Find Your Program


trojan watermark.jpg


trojan watermark.jpg

ACSD 2023 - Great Purpose

We all have a Great Purpose

As Student Development professionals, our Great Purpose is to embody the Kingdom of God in the institutions where we serve, helping students to understand that their ultimate purpose is to give glory to God by using their education to advance The Kingdom.

We all have unique roles on our campuses and specific ways that we serve students, but we are all working together to achieve our Great Purpose. From brief conversations to semester-long programs, we all have a part to play.

When it feels easier than ever to lose sight of our Great Purpose, we want this conference to remind all of us of why we do what we do and why it matters. The way we educate and engage students has drastically changed over the last few years, but our purpose remains distinct.

Each session at this conference is designed with you in mind. Through our primary speakers to our breakout sessions, we will explore our Great Purpose in Higher Education.

Join Us

Date of Conference: June 5-8, 2023
Location: Anderson University, SC
Contact: Office of Student Development
864.231.2075  |  Email the ACSD team

Follow Us

ACSD 2023 - Great Purpose Conference Registration

We hope you will make plans to join us in Anderson, South Carolina as we explore our Great Purpose together.

Late registration closed on May 15.

ACSD Guest Speakers

hosanna wongHosanna Wong is an international speaker, best-selling author and spoken word artist helping everyday people know Jesus for real and live with purpose. Widely known for her spoken word piece, “I Have a New Name,” Hosanna preaches and performs in churches, conferences, prisons, and other events around the world, reaching across various denominations, backgrounds and cultures.

Born and raised in an urban ministry on the streets of San Francisco, Hosanna later packed her life into suitcases and traveled to churches and other ministries throughout the United States to share about Jesus through spoken word poetry. During those years without a permanent home, she began preaching, writing, and creating resources to serve the local and global Church.

Hosanna currently serves on teaching teams at churches throughout the United States. She and her husband, Guy serve in various ministries equipping the local and global Church with tools to share the gospel of Jesus in today’s world. Her best-selling book, How (Not) to Save the World is available now!

ACSD Website Graphics davidDave has over 25 years of full-time teaching experience at undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels, and has served as a dean in both student affairs and academic affairs; he also worked for eight years in campus ministry. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Program Development for Portage Learning, an online education company specializing in common, prerequisite college courses. Prior to his current role with Portage Learning, Dave served as Teaching Professor of Education at Penn State, where he coordinated the M.Ed. program in higher education. He also recently evaluated the Campus Ministries Theological Exploration of Vocation initiative, funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and is currently supporting the assessment efforts of a professional development initiative sponsored by the Network on Vocation in Undergraduate Education. Dave also spent 18 years at Geneva College as a faculty member, academic dean, honors program director, coordinator of faculty development, and directed a multi-million-dollar grant focused on the theological exploration of vocation; previous to Geneva, Dave served as the dean of student development at Calvin University. His long-time interests coalesce around vocation, higher education, and Christian faith.
ACSD Website Graphics stephanie Through her work as a writer, researcher, and coach, Dr. Stephanie Shackelford helps people identify and take hold of their purpose. She is the author of You on Purpose: Discover Your Calling and Create the Life You Were Meant to Live, a contributing author for Christians at Work: Examining the Intersection of Calling and Career and Know, Be, Live: A 360 Degree Approach to Discipleship in a Post-Christian Era, and a Senior Fellow at Barna Group, primarily studying vocation and calling. In 2012, she founded a career coaching company and has since helped hundreds of students, recent graduates, and working professionals live into their purpose. Stephanie received her Ed.D. from Northeastern University and her M.Ed. and B.S. from Vanderbilt University, where she is also an Adjunct Instructor. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

Call for Workshop Proposals & List of Workshop Topics

An important part of the ACSD annual conference is the opportunity to share ideas. One of the best ways to do this is through participating in our workshops.

Passionate professionals (like you!) will be leading workshops that reflect Great Purpose throughout a wide variety of areas in Student Development.

Stay tuned for the release of the list of selected workshops soon!


Great Purpose… Everyone Is Included 
Creating a campus community in which all are welcome and no one is left out is a gospel imperative.  Regardless of race, sex, ability, or any other way that humans may divide themselves, creating a truly  inclusive community is a Great Purpose. 

Great Purpose… Starting Well 
Orienting new students and giving them a sound start in their new home, whether they are brand new  students, transfers, or returning after a short or long pause in their education. 

Great Purpose… Providing a Strong Spiritual Foundation 
Ministering to and with students through Campus Ministry as well as every part of the institution to provide  a strong spiritual foundation. 

Great Purpose… Promoting Wellness of Body and Mind 
Encouraging students not only to avoid unhealthy habits but to actively seek habits that promote their  wellness of body and mind. 

Great Purpose… Helping Students Succeed 
Academic support, tutoring, student conduct, leadership development—all these and more are ways we  can help our students succeed. 

Great Purpose… Teaching Students to Design their Futures 
Teaching students to “dream worthy dreams,” set achievable goals, and make plans for their future,  through vocational reflection, becoming attune to their calling, and career development. 

Great Purpose… Data-Informed Decision Making 
Data provides us with guidance for the future of our organizations. Collecting and utilizing data well will  help improve our decision-making in the short-term and the long-term. 

Great Purpose… Women Leading the Way 
Women have a long and significant history of leadership in student development. Helping our current  women and preparing the next generation of women leaders are important tasks to help shape the future. 

Great Purpose… Developing Campus Community 
Bringing the campus community together with both programs and a spirit of welcome and hospitality is  vital to creating a healthy community that reflects God’s love.

You'll love it here!

Located in the vibrant city of Anderson, in the rapidly growing region of Upstate South Carolina, Anderson is a regional destination city for shopping and dining, as well as outdoor sports at nearby Lake Hartwell and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Located less than 30 minutes from downtown Greenville, two hours from Atlanta and Charlotte, and four hours from the Atlantic Ocean, extending your stay will be an easy temptation. We hope to see you soon!

Pre-Conference Information:

RISE: Developing Resilience

“In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Life is hard. We all need resilience skills! Escalating mental health concerns and crises on our campuses speak to the need to help students develop skills that will help them better navigate the challenges of life. Student Affairs professionals need resilience reminders too! We are not exempt from the stressors of life, and our work has become increasingly challenging as students’ needs grow. This workshop will equip Student Affairs professionals with the ability to better help students, their teams, and themselves become resilient using research-based and Biblically-grounded skills.

In an information-filled, interactive format with opportunities for discussion, movement, and goal-setting, workshop leaders Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Connie Horton and Associate Vice President for Student Life, La Shonda Coleman will share tenants and strategies from the Pepperdine RISE (Resilience-Informed Skills Education) program and help participants feel equipped and encouraged. Special topics such as race and resilience, resilience programming on a limited budget, and ways to garner administrative and board support will also be discussed.

Participants will be provided with a RISE Resilience Roadmap and a RISE Workbook.

Facilitators: Connie Horton, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Affairs and La Shonda Coleman, Associate Vice President and University Title IX Coordinator, Student Affairs


Dr. Connie Horton serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Pepperdine University. Connie is a licensed psychologist whose previous roles included Counseling Center Director at Pepperdine University and at Illinois Wesleyan and tenured psychology faculty member at Illinois. Her publishing and presenting has been primarily in the areas of college mental health, parenting, and child abuse.

La Shonda Coleman serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Pepperdine University. La Shonda is a licensed clinical social worker and doctoral candidate in clinical social work and psychotherapy. Coleman’s leadership responsibilities include the RISE Program at Pepperdine, University Title IX Coordinator and Student Care. She has developed programs to support the well-being of students, professionals across a range of disciplines,clergy and first responders both nationally and internationally.

Career Calling with Stephanie Shackelford

Steph Shackelford: “You on Purpose” In this hands-on workshop, participants will gain a vision for how to live a more fulfilled, purposeful life. Based on her book You on Purpose, author, researcher, and coach, Dr. Stephanie Shackelford, will break down a four-step process to help participants discover and carry out their callings with confidence. These four steps are grounded in years of research conducted with the Barna Group, including thousands of surveys, interviews with career counseling professionals, and more—to help answer one of life’s biggest questions: What is my purpose?


New Professional Retreat (NPR)

  • Process professional and personal experiences in the field through a faith-based lens
  • Encourage participants to increase their support systems by building relationships with fellow attendees
  • Facilitate conversations around navigating both personal and professional life.
Participants: The NPR is designed to cultivate an intentional learning experience for professionals within ACSD who:
  • Have been in the field of student affairs for approximately 0-3 years and are focused on preparing to step into this profession; or
  • Currently serving as a graduate assistant at their institution; or
  • Are interested in developing their understanding the landscape of higher education
Learning Outcomes:  The NPR seeks to develop professionals by providing an experience that embodies the following learning outcomes: Personal Development
  • Help participants understand healthy boundaries and self-care and seek them out in their roles
Professional Development
  • Developing rapport with a supervisor
  • Understanding University culture
  • Leadership Development
  • Networking
  • Supervision of paraprofessional staff
Diversity and Equity Competency
  • Educate participants about diversity and multiculturalism and its importance within Christian Higher Education
    • Broad understanding of DEI work related to higher education, and specifically related to Christian higher education
    • How to develop DEI competencies as a new professional

Emerging Professional Retreat (EPR)

Emerging Leadership/Professionals Summit Objectives:
  • Process professional and personal experiences in the field through a faith-based lens
  • Encourage participants to increase their support systems by identifying professional mentors or sponsors.
  • Encourage participants to building relationships with fellow attendees
  • Facilitate conversations around navigating both personal and professional life.
Participants: The EPR is designed to cultivate an intentional learning experience for professionals within ACSD who:
  • Have been in the field of student affairs for approximately 3-7 years
  • Focused on growing in their current role or are preparing to move into a position with more responsibility; or
  • Previously attended NPR and desire to continue their professional learning and growth; or
  • Are interested in growing their leadership presence
Learning Outcomes:  The EPR seeks to develop professional leaders by providing an experience that embodies the following outcomes: Personal Development
  • Understand how to practice healthy boundaries and self-care as a way of living a life of harmony, including modeling this to others
Professional Development
  • Be a springboard towards developing leaders and those who are desiring to continue advancing as a leader within Christian Higher Education or as a Christian in a non faith-based institution
  • Create a Leadership Development plan that is crafted around a person’s strengths and gifts, and designed to maximize one’s growth and leadership potential
  • Develop rapport and communication with a supervisor
  • Understand University culture and how to become a mission-driven employee
  • Increase your network and professional connections
  • Supervision of professional and paraprofessional staff
  • Understand emergent best practices
  • Building up your professional image
Diversity and Equity Competency: Education about multiculturalism and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion within Christian Higher Education
  • Understanding how to navigate supporting diversity initiatives on campus
  • Learning your competency in diversity and integrating it into your work
  • If there are no diversity/ multicultural initiatives, how to begin thinking about starting initiatives on campus


The Student Government Summit (SG Summit) brings together outgoing and newly-elected student body presidents, vice presidents and student government advisors, providing a substantive opportunity to not only engage in thoughtful transition planning but also to gather with other leaders, share resources, learn from each other and hear from experts on best practices in influencing their campus well. Over three days prior to the annual ACSD Conference, participants will be equipped through this gathering which is deliberately prepared around three key themes: leading as a Christian in a pluralistic world, leadership in times of conflict and change, and the project of reconciliation. Additionally, student government advisors will not only have a chance to get an early start working with their incoming presidents and vice presidents, but will have opportunities to network, share best practices, and have dedicated professional development together.


No, Anderson University will be providing a shuttle service for anyone flying in and out of Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP). The cost of the shuttle is $20 each way and you can sign up on your registration form. If you are unsure about the shuttle when you register, that’s okay!  We’ll be sending out a separate sign-up form as we get a little closer to the conference.  

Free shuttle services will be available to downtown Anderson.

There are a few options that could work for you!

Greenville/Spartanburg (GSP):  about 45 minutes (PERK! AU will run a shuttle to and from campus) 

Atlanta Airport (ATL): about 2 hours

Charlotte Airport (CLT):  about 2 hours 

Asheville Airport (AVL): about 1.5 hours 

The conference fee covers all conference sessions and your housing (including bedding, towels, and a pillow), meals, and snack times during the conference. 

Family housing includes housing the entire family (up to 6 individuals) and meals for the participant and one other person. Additional meals can be purchased in the Culinary Center or Chick-Fil-A on campus.

There’s so much to do! Sign up for an excursion here.

The cost for excursions will range from free to about $30 per person.  We will also have lots of self guided options for groups that want to choose their own adventure.

No problem, please fill out the link below to sign up and pay for the shuttle service. Airport Shuttle 

There is a place in the registration form to request accommodations for housing and meals. If you did not mark it in your form, please send us an email ( and we will be happy to update your accommodation request. 

You should expect warm temperatures in the high 80s during the day and lows in the 60s overnight. There is always the possibility of pop-up thunderstorms, so pack a light rain jacket. We also recommend a sweater or jacket to wear during sessions because our AC works REALLY well. 

You can select roommates via the registration form.

Please email us at and we will reimburse based on the schedule below: 

  • Cancel before April 1: Full refund 
  • Cancel between April 1 – April 30: 90% refund
  • Cancel on or after May 1: No refund 
  • Early Bird Registration ends on March 31st
  • Standard Registration is from April 1st to April 30th 
  • Late Registration is from May 1st to May 15th

Yes, linens, pillows, and towels will be provided to our conference participants.

Early arrival on Sunday is available for an additional fee of $70. This fee covers your housing, dinner on Sunday, as well as breakfast and lunch on Monday.  

Early arrival check-in is between 2 pm-7 pm on Sunday.  If you plan to arrive after 7 pm, please email us prior to the conference ( and we will provide you with check-in instructions.