Recommended Professional Associations

Category: Career Resources

There are many national associations and professional development programs designed to support your professional growth. Here are just a few we suggest.

American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE)
AABHE drives leadership development, access and vital issues concerning African Americans in higher education.

  • The purpose of the Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) is to support African-Americans who want to acquire information and skills to prepare them for senior administrative and faculty ranks. The Institute has distinct, parallel tracks to accommodate the needs of professionals interested in administration and teaching/research.

American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHE)
AAHHE is an agent of change for improving education, thus enabling Hispanic students to fully participate in a diverse society. AAHHE works collaboratively with all sectors of education, business and industry, as well as community and professional organizations to enhance the educational aspirations and to meet the needs of a significantly increasing Hispanic population.

  • The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is designed for individuals from all backgrounds who are interested in preparing themselves for appointments to executive positions such as vice presidents, provosts, presidents, and chancellors.

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
AACC, founded in 1920, is the leading proponent and the national voice for community colleges.

  • Presidents Academy Summer Institute (PASI) is an annual professional development program for CEOs/presidents of member community colleges, providing intensive focus on current challenges, emerging trends, and opportunities unique to that position.
  • The Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership is sponsored by the Presidents’ Round Table, National Council on Black American Affairs, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges and is designed to prepare senior-level executives for positions as community college chief executive officers.

The American Council on Education (ACE)
ACE represents the presidents of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions, which include two- and four-year colleges, private and public universities, and nonprofit and for-profit entities.

  • The ACE Institute for New Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) provides practical executive leadership development for CAOs in their first three years on the job.
  • The ACE Institute for New Presidents strives to ensure new presidents find long-term success in today’s volatile and uncertain environment.
  • Advancing to the Presidency is a workshop on successful presidential search and transition.
  • The ACE Fellows Program is a higher education leadership development program preparing senior leaders to serve colleges and universities.
  • The ACE Regional Women’s Forums are for women administrators serving in mid-level positions (department chairs and above) who aspire to senior-level positions.
  • The Spectrum Executive Leadership Program is for diverse senior-level administrators from underrepresented groups who are interested in seeking a presidency in the near term.

Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I)
ACUHO-I member institutions believe in developing exceptional residential experiences at colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions around the world.

  • National Housing Training Institute (NHTI) is an intensive workshop intended for housing professionals, with three to five years’ full-time housing experience, committed to advancement within the field of university/college housing.
  • Chief Housing Officer Institute is a professional development institute for senior housing officers.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities.

  • The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is a year-long program to prepare experienced provosts and vice presidents to become successful presidents.
  • Senior Leadership Academy (SLA), is a year-long program for mid-level administrators in higher education who aspire to senior leadership positions in independent colleges or universities.
  • Workshops for Department and Division Chairs are designed to serve both experienced and new chairs of departments or divisions at independent colleges and universities.

Higher Education Resource Services (HERS)
HERS is an educational non-profit providing leadership and management development for women in higher education administration. Since 1972 HERS has served the higher education community, preparing more than 4,300 women faculty and administrators for leadership roles.

Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA)
MOAA provides opportunities to exchange ideas, advocate increased participation and administrative opportunities for minorities in athletics. The MOAA also promotes generating a sports culture that supports the values necessary to teach and learn respect for self and others.

Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly known as NACWAA)
NACWAA is the premier leadership organization that empowers, develops, assists, celebrates, affirms, involves and honors women working in college sports and beyond. NACWAA takes a pro-active role in advancing women into positions of influence and powerfully shapes the landscape of women leaders.

National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC)
NACAC, founded in 1937, is an organization of more than 13,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing post-secondary education.

  • As part of the national conference NACAC offers the Admissions Middle Managers Institute and the Chief Enrollment Officers Forum.

National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS)
NACAS supports the business of higher education by providing solutions and innovation through professional development, career resources, and “The Connections That Count.”

  • The Institute for Managers (IFM) is designed for managers new to generalist auxiliary service positions, and for operational managers seeking a broader perspective on auxiliary services in higher education.
  • The  Advanced Institute for Managers (AIM) is designed to guide participants through a logical flow of decision-making processes and issues common to auxiliary management.

National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
NACE connects campus recruiting and career services professionals, and provides best practices, trends, research, professional development, and conferences to its members.

  • The Management Leadership Institute is a five-day, professionally intensive workshop led by a faculty of experienced career services practitioners. It offers practical information and opportunities to network with peers and learn from experienced colleagues who have successfully met the challenges of career center management.

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)
NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession.

  • Alice Manicur Symposium is designed for women in mid-level managerial positions who are contemplating a move to a senior student affairs officer position in the near future.
  • Aspiring Senior Student Affairs Institute is designed for senior level student affairs professionals exploring a move to the chief student affairs role.
  • The Institute on the College Presidency is an executive development program designed to prepare leaders with student affairs professional backgrounds to seek, acquire, and achieve in the college presidency.
  • The Richard F. Stevens Institute for senior student affairs officers is the premier executive training program for a small and select group of student affairs leaders.
  • The Institute for New Chief Student Affairs Officers is an intensive three-day academy for student affairs administrative leaders in their first two years in the position.
  • Small Colleges and Universities Institute is a professional development experience specifically designed for small-college student affairs leaders.

Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI)
WLI is the premier program for women leaders across campus. The program is designed for women who aspire to new leadership positions on campus. The institute features a curriculum with an overall focus on building the next generation of leaders in higher education administration across all professional disciplines. WLI is co-produced by members of the Council for Higher Education Management Associations, including ACPA, ACRL, ACUHO-I, ACUI, APPA, CSHEMA, NACUBO, NASPA, NIRSA, and NODA.

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.