2019 NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap Conference

June 16 – June 18, 2019
Orlando, Florida

The 2019 NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap Conference will convene scholars and practitioners in beautiful Orlando, Florida to discuss effective approaches to supporting students struggling to complete their degrees.

This year, the 2019 NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap Conference will be co-located with three other events to comprise the inaugural 2019 NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education. As a registered participant for this conference, you will receive access to attend sessions across all conference offerings.

Register Online


The 2019 NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap Conference provides an avenue for thought leaders and practitioners to share ideas, strategies, and evidence based research on ways to dismantle barriers related to student success. The Conference will explore the various factors woven into students’ experiences which may impact their success and completion. Through dynamic keynote speakers and panels, thought-provoking concurrent sessions, and engaging networking opportunities, NASPA’s Closing the Achievement Gap Conference is your exclusive opportunity to engage with colleagues committed to student completion.

Attend this conference to:

  • Expand knowledge about students who struggle to complete their degree and initiatives that seek to engage/re-engage students in their own persistence and retention;
  • Understand the various support systems and relationships required for persistence, retention, and degree completion of traditionally disenfranchised student populations;
  • Recognize the role of technology in serving these student populations; and
  • Recognize mental and emotional stressors that may impede students from degree completion.

Conference Benefits

The 2019 NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap Conference is a valuable opportunity to engage with professionals within student affairs, academic advising and other functional areas to discuss effective approaches to support students' degree attainment By registering to attend the Closing the Achievement Gap Conference, you receive the benefit of attending programming across the three additional conferences co-located as part of the 2019 NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education

Continuing Education

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

NASPA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5120. Programs that do not quality for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NASPA is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Click here for more information on Continuing Education and frequently asked questions.

If you have questions about Continuing Education, please contact Teri Gillmor at [email protected].


Presented By


This event is most likely to influence these groups.

  • AVP or “Number Two”
  • Graduate
  • Mid-Level
  • New Professional
  • Senior Level
  • Vice President for Student Affairs


Let others know you are coming!

Call for Programs

The conference planning committee encourages program proposals regarding proven practices with content that will engage participants in fruitful discussions and provide meaningful content to bring back to their campuses. The outline/description should be lengthy enough to give the reviewers an understanding of your program session. It should also address the following points:

  • Goals of presentation.
  • Lengthy description about session content that you will present.
  • Relationship of the program to the conference themes outlined on the website.
  • Identification of the program format (e.g., lecture, panel, debate) including methods for participant involvement (e.g., discussion, effective practice sharing, case study analysis).
  • Evidence of the conceptual foundation for proposal content including ways the program content is grounded in research, relevant experience, a cogent model, or appropriate theory.

*If you are experiencing issues with submitting your program proposal, please email [email protected].

Conference Themes & Suggested Topics

  • Understand the factors contributing to students struggle to complete their degree

    • ​How do student affairs professionals create programs that are culturally relevant to students?
    • What interventions are institutions using to retain students?
    • Are there programs that are designed to assist students in re-engaging with the campus if they have had to stop out?
    • What support models offer compelling results for acclimating students to college life (peer mentorship, etc.)?

  • Identify support systems to dismantle barriers to student completion

    • ​What programs are most effective in preparing students for college?  How is success in these programs measured?
    • What strategies are effective in increasing first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented student success in STEM disciplines?
    • In what ways do institutional shifts toward “student-ready” approaches shape the experiences of first-generation college students?
    • What roles do front line staff play in removing barriers to success for students?  What strategies are being successfully used at the systemic and institutional levels?
    • What are examples of programming or support models to help transfer students succeed?

  • Discuss the role technology can play in increasing access and equity towards student completion

    • ​How can the development of online engagement and support strategies be applied to the retention and persistence of students of promise?
    • What are high-impact intervention measures that can create an efficient approach to increase student achievement?
    • How are technologies utilized to measure engagement, learning outcomes, program assessment, and student persistence? How can this data be leveraged to support future initiatives?

  • Identify mental and emotional stressors that may affect students degree completion

    • ​What health and wellness efforts do campuses offer to help any student with personal care (such as getting adequate sleep, managing stress levels, and healthy eating)?
    • What are best practices student affairs practitioners are implementing for partnerships with faculty/academic affairs or community partners to support the mental health needs of students of promise?
    • What programs and resources do campuses offer to specifically meet the mental health and wellness needs of students of color, queer students, foster youth, non-majority religious students, native students, low ses, students with disabilities students?

Submission Timeline
  • February 1, 2019
    Call For Programs Deadline
  • March 4, 2019
    Program Decision Notifications
  • March 15, 2019
    Presenter Confirmation Deadline

Writing Tips

Looking for tips on writing an effective NASPA proposal? See sample submissions and formatting tips in our Program Submission Guidelines.


The schedule was designed to provide participants with interactive and engaging programming, opportunities for deeper discussion, and networking. For a printable schedule at a glance, click the button below.

The schedule is subject to minor changes.

Full Schedule

Sat, Jun 15

8:00 a.m.
Registration & Accessibility Desk Open
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Full-day Pre-conference Institutes

Sun, Jun 16

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration and Check-in Open
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Half-day Pre-conference Workshops
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch (On your Own)
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
First-time Attendee Session
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Conference Exhibit Hours
1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Conference Welcome and Opening Panel
3:20 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
4:40 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Learning Labs
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Opening Reception & Poster Presentations

Mon, Jun 17

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration and Check-in Open
7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Conference Exhibit Hours
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast with Exhibitors
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
SFWC Plenary Session
9:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
FGSS Extended Learning Sessions
9:50 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
APC Plenary Session
11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
CTAG Plenary Session
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Conference Break (Lunch on own)
1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Extended Learning Sessions (75 minutes)
3:05 p.m. – 4:05 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
FGSS Plenary Session
4:25 p.m. – 5:25 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

Tue, Jun 18

7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Registration and Check-in Open
7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Closing Speaker
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Breakout Sessions
11:35 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

Pre-Conference Programs & Events

The planning committees for the 2019 NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education are working to select pre-conference sessions that will enrich and enhance your attendee experience. Pre-conference workshops are typically 3 hours, pre-conference Institutes are typically 8 hours, and both will require participants to pre-register for a fee. 

Conducting Program Review Using the CAS Standards

Saturday, June 15th • 09.00 AM – 05.00 PM

View More Details

Deb Garrett, Interim Executive Director – Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education
Jen Wells, Director of Assessment – Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) & Assistant Professor of Higher Education – Department of First-Year and Transition Studies

2019 NASPA Student Success in Higher Education Conferences

In this interactive session, participants will learn and practice detailed steps to implementing Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) standards for program review. Through the use of case studies, individual and small group activities, individual advisement, and discussion, participants will learn how to prepare a unit or division for the program review process intended to foster substantive program improvement. Participants will leave with concrete action steps and tools for implementing a CAS program review on their own campus.

Assessment 101: Introduction to Student Affairs Assessment

Sunday, June 16th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

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Shaun Boren, Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Research - University of Florida
Gwen Fears, Associate Dean of Students - Miami University

Darby Roberts , Director of Student Life Studies - Texas A&M University
Pamelyn Shefman , Director of Planning and Assessment - University of Houston

Tim Kresse , Director of Budget & Technology, Division of Student Life - Miami University

2019 NASPA Student Success in Higher Education Conferences

This pre-conference workshop is a “boot camp” for student affairs assessment. The program offers an opportunity to develop your skills on assessment as a practice while covering the basics you need to either enhance the work you are already doing or start something new for your area or campus. In this session participants will learn from presentations, as well as engage in practical workshops within small groups that represent your campus experience so you can get the most from your time and make assessment more salient in your work. As a result of attending, participants will become familiar with approached for departmental review and accreditation in student affairs while having the opportunity to create an assessment plan for a program including: student learning outcomes, identifying data sources, and reporting strategies.

Data Analytics for Student Affairs: Developing a Foundation for Organizational Effectiveness

Sunday, June 16th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

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Stacy Ackerlind , Special Assistant to the VP for Student Affairs and Director for Assessment, Evaluation and Research - University of Utah
Elizabeth Duszak, Associate Director, Assessment Evaluation & Research - University of Utah

Tom Howa, Associate Director, Business Intelligence Center of Excellence - University of Utah
Dane Luby , Business Analyst, Assessment, Evaluation & Research - University of Utah

2019 NASPA Student Success in Higher Education Conferences

The purpose of this pre-conference workshop is to provide a foundation to develop the analytics capacity for student affairs assessment professionals. Student affairs assessment as a field continues to evolve with the increased use of business intelligence and predictive analytics. This workshop will focus on organizational readiness and implementation strategies including: ethics; data access; interdisciplinary team building; organizational maturity; and, student affairs use cases and planning considerations. As a result of attending, participants will have the chance to: develop an assessment about their organizational culture to ethically and effectively use analytics; gain an understanding of the IT requirements for data access and reporting; develop strategies to build an interdisciplinary team; and, understand implementation strategies.

The Current & Future of College Completion: Critical Student Affairs Practices

Sunday, June 16th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

View More Details

Dhanfu Elston, Ph.D., Vice President for Strategy, Complete College America
Nikolas Huot, M.A., Strategy Director, Complete College America

2019 First-generation Student Success Conference

Student affairs practitioners must find new and innovative methods to contribute to national and institutional completion efforts which are critical in an environment of sometimes competing demands between policy-makers and enrollment goals. Complete College America is a national non-profit dedicated to increasing the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees. Session participants will receive updates on national “Game Changer” strategies and proven practices that are accelerating completion and attainment rates throughout the country. More institutions are developing guided pathways, working to decrease time to degree, and placing greater emphasis on career outcomes. CCA will work with participants on the creation of plans associated with the most high impact practices, including a discussion of how practitioners are transitioning into student success roles.


Registration as a member is based on individual membership status. If you are employed by a college or university that is an institutional member, you can join as an individual member at the $75 rate. This gives you the conference registration and a year of membership for less than the non-member registration fee. If your institution is NOT a member, then you will need to join at the associate affiliate rate of $242 and then you can pay the individual member rate for conference registration. Visit the Membership section of the NASPA website to learn about membership types.

The 2019 NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education converges four events into one. Please select the conference which is most applicable to you, though you are welcome to attend sessions and presentations from any conference on site.

Register Online

Registration Fees

Early Registration
before 04/13/2019
Regular Registration
04/13/2019 to 05/17/2019
Late Registration
after 05/17/2019
NASPA Member
Non Member
NASPA Student Members

Half-day Pre-conference Fees

Early Registration
before 04/13/2019
Regular Registration
04/13/2019 to 05/17/2019
Late Registration
after 05/17/2019
Member and Non-member Price

Full-day Pre-conference Fees

Early Registration
before 04/13/2019
Regular Registration
04/13/2019 to 05/17/2019
Late Registration
after 05/17/2019
Member and Non-member Price


Jake Frasier
Assistant Director of Professional Development
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 202-265-7500 ext. 1180

Tonya Murphy
Assistant Director of Constituent Experience and Services
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 202-265-7500 ext. 1183


View Registration Policies

Refunds will be given for cancellations, received in writing by April 12, 2019, less a $50.00 processing fee. In addition, a processing fee of $50.00 per registration will be charged for credit cards declined.

Registration Cancellation Policy: Cancellation/refund deadline less a $50.00 administrative fee is April 12, 2019. This program may be canceled or postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. In this case, fees will be refunded; however, NASPA will not be responsible for additional costs, charges, or expenses, including cancellation/change charges assessed by airlines, hotels, and/or travel agencies. NASPA is not responsible for weather or travel related problems and will not reimburse registration fees for these issues. Please click here to submit a refund request. Refunds will not be after April 12, 2019 for any reason.

Substitutions: Substitutions are allowed by individuals within the same institution/company. Substitutions should have the same member classification so that the payment is an even exchange transfer of payment. Additional charges may apply if the membership status is not the same. Please email your request for the substitute attendee to [email protected].

Purchase Orders: NASPA does NOT accept purchase orders as a form of payment. For registrants requiring an invoice to have a check payment processed, please use the Bill Me payment method to complete your registration. The resulting invoice can be found and downloaded under the My NASPA section of the website (must be logged-in), by selecting theView Invoices link from the dropdown menu. Alternatively, email a request to Membership to have a PDF of your invoice sent to you. Bill Me registrations are considered complete and will hold your place in an event, however the balance due must be settled prior to attending.

Click here to view NASPA’s complete Payment Policies and Procedures.

Additional Questions? Please contact the NASPA office at 202-265-7500 or via e-mail to [email protected].


  • Tim Bono, Ph.D.

    Tim Bono, Ph.D.

    Assistant Dean for Assessment and Analytics in the Division of Student Affairs
    Washington University

    Speaker Bio

  • Rebecca Covarrubias, Ph.D.

    Rebecca Covarrubias, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Director of the Student Success Equity Research Center
    University of California, Santa Cruz

    Speaker Bio

  • Yolanda Watson Spiva, Ph.D.

    Yolanda Watson Spiva, Ph.D.

    Complete College America

    Speaker Bio

  • Martha J. Kanter, Ed.D.

    Martha J. Kanter, Ed.D.

    Executive Director
    College Promise Campaign

    Speaker Bio


If you would like to exhibit at or sponsor the The 2019 NASPA Conferences on Student Success in Higher Education please fill out the exhibitor application form and e-fax back all pages to 202-204-8443 or scan and e-mail to [email protected] by May 6, 2019. Questions? Contact Kristie Jerde by phone at 218-280-7578 or via email at [email protected].


Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Orlando, FL
Orlando, FL

All conference activities will take place at the Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld.

NASPA has arranged special room rates for conference attendees at the Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld starting at $189/night (not including 12.5% occupancy fee). The cut-off date to receive the conference room rate is Friday, May 24, 2019. Rooms in the conference block may sell out prior to the cut-off date, so please make your reservation as soon as possible.

Our special room rate includes a reduced resort fee of $20, which includes: 2 Bottled waters nightly, high-speed room internet, local/domestic long distance calls and in-room bottled water, transportation to Premium Outlets, and 10% discount for a Tradewinds Restaurant dinner. Additionally, hotel guest will receive 50% discounted self-parking as well as complimentary use of the health club and gym facilities for the duration of the conference.


Hotel Room Rate/Night
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32821
$189 Single or Double
  • Travel

    Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld is located 13 miles from both Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM), 18 miles from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), and 42 miles from Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB).

  • Transportation

    For more information regarding shuttle providers to and from local airports, please visit the Transportation section of the hotel website.

  • Weather

    Temperatures in Orlando in June are around 90 degrees F during the day and 70 degrees F in the evening. As the conference gets closer, please visit the Weather Channel for more information.

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