Let’s be frank; there are a lot of sessions to choose from at the NASPA Conference in Indianapolis. You can’t physically go to all of them, so how do you decide which to attend? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. What I can tell you, is the sessions that interest me. I don’t intend these suggestions to sway your choices, but sometimes it helps to know what other people are interested in. So—I hope this helps!
Day 1: Saturday, March 12
If you’re raring to go on the first day of the NASPA conference, then check out this hands-on discussion and case study from Laramie County Community College. From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Jason Ostrowski and Jill Koslosky will be presenting, Retention Through Care—Building and Improving Your Behavioral Intervention Team. Their presentation will address how to develop and maintain behavior intervention teams for taking care of students in crisis and at risk. A portion of the presentation will involve a workshop on how to plan and develop a behavior intervention team. The workshop will cover managing the team from the outset and evaluating the team’s efforts. After lunch, check out, More than a Number: Transforming Orientation, Transition and Retention Programs to Support the Success of All Students. Presented by NODA’s Executive Director, Joyce Hall and New Student Program Director at Florida Gulf Coast University, Andrew Cinoman, this session sounds like it will be useful for anyone in charge of orientation or transition programming. Constructed as an interactive workshop, participants will learn how to plan orientation events that address the issues of transition and retention. The workshop will present the research and assessment findings that inform best practices for orientation, transition and retention.
Day 2: Sunday, March 13
Community colleges tend to represent schools that are accessible to everyone. As a result, they tend to be places where social justice is a prevalent and important topic. For professionals who work in these types of schools, it’s important to understand the role you play in how social justice and education interact. Kristina Testa-Buzzee, Interim Associate Dean of Extended Studies at Norwalk Community College and Karl Brook, VP for Student Affairs at Oakton Community College; will lead a discussion on how professionals can improve their social justice involvement while meeting student needs. Community Colleges Institute—Advancing Social Justice on Community College Campuses: Our Role as Leaders, will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m..
Day 3: Monday, March 14
Part of the first round of sessions of the day, Late-Night Programming: Meeting Students Where They Are, takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.. [I find that ironic, but maybe it’s just me.] This session will be really useful for anyone in charge of student activities and student life. The goal of this discussion is to talk about how you can create events to help prevent students from taking part in high-risk drinking. The presenters will also be inviting input on using alcohol to encourage students to attend campus events. At a little bit more of a reasonable morning hour, Rachel Lehmann and Travis York of Valdossa State University will be giving a talk on digital campus representations. Defining a Digital Footprint: How Online Representations of Campuses Impact Student Experience, will take place from, 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Based on research data, the presenters will compare digital, online campus representations to the actual campus experience.
Day 4: Tuesday, March 15
What makes college “worth it”? Well, Dakota Doman of West Virginia State and Mordecai Brownlee of the University of Charleston may have the answer. Making College “Worth It” Via Student Affairs Programs will look at the results of a National Gallup Poll in which six unique college experiences were identified. Using these results, Dakota and Mordecai will discuss how areas of student affairs can effect and have a positive impact on the college experiences the survey identified. This session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.. At 10:00 a.m., Chris Schmidt from Lindsey Wilson College, Mitchell Miller from McGill University and Saad Rizvi from the Harvard Finance Ministerial Leadership Program; will present Mobile and Efficacy: Leveraging Data to Drive Student Engagement. This session will look at how efficacy is the main reason why the use of mobile apps positively affects student engagement.
Day 5: Wednesday, March 16
The last day of the NASPA conference is always a sad one, but don’t let your tears get in the way of enjoying one last session. For your final NASPA conference sessions, I recommend checking out Re-Designing First Year Student Engagement Through Pre-Orientation Retreats and Student Academic Success: An Institutional Commitment to Students.Re-Designing First Year Student Engagement
takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.. Sarah Popovich and Katy Tufts, from the University of Pittsburgh, will relate how they improved first-year engagement by re-designing their pre-orientation retreats. They will share how their new strategy tripled their number of participants and provide best practices for re-designing your own programs. Student Academic Success starts at 9:00 a.m., and is being presented by Eric Tammes and Tanya Woltmann of College of Lake County. This presentation will discuss how the College of Lake County’s student academic success department improved retention and completion levels at the institution through three programs. These programs—academic tutoring, student support services, and academic coaching—were spearheaded by Tanya Woltmann and she will discuss how the program was financed, created and structured. --- As I said before, there are a lot of NASPA conference sessions to choose from. These are but a minuscule fragment of what NASPA is offering. So take my suggestions, or don’t, either way, I hope you enjoy your time in Indianapolis. --- Be sure to let us know about your conference experience, what sessions you went to—how they were; in the comments below.