NACUBO and the NCAA: Designing Training Collaboratively


The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a membership organization representing more than 2,100 colleges and universities across the United States. Specifically, NACUBO represents chief business and financial officers through advocacy efforts, community service, and professional development activities. The association’s mission is to advance the economic viability, business practices, and support for higher education institutions in fulfillment of their missions.


NACUBO and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) approached Springboard to assist them in developing a new training program for the business officers in the athletic offices on college campuses. This training workshop would prepare NACUBO’s members for a new certification exam. The stakeholders on campus included college presidents, athletic directors, athletics business officers, other staff, and volunteers, each with different perspectives and priorities.


We first facilitated a kick-off call to gather the stakeholders and determine shared success metrics that meet every stakeholder’s needs. We then worked with a committee of 20 member volunteers who represented the various stakeholders on campus in a two-day facilitated design session to identify the program goals and business objectives, the target audience, the learning objectives, and the needed skills/knowledge/abilities that should be included in the training program. In addition, we determined specific approaches to the individual knowledge nuggets and the timing and relative priority of the different components of the training. Throughout the facilitated process, we continually brought the team to consensus, articulated action items that needed future attention, and managed differences of opinion to drive toward the common objectives.

Following that process, we created the high-level framework for the new training program. Finally, we created all of the training materials for the new program: the Facilitator Guide, the Participant Guide, and the supplemental presentation slides and handouts. We then facilitated the first workshop which received exceptional feedback from the participants and the client. Over time, the workshop has been facilitated by NCAA staff, university experts, and by the Springboard team. The Springboard team updated the workshop several years later, which included creating a new Facilitator Guide and presentation materials, and developing a complex Excel spreadsheet with a complete college athletics budget to use for scenario-based activities in the program.


As a result of this successful program and because of broad stakeholder involvement, NACUBO had a new training program which was given the highest evaluations by its members, and which achieved the shared desired outcomes amongst a complex set of stakeholders. In addition, because the process was so successful, the NCAA then used this format as a model to build a second workshop for its members. The Senior VP and project lead at NACUBO said about the Springboard team that we “provide a very effective style of dynamic leadership … that stimulates discussion and keeps the agenda on track.”