My #NASPA14 suggestions

  • Establish some type of Loner Pool
    • I went to NASPA by myself, without knowing or traveling with anyone (save for my roommate). I think some type of meet up for people who are there by themselves or maybe with one other person would be great. While it’s nice to see all of the scheduled meet-ups, grad school gatherings, and regional stuff, it’s hard (especially as an introvert) to force myself to go to those things alone. If I was to make connections early in the conference (say the very lonely Sunday afternoon) it might make going to events easier.
  • Re-think the whole schedule
    • So I think the Sunday night start through the Wednesday morning end is too drawn-out and poorly planned. I think the conference’s opening session should take place after lunch on Sunday (say 1pm) and then start sessions after that. Hold sessions Sunday afternoon, Monday, and Tuesday and then hold the closing ceremony Tuesday in the early evening. This would allow those of us taking vacation or traveling a distance to cram more into less time, while allowing those who can to stay through Wednesday.
  • First-time Attendees
    • Ok, while we all may (not) love ice breakers, I didn’t really want to do that in the orientation session. Here’s what I wanted:
      • Break down of KCs, what they are, how to get involved
      • Break down of the conference schedule
      • Break down of regions, what they are, what they do, how to get involved
      • Break down of tracks
      • Basic organization/geographic information of the conference
    • The “Dinner Without a Host” was a flop. Instead, maybe integrate the idea of a Loner Pool with the first-time attendees. Both populations can use the networking and the possibility of finding some like-minded people for dinner
  • School meet-ups. I realize this was my grad school’s and institution’s fault, but knowing how to create that network or who is in charge would have been very helpful.
  • I’d like to know the breakdown of demographics of the Conference, maybe even by Region. Who is attending? What position do they hold? What is their dream position? What strengths do they have? It’s so hard to find people in a conference with 6,000 people. Did I mention I’m an introvert?
  • The book and the app. Why did they have different information? In the book as part of the description I want:
    • Name of presentation
    • Presenter’s names
    • Rough topic(s)
    • Description (maybe I should include “appropriate description”, get away from “We can teach you about all these things, yay!” to “Here are the four things we’re going to talk about”)
    • One of (at least) 2 categories: Research or Active Program or both? Are there others? I went to one about best practices and they reviewed their own research. While helpful, not what I was aiming for.


  1. Love your comments about networking. I just joined ACPA and look forward to attending my state conference in the fall and national next spring. However, I don't know any ACPA people in real life, only from Twitter so I'm nervous about being an introvert and finding good connections at the events. Would also really like to chat with you sometime about career development (I too had to work on the academic side in order to get a foot in the door so I get into a department working with students).

    1. Thanks for the comment Anne! I found my first conference experience really interesting, but I think if I had planned better, maybe with actual meet ups planned, I would have been better at finding connections.

      I'd love to hear more about your career path


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