ACUI is proud to introduce a new event for mid-level managers—the Aspiring Directors Institute.

Career advancement tends to be a topic to avoid on college campuses as it could mean losing good employees. However, having employees who are prepared to be senior leaders is good ever everyone: the organization, the campus community, and the individuals looking to advance.

The Aspiring Directors Institute will provide you with knowledge and tools to advance into a senior level role while helping you be a better employee where you are. Curriculum will consist of content universal to the field and career progression despite current institutional profile. After this event, you will be able to:

  • Chart a path for advancement in the field
  • Access resources that will prepare you for future career moves
  • Network with a cohort of peers who can support you through your journey



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

All times are converted to Eastern Standard Time
Mon, June 18, 2018
8:00 AM

Preconference: Mental Health First Aid Certification Course

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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.

3:00 PM

Preconference: Indiana University–Bloomington Athletics Tour

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

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.

Preconference: Indiana University–Bloomington Campus Tour

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

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.

Tue, June 19, 2018
8:30 AM

Indiana Memorial Union Tour

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

We’ll begin your Aspiring Directors Institute with a tour of the Indiana Memorial Union.

9:30 AM

Financial Management

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

In this session, participants will learn about various standard higher education budgeting models, including auxiliary and student fee models, and will learn how to lead budget setting activities with a team of direct reports as well as how to set budget priorities.

12:30 PM


12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Enjoy lunch at the Indiana Memorial Union

2:30 PM

Political Acumen

2:30 PM - 5:00 PM

One of the critical functions of a director is navigating institutional politics. This session will focus on providing participants with tools to collaborate and build relationships with institutional leadership in a way that is effective and positive.

Wed, June 20, 2018
8:30 AM

Freedom of Speech and Student Activism

8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

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.

11:00 AM

Career Building

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

In this session, participants will receive tips and tricks from a professional to help in their search for a director position.

12:30 PM


12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Enjoy lunch at the ACUI Central Office (120 W. 7th Street, Bloomington, IN)

1:30 PM

Crisis Management

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Directors are often the frontline responders when crises happen on campus and in the facility. This session will give participants tips and tools to make sure they and their team are as prepared as possible to handle facility, medical, or other emergencies or disasters.

3:30 PM

Legal Issues

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

This session will elevate standard legal issues information to the level of a director. Participants will be given tools to find pertinent legal information for their jobs without needing a law degree.

6:00 PM


6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Thu, June 21, 2018
8:30 AM

Cultural Competency and Diversity

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Personal identity impacts the way a person approaches a director role. In this session, participants will be challenged to fully consider their own identity (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) to see how it can affect their performance as a director. Participants will be challenged to re-evaluate who they are and what they believe as they consider a director role and will be given tools to be advocates of change from a social justice/servant leadership perspective as a future director.

12:00 PM

Lunch with IPDS

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Enjoy lunch with the IPDS group in the Indiana Memorial Union

2:00 PM

Advanced Supervision

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Directors often supervise multiple direct reports who also supervise other staff members. This session will focus on advanced supervision topics, such as delegation, managing up and down, building relationships as a new director, and communicating student affairs ideas with staff who do not come from that background.

Fri, June 22, 2018
9:00 AM

Strategic Planning and Benchmarking

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

This session will provide participants with a broad overview of strategic planning and change models. Participants will be provided an overview of common strategic planning processes and models.

10:30 AM

Closing and Brunch

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Enjoy brunch and our closing ceremony before departing.


In addition

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


Please find our cancellation policy here.

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 or calling 800.589.6004.