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November 25, 2020

Early Registration Deadline

December 21, 2020

Last Day to Register

NASPA Virtual Institute for New AVPs

Virtual Conferences and Institutes Supporting the Profession Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice AVP or "Number Two" Senior Level

The 2021 offering of the NASPA Institute for New AVPs is going virtual! The NASPA Institute for New AVPs is a foundational learning and networking experience designed to support and develop AVPs in their unique and challenging roles on campus. The Institute is appropriate for AVPs and other senior-level "number twos" who report to the highest-ranking student affairs officer and who have been serving in their first AVP/"number two" position for not longer than two years. Over an eighteen-day period, members of the institute cohort will engage with the faculty, one another, and institute content through a blend of live engagement and on-demand, asynchronous opportunities.


Presented By


As a new assistant or associate vice president (or other "number two") who reports to the vice president for student affairs (or other highest-ranking student affairs officer) on your campus, you have a very unique and equally challenging position. The NASPA Virtual Institute for New AVPs is designed to support your successful transition into the AVP role and will help you to navigate the complex individual and institutional challenges that are inherent in the “number two” position. With the leadership of a faculty team comprised of accomplished AVPs and VPSAs, the Institute’s curriculum focuses on:

  • Competencies required for success in the AVP role
  • Leading through relationships and navigating institutional politics
  • Managing student unrest and protests
  • Leveraging intersecting personal identities for effective leadership
  • Leading areas and functions that are new to you
  • Managing “flash points” in the work and in the environment
  • Lessons learned from the pandemic

All Institute participants must report to the highest-ranking student affairs officer on campus and have substantial responsibility for divisional functions. Join us online in January for this faculty-led, cohort experience to improve your effectiveness in your challenging role and to expand your AVP peer network!

Institute Faculty

Invited Speakers


This exclusive professional development program is an institute. Unlike conferences where participants choose to participate (or not) in concurrent sessions, during this institute all attendees will participate in the same cohort experience and are expected to engage fully in all aspects of the program. From Monday, January 4 to Friday, January 22, the institute faculty will meet with the cohort five times:


Monday, January 4

1:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET

Friday, January 8

2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday, January 13

2:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday, January 20

2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET

Friday, January 22

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET


Prior to and between these real-time virtual gatherings, institute participants will access other institute content (e.g., videos, readings, assignments) at their convenience via NASPA’s virtual learning management system. (The schedule presented here is subject to changes.)

Recorded Sessions

Lead and Inspire in Your New Role


As an AVP your role is more about leading and inspiring.This requires a shift in our approach to the role, while using the NASPA AVP Competencies as a framework to build your level of mastery of skills that have been identified as important for executive leaders.As you continue your work in understanding the new skills/competencies, you will be able to create stories of success and failure, but most importantly document your learning as a senior student affairs leader on campus.


What Got You Here Won't Make You an Exemplary AVP

The AVP role is one between the “doers” and the top decision makers. As such, the AVP may be in a position to complete tasks, plan, and lead others even when not the expert. Professionals rise to the AVP level because they are proven problem solvers and thinkers while having the ability to jump in where needed. This session will offer insight regarding which skills to apply, and when to grow the skills sets of others, to be great in the AVP role.

Are You Prepared for the Inevitable? The AVP Role(s) in Managing “Flashpoints”

Our profession is inarguably fast moving, interspersed with moments of calm. Seemingly out of nowhere, your expertise may be tapped as your campus addresses a student-led protest; or one of your direct reports is publicly accused of wrongdoing; or a social media post sparks outrage. Whether asked to prioritize thoughtful deliberation versus swift decisions, or to serve as an educator or even an arbitrator, this session will explore the AVP role(s) in providing leadership and/or lending support as campuses manage “flashpoints”.

Navigating in the New Role

You’ve recently reached a milestone transition in your career! As with any transition, this change will involve a period of excitement and learning. It will likely also involve culture shock, frustration, and uncertainty. Successfully navigating your transition into a new role involves careful and thoughtful planning as well as an in-depth knowledge of self. Whether your new role is at the same university, or you’ve worked in academia for several years and at several institutions, your new role will mean adjusting to new organizational cultures, assumptions, expectations and staff dynamics. It may also mean that all of the aforementioned have to account for you as well. While the adjustment period is temporary, being deliberate in how you manage this change will set the tone for some time to come. In this session, we will discuss how to build on the momentum from your successful interview and job offer, effectively navigate the “honeymoon period,” and set yourself (and those connected to you) up for success through your new role.

Free Speech on the Inclusive Campus: Testing Civility, Activism, and Expression

While the First Amendment may seem as straightforward as protecting speech no matter how offensive its content, First Amendment issues remain some of the most challenging and complex issues facing higher education leaders. Liberal education is founded on the principle of free speech and restrictions on speech are often violations of both state and federal mandates. At the same time, many students in the Centennial generation arriving on our campuses are concerned about inclusion, belonging, and social justice issues. Free speech and inclusivity are both essential to a liberal education, and though current events would have us believe they are mutually exclusive, they both can and should exist on college campuses in mutually reinforcing ways. This session will examine topics regarding free speech, inclusion, and civility, including student protest and activism and the role of student affairs in supporting free expression and activism.

Leading in Student Life During a Pandemic: Lessons from 2020 and COVID-19

Our work is often found in leading in times of crisis and that has not been more needed than in the spring 2020 when higher education institutions worldwide shifted to online student engagement and learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time we have learned many things about resiliency, adaptation, creativity, and a new approach to connecting with colleagues, friends, and family. In the midst of this pandemic we shifted our operations to online, and slowly with time we have made attempts to bring a sense of community with masks and social distancing. In this session we will highlight lessons learned as we responded to the pandemic crisis that included our colleagues from across the globe while examining our next steps.

January 4
January 8
January 13
January 20
January 22
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Institute Opening, Welcome, and Introductions

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

What’s Cookin’? Sharing Recipes for Success in the AVP Role

2:30 PM - 2:45 PM


2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Shaping the Short- and Long-term Future of Student Affairs

3:45 PM - 4:00 PM


4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Follow-up Session to Video Session "Lead and Inspire in your New Role"

4:30 PM - 5:15 PM

Introduction of Faculty-led Reflection Teams

Throughout the Institute, you will gather virtually with the same small group facilitated by one of the Institute faculty members.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Follow-up Session to Video Session "What Got You Here Won't Make You an Exemplary AVP"

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Follow-up Session to Video Session "Are You Prepared for the Inevitable? The AVP Role(s) in Managing 'Flashpoints'"

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM


3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Faculty-led Reflection Teams

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Follow-up Session to Video Session "Navigating in the New Role"

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Follow-up Session to Video Session "Free Speech on the Inclusive Campus: Testing Civility, Activism, and Expression"

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM


3:15 PM - 4:15 PM

Faculty-led Reflection Teams

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Follow-up Session to Video Session "Leading in Student Life During a Pandemic: Lessons from 2020 and COVID-19"

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

What VPSAs Need and Expect from AVPs to Promote Divisional and Institutional Success

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM


3:45 PM - 4:30 PM

Faculty-led Reflection Teams

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Putting It All Together and Taking Action

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM


4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Institute Closing Session


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.

For a comprehensive listing of NASPA registration policies, please visit this page.

Registration and Pricing
The last day to register is December 21, 2020.
NASPA Member





If you would like to sponsor the 2021 NASPA Virtual Institute for New AVPs, please contact Senior Director of Corporate Development Fred Comparato at fcomparato@naspa.org or 614-204-5994.