2023 NASPA Annual Conference

Featured Educational Sessions

Featured Educational Sessions

During the annual gathering of the Association, NASPA hosts Featured Educational Sessions to highlight some of the most pressing issues and conversations that are happening in the student affairs profession. This year is no exception! Participate in these Featured Educational Session offerings during the NASPA Annual Conference this year. 

Featured Educational Sessions in Ballroom East will be livestreamed as part of the NASPA Virtual Experience.

Monday Featured Educational Sessions

Putting the Ethnic in Place: How Memory and Folklore Have Shaped Boston's Neighborhoods

Monday, April 3 | 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
BCEC, Ballroom East and Virtual Experience


Anthony B. Buccitelli, Associate Professor of American Studies and Communications, School of Humanities, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

In American cities, it is common to find neighborhoods that are described in singular ethnic terms: "ethnic places.” Some, like the "Little Italy" or "Chinatown" neighborhoods found in many cities are explicit about this connection, but many more are less formally defined. In Boston, for example, neighborhoods like South Boston or Charlestown have come to be heavily marked as "Irish" neighborhoods, while areas like North End or East Boston have often been described as "Italian." Yet, curiously, the stories residents tell about these places often present somewhat conflicting pictures of neighborhood history and culture, ones that stress ethnic diversity or demographic changes. How then do urban neighborhoods become these "ethnic places?” The presenter will investigate the process of conflict and consensus involved in the formation of shared memories and cultural traditions that have invested place with ethnic meaning, as well as how contrasting or conflicting meanings have emerged to challenge or change what it means to live in Boston's neighborhoods.

Legal Implications of Dobbs for Student Affairs Professionals

Monday, April 3 | 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
BCEC, Ballroom West


Melissa Carleton, Partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP 
Kate Nash, Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan and Jackstadt, PC

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upheld a Mississippi law that prohibited abortions after 15 weeks, except in limited circumstances. In so doing, the Court overturned years of judicial precedent established in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey and prompted a number of states to enact or revive legislation that in some instances, offers broader protections to women seeking reproductive health services and in other instances criminalizes such actions or criminalizes the actions of “aiders and abettors.”  As the legal landscape evolves, questions proliferate about how various laws impact students, employees, institutions with student health centers, and clinical education programs. In this session delivered in partnership with the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), two NACUA member attorneys will explore how various state laws impact student affairs professionals at colleges and universities.

Can Higher Ed Meet the Needs and Expectations of Generation Z?

Monday, April 3 | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
BCEC, Ballroom East and Virtual Experience


Scott Bass, Professor and Provost Emeritus, Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University
Kevin Kruger, NASPA President

The session will examine the capacity of colleges and universities to meet the needs and expectations of a diverse and stressed generation of students. Bass will draw upon his experiences as provost and findings highlighted in his new award-winning book Administratively Adrift.

Bass will discuss the underlying siloed service structure in most academic settings and contrast that to the distinct culture and acculturation of Generation Z, born in the mid-1900s through the mid-2010s. Findings of their subsequent mental health and academic performance both before the emergence of the pandemic in 2020 and after will be discussed.

In light of the traumatic events encountered and still unfolding for a vulnerable population accustomed to integrated, personalized, and timely services focused on the end-user, how has the academy adjusted its organization of services, policies, practices, traditions, and culture to meet the students where they are? What are examples of the encounters students face in a highly specialized and semi-independent array of student services? A brief exploration of strategies for a more student-centered educational setting will be identified.

The Equity/Excellence Imperative from a Student Affairs Lens: Campus Perspectives

Monday, April 3 | 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
BCEC, Ballroom West

Blanche Hughes, Vice President for Student Affairs, Colorado State University


Kevin Kruger, NASPA President
Martino Harmon, Vice President for Student Life, University of Michigan
Patricia Whitely, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Miami
Kevin Jackson, Vice President for Student Life, Baylor University
Danita Brown Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (UERU) sponsored the Boyer 2030 Commission Report, The Equity/Excellence Imperative: A 2030 Blueprint for Undergraduate Education at U.S. Research Universities(University Press of Colorado, 2022). NASPA President and CEO, Kevin Kruger, served as one of 16 Boyer 2030 Commissioners. This panel, moderated by Dr. Kruger, will highlight how student affairs leaders are critically engaging the Report and its recommendations on their respective campuses in hope of further assessing its potential value for supporting the work of NASPA members more broadly. What, after all, does the “equity/excellence imperative” mean? What does this vision and call for concrete action entail for the work that we all do? The Boyer 2030 Commission (like UERU) focused on the experience at research universities, but how does the Report relate to other types of higher ed institutions? Please join us for this wide-ranging discussion of broadly strategic significance.

Top Ten Issues in Financial Aid

Monday, April 3 | 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
BCEC, Ballroom West


Rachel Gentry, Director of Federal Relations, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

From FAFSA simplification to conversations around debt forgiveness to changes in public opinion on the government's role in higher education, the financial aid landscape has evolved dramatically over the last decade. This session will examine the most impactful challenges, trends, and opportunities facing the financial aid profession, focusing on what's happening across the higher education industry, on campus, and in federal and state legislative houses across the country. Come find out what issues the financial aid community and campus partners should be prepared to tackle in the months ahead.

Tuesday Featured Educational Sessions

Beyond the Asterisk: New Scholarship and Frameworks for Understanding Native Students in Higher Education

Tuesday, April 4 | 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
BCEC, Ballroom West

Charlotte E. Davidson, Director, Native American House,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Pam Agoyo, Director, American Indian Student Services and Special Assistant to the President for American Indian Affairs, University of New Mexico
Karen Francis-Begay, Assistant Vice Provost, Native American Initiatives, University of Arizona

Johnny Poolaw, Director of Student Success, American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Heather Shotton, Vice President of Diversity Affairs, Ft. Lewis College
Stephanie Waterman, Associate Professor, Leadership, Adult & Higher Education, University of Toronto

Erin Kahunawaikaʻala Wright, Associate Professor, Educational Administration, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Natalie Youngbull, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Oklahoma

Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education was a book born from the lack of knowledge in student affairs about Native American college student experiences. Since its publication in 2013, Beyond the Asterisk has become a primer for Non-Native colleges and universities to become Native student-ready. Ten years later, in a follow-up edited book, New Scholarship and Frameworks for Understanding Native Students in Higher Education, many of the 2013 authors plus new Indigenous scholars explore the advances in the field of Indigenous higher education and new research since 2013. Join this moderated panel of experts as they address expanded topics from the book.

Historic Role of University Presidents in Shaping Racial Policies and Practice

Tuesday, April 4 | 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
BCEC, Ballroom East and Virtual Experience


Mary K. Boyd, President, Emmanuel College
Ainsley Carry, Author, Vice President, Students, University of British Columbia
Eddie R. Cole, Associate Professor of Higher Education and History. University of California, Los Angeles

Since 2015, universities across the U.S. have experienced a rise in on-campus memorial protests. Students and community activists demanded the removal of memorials commemorating segregationists, eugenicists, Ku Klux Klan leaders, and Confederate soldiers. This prevalence of the issue was captured when the Southern Poverty Law Center cataloged more than 1,800 Confederate memorials across the U.S., with hundreds of them located on college campuses. Even beyond Confederate tributes, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city of Boston has a rich history of racial reconciliation and memorialization. In this featured educational session, panelists grapple with the historical, moral, and procedural questions confounding memorial disputes across the nation.