Closing the Gap Career Advancement Program is a cohort-based education and mentorship program for BIPOC professionals.

Our program equips participants with invaluable knowledge, guidance, peer support, and an expanded network of experienced student affairs professionals who empathize with the daily hurdles and triumphs they encounter. 

Our vision is for Closing the Gap participants and supporters to develop into a powerful coalition, actively enhancing representation within student affairs and dismantling the barriers that often prevent marginalized groups from achieving their professional goals. 

Closing the Gap, specializes in nurturing the aspirations of mid-level professionals as they ascend the career ladder. Our distinctive approach involves forming connected cohorts, carefully selected from a pool of applicants. We take your career objectives and aspirations and carefully match participants with mentors who bring their wealth of experience, networks, and diverse perspectives to your journey.


The program begins in July and completes in December. Prior to program kick-off, each member will complete a pre-assessment to discover career development opportunities. These are the “gaps” we seek to close with intentional program content and mentoring meetings. 

The cohort will attend six (6) 1-hour Zoom sessions led by a supporter or an external speaker with deep expertise in the field and emphasis on cultural relevance. The content will focus on internal skill building, working with others (those you supervise and those who lead you), and building for the future. 

Each program participant will meet with their assigned mentor (supporter) at least once each month. These sessions may include: reviewing the pre-assessment, program content, and devising strategic career goals.

Join the Next Cohort

Join a program that unlocks a world of professional opportunities. Closing the Gap presents a transformative pathway to realizing your career aspirations within higher education. We invite you to be part of this journey towards professional success and personal growth. 

To be considered, applicants should meet the following criteria: 

  • Mid-level BIPOC Professionals: If you’re a mid-level BIPOC professional eager to advance in your career, this program is tailored for you. 
  • Embrace Mentorship: Display a willingness to engage in monthly one-on-one meetings with a dedicated supporter (mentor) who will guide your professional journey. 
  • Active Cohort Engagement: Be ready to actively participate in monthly cohort gatherings, where you’ll build connections and knowledge. 
  • ACUI Volunteer Experience: Ideally, you should have served as an ACUI volunteer before program completion, contributing to the community. 
  • Annual Conference Attendance: Anticipate attending the Annual Conference, a valuable opportunity for networking and learning. 

Join Closing the Gap, and let’s embark on this path to success together, unlocking the full potential of your career in higher education.

Become a Mentor

Are you an experienced professional passionate about fostering diversity and inclusion in higher education? Closing the Gap may be the perfect opportunity for you. As a Closing the Gap Supporter, you can make a meaningful impact by contributing to the growth and success of our program and cohort participants. Senior-level professionals will provide coaching, career sponsorship, and personal experiences with Closing the Gap participants throughout the program. These experienced professionals will:

  • Actively participate in regular interactions with their assigned participant and engage with the entire cohort throughout the program. 
  • Collaborate with other mentors and the Central Office liaison to identify monthly educational topics tailored to the interests and requirements of the cohort. 
  • Work alongside fellow supporters and the Central Office liaison to facilitate each monthly gathering effectively. 
  • Demonstrate a readiness to share valuable resources, offer guidance, and provide constructive feedback to program participants. 
  • Supporters should be prepared to commit approximately 3 hours per month ( July – December) to this important role. 

2023 Program Overview

Over the span of six months, you will embark on a journey to craft and execute your career blueprint. Through monthly meetings, our program guides you towards realizing your professional potential and ensures your career trajectory remains on a path of continuous growth.

We will have six one-hour segments from July–December. We will focus on internal skill building, working with others (those you supervise and those who lead you), and building for the future. There are six program focus areas: 

  • Mentoring & coaching 
  • Career planning  
  • Leadership & Supervisory Skills 
  • Networking 
  • Navigating higher ed politics 
  • Dealing with Imposter Syndrome 

Program Topics & Speakers  

  • July 2023: Authenticity as a Core Competency  
    Presenter(s): Edna Zambrano & Andre Adams
    Focus Areas: Mentoring, Coaching, Imposter Syndrome 
  • August 2023: Confronting the Impostor Phenomenon  
    Presenter(s): Dr. Kevin Cokley
    Focus Area: Imposter Syndrome 
  • September 2023: Managing Up: Ask for What You Need
    Presenter(s): Corey Williamson & Yakima Melton
    Focus Areas: Navigating Higher Ed, Leadership, Career Planning 
  • October 2023: Effectively Managing Organizational Politics 
    Presenter(s): Mike Coleman & Jan Javinar
    Focus Areas: Navigating Higher Ed, Networking, Leadership 
  • November 2023: Networking: Building Your Personal Advisory Board 
    Presenter(s): Joanna Kemper
    Focus Areas: Networking, Career Planning, Leadership 
  • December 2023: The Directors Cut: What You Need to Succeed 
    Presenter(s): Panel
    Focus Areas: Leadership,  Career Planning