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March 1, 2024

Participant Applications Open

May 31, 2024

Participant Application Deadline

June 15, 2024

Scholarship Deadline

June 17, 2024

Anticipated Applicant Decision Day

October 3, 2024

Ujima institute begins

Ujima Institute

Division/Group Events Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Black Diaspora Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Division Mid-Level

The 2024 NASPA Ujima Institute is designed for African American and Black higher education professionals who aspire to senior student affairs officer roles and faculty positions, including the cabinet-level vice president for student affairs positions at colleges and universities. The Institute is appropriate for emerging leaders in associate director, director, assistant/associate dean, dean, and AVP roles. This three-day, cohort-based institute offers an intensive, challenging, and collegial learning environment for student affairs professionals as they develop culturally relevant leadership skills that leverage their unique ethnic heritages and histories and prepare to lead increasingly diverse institutions.



Presented By


Ujima is the third principle of Kwanzaa and embodies an active commitment to the collective and to shared liberation. Inherent to the principle of Ujima is sharing in one another's achievements and hardships. Ujima, as a practice, assumes that the reconstruction of the history and humanity of the African diaspora is a fundamental part of the struggle for human liberation. 

The principle of Ujima serves as the foundation for this institute, which has been envisioned and developed by senior level leaders committed to investing in building successive generations of student affairs leaders with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to build vibrant, diverse, global, and socially just higher education environments. 


In this cohort-based institute, participants will learn from senior student affairs leaders, who will share their journeys, lessons, and advice. To facilitate learning and enrichment, participants will be grouped for some parts of the institute into functional level tracks and for other parts of the institute into small group cohorts. 

This professional development pathways program is designed for self-identified Black and African American student affairs professionals with three or more years of higher education administrative experience. The application process will include an online form and submission of a current CV/resume. 


  • Chart a plan for professional growth that address key competencies, career discernment, and personal values
  • Experience safe space to share and strategize about navigating institutional challenges and politics with integrity and cultural alignment
  • Develop mentoring relationships with senior student affairs leaders invested in your success

Use this hashtag to see what others are sharing #UJIMA24



Established in 2019 with co-founding Institute Directors Dr. Crasha V. Townsend and Dr. David E. Jones and NASPA Fellow Robert Page, the NASPA Ujima Institute is designed to allow Black higher education professionals an intentional mentoring and coaching experience with selected faculty mentors, who serve as vice presidents for student affairs or tenured faculty in a higher education program at their respective institutions. The experience will help Black higher education professionals develop skills within the core competencies of the institute. This will provide participants with an opportunity to share ideas, strategies, and programs centered on mentoring and networking so that professionals can get “tools” to take back to their campuses that promote, encourage, and create inclusive experiences fr students. 

Since its first institute in November 2019, the NASPA Ujima Institute has produced 165 alumni from a diverse representation of colleges and universities across the United States. Alumni represent institutions that are private and public, small and large schools, community colleges and 4-year institutions.  The NASPA Ujima Institute was held at Florida Atlantic University in November 2019 and Morgan State University in November 2022. The institute is a three-day intensive and extensive experience with sessions, featured speakers, small group discussions, and dedicated time with faculty mentors. Each day of the institute is framed under one of the Kwanzaa principles to center the institute on being a Black community of higher education professionals grounded on unity, liberation and excellence.



Core Team

Apply Now for Ujima Institute

Ujima helps African American and Black student affairs professionals aspiring to senior officer and faculty roles.

Apply Now


This professional development pathways program is designed for self-identified Black and African American student affairs professionals with three or more years of higher education administrative experience who are currently working for an institution in a mid-level supervisory role or above including associate director, director, assistant/associate dean, dean, and AVP roles.

Know of someone else who fits this description? Nominate them to apply today. 


If you would like to exhibit or sponsor at the 2024 NASPA Ujima Institute or have any questions, contact Fred Comparato by phone at 202-719-1179 or via email using the button below. 

NASPA Global Health, Safety, and Responsibility

To view the latest on NASPA's on-site health and safety participation guidleines visit The NASPA Global Health, Safety, and Responsibility Website


Once applicants are admitted into the program, registration will begin. Registration will begin mid August and end on September 30th. Details for registration will be updated here in early 2024. 


With funding from the NASPA Foundation, a limited number of scholarships are available for NASPA members who are accepted into the Ujima Institute. Visit the NASPA Foundation Access Scholarship website to learn more about eligibility and to apply by the June 15th deadline. 


To Be Announced


Estimated Program Costs

For planning purposes, we want to share the following estimated program costs to participate in the 2024 Ujima Institute:

  • Registration: $495 members, $695 for non-members (includes three breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner and a reception with light hors d'ouevres ; (one dinner will be pay-your-own); registration link will be shared with selected participants)
  • Hotel Group Rate estimated to be $179+ tax per night. 
  • Transportation: Nearest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • The program will begin at 9am on Thursday, October 3rd and conclude at 12pm on Saturday, October 5th. 

Sample Schedule

Theme for the Day – Nia (NEE-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
8:00am - 9:00am
Registration and Breakfast
9:00am – 9:20am Welcome
9:20am-10:00 am
Community Building Exercise
10:00am – 10:40
Morning Keynote -
10:45am - 11:00am Institute Break
11:00am - 12:15pm
Lunch Welcome- Host Institution
12:30pm - 1:50pm Featured Session
2:00pm - 3:15pm
Small Group Cohorts: Making the Most of Your Ujima Experience
3:15pm - 3:30pm Institute Break
3:40pm - 4:30pm
Networking Sessions (3 Breakout Rooms)
These sessions will break into specific topics and discuss various issues that face higher education administrators.
4:30pm – 5:30 pm Free Time
*Faculty Meeting Conference Room
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Opening Networking Reception (Open bar and light refreshments)
Hosted by: Sponsoring Institution
Shuttle back to hotel
Dinner on your own
Theme for the Day Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.
8:30am - 9:00am
Continental Breakfast & Welcome - Ballroom
9:10am - 10:10am Featured Session
10:15am – 11:00am Featured Session
11:10am - 12:10pm
Small Group Cohorts:
12:15pm - 1:25pm Lunch & Learn
1:30pm - 1:45pm Group Pictures
1:45pm - 2:45pm
General Session Ballroom
3:50 PM Institute Break
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Networking Grit & Grind Sessions
These 30 minute sessions will allow participants the opportunity to discuss various issues that face higher education administrators in a rotating format. Each participant will be able to choose at least two topics.
5:30 PM Featured Session
Free time  
6:30pm - 7:45pm
Ujima Institute Dinner Ballroom
7:45pm Shuttle Back to hotel
Theme for the Day - Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."
9:00am - 9:50am
Closing Small Group Cohorts: Reflection Time
10:00am - 11:30am
Kujichagulia: Closing Brunch & Ceremony - Ballroom
12:00 PM Departure