A new element launching at the 2022 AFA Annual Meeting! Featured Educational Sessions, a set of 11 breakout sessions curated as a result of feedback from AFA members about their educational needs. These sessions are designed to address skill building and problem solving in the industry of Fraternity/Sorority Life. Featured Educational Sessions are scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 3 from 9:00 am to 10:15 am and will feature the following topics and presenters:
INTEGRITY, INFLUENCE, RELATIONSHIPS, AND STRATEGY: NAVIGATING INSTITUTIONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL POLITICS
Dra. Monica Lee Miranda, University of South Florida
Whether we like it or not, politics is present in any arena, and institutions of higher education and organizations are not exempt. When done right, navigating institutional and organizational politics effectively can lead to increased resources and advocacy. This program will define and discuss what navigating politics means, dispel a few myths, and provide examples of how it is effectively, and ethically, done with a focus on, integrity, influence, relationships, and strategy.
- Attendees will gain an understanding of what it means to navigate institutional and organizational politics.
- Attendees will identify key strategies and skills useful in effectively, and ethically, navigating institutional and organizational politics.
BELONGING AND TRANSITIONS: STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN THE MIDST OF PANDEMICS
Dr. Darren Pierre, University of Maryland
In this session, we will explore the concept of student engagement in an era populated by health, wealth, environmental and social disparities. Through dialogue and discussion, the presenter will facilitate conversation on what does student engagement look like in this moment and how are we (as educators) being asked to respond. Using William Bridges (2004) work on transitions and bell hooks (2009) work on belonging as a theoretical framework, participants will leave the session with action items to further their commitment to be educators fashioned for a more socially conscious world.
- Attendees will leave the program with actions they can take to continue to reimagine student learning and engagement in the era of multiple pandemics.
- Attendees will leave with an awareness of transition theories and how they work to support/engage our understanding of students’ sense of belonging.
LIFTING STUDENTS UP: THE STATE OF STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH AND HOW WE CAN HELP
Dr. Benjamin Veness, The JED Foundation
Good mental health is important for students’ academic achievement, social experience, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, many young people are struggling, and suicide remains the second-leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. To help improve the mental health of young adults, those who work with students need to know the facts, and be comfortable talking about the topic.
In this session, attendees will learn more about college students’ mental health, what affects students’ well-being, learn to recognize signs that students are struggling, and identify ways they can help. Attendees will have the opportunity to consider how language plays into stigma and what they can do to change the conversation in their fraternities and sororities. Attendees will also improve their confidence in having conversations with students who they perceive to be struggling.
- Attendees will learn the current landscape and statistics around college student mental health.
- Attendees will develop their awareness of risk and protective factors for different groups of students.
- Attendees will understand the difference between symptoms of mental distress and a diagnosis of mental illness.
- Attendees will increase their knowledge of common mental illnesses affecting college students, and how they might present.
- Attendees will improve their awareness of the signs that a student might be struggling and identify potential warning signs of suicide.
- Attendees will understand the importance of using non-stigmatizing language in developing an inclusive community of care.
- Attendees will learn how, when and what sentence-starters to use to open a conversation to support a student who is struggling.
SHAPING THE DARK: HAZING AND GROUP SOLIDARITY
Dr. Aldo Cimino, Kent State University
For over a century, social scientists have suggested that hazing increases group solidarity. But is it true? And how is such a claim typically tested? In this session, Dr. Aldo Cimino will review the state of the science on hazing’s psychological impacts and explain the relevance of a new, groundbreaking field study on fraternity hazing and solidarity. Along the way, Dr. Cimino will discuss how a broad scientific understanding of hazing can inform student-directed messaging and serve as the foundation for a realistic harm-reduction approach to hazing in Greek letter societies.
- Attendees will learn the current state of the research literature on hazing and group solidarity.
- Attendees will learn how research on hazing can help inform student messaging and conversations with fraternity members.
FOSTERING PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE
Hailey Mangrum, Consultant
Google researchers found that individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave the company and more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, bring in more revenue, and perform at a higher level. Prioritizing psychological safety is critical now more than ever. Join this conversation to discuss strategies and methods to improve team culture and performance by fostering a psychologically safe environment.
- Attendees will be able to define psychological safety and provide examples of what it looks like in the workplace.
- Attendees will identify strategies to implement within their leadership style to foster psychological safety on their teams.
IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO INITIATE CHANGE….YOU MUST ALSO SUSTAIN IT
Dr. Tammie Pinkston, ISG
Initiating change is tough enough….sustaining change is exponentially harder. So what are the key success factors? In this session, we will walk through a proven approach for managing change – any type of change – then dive deeper into what makes change stick. As a hint, the most successful change programs require head, heart and hands! Bring your most important change initiative to the session so you can apply the content and move your change program forward.
- Attendees will understand a standard, repeatable process for managing change.
- Attendees will consider the different activities required to initiate change and sustain change.
- Attendees will begin to apply session content to their own change programs.
SEARCHING, HIRING, AND ONBOARDING: BUILDING A STRATEGY TO BUILD GREAT TEAMS
Dr. Jeremiah Shinn, Louisiana State University
Great teams don’t happen by accident. They are the result of intentional, candidate-centric search, hiring, and onboarding processes designed to communicate expectations, level-set, and ease transitions. This workshop will provide actionable tools for hiring managers ready to do the heavy lifting required to build a great team.
- Attendees will articulate a search, hiring, and onboarding philosophy.
- Attendees will build the framework for a search, hiring, and onboarding process.
DRAWING THE LINE: DEFINING AND SETTING BOUNDARIES, EXPECTATIONS, AND WORK STANDARDS
Dr. Kate Steiner, LIFT Wellness Consulting
Burnout was a career factor before the pandemic and increased as professionals provided emotional support while maintaining a façade of calm, confidence, grace, and patience. How do you create space for yourself and show up for your students, colleagues, friends, and family? In this session, you will be introduced to a model that builds resilience to burnout by better understanding your boundaries and expectations. An unspoken expectation will become an unmet expectation. Setting and communicating our boundaries and non-negotiables is integral to burnout recovery and building resilience to future burn events. This program will walk you through a reflective exercise to help you determine your must-haves and must-not-haves regarding maintaining your healthiest self. You will leave with a better understanding of communicating and sharing your expectations with other humans in your life.
- Attendees will develop a personal plan to observe, plan and recover from burn events.
- Attendees will identify personal boundaries that will support their work/life integration.
EFFECTIVE SUPERVISION AND INTENTIONAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR MID-LEVEL LEADERSHIP
Dr. Kevin Bazner, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Supervision is one of the most valuable competencies mid-level leaders can develop yet often overlooked by grad programs and professional development. High staff turnover and limited professional growth opportunities among AFA members illuminates a greater need to develop effective supervision skills. This session will explore the impact of effective supervision and discuss ways mid-level leaders can incorporate intentional planning for professional development and personnel management.
- Attendees will identify the need for developing intentional supervisory competencies in staff development.
- Attendees will utilize a development framework to develop their own plan professional development plan.
D.E.I.A.: EARNING OUR LETTERS IN FRATERNITY/SORORITY LIFE FOR THE NEXT ROUND
Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, Washington Consulting Group
Fraternity and Sorority Life has a long history of providing the world with the next generation of leaders. Our traditions, rituals and mottos serve as strong foundations for developing leaders who will work for the betterment of society. While many of our organizations have been committed to diversity, our work for the next round is to build capacity for equity, inclusion, and access. This workshop will offer key tools and frameworks that will enhance our efforts moving forward.
- Attendees will learn how equity, inclusion and access are important next steps in diversity efforts.
- Attendees will learn key strategies for creating organizational culture that moves beyond diversity.
MEETING THE MOMENT: LEVERAGING FRATERNAL VALUES TO CREATE MORE INCLUSIVE, EQUITABLE, AND THRIVING COMMUNITIES
Dr. Creston Lynch, George Mason University
In today’s rapidly evolving landscape of higher education, and nation-wide heightened focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campuses, fraternity and sorority communities are being held accountable for the ways in which they influence – positively and negatively — campus climate regarding diversity. This session will offer participants an opportunity to explore ways in which we can support our council and chapter leaders in meeting the moment and rising to the occasion as the very sustainability of our communities may be at stake. This session will begin by appropriately framing the challenges facing our communities. Then, through interactive discussion and exercises, participants will explore ways in which they can reduce barriers, reimagine traditions, while building coalitions and collaborations amongst council members in efforts to create a more inclusive, and equitable fraternity and sorority community.
- Attendees will identify factors (barriers, traditions, internal & external influences) that contribute to marginalization and inequity within the fraternity and sorority community nationally and on their campuses.
- Attendees will develop strategies for creating more inclusive and equitable fraternity and sorority communities.