The Importance of State & Regional Organizations in Professional Development

March 18, 2024
  • Professional Development and Contributions to the Field
  • State and Regional ACRAOs
  • State and regional
Map of the united states.
By Katie Rendon, AVP for Student Success & University Registrar at Aspen University

"Field Notes" is a regular Connect column covering practical and philosophical issues facing admissions and registrar professionals. The columns are authored by various AACRAO members. If you have an idea for a column and would like to contribute, please send an email to the editor at

It is well-established that engaged employees are more productive and that employee engagement decreases turnover.  One of the ways to increase employee engagement and retain your best employees is to involve your teams in professional development.  Professional development can inspire your team to implement new best practices, innovate and problem solve, and gain the soft skills that will be needed for future promotional opportunities.  However, professional development can also be expensive and time-consuming to create.  One way to offset those costs and find ready-made professional development opportunities is to take advantage of your State & Regional Organization.

AACRAO and the state and regional associations (ACRAOs) share the same basic goals of enhancing not only the profession but also the professional development of the individual members…These associations provide members with many professional development activities and opportunities and generally are instrumental in forging the informal networks that exist throughout the country.

State and Regional Organizations are relatively inexpensive to join, often offering institution-wide membership with an unlimited roster for one flat fee, and provide their members with a variety of professional development opportunities, including:

  • Networking with local colleagues

  • Communicating with peers via listservs and forums

  • Participating in webinars 

  • Attending training workshops

  • Mentorship opportunities

  • Attending, or presenting at an annual meeting

  • Developing introductory leadership skills by volunteering for a committee

  • Growing leadership skills by joining the board of directors

  • Scholarship opportunities to attend even more professional development sessions

If your team is not already involved in your State and Regional organization, take some time to explore the opportunities available through your organization.  Set an example for your colleagues by attending these professional development opportunities yourself or getting involved in State and Regional leadership.  Start applying for professional development scholarships through your State and Regional Organization to help offset the cost of attending professional development sessions for your university.  Encourage your team to take part by building professional development into your team calendar and supporting employee development.  Consider giving an award or throwing a party for the person on your team who best exemplifies attending professional development sessions and implementing that knowledge within your department.

Find out more about AACRAO’s State and Regional organizations on the AACRAO website:


AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter is open to members and non-members alike.