2018 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Zebulun Davenport, Vice President for Student Affairs, West Chester University

Keynote Address: 

Learning, Development, Success, and Language: How Student Affairs "Completes" the Educational Mission of the Academy

Zeb Davenport Headshot.jpg

As the landscape in higher education has changed and transparency and accountability is essential, it is now more important than ever, that Student Affairs Professionals provide evidence of learning outside of the classroom.  College is the place where much of the formal learning happens inside the classroom and a great deal of the “formative” or developmental learning happens outside of the classroom.  Being members of the academy, student affairs professionals must be able to articulate the learning that happens in the “formative” environments.  Spaces like student employment, residence halls, student centers, recreation facilities, service learning projects and student leadership opportunities are all formative learning spaces where “on-time” and “real-time” execution of learning must occur.  Therefore, being intentional and effective in articulating the desired learning both for the student and from experience is essential.  

This presentation is designed to enlighten participants on ways to effectively communicate the learning that happens in our non-traditional classrooms using the language of the “academy”. As well, we will explore ways to align programs and services emanating from Student Affairs to university learning objectives, NACE competencies and industry standards.

FOLLOW-UP SESSION (During Block 1)

Where Do We Go from Here: Follow-Up to the Keynote Address

Come and engage in a follow-up discussion with keynote speaker Dr. Zebulun Davenport. The session will be an opportunity to continue discussing the central issues from the morning's Keynote Address, including: how to align programs with retention efforts, creating effective partnerships with academic affairs, how we contribute to the campus-wide learning community, speaking the language of the academy, working effectively with faculty, demonstrating our leadership in the academy, and programming for first-generation college students. Additional ideas and issues raised by those participating in this session will also be included in the conversation.


Dr. Zebulun Davenport is the Vice President for Student Affairs at West Chester University.  He provides leadership to multiple units that positively impact students’ lives on campus.  Davenport earned a Doctorate in Higher Education and Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Master’s of Education in College Student Personnel Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Communications/Public Relations with a minor in Human Services from James Madison University.  

Davenport’s primary goal is student success.  His contributions have advanced campus culture, organizational structure, and student achievement.  Davenport is a leader and strategist who demonstrates care and concern while maximizing opportunities for all involved.  His expertise includes the areas of student retention; student learning outcomes; assessment; strategic planning; and strategies for assisting first generation college students. 

Regarded for his work in the aforementioned areas, he is co-creator of the Changing Institutional Retention through Co-Curricular Learning Experiences (CIRCLE) Model which engages and links co-curricular service providers in academic and student affairs in a systemic collegial process of institution-wide service delivery.  In 2011, NASPA distinguished the model as first place winner of the Gold Excellence Award recognizing contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services, and effective administration.

Davenport’s publications include co-authoring a book entitled  First-Generation College Students – Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement; a chapter in an edited volume entitled The Student Success Conundrum, in B. Bontrager (Ed.) Strategic Enrollment Management: Transforming Higher Education; and a chapter in an edited monograph entitled Creating Collaborative Conditions for Student Success in S. Whalen (Ed.) Proceedings of the 8th National Symposium on Student Retention 2012.  He has presented at workshops for numerous public agencies; educational institutions; state, regional, and national conferences; as well as to thousands of college students and professionals throughout his career.