2016 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students

February 04 – February 06, 2016
Orlando, Florida (Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista)

The NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students will focus on effective strategies to serve and support the success of veterans and other military-connected students.


Military-connected students comprise a growing population in higher education, which includes members of the National Guard, reserves, and active duty components, as well as veterans and their dependents. These students are also diverse in terms of demographic characteristics and service backgrounds, placing an important task on student affairs professionals and leaders to develop comprehensive, targeted, and meaningful support services to encompass the needs of these unique students. The symposium provides opportunities for professionals and other stakeholders to share and learn ways to effectively support military-connected students.

This 2.5 day symposium features keynote sessions; research, policy, and best practices presentations; and workshop style sessions to help campus professionals develop or enhance their programming and services for military-connected students. We are delighted that the University of Central Florida will serve as the host institution for this event. Their proven excellence in support of serving veterans and other military-connected students will help to catalyze learning and create an enviornment conducive to collaboration, discourse, and change making. Symposium attendees will have opportunities to discuss program ideas, trends, current research, and theory. 


This professional development event started at the University of Louisville seven years ago under the leadership of Tom Jackson and Frank Mianzo, then the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Chief of Staff for the Office of the President for Student Affairs, respectively. In February 2014, NASPA was honored to assume planning and hosting duties at the request of the University. The 2015 NASPA Veterans Conference included over 240 participants and 40 different programs. The 2016 event has a new name to more accurately reflect the population of students served by attendees and more closely align with trends in research and policy.

  • More History

    The NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students evolved from the University of Louisville Veteran Symposium for Higher Education that had been conducted in Louisville, Kentucky for the first six years of the program. Under the University of Louisville’s direction, the conference grew from a small one-day conference into the premiere conference on student veterans with over 200 participants in its final years. The University of Louisville transitioned host responsibilities to NASPA after the 2014 Symposium to provide a national forum for the institutional policy, programming, and concerns of military and student veteran populations.

    The symposium was envisioned by Tom Jackson, a military veteran, and Frank Mianzo. At the time they envisioned the program, Tom Jackson served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Frank Mianzo served as the Chief of Staff for the Office of the President for Student Affairs, both at the University of Louisville. It was their desire to host an annual program that focused on issues related to student veterans while bringing together colleagues committed to serving student veterans. With the program planning and general assistance of Kathy Snead from Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, Shirley Hardy, Laura Mercer, and Glenn Gittings from the University of Louisville, the symposium flourished each successive year.

    NASPA is grateful for the University of Louisville’s focus and leadership on this important area of higher education and looks forward to continuing the growth and development of the conference to best serve the professional development needs of those who work with our student veterans and other military-connected students.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • develop skills, approaches, tools, and network connections for starting or enhancing and sustaining comprehensive and holistic resources for veterans or other military-connected students;
  • deepen understanding and develop multicultural competencies supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion with a special focus on the intersecting identities of military-connected students;
  • develop a deeper understanding of contemporary student development theory as it applies to military-connected students including transitions and practical strategies to support success;
  • learn how to build collaborative connections and resources for program development while promoting the value of veterans in the campus community; and
  • engage in critical conversations on research, scholarship, and policy that impact military-connected students.

Continuing Education

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National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

NASPA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5120. Programs that do not quality for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NASPA is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

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National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

This activity is pending approval from the National Association of Social Workers.

Click here for more information on Continuing Education and frequently asked questions.

If you have questions about Continuing Education, please contact Teri Gillmor at tgillmor@naspa.org


Presented By

2016 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students


This event is most likely to influence these groups.

  • AVP or “Number Two”
  • Faculty
  • Graduate
  • Mid-Level
  • New Professional
  • Senior Level
  • Undergraduate
  • Vice President for Student Affairs


Let others know you are coming!

Use this hashtag to see what others are sharing #NASPAsmcs

Call for Programs

The call for programs deadline is now closed.

The symposium content advisory committee seeks proposals that effectively advance the field of student affairs in work with military-connected students.  Presenters will be asked to identify the content level of their session; foundational, intermediate, or advanced. Additionally, the symposium content advisory committee will select programs based upon the programs' relationships to the symposium themes, which are based on the symposium learning outcomes.  The guiding questions below each symposium theme are meant to serve as a starting place as you consider the content of your program submission.

Conference Themes & Suggested Topics

  • Starting, Enhancing, and Sustaining Support Resources

    • How does an institution create comprehensive and holistic support
    • resources for student veterans?
    • How does an institution build, enhance, and sustain a center
    • and/or office from scratch?
    • How can an institution enhance and sustain existing
    • comprehensive, holistic resources?
    • What existing tools are on campus that could be leveraged?
    • How might this look different for institutions with varying
    • types, staffing levels, sizes, and student populations? 
    • How is institutional and community support changing? 

  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersecting Identities

    • How do intersecting identities (i.e., gender,
    • race/ethnicity, income) shape the experience of military-connected students?
    • How does a military status (i.e., National Guard, reserves,
    • active duty, or veteran) shape the experience of military connected students?
    • What can practitioners do to design culturally relevant and
    • inclusive programs, services, policies and practices?
    • What advocacy skills or competencies should professionals
    • utilize to assist in the development of a more multiculturally sensitive
    • institution and profession aligned with the principles of social justice?
    • How can practitioners provide leadership in fostering an institutional
    • culture that supports the free and open exchange of ideas and beliefs, and
    • where issues of power and privilege are identified and addressed?

  • Contemporary Student Development, Involvement, and Transitions

    • What transitions do military-connected students experience? Do
    • they differ by military status?
    • What theoretical frameworks are appropriate to apply for
    • students based upon their military status? How does being a military-connected
    • student impact a student’s development?
    • How does military status impact the student experience?
    • What are best practices in developing an active,
    • developmental, and supportive student veteran organization?
    • What are promising techniques for student engagement and
    • success, and academic and career development?
    • How are institutions successfully preparing military-connected
    • students for success after college?
    • How can a practitioner be an effective advisor to military-connected
    • students?
    • What should those supporting military-connected students who
    • are not familiar with military life and culture know? How can that information
    • best be communicated?
    • How can institutions support military families? How can they
    • support dependents?

  • Collaborative Connections and Resources

    • How does an institution best build an infrastructure of support for military-connected students?
    • Who should be involved in supporting military-connected students and in what ways?
    • What is the best way to reach out to other campus resources and potential partners?
    • How can collaborations with faculty be cultivated?
    • What are ways to collaborate and encourage communication between campus partners?
    • How can an infrastructure of support be developed across campus?
    • What partnerships might be possible in the community surrounding the institution?
    • What makes collaboration successful at various campuses and how might that be generalized to other institutions?
    • How can institutions collaborate to collect, evaluate, and use data and research to support programs and improve services for military-connected students?

  • Emerging Scholarship, Research, and Policy

    • What paradigms exist in research on military-connected students?
    • Are there any paradigm shifts or trends of which practitioners should be aware?
    • What programs or practices are successful and generalizable across institutions?
    • What public policy exists that may impact campus practitioners?
    • How can campus practitioners advocate for public policy that best supports military-connected students?

Submission Timeline
  • October 30, 2015
    Call for Programs Deadline
  • November 30, 2015
    Presenter Notifications
  • December 10, 2015
    Scheduled Posted Online
  • December 11, 2015
    Presenter Orientation

Writing Tips

Looking for tips on writing an effective NASPA proposal? See sample submissions and formatting tips in our Program Submission Guidelines.


Please contact NASPA if you have any further questions about submitting a program proposal for the 2016 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students.

Lindsey Hammond
Assistant Director of Educational Programs
Phone: 202-719-1180
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


The schedule was designed to provide participants with interactive and engaging programming, opportunities for deeper discussion, and networking. The schedule is subject to change.

Thu, Feb 04

8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pre-Conference Workshops
1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Symposium Welcome and Opening Plenary Session
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
Recruiting Veteran and Military Students
Serving Those who Serve: Delivering Exceptional Student Service in a Non-Traditional Environment
Incoming! Preparing to Serve Transfer Student-Writers from Military Education Centers
The Civil-Military Gap in Veterans Education Policy’s Implications for Student Affairs Practitioners
Creation, Service, and Sustainability for Military and Veterans Affairs Divisions
Student Veterans in Engineering: Advancing Knowledge About Student Veterans in the Disciplines
Stories Deployed: How a Veteran’s Story can Captivate, Heal, and Educate
4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
Building Bridges and Foundations for Success: The Art of Military Admissions
Back from the Front: Helping Student Veterans Feel at Home
The Military-Connected on Campus: Complexities and Uniqueness in the Academic Mission
Utilizing Transition Theory in Order to Maximize Student Veteran Support
Student Veteran Success on Campus: Preliminary Findings From Emerging Research
Creating and Maintaining an Inclusive Diverse and Welcoming Environment for Military Students
Military to College to Career: Collaboration and Connections for Shared Services, Multiplied Expertise
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
Collaborating and Connecting to Serve Military–Connected Students on a Limited Budget
Supporting Veterans Transitioning into the Workforce: Recognizing the Value of the MOS
Developing Street Cred With Student Veterans as a Non-Veteran
Finding and Using Veteran Metrics
Transitioning From Military to College: a Course Developed for Veterans to Help Them Succeed in Their First Year of College
How to win Friends and Influence People (When You’re new in Town)
Student Veterans of America: Programs and Research for Supporting Student Veterans
6:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m
Networking Reception and Poster Sessions
Assessing Tools Utilized by Military Service Members in Pursuit of Medical School Admission
Veterans Early Alert Retention and Completion Program
The Veterans CAN! Program: Transitioning Veterans to a Career in Nursing
Engaging Student Veterans on Campus: A Theory and Sample Program
Enablers and Inhibitors for Student Veterans in Central Texas: A Pilot Study
Advising Student Veterans: Identity, Experiences, and Transitions
Cathartic Metamorphosis: Integrating Student Veterans Through Creative and Academic Expression
Conducting Outreach to the Military-Connected Population

Fri, Feb 05

7:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast
Tanya Ang, Director, Veteran’s Programs, American Council on Education (ACE)
William Baas, vice president, Talent Acquisition, Comcast Cable
Bill Blank, director, Career Development, Career Services, University of Central Florida
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Empowering Military-Connected Students to Achieve Success in a Civilian Workforce
9:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Mini-Institutes (90 minutes)
Soldier for Life: Enabling Continuity of Care for Military-Connected Students who Experienced Military Sexual Assault
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Program Status
Operation Research Center for Veteran Support Services: Journey From Conception to Funding
Staying Sharp as a Professional: Working With Veterans/Tools and Strategies
Evolution and Adaptation: Scaling Vet Support of Your Campus and Resources
Assessing the Health of Military-Connected Students Through a Traditional College Wellness Lens
Creating and Sustaining Veterans Services: Perspectives from Multiple Campus Contexts
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
Mobilizing Resources Through Effective Collaboration: Guaranteed Housing Policy 5 Years Later
Letting Military-Connected Students Know That You’ve “got Their 6” by Creating a Campus Wide Success Network
Leveraging Campus Partnerships to Enhance Service Member and Veteran Student Transitions
From Transition to Retention: Developing a First Year Success Program for Student Veterans
Transfer of Entitlements: How far Does the Service go?
How are our Veterans Adjusting to College?
VETworking! Partnering with Campus and Corporate Resources to Prepare for Civilian Employment
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch (Provided) & Veterans Knowledge Community Meeting
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
Supporting Our Women Student Veterans' Transition into Higher Education
Academic Advising: Best Practices for Working With Military Students in an Online Environment
Doh! Looking Back at Three Years of False Assumptions and Mistakes
2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions
Operation Student Success: USG Systemic Effort to Promote Veteran Success
Camo 2 Career- A Partnership Approach to Building a Student Veteran Internship Program
Enhanced GI Bill Certification Software: two new University BANNER Programs/Software
An Alternative Approach to Prior Learning and Advanced Placement for Military Students
A Model: Veteran Orientation Moving From Benefits Processing to Cross Campus Collaboration
Addressing Student Needs: Developing a Veteran and Military-Connected Awareness Training Program
Veterans' Voices: Story, Community and Opportunity
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Plenary Session: When Dormant and Doubtful Becomes Done
Timothy M. Jones, Student Veteran - University of West Florida

Sat, Feb 06

7:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Symposium Farewell and Closing Plenary Session: It’s About the Student: Managing Upward on Student Veteran Issues
Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Participant Choice Concurrent Sessions
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Town Hall

Pre-Conference Programs & Events

Pre-Symposium workshops will be held from 9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2016. NASPA is grateful to ACE and SOC for sponsoring two workshops, making it possible to offer these events free of charge for attendees. Attendees do not need to be registered for the Symposium in order to attend these two events. We are also pleased to offer the Symposium's signature Pre-Symposium workshops at a low cost. Please note that attendees of these workshops must be registered to attend the conference. You may register for any of the Pre-Symposium workshops by following the registration link above.

Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Status Update

Thursday, February 4th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

View More Details

Significant changes have occurred within Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) over the past year. The presentation will discuss the organizational changes, ongoing enhancements and how institutions may participate in the reimagined organization.  The main focus will be on the SOC Degree Network System—what’s new within the DNS structure and membership criteria, what remains the same, and future directions and developments will be showcased. Ample opportunity for discussion and questions will be provided. Opportunity for viewing existing resources and DNS tools will be built into the workshop.

Presenter: Dr. Kathy Snead, SOC Director

Serving Veterans and Other Military-Connected Students 101

Thursday, February 4th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

View More Details

This session is designed for the many Symposium attendees relatively new to their positions in Veterans Services. The program's content will be focused on evidence-based practices from experienced presenters with useful perspectives. Participants will leave with a strategy to implement upon their return to campus that will help facilitate the founding of initiatives to support student veterans and other military-connected students on campus. 


Registration as a member is based on individual membership status. If you are employed by a college or university that is an institutional member, you can join as an individual member at the $75 rate. This gives you the conference registration and a year of membership for less than the non-member registration fee.  If your institution is NOT a member, then you will need to join at the associate affiliate rate of $242 and pay the individual member rate for conference registration. Visit the Membership section of the NASPA website to learn about membership types. For information on group rates and registration policies, please click the Registration Policies button.

2015 NASPA Veterans Conference Online Materials

Select materials from the 2015 NASPA Veterans Conference are available for purchase. Register prior to the early-bird deadline to receive the materials for free. Within 14 business days of registration, you will receive access instructions for the materials within the NASPA Online Learning Community.

Registration Fees

before 12/11/2015
12/12/2015 to 01/08/2016
after 01/09/2016
NASPA Member
NASPA Student Member
Pre-Conference Workshop
2015 NASPA Veterans Conference Online Materials


Tonya Murphy
Membership Coordinator
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 202-265-7500 ext. 1183


View Registration Policies

Cancellation:  The cancellation deadline to receive a refund is December 11, 2015, less a $50.00 administrative fee.  All cancellation and refund requests must be received in writing.  No refunds will be given after this date for any reason.  All requests for cancellation and refunds must be in writing to refund@naspa.org .

Group Registration: NASPA offers discounts for attendees registering in groups of two or more individuals. To apply for this discount please contact NASPA at events@naspa.org . Please include in the email your name, the conference you're registering for, your institution name, and how many individuals you're registering. Our membership department will contact you once they've received this information.

Purchase Orders: Purchase orders will NOT be accepted for registration. There is now a Bill Me option online if you need to submit paperwork to your accounting office to have a check cut for your registration payment. Please use that option when registering online.

Registration Questions? Contact the NASPA office at 202-265-7500 or via e-mail at events@naspa.org .


  • Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.

    Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.

    Black Hills State University

    Speaker Bio

  • Alfred G. Harms, Jr.

    Alfred G. Harms, Jr.

    Vice Admiral (Ret)
    U.S. Navy

    Speaker Bio

  • Timothy Jones

    Timothy Jones

    Student Veteran
    University of West Florida

    Speaker Bio


If you would like to exhibit at the 2016 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students please fill out the exhibitor application form and e-fax back all 3 pages to 202-204-8443 or scan and e-mail to skesek@naspa.org by January 7, 2016.

Gold Level
  • National Academic Advising Association
  • American Council on Education
  • American Women Veterans
  • Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges


Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

All conference activities will take place at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

Ideally located in the Disney Springs™ area, the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista hotel is steps from exciting theme parks and popular tourist attractions. Shuttle transportation to Disney Theme Parks is included in your stay.

Unwind with a movie in your stylish guest room and stay in touch with internet access at this Official Walt Disney World® Hotel. 

Choose from a variety of amazing dining options. Sample delicious Japanese cuisine at the Benihana Steakhouse and Sushi. Savor innovative Italian cuisine at Andiamo Italian Bistro and enjoy a refreshing drink and light snack in the inviting John T's Lounge.

The final day to reserve a room through the room block is Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hotel Room Rate/Night
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
1751 Hotel Plaza Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
$187 - Single/Double
  • Travel

    Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the nearest airport to the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

  • Transportation

    The Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista is about 15 miles (25 min) away from the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Bus service, limousine, and taxi are all ground transportation options. For more information, please visit the hotel website.

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