IPDS lays the foundation for a successful career in the college unions and student activities field.

Skills and knowledge gained during this seminar will inform and inspire participants, returning them to campus ready to contribute to advancing campus community.  

  • Further skills in multiple competency areas, including communication, fiscal management, human resource development, and leadership; 
  • Build a network of peers from other institutions to call on for advice and continued learning;
  • Gather tips and tricks directly applicable to daily work;  
  • Hear lessons learned and best practices from experienced professionals; and  
  • Find solutions to common issues in the profession—whether entering the field out of graduate school or making a career change.  

Key Topic Areas

Below is an overview of the educational content currently in development for this event in 2018.

Career Foundations in the Profession

Participants will learn insights from experienced professionals regarding college union management, important skill sets for new professionals, common missteps to avoid, and gaining practical experience in areas outside current functional responsibilities. This session will draw upon the presenter's experiences supervising new professionals, obtaining professional development, and volunteering for professional organizations. Additionally, participants will review the role that the college union plays on campus and in the development of students, engaging in discussions about areas from ACUI's recently updated Role of the College Union statement.

Creating Learning and Culturally Engaging Environments

Participants will reflect on the critical role that campus community builders play in supporting and providing space for activism that advances justice on campuses and in society, while also learning examples of how institutions are developing programs that allow diverse populations to thrive. Participants will learn current issues in the discourse on inclusion and equity in higher education, while discussing strategies for intentionally applying trends in student development theory to practice in their roles working with students to more effectively advance the student, staff, and faculty partnership experience within their organization. 

Motivating Others as Supervisors and Advisors

Everyone is motivated—people are either motivated to do something or not do something. While true motivation is internal and intrinsic, certain environments enhance intrinsic motivation while other environments seem to overwhelm or block the motivational process. This session will engage participants in learning what they can do as an advisor, manager, and/or supervisor to create an environment that supports and incites motivation, including:

  • The compelling differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation;
  • The most recent knowledge about how the motivation process really works;
  • How choice, challenge, and collaboration ignite motivation; and
  • The connection between engagement and motivation.
Budgeting for New Professionals

Financial management and budgeting are often noted in the literature as areas in which new professionals feel inexperienced and lack access to formal training. Even those coming to work in college unions from other fields might find budgeting in higher education to be complex. While each campus has its own system for financial management and budgeting, this workshop will allow participants to explore actual departmental budgets, learn about standard financial terminology and practices, and ask questions. Examples covered will be typical to those new professionals might encounter on the job.

Freedom of Speech and Student Activism

Through this session, participants from both IPDS: New Professionals Orientation and Aspiring Directors Institute will engage in an interactive case study related to student activism on campus and discuss strategies for handling such situations from a legal and practical perspective. Participants will reflect on free speech policies, communication protocols, and campus stakeholders to explore the important role that spaces for campus community play in both supporting and managing activism.

Career Panel Discussion

Participants will hear perspectives from current professionals about the many interesting and impactful career paths that can be experienced within student affairs. Topics discussed will include: evaluating when it is time to pursue the next step in a career; navigating promotion and advancement opportunities; utilizing skills and resources obtained from professional development and campus experiences to grow in the field; building a professional network of colleagues to call on for advice; and creating a personal career journey.

Speed Sharing

Speed sharing consistently receives high ratings from IPDS participants because it offers a quick way to get to know other members of the cohort and hear about the exciting innovations occurring across the profession. Participants will interact through multiple rounds of sharing around various theme areas, such as sustainability, technology solutions, staffing models, unique events, and other innovative projects.

ACUI Talks
Throughout the seminar schedule, various short talks will be presented on topics critical to advancing campus community. Potential topics areas include: professional ethics, marketing, customer service, benchmarking, crisis management, and liability issues.
Optional Preconference Activities

Mental Health First Aid Certification Course

Monday, June 18, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illnesses, builds understanding of their impact, and outlines common support strategies. This course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect persons to the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The program also teaches the common risk factors and warning signs of specific types of illnesses, like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Participants will receive a certificate for the completion of this eight-hour program. Preregistration is required, which is $75 and includes lunch.

Indiana University–Bloomington Athletics Tour

Monday, June 18, 3–5 p.m.

Tour the facilities that serve as home for some of IU's Big Ten athletics teams, and check out some sports memorabilia. Preregistration is required.

Indiana University–Bloomington Campus Tour

Monday, June 18, 3–5 p.m.

Tour the IU campus—often ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful campuses—to explore the collegiate buildings, green spaces, high-tech classrooms, grand performance venues, and recently renovated community building spaces. Preregistration is required.

Tentative Schedule

Please see the tentative schedule below for the 2018 event. A detailed schedule will be available soon.

Monday, June 18
  • 8 a.m.–5 p.m. – Mental Health First Aid Certification Course (optional preconference; preregistration required)
  • 3–5 p.m. – IU Athletics Tour (optional preconference; preregistration required)
  • 3–5 p.m. – IU Campus Tour (optional preconference; preregistration required)
  • 5–6 p.m. – Check-In
  • 6–8 p.m. – Welcome Session and Dinner
Tuesday, June 19
  • 8:30–11 a.m. – Workshop
  • 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. – Tour and Lunch at the ACUI Central Office
  • 1:30–2:30 p.m. – Tour of the Indiana Memorial Union
  • 2:30–5 p.m. – Workshop
  • 6–8 p.m. – Dinner
  • 9 p.m. – Evening Social Activity
Wednesday, June 20
  • 8:30–10:30 a.m. – Workshop
  • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. – Workshop
  • 12:30–1:30 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:30–3 p.m. – Workshop
  • 3:30–5 p.m. – Workshop
  • 6–9 p.m. – Reception and Dinner
Thursday, June 21
  • 8:30 a.m.–Noon – Workshop
  • Noon–2 p.m. – Lunch with Aspiring Directors Institute attendees
  • 2–3:30 p.m. – Workshop
  • 3:30–5 p.m. – Workshop
  • Dinner on own around Bloomington
Friday, June 22
  • 9–10:30 a.m. – Workshop
  • 10:30 a.m.–Noon – Closing Session and Brunch
  • Departures


In additional to all educational and networking activities, registration includes three dinners (June 18, 19, and 20), three lunches (June 19, 20, and 21), and a closing brunch (June 22).

Early (through May 9)Regular (through May 30)Late (through June 13)


During registration, attendees will have the option to sign up for the following preconference activities:

          Mental Heath First Aid certification course, June 18, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ($75; lunch included)
          IU Athletics Tour, June 18, 3–5 p.m. (no cost)
          IU Campus Tour, June 18, 3–5 p.m. (no cost)

And options are included in registration to purchase the following ACUI publications:

          Core Competencies and Skills Sets for the College Union and Student Activities Profession
          The College Union Idea, Second Edition


Travel and Lodging


The event hotel will be the Indiana Memorial Union Biddle Hotel & Conference Center, located at 900 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405. 

Using block code IPDS2018, attendees are responsible for booking their own arrangements by making a reservation online or by calling 800.209.8145. The single room rate is $109/night (plus tax), and the double room rate is $139/night (plus tax). If interested in being paired with a roommate in a double room, please indicate so during the registration process.

Guests will be asked to provide a credit card number to guarantee their hotel room reservation. Hotel guests will receive a complimentary parking pass upon check-in to the hotel.


Participants flying to the event should travel to the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), located approximately 45 miles north of Indiana University–Bloomington.

Airport Shuttle Service

For transportation between the airport and the Indiana Memorial Union, Go Express Travel shuttles stop at the Indiana Memorial Union every two hours for the Indianapolis International Airport. One-way trips are $20 (prices subject to change). Advance registration is encouraged by visiting goexpresstravel.com or calling 800.589.6004.