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Professional Development Resources

The Professional Development Resources page contains a variety of professional development opportunities specific to academic advisors, including courses and certifications, campus committees and affinity groups, annual review guides, and national and regional organization information. 


On-Campus Opportunities

Discover an array of on-campus networking opportunities aimed at connecting with academic advisors across diverse spaces. Engage by attending ASAC meetings where specialists from various departments share insights. Joining a college or campus-wide committee provides another avenue to broaden your network. Additionally, consider joining an MSU affinity group to amplify and diversify your connections.

  • Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs: Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs provides information on faculty development, strategic planning, equitable hiring practices and more. This site also links with Academic Governance, where information is available on processes, committees, meeting schedules and reports.
  • Careers @ MSU: View public job postings at MSU.
  • Employee Assistance Program: The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential counseling service provided at no cost to MSU faculty, staff, retirees, graduate assistants, and their families.  In order to access services, individuals must be located in the state of Michigan due to licensing regulations. 
  • MSU HR Employee Relations: HR Employee Relations assists with questions regarding unions, grievances, arbitration, and employee discipline. 
  • Office for Faculty and Academic Staff Development: The Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development (formerly the Academic Advancement Network) works with all faculty, academic staff, and academic administrators at Michigan State University as they join the university, establish professional trajectories, and move through various stages of review, promotion, and growth.
  • Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities: The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) provides assessments, services, and accommodations for a range of disabilities that substantially limits major life activities for MSU students and employees.
  • The WorkLife Office: The WorkLife Office assists faculty and staff by providing programs, events, workshops, and resources related to best practices for organizing personal and professional life.

Coalition of Racial and Ethnic Minorities (CoREM)

The Coalition of Racial and Ethnic Minorities (CoREM) comprised of Asian Pacific American Islander Desi American/Asian Faculty and Staff Association (APIDA/AFSA) , Black Faculty, Staff & Administrators Association (BFSAA), Chicano Latino Faculty, Staff, Specialists and Graduate Student Association (ChiLa), and Educating Anishinaabe: Giving, Learning, Empowering (EAGLE) is an advisory and advocacy council to the University. CoREM will hold the University accountable for monitoring, advancing and supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Engagement for historically underrepresented racial and ethnic students, staff, faculty and administrators. CoREM is a leadership team that advocates for faculty, staff, and administrators of color to ensure they have full participation at/in MSU.

Women’s Networking Association (WNA)

The mission of the Women’s Networking Association (WNA) is to connect professional women across campus through meaningful and empowering relationships. Providing an opportunity for women to network and support one another is an essential step for building women’s leadership at Michigan State University and in the Greater Lansing community.

WNA hosts monthly seminars which focus on professional development and leadership building. Topics have included: Effective Networking; Creating Your Brand; Goal Setting and Achievement; Communication Skills for Women; among others. WNA programs are open to all and may have particular relevance to individuals seeking to advance their careers or develop networking and leadership skills.

For more information about the Women’s Networking Association or to be added to the email list, contact or (517) 353-1635. 

Women of Color Community (WOCC)

In an effort to support Women of Color at Michigan State University, in fall 2018 the IDEA coordinators established the Women of Color Community as a social and professional resource for this community. Women of Color is meant to be a unifying term and is inclusive of Black, Arab, Asian, Chicana, Latina, Native, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and biracial/multiracial identities. This community is open to all administrators, faculty, academic specialists, and staff colleagues.

If interested, please subscribe to our listserv. Email and include the following command line in the body of the message (not the Subject): SUBSCRIBE WOCC@LIST.MSU.EDU

Employee Pride and Inclusion Coalition (EPIC)

It is the mission of EPIC: Employee Pride and Inclusion Coalition to create an inclusive and welcoming community that supports faculty, staff, and administrators of diverse sexual and gender identities. We view our work through an intersectional lens, centering those with multiple marginalized identities. We strive to improve the campus climate for the MSU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) community by:

  • Continually developing and reviewing MSU policies to advance MSU’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Utilizing connections with Spartan leadership to establish a voice at every level of the institution
  • Creating an intentional space for gathering and building community
  • Sharing support and resources
  • Increasing visibility
  • Addressing recruitment and retention of faculty and staff
  • Collaborating and consulting with the LBGT Resource Center to support the needs of LGBTQIA+ students
  • Attending to and advocating for ongoing and changing needs


President’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues (PACDI)

Michigan State University's commitment to institutional accessibility and diversity, and to the principle that all people matter, guides ongoing efforts to make the university community one that welcomes the contributions of all its members, including persons with disabilities.

The President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues was established in 1987 to ensure broad institutional input on matters relating to persons with disabilities of all characteristics at MSU. According to its bylaws, the committee is responsible for advising the president on university policies, programs, and procedures affecting persons with disabilities in the university community. The committee is comprised of voting members representing MSU faculty, students and support staff. Ex-officio members represent administrative units whose responsibilities include addressing persons with disabilities and accessibility at MSU.

Off-campus Opportunities

National and regional organizations offer advisors professional development and networking opportunities outside of the university. From annual conferences and forums to webinars and workshops, these organizations serve to enhance advisor's skills and knowledge in order to better support our students. 

The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students working to enhance the educational development of students.

  • NACADA Vision
    • Recognizing that effective academic advising is at the core of student success, NACADA aspires to be the premier global association for the development and dissemination of innovative theory, research, and practice of academic advising in higher education.
  • NACADA Mission
    • NACADA promotes student success by advancing the field of academic advising globally. We provide opportunities for professional development, networking, and leadership for our diverse membership.

The Michigan Academic Advising Association (MIACADA) is an organization of professionals from colleges and universities concerned with the intellectual, personal, and career or vocational advising needs of students within the State of Michigan.  MIACADA is an allied organization of NACADA.

MIACADA was founded to foster the personal and professional development of its members by promoting quality academic advising in the state. It is a forum for discussion, debate, and the exchange of ideas regarding academic advising and related areas of higher education.

American College Personnel Association (ACPA) is the leading comprehensive student affairs association that advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery.

ACPA-Michigan is Michigan’s comprehensive professional development organization for college student educators.

  • Mission: The Michigan division of the American College Personnel Association (MCPA) promotes and enhances student learning and development through the professional development of college student educators
    • Provide opportunities for professional development;
    • Facilitate and enhance connections between and enhanced collegiate relationships among college student educators
    • Support graduate preparatory programs related to the profession of college student educators offered by institutions of higher education in Michigan;
    • Exchange relative information regarding best practices;
    • Encourage the scholarly research, application and dissemination of knowledge;
  • Vision: To be a leader in providing initiatives that enhance student learning and development, sustainability, and inclusion in higher education.
The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

NCORE is designed to provide a significant forum for discussion, critical dialogue, and exchange of information as institutions search for effective strategies to enhance access, social development, education, positive communication, and cross-cultural understanding in culturally diverse settings.

Conference Participants Include:

  • Senior administrative officers at both campus and system levels
  • Academic affairs administrators, deans, department chairs, and teaching faculty
  • Directors and staff of offices of affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, and minority affairs
  • Professionals in virtually all campus activity/service areas, including admissions, student life, financial aid, personnel, public safety, alumni affairs, and athletics
  • Representatives of state and national institutes, associations, agencies, commissions, and foundations
  • Leaders of student organizations
  • Representatives of community-based agencies and organizations

Courses and Certifications

Enhance your skills through courses and certifications offered at MSU or with the external resources provided below:

MSU offers an array of development options for employees to enhance skills and continue professional growth. Explore a list of campus trainings, courses, and free media resources below. 

Campus Training Opportunities

MSU offers a wide range of learning opportunities to help academic staff meet their professional development goals. These include:

  • ElevateU is a free online training resource, offering programs that cover leadership, IT & desktop, business, finance, change management, project management, interpersonal skills and more. Courses are offered through videos, books, and preparation for a professional certificate. You can access ElevateU by logging into the EBS portal and locating the ElevateU tile under the "My Career & Training" tab, or by clicking on the image below. 
  • The Office of Faculty & Staff Development offers programs and additional training opportunities for advisors, including leadership development, career enhancement and growth, and professional development workshops that foster engaging conversations and collaboration among academic specialists.
  • The Organization and Professional Development division of MSU Human Resources provides instructor-led courses and workshops on a broad-range of topics. This includes leadership development, methods for enhancing communication skills, and opportunities to expand knowledge in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Kognito for Faculty & Staff helps us learn to notice signs of distress, use techniques to discuss our concerns, and, if necessary, refer students to appropriate resources. Practice these challenging conversations at your own pace through role-play with virtual students. In a national study of effectiveness, this simulation has been shown to increase the number of student referrals to counseling.

Tuition Assistance

All academic specialists with fixed term, probationary, or continuing appointment status and who have a minimum of 24 FTE (full-time equivalent) university service months and are appointed 50% time or more are eligible to apply.

  • Coverage is limited to four (4) credits per semester with a maximum of twelve (12) credits per academic year at the rate corresponding to the student’s academic level. Only MSU credit courses are covered.
  • Additional information and eligibility requirements can be found on the  Academic Specialists Professional Development Support Program (this link opens in a new window/tab) page of the Human Resources site. 
  • To apply, navigate to the Enterprise Business Systems (EBS) portal, select Educational Assistance System under the My Careers & Training category, and then Apply at the top left of the page. The application will be sent to your supervisor for approval before being submitted to HR for final review. 

Free Media

MSU Libraries have purchased licenses to various news sources so MSU students and employees can access them for free. These include:
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education: A leading source for news coverage on the academic sector, student life, online learning, college and university job openings, and more.
    • From a computer on campus, simply go to the Chronicle website: The entire MSU IP range is covered by the new subscription, so no login or password is needed. From a computer off-campus, you must connect through the library’s proxy server: Without this step, the Chronicle site will not be able to authenticate you as an MSU user. Sign in with your MSUnet ID and password for full access to Chronicle content.
  • Major Daily Newspapers: Access Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal, New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal through MSU Libraries' Newspaper Guide. Additional newspaper databases and and alternatives to mainstream media are also offered through MSU Libraries.


Beyond on-campus learning, advisors can access external resources, though typically at a cost, to further enrich their skill set. Engage in discussions with your supervisor regarding potential funding opportunities for external courses and certifications, allowing you to explore and leverage additional skill-enhancing avenues.

NACADA Offerings

  • Webinars - NACADA offers webinars on a variety of topics each year that are directly impacting academic advisors across the country. MSU will host these webinars for campus advisors so that units do not have to pay out-of-pocket for these sessions. Look for an email from the Adviser Listserv at the start of fall semester.
  • eTutorials - NACADA offers 3.5 week online learning experiences in the form of eTutorials. Academic advisors can obtain additional training in creating flipped advising activities, developing peer advising programs, research 101, and so much more. Upon completion of an eTutorial, advisors receive a course certificate. 
  • Emerging Leaders Program - The NACADA Emerging Leaders Program attempts to build a sustainable community of strong NACADA leaders representative of diversity across the membership. This program was created to: 
    • encourage members from diverse groups to get involved in leadership opportunities within the organization,
    • outfit participants with the skills and tools necessary to pursue elected and appointed leadership positions,
    • increase the number of leaders from diverse groups, and 
    • encourage and assist members of populations who are under-represented in the association's leadership to attend state, regional, or annual conferences.

Massive Online Open Course Systems and External Certifications

  • LinkedIn Learning offers online self-paced courses and certifications focused on skills development, including using generative AI, goal-setting, and interpersonal communication. Courses can be purchased individually or through a monthly payment. 
  • Coursera offers online courses, certifications, and even graduate degrees. Many accredited colleges and universities have partnered with Coursera to offer certificates and degree programs, including the University of Michigan, Yale, and Stanford. Cost will range and is dependent on the course or program. 
  • EdX is an online education provider that offers online courses, popularly known as MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses, from top universities and other institutions around the world. This includes bootcamps for specific skill development, such coding, data science, and instructional design. 
  • Udemy is an online learning site that sells video courses on an array of topics but primarily focused on personal and professional development, including management training, software tutorials, programming courses, and more.
  • Academic Life Coaches use powerful questions to help students increase self-awareness, identify strengths, overcome obstacles, and develop a personalized plan for academic success. Coach Training EDU offers training and certification for Academic Life Coaching. 

Annual Evaluation Process

MSU staff, faculty, and specialists are expected to complete an annual review each year. These discussions offer an opportunity to gain feedback on performance and guidance on improvements, set professional goals, recognize achievements, and identify training and support needs. This page will review the annual review process as well as the Form on Progress and Excellence for academic advisors that are employed within the Continuing Appointment System, which occurs at the end of the third and sixth year of employment at MSU. 

The annual review process is an opportunity to discuss accomplishments, goals, developmental opportunities, and areas of improvement or support. Review the timeline below to assist with preparing for annual reviews with our supervisor, as well as additional tools and worksheets to assist tracking experiences and identifying goals.


  • September: Start tracking your activities, projects, initiatives, and upcoming goals.
  • October: Request your job description and Specialist Position Description (SPD) from your supervisor.
  • January: Start working on your forms (goal setting and self-review worksheet).
  • February: Submit your forms to your supervisor. Your supervisor will schedule an annual review meeting to take place this month. You will also finalize forms this month with your supervisor.
  • March: Final submission of completed forms are due to your supervisor.

Tips & Resources

  • Track Experiences - Throughout the year, track your professional experiences in a word document or spreadsheet. The Annual Review Tracking Sheet can be used to track your work and contributions. Use the tabs at the bottom of the tracking sheet to navigate to different categories and add your own categories as needed. 
  • Self-Review - Use the Self-Review Worksheet to notate tasks specific to your role, accomplishments from the past year, completed professional development experiences, and obstacles encountered in your position. This worksheet can be reviewed and discussed with your supervisor during the annual review. 
  • Goal Setting and Professional Development Plan - During your discussion, explore professional short- and long-term goals and areas of development you would like to enhance. The Goal Setting & Professional Development Plan worksheet is available to track and articulate these details to your supervisor. 

This section discusses the stages and process of the continuing system. Advisors and other Academic Specialists in the Continuing System must submit the Form on Progress and Excellence and accompanying materials to a review board at different periods of their employment. The materials submitted by the advisor are key for promotion within the Continuing System.

Reappointment, including the award of continuing appointment status and promotion to the rank of senior academic specialist, is predicated on the exemplary performance of assigned duties, professional development, excellence in scholarly activity, leadership and contributions to the institution; it is not predicated on time served alone. 

  • Timeline - Below is a timeline for transitioning from initial probation status through to senior specialist. Additional guidance is provided within the Academic Specialist Handbook.
    • Continuing Reappointment Review (1st Probationary Period) - At the end of the specialist's initial three years within the continuing system, they will submit the Form on Progress and Excellence packet for committee review. If approved, the advisor will be given reappointment for an additional probationary period of three years. 
    • Reappointment with Award of Continuing Status (2nd Probationary Period) - In this final stage and sixth year within the continuing system, academic specialists will submit the Form on Progress and Excellence packet again with additional materials to a review committee. If approved, the specialist will be awarded continuing status. 
    • Senior Academic Specialist - Promotion to Senior Academic Specialist requires a minimum of 60 FTE at the university along with a robust review of the specialist’s ability to demonstrate (1) long-term, high performance in their position, (2) endorsement by the unit review committee, academic unit administrator, intermediate administrators/head of MAU, and the Provost that merits the award of promotion to the rank of Senior Specialist. 

Tips & Resources

  • Track experiences - Just as you track your experiences for annual evaluations, track all work and accomplishments to enter into the Form on Progress and Excellence. This includes meetings, committees, trainings, presentations, and any additional activities related to your position.
  • Make connections - Continue to network and meet advisors across campus. Stay engaged by joining committees and campus groups, attend advisor meetings and professional development events, and reach out to advisors in other units for their expertise. These connections are important to include in your FPE.
  • Review and update the Form on Progress and Excellence often - Consider adding a calendar reminder to Outlook to make these updates.

#iteachmsu Commons

#iteachmsu is a virtual community space to share ideas and connect with MSU educators. To support academic advisors and provide a virtual space for MSU advisors to share ideas and connect with colleagues across campus, we have created an MSU Academic Advising Group in #iteachmsu. This group allows you to share updates with other campus advisors, post links to articles and helpful websites, or create your own article on a specific topic. Below is a short video tutorial for using #iteachmsu and additional information to assist you with getting started.

Ideas for posts and articles include:

  • Information from a conference that other advisors should know about
  • A video tutorial you recently created
  • How you managed drop-in advising appointments 
  • Highlights from a recent workshop
  • Any other ideas or content you feel MSU advisors would benefit from

How can I share? 
Watch this short video tutorial on accessing and utilizing features in #iteachmsu.