Program Categories

Below are the names and descriptions of various program types.

For questions about ACPA18 Convention programs, please contact Program Chair Dean Kennedy.

Career Central Snapshot Sessions

Taking place within Career Central, these 30- or 60-minute sessions focus on any topic that is relevant to the career development, preparation, or advancement of attendees. These sessions may take any form—presentation, panel, facilitated discussion, or workshop—and are meant to support and educate graduate students, professionals, and faculty from all levels of career experience. Please contact Tara Milliken with questions about Career Central Snapshot Sessions.

Competency Based Sessions

These 75-minute sessions are focused on the 10 professional competency areas from ACPA/NASPA. Presenters will have an opportunity to provide an in-depth perspective on one of the professional competency areas that will enhance participants’ knowledge and understanding of that competency. Please contact Deb Taub with questions about the new Competency Based Sessions.

Extended Sessions

An Extended Session is a lengthier program filling an entire 2-hour block.  These sessions provide Convention attendees with an intensive learning experience designed to promote a level of competence in a specific area.  By providing more time, presenters can explore a topic in more depth.  Extended Session submissions should provide a justification for the lengthier session, including a strong conceptual framework and a detailed agenda.  Please contact Emily Reetz with questions about Extended Sessions.

General Convention Programs

These 60-minutes sessions are focused on advancing participants’ professional competencies.  General Convention Programs comprise the majority of the educational sessions at the Convention and are expected to have a theoretical or conceptual basis for the discussion.  Please contact Tom Murray with questions about General Convention Programs.

Genius Labs

The convention’s Genius Labs are 20-minute skill-building workshops highlighting a number of practical activities (primarily focused on technology) designed for participants to learn about, experiment with, and implement immediately. Take a break from the traditional learning sessions and join us in our open, interactive, and high-tech space. Topics have been selected with the intent of having meaningful instruction for all skill levels, sending attendees home with effective (and often free) new resources, and building confidence and competence in new tools to help you work on your campus. Several sessions are offered multiple times. Whether you are a novice, early adopter or an expert, there is something for everyone at the ACPA Genius Labs! Please contact Wayne Glass with questions about Genius Labs.

Hot Topics

Student Affairs and Higher Education are dynamic fields where some critical issues ebb and flow, and others remain consistent in our daily practice.  In December prior to the convention, the Program Team will solicit feedback from ACPA Entity Leaders (Coalitions, Commissions, Communities of Practice, etc.) on “Hot Topics” that should be incorporated into the convention curriculum.  Topics shared prior to the convention could be seen within  any of the these educational session types so it is highly encouraged to connect with a leader within ACPA or email with your thoughts on what a Hot Topic would be for the annual convention.  For more information about this Hot Topics category, please contact Program Chair Dean Kennedy.


New for ACPA18 are three hour-long Institutes occurring during the convention. Similar to Pre-Convention Workshops due to their length, these sessions provide facilitators and attendees an opportunity to explore content in depth.  Because these sessions occur during the convention, there are no additional costs for A/V. Please contact Joe Bozzo with questions about Host-site Programs.

Next Gen

NextGen is a unique opportunity for approximately 100 undergraduate students from across the world to learn about careers in student affairs and higher education. This conference is a unique opportunity for the next generation of Student Affairs educators to meet and learn from current graduate preparation program faculty, NextGen alumni, and seasoned student affairs professionals who work across the country at diverse institutional types in a variety of positions. Attendees can expect to attend several different educational session types, including General Education sessions and PechaKucha, among others.  This experience occurs immediately before the convention utilizing many of the same convention center or hotel rooms.  Please contact Lisa Kelsay or Laura Walaszek Dermoody with questions about NextGen.

Pecha Kucha Powered By ACPA

PechaKucha is an innovative presentation format during which the speaker’s 20 slides auto-advance every 20 seconds. It is the art of concise presentations. This event is guaranteed to challenge conventional presentation styles, while inspiring colleagues in 6 minutes and 40 seconds! For more information about the origins of PechaKucha visit the PechaKucha website. Please contact Wayne Glass with questions about PechaKucha Powered by ACPA.

Pre-Convention Workshops

These sessions provide opportunities for Convention attendees to engage in deep, sustained dialogue and learning on contemporary issues most relevant to student affairs professionals.  These will be offered prior to the 2018 Convention. Please contact Joe Bozzo with questions about Pre-Convention Workshops.

Research & Practice Papers

Designed for the presentation of scholarly research, particularly by graduate students or faculty members, each 75-minute program slot will include presentation of three research papers (20 minutes each) followed by a brief discussion.  Please contact Dan Tillapaugh with questions about Research & Practice Papers.

Research & Practice Poster Sessions

Poster Sessions are designed for discussion about research projects that are in process or have been completed; as well as innovative practices that have demonstrated their success on college campuses.  Presenters display their work on a large bulletin board and are available to discuss their display and interact with those circulating the poster display area.  Please contact Tonya Driver with questions about Research & Practice Posters.

Sponsored & Co-Sponsored Programs

ACPA’s organizational structure includes Commissions that represent functional and interest areas pertinent to student affairs and higher education work and Coalitions that represent specific identity groups within our membership.  Should your program be directly related to the work of one of these groups, indicate this by selecting “sponsored program” as your program type.  If your proposal is not selected as a Sponsored or Co-Sponsored Program (60-minutes), it will be considered as a submission for a General Program based on the sponsoring entities reviewer’s feedback.  Please contact Brian Hopkins or Caitlin Lindsay with questions about Sponsored & Co-Sponsored Programs.

Spotlight Sessions

Spotlight sessions allow presenters to share programs, strategies, and interventions that have been successful on their campuses. These are brief 20-minute presentations with a 10 minute question and answer period designed to spotlight initiative and encourage discussion.  Each 60-minute program slot will include a presentation of two spotlights with other presenters on a similarly focused or related topic. Please contact Gary Santos Mendoza with questions about Spotlight Sessions.

Professional Competencies

Central to the substance and structure of the ACPA18 Annual Convention program are the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies.  As such, the competencies will be used in the program proposal, evaluation, and selection processes.  ACPA members who are developing sessions and preparing proposals are urged to become familiar with the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies to ensure that their sessions substantially address and incorporate one or more of them in their proposals. Click here to read more about the professional competencies. They are:

  • Advising and Supporting
  • Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
  • Law, Policy, and Governance
  • Leadership
  • Organizational and Human Resources
  • Personal and Ethical Foundations
  • Social Justice and Inclusion
  • Student Learning and Development
  • Technology
  • Values, Philosophy and History

ACPA Equity and Inclusion Statement

ACPA-College Student Educators International actively promotes and recognizes principles of fairness, equity, and social justice in relation to, and across intersections of, race, age, color, faith, religion, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, social class, economic class, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, and all other identities represented among our diverse membership.  By appreciating the importance of inclusion, we acknowledge that the collective and individual talents, skills, and perspectives of members, constituent groups, and partners foster a culture of belonging , collaborative practice, innovation, and mutual respect, ACPA seeks to empower and engage professionals, scholars, and partners in actions that productively contribute to accomplishing the goals of our association.