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Alice Manicur Symposium

About Alice Manicur Symposium

Sponsored by NASPA’s Center for Women, the Alice Manicur Symposium is an engaging and supportive environment for you to learn and reflect on your personal goals and aspirations.  This is an application based conference offered every two years and allows time for in-depth discussions and small, faculty lead mentor group sessions.  Additionally, you will meet one-on-one with experienced CSAO faculty members as well as participate in content sessions on topics such as: strategic thinking, leading change, planning for career advancement, and work / life balance.

You should apply if:

  • You hold a Master’s degree and/or are completing or recently completed your doctorate.
  • You are a mid-level manager reporting to a senior level official.
  • Your responsibilities include staff supervision, budget management experience, and designing and implementing programs

About Alice Manicur

Alice Manicur, the daughter of an Italian immigrant and coal miner from West Virginia, was introduced to higher education at Berea College during the early 1950's.  She earned both her MS (1955) and EdD(1960) in College Student Personnel from Indiana University.  In 1960 she became the first dean of students at Frostburg State University, and is still active in the university's administration.  In 1976 she was the first woman to become president of NASPA.  She has also been a member of the NASPA board of directors and the NASPA Foundation board of directors.  In 1982 she was the recipient of the Fred Turner Award for outstanding service to the profession and in 1993 she received the Scott Goodnight Award for outstanding performance as a dean. In 1996 the Symposium for Women Aspiring to be CSAO's was named in her honor.

Faces of Manicur

Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D.

Manicur Class of 2008

Vice President for Student Affairs, Becker College

Participating in the Alice Manicur Symposium has been the highlight of my professional development thus far. The incredible amount of information and wisdom shared by the faculty and mentors is still an important resource for me. I keep all my notes – and there are many, many pages of notes from my time at Manicur – in arms reach of my desk and have referred to those notes frequently. In fact, those notes were extremely helpful when preparing for my job search and participating in processes for Vice President positions. Listening to and sharing with strong and accomplished female leaders in our field offers a valuable perspective for any mid-level professional woman looking to advance in her career. The combination of large group discussion and presentations paired with small faculty-led mentor groups contributed to relationship building and created bonds which have transcended the Symposium both with my cohort and the faculty. I strongly recommend the Symposium each time it is offered to women in my region not only as a unique professional development opportunity but also an invaluable life experience.


Mary Jo Gonzales, Ph.D.

Manicur Class of 2012

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University of Rhode Island

The Manicur Symposium was the best investment I have ever made as a student affairs professional, aspiring  leader, and goal oriented woman who wasn't willing to accept anything less than was I was capable of achieving.  The Manicur Faculty are authentic, ambitious, and inspiring senior student affairs women who told their stories openly and honestly. Insights about the opportunities ahead and advice designed to prepare us as leaders in the  unfolding landscape of higher education was priceless.  The best part of the Manicur Symposium was seeing other women who were also called to lead and were unwavering in their commitment to learning about leadership and challenge themselves to become what they were meant to be!  If you are looking for a professional development opportunity which will stretch, bend, and recast your vision of what you are capable of as a leader, the Manicur Symposium is it!


Shelia Higgs Burkhalter, MBA, MSED

Manicur Class of 2008

Chief SSAO / Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Baltimore

The SSAO experience for women can be quite different from our male counterparts as we try to fully engage our many identities and roles. The Manicur Symposium gave us the opportunity to discuss in an open, honest and safe way, the realities of being a SSAO with the added bonus of the feminine perspective. It was refreshing to hear the faculty mentors talk about the joys, challenges and lessons from their own personal journeys.  The faculty mentors wanted to give us as much sage advice and wisdom as they could to help us successfully navigate the journey.  In the early stages of my time as a SSAO and even today, I continue to refer back to the presentations and reflections that I have from my time at Manicur. The time invested in that experience continues to pay huge dividends for me on a daily basis.

There are so many factors to consider when determining whether you want to become a SSAO. There are stories, experiences and realties that your divisional leaders and colleagues cannot always freely share. At the Manicur Symposium, these kinds of limits do not exist. You can ask whatever you want and be assured an open, honest response. The goal of the Manicur faculty is to give you as much information as possible to help you decide whether the role of SSAO is for you. You will learn, develop and grow in ways you never anticipated. You  will meet colleagues and mentors who will become a part of your "go to" crew for many years to come. Attending Manicur will change your life.

One of the primary things I recall about my time at Manicur was the advice to "show up like a senior student affairs officer long before you are occupying the role".  Do your homework like an SSAO, ask questions like an SSAO, respond like an SSAO, be the SSAO. I embraced that advice and begin to "show up" daily as an SSAO. When the calls came for me to interview for SSAO positions, I was well positioned to answer the questions and engage at the next level. About one year after my Manicur experience I landed my first SSAO position. I have no doubt that my time at Manicur was a major catalyst in both the attainment of the position and how I engage in the position day-to-day.