2019 NASPA Annual Conference

Innovative Programs


The Innovative Programming Committee for the 2019 NASPA Annual Conference in Los Angeles is excited to target sessions, content, and conversations that explore a new vision for student affairs, focusing not only on new ways of doing (i.e., programs and practices), but knowing and being (i.e., developing as practitioners in the field).

This year we have three overarching themes for innovative programming which explores Black Excellence, Supporting Indigenous Communities, and Centering Mental Health/Wellbeing in student affairs. Innovation for this year includes a broad range of factors; pedagogical, structural, and technological that move practitioners toward more authentic and relevant ways to teach, engage, and support students along their educational trajectory.

So often the voices of the past are not included in dialogue about the future. Additionally, there are times where voices of the future are left out of conversations about the present. In order to explore more openly with forward thinking mentalities, this year we seek to highlight these innovative approaches in student affairs within the context of three broader themes selected for the 2019 NASPA Annual Conference.

Conference Programming

The Innovative Program track at the 2019 NASPA Annual Conference will include nine breakout workshops (three from each theme) as well as an engaging competition to Beat the Bosses. Attendees are encourage to attend the nine sessions identified by our Innovative Programming committee from 10:05 a.m. - 2:05 p.m. on Monday, March 11. All sessions will occur in the LA Convention Center in either room 505, 506, or 507.

The culminating event, this year’s Beat the Bosses: Innovative Programming Showcase and Competition, will take place on Tuesday, March 12 from 10:10 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. All conference attendees are encouraged to join us as teams of professionals from across the country compete against one another as well as a team of senior student affairs officers (the bosses) to highlight skills and knowledge in an effort to use innovative thinking to solve big problems.

Innovative Programming Sessions (Monday, March 11)
Time Convention Center Rm. 505 Convention Center Rm. 506 Convention Center Rm. 507
10:10 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Indigenous People Panel

We are More than a Monolith: Mizzou Black Women's Initiative

Building strong foundations for wellbeing programs, policies, and practices

11:15 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.

yakityutyu: Recognizing the Indigenous Roots of Your Campus

Black Spaces Matter: Black students creating spaces of resistance at predominately white rural and urban campuses

Exploring Mindfulness on Campuses: Innovation, Imitation, or Creating Greater Risk?

1:15 p.m. - 2:05 p.m.

#Nativeincollege: Creating Culturally Engaging Institutions for Native American Student Success

Do It For the Culture: Black Students Mobilizing to Thrive During the Time of "45"

Adapting Student Engagement for Generation Z: Combating Loneliness and Social Isolation

Beat the Bosses: Innovative Programming Showcase and Competition


This competition aims to promote conversations, strategies, and ideas to support historically marginalized students as well as strengthen capacities related to equity, inclusion, and intercultural competencies with the conference themes.

All professional levels are encouraged to participate and attend. New, mid-level, and senior student affairs professionals coming from various institutional types and diverse geographic areas will be represented. As an attendee, you will have an opportunity to engage in small-group dialogue with other professionals from across the country as we examine innovative ways to promote holistic student success.

There will be three types of teams who will compete against the Bosses:

  1. New Professionals: This team will consist of professionals who have been in the field between 1-4 years and/or are in entry level positions within their institutions.
  2. Mid-level Professionals: This team will consist of professionals who have been in the field between 5-10 years and/or hold mid-level manager positions within their institutions.
  3. AVPs and Deans: This team will consist of professionals who occupy the #2 role within their student affairs division/department.
Application Guidelines
  • Teams will be composed of 3-4 individuals within the same professional level (i.e. new professionals, mid-level, or AVP/Dean).
  • Teams will be accepted on a first come first served basis, with a maximum of five teams per level.
  • All team members must be registered attendees of the conference.
  • All team members must be full-time professionals.
  • All team members must participate in an online orientation on January 28, 2019 from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (ET).
Team Selection

Teams will apply for the opportunity to compete onstage against The Bosses on March 12, 2019 from 10:10 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. Teams will submit a 7-10 minute filmed video responding to the provided prompt to be considered by the Innovative Programming Committee. Entries should be submitted via email to Jake Frasier ( no later than February 18, 2019.

One team from each professional category will be chosen to compete against each other, as well as The Bosses in an on-stage showcase at the Annual Conference on Tuesday, March 12.

Important Deadlines
January 18, 2019 Team applications to compete due
January 25, 2019 Critical issue case sent to teams
January 29, 2019 Online orientation (12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET)
February 18, 2019 7-10 minute video response to issue due
March 5, 2019 Teams notified of status (competing on-stage or not)
March 12, 2019 Beat the Bosses Competition

For more information or questions, please contact Emelyn dela Pena at

Apply to Compete