Annual Conference FAQ | Great Plains IDEA

  • Who should attend?

    Administrators, faculty, staff, and campus coordinators from member universities are invited to this annual conference. 

  • How do you choose the conference dates?

    Over time we have learned that Sunday through Wednesday is a pattern that works well for our members.  Some years there is less programming on Sunday.  Other years there is less on Wednesday.  Each conference's start and end times fluctuate a little based on program availability, the conference theme and the goals of the Boards and Cabinet.

    Eighteen months prior to the conference, the management team creates a master calendar that includes the following:

    • All member universities' spring breaks
    • Conference dates and locations that may prevent faculty, specific programs, functional team members or board members from attending
    • Holidays like Easter and Passover


    For the 2021 conference, we had two options--February 28-March 3 or the last week of April.  For some member universities, the last week of April is the last week of the spring semester and, therefore, an impossible time to be away from campus.  While we've never met as early as February before, we are thankful we can bring everyone together. 

  • How do you choose the conference location?

    Eighteen months prior to the conference, the management team puts out a request for proposals (RFP).  The RFP is sent to the convention and visitors bureaus in each city we would like to consider for our conference.  In 2021 we submitted RFPs to Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Omaha, NE; Des Moines, IA; and Oklahoma City, OK.

    We received 16 proposals.  After some additional research and back-and-forth with a few of the properties, we selected the Kansas City Marriott on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.  

    Important factors we consider when selecting the right property, listed in priority order:

    • 10 or more breakout rooms to accommodate our many academic program meetings
    • Complimentary wireless internet in the meeting and guest rooms
    • Competitive sleeping room rates and variety of room types
    • Discounted or complimentary meeting rooms
    • Complimentary or discounted parking for overnight guests and temporary parking
    • In-house audiovisual company with discounted pricing
    • Discounted food & beverage
    • Personalized webpage for online reservations
    • Walkability to nearby restaurants and shops
  • Why is it important to stay at the conference hotel?

    Your support in staying at the Great Plains IDEA contracted hotel helps keep the conference costs down, which directly affects your registration fees. Great Plains IDEA contracts for the best possible room rates for this conference and is required to guarantee a predetermined number of sleeping rooms. If the alliance does not meet the contracted room block, the hotel can charge an attrition fee, which will result in higher registration fees at future conferences. Therefore, we encourage you to book your room through our block at the conference hotel.

  • What does the cost of registration cover during the conference?

    Your registration fee covers rental fees for audio-visual equipment, speaker fees, and operational costs.  Your registration fee also covers the following:

    • Monday -- Plated luncheon and keynote speaker, beverage breaks, late-afternoon reception with presentations
    • Tuesday -- Continental breakfast, lunch buffet with presentations, beverage breaks
  • Is one-day registration available?

    Yes.  One-day registration will again be available on Monday, March 1, and Tuesday, March 2.  The cost depends on the programming scheduled for each day.  Registration for the 2021 annual meeting will open in December 2020.

  • How can I change or cancel my registration?

    Contact the registration office at or call 785-532-5569.

    Cancellation and Refund Policy
    If you must cancel your registration, please do so as soon as possible by sending an email to with the subject line “Great Plains IDEA Spring Conference”.  Substitutions are encouraged.  A full refund, minus a $25 administrative fee, will be made if notice of cancellation is received by the registration office by 5 p.m. CST on February 19, 2021. After February 19, due to guarantees we must provide, refunds are not available.  Registrants who do not cancel their registration in writing by February 19, 2021, are responsible for paying the registration fee even if they do not attend the meeting and have not paid the registration fee.

    To learn more about registration rates and policies, visit the conference registration page.

  • Who do I contact if I have further questions?

    Contact Kathryn Harth at or 785-532-6968.