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regional entry level institute (RELI)

History of RELI

The Regional Entry Level Institute (RELI) was modeled after the first National Housing Training Institute (NHTI), which was held in the summer of 1991. NHTI was created to assist mid-level housing and residence life professionals in gaining experience and insights on the skills needed to be a Senior Housing Officer SHO). NHTI utilized ten competencies which were identified through surveying Vice Presidents of Student Affairs and SHOs across the country.

Joanne Goldwater and Tom Ellett attended that first NHTI and believed that a void existed for targeted staff development opportunities for entry level staff; namely, inadequate attention to the intentional development of planning focused on preparing entry-level staff for the move to mid-level positions in our field.

In the spring of 1997, a survey was conducted of former NHTI participants and selected mid-level staff. The survey helped to establish a list of competencies that staff felt assisted them in moving to the next level within our profession. These results were shared at the 1997 Annual ACUHO-I Conference in Minneapolis. After receiving excellent responses from thirty session participants who also believed there was a need to better prepare entry-level staff for the next step, planning for the first Regional Entry Level Institute, or RELI, serving the MACUHO and NEACUHO regions began. 

The first RELI was held in 1998 at Syracuse University, New York. In 2003-2004, both MACUHO and NEACUHO agreed to provide financial assistance in support of the Institute, a vital commitment which has continued to this day. The institute has also benefitted from a variety of corporate partners over the years, including long-time support from Shrader and Shrader/Proforma. In 2019, RELI welcomed The Brill Company and Foliot Furniture as Corporate Partners.

In 2017, the Institute adopted the ACUHO-I Competencies and Body of Knowledge as the organizing framework for RELI content and sessions. RELI celebrated milestones with its 100th graduate in 2002, its 200th graduate in 2004, and its 300th graduate in 2008. The 2013 class included our 400th graduate, and our 500th RELI graduate received their certificate at the 20th institute in 2017. In addition, nearly 100 faculty members have served RELI over the years. The 2020 and 2021 Institutes were cancelled due to COVID, but we will be back in business at Stockton University in New Jersey in June 2022.

RELI Leadership

Ryan Young                        Nate Gordon

MACUHO Co-Director     NEACUHO Co-Director

Institute Goals

The intended goals of RELI were, and remain, multi-faceted:

  1. Assist entry level staff in defining competencies necessary for movement into mid-level positions in housing/residence life;
  2. Promote interactions among entry-level staff and “veteran” professionals with high energy, experience, and dedication in housing/residence life;
  3. Connect the profession’s rising entry level staff members to the regional housing/residence life associations;
  4. Provide professional development opportunities for entry level staff and veteran housing and residence life staff through an intensive experience of attendance and participation (entry level staff) and presenting and mentoring (veteran staff). 

Relationship with the Regional Associations

RELI has had a close, cooperative relationship with NEACUHO and MACUHO since its inception, one based on mutual trust and respect and a shared desire to serve and nurture our profession. In this sense, the relationship is much like that between ACUHO-I and the regional associations, where we have common purposes and serve many of the same people but maintain our distinct organizational identities and procedures. This relationship has served all parties well and we look forward to this continued partnership.


RELI has a stand-alone budget. For the first 20 years of its existence, the budget was maintained at one of the Co-Director’s home institutions. In 2018, the budget was moved under the MACUHO umbrella to provide more permanence and eliminate the need to relocate the budget when we had changes in the Co-Directors or in their employment locations.

Both NEACUHO and MACUHO have provided financial support for RELI to allow us to keep participant costs as low as possible. This support has consistently included $100.00 scholarships for most or all participants from the two regions; and has often included direct financial support to the RELI budget.

RELI has also frequently received financial support from the host institutions in terms of reduced and subsidized costs such as paying for printing or parking expenses, reduced housing rates, etc.

Finally, corporate support from vendors has been expanded in recent years, most particularly from The Brill Company and Foliot Furniture.

Through careful cost management and the revenue streams described above, RELI has managed to accumulate a small reserve.

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