• DJ Hardwick

Professional Development through Professional Associations

HEA624 Supervised Practice I - Blogging Assignment 1

In my experience as a student affairs professional, I have connected with many professional associations that have allowed me to build a community and consider various perspectives. Conferences, virtual programs, and internships have allowed me to learn from some of the leading researchers in the field and discover innovative ways to address student learning. In this post, I will reflect on three associations in which I am a member.


The first professional association I became involved with is Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). I stumbled across NASPA while looking for professional development opportunities during my undergraduate degree. After researching the organization, I applied for and was accepted to the NASPA undergraduate fellows’ program. During my year-long fellowship, I learned an incredible amount about the profession of student affairs and the role that associations play in professional development. Working with an assigned mentor, I read new journals, articles, and research papers released by the organization and had the opportunity to engage with the content in ways that facilitated the application of knowledge. As I continue through grad school and as a new professional, I hope to stay involved with NASPA and attend future annual conferences.



The second professional association I am currently a member of is The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). I discovered SCUP during an internship at the University of California Merced where I was tasked with aligning ongoing divisional strategic planning efforts with an emerging institutional strategic plan. During my research for this project, I discovered SCUP and the wealth of resources that the organization provides. After becoming a member of the association, I was able to utilize the planning documents and research articles to assist in my completion of the strategic planning project. As a member, I hope to continue my engagement in the professional association by attending monthly virtual workshops and reading new planning resources.



The third organization that I am involved with is the National Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education (NODA). I recently joined NODA as I was looking for resources that could open my eyes to the various aspects of orientation that I have not previously experienced. Although my time as a NODA member has been brief, I have found their online communities to be a great way to meet other graduate students interested in orientation and build a virtual network of professionals. As I learn more about the organization, I hope to take advantage of upcoming conferences and virtual programs.


Overall, I feel strongly that professional associations are an integral part of professional development. Connecting with peers at other institutions has allowed me to see a glimpse of the issues facing higher education and has made me feel better prepared to update existing programs and remain innovative.

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