NASPA International Student Services Institute

Build your knowledge base as you develop key skills and competencies that prepare you to work more effectively with students and senior management. NASPA’s International Student Services Institute (NISSI), developed in partnership with Colorado State University, can bring a customized learning program to your campus to help you gain key competencies in critical student affairs areas, including assessment, advising and helping skills, and student learning and development theory and practice based on the Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Practitioners.

A Program Developed by Leaders in the Field

“NISSI provides a good opportunity to learn more about similar situations in the United States and gain insights in adapting transformative learning approaches inside and outside the classroom. As a new student services professional, it is valuable to have an overview of each specific area of student affairs to understand how different parts work with different parties, such as student organizations.”

Hong Kong Program Participant

Student services professionals participate in a discussion at the recent NISSI in Hong Kong.

With more than 13,000 members around the world, NASPA is the leading voice for student affairs and services administration, policy, and practice. NASPA is recognized for outstanding professional development programs, well-attended conferences and meetings, strong volunteer participation, and advocacy for professionalizing staff in student services worldwide.

Colorado State University’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program offers both a residential and online Master of Science degree program and a graduate certificate program. Faculty members are scholars and practitioners who work closely with diverse groups of students from, those entering the student services field to college and university educators with years of experience.

What Will You Learn?

The program is tailored to the specific needs and the culture of your institution and the region. A one- or two-and-one-half-day program can be offered on site. Topics may vary according to the needs of your institution, but may include:

  • Academic advising
  • Best practices in managing and financing student services
  • Career advising and counseling
  • Collaborations between faculty and student services for transformative student learning
  • Crisis management
  • Development and assessment of student learning outcomes
  • Leveraging diversity in campus life
  • Outcomes-based learning
  • Psychological counseling
  • Student hostels and living-learning communities
  • Student leadership development
  • Transformative learning inside and the outside classroom

Attending NISSI was a great experience that added to my professionalism. I met professionals and experts in student affairs, shared knowledge and information, and exchanged experiences. It was an intellectual gathering with an inspirational atmosphere.

Nooreya Al Obaidli, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

What Are the Outcomes?
  • Certificate of Participation: Following completion of any of the competencies, participants receive a certificate of participation signed by NASPA, Colorado State University, and the host institution or host conference.
  • NASPA’s Student Services Global Basic Competencies Certificate: For 18 hours or 2.5 days of on-site training, participants receive this certification of basic competency in any area.
  • NASPA’s Student Services Global Intermediate Competencies Certificate: For seven hours or one day of on-site training plus 11 credit hours in the Colorado State Student Affairs in Higher Education program or 35 hours and five days of on-site training, participants receive certification for intermediate competency.
  • Colorado State University Student Affairs in Higher Education Certificate (and toward graduate degree): Participants may register to take any online courses offered in the certificate program whether they are seeking or not seeking a certificate. Any completed courses can be applied to a future certificate or graduate degree program in student affairs at Colorado State.

Who Will Direct the Program?

The program is directed by two of the field’s most recognized leaders, who bring a solid grounding in theory and practice.

  • An accomplished speaker, leader, and educator, Dr. Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy served as executive director of NASPA from 1995–2012. As a national advocate for students and student affairs in higher education, she draws on more than 40 years of experience in higher education. She is a licensed psychologist and a nationally certified professional counselor and career counselor.
  • Dr. David A. McKelfresh is executive director of assessment and research in the Division of Student Affairs at Colorado State University, where he is program director of the Student Affairs in Higher Education Graduate Program. He has been a member of the program’s faculty for more than 30 years. He is a long-time member of NASPA and the Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO-I).

NISSI was one of the greatest experiences. It allowed me to get professional training in students affairs that is based on both theory and practice. The unique mix of academic knowledge with practical experiences greatly enhanced my professional and personal skills.

Eman El Kaleh, Senior Registration Coordinator, Office of University Registrar, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Sessions are taught by outstanding professionals with strong academic backgrounds in higher education and student services who also have experience working with student affairs professionals at all levels.

  • Dr. Jody Donovan is assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Colorado State University, where she teaches and advises graduate students in the Student Affairs in Higher Education graduate degree program. Her areas of expertise are college student development theory, partnering with parents and families of college students, crisis management, supervision, and student affairs and higher education administration. She recently presented a two-day intensive NISSI in Hong Kong, co-led a field experience with graduate students in China, and is preparing to co-lead a field experience with graduate students to Morocco.
  • Dr. Oscar Felix is associate vice president of the Division of Enrollment and Access and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity at Colorado State University. He also serves as executive director of the Access Center, which conducts programs to increase educational opportunity for persons from under-represented backgrounds. He serves as advisor and co-instructor for courses that prepare students to participate in international field experiences focusing on higher education, student affairs, and student services in Canada, Qatar, China, and Morocco. For the past two years, he has directed NASPA's International Symposium. He recently presented a two-day intensive NISSI in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and served as faculty leader for NASPA’s international student affairs study tour to the Arabian Gulf.

Through the course, I learned a lot of skills on how to deal with students and how to educate students with different perspectives. The Institute has inspired me in my areas of student affairs, and I hope to share what I learned with my colleagues.

Hong Kong Program Participant

Who Should Attend?

Student services staff at every level can gain new knowledge and important professional competencies through NISSI.

How Do I Get Started?

If your institution is interested in hosting a NISSI, contact Gwen Dungy today. Gwen will help you determine those skills that would be most appropriate for your staff. She can also consult with you on organizing a regional professional development program through NISSI.

The host institution will be responsible for:

  • On-site logistical planning, including audio-visual requirements, copy services, refreshments and meals
  • Providing an on-site coordinator to work with NASPA and Colorado State faculty throughout the planning process and during the Institute
  • Travel, lodging, meals, and ground transportation and honorarium for two NISSI trainers.

What Are People Saying About NISSI?

“We had the opportunity to attend the NISSI program in February 2013 for the first time at Zayed University. Through the sessions we learned so much; we were proud and inspired. Our student leaders who also attended were surprised by the professional and scholarly approaches. For the first time, they understood the knowledge and standards required to practice in the student affairs field.’’

Mohammed Madi Ahmed, Student Affairs Manager, United Arab Emirates

"One of NISSI's greatest strengths is that it brings customized, culturally relevant professional development opportunities to an institution. Using NASPA's professional competencies as a foundation, the program frames global best practices with local case studies and examples."

Dr. Courtney Stryker, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

"The NISSI training was great for me even though I have been in student affairs for more than three years. It was appropriate as I came to student affairs from academic affairs and had limited training in the field. I often engage student leaders to share the training I received and further enhance the quality of their engagements with fellow students."

David Ribott, Student Success Specialist, Office of Enrollment Management, Zayed University

"One of NISSI's greatest strengths is that it brings customized, culturally relevant professional development opportunities to your institution. Using NASPA's professional competencies as a foundation, the program frames global best practices with local case studies and examples."

Gulf Region Program Participant 

“Since the world is more connected and global, I am not surprised that "generation flux" in the United States and Hong Kong behaves in the same way. I agree with the challenges and opportunities for STEM majors in the future. As a student service professional, it is important for me to keep track of market trends and implications.”

Hong Kong Program Participant