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The purpose of NSPA Learning Circles is to facilitate dialog and exchange of good practices among NSPA members who are working in similar organizations or have common interests and/or challenges. These groups contribute to a body of knowledge for the wider NSPA community. Learning circles meet virtually as a group each quarter.



To listen to recordings and view materials from past learning circles, please click on the learning circle that is of interest to you.

Colleges and Universities Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Centralized or De-centralized Scholarship Administration, Selection Committee Best Practices, Scholarship Office Nuts and Bolts, and Resources and Advocacy for Undocumented Students

Community Foundations Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Scholarship Donors: Establishing & Maintaining Positive, Trust-Based Relationships, Marketing Your Scholarship Program, Managing Committees, and Corporate Scholarship Policy and Programs

Private Foundations Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Student Support Services, Recruitment and Selection, Building an Inclusive Scholarship Program, and Wraparound Services for Scholars

Public Charities Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Deadline Day Dos and Don't, Promotion, Structure, and Deadlines, The Good and the Bad: Merit Based Scholarships, and Two Different Paths: Merit vs. Need Based Scholarships

Upcoming Learning Circles   

Colleges & Universities Learning Circle
Policies and Procedures: Toolkits and Manuals for Scholarship Programs
Date: Monday, August 13, 12pm-1pm MT
Description: We will discuss best practices in developing policy and procedure manuals for scholarship programs, and share ideas on what topical areas should be included in a scholarship manual. Are you in the process of developing a toolkit or manual? If so, how are you approaching your process? Do you have a model that works well for your institution? If so, what areas and departments were invited to collaborate in the creation of your manual? Are there policies and procedures that are missing from your toolkit? Are your scholarship policies and procedures established at the institution level, or do they vary by department?
Facilitators: JoLynn Noe, Planning and Financial Operations Director at the University of Kentucky Office of Enrollment Management and Brenda Holcombe, Director of University Scholarships at the Western Carolina University Financial Aid Office

Public Charities Learning Circle
Coaching, Mentoring, and Advising - Supporting Our Students for College Success

Date: Wednesday, August 15, 1pm-2pm MT
Description: The scholars we select and support want more than a check these days--but what makes sense for you to offer in terms of your mission and staff capacity to support their personal, professional, and intellectual development? Can you offer coaching, mentoring, or advising programs that complement (and don’t duplicate or replace) their college resources? What sort of academic, social, and emotional support can (and SHOULD) you offer? Bring your insights and your questions to a lively discussion about the many approaches to support Scholar success while in college…and beyond!
Facilitators: Carolyn Norton, Alumni Relations Manager at the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and Maryann Slater Dernlan, Programs Relationship Associate at the Elks National Foundation

Community Foundations Learning Circle
Scholarship Program Evaluation: The Good, the Bad and the “I Haven’t Found the Time for This”

Date: Wednesday, August 29, 12pm - 1pm MT
Description: Do you currently evaluate your scholarship program’s impact and effectiveness? Or is evaluation one of those topics you’d love to tackle but haven’t found the time or know-how? Join your community foundation colleagues for a discussion about evaluation—getting started, what’s worked (or hasn’t), and how to move forward!
Facilitators: Sarah Battersby, Scholarships & Donor Services Officer at Triangle Community Foundation and Eric Hozempa, Executive Director at Longmont Community Foundation

Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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