Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
Each fall term I have the great honor of teaching a graduate course here at Kansas State University in the College of Education called “The History and Philosophy of Higher Education.” Now is that not just a course you are all running out to register for? It’s only 2.5 hours week on Tuesday night. I am not sure what it says for me (well I can guess . . . ), but I love teaching this course each fall. This class allows me to discuss collaboration and increase my own connections in a way that mirrors some of the strides we are making in the NACADA Executive Office.
First, it gives me a chance to connect with the next generation of college student personnel professionals, including academic advisors. It would be too easy to focus on just the growth in numbers and finances of NACADA, but teaching this course keeps me grounded in what our new professionals are thinking, what they value about higher education, and what they will need NACADA to provide for them as they move in to the field. Second, I enjoy leading my students through the history of American higher education from a focus on what brought about changes and how these changes impacted students of the time and today. The most important emphasis is how my students must be able to use what they know about our historical path to aid them in dealing with the present and give them the knowledge and desire to predict the future of higher education.
One of the issues that my students always find interesting is that competition of some type has always been a part of the higher education culture. Institutions have been competing in regards to which institution opened first, the campus facilities and buildings, enrollment numbers, and of course on the athletic fields and courts. Today we see competition in the issues of research as well as student retention, completion, and graduate rates. But we also have seen competitions within our institutions in regards to funding issues, facilities, and perceived value of a unit on a campus.
The competition between academic affairs and student affairs is a part of this history we discuss in my class. I can proudly say that one of the outcomes of NACADA since our beginning has been to assist in building bridges between these two units for collaborative partnerships that support student success. It has been easier for us than some other associations because academic advising/personal tutoring globally has had a foot in both academic and student affairs and we are seeing thankfully these bridges expand as colleges and universities are moving toward institutional campus-wide plans to support students.
As a part of this outcome and an extension of our collaborative efforts, I am excited to publicly announce that the NACADA Board of Directors and Executive Office is focusing this year on building an intentional plan to develop strong relationships with other higher education associations and groups who are actively focusing on student success. We know how important it is on our campuses to connect with the chief decision-makers to provide the research concerning student success, initiatives we all are implementing to support the institution, and support for building a culture of success campus wide that is supported by technology. Just as higher education is complex, the work we do across campuses to increase student success is complex and cannot be done in isolation or in established silos. Working in tandem, NACADA and our highly-regarded colleagues can begin to work together in more intentional and practical ways.
Watch for more information as the year moves forward; I wish you all a wonderful end of term and hopefully some time to re-energize for an exciting new term in 2017!
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2016, December). From the executive director: Building collaborative partnerships to support student success. Academic Advising Today, 39(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]