From the Executive Director: Higher Education Focuses on College Completion – Academic Advising at the Center of University Efforts

Categories: 2013 March 36:1

Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director

Charlie Nutt.jpgWhether you work at a community college, a state university, or a comprehensive research university, the message is the same. Whether you are reading the latest issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, or your hometown newspaper, the message is the same. Whatever part of the globe you live in, the message is the same.  Our students, our legislatures and other governmental agencies, our students’ parents, and our boards of trustees or regents all are telling higher education the same message: Increasing the percentage of college completion and/or persistence to graduation is mandatory.  We see this message delivered by systems or states moving toward funding based on our completion and graduation rates, not just our enrollment numbers. We see this message delivered by the increasing number of students and parents who ask to see an institution’s retention and persistence to graduation rate as they make their selection of institution to attend.

While we hear this message clearly on our campuses, we are at the same time dealing with significant cuts in our financial bases and are hearing we must “do more with less” (which is impossible! We can only do things differently with less!). It is because of these messages that will not be quieted anytime soon that our campus leaders are very serious today about establishing initiatives, programs, and activities to increase persistence rates in the hope of finding that illustrious “silver bullet” that brings increased student success.  As we know, there is no “silver bullet;” we must seriously shift our campus culture away from a focus only on enrollment to a comprehensive culture of “student success.”  What campus leaders are seeing, some for the first time, is that in the very center of this culture shift must be effective, intentional, and comprehensive academic advising for all students from their first step on our campus to their last step across the stage at graduation – which of course all of us have known, advocated for, and supported for decades.

Therefore, this is the most important time for NACADA to continue providing the highest quality professional development events, materials, and networking as today institutions are carefully directing funding toward academic student success, which includes professional development. Many of you have already attended or soon will be taking part in one of our 10 Regional Conferences held across North America, as these are outstanding opportunities to learn from and connect with colleagues across your region.  This spring NACADA/Jossey-Bass introduces a first text outlining the key philosophies.  And, of course, our Web Events will continue to provide high-quality interactive experiences for participants, and the NACADA Clearinghouse provides vast resources that you can utilize as well as share with your campus leaders so that you can be sure they are understanding how essential academic advising is to all new initiatives across the institution.

For our global colleagues, NACADA will also host an international conference on academic advising and personal tutoring at Maastricht University in Maastricht, Netherlands in June. I know we all are looking forward to learning from academic advising professionals from many countries around the world. Lastly, participants across the globe will be learning from and networking with colleagues at our Academic Advising Summer Institutes in June in Jacksonville or July in Scottsdale.

I continue to urge all of you across the globe to take advantage of this increased focus on academic advising in order to become part of the campus culture for success and, even more important, part of the decision-making process on your campus!

I look forward to seeing and working with you at several of the events this spring!

Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
(785) 532-5717
cnutt@ksu.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2013, March). From the executive director: Higher education focuses on college completion – academic advising at the center of university efforts. Academic Advising Today, 36(1). Retrieved from [insert url here] 

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