Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
What a wonderful conference we had in Las Vegas with just under 4,300 participants from across the globe. While numbers do not on their own indicate quality, they do clearly demonstrate that academic advising is fully recognized as a field of study and as a profession across all of higher education internationally. From the opening session to closing concurrent sessions, academic advising was discussed in terms of exemplary programs and exciting new research in the field, and these conversations provided those of us more mature academic advising professionals with ways to connect with and learn from new professionals in the field. Add to that the growing use of technology used by participants to connect while at the conference, as well as for those who could not be a part of the conference to learn of exciting sessions and activities occurring at the conference, and I know we can all agree with keynote speaker Casey Self: “That because of NACADA we all have been changed for the good.”
NACADA continues to change the field and the profession for the good in a multitude of ways. One, of course, is the opening of the Center for Excellence and Research in Academic Advising and Student Success as a joint venture between NACADA and the College of Education at Kansas State University. This is truly a historic move for the field and the profession as there has not been a “place” where research in the field was clearly disseminated from or a place where those in the field or graduate students studying the field could get assistance, support, and possibly funding for their research. It will be exciting to see empirical, quantitative, qualitative, and action research in the field being conducted and published through the Center in the future.
NACADA continues to change the field and the profession for the good by the increase in and impact of resources available to all in the profession. In addition to the new Jossey Bass/NACADA text The New Advisor Guidebook, which debuted at the conference in Las Vegas, in 2017 we will see another new text published, Beyond Foundations: Becoming a Master Academic Advisor. Not only are these great resources for academic advisors in the profession, but they will also be outstanding texts for graduate programs where academic advising is a focus. Articles in the NACADA Clearinghouse and Academic Advising Today continue to provide high-quality, hands-on support and strategies for the profession, now accompanied by some very interesting and exciting action research published in both of these venues as well. These and other NACADA print and electronic resources not only demonstrate the high-quality work of our members, but also continue to demonstrate how NACADA constantly reaches out to our members to write and become published. NACADA has a long and rich tradition of encouraging members to conduct research and write and supporting them in positive ways that never discourage would-be or seasoned authors. It is my hope that our association never changes our desire for our members to become published in the field and offers positive support at each level.
NACADA is also impacting the field and the profession through three exciting projects being conducted now. First, the NACADA Professional Development Committee members will be working over the next two years to define the competencies that academic advisors, both primary role advisors and faculty advisors, must have to be effective in their work. They will also identify the competencies an advisor will need to be considered a master in a specialized area such as advising adult learners or advising online students. Not only will the identification of these competencies assist institutions greatly as they create comprehensive academic advising professional development programs, but it will also provide NACADA with foundations for future professional development resources of all types based on these competencies. Second, Past Presidents Jayne Drake and Joanne Damminger are chairing an important task force to review and revise as needed the NACADA Core Values, which serve as a vital piece of our professional work. The task force will be asking for input from members across the association in a variety of ways, including open dialogue sessions at all 10 of our region meetings this coming spring. Please plan to become involved with this important process. Third, a work team led by Bob Hurt, chair of the NACADA Publications Advisory Board, will be working this year on ways to encourage more writing in the field by our members. With the creation of the Center for Excellence and Research in Academic Advising and Student Success, it is more important than ever that professionals in the field have the skills and understanding needed to become published.
As we look forward into the next decade, I know the field and profession of academic advising will continue to grow in its importance and its impact in higher education. It is exciting to know that NACADA will play a significant role in this growth due to our outstanding members and our superb leadership, who have laid the foundation on which we have grown and who in the future will move the association and, thus, the field and the profession forward. It will be exciting for us all to be a part of this progress.
I look forward to seeing many of you in the spring at one of our region meetings or at our winter institutes in Mesa, Arizona in February 2016.
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2015, December). From the executive director: NACADA changes the academic advising field and profession for the good. Academic Advising Today, 38(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]