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2019 National Conference Major & Hot Topics

The major topics up for discussion at NCAN’s 2019 National Conference include: 

  • Equity and Opportunity: Ensuring equity for populations underrepresented in postsecondary education including low-income and first-generation students, young men and women of color, foster or homeless youth, rural students, and undocumented/DACA students.
  • Postsecondary Access and Readiness: Early awareness; academic preparedness; mentoring or tutoring; family engagement; admissions standards; nontraditional students; noncognitive skills; effective communication strategies; college readiness; partnerships to facilitate postsecondary access and readiness.
  • Student Success in Postsecondary Education: Persistence, retention, and completion; noncognitive skills and postsecondary success; partnerships to facilitate success in postsecondary education; scholarships.  
  • Policy and Advocacy: Policy change and implementation at the federal, state, local, or institutional levels; advocacy training; implementing successful advocacy campaigns; partnerships for advocacy and policy change.
  • Connecting College and Career Success: Career readiness, guidance, and exploration; aligning program efforts and advising to meet labor market needs; nurturing, attracting, and retaining talent; partnerships to connect college and career success.
  • Data Into Practice: Practical applications of research; program evaluation; using data and technology to enhance program effectiveness; benchmarking; logic models; measuring outcomes.
  • Financial Aid and Literacy: FAFSA completion; financial aid advising; scholarship management; financial literacy; using consumer information to inform college and career options; asset building for college costs; partnerships to increase knowledge of financial aid and literacy.
  • Management, Leadership, and Organizational Strategy: Needs of C-suite staff such as resource development; financial management and budgeting; talent development and management; board development; branding/communications; leadership, management and supervisory skills; sustainability; strategic planning; scaling programs and services.

Within these major topic areas, we are especially interested in proposals that address the following hot topics

  • Certificates, Credentials, and Degrees: Most jobs in today’s economy require education beyond high school. What are the benefits and tradeoffs of pursuing a certificate vs. a credential vs. a degree? How do student interests and experiences impact the decision about what makes most sense for them? What role does the local economy play in this decision? How can advisers help students make the best decision for their own circumstances?
  • Community Foundations and Strategic Grantmaking: How can community foundations target their scholarship dollars to best serve the needs of low-income students? What is the role of data in making decisions about restructuring scholarship programs? How can foundations work with donors to implement these decisions?
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: How is our organization/program modeling DEI practices and tenets? Are our staff composition, practices, and core values reflective of these tenets? How can we make sure our community is having conversations about DEI and how can we actively participate in/lead those conversations? Does our staff have the skills and knowledge to comfortably and actively participate in DEI conversations?
  • Engaging School- and District-Level Leadership: What is the role of district- and school- level leaders in cultivating a college-going culture? Why should they care about their students post-graduation? What indicators are critical in building a college-going culture in a school community? Should school leaders be held accountable for student outcomes beyond high school graduation?
  • Executive Leadership and Strategy: Today’s leaders need cutting-edge skills to keep their organizations vibrant, resilient, and relevant. How can leaders cultivate and practice these skills, including change and talent management, ensuring financial health, and sustainability?
  • Social and Emotional Learning: What are social/emotional competencies, specifically as they relate to postsecondary access and success? How can they be nurtured/developed in the educational and community settings? What does the research say about cultivating these competencies?
  • State Policy: Which state and local policies most effectively move the needle for low-income and underserved students? How can community-based organizations help craft, advocate for, and implement these policies? What is the role of student voice in this work?
  • The Role of Postsecondary Institutions in Access and Success of Low-Income Students: How can postsecondary institutions and community-based organizations work together to meet the access and success needs of low-income and underserved students? What can postsecondary institutions learn from and teach each other about reaching, attracting, and retaining these students?

 A PDF of the Call for Proposals document can be found here

Registration for the 2019 NCAN National Conference will open in early May. Please check back for information on registration and the conference agenda soon!

return to main Call for Proposals page