One student affairs officer called it “my annual student affairs family reunion.” This year, the annual conference of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) was held March 15 through 19 in Baltimore, Maryland. http://conference2014.naspa.org/. Titled “Lead, Innovate, Transform,” the conference boasted an impressive roster of featured speakers and established a record-breaking attendance of over 5,000 attendees from across the country.
CUNY’s student affairs professionals and leaders, comprising a cross-section of roles and responsibilities, enjoyed sessions, workshops, receptions, learning community and committee meetings in an invaluable exchange of scholarship, learning and best practices. The emerging technologies and their impact on student affairs work were unpacked in sessions including “Harnessing the Innovation of Students and Multi-Media Technology to Market Programs and Services; “Using Social Networking and IPad Technology to Promote First-generation Student Success;” and “Civility In Cyberspace: Educating Students On Social Media Responsibility.” Conference presentations covered topics at the forefront of student affairs today: Advising and Helping, Assessment, Evaluation & Research; Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; Law Policy and Governance–just a few of many important areas.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Frank D. Sanchez, and staff from the Central Office of Student Affairs (COSA) welcomed CUNY campus Vice Presidents and administrators to a special evening reception on March 17th. The Vice Chancellor extended greetings, thanking everyone present for their time and contributions including those leading presentations and sessions for the conference. In a special thanks, Deputy to the Vice Chancellor, Paulette Dalpes, was cited for her leadership and initiatives.
Also presenting at the conference on behalf of CUNY was the Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life, David Jones, who invited COSA student staff along to engage and participate. David presented at the African American Male Summit pre-conference workshop, where he has served as a member of the faculty for two years. In addition to the COSA student staff in attendance, CUNY also coordinated the effort to have 6 CUNY NUFPs (NASPA Undergraduate Fellows) attend the NUFP Undergraduate Conference which preceded the NASPA conference. Many of these students remained in Baltimore for the duration of the conference. It was a remarkable experience for the six students who are exploring the possibility of pursuing a career in student affairs.
A Tuesday afternoon presentation by CUNY senior executives, “Show Me the Money: CUNY Reinventing Financial Aid for Low Income Students,” showcased the great success of the CUNY Single Stop program at community colleges. Vice Chancellor Sanchez and University Dean Cheryl Williams led a panel in a discussion about the access to resources and critical information that the program has afforded CUNY students. The conference’s many featured speakers provided inspiration and expertise across academic, business, and policy and research sectors. Author and youth advocate, Wes Moore, presented the opening keynote address. John Lovett, the co-creator and head writer of the NBC sitcom “1600 Penn” and a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama closed the event with remarks on March 19. In 2015, the conference “reunion” reconvenes in March in New Orleans, Louisiana.