Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
As “ya’ll” can imagine, I am thrilled that the NACADA 40th Annual Conference will be held in my home state of Georgia in our capital city, Atlanta. I taught high school English in the Atlanta area many, many years ago (my second teaching job) and trust me, today’s Atlanta is not the Atlanta of when I lived there in the 1980s. For many of you, your only connection to Atlanta is finding your way through the Atlanta airport (and that can be a stressful experience). I am excited that you have the opportunity to experience the Atlanta of history, fine dining, exciting nightlife of all types, and a wide array of diverse people who will most certainly define for you that “Southern Hospitality” you’ve heard about for years.
But Atlanta has a special connection to me as the very first NACADA conference I attended was our 16th Annual Conference in Atlanta in 1992. That conference literally changed my life as it was then that I began to understand academic advising was more than registration, that there was this profession called academic advising, and that there were college staff whose primary role was academic advising. What an awesome learning experience that first conference was for me! But even more importantly, I learned there was this group of professionals across the world who had the same values, beliefs, and focus as I and that this group was so open, welcoming, and accepting of someone like me who was brand new to the field of study called academic advising. It’s also where I learned that NACADA gets into your blood, your soul, and your life! The 1992 Annual Conference was chaired by one of my lifetime best friends, Nancy King – it all began back then, Nancy, and having you in my life has truly been a blessing at all levels.
Just as Atlanta of 2016 very different from Atlanta of 1992, NACADA of 2016 is vastly different fromNACADA of 1992. NACADA still has the heart, soul, and belief in students and their success that our original members created and has strong and committed leadership at all levels. The NACADA of today, however, has reached out in higher education globally in ways many of us could not have imagined back in 1992. We have been fortunate to have Presidents, Boards of Directors, a founding Executive Director, Bobbie Flaherty, and a College of Education Dean, Michael Holen, who did see the future for NACADA as an association that would have a significant impact on higher education and student and would become recognized as one of the most influential higher education associations in the world. NACADA and I personally have a huge debt of gratitude to these early leaders that we can pay forward to those coming into the field and the association.
It is such an honor to return again to Atlanta where I first encountered NACADA in 1992 and to be a part of the past and future of our association. I could spend the short time I have here to tell you all the progress NACADA has made but you can each read about our history at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/History-of-NACADA.aspx
Instead, I am going to make some predictions for the future of NACADA as new innovative, hardworking, dedicated, and determined leaders step into our association and our executive office leadership. There is always a danger in making predictions, of course, but I have total faith in our association, our members, and our leaders that NACADA will achieve these visions for the future:
- NACADA’s membership will continue to grow as new professionals enter the field and as we reach out to administrators and faculty who are actively involved in academic advising across the world.
- NACADA will grow in our impact globally, reaching out across the world through our international conferences and through new partnerships with a variety of countries and regions.
- NACADA will develop strong partnerships with other associations or groups that are focused on student success, and will play an active role in the national and international agenda for higher education. Presently we are working closely with such groups as the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, College Complete America, USA Funds, the Lumina Foundation, and a variety of entities funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focused on the IPASS project, including the Tyton Partners, with our annual survey of academic advising. We will continue our commitment to partnerships with a variety of higher educational associations as well as continued involvement with CAS.
- NACADA will increase significantly the involvement of our underrepresented populations inthe association leadership. This will be achieved by the collaborative work of groups such as the NACADA Diversity Committee, Sustainable Leadership Committee, Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee, all NACADA Region leaders, the NACADA Council and the NACADA Board of Directors.The association has made these intentional and purposeful initiatives and programs a priority for the future.
- NACADA will continue to host outstanding conferences and institutes but also will create new and exciting ways to deliver professional development to our members and the profession.
- The NACADA Center for Research and Excellence in Academic Advising and Student Success located at Kansas State University will be the premier research center in the world in the areas of academic advising and student success.
It is always risky to make such bold predictions for fear of not achieving them but I know clearly in my heart we will reach these goals. I am totally committed to working with our Board of Directors to establish frameworks and provide needed funding to make these predictions become realities. I look forward to watching NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising reach higher than ever before and will be proud to have played a small part in the best higher education association’s impact on higher education.
See you in Atlanta!!
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2016, September). From the executive director: Georgia on my mind. Academic Advising Today, 39(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]