NIRSA is in the process of finalizing educational content to ensure an enriching learning experience for participants at the 2017 NIRSA Annual Conference & Campus Rec and Wellness Expo. We are excited to have you join us in National Harbor from February 21–24! We anticipate this year’s event will offer approximately 130 educational sessions designated by core competencies.

What are the NIRSA Core Competencies?

NIRSA has identified eight core competencies for collegiate recreation professionals:

  • Programming
  • Philosophy & Theory
  • Personal & Professional Qualities
  • Legal Liabilities & Risk Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Facility Management, Planning & Design
  • Business Management
  • Research & Evaluation

A core competency refers to a set of skills, knowledge, and behaviors that form the foundation for successful professional practice in the field. Regardless of job responsibilities or position level, these competencies permeate throughout the profession at every experience level—from the new professional to the seasoned executive.

NIRSA’s Competency Framework has many uses, including guiding professional training and development. NIRSA uses the framework to set the foundation for all of its education events, including the Annual Conference. In the proposal process, presenters are asked to identify up to four competency areas they plan to cover in their presentation. In this year’s conference materials, sessions will be designated with core competencies and session descriptions so that participants can identify the sessions they need to attend.

What does this mean for NIRSA 2017 attendees?

In previous years, NIRSA has designated sessions by both specialty topic area (Fitness, Outdoor, Facilities, Marketing, etc.) and core competency area. This year, sessions will be designated by core competency area only. But don’t worry, if you’re just interested in specific sessions—like aquatics, fitness, marketing, etc.—you will still be able to find the ones you want to attend.

Even though sessions are designated by core competency areas, content for NIRSA 2017 has still been designed to offer the usual opportunities to learn about all the specialty topic areas that are included in this broad profession. The content is just organized within the bigger buckets that are the core competencies. For example, if you’re interested in picking out an aquatics-related session, it will most likely be designated under the Programming and/or Facilities Management competencies.

As more content is finalized and made available on the website, we do recommend that you take some time to read through session descriptions and core competency areas to help you plot your learning plan so you can get to those important sessions. It will be a jam-packed event filled with great content! Lots to choose from!

If you haven’t registered for NIRSA 2017 yet, make sure to do so before the January 11 early bird deadline. And consider joining the NIRSA 2017 Facebook event to share your commitment to professional development with your friends!


  • 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