The 2023 STARS Conference is being held in Brisbane and we’re back in-person! 2019 was the last time we were able to come together face-to-face as the STARS community to talk all things students, transitions, achievement, retention and success. We can’t wait to see everyone again!

We understand however that not everyone will be able to get to Brisbane for the Conference. Funding is tight, workloads are significant and there are still many pandemic-instigated challenges to travelling to conferences – even domestically.

We think that universities should return to investing in the excellent value – for academic and professional staff alike – that comes from participation in conferences.

In the post-conference evaluations, the STARS delegates affirm every year that more than 92% return to their home institutions having learned something of significant value that they will be able to apply in practice for the benefit of the learning success of their students. And it is impossible to quantify the value of the relationships, networks and personal and professional connections that are built at STARS.

Some of you might be wondering why we are not offering a hybrid participation option, for some delegates to attend only online. The costs of running professional hybrid events is extremely high and offering a hybrid option would significantly increase the costs for all attendees. Further, the quality of the conference experience for in-person and online participants in hybrid models is not always good. Our view is that conferences work best if they are fully online or fully in-person. Having had two years of a fully online event we are pleased to be able to return to a fully in-person event. Again, we encourage universities to value this experience for their staff and support those wishing to attend.

If you are not able to come to STARS in person this year, there are still many ways you can participate as a member of the STARS community. Here are some ways you might like to consider.

  • Connect with someone who is attending and ask them to share their key experiences with you at the end of each day in a quick catch-up.
  • Organise a post-STARS briefing of Conference highlights at your institution with all the people who were able to attend. Here’s an example of a recent attendee’s post-Conference event
  • Make a submission to the Student Success Journal – either a scholarly article or a practice report.
  • Engage with social media – the Conference uses Twitter and LinkedIn, and posts with #unistars during the event – join the conversation!