Preconference Opportunities

Preconference Workshops

If you like getting a head-start on conference, you’ll enjoy this variety of learning and networking options. Be sure to register early to ensure your seat as many have a limited capacity.

J. Michael Dunn Student Professional Development Workshop — SOLD OUT

Presented by:
NIRSA Student Professional Development Committee

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.6

  • Cost: $70.00 (Morning coffee and Lunch included)

  • Time: 9:00am-3:00pm

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 120

The goal of this full-day workshop is to inspire NIRSA student members to continue learning about NIRSA and the collegiate recreation profession, as well as to enhance their self-awareness through motivational interactions with their peers and professionals. During this workshop, attendees can expect to explore various leadership topics, the values of the association, and how to build a strong network within the field. In addition, this year’s workshop will encourage attendees to explore their own style of dealing with change, how their style affects others, and influences their perceptions of others.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn their own style of dealing with change, and how their style affects others and influences their perceptions of others
  2. Learn traps that can limit flexibility in leadership
  3. Learn few quick and easy energizer activities to implement with teams of any size

Moving on Up: Executive Education for Aspiring Directors

Presented by:
Maureen McGonagle, CRSS, CENTERS, LLC At DePaul University
Stan Shingles, Central Michigan University
David Bowles, University of Florida
Laura Hall, Penn State University
Eric Nickel, CRSS, James Madison University
Lisa Stuppy, Penn State University
Robyn Deterding, CRSS, University of Illinois (retired)

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.8

  • Cost: $70 (Morning coffee and Lunch included)

  • Time: 8:30am-5:00pm

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 28

There are many competencies to master to be considered for a director position. Participating in this workshop will help you evaluate your skill set, build skills needed to be successful as a director, strengthen your mentoring network with peers and faculty, and develop an action plan for mastering needed competencies. Discussion topics will be based on information collected from surveys of aspiring directors, current directors, and hiring authorities, and the collective experience of the faculty. Topics may include budgeting, relationship building, political positioning, organizational culture, and executive leadership. The focus will be on short presentations, small group discussions, and case studies.

 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify at least two leadership competencies that you believe you need to strengthen.
  2. Identify at least two actions items that you will employ to improve your abilities in these leadership competencies.
  3. Identify at least three learning points gained from the workshop.

Prerequisites:

Attendees must have at least 7 years of full-time professional experience and have experience supervising full-time staff. It is the responsibility of the attendee to ensure that they meet the pre-requisite prior to registering for this preconference program. Failing to meet the pre-requisites makes it difficult to fully engage in the collaborative work and discussions that take place during this learning experience. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Women Leading Women: Pathways through the Leadership Labyrinth — SOLD OUT

Presented by:
Cara McFadden. PhD, Elon University
Mila Padgett, University of South Carolina Aiken

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.7

  • Cost: $90 (Morning coffee and Lunch included)

  • Time: 8:00am-4:00pm

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 48

As women continue their professional trajectory in the collegiate recreation field personal levels of self-efficacy may impact applying for a new position, taking on a new role in the department, or applying to serve in a volunteer leadership role with in NIRSA. Women bring unique qualities to the workplace but often lack confidence in their ability. Together we will explore leadership traits that women leaders naturally possess. A brave space is provided to have difficult conversations regarding individual human capital, gender differences, and prejudice as we learn to work through the leadership labyrinth.

This workshop gives women the opportunity to connect with other leading women in NIRSA to learn strategies for survival, self-renewal, and reinvention by providing a full-day workshop to explore one’s personal and professional priorities through storytelling, reflection, and developing intentional personal leadership plans. This workshop is designed for a new group of 48 woman attendees each year. Past attendees of this event are encouraged to continue the conversation and networking with peer women colleagues at the Women’s Networking Luncheon or other networking opportunities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain self-efficacy as it pertains to their personal leadership journey.
  2. Develop mentor/mentee relationships with attendees and facilitators participating in the workshop.
  3. Identify personal and professional roles to design an intentional leadership plan for future professional and personal growth.

Small College and Community College Workshop — SOLD OUT

Presented by:
NIRSA Small Programs Advisory Council

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.7

  • Cost: $70 (Morning coffee and Lunch included)

  • Time: 9:00am-5:00pm

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 60

Join us for this full day workshop focused on the development of skills and resources to enhance the recreational program at your small program (enrollment of less than 5,000 or a FTE staff of 5 or less). Based in theory, new tactics, personnel and self-development, and relationship building, this workshop will provide participants the tools needed to enhance recreational programming.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will identify various ways to enhance support and growth of Campus Recreation programming on their campus through various resources and tactics based on research and assessment.
  2. Participants will learn how to develop a professional and student staff to provide a robust, well rounded recreation program.
  3. Participants will learn how to maximize relationships both on and off campus to enhance recreational offerings.

The Missing Piece: The Role of Campus Recreation in Solving the Puzzle of Sexual Violence on Campus

Presented by:
Rachael Finley, York College of Pennsylvania
Liz Grubb, York College of Pennsylvania

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.4

  • Cost: $35 (Morning coffee included)

  • Time: 8:00am-Noon

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 48

Campus Recreation professionals have a powerful opportunity to influence the campus culture and be leaders in the prevention of sexual assault, interpersonal violence and stalking. This workshop is designed to educate participants about the topic, identify ways they can have influence and begin an action plan to create change in their communities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the scope of the problem of sexual violence, interpersonal violence, and stalking on college campuses.
  2. Define and demonstrate opportunities in Campus Recreation to develop respectful communication and bystander intervention techniques with students.
  3. Articulate at least 2 ways to implement the Socio-ecological Model on campus to create culture change.

The Unified Sports School (Level 1)

Presented by:
Amanda Alpert, University of Mississippi
Dan Ekonen, Special Olympics Michigan
Scott George, Central Michigan University
Gabrielle Sokol, Oakland University

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.4

  • Cost: $35 (Morning coffee included)

  • Time: 8:00am-Noon

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 50

An introduction to Unified Sports and Workshop for Implementing Unified Sports on a Campus (for students and professionals who do not have an existing Unified Program or have one that is in the beginning stages). Level 1 attendees will learn of Unified Sports and the diversity it brings to a campus through action plans to begin or continue a new Unified Sports program.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendee will be able to understand the concept and impact of Unified Sports on a collegiate recreation program.
  2. Attendee will be able to learn the appropriate methods to working with Special Olympics, Unified Sports and Special Olympic Athletes.
  3. Attendee will be able to identify the best way to develop an impactful Unified Sports program at their institution.
  4. Attendee will be able to develop Unified Sport specific rules and officials trainings.

The Unified Sports School (Level 2)

Presented by:
Amanda Alpert, University of Mississippi
Dan Ekonen, Special Olympics Michigan
Scott George, Central Michigan University
Gabrielle Sokol, Oakland University

  • NIRSA CEUs: TBD

  • Cost: $25

  • Time: 1:30pm-5:00pm

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 50

Level 2 will spend time to advance and enhance a Unified Program beyond the fields and courts of one’s home campus. Discover state, extramural and research opportunities through Unified Sports. This workshop is geared for students and professionals that have either attended Unified Sports School Level 1 or have an existing Unified Sports Program.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendee will be able to identify next steps to developing an existing Unified Sports program.
  2. Attendee will be able to know how to get their teams, students and athletes involved in extramural opportunities both with NIRSA and Special Olympics.
  3. Attendee will be able to plan for campus and community partnerships.
  4. Attendee will create ideas and concepts for research and assessment of Unified Sports.
  5. 5.Attendees will be able to create other types of activities within a recreation department to engage people of all intellectual abilities other than competitive sports.

Research and Assessment: How It Can Be Used to Elevate Your Student Employment Program through Intentional Design and Student Learning

Presented by:
Sandi Carlisle, CRSS, EdD, Northern Illinois University
Austin Anderson, PhD, University of Southern Indiana
Derek Hottell, Virginia Commonwealth University
Jessica Kiss, Bowling Green State University
Megan Krone, PhD, CENTERS, LLC At DePaul University
Anne Wilkinson, CRSS, PhD, Temple University

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.4

  • Cost: $35

  • Time: 1:00pm-5:00pm

  • Location: Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 60

Offering a student employment experience that contributes to students’ academic and career success is a win -win for campus employers and students. How is your program supporting student career preparedness? Are your students acquiring the skills needed to be successful during their time on campus and beyond? How do you know? How do you find out? Come away from this workshop with practical knowledge and skills to help design a ‘learner centered’ employment program by applying assessment methods to measure learning outcomes and learner effectiveness.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between research and assessment and identify how both can help practitioners design an effective student employment program.
  2. Learn how to design a student employment program by incorporating learning outcomes, learning methods, and strategies contributing to a learning culture.
  3. Understand methods for measuring learning, evaluating the effectiveness of the program, and analyzing the relationship between the employment experience and career preparedness.

Building a Culture of Health and Wellbeing: A Strategic Discussion for Campus Recreation Directors

Presented by:
Ken Morton, CRSS, Stephen F. Austin State University

  • NIRSA CEUs: 0.2
  • Cost: $25 (includes snacks and reception)

  • Time: 2:00pm-5:00pm

  • Cap: 80

As outlined in the Okanagan Charter, higher education plays a central role in the development of individuals, communities, societies, and cultures—locally and globally. The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report affirmed, institutions of higher education have a responsibility to equip students to not only pursue better jobs, but also to successfully pursue better lives. In response to these calls to action, campuses are exploring new and expanded strategies to create cultures of health and wellbeing that impact student success and support thriving campus communities. Collegiate recreation leaders are poised to bring vision and thought leadership, as well as a proven track record of operational excellence, to this effort.

This strategic discussion will explore examples of promising strategies and emerging best practices that integrate health and wellbeing into campus culture. Examples will include ways to move past “who owns” wellness on campus to strategies for effectively working across boundaries towards a model where all aspects of campus are administered through a lens of good health. Options to focus on an upstream approach to implementing preventative measures that keep people thriving—while not ignoring the urgent needs of those in ill health—will be discussed. The workshop will include short presentations and ample time for discussion.

Immediately following the session will be a networking social for campus recreation directors and divisional leaders.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify various strategies to embed a culture of health within a department, division, or campus-wide initiative.
  2. Identify ways to effectively work across departments and divisions on campus to implement strategies that support a culture of health.
  3. Understand campus recreation’s role in an upstream approach to promoting wellbeing.

Prerequisite:

This forum is for the Director of Campus Recreation or the equivalent Chief Campus Recreation Administrator who is responsible for a comprehensive portfolio of programs, personnel and facilities.

Women’s Networking Luncheon — SOLD OUT

Hosted by:
Darcy Bingham
Liz Henry
Tiffany Lomax
Stefani Plummer

  • Cost: $40

  • Time: 12:30pm-2:30pm

  • Location: Hard Rock Café

  • Cap: 60

Join us for a delicious, lightly facilitated luncheon where you’ll have the opportunity to meet, hear from, and talk with, amazing women in our profession. A great way to kick off your conference, this luncheon will provide first time attendees as well as veteran NIRSA members time to network, share what works, brainstorm solutions and encourage one another.

Preconference Trips/Activities

Join colleagues to explore the Mile High city and surrounding areas.

NIRSA Community Service Project — SOLD OUT

Serve the City of Denver with a park beautification project. Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) facilities are unrivaled in the Rocky Mountain West. The DPR system spans over a 148-year history, from the first park created in 1868 to nearly 20,000 acres of urban parks and mountain parkland today. This project will help clean along the S. Platte River/Cherry Creek Trail, which is 5 minutes from downtown. Projects will consist of debris removal, raking and mulching.

This is an opportunity to engage in meaningful service and team building with student and professional colleagues so come prepared to work and lend a helping hand!

  • Cost: $35 (Lunch and transportation included)

  • Time: 7:15am-2:00pm

  • Location: Buses depart from the Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 50

Front Range Facilities Tour — SOLD OUT

Attendees will start their tour with Coors Field, home to MLB’s Colorado Rockies, followed by the University of Colorado-Boulder Champions Center and Student Recreation Center.  The final stop will be Colorado State University’s Student Recreation Center.

  • Cost: $60 (Lunch included)

  • Time: 8:30am-5:15pm

  • Location: Buses depart from the Colorado Convention Center

  • Cap: 100

Outdoor Adventures

This year’s preconference trip offers you a chance to visit and explore Summit County Colorado. You have two options to choose from, skiing or snowshoeing. Both great ways to explore the beautiful Colorado outdoors.

Important information to remember:
Please bring warm clothing for these activities. Be prepared for snow and cold weather while outside. Boots, gloves, hats, winter jacket, and pants are recommended. Lunch is on your own. The bus will leave Copper Mountain at 3:00pm. For trip questions email
Brian Anderson.