The 2017 NIRSA Annual Conference & Expo—an amazing professional development opportunity for those in the collegiate recreation field—is taking place in National Harbor, MD from February 21–24. Did you know that registering for a preconference opportunity is a great way to get a head start on your NIRSA 2017 experience? The Conference Program Committee is pleased to offer a variety of preconference learning experiences that will appeal to new professionals as well as more seasoned campus recreation professionals. Many of these precons are always super popular—so be sure to sign up for them early!

J. Michael Dunn Student Professional Development Workshop

Presented by NIRSA’s Student Professional Development Committee

An annual staple of the NIRSA preconference schedule, this workshop returns in 2017. 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.

The Unified Sports School: An In-Depth Curriculum for Bringing Unified Sports® to Your Campus

Presented by Amanda Alpert, Coordinator of Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs at the University of Mississippi; Scott George, Assistant Director of Intramural Sports at Central Michigan University; and Dan Ekonen, Director of Unified Sports Initiatives

Want to be a part of the first wave of Unified Sports schools? Learn from experienced professionals about what it takes to build a Unified Sports program. This workshop will provide attendees with an in-depth understanding of Special Olympics and their mission, an understanding of how the structure of the organization works at a state level, and allow them to discover who Special Olympic athletes are and how to work with this population of athletes. Learn and develop a program plan for a Unified Sports model that will best fit your campus. Explore rules variations and differences related to Unified Sports and discover training methods to incorporate with your staff of student officials.

Women Leading Women: Pathways through the Leadership Labyrinth

Presented by Cara McFadden, PhD, Assistant Professor at Elon University and Mila Padgett, Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness at the University of South Carolina Aiken

As women continue their professional trajectory in the field of collegiate recreation, 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 within NIRSA. Women bring unique qualities to the workplace but often lack confidence in their ability.

This workshop gives women an 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.

Moving On Up: Executive Education for Aspiring Directors

Presented by Maureen McGonagle, CRSS, Director at CENTERS, LLC at DePaul University

Ready to move on up? There are many competencies to master in order to be considered for a director position. Participating in this workshop will introduce you to necessary competencies, help you evaluate your skill set, create a plan for mastering those competencies, and develop a mentoring network to help you move ahead. Based on feedback provided by the supervisors of current directors, focused discussions will be held on relationship building, budgeting and resource allocation, problem solving, and executive leadership.

Officials Development: From Grassroots to Professional

Presented by Kurt Klier, Assistant Director at the University of Maryland-College Park; Nick Brigati, Assistant Director for Competitive Sports and Student Development at Ohio University; Nicole Green, Assistant Director at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; and members of the NASO Officials’ Development Alliance

Join some of the top names in officiating for insight into the world of sports officiating as seen through the minds of leaders in the industry. Representatives from NASO, ASA, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, US LAX, Ultimate Fighting, NCAA, and NFSHS will all be on hand to take part in a panel discussion. Key topics to be discussed include: recruitment, retention, development/training, the use of video technology, and more. Participants will also have the chance to ask questions.

Power of the Pedal: Coaching Power-Based Indoor Cycling

Presented by A’Naja Newsome, MS, ACSM EP-C and Aaron Craig, PhD, ACSM EP-C

Inspire peak performance by incorporating power-based training into your department’s offerings! With its continued growth in popularity, cycling is sure to be a priority for your campus as you prepare your group fitness class schedules. Learn techniques and strategies for designing and delivering power-based cycling classes to diversify your program offerings.

Women’s Networking Luncheon

Hosted by Darcy Bingham, Board of Trustees at the University of California, San Diego; Tiffany Lomax, Assistant Director of Marketing & Engagement at George Washington University; and Stefani Plummer, Director at California Baptist Church

Join us for a delicious lunch and facilitated conversation 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 experience, this preconference luncheon will provide first-time attendees as well as veteran NIRSA Annual Conference attendees time to network, share what works, brainstorm solutions, and encourage one another.


Spaces for these amazing preconference opportunities will fill quickly so reserve your spot early! We can’t wait to see you at NIRSA 2017!


  • For more information, please contact NIRSA Director of Professional Development Kristen Gleason.
Director of Professional Development at | NIRSA Profile

Kristen Gleason is currently the Director of Professional Development at NIRSA