Virtual Professional Development

The Virtual Professional Development Committee is one arm of the overall member professional development work of the Association.  We are responsible for developing an array of professional development experiences for our members throughout the year.  Topics are drawn from surveys of members’ needs, “hot topics” that emerge at the annual conference or from among members of the committee and from the membership, directly. 

If you have an idea for a topic you would like to be involved in presenting (or just one that you feel is needed) you can fill out this Google form and we will get back in touch to talk about the topic and possible speakers.

What types of programs do we develop?

We are open to any topic that would (1) advance the professional development of our member organizations staffs or (2) advance the work of our member organizations institutions. Recent topics include:

  • A webinar on “Managing Board Relations” 

  • An “Emerging Leaders” workshop series

  • A coffee chat on “Communities of Practice” 

  • A webinar on “Informal Paths to Equity & Inclusion”

  • A coffee chat on “Consortial Communications Strategies”

We are also open to an array of formats:

Coffee Chats

Coffee Chats provide space for members to connect informally around a topic of common interest.  These unrecorded, one-hour sessions, frequently developed in response to an emergent topic, are lightly facilitated with guiding questions that allow for free-flowing conversation and sharing of wisdom and experience.  If there is substantial interest, ideas generated during the discussion may lead to some next steps. Members find the chats useful for offering just-in-time conversations, and for building relationships across interests.


Webinars are designed around discrete topics of interest for members and are typically recorded and shared on the ACL website. Moderators choose an approach best suited to the topic, whether that be panel discussion/conversation or presentation from leader(s) with expertise. Each webinar has identified learning objectives so that members know what knowledge will be gained in participating. A bibliography of additional resources on the topic is often provided.


Workshops provide an opportunity for members to take action and directly transform a task, project or challenge they are working on by utilizing the lessons and insights shared within a particular workshop topic in a setting that prioritizes peer support. These hands-on sessions led by field experts may be stand-alone events that address a niche topic, or a part of a broader series that support the development of multiple skills. 

A Community Read

A "community read" is designed to engage the ACL community in a robust discussion around a book, video or article whose subject is central to higher education and higher education consortia.  Sessions are intended to meet participants where they are, whether they have deep engagement with the material at one end or have only skimmed it at the other.  In advance of the event, session facilitators will provide guiding questions and identify sections of the material that will be emphasized during discussion.  ACL community reads are intended to foster idea exchange and learning about different perspectives on shared concerns and interests.

Do you have an idea?  We welcome your suggestions! Just use this Google form