Essential Retention Strategies for Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Essential Retention Strategies for Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Three hours of training spread across five topics.

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Learn proven strategies to curb costly attrition within entry-level student affairs staff.

Learn five critical components that your student affairs department needs in order to retain entry-level staff. This training series includes over three hours of content that you can use to actively address the costly retention issues that many student affairs operations face. Separated into five distinct modules, this series focuses on how your institution can work with entry-level staff to better:

  1. Onboard and socialize
  2. Set strong expectations
  3. Create effective training plans
  4. Engage in synergistic supervision
  5. Create intentional professional development plans

Each of the five trainings comes with its own set of additional resources for you to use in your practice. These resources include: questionnaires for assessment, scholarly articles, videos to further explain concepts, websites, and many template documents.

Why Your Institution Needs This Training

Several scholarly articles in student affairs indicate that 40-60% of entry-level student affairs professionals leave the field within their first five years. While some of this can be natural attrition or bottleneck promotion issues, there is still a considerable amount of work organizations need to do to improve their retention of these entry-level pros. This high attrition level within the field is an enormous sink of time and resources that can be curbed by implementing the practices that we discuss during this training.

Who Should Attend

These trainings are for student affairs departments and divisions who are looking to do a significant overhaul, or start fresh at a new beginning, on how they approach their work relationships and needs of entry-level professionals. Each training within this bundle is short, readily applicable, and full of practical learning outcomes that allow you to hit the ground running.


Effective Onboarding and Socialization for Retaining Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Dr. Ashley Tull, Clinical Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University

Onboarding and socialization is the process of learning university culture, developing relationships, and departmental nuance. During the first weeks and months on campus, some departments spend time only training entry-level professionals for their job and spend little or no time engaging in proper onboarding and socialization. In this training, join leading researcher and practitioner Dr. Ashley Tull as he describes key onboarding and socialization processes to incorporate into your new hire processes!

Program Structure

  • Key Essentials for Effective Onboarding and Socialization
    • Essential 1: Understanding person-organizational fit and values through supervision
    • Essential 2: Curbing job dissatisfaction and factors that influence attrition
    • Essential 3: Orienting to the field and critical partners
  • Three ways to put the essentials into practice

Effective Expectation Setting for Retaining Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Dr. Carolyn Golz, College Administrative Officer, University of California, Santa Cruz

Expectation setting, follow-through, and communication is key to fulfilling goals in any department. In this training, our instructor will help you understand the importance of ongoing, repeated, and 360 degree expectation setting.

Program Structure

  • Key Essentials for Effective Expectation Setting and Fulfillment
    • Essential 1: Clear definitions and competencies
    • Essential 2: The 360 degree process
    • Essential 3: University and field context
  • Three ways to put the essentials into practice

Engaging in Synergistic Supervision for Retaining Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Dr. Matthew Shupp, Assistant Professor, Shippensburg University

Everyone has a supervisor, but are they an effective supervisor?  In this training, join practitioner and researcher Dr. Matthew Shupp to learn the principles of synergistic supervision. You will leave this training with readily accessible tools and tips to immediately apply synergistic supervision to your practice with entry-level student affairs professionals.

Program Structure

  • Key Essentials for Effective Synergistic Supervision
    • Essential 1: Understand the model components
    • Essential 2: Identifying and defying bad supervision
    • Essential 3: Assessment of supervision
  • Three ways to put the essentials into practice

Holistic Professional Development Plans for Retaining Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Dr. Amy Denise-Halter, Student Success Projects Manager, Colorado State University

Using professional development planning as not only an attrition deterrent, but also as a growth tool, can help create a dynamic and well-rounded team. Join our expert, Dr.  Amy Denise-Halter, to develop active, engaged, and competency-based professional development plans with entry-level student affairs professionals.

Program Structure

  • Key Essentials for Effective Professional Development Planning
    • Essential 1: Competencies and assessment
    • Essential 2: Creating alignment
    • Essential 3: Accountability and revision
  • Three ways to put the essentials into practice

Effective Training Plans for Retaining Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals

Dr. Ann Marie Klotz, Dean of Campus Life, New York Institute of Technology

The initial first few weeks and months of an entry-level student affairs professional’s life at a new campus or in new position are critical times when it comes to the retention of that employee. In this training, you will learn critical components and methods to train your entry-level staff with an eye for increasing retention and satisfaction in those positions.

Program Structure

  • Key Essentials for Effective Training Plans
    • Essential 1: Understanding your training context
    • Essential 2: Training job vs. life skills
    • Essential 3: Assessment of training
  • Three ways to put the essentials into practice



Dr. Amy Denise-Halter

Student Success Projects Manager
Colorado State University

Amy Dinise-Halter has spent the past five years researching how to help new professionals in student affairs be successful as they transition from graduate school to a professional position. Her dissertation work entitled Positive Experiences: Focusing on the Good in New Professionals in Student Affairs helped find key actions new professionals, and those who support them, could take to impact their professional identity formation. Amy currently works at Colorado State University in Student Success and serves as an Assistant Professor in the Student Affairs and Higher Education graduate program. She completed her undergraduate work at Cal State Fullerton, her master’s degree from Indiana University, and her doctorate degree from the University of Northern Colorado.


Dr Carolyn Golz

College Administrative Officer
University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Carolyn Golz is a college administrative officer overseeing student life for two residential colleges at the University of California Santa Cruz. Prior to UC Santa Cruz, Carolyn served as the senior associate dean of students and director of residence life at Lake Forest College. She has over fifteen years of experience in student affairs and higher education.

Carolyn earned her Ph.D. in organizational leadership from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and her dissertation studied the impact of student engagement on alumni giving. Her research interests range from the intersection between the student experience and longer-term engagement with the institution after graduation to professional competencies and developing student affairs staff. Carolyn has presented at regional and national conferences for both ACUHO-I and NASPA.


Dr. Ann Marie Klotz

Dean of Campus Life
New York Institute of Technology

In addition to her current role, Ann Marie Klotz is also the Chief Student Affairs Officer on the Manhattan campus of the New York Institute of Technology.  Previously, she spent 14 years working in Housing and Residence Life at Oregon State University, DePaul University, Ball State University, and Albion College.  She earned her B.A. from Grand Valley State University in political science and M.A.’s from Michigan State University in student affairs and DePaul University in women and gender studies, respectively.  She earned her doctorate from DePaul University where she studied the career trajectory and leadership styles of ten female university presidents.

She has served in multiple regional and national roles for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), most notably with the Women in Student Affairs Knowledge Community. She is the recent recipient of the American College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) Standing Committee for Women Research and Scholarship Award.  Personal and research interests include women’s career development, professional staff recruitment, developing online communities, personal branding, and first generation college students.


Dr. Matthew Shupp

Assistant Professor
Shippensburg University

Dr. Matthew R. Shupp (re-)joined Shippensburg University in 2013 after serving as a student affairs administrator for 12 years in a variety of institutional settings. His most recent administrative position was serving as the director of student affairs at Penn State University – Brandywine. As a member of the senior leadership team, Matthew was responsible for the overall administration of the student affairs division. His direct areas of oversight included student activities, leadership development, recreation and athletics, health services, and counseling services. He was also instrumental in implementing student protocols and directing the management of mental health-related emergencies. Matthew’s previous professional experience includes the community college, for-profit, and public higher education sectors.

In his work as a faculty member preparing future higher education professionals and counselors, Dr. Shupp relies heavily on Schlossberg’s concept of Mattering and Marginality and Sanford’s theory of Support and Challenge. Self-identifying as a “student affairs generalist,” Dr. Shupp describes his ideal learning environment as a “teaching hospital” where he is able to create learning opportunities and teachable moments for students. He currently coordinates the College Counseling and College Student Personnel specializations within the department.


Dr. Ashley Tull

Clinical Associate Professor
Southern Methodist University

Dr. Ashley Tull serves as a Clinical Associate Professor and as Program Director for the Ed.D. in Higher Education Program. Most recently he served as the Director of Assessment and Strategic Initiatives for the Division of Student Affairs at Southern Methodist University. He has held previous administration and teaching roles at Tarleton State University, the University of Texas at Arlington, University of Arkansas–Fayetteville, and Florida State University.

Tull has edited three books; The Handbook for Student Affairs in the Community Colleges, with Linda Kuk and Paulette Dalpes; New Realities in the Management of Student Affairs: Emerging Specialist Roles and Structures for Changing Times, with Linda Kuk; and Becoming Socialized in Student Affairs: A Guide for New Professionals and Their Supervisors, with Joan Hirt and Sue Saunders. Tull currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of College and CharacterJournal of Applied Research in the Community CollegeJournal of College Student DevelopmentJournal of Community College Research and PracticeCollege Student Affairs Journal, and the Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry. His research has been published in the College Student Affairs JournalNASPA Journal, the Journal of College and CharacterResearch in the SchoolsJournal of Organizational Learning and Leadership, and the Journal of College Student Development. His research interests center on management concepts and supervision in student affairs and higher education.

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