Each year, the IU Bloomington Professional Council awards thousands of dollars in professional development grants to professional staff members on campus. 

Julia Newnum, residence manager of IU Bloomington's Residential Programs and Services, used the grant funds she was awarded to attend a professional development conference in Georgia over the summer of 2013. Below, Newnum shares with Inside IU Bloomington her reflections on how IUBPC’s grant supported her professional development goals.

Applications for the next round of professional development grant funds offered by the IU Bloomington Professional Council are due Tuesday, April 1. For more information, call 812-855-7418, email iubpc@indiana.edu or visit Poplars 822. 

Professional goal realized

In February 2013, I began the application process for the James C. Grimm National Housing Training Institute, hosted by the University of Georgia.

Attending this institute has been one of my professional goals for many years, and I felt that the opportunity would help me immensely at this particular crossroads in my career. The institute itself cost $940, not including airfare and other travel-related expenses. The cost was daunting, and even with the generous support of my department through professional development funding, I knew I would need to research other options for available funding.

My supervisor recommended that I look at the IUBPC grant options. The entire process was very detailed but easy to follow, and the application process allowed me to reflect more on my goals and motivation to attend the institute.

My application was approved, and on June 4, I traveled to Athens, Ga., to attend the five-day institute.

I arrived with a sense of anticipation and slight nervousness, but an overwhelming sense of excitement about the learning and experiences that were to come. My goals as I entered the institute were to further define my personal career plan, identify the competencies I have mastered and the ones I need to continue working on, and to re-energize my love for the field of student housing. At the opening banquet, I was hopeful and excited that I was on my journey to better discover myself as a housing professional.

Attendees were broken up into clusters of three and paired with one faculty member, a senior-level housing officer, with whom we would live, eat, attend presentations and reflect in order to create a “home base” before branching out.

I attended presentations on leadership, community, politics, human resource management, supervision, budgets, personal characteristics, the competency model, crisis management and administration, all led by one of the faculty members.

'I saw the topic in a new light'

Even though each presentation was on a subject I have discussed numerous times before, I learned something new from every one of them and saw the topics in a completely new light. The faculty members presented the information in new and innovative ways through use of technology, discussion, personal reflection and activities to help me take the information and apply it to my work at IU.

The intensity of the five days I spent at the University of Georgia, the support and commitment I received from the faculty and staff and the variety of new information I received at the institute definitely re-energized me about the field of student housing and affirmed that this is the career path for me.

The James C. Grimm National Housing Training Institute also allowed me to further explore my passion for working with international students and make connections with faculty and participants across the country who are implementing cutting-edge programs and initiatives for international students.

I have definitely been able to identify my own areas of strength and weakness and am able to see my future in Student Affairs with greater clarity, thanks to the help and support of the IU Bloomington Professional Council.

--Julia Newnum, Residential Programs and Services