conference program: focus & topic areas

The Annual Conference Committee strives to design an education experience that meets the needs of the membership.

In evaluating attendee feedback from the NIRSA 2019 Annual Conference, current trends in collegiate recreation, and the NIRSA 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, the NIRSA 2020 Program Committee will incorporate the following focus and topics areas into this year’s program to feature educational sessions around related issues, initiatives, and promising practices.

focus areas

The NIRSA 2020 Program will feature sessions that:

  • Empower members to create successful campus partnerships to provide programs and services that enhance student success.
  • Facilitate the development of innovative programs, services, and spaces that support underrepresented groups.
  • Enable members to effectively communicate the impact of campus recreation to their own stakeholders on campus and beyond.
  • Present strategies that infuse health and wellbeing practices into various recreational programs and services.
  • Note that focus areas only serve to encourage topics in these areas. Proposals are not required to be tied to one of these focus areas.

topic areas

General Education Sessions & Panel Discussions

Educational session content is expected to address functional and hot topic areas within the profession. Prospective presenters of general education and panel discussion sessions will be asked to identify a primary and secondary topic area for their presentation. The following 16 topic areas are available for NIRSA 2020 general education and panel discussion sessions.

Aquatics — Indoor or outdoor water sports including programs, facilities, and risk management.

Esports — Programs and facilities designed for organized, multiplayer video game competitions.

Facility Design & Operations – Content focused on all aspects of facilities in the context of the built community.

Fitness — Fitness-focused programs, services, and equipment including those for group fitness and personal training.

Intramural Sports — Competitive sports programs involving many teams within institutions, at times progressing to competition outside of the institution.  Includes officiating topics.

Member Services — Strategies for membership sales, retention, and customer service.

Outdoor Programs — Programs, activities, equipment, and policies which focus on integration with the natural environment as well as adventure activities (challenge courses & climbing walls).

Sport Clubs — Competitive, instructional, or recreational groups focused on a specific activity for an extended period of time and that generally compete against other institutions.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion — Addresses principles of equality and solidarity in valuing human rights and physical abilities within a broad range of dimensions.

Health & Wellbeing — Promoting techniques and programs that maximize individual potential across the health and wellbeing spectrum.

Higher Education Issues & Trends — Content focuses on recent topics, issues, and trends across the field of Higher Education.

Leadership & Management — Resources for senior-level staff responsible for managing multiple areas, developing strategy, and executing vision.

Marketing & Technology — Promotion of programs, facilities, and services and the utilization of technology in various aspects of collegiate recreation.

Small College & Community College — Content directed to small, junior, and community colleges.

Staff Development — Skills and knowledge geared toward developing, managing, and/or training student or professional staff.

Youth Programs & Camps — Programs, activities, and facilities designed for youth participation including summer camps.

Showcase Sessions (10 minutes)

An individual showcase session is a 10-15 minute presentation by no more than 2 presenters that focuses on new initiatives or promising practices in the topic area chosen for the session. Presenters showcase ideas with practical tips. Three to four showcase sessions focused on a single topic area are scheduled sequentially within a 60-minute time period. Presenters entertain audience questions collectively at the conclusion of the series of presentations

Showcase session topic areas for 2020 include:

  • Campus Collaborations
  • Communicating the Impact of Campus Recreation
  • Infusing Health & Wellness into Programs
  • Student Staff Training & Development
  • Trends in Facility Design and Technology
  • Strategies for Small Programs
  • Associate Director Issues
  • Esports Program Models

knowledge levels

To assist attendees with selecting educational sessions that best meet their learning objectives, each general education & panel discussion proposal will be designated with a single knowledge level that represents the base level of knowledge of the session topic area that is recommended for session attendees.

Foundational
Sessions provide broad information, awareness and understanding of a topic with limited or no prior knowledge or experience of the subject required. This level is appropriate for students or coordinators with limited experience of the subject area seeking to learn fundamentals and mid-career managers and directors looking to fill in gaps to solidify their skill set.

Practical
Sessions focus on practical application, comprehension, and implementation of ideas with some knowledge and experience in the subject area required. This level is appropriate for coordinators, mid-level managers, and directors in their fields with an established degree of competence and for those seeking to build on, apply, or enhance existing knowledge.

Strategic
Sessions focus on strategic management and leadership skill development for attendees with significant expertise, knowledge and experience in their fields.  This level is appropriate for mid-level managers and directors and those aspiring to attain the knowledge to advance to such positions.