, healthy relationships, healthy conversation, healthy time management, healthy habits, etc.)
- How do members of our communities learn, practice, and value expression? How do we (re)value idea of understanding vs. winning (sides, opposition, reinforced power structures) in our ways of communicating?
Supporting the Professional Life Cycle
The student affairs field represents an expansive professional life-cycle including undergraduate student, graduate student, emerging/new, mid-level, director-level, senior leadership, student affairs-related support roles, etc. We advocate for life-long learning and professional development throughout this life-cycle. In a field that champions student development, success, and persistence towards graduation, we must also prioritize supporting today’s student affairs professional to thrive throughout their career. This focus area includes creating accessible mentorship pipelines, applying and evaluating competencies to practice, and building communities that support and inform practice and development.
- How does the profession stimulate life-long learning and develop competencies for different points in the student affairs professional life-cycle? (i.e., undergraduate student leader, graduate student, new professional, mid-level, director-level, VP, etc.)
- What are the skills needed for day-to-day strategy and management in higher education administration (ie. supervision, interfacing with campus constituencies, managing budget, etc)? How do we prioritize and train on these fundamentals, along with evaluate successful mastery?
- How do professionals navigate retention in the field while negotiating realities of personal life and career? (i.e., family priorities, financial planning, regional preferences, job opportunities, first-generation career professional, welcoming individuals to the industry, etc.)
- What is the diversity of professional path options and what informs decisions in career trajectory?
Responding to Students’ Changing Needs
Student affairs educators play a pivotal role in the holistic development and success of all students. Leaders in institutions of higher education are stewards of student success and have a responsibility/duty to contribute and influence retention and degree completion efforts. As a result, we must champion inclusive excellence and initiate intentional efforts to address the unique and changing needs of various student populations.
- What high-impact, evidence-based practices are being implemented at your institution to aid in student success?
- How do you involve parents/families in the college student experience?
- What ways do partnerships exist within your community that bolster and contribute to student success?
- What systemic approach has proven effective when addressing the needs of trans* and gender non-conforming students?
- How do you ensure students a sense of belonging among students from under-represented populations (ATOM, first-generation, LGBTQIA+, foster care, students with disabilities)?
- What high-impact/innovative practices do you employ to engage accessibility beyond a reactive/responsive/mandated approach to one that is proactive in nature?
- What type of programs are proving effective when addressing the unique needs of low-ses international students? How do we best integrate international students and their experience into the fabric of our institutions?
Prioritizing an Innovative and Sustainable Future
As student affairs professionals, we cannot thrive if we do not succeed personally, professionally, and within our institutions. And at the same time, the reality of “doing more with less” while the higher education industry expects all programs and services to meet students’ needs first. We must be proactive versus reactive in a time of budget constraints, by prioritizing innovative, forward-thinking, and sustainable practices through technology by mining and using the data we already possess. Currently, internal and external funding climates are challenging and unpredictable. Many organizations have understaffed resources and limited professional development funding, but they still possess a continued need to commit to life-long learning as the higher ed environment and students' needs constantly evolve. The following questions should guide your presentations in this focus area for 2021:
- How do we, as student affairs professionals, create a holistic and supportive environment in a manner that resonates with our professionals today, and empower them to navigate the myriad of issues threatening to disrupt student success in the current and future social and political environment?
- What are some innovative and emerging practices that your leadership has developed to raise higher ed staffing practices to the next level (i.e. avoid staff burn-out, retention of staff/belonging, view higher ed with a new lens)?
- How is your institution preparing professionals for the future of higher education and for the student demographic 2025 drop? What programs and initiatives have data-driven focus on these topics?
- How are you using technology and data metrics to better serve, understand, and address the needs of our students; and accessible to the programs/software within higher ed for all institutions?
- What are the ways that we use data to analyze the services we provide that are non-academic based, including but not limited to, housing and food insecurity, child care needs, unemployment, and sustain given budgetary constraints, etc. And how does this affect the community in which our institutions occupy?
- How can we better align with advancement/foundations to seek out resources to grow and develop in an innovative way, to grow offices, buildings, services? (i.e., Google appeal/Invisible Tapestry)