Early Career Development Institute

NASPA's Small Colleges and Universities (SCU) Division is proud to offer this low-cost and high-quality programming to professionals in the early stages of their career. SCUs have very unique needs and often have limited resources devoted to professional development for staff.

The Early Career Development Institute (ECDI) is a new signature initiative to provide new, full-time professionals in their first three (3) years in the field an opportunity to connect with peers and senior staff members at SCUs and to explore specific competencies essential for practitioners.

Every Spring semester, the ECDI will connect a cohort of professionals to attend monthly webinars to discuss best practices within the field.  They will additionally be paired with senior-level staff members to serve as coaches.  Each pairing will have monthly calls to discuss career path, institutional issues/experiences, and any other information that will be of assistance to the institute participants.

Institute Goals

  • To provide opportunities for new professionals to network via a virtual platform with early career professionals at small colleges and universities across the county.
  • To provide coaching opportunities for early-career professionals with senior-level student affairs professionals who have demonstrated a significant professional commitment to the field of student affairs.
  • To provide purposeful opportunities for personal goal setting and self-reflection.
  • To provide participants with online development offerings, which run from January to June.  Each session will be focused on a specific content area and presented by a practitioner with expertise in that topic.

Institute Curriculum

Institute participants will attend online professional development sessions that address the following topics:

  • Where you work matters
  • Supervision
  • Engaging with professional associations
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Effectively navigating institutional politics
  • Your career next steps

Early Career Participant Requirements

ECDI early career cohort members must:

  • Be within their first three years in a full-time professional position in Student Affairs.
  • Work at a small college or university (defined as less than 5,000 FTE students)
  • Be a NASPA member
  • Provide a letter of support from their current supervisor in support of their participation in ECDI
  • Provide a current resume
  • Participate in 5 of the 6 webinars and have monthly conversations with coaches.

Senior-level Coach Requirements

ECDI senior-level coaches must:

  • Hold a position at a level higher than the director level at a small college or university with fewer than 5,000 students.
  • Meet not less frequently than monthly by phone or videoconference with their assigned early career cohort member.
  • Complete the Early Carreer Development Institute Coach Interest Form.

Institute Fee

The participation fee for the institute is $50.00.  Selected participants will be directed to the online fee collection process after being selected.  There is no fee to apply. (Coaches do not pay any fees.)


October 15, 2018

Applications Available

Extended to February 1, 2019

Application Deadline

February 15, 2019

Selection Notification

February 15, 2019

Coaching Pairs Announced

March-June, 2019

Online Professional Development Sessions (Dates TBD)


To apply to be part of the 2019 ECDI cohort, please click here.


If you have questions about this program or the process, please contact Todd Porter, Director of Residence Life at the Juilliard School at [email protected] or Danny Ledezma, Associate Director of Community Engagement, at Harvey Mudd College at [email protected].