Institute for Directors of Student Affairs and Student Success

Institute for Directors of Student Affairs and Student Success


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Join us for this learning experience, specifically developed for Director level professionals in the Student Affairs and Student Success space.

In the midst of the challenges facing higher ed today, it is now more important than ever for student affairs and student support leaders to help move their institutions towards their retention goals.

Join us to learn the skills you need to succeed as a director in your student affairs or student success unit. You will join a cohort of peers who also lead departments within student affairs or student success as you work improve your skills as leader and a manager within your department. We will cover common challenges that directors face, including:

  • Learning how to lead, manage, and delegate
  • Determining the internal and external priorities for your department
  • Moving your initiatives forward by influencing up, across, and down
  • Making important financial and budgetary decisions
  • Navigating your new human resources duties
  • Learning how to work across departments

You will leave this event with a defined roadmap for you to improve the leadership and management that you offer to your department. You can use this roadmap as you continue to grow as a leader and manager.


Who Should Attend

If you are an aspiring or current director level leader within student affairs/ student success, then this program is designed for you. The training you receive will help you navigate your directorship and provide a foundation for your future career growth.

“This conference gave great foundations to build on and grow as a leader. It was very detailed and straight to the point on trends, issues, and challenges in student affairs.”

Danlana Brooks, Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life, The University of Southern Mississippi

“This training was very clear and covered all areas directors need to succeed, I think it should be part of any on boarding.”

Miriam Castanon, Director, San Diego State University

“This training helped excite and inspire me as a new Director.”

Kim Matteson, Director of Career Center, St. Ambrose University

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Your registration for the event includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and the networking reception on Monday, breakfast on Tuesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

Day 1

8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Welcome & Introductory Activity

In this opening activity, you identify your primary challenges as a leader within Student Affairs and will set the stage for learning with your peers.



Current Trends in Student Affairs Success

More than ever, institutions must address student retention and success in order to remain viable in the higher ed marketplace. Institutions are answering this call through innovative partnerships outside of their departments (e.g., academic affairs), rethinking internal structures (e.g., combining advising and career services), and developing new models to meet the needs of a diverse and growing population of students. Your role as a director will be to lead efforts to work holistically and strategically with other departments. In this session, you will hear key trends that are shaping student affairs and how your department must play an integral role in your institution’s overall student success goals.



Telling Your Story and Articulating Success Metrics

As a director, you have the task of communicating your vision for your department, both internally and externally, and conveying how that vision aligns with the institution’s strategic plan. You also have the task of defining how you will measure their progress and success. In this session, you will learn how to effectively communicate your vision in a way that brings your team together and how to collaboratively set benchmarks to show progress towards that vision. You will learn how to become an advocate for your department in order to be involved with key committees and decisions at your institution.



Working Session: Mapping Initiatives with Your Team to Set Goals for Success

During this hour, you will work at your tables to identify the “inputs” to your department: strategic initiatives of the institution, personnel, and resources. You will then start to map the “outputs,” or how your department will play a key role in realizing the goals of the institution. This will help you to identify goals for your team.



Leveraging Resources Through Budgetary Planning

This session will provide you with tools and protocols that you can use to prioritize and maximize your budget. You will learn the financial “do’s and don’ts” as well as how to assess your current financial landscape and allocate resources.



Working Across Departments

In this final session of the day, you will learn how career services, advising, and student support services have created new models for working across departments. From full integration to cross-training to one-stop programs, you will learn a variety of models that you can consider for your institution to provide seamless support to students.



Working Session: Collaborating across Teams

You will start in job-alike teams to discuss ideas for collaborating. Then, you will break to teams with representative from each area for discussion.



Networking Reception


Day 2

8.30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Navigating Your New HR Duties

One area that new directors often find the most challenging is managing their new Human Resources duties. From hiring to inspiring to firing, learning both the legal and relational aspects of this part of your job will help you to make sound decisions as you build your team. You will connect this session to the earlier discussion on managing conflict.



Leading vs. Managing: Up, Across, and Down

In your role as director, you have two distinct parts of your job: your role as a leader and your role as a manager. You will get an overview of these two components and begin to think about your areas of strength and growth. Our experts will outline the skills you need to determine others’ motivations, how those motivations fit with your institutional mission, and how to advance your initiatives by managing up, across, and down. They will also discuss how you can mitigate conflict and address resistance to change.



Wrap Up, Final Questions, and Evaluation


Ana Baida

Ana Baida

Executive Director, Department of Career Planning and Development, Kennesaw State University

Ana became the Interim Director of Career Services in 2014 and shortly thereafter was named the Executive Director of what she and her team rebranded as the Department of Career Planning and Development to better frame the work. Ana enjoys working at Kennesaw State because it is an innovative institution that provides opportunities to think strategically and holistically about best practices on an ongoing basis.

Read Ana's full bio here.


La’Tonya Rease Miles

Director, First Year Experience & Strategic Initiatives, UCLA

As the Director of First Year Experience at UCLA, La'Tonya "LT" Rease Miles works collaboratively with Residential Life, Student Affairs departments more generally and academic departments campus-wide to develop initiatives and to increase awareness of the first-year experience on campus. Dr. Miles has established two successful programs for first-generation college students—one at UCLA and the other at Loyola Marymount University—both recognized for national Best Practices.

Read La’Tonya's full bio here.


Julie Nash

Vice Provost, Undergraduate Studies and Student Success, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Julie oversees retention and student success, curriculum, and accreditation at UMass Lowell. Prior to serving as Vice Provost, she served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, as Honors Director, and as Gender Studies Director. In her work at UMass Lowell, she oversees a number of projects related to Student Success in partnership with the Dean of Students.

Read Julie's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?

Elizabeth Hubbell, Academic Impressions

Elizabeth Ross Hubbell
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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