NACADA Continues to Grow in Its Global Impact on Higher Education While Still Focusing on Each of Our Members Individually
Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
This has been a busy and exciting year so far for the association and the Executive Office. Since January, our membership has continued to grow and see major advancements in how technology is offered and utilized. First, NACADA has a totally new and simplified web site that is easier for our members to navigate and locate our vast array of services and resources, including online membership and events registration. While “web conversions” never end, as you know from experience on your campuses, I feel that what has been accomplished thus far is remarkable. Many of the changes implemented were based on an extensive report and set of recommendations from a task force composed of our members and chaired by then-Board of Directors member Beth Higgins, as well as input from our association’s Technology Committee, chaired by George Steele. However, major kudos go to the Executive Office Technology Committee chaired by Peggy Goe and composed of Gary Cunningham, Judy Weyrauch, Michele Holaday, Diane Matteson, Elisa Shaffer, and Leigh Cunningham. The development and implementation of these technology enhancements have carefully taken into account the needs of our membership, as NACADA is a member-driven association, and were made possible by the foresight of our Board of Directors and Finance Committee in providing the necessary funding.
It is also gratifying seeing technology continuing to enhance the experiences of our members attending our conferences and events, and it is very exciting to note that for the first time, our annual conference in Salt Lake City will have a mobile app for attendees. I hope many of you take advantage of the app while joining us in Salt Lake City. Once again, such technology doesn’t just happen. Thanks go to our Annual Conference Advisory Board chaired by Bruce Norris for assisting with identifying the type of app we needed for conference, and major Kudos to Farrah Turner and Rhonda Baker for implementing the app for Salt Lake City. Just as with other annual conference enhancements in the past, the NACADA conference app will grow and expand as our members have new needs and expectations.
We have continued to make significant progress in reaching out to learn from and network with our global colleagues. In June, NACADA held its first fully sponsored global conference in partnership with the University College at Maastricht University. We initially dreamed that we would have 100 participants and we actually had over 250 participants from 19 countries and all but two continents. The concurrent sessions, poster sessions, and panel discussions were outstanding and led to new relationships and partnerships with advisors across the globe. It was a major success due to the hard work of so many people that I fear I will forget someone, but let me thank Rhonda Baker, Farrah Turner, and all the EO Staff for their hard work in assisting with the conference, as well as Oscar Van Den Wijngaard from University College and all his outstanding colleagues and volunteers from both University College and the University of Maastricht as a whole. Thanks also go to the planning committee for this event, including Karen Sullivan-Vance, Penny Robinson, Kathy Stockwell, and Catherine Mann.
In addition to our international conference, this summer I had the opportunity to visit Peru with an international trade mission from Utah, meeting with faculty and administrators from numerous Peruvian universities as well as with the Minister of Education, his staff, and a variety of other governmental officials to discuss to role of academic advising in student success and persistence. As are our members across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, our Peruvian university colleagues are extremely focused on the academic success of their students. The Peruvians are interested in exploring the many resources and services NACADA can provide, and the language challenge is one we will need to deal with, as many in South America do not have English skills. However, one of the multitude of benefits of NACADA’s partnership with Kansas State University is that K-State has a long-term ESL program working with public school teachers and university professors in Ecuador, which may have aspects transferable to Peru and their needs. Debbie Mercer, Dean of the College of Education at K-State, has already had discussions with Peruvian officials regarding these possible opportunities. It is very exciting and gratifying to see NACADA’s relationship with K-State continue to grow in a variety of ways, including NACADA’s involvement in the creation and implementation of the Kansas State University online graduate programs in academic advising. Also this spring, NACADA assisted the Kansas State University Provost’s office and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies office in hosting the first annual Advising Summit at K-State. It is truly gratifying to see NACADA functioning as such an integral part of the College of Education and Kansas State University.
I am very pleased that our growth, our technology advancements, and our global expansion have only strengthened the everyday experience, support, and assistance that NACADA gives to every member globally. We continue to offer a vast and growing array of resources and events, support new research initiatives in the field, and serve as a beacon of light showing the importance of academic advising to every student at every institution of every member of NACADA – and all while keeping our membership fee the lowest of all higher education associations our size. We continue to do powerful work in formal and informal mentoring for our new professionals, our new leaders and administrators, and of course for each other. Long before higher education’s financial crisis of the past decade, long before state legislatures and Boards of Trustees or Regents began to understand that academic advising is integral to the educational and economic growth of their states and institutions, and long before the proliferation of for-profit companies offering online and short-term events (some double or more the cost of NACADA’s events and services), NACADA has been here for you. NACADA will continue to be the premier provider of outstanding support and services to members, focused clearly on expanding the body of knowledge, enhancing the literature, and broadening the understanding of academic advising’s significance. In the end, the association’s importance and achievements are built upon our members’ commitments to their students, their institution, and their association: NACADA!
NACADA continues to grow and expand but never, ever forgets that our members are of the highest importance. Meeting their needs and providing personalized attention will always be our focus in the Executuve Office.
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising