Student Affairs

2021 Virtual Case Study (VCS) Scenario & Judging Criteria


The following conversation sets the stage for this year's Virtual Case Study Competition.

* * * * * * *
“Sarah, can you hear me?” asked the harried Dean of Students, squinting into his Mac Book Air. “Hello… hello.”

“You’re still muted,” replied the Director of Student Activities. “Click the mic.”

“I hate this,” said Max Casey, moving his mouse over to forcefully press the microphone icon.

“Max, you also have to click your video on.” Flustered, the head college administrator activated that too.

“You would think after almost one year of meeting like this I would finally get the hang of it.”

So, why the urgent meeting?”

“Sorry, if my email sounded dire,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about our students and this virtual nightmare they’re going through.” The Dean took a quick sip of his freshly brewed coffee and continued. “We had the Senior Council yesterday and everyone brought up the problem with the lack of social engagement from our students in and out of classes. They’re sitting in their singles or logging in remotely to their courses or campus events, but there’s no interaction. No shooting the breeze. No late night philosophical arguments in lounges. No way to meet new people.”

“Was this just a venting session,” Sarah asked.

“Most of it,” Max answered. “But Tyrese, she’s the new Academic Dean, made a commitment that faculty will do a better job and not just stand in front of the camera and lecture. She talked about breakout rooms, but I started to glaze over when it became too technical.”

The Activities Director suppressed a laugh. “Breakout rooms aren’t that technical,” she said.

“So, I committed student affairs to also work on this.”

“And you thought of me because of my technical experience?”

“You are known as the queen of social media,” he said.

“I’ve heard,” she replied. “Max, let me ask you a question. Are you saying we aren’t doing anything to promote social interaction?”

“No, no, I didn’t say that. Don’t get defensive.”

“Sorry, it hasn’t been easy. The programs we put on last semester were very hit and miss. We’re still trying to figure out the magic formula.”

“Exactly,” the Dean jumped in. “And it’s not just here. What you read in the Higher Ed press or when talking to colleagues around the country, everyone says creating some type of social engaging environment is tough, but key. And then there’s their mental health.”

“It makes if even more difficult when you realize that some first year students have never even set foot on the campus,” she stated.

“I know, I know,” he said.

“What do you need me to do?” Sarah asked, getting down to business.

“I want you to chair a group of student affairs folks, but not necessarily the usual suspects for the committee,” Max said.  “Think out-of-the-box.”

“I hate that term.”

“Ditto, but you know what I mean?” the Dean asked.


The Dean of Students continued. “I want this work group to come up with an assortment of online programs that stress the social engagement of students. I’m not looking for quantity, but quality. And have it target first-year students. Obviously, it’ll be open to everyone, but it’s the first year students everyone is most worried about.”

“Do you have anything in mind?” the Activities Director asked.

“No. And even if I did I want this to be your baby.”

“Is that it?” she asked.

“I need a report in the next two weeks and to prepare a presentation in front of the Council.”

“What?” she exclaimed. “I thought this was a student affairs program?”

“All the departments are making a presentation,” he said. “That’s all.”

“Anything else?”

“Well, now that you mention it,” he hesitantly said. “They want a 1–3 minute video promo to go along with the presentation. It could be used to advertise the program. What do you think?”

“Do I have a choice?” she joked.

“Not really,” he replied. “Just keep me posted. And, Sarah?”


“Just shoot me an email or call me. The less of this Zoom stuff the better.”

* * * * * * *


Your committee - identify each participant - needs to come up with ONE meaningful and absorbing virtual program that stresses social engagement. You can decide the fictional setting and demographics for your college. You materials should cover the following:
- outline for the overall program, its goals and components
- how it will promote social interaction
- specifics about how to publicize the campaign and promote it via social media

Your committee will submit two final files:
» PDF presentation that will be used to outline and explain the program. You can include links to outside sources or supporting materials but all visuals (except for the video) must be included within this document.
» 1-3 minute promotional video that will be used on your fictional campus social media platforms.


Judges will assess the projects based on the following:
• innovation of approach
• organization of presentation
• rationalization for chosen responses
• usefulness of the information presented
• educational value to Student Affairs
• use of literature both within and outside student affairs

Presentation and production values will be considered. But higher emphasis will be placed on the quality of your content as well as the thought and planning put into it.


#1. PDF file with a maximum 25 slides and 5 MB file size.
#2. 1-3 minute promotional video. You can decide the style or approach. MP4 format is preferred. Max file size is 40mb.
Both the PDF and the movie file (.mp4 is preferred) should be downloadable as individual files. Check out our list of resources for easy ways to compress your PDF or movie file to meet the size requirements. The files do not have to be the highest resolution (i.e. print or broadcast quality). Use a compression tool and/or reduce the width/height of your output in order to meet the size requirements.

All material input like writing, planning, production etc. are to be the work by team members only. Minor, limited outside technical help is permitted.

Submissions are due by Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9:00PM EST. Send to Do not attach your video to the final email. Include a link where the video can be downloaded from. You are welcome to use cloud storage or your own YouTube channel as long as anyone from can access the link. You can either attach your PDF to the email or also store it on the cloud. Once judging starts the following week, all videos will be uploaded to’s own YouTube channel and PDFs will be stored on our servers.


Since we have received over 100 entries, please include the following information in your email.
» In the SUBJECT line, put “VCS” plus your school name and team captain.
EX: VCS – University of America (Betsy Ross)
» In your MESSAGE BODY, restate your full school name, team captain and all team members. This is essential so that we can accurately label the presentation for our judges.

If you need to resubmit your materials because of some snafu, just add CORRECTION up front in the subject line to help us sort out entries.

If your team decides to drop out of the competition, please kindly send us a note to Direct all questions regarding this contest to this address as well.


Here are some convenient free tools to help you send large files, manage your PDFs, or optimize and reduce images.

CONVERT/COMPRESS/RESIZE VIDEO FILES (compress videos easily) (compress and resize dimensions) (download mp4 from video) (download audio mp3 from video) (converts & compresses videos and other file formats)