NISTS 2020


This year's theme:  Reimagining the Transfer Student Experience

Through an intentional cross-pollination of ideas and expertise from practitioners, faculty, researchers, and administrators, the NISTS annual conference offers a balanced and comprehensive examination of the pressing issues and obstacles related to transfer student success.

The conference provides relevant and practical strategies for improving transfer student programs and services at community colleges and universities. We equip professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to actively advocate for transfer students, challenge the status quo, and reach beyond specific roles to develop holistic student experiences.

Embrace your influence and reimagine the ultimate transfer experience for your students!



Proposals will be evaluated in a blind review process using the NISTS 2020 Proposal Evaluation Rubric, which includes the following broad categories:   


  • Detail & Organization:  The proposal is thorough and well written; it is clear and organized; and it uses a professional tone and has proper grammar and spelling.

  • Learning Outcomes: The proposal includes appropriate and real-world learning outcomes and adequately explains how those objectives will be met.

  • Engagement Strategies:  The use of audience engagement strategies is fully explained and reflects the basic principles of adult learning.

  • Significance & Applicability:  The proposal is creative, timely, and noteworthy. The topic is relevant and important to the transfer field and is applicable to various institution types and sizes. 

  • Presenter Expertise:  The proposal is based in theory, relevant research, and/or demonstrated best practices and includes assessment or outcome data. The presenter is qualified to lead the session and offers an important or unique perspective. If applicable, the session includes presenters from a variety of roles, disciplines, and institutions, offering a fair portrayal of the collaboration or partnership being discussed. 

Reviewers will assess proposals on their ability to promote general understanding, practical applicability, and skill development across a range of conference attendee experience levels. When drafting your proposal, please keep in mind that the review process is highly selective. Unfortunately, we receive many good proposals we cannot accept due to space limitations. 





NEW OPPORTUNITY THIS YEAR! The NISTS conference planning team invites submissions for pre-conference workshops focused on important transfer issues and trends.

Pre-conference workshops are scheduled to occur on Wednesday, February 5th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Enrollment is limited to 35 or fewer participants who must pay a fee to participate. Although workshops may be tailored to a specific functional area, participants will likely have a range of experience levels and may include a mix of practitioners, faculty, and administrators. All transfer-related topics and ideas are welcome, but we are particularly interested in interactive workshops that include opportunities for networking, learning, reflection, and practice. [Sample Topics] [Previous Workshops]





All concurrent sessions are scheduled for 60 minutes. Presentations may vary, but a minimum of 10 minutes must be reserved for audience questions and answers. When submitting your proposal, you must designate your session as one of the following concurrent session types:



These sessions present strategies for effectively implementing innovative programs, policies, processes, initiatives, or technologies, the success of which can be demonstrated through assessment and outcome data. Alternately, these sessions might provide a broad overview of important transfer-related trends, issues, or concepts and highlight the implications for transfer student success. 

Facilitated Discussion  

These sessions provide attendees the opportunity to take a collective deep dive into a specific theme, question, activity, or problem. These discussions can be coordinated around a particular topic, institution type, specific student or professional population, or state/geographic region and are intended to promote brainstorming, networking, and an intentional exchange of ideas. Facilitators are expected to present a robust set of outcomes for the conversation, provide a brief introduction to the topic, and ensure engagement throughout the session. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:   

​   -  Assessing readiness for organizational change
   -  Effectively serving transfer students from historically underserved groups
   -  Power of middle managers to affect change
   -  Preparation for professional transitions (e.g. promotion, retirement)
   -  Scaling established programs
   -  Transfer leadership beyond your institution

Research Spotlight 

These sessions share transfer-related research findings from well-designed studies or analyses of the literature. In particular, topics should increase understanding or contribute to existing research and focus on new implications for policy, practice, and further study. We welcome research projects from a range of disciplines, methodologies, and theoretical approaches. Please keep in mind that the majority of conference attendees will be practitioners with varying levels of familiarity with research terminology. Presenters are expected to explain terms and use clear and concise language when presenting their findings. 

Educational Partner/Sponsor Session

These sessions provide our educational partners and conference sponsors the opportunity to formally introduce conference participants to their organizations and, if applicable, the benefits and costs of their products or services. Presenters are strongly encouraged to co-present with institutional partners to illustrate tangible examples of their educational material. In addition, partners/sponsors may wish to provide a live or pre-recorded demonstration of their offerings. Partner/sponsor sessions are held to the same evaluation criteria as other concurrent session proposals and will be scheduled alongside other session formats.





Poster presentations will be showcased during the Opening Reception on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, from 5:00-7:00 pm. All posters will be displayed on a 4’ x 8’ bulletin board, and presenters will be expected to informally describe their ideas, report findings, and answer questions from a variety of conference participants. Most assessed initiatives or research studies are appropriate for a poster presentation, provided scalability and replicability are discussed. All poster presentations are strongly encouraged to provide handouts that summarize findings and/or highlight key takeaways.



We believe it takes all of us intentionally working beyond silos to effectively support transfer students. When drafting your proposal, please align your pre-conference workshops, concurrent sessions, and poster presentations with at least one of the following session themes, which have been intentionally designed to encompass presentations that blur traditional boundaries between functional areas and across 2-year, 4-year, and blended institutional types.

The themes are broad enough to address research, a particular theoretical foundation (e.g. student development theory), or special transfer-related policies, practices, processes, or programs. Although you will have the opportunity to designate a specific functional area when selecting a target audience on the proposal form, we challenge you to consider how your insights might be broadly applied.


Please Note:  If you intend to highlight a specific transfer program, you should do so in case study form and include a balanced representation of the problem and target population, program structure, funding sources, outcomes, challenges and lessons learned, and considerations for replication/scalability.


Curricular Alignment or Degree Pathways
Unclear academic plans too often delay transfer students’ progress and persistence, causing excess credit accumulation, multiple major changes, and/or reduced personal momentum. Presentations in this category should address the creation and successful execution of aligned academic curriculum or degree programs that result in improved experiences for students moving between institutions and within academic disciplines.

Diversity and Inclusion
Transfer offers students from a variety of backgrounds and experiences the opportunity to pursue higher education, while simultaneously bringing rich diversity to our campuses. These presentations should focus on creating a transfer-receptive culture for students from groups that often experience marginalization. Topics should address issues that directly affect these students, including assisting them as they move between institutions, easing their personal, social, financial, and academic adjustment, and facilitating student motivation and self-efficacy.

Matriculation Trends and Issues
As they contemplate and initiate transfer, students rely on timely, accurate, and clear information from a wide range of campus constituents, including admissions, advising, financial aid, orientation, registrar, and even residence life. Presentations in this category should focus on enrollment and acclimation, specifically the trends, issues, policies, and practices that transfer students may face from the initial point of interest through the first semester of attendance at their new institution.

Partnerships and Collaboration
Facilitating a holistic and inclusive transfer student experience requires identifying and involving key stakeholders that represent a variety of perspectives, disciplines, and functional areas. These sessions will address the importance of forming intentional relationships within and between institutions, with an emphasis on relationship development and measurable outcomes. Of particular interest are projects that involve personnel at both sending and receiving institutions and/or collaborative efforts that combine academic and student affairs expertise.

Special Populations
Transfer students hold a variety of intersecting identities with needs that extend beyond their student types and demographics. Presentations in this category will discuss these unique groups in more detail and/or highlight programs and services tailored to facilitate a smooth transition. Special populations include, but are not limited to:  adult learners, LGBTQ+, military-affiliated, online-only, those with disability accommodations, and students who have experienced trauma.

Transition Programs and Services
Despite having previous college experience, navigating a new institution can feel overwhelming for transfer students, particularly during the first year. Presentations in this category focus on helping students adjust and build relationships as they ‘find their fit’ in the campus community and discover ways to participate in high-value personal, social, and academic activities. Of particular interest are sessions focusing on how these programs and services contribute to student persistence and retention.  



Please review the NISTS 2020 Proposal Checklist for a detailed list of required information. All proposals must be submitted online using the University of North Georgia’s InfoReady Review platform. Presenters will be required to accept the terms of the Presenter Agreement prior to submitting their final proposal.

InfoReady Instructions

  1. Create an Account. Access the InfoReady Application Portal then click Register under the Login for Other Users section. Provide your name, email, and password and click Create Account. (Users affiliated with the University of North Georgia should login using their UNG username and password.)

  2. Confirm Account. After creating your account, you will receive an automated email requesting account confirmation. You must use the link provided in the email to verify your account and enable proposal submission.

  3. Log In. Access the InfoReady Application Portal and login using your newly created account under the "Login for Other Users" section. Select the "Call for Proposals NISTS 2020" application and follow the prompts to submit your session proposal.





Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need additional information: 
emily.kittrell@ung.edu or 706-867-4498.


NISTS | University of North Georgia

82 College Circle, Dahlonega, GA 30597

NISTS © 2019 All Rights Reserved

To report a technical problem or page error, please email nists@ung.edu

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube