Student Affairs Staff Development Conference

Staff Development Conference

Division of Student Affairs

Registration Ends January 8

Very cold and wintery University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus, photo of a leaf with an obscured background

The University’s N2025 Strategic Plan, published in February 2020, specifically calls for the campus to prioritize participation and professional development for all Nebraska students, staff and faculty. As a result, Student Affairs has embarked upon exploring the needs within the division and has intentionally made professional development a priority: Student Affairs Strategic Plan, Goal Five: Commit to the professional development, engagement and retention of Student Affairs staff at all levels.

The Student Affairs Staff Development Conference will provide development opportunities for staff within the division. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of educational sessions with the goal of inspiring staff to feel motivated to grow, strengthen leadership abilities, enhance professional skills, and better appreciate their own potential.

Student Affairs Staff Development Conference  |  January 17, 2024

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Welcome & Keynote
Location Description
Swanson Auditorium


Kathy Ankerson, Executive Vice Chancellor

The Future of Student Affairs and Student Success

Vennie Gore, Senior Vice President for Student Life & Engagement, Michigan State University

Dr. Gore oversees all operations within the division of SLE and contributes to the oversight of MSU's University Licensing Program as well as the Land Management Office. Among other notable accomplishments, Vennie earned the 2016 Elizabeth A. Greenleaf Alumni Award from Indiana University and recently completed Harvard's Institute for Educational Management.

Breakout Sessions

9:45 - 10:30 a.m.
First Session
Location Description
Regency A

Strengths Unlocked: Building Confidence & Collaboration

Kaitlin Ferris, Clifton Strengths Institute

Join us for an immersive workshop designed to uncover your innate strengths, enhance team communication, and cultivate a culture of collaboration. In this interactive session, you'll discover the power of leveraging strengths and fostering a collaborative environment. *The Clifton Strengths Assessment is required for this session. Plan to bring your assessment results to the workshop. If you would like to take the assessment, check with your supervisor.

Regency B

Handling Burnout

Annalisa Davenport, Campus Recreation

This presentation is designed to help employees identify action steps to combat the symptoms of burnout.


YOUR Investment in Workplace Culture

Stephanie Bonnema, IANR Human Resources

Workplace culture is a key factor of employee satisfaction, performance, and retention. This session will share simple strategies we can all use to foster psychological safety and improve the culture of our work teams.


Instagram Tips for 2024

Brittany Meiners, Student Affairs, Marketing & Communications

Learn to strategically use Instagram for student engagement, support, and community building. Leverage current trends and platform features to enhance your presence and measure success.

10:45 - 11:30 a.m.
Second Session
Location Description
Regency A

Supporting Holistic Student Success: Contributing to an Ecology of Validation at UNL

CJ Venable, University Academic Advising

The Promoting At-Promise Student Success Project from the Pullias Center for Higher Education studies the validating approaches to student success used by the William H. Thompson Scholars Learning Community at the University of Nebraska. These approaches make a difference in students’ experiences and outcomes in college (Hallett et al., 2021). In this session, you will learn more about the Ecology of Validation (EoV) model that has been developed from this research. EoV is a holistic, integrative, proactive approach to student success that is particularly attuned to meeting the needs of students with marginalized identities. Join to learn how every member of the UNL campus community can contribute to efforts to create and sustain a validating ecology for students and colleagues.

Regency B

Building Relationships with Professional Boundaries

Celeste Spier, UNL Human Resources

Establishing a balance between engaged service and honoring appropriate limits in sharing/communicating can be difficult. This discussion-based training explores, “What does professionalism look like, and am I conducting myself in a professional way?” Additionally, participants will learn about the different kinds of boundaries with tips for effective interpersonal communication to preserve relationships and reduce overwhelm by knowing their responsibilities and limits in the workplace.


Accessibility Basics

Barbara Woodhead, SSD; Pablo Rangel, SSD; Jill Flagel, IEC; Ryan Fette, IEC

Would you like to increase your competence in interacting with and providing services for colleagues, students, visitors to campus, and other individuals with disabilities? This presentation will provide you with an understanding of basic disability etiquette, insight into inclusive language use, and strategies for appropriately interacting with individuals who have observable and/or hidden disabilities. We will also provide information about accommodation processes through Services for Students with Disabilities and Faculty/Staff Disability Services.


Understanding How Your Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Influences Your Work

Reshell Ray, Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement

The MBTI is the most widely used personality assessment. This workshop will teach you: what your individual personality preference is, where you get your energy, how you acquire or gather information, how you make decisions or judgements, how you relate to the outer world. The understanding of preferences allows individuals to communicate and work more effectively with others. *Participants will need to take the free assessment and send their results to Reshell by Friday, January 12.

11:45 - 12:30 p.m.
Third Session
Location Description
Regency A

Enhancing Our Supervision Skills to Empower Our Staff

Tony Lazarowicz, College of Arts & Sciences

Supervision can be difficult. Many professionals aspire to managerial roles, which often come with responsibilities of supervising staff, but once in those roles, we are often left without any training on how to supervise effectively. This session will draw upon participants’ knowledge and experiences to discuss ideas to best enhance one’s ability to effectively lead a team and enhance their supervisory relationships. Participants will leave equipped with a personal leadership philosophy, a number of handouts that could be utilized within supervision meetings; and a network of colleagues who have supervisory responsibilities to whom they can share ideas.

Regency B

Trends in Higher Education

Veronica Riepe, Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement

It seems Higher Education is evolving faster than ever before. It doesn’t matter where you work within the University, the trends influencing higher education have an impact on all of us. Come to this interactive session to share what trends are happening in your area and learn from your colleagues what they are managing. You will also learn about other trends you may not be as familiar with and why it matters in your role.


The Three C’s of Purposeful Partnerships

Joy Eakin, NUtech Ventures; Kate Engel, Nebraska Innovation Campus

This session will introduce participants to a practical framework for collaborating with others in order to solve problems and work efficiently. This approach to effective and purposeful partnerships focuses on 3 C’s: communication, collaboration, and coordination. Individuals who enjoy sharing ideas, getting involved in discussion, and applying concepts to their own work should enjoy participating in this workshop.


Maximize your reach with UNL Events

Christopher Dulak, Student Affairs, Marketing & Communications

Extend the communication reach of your events, activities, and deadlines through the useful online tool UNL Events. Learn ideas and tips for making the best impression on readers and how to use the events calendar to share within your networks, webpage, and social media platforms.

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Lunch & Panel
Location Description

Lunch & Panel - What Does Innovation Look Like?


  • Jim Coll, Chief Communications & Marketing Officer for University Communications, UNL
  • Vennie Gore, Senior Vice President for Student Life & Engagement, Michigan State University
  • Sherri Jones, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development, UNL
  • Sam Nelson, Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship, UNL
  • Mike Zeleny, Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance, UNL


  • Dee Dee Anderson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UNL