2021 NASPA Virtual Conference

Call for Programs

Session formats Are Now Available!

Session format information is now available in the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference Submission and Presenter Portal. Please log in to the portal using your NASPA credentials to view your session format.

Please note that only the coordinating presenter for a session has access to the portal that contains the program status and session format information. If you are a co-presenter on any sessions, please contact your coordinating presenter for information about your program decision. If you are a coordinating presenter, please share the information in your portal with your co-presenters.


Still need to add or remove a presenter, edit your abstract, or make other changes to your session? The 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference Program Update Form is open for a final round of changes. Final updates to your program’s presenters and other content must be made by March 2, 2021. Any updates submitted after March 2 will not be included in the PDF program book.

Presenter Support

Nervous about the possibility of presenting virtually? Don’t be! The Conference Leadership Committee wants to ensure that presenters have all the support they need to make their presentations shine in this virtual environment, and there is a dedicated subcommittee focused on presenter support. This committee will provide presenters with guidance on crafting engaging virtual presentations, promising practices on presenting in a virtual space, and training sessions on how to make the most out of the virtual platform. 

Presenting a pre-recorded session? Visit the Presenter Portal for detailed instructions, important deadlines, and helpful resources for this presentation format.

Resources for presenters will be available on the Presenter Support page and in the Presenter Portal.

2021 NASPA Conference Core Content

The 2021 Conference Leadership Committee seeks conference proposals focusing on the four core content areas, (Re)Constructing the Community ClimateSupporting the Professional Life CycleResponding 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.

Conference proposals will be reviewed and scored on your content focused on the following areas.

Click on the plus signs below to expand the conference core content areas and view the questions under each area. These are an important part of your submission(s):

  • (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)

NASPA Guiding Principles

In addition to the core content above, the Conference Leadership Committee wants to ensure that your programs have a focus on the principles below:

  • Integrity

    Committed to high moral principles exhibiting authentic, honest, just, and ethical behavior.

  • Inclusion

    Seeking ways to ensure access, voice, acknowledgement, opportunity, and participation at all levels.

  • Inquiry

    Supporting research and scholarship to add to the knowledge base of the profession and ensure that data informs practice.

  • Innovation

    Continuously seeking improvement through new and creative approaches.

Program Submission & Presenter Portal

NASPA has created a Program Submission and Presenter Portal that will serve as the gateway to your program submissions and meeting requests for the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference throughout the whole process. Be sure to bookmark this page as your home for all presenter and meeting coordinator announcements, documents, and other important information for the conference.

Both NASPA members and non-members* may submit programs to the NASPA Virtual Conference. There are several program types and each has its own guidelines and review process. More details about each program type are available during the submission process. You can submit more than one program type, but make sure the description matches the delivery! All programs should include the following:

  1. New and fresh contributions to the NASPA Virtual Conference theme and/or student affairs profession.
  2. Engaging program format that involves the audience and stimulates discussion.
  3. Conceptually strong foundation, well-written, with clearly stated outcomes and appropriately documented research and/or experience.
  4. Qualified presenters with expertise in the subject matter.

* Should your program be accepted, the coordinating presenter must join the Association and register for the event in order to present. All other supporting presenters must also be registered for the conference.

For more submission tips and guidelines, view the recorded presentation, "More Than a Colon: How to Submit an Outstanding Program to the 2020 NASPA Annual Conference."

Submission Criteria

Your proposal will be evaluated by approximately six to seven program reviewers using the following five standards:

  1. Contribution to the NASPA Virtual Conference theme and/or profession
  2. Clearly stated purpose and objectives
  3. Engaging program format that involves the audience and stimulates discussion
  4. Conceptually strong foundation with appropriate documented research and/or experience
  5. Qualified presenters with expertise in the subject matter
Looking for more tips on writing an effective proposal?

Check out our guidelines and view sample proposals!

Meeting Spaces

The December 4 deadline for submitting a virtual meeting or reception request has passed. Meetings and receptions have been scheduled and confirmation details may now be viewed in he Presenter Portal

If you need to request a change to your event's scheduled date/time or make other changes to your meeting, please complete the 2021 NASPA Virtual Conference Meeting & Reception Update Form

* NASPA will consider estimated attendee count, type of program, and engagement needs in order to provide functional virtual meeting space. We reserve the right to prioritize NASPA entities' requests and to refuse space to individuals and/or groups who do not comply with stated policies and procedures.