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Baltimore host city for 2014 NASPA Annual Conference, Innovate Lead Transform

premier professional development opportunity for student affairs leaders, scholars, and practitioners in the higher education industry
premier professional development opportunity for student affairs leaders, scholars, and practitioners in the higher education industry
Tradina DeMary

Did you know? The NASPA took place from Saturday, March 15 through Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education hosted the exclusive 2014 NASPA Annual Conference, “Innovate Lead Transform.” It was the biggest professional development event for student affairs professionals of this Spring. Who knew one establishment could hold so many higher education experts in one building.

According to Frank E. Ross III, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Affairs Northeastern Illinois University, “The NASPA Annual Conference is the premier professional development opportunity in student affairs.”

The 2014 NASPA Annual Conference was a one stop shop for everything from unique SA sessions to include customized experiences through member’s choice, Creative Innovation Labs, Scholarly Research Paper Sessions, an employment placement exchange, an Exhibit hall full of corporate partners and entertainment networking. Talk about all access to informative back-channel dialogues, firsthand networking opportunities, and not to mention up to the minute news and updates concerning the higher education industry!

Yep, the 2014 NASPA Annual Conference took place for 4-days offering workshops & networking. I can honestly tell this year’s conference was a huge affair with so many events hosted at the Baltimore Convention Center as well as the Hilton Hotel in downtown Baltimore. The educational sessions offered some of the most recent standards and procedures concerning the higher education industry. The goal of the 2014 NASPA Annual Conference was to promote, innovation, leadership and transformation as it relates to the nature of higher education & learning concerning the shaping of the student experience as the world rapidly moves into the next phase of higher education.

Did you know? According to the NASPA, “Higher education is going through an enormous transformation. Learning is no longer confined to four walls within traditional brick and mortar institutions. From Massive Online Open Courses to predictive modeling, we are only beginning to understand the needs of the new higher education.”

All great scholars create questions in hoping of solving problems. Check out the five creative themes promoted throughout the whole NASPA Annual Conference for the 13,000 plus higher education Student Affairs Professionals across 50 states, 25 countries and 8 U.S. territories in attendance. I know right this was an enormous gathering!

  • Accountability - How do student affairs educators participate in defining the right measures of accountability for today’s higher education?
  • Changing Demographics - How are the changing demographics of today’s society affecting the nature of student affairs work?
  • Citizenship & Civility - How do we engage students in the intersections between freedom of speech, civility, respect and dignity?
  • Student Success & Persistence - What evidence do we have that the work we do has an impact on student persistence and success?
  • Learning and Community in the Digital Age - What will student affairs look like when many students are learning online?
  • Public Policy & Advocacy - How are policy issues – immigration, workforce training, etc. – outside of higher education affecting the student affairs profession?
  • Student Affairs Profession - What does the student affairs profession look like in a transformed higher education environment?

This was my first NASPA experience and I must admit it was a lot to take in with so many activities offered. Nevertheless, 2014 NASPA Annual Conference, “Innovate Lead Transform” was one of the most inspirational and engaging events, I have ever attended. Oh, did I mention notable keynote speeches were delivered by the Author Wes Moore, White House Speechwriter Jon Lovett and President of University of Maryland Baltimore County, Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. Talk about a powerhouse of motivational talent.

The coolest part of NASPA 2014 was all the never-ending networking among student affairs leaders, scholars, and practitioners from higher education institutions all over the Western world. Talk about a grand luncheon at the Hilton, not to mention nearly a hundred regional breakfast and evening socials sponsored by local colleges across the country. Attendees had access to a complimentary Photo Booth and Professional Head Shot photo services. There was also an opening celebration at The Power Plant Live in downtown Baltimore whereas; the facilities were only occupied by NASPA attendees.

Another perk NASPA attendee received was complimentary access to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment online here with the endgame of discovering one's own strengths. Gallup Strengths Coaching was offered at the conference on-site for two days as well.

This was definitely a trade-show worth attending so, just in case you missed this year's NASPA Annual Conference, no worries. Mark your calendar for March 21-25, 2015 because the NASPA Annual Conference will be in New Orleans, LA next year. Be sure to click here if you’re interested in becoming a NASPA member today because NASPA membership definitely has it's perks.

On a final ending note, you should know quite a few of the attendees were ranting and raving about the community service project sponsored by Golden Key. Did you know? NASPA partnered with a local nonprofit in Baltimore called Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) as well Golden Key to support low income vulnerable individuals and families. On-site during the 2014 NASPA Annual Conference, there was a donation booth where attendees donated an array of items currently listed as items of need by HCH.

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