NASPA
2021 NASPA Virtual Conference

Community Dialogue Series

Community Dialogue Series

The 2021 NASPA Conference Leadership Committee are excited to involve participants in this new program offering during the Association’s annual gathering. The Community Dialogue Series offers four featured sessions with notable presenters who will engage the audience in a dialogue regarding the four conference focus areas. On both Monday and Tuesday, these featured sessions will offer thought-provoking dialogue on topics that are salient in today’s student affairs profession and then provide Community Circles as a follow-up on Tuesday afternoon!

Click on the plus signs below to learn more about the sessions and the presenters for each Community Dialogue! You will not want to miss these conversations.

  • Responding to Students' Changing Needs - Monday, March 22, 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. ET
    Sonja Ardoin, Appalachian State University
    Miguel Arellano Sanchez, Oregon State University
    Lamesha C. Brown, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
    Maria Erb, Boston University
    becky martinez, Infinity Martinez Consulting
    Ty McNamee, Teachers College-Columbia University
    Darris Means, University of Pittsburgh

    As student affairs educators, our primary purpose should be serving and supporting the students on our campuses. We have an obligation to provide students with opportunities to develop intellectually, interpersonally, physically, and even spiritually in some cases. Part of this obligation is recognizing and eradicating barriers to student access, engagement, and completion, especially barriers rooted in identity inequity. Why? Because often we—ourselves, our offices, and our institutions—are the ones who have erected or preserved those barriers and, as such, we have a duty to do the work to remove them. While there are many student populations who deserve focus (e.g., Students of Color, trans students, Student Veterans), the 75-minute cap on this session necessitates concentration on only a few. This Community Dialogue will center students who identify as first-generation college students, rural, and/or poor and working class.

Sonja Ardoin

Sonja Ardoin, Ph. D. is a learner, educator, facilitator, and author. Proud of her hometown of Vidrine, Louisiana, her working class, Cajun roots, and her first-generation college student to PhD journey, Sonja holds degrees from LSU, Florida State, and NC State.

  • Prioritizing an Innovative and Sustainable Future - Monday, March 22, 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. ET
    Margaret Sallee, University at Buffalo
    Mike Segawa, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Pitzer College

    There is perhaps no topic more important to the student affairs profession today than the challenge of sustaining staff for a lifetime of meaningful work. Addressing this issue is central to our ability to consistently and effectively serve our students. Being mindful of why our efforts are valuable is a necessary ingredient in providing us with another important principle of sustaining ourselves: vocational meaning. Believing our efforts make a difference in the lives of our students and institutions fuels us. Some principles have surfaced during many of these discussions that need to guide and inform our efforts to sustain student affairs practitioners. It is these principles that we will use to ground our discussion in the Community Dialogue. This will provide a starting point for identifying strategies that student affairs professionals can use to help them persist in what can be overwhelmingly challenging times.

Margaret Sallee

Margaret Sallee is associate professor and program coordinator of the higher education program at the University at Buffalo.  She earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education with a focus in Higher Education along with a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies from the University of Southern California, her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University, and her B.A. in English and French from UC Berkeley.  Margaret’s research centers on work/family issues in the academy, focusing on how faculty, staff, and students navigate their competing professional, academic, and personal responsibilities.  She uses a critical lens to examine the intersection of individual experiences and organizational culture to interrogate the ways in which gender and other social identities operate on college campuses.  She is particularly committed to helping institutions create supportive cultures for faculty, staff, and students.  Her recent work focuses on food insecure student-parents, seeking to understand how they navigate parenting and academics while securing their basic needs and the role that institutional culture plays in shaping their success. Her most recent books include Creating Sustainable Careers in Student Affairs: What Ideal Worker Norms Get Wrong and How To Make It Right (Stylus Press, 2021) and Faculty Fathers: Toward A New Ideal in the Research University (SUNY Press, 2014).

Mike Segawa

Mike Segawa served as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Pitzer College from 2018-2021.  Prior to that he served for a year as the interim dean of students at the University of Nevada, Reno. Previously, he was vice president for student affairs and dean of students from 2007 to 2017 at the University of Puget Sound.  He also worked in student affairs at The Evergreen State College, University of Washington, and Central Missouri State University. In these roles he has supervised residence life/housing, counseling and health services, intercultural engagement services, spirituality and civic engagement, student activities, student center operations, Greek life, orientation, outdoor programs, student conduct, sexual assault prevention programs, intercollegiate and recreational sports, assessment, career services, and academic support services.  Mike was a member of NASPA’s national Board of Directors for 10 years and served as the association’s president from 2009 to 2010. He co-chaired the 2007 Joint ACPA/NASPA Meeting, chaired the 2001 National Conference and served in numerous regional roles. He has been active in other student affairs professional organizations, including American College Personnel Association and the Association of College and University Housing Officers International.  Mike holds a master’s in education for college student personnel administration from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine.

  • Supporting the Professional Lifecycle - Tuesday, March 23 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. ET
    Angela Batista, Champlain College
    Mordecai Ian Brownlee, St. Philip’s College
    Byron Tsabetsaye, San Juan College

    As student affairs professionals, no matter how many years we have served the academe, our professional life cycles are constantly evolving. The year 2020 not only ushered society into its next decade, it accelerated higher education into its next era. This Community Dialogue will create a space for student affairs professionals to discuss the importance of professional-to-professional/peer-to-peer mentorship and the significance of those relationships in preparing our diverse community of student affairs professionals to serve at the highest levels of academia. Together, we will learn how to better serve our academic communities and together we will prepare one another how to serve - especially at the executive level.

Angela Batista

Dr. Angela E. Batista Batista is a passionate ICF trained and certified Executive and Design Coach, author, speaker, and diversity, equity and inclusion strategist. She is the Founder and CEO of Batista Consulting Services, LLC and the 2020-21 NASPA Board Chair. She is also the lead editor of the 2018 publication, Latinx/a/os in Higher Education: Exploring Identity, Pathways, and Success.

With nearly thirty years of leadership experience, Angela is the former Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Champlain College. She has worked in K-12 and higher education institutions and non-profits across the United States and also held senior level positions at Oregon State University, the University of Southern Indiana and Mills College. Angela is a former Marriage and Family Therapist and an experienced high school teacher, counselor and administrator. 

Mordecai Brownlee

Dr. Mordecai Ian Brownlee currently serves as the Vice President for Student Success at St. Philip's College, the only college in the nation federally-designated as both a historically Black college (HBCU) and a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), located in San Antonio, Texas. During his tenure as vice president, Dr. Brownlee has led St. Philip’s to record enrollment of over 13,500 students and the college’s four largest degree and certificate awarding classes in its 122-year history. Mordecai also serves as an adjunct professor at Morgan State University School of Education & Urban Studies and the University of Charleston School of Business and Leadership where he teaches business management, human resources, social justice, and community college leadership. In addition, he is a higher education columnist for EdSurge.

Byron Tsabetsaye

Byron Tsabetsaye is Diné (Navajo) and A:shiwi (Zuni Pueblo). He currently serves as the director of the Native American Center at San Juan College, a Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution. Byron earned his M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University and B.A. in English from Fort Lewis College. He is a member of NASPA’s Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community (IPKC) leadership team and a NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) alum. Recently, Byron served on the planning committee for NASPA’s Power and Place Symposium: Indigenous Worldviews of Higher Education. He also contributed a featured article in NASPA’s Leadership Exchange entitled “Sustaining Native Students in an Era of COVID-19: Return-to-Campus Plans Must Honor Cultural Differences” for the Power and Place: Indigenous Worldviews of Higher Education issue.

  • (Re)Constructing the Community Climate, Tuesday, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. ET
    Sumun L. Pendakur


    Ever-shifting and complex COVID response planning, the economic fragility of many higher education institutions, the righteous battle for racial justice, and the grotesque spectacle of the fallout from the 2020 election (including the January 6th White supremacist attack on the Capitol) have created seismic shifts in campus communities’ abilities to navigate a collective way forward. Student affairs leaders are integral in rebuilding trust, energy, and the plans necessary to revitalize colleges and universities, while centering attention on the most vulnerable communities. Join Sumun Pendakur in discussing key questions and contemplating the work of student affairs in reconstructing the community climate.

Sumun Pendakur

Dr. Sumun L. Pendakur is a scholar-practitioner, an activist-educator, a skilled facilitator, and a mom. With nearly 20 years in the field of higher education and a decade as a DEI speaker and trainer, Sumi's work and research focuses on helping complex organizations build capacity for social justice and racial equity by empowering individuals at all levels to be transformational agents of change in their spheres of influence. Most recently, Sumi was the Chief Learning Officer at the USC Race and Equity Center, dedicated to advancing racial justice in higher education and other sectors. Prior to that position, Sumi held roles as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Harvey Mudd College, serving on the President’s Cabinet and directing the Office of Institutional Diversity, and as the Director for USC Asian Pacific American Student Services. Pendakur is a graduate of Northwestern University with a double major in Women’s Studies and History and a Minor in Spanish. She holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan. She received her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from the USC Rossier School of Education. Sumi also serves on the Board of Directors for NADOHE, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. In 2019, she was named one of the top 35 women in higher education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

Community Circles

On Tuesday afternoon following the Tuesday Community Dialogues from 4:30 - 5:40 p.m. ET, join colleagues who will facilitate discussions grounded in Paulo Freire’s work on Pedagogy of the Oppressed. There will be five Community Circles per topic area. Each session will allow for 20 participants to ensure a meaningful discussion that will draw on the participants’ lived experiences, ask problem-posing questions, and authentically learn together to generate knowledge and action from the discussions.