Free Online Learning Opportunities for Members

These online learning events are free to anyone at a member institution. Nonmember pricing is $139. If you are uncertain of your membership status, please contact us at

Student Affairs Commitment to Racial Justice: Day of Action | August 12

On August 12, 2020, the student affairs community will come together as a unit to talk about how our profession can make tangible progress in addressing racial justice on American college campuses.

The day will start with a welcome from the executive leaders of 10 student affairs associations. Following the opening, each association will present a half-hour session from the perspective of their specific content area. Topics include:

  • Research & Scholarship Pathways to Leadership
  • Student Affairs Structures that Reinforce “White-Dominant” Modalities
  • Graduate Preparation Programs and Curriculum
  • Burnout and Racial Battle Fatigue for New and Mid-Level Student Affairs Professionals

ACUI's session will be at 1 p.m. Eastern with Chief Executive Office John Taylor, broadcasted from our Facebook page

Find the Full Schedule

Data-Driven Decision Making during a Time of Uncertainty | August 13, 1 p.m. Eastern

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced colleges and universities to make difficult decisions around managing finances, technology, student life, and human resources. Although each campus is affected uniquely, all higher education and student affairs professionals must move forward and lead their teams through a time of great ambiguity. How do we stay intentional rather than reactive? How do we convince budget managers and institutional leaders to see the value of our initiatives?

Utilizing assessment, evaluation, and research in making these decisions allows leaders to adapt practices for long-term changes while managing the uncertainty. Intended for entry and mid-level professionals, this program will demonstrate the importance of data-informed decision-making and equip colleagues with the tools and language to advocate for their programs and people. The program will provide a list of sample data points beneficial to consider for the field of college union and student activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This online learning program is part of an ongoing series hosted by ACUI’s Research Program Team.

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About the Presenters
  • Luke Haumesser – Associate Director for Student Leadership and Engagement at Buffalo State
  • Kristen Ernst – Associate Director of Student Engagement at Rice University
  • Katie Beaulieu – Associate Director of the Student Center at Wayne State University
A Path to Purpose: Fusion Leadership in Times of Extreme Change | August 25, 2 p.m. Eastern

Join five student affairs professionals as they discuss the principles and subtleties of fusion leadership, a leadership and management model first introduced in 1988 in the book Fusion Leadership: Unlocking The Subtle Forces That Change People and Organizations. Participants will learn how to effectively leverage from six subtle forces—mindfulness, vision, heart, communication, integrity, and courage—leadership techniques that can have a direct bearing on organizational effectiveness. Panelists will discuss the transformative power the subtle forces can have upon teams that work closely together, and how they can discover a process where breakdowns trigger breakthroughs, where teams are at their best when emotionally invested in change, and that through leadership, the motivation can be provided to take educated risks supported by mentoring and coaching.   

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About the Presenters 
  • Joanna Iwata has served as senior coordinator for governance and operations since 2013 at California State University–Monterey Bay as part of a career in student affairs that has spanned over 35 years. A longtime ACUI volunteer, Iwata served on the Region I Conference Planning Team, as director of Region V, as Region I inclusivity coordinator, and on the ACUI Council for Diversity and Inclusion. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Region I Don & Noel Hinde Distinguished Service Award. She regularly presents workshops on inclusive excellence, leadership, and management and has published articles on change management and transformational leadership.
  • Daniel Maxwell has over 30 years of experience in higher education and currently serves in dual roles as associate vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Houston System and associate vice president for student affairs at the University of Houston. Maxwell has served two terms as president of the ACUI and was recipient of the Association’s highest honor, the Butts-Whiting Award, in 2019. He received an Ed.D. from Indiana University, and his research interests includes campus ecology, physical space, and community building.  
  • Debra Hammond is executive director of the University Student Union at California State University–Northridge, where she also serves as a faculty member in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education. In 2012, she was named Outstanding Professor of the Year in the college counseling student services program; in 2016, she was named California State University System’s Outstanding Staff Member of the Year; and in 2017, the  San Fernando Valley Business Journal  presented her with its Lifetime Achievement Award for her accomplishments as a woman in business.  
  • Jan Javinar has held leadership positions in student affairs administration for over 30 years, including 24 years overseeing student life, student activities, and college union administration. Javinar has also been a student affairs faculty member, assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs, and vice chancellor of student affairs at the University of Hawaii–West Oahu, as well as interim associate vice president for student affairs for the University of Hawaii System.
  • Lincoln Johnson has more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in higher education, including 20 years at the University of Washington, where he has served as director of the Husky Union Building, assistant vice provost for campus life, and currently as associate vice president for student life, where he provides leadership to more than 100 full-time staff positions and more than 900 student employees. 
Shared Responsibility in Return to Campus | August 27, 3 p.m. Eastern

Legal and conduct-related issues will be more pressing as the start of the school year looms, and the biggest is definitely how a school should mitigate legal liability in the face of COVID-19 transmission. We all acknowledge “it depends.” State laws vary, public and private institutions face differing legal standards, and the U.S. Congress has not yet granted immunity but that could change. Although colleges and universities are trying to write policies to encourage people to help mitigate the risks they can control by using what we do already know about the disease, not all community members are likely to fully comply. Signage, informer videos, resetting dining halls, and limiting students in a residence hall are all great actions to check off as we return to campus, but what are the contours of a university’s legal duty, and what is the role of students, employees, visitors, and others in the university community in keeping the campus safe?

Hear from a cross-campus panel of association members discussing best practices to reduce case load and claims. In this session we will discuss:

  • How risk assessments are best carried out and by whom
  • Assumption of risk and waivers
  • Best practices in communicating expected behavior/conduct and proper health regulations
  • Advice to help educate students to reduce behavior that could impact their health and that of others
  • Advice to help social distancing rules that may have become more relaxed
  • Guidance on ensuring third party contractors are following all risk prevention and safe working conditions for their employees, students, and staff on campus
  • Second wave preparation strategies using new and improved risk management planning processes

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About the Presenters
  • Craig McAllister, University of Miami, Executive Director, Risk Management (URMIA)
  • Juliana Jalal, IUPUI, Coordinator for Student Organizations (ACUI)
  • Allison Newhart, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, North Carolina State University (NACUA)
  • John Dalton, University of Texas–Austin, Assistant Dean the Graduate School and Interim Director, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (ASCA)
  • J. Rex Tolliver, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (NACAS)
Supply and Demand: Serving Students with Fewer Resources | September 10, 11 a.m. Eastern

With recent cuts to financial and other resources, staffing, and services, we are faced with caring for our buildings and students with limitations. People are facing a looming sense of uncertainty. Sometimes, the inability to make decisions feels crippling. How can we balance the supply and demand in this new academic year? This online learning program includes insights from several professionals and also offers the opportunity for you to participate in a roundtable with people from other institutions similar to yours.

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About the Presenters
  • Kyle Burke, Executive Director for Student Auxiliary Services, Northeastern Illinois University
  • Ian Crone, Director of Student Union, University of Tennessee–Knoxville
  • Kris Day, Assistant Director of University Unions & Events, University of Michigan 
  • Brend DeLong, Director of Student Union, Boise State University
  • Ashlea Wilson, Assistant Director of University Center Operations, University of Texas–Tyler
Peer-to-Peer Mentorship | October 13, 1 p.m. Eastern

The presenters will cover different aspects of peer-to-peer mentorship, including student mentorship programs on campus, peer-to-peer mentorship for the use of professional development, and informal mentoring relationships. Bring your questions and ideas to share at the end.

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About the Presenters
  • Ofelia Dominguez, Director Union Services, University of Texas–El Paso
  • Charles Farrell, Executive Director for Business Development/UIC Student Centers, Campus Auxiliary Services/Student Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Katie Trinh, Student, University of Houston
Unique Spaces in the College Union | November 3, 11 a.m. Eastern

Every union building has a story. Unique features, hidden treasures, and bits of history fill campus buildings throughout the world. Two professionals from different institutions talk about the unique spaces in their union in this online learning program. Feel free to share an example from your building as well.

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About the Presenters
  • Michael Campbell, Assistant Director Indiana Memorial Union, Indiana University
  • Jordy Dickey, Assistant Director of Student Union, Department of Student Activities, Baylor University

Upcoming Online Courses

ACUI offers online courses that allow you to obtain a badge or micro-credential to demonstrate competence in a specified skill set and receive recognition for continuing your education and advancing your career.

Courses cost $199 for members and $259 for nonmembers. The registration deadline is one week prior to start date.

Online Accessibility (Ongoing)

This training covers a variety of online communication methods, and how to make each more accessible. Covered topics include websites, PDFs, e-communications, and video.

This is a mini-course that only costs $99! This is a self-paced program, has no set dates, and does not require you to connect with faculty or peers. 

Please note, this course is structured so that students can participate as part of their virtual employment.

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Social Media and Modern Marketing (September 29–November 15)

This training is a foundational course in different social media platforms that our students engage in. Learn about each platform and the ideal target audience and marketing strategies associated with each.

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Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to Social Media
  • Effective Use of Social Media
  • Avoiding Common Mistakes
  • Crisis Communication
  • Marketing for All Budgets
  • Organization and Analytics

Subject Matter Experts
  • Liz Rockstroh, University of Texas–San Antonio
  • Tara Benson, Missouri State University
  • Julie Moore, Missouri State University
Budget Development (September 29–November 15)

This training will be a crash-course in different social media platforms that our students engage in. Learn about each platform and the ideal target audience and marketing strategies associated with each.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction to Budget Development
  • Types of Budgets
  • Data, Assessment, Strategy, Creativity
  • Systems and Tools
  • Capital Projects, Cap Planning, and More
  • Communication and Marketing of Budgets

Subject Matter Experts
  • Lori Hill, University of Delaware
  • Benjamin Perlman, Emory University
  • Dean Smith, East Carolina University
  • Leslie Heusted, Washington University in St. Louis
Building Management 101 (September 29–November 15)

The purpose of this course is to develop building management skills and knowledge in students within the college unions and student activities profession.

Topics covered include:

  • Emergency and Risk Management
  • People Skills
  • Daily Operations
  • Inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Career Development

Subject Matter Experts
  • Kaitlyn Howarth, William Paterson University
  • Carol Hill, Lehigh University
  • Taylor Church, Appalachian State University
  • Stephen McCay, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Omar Garcia, University of South Florida
Contracting (TBD)

This training will provide valuable content related to developing, negotiating, and executing contracts on behalf of a union at public and private institutions. Topics covered will include activities/events contracts, tenant agreements, facilities/service provider contracts, and banquet event orders, as well as signature authority, involving students, and mediation.

Subject Matter Experts
  • Jason Levy, Director, Student Centers & Conferences, Temple University
  • Zane Reif, Senior Director, Purdue Memorial Union, Purdue University
  • Susan Pile, Senior Director, University Unions and Auxiliary Services, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
Find Out What to Expect from an Online Course

Participants should complete the work in the week it is scheduled. Participants must reach out to the instructor of that module to request an exception.

Course Format

These courses consist of six to eight weeks of online learning. Some aspects are asynchronous (done on your own time) and some are synchronous (done as a class).

Courses includes high engagement, not only with the content, but also with your peers and faculty. Assignments and knowledge checks are included throughout the course. In addition to reading and viewing content, students will engage in class discussions through discussion boards and attend regularly scheduled virtual classroom sessions in real time. These virtual classroom sessions will be recorded for those for whom attendance is not possible.

Students who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate and digital badge.

Method of Evaluation and Grading Policy

The final grade will be based both on the assignments and participation. Participation includes completion of all aspects of the course, full participation in the discussions, and attendance or viewing of virtual classroom sessions. Faculty will grade all assignments and provide feedback.

Netiquette Expectations

It is expected that all participants actively participate in the Discussion Board and Virtual Classroom and that all participants are respectful to each other and adhere to all ACUI policies.

Prerequisite/Technical Requirements

There are no prerequisites for courses, but a computer with high-speed Internet connection will be required to submit and participate in course activities. A webcam is strongly encouraged for virtual classroom meetings.

Program Evaluation and Feedback

You will be contacted mid-course to collect feedback on your experience with the course. You will also be able to fill out the survey at the end of the course with opinions on the program and suggestions on how we can improve going forward. Please take notes as you go through this program and share with us your perspective on how we can better serve you in future.