Young Professionals in Higher Education strives to provide seminars each academic year that encourage learning, development and networking with other young professionals within the collegiate community. Whether a faculty or staff member, or a student hoping to pursue a career in higher education, we extend an open invitation to join us for programming that will help you make the most of your career. Simply click the registration link under each individual event to sign up and join us!

Questions, comments, concerns? Contact us at


Critical Issues in Higher Education – Take 2

Michelle Rhodes, Associate Vice President for Financial Aid, GVSU
Jodi Chycinski, Associate Vice President and Director of Admissions, GVSU
Taran McZee, Special Associate to Vice President of Inclusion & Equity, GVSU

Thursday, September 14 
8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Grand Valley State University, Bicycle Factory (Room 330)
201 Front Ave SW Grand Rapids

Higher education is constantly the subject of modern news headlines. From sexual assault and Title IX to issues of inclusion and equity, or student loan debt, there are many critical issues affecting universities around the country. This panel-style seminar will focus on the critical issues in higher education and what they mean for young professionals today. Bring your questions for our panel!

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Networking Like A Pro

Cindy Brown, Executive Director, Hello West Michigan

Thursday, October 5, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Grand Rapids Community College, Cook Academic Hall (Room 211)
143 Bostwick Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

The everyday job can be hectic. Constant emails, interruptions, and situations demand time, so much so that little time is left for networking. It might sound like something that’s ok being left unchecked at the bottom of your to-do list, but the truth is that networking is not just collecting business cards — it’s about creating meaningful relationships. Learn how to cultivate lasting professional relationships beyond the business card shuffle through discussion and interactive exercises.

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Video for Social Media

Leah Twilley, Social Media Manager and Communications Specialist, Grand Valley State University
Bill Cuppy, University Communications Creative Director, Grand Valley State University

Thursday, November 2, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Grand Valley State University, Bicycle Factory (Room 330)
201 Front Ave SW Grand Rapids


Video for social media presents many opportunities for universities and colleges to tell stories, share key messages and build school pride. But how do you make an impactful video on a budget? What is the process? What is the time commitment? And why is video such a big deal on social media? Leah Twilley and Bill Cuppy will discuss Grand Valley State University’s strategic use of video on social media and share best practices.

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Your Job Will Never Love You Back

Amber Lepard-Nichols, Manager of Employment Services, Calvin College

Thursday, December 7, 2017
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Calvin College, Commons Lecture Hall (Located inside the Commons Annex)
1765 Knollcrest Circle SE, Grand Rapids

This session will discuss the benefits of untethering from work and strategies for setting boundaries without compromising your career goals. The search for the perfect "work-life balance" seems ideal and yet in many ways this phrase can often seem like an oxymoron. The real question is, "How much of your life do you want to dedicate to your work?"

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Setting Goals for Success

Ann Vidro, Creative Studio Promotions, Owner, CFO, Davenport Alumni

Thursday, January 11, 2018
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Davenport University College of Business (Room 208)
6191 Kraft Avenue SE, Grand Rapids

Research has proven that writing down goals helps you achieve them. But, why does only a small percentage of the population actually take the time to follow through? Keeping in line with Davenport University's vision of “Get where the world is going," ask yourself where you want to be in one, five, 10, or 30 years. If you haven’t thought about it or don’t have a plan, you should. Live life on purpose and take the time now to write down your goals, dreams and create a vision for all five areas of your life: professional, personal, spiritual, physical and financial. This will be a working session where you will walk away with written goals and the steps necessary to achieve them.

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Making "The Ask"

Michele Coffill, Associate Director of Publications, Grand Valley State University 

Thursday, February 1, 2018
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Grand Valley State University, Bicycle Factory (Room 330)
201 Front Ave SW Grand Rapids

Only 38 percent of millennials negotiate their first salary, and the number of professional women who negotiate their salary is even lower. In this interactive presentation, learn the stages of preparing to "make the ask," whether it’s for a raise, title change, or flexible schedule. Participants will also learn how the gender divide plays a role in negotiating.

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Leadership Panel

Eric Mullen, GRCC, Associate Dean of Enrollment and Financial Aid
Dr. Susan Stapleton, WMU, Interim Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Nicole DeKraker, Kendall College of Art & Design, Director of Student Engagement

Thursday, March 1, 2018
7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Western Michigan University, Woodland Suites (Lower Level)
2333 E Beltline SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Join us for an interactive networking event that will give you an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with leaders in higher education from the West Michigan area. We hope this event will leave you feeling more informed and energized about your future in higher education!

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Page last modified January 9, 2018