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Conference Educational Sessions

Note: this document may be updated as sessions are added and modified. A final list will be available at the regional conference.

Adrift in Uncertainty: Strategic Planning
Elaina Frede (University of Missouri)
Not a business buzzword, strategic planning can ensure a team mitigates uncertainty, retains and elevates value and purpose, as well as builds strategic relationships on one’s campus. This will not be your typical strategic planning session, as we will review and reference Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations (Bryson, J.M).

Alarms are going off...What the EAP do we do?
Eve Esch (University of Houston), Matt Sebby (University of Houston)
Emergency preparedness is something that everyone should think about. We will discuss Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and how they can apply to all levels of college union and student activities professionals. We'll also talk about the different stages of preparing (short-term) and business continuity planning (long-term).

Balance isn't just for Gymnasts
Eve Esch (University of Houston)
This session will focus on several professionals sharing their stories of how they find balance between work & personal life. The panel will include discussion of a variety of challenges that might cause imbalance: single parenting, working multiple jobs, going back to school, helping elderly/ill parents, etc. There will be helpful techniques to find balance.

Becoming the Bear: Creating Connection with Students
Julie Hill (Missouri State University)
This session will explore how we’ve managed to get more than 3,000 people to follow an inanimate object on Twitter, to retweet what it has to say, and to even take a paper version of it on spring break to share their travels. We’ll see how a little research and creativity before launching and an ongoing commitment to a character can create a sense of real relationships on social media.

Concealed Carry on Campus
Matthew Sebby (University of Houston)
This session is intended to be a roundtable discussion in regard to how the Texas institutions are dealing with the recent law (began August 1, 2016) that allows concealed weapons to be brought on public university campuses in Texas and any best practices, pitfalls, or unintended consequences that have occurred during implementation.

ESU and PSU – Lessons from Successful Renovations
Dick Tilghman (TreanorHL), Kara Grant (TreanorHL)
Discover how these successful expansion and renovation projects transformed disjointed, aging facilities into vibrant, student-filled activity, dining, and meeting centers. Learn how to overcome the hurdles inherent in existing structures and systems through effective use of planning, administrative guidance, student involvement, and creative design.

Future of the Brand Focus Group
In June, the Board of Trustees endorsed the Future of the Brand Task Force’s recommendation to develop a new logo and tagline for the Association. In the ensuing months, several concepts were created. You’re invited to give feedback on potential logos and taglines. Anyone is welcome to attend this session where a facilitator will ask set questions about each concept to gauge how well the concepts connect with ACUI’s brand attributes.

How Do You Advance Plan your Event Space?
Stephanie Edgett (University of Texas–Arlington), Stephen "Bear" Lunce II (University of Texas–Arlington)
How do you make sure events like Homecoming, Orientation, and other large-scale events in need of major space in your Union get it before you open for general booking? This session will walk through how the University Center at the University of Texas–Arlington created a system and meeting that works with different departments to secure the major space a year out.

Managing the Middle without Getting Muddled
Wendy Morgan (Texas A&M University–Commerce), Zane Reif (University of North Texas)
Two union directors will share their paths and experiences moving into mid-level management positions in Student Affairs. Although anecdotal information will be included, the focus will be on practical advice. Strategies also will be shared from the e-book The Mid-Level Manager in Student Affairs: Strategies for Success.

Moving the Needle in Diversity & Inclusion Efforts
Keith Kowalka (University of Houston), Niya Blair (University of Houston), Ashriel Dunham (University of Houston)
The University of Houston Student Life area committed to growing and developing staff within nine departments in diversity & inclusion. The outcome has been a more knowledgeable and professional team. This interactive session will provide practical applications and theoretical models for how to broaden and engage staff to contribute to a more inclusive campus environment.

The Narrative of On-Campus Student Employment
Katie Beaulieu (Texas Christian University)
We have conversations with our student employees on a daily basis, but do we truly listen to them? This session will present the findings of a qualitative study exploring the experiences of students working on campus. Participants shared familiar learning moments but also revealed challenges unique to existing research.

Planning with a Purpose

Jeremy Sippel (Texas A&M University–Commerce)
Have you had to develop and plan a program from scratch? Have you ever had to collaborate with campus partners to implement an event? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this session is for you! In this session you learn how to develop a purposeful strategic event plan from scratch and how to include campus partners in these plans.

Renovate to Innovate: A Tale of Two Student Centers
Andy Albin (EYP Architecture & Engineering), John Smith (EYP Architecture & Engineering)
Institutions are often challenged with facilities that no longer meet the needs of their diverse student communities. Leveraging student engagement, the University of Houston transformed its outdated Student Center into the social heart of the campus. Sam Houston State University is currently collaborating to create dynamic spaces that foster community, promote student success, and maximize investment.

Restoring A Diminished Leadership
Nick Schill (University of Texas–San Antonio)
One of the most challenging aspects of being a student is the concept of leadership. It is often times a development opportunity that is overlooked in many places. When students are not given proper leadership training the result is what I refer to as a “Diminished Leadership.” A diminished leadership takes it toll by devaluing ourselves as a leader, therefore leading to our peers and supervisors not properly respecting our leadership qualities. The good news is that we can recover from this hindrance by asserting ourselves in a timely manner into a leadership role. In this session we will discuss actions that diminish our value as a student leader as well as tactics to restore our values and be the most effective and efficient leader we can possibly be.

Risk Management Made Easy
Kristen Ernst (University of Houston), Erin Ciceri (University of Houston)
This session is designed to introduce a Risk Management Matrix that students can utilize to assess risk before an event is approved. Attendees will also be given a case study to understand more fully how the matrix can be used during the event planning process.

Sam Smith – not the only one with writing on the wall!
Audrey Taggart-Kagdis (Kansas State Univeristy)
Construction walls are boring! Really, really boring! The K-State Student Union is in the third phase of a $31-million renovation and has remained open during the project. Learn creative ideas and best practices to bring color, beauty, diversity, and fun to your student center during any size construction project.

Technology Overload Make it Work for You
Orlando Cantu (University of Texas–San Antonio)
Technology exists for the sole purpose of creating efficiency in our work. In practice this is not always true. We will exam the vast array of software and hardware used, including background software which links major systems together, in a case study of the University Center at the University of Texas–San Antonio. Our discussion will include measuring efficiency of used tech.

Trans Activism in College: Transition into an Ally
Shane Stinson (University of Missouri)
Are you passionate about making your university more inclusive of trans identities? From systemic policies to daily interactions, there are many situations transgender students face within our universities that create barriers to their education and survival. The Missouri Student Unions has taken stride to support its trans students through representation and adaptation. Come learn about how you can play a role in enriching the trans experience at your institution.

Transitioning from Student to Professional
Rylee Thornbury (University of Missouri–Columbia)
Students/staff/faculty watching the presentation will become aware of the fact that transitioning from an undergraduate student into a professional role of any type can be challenging. This is especially true in the lives of those students moving from a volunteer position on a board/organization, to the advisor of that board/organization. Utilizing personal experience as a testimony to this topic, the presenter will express why focusing on communication, leadership, and student learning is crucial in succeeding as a professional.

Turning Point: How A Single Moment Creates Success
Lauren Sposato (University of Houston)
Today success is achieved through a multitude of means. While work ethic and strategy contribute to success, there are often specific moments that spark the creation of something grand. Based off The Click Moment by Frans Johansson, we will discuss how to discover these moments and utilize them to create success in your personal and professional life.

Union Finances and Campus Partnerships
Rob Stagni (University of Arkansas)
The Arkansas Union at the University of Arkansas maintains strategic partnerships with the facilities offices of campus. Shared responsibilities, financial partnerships, and constant planning are hallmarks of this relationship. Join our union director as we discuss the logistics, finances, and implications of this long-term partnership.

Using Assessment for Effective Student Training
Lanita Legan (Texas State University), Charlie Salas (Texas State University)
SOuRCES is a staff (full-time and student) on-boarding and training model based on assessment data, theory, and credentialing. Learn how Texas State University created a comprehensive program using the department's core values, which resulted in orientation, in-services, and competency certifications. Key successes and challenges faced will be explored.

Utilizing Technology to Increase Student Engagement and Improve Staff Efficiency
Keith Kowalka (University of Houston), Lawrence Daniel (University of Houston), Tina Powellson (University of Houston)
The session will explore opportunities to leverage technology in a variety of ways including the UH Redline and CoogNews.

You're Supervising a Graduate Student. Now what?
Amber Sevart (Texas State University), Jamie Rae Parker (Texas State University)
This session will discuss how graduate students and supervisors can work together to create an environment where graduate students have meaningful professional opportunities to further their learning as new professionals entering the field of student affairs.

Updated Oct. 18, 2016