NACA® National Leadership Symposium



What is the National Leadership Symposium (NLS)?

NLS is an annual retreat-style program that takes a deep dive into a timely leadership education topic. NLS participants engage alongside renowned scholars and approximately 40 other leadership educators. Program curriculum is cohort-based and highly experiential, centering dialogue principles and critical perspectives of leadership theory and practice through topical lectures, workshops, and collaborative projects. For 2022, NLS will be hosted at the University of Tampa (FL). Questions? ContacMember Relations.

2022 NLS Theme - Liberatory Learning in Leadership Education

Liberation is about expanding beyond the limits of socialized thought and behavior that perpetuate oppressive systems and inequity (Freire, 1970). Liberatory learning inspires us to think critically, freeing the mind and raising consciousness, and taking action to advance social change and transformation (hooks, 1994; Sayles-Hannon, 2007). As part of a cohort, NLS participants will explore together the connection between liberatory learning and leadership education through the following framework:

  • Leadership for Liberation - What is it?: Increase our understanding of liberation and its connection to leadership education and practice.
  • Educators' Connection to Liberatory Learning - Who are we in it?  Explore "who we are" in the work of liberation through reflection on our lived experiences. 
  • Liberatory Practices - How do we do it?  Determine ways to incorporate liberatory practice into our work as leadership educators.


  • Dr. Antron D. Mahoney, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Dr. Julie E. Owen, George Mason University (VA)
  • Dr. Tanya O. Williams, Authentic Coaching & Consulting

Why NLS?

If you are looking for an opportunity to engage in critical reflective practice to enact change in your role as a leadership educator, we encourage you to join us. Prior to registering, please consider that if you are looking for a check list or specific how-to activities, this experience may not be a right fit. By participating, our hope is the symposium learning experience will influence your leadership programs and pedagogies. This will require a level of personal work including engaging in considerations of internalized dominance and internalized oppression related to institutional life in leadership and higher education more broadly. To assist you in deciding to join the symposium, consider your level of commitment to the following:

  • Understanding power and privilege dynamics; and how those work in tandem to uphold the status quo

  • Increasing self-awareness of your own social location as a leadership educator

  • Considering how my race/gender/class might make it difficult for me to see or validate liberation as a goal

  • Applying liberatory frameworks to expand your understanding of leadership broadly


NLS is a partnership between the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs (NCLP) and the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA).

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