Call for Proposals

The call for proposals for the Spring 2015 conference has ended.


The National Center for Student Life calls on student affairs professionals, leadership practitioners, and leadership educators to propose sessions for the Fall 2015 NCSL Conference offering learning opportunities for actionable, high-impact student leadership development.

Please carefully read the information below.

About the National Conference on Student Leadership

Since 1978, the National Center for Student Life has provided values-based, purpose-driven leadership development opportunities to college student leaders and campus professionals from across the country and around the world.

The National Conference on Student Leadership, which takes place each spring and fall, is the cornerstone of the National Center for Student Life. The Conference is a vital training forum for student leadership development based on the Social Change Model. More than 1,200 students and campus professionals from over 200 colleges and universities attend each year, and learn how to apply leadership skills to make a meaningful difference. The conferences offer dynamic keynote presentations, and interactive student workshops for individual development, group leadership training, and civic engagement to prepare young leaders for success on campus and beyond. A dedicated track provides student affairs professional development.

Who Attends?

College and university students make up approximately 80% of our conference attendees, and higher education professionals comprise the remaining 20%. The typical students in attendance are campus leaders, involved in student government, campus activities board, or other extracurricular organizations, but all students are welcome.

Conference Learning Objectives

Following participation in the National Conference on Student Leadership, attendees should be able to do the following:

  • Apply the individual, group, and societal values of the Social Change Model (the “Seven C’s”) in their approach to leadership decisions, communication, and actions;
  • Identify areas of personal leadership strength and opportunities for personal leadership growth;
  • Demonstrate effective, meaningful, and culturally competent communication and connection between individuals, organizations, and societies;
  • Practice effective, heart-centered leadership and efficient administration of a student organizations such as student government, committees, clubs, or other student living/learning/working groups;
  • Implement strategies that advance understanding of and effect meaningful change around critical issues such as identity, diversity, and environmental and social justice, on campus and beyond; and
  • Tap into a network of peers who share a focus on and are committed to improving campuses and communities through the Social Change Model of Leadership.


Workshops are organized into four programming tracks that support participants in making a meaningful difference. Three student workshop tracks follow the structure of the Social Change Model that supports development of:

1) Individual leadership values of consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment

2) Group leadership values of collaboration, common purpose, and civility

3) Societal leadership values of civic engagement

 A fourth track is geared toward higher education staff in student life/student affairs professional development.

NCSL Conference workshops are not traditional lectures or panels. Rather, they are dynamic and interactive sessions that provide opportunities for participants to engage in problem-solving around critical issues. Presenters acknowledge the intellect and expertise in the room, guiding participants to apply new knowledge through engaging activities such as interaction between the presenter and audience, facilitated exercises, peer-to-peer sharing, and question and answer time. Attendees should come away with the ability to demonstrate mastery of stated learning objectives, and clear action steps to implement their learning. This requires careful planning and preparation on the part of the presenter. As a guideline, the presentation portion should comprise no more than 20-30 minutes out of each 75-minute workshop, with the remainder dedicated to organized participant engagement.

Keynote Presentations

NCSL Conferences include three to six 60-minute keynote presentations to student leaders in the areas described above, applying values-based individual, group, and societal leadership skills for making a meaningful difference. Keynotes address the big questions, the critical issues of our day for college student leaders. They are delivered by highly experienced professionals, practitioners, and recognized thought leaders.


Proposals will be reviewed for topical relevance, interactivity (for workshops), and presenter expertise and experience. The following information is required to complete our proposal form: presenter name and basic information, brief bio, three references (if you have not presented for NCSL within the last three years), title, workshop or keynote description, keywords, and three learning outcomes with three corresponding multiple-choice assessment questions (for workshops).


Presenters receive complimentary conference registration, exhibit space, and online marketing opportunities. Additional compensation is dependent upon presenter qualifications and number of sessions.


Our intention is to present a unique values-based leadership development experience for college students, and distinctive student affairs professional development experience for faculty and staff. Presenter name and bio, and workshop title and description may be used by NCSL for promotion of the scheduled conference only. We request that NCSL presenters not allow their names or images to be included in concurrent promotion for other student leadership conferences. We also request that presenters not make similar presentations at other student leadership conferences within one month of NCSL without our advance written consent. Presenters may include a very brief (one minute) promotion of their own products or services at the beginning or end of their presentation only. Sales are permitted at the presenter exhibit area only. Video promotions must be approved in advance by NCSL.