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New Professionals Institute
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University of Southern Mississippi 

June 5, 2020 - June 11, 2020

 Applications open Jan 1, 2020 

***Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 New Professional's Institute has been cancelled.***

About the Institute

NPI - New Professionals Institute is the preeminent professional development opportunity for new student affairs professionals in the south (we consider ‘new professionals’ anyone with five years or fewer of full-time experience in Student Affairs). Co-sponsored by NASPA Region III and SACSA, NPI is an intensive, interactive week of learning, sharing, networking and professional and personal development. This unique opportunity allows new professionals to draw on their first years of experience to improve their effectiveness and to learn from others. It is a time of professional and personal renewal and assists new professionals in the development of their careers.

NPI requires a commitment by the new professional to work intensively over five days with other new professionals and a team of more-seasoned faculty members. To assure that new professionals' participation in the Institute is fully endorsed by the current senior student affairs officer at his/her institution, registrants must have a letter of support submitted by the senior student affairs officer at the institution. Generally, there is a limit of two participants per institution.

Many institutions have used this Institute not only as a training ground for rising stars in the profession, but as a form of recognition for outstanding new professionals on their campus. Participants come from all areas of student affairs: student activities, orientation, career services, residential life, recreation, student conduct, accessibility services admissions, fraternity and sorority life, counseling, international services, and more!

Perspectives from past NPI Participants

“NPI was a wonderful experience that was simultaneously refreshing and challenging. There were opportunities to connect with new professionals in similar career stages, as well as seasoned professionals who provided great wisdom and insight. Months later, I still find myself reflecting on the experience and utilizing knowledge gained from conversations and presentations. I highly recommend NPI!” – Lauren Meyer

"I recommend NPI for the out of classroom engagement. I remember every night our mentor met with us in small groups to reflect on the day and take any questions we might have. It was a privilege to have up-close and personal time with a VP when I was a new coordinator at the time. I also met some amazing friends and went on a canoeing trip for the first time. Clearly that was an unforgettable experience. I highly recommend NPI as it was life-changing.” – Valerie Walston

“NPI gave me a deliberate time to pause and really reflect on where I was and where I was going. With the help of my mentor and the peers in my cluster, I got a chance to explore the trajectory of my career and identify competencies I still needed to bolster. More than anything though, NPI gave me a network of both mentors and peers that has lasted long beyond our time on campus and has provided opportunities for collaboration and continued professional development!” – Jeremy Bourgoin 

“NPI knitted my heart together with others who have the same passion, zeal and heart that I do. I developed connections that will last a lifetime. A flame remains in my heart.” – Jarvis Lane

Potential NPI Topics

  • Career and Life Planning
  • Leadership
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Budgeting
  • Professional Standards
  • Navigation the politics of higher education
  • Professional associations and engagement
  • Critical and Current Issues in the profession
  • Leadership panels
  • Emerging research and theories
  • Effective goal setting
  • Collaborative environments
  • Transitioning to supervisory/administrative roles

Other Components of the NPI Experience

Regular meetings with small mentoring groups facilitated by your faculty mentor, individual consultations with seasoned professionals networking, and social opportunities.


There will be an optional 3-hour pre-conference session on the first day of NPI before we officially kick off the week.  Participants interested in attending the pre-institute workshop will incur an additional cost of $50.  Housing accommodations for Friday, June 5 are included in the cost of the pre-conference.  Participants must arrive on campus by 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 6 to participate in pre-conference activities.  


Participants will stay in a residence hall at the University of Southern Mississippi.  All participants will have their own private bedroom and restroom.  Accommodations for the evening of Friday, June 5 are available for an additional cost of $30. 


Participants should fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Shuttle service to and from the airport will be provided. 

Cost of NPI

The baseline cost of NPI registration is TBD. The fee includes Institute materials, 5 nights in housing with linens and most meals. Participants are encouraged to bring their own funds to cover any costs when exploring Hattiesburg.

Application process

Applications & Letter of Support Due: Friday, April 24, 2020

Participants Notified of Selection: Friday, May 1, 2020

Payment Due: Friday, May 15, 2020

The application process for NPI 2020 is a three-step process:

  1. Each applicant must fill out an on-line application to include a high-resolution, photo head-shot (this will be included in the NPI Participant Manual).
  2. Each applicant must have an on-line letter of support completed by his/her senior student affairs officer. This step is to assure that the new professional's participation in the Institute is fully endorsed by his/her current administration.
  3. Submit payment by Friday, May 15, 2020

Note: All participants are expected to stay through the remainder of the Institute.


June 05, 2020 | Participants begin to arrive
June 06, 2020 | Pre-conference activities.  Institute begins by 4:00 p.m.
June 10, 2020 | Institute concludes at 10:00 p.m.
June 11, 2020 | Participants begin departing. 

Registration fee and additional costs:

The cost of NPI registration is $650 for SACSA/NASPA members and $750 for non-members. The fee includes Institute materials, 5 nights housing with linens and most meals.  Participants are encourage to bring their own funds to cover any costs when exploring Hattiesburg. 

Contact Information

Terry Mena | NPI Director |
Christi Grudier | NPI Program Coordinator |

Contact Us

Ph: (912) 344-2510
Fax: (912) 344-3468

Our Mission
The mission of the Southern Association for College Student Affairs is to advance:
  • Opportunities for professional development;
  • Scholarship, research, and ethical practice; and
  • Understanding of issues impacting students and the student affairs profession, while fostering our core values of inclusiveness, professionalism, and collegiality.