We look forward to welcoming you to Kansas City!!
After missing our annual conference in Austin and in light of the rapid changes we are experiencing in our world, these are the words we long to say and hear.
The forces buffeting higher education are reshaping our institutions, our work in student affairs, and our students. Our efforts to educate students for engaged citizenship and personal growth are critically necessary, as are our efforts to bridge opportunity gaps and promote health and wellbeing as a way of life. The confluence of a global pandemic, its devastating and disparate effects, a national reckoning with systemic racism and racial injustice, dramatic political polarization in a presidential election year, and an economic downturn, have created conditions not known in recent memory. Although not one of us has the answers to all of the thorny issues we face, together we can boost our knowledge and help each other gain new tools for meeting the considerable challenges of our day.
We are designing the 2021 NASPA Annual Conference in Kansas City to motivate each of us to redouble our efforts as student affairs professionals. A midwestern city known for its barbecue and jazz, Kansas City is the perfect place for us to gather as a community of professionals, share lessons learned during this year of improvisation, and get back to basics as a way of reimagining what’s next for student affairs.
In light of all we are facing, our 2021 Annual Conference has four clear goals:
- To rebuild community and promote dialogue;
- To support staff throughout the professional lifecycle;
- To be responsive to students’ changing needs; and
- To promote innovation and sustainability in our field.
If ever there was a time for student affairs professionals to share wisdom, find new ways to support staff and students, and engage in dialogue with one another, this is it.
We know you have a lot of questions about how we will join together in Kansas City, assuming the virus will not be gone within the year. For now, we plan to hold the 2021 NASPA Annual Conference in-person in Kansas City. As details continue to emerge regarding the public health conditions in Kansas City and around the country, we will update the 2021 NASPA Conference Website. Be assured we will plan the conference with the health and safety of every participant as our number-one priority.
On behalf of the 2021 Conference Leadership Committee, I invite you to join us in Kansas City and be part of the dialogue. Together, we will find our way forward.
Michele C. Murray, Ph.D.
Chair, 2021 NASPA Annual Conference
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, College of the Holy Cross
2021 Conference Leadership Committee