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Voices of the Global Community

Susan Campbell, NACADA President 
Nancy WalburnNACADA Vice President  SusanCampbell.jpg

Once again, the NACADA Annual Conference was a resounding success! The breadth, depth, and quality of presentations from the pre-conference workshops through the concurrent and poster sessions were truly outstanding. Over and over again, colleagues with whom we had the opportunity to speak during the course of the short week indicated how impressed they were with the information being presented and the commitment to student success that was evident by all. Our shared commitment to student success reinforces our own observations about NACADA's membership, that is, we are, indeed, a community of teachers-scholars-learners. We fluidly move from role to role unselfishly sharing our knowledge and ideas for practice and, simultaneously, learning from each other. Who could ask for more?

We are not only proud to be members of this community, we are humbled by the fact that, for 2006-2007, we are serving in the leadership roles of president and vice-president. In these roles, our goal is simple, that is-to continue to build upon the strengths of the Association to ensure the sustainability of NACADA. Clearly, our strengths are many. Our membership has grown more than 40% over the past three years, the number of professional development opportunities offered continues to increase, and relationships with our brother/sister organizations in higher education have become more solidified through an increasing number of collaborative projects. All of this work is exciting and evidence of the importance of academic advising to higher education, and it is work we will further during this year with our theme of Building on Our Past, Strengthening Our Future .

If this theme sounds broad, let us assure you that it is-and intentionally so! First, in any organization, it is important to build upon past initiatives and, in particular, those that are just beginning and hold promise. The Emerging Leaders Program and NACADA's Diversity initiatives are two such initiatives. These activities support the principles of inclusion upon which this Association is grounded and thus, it is critically important that we continue to focus effort in these areas. At its first meeting at the end of the Annual Conference in Indianapolis, the 2006-2007 Board of Directors approved moving forward on the Emerging Leaders Program, supporting both the conceptual bases upon which the Program was developed and the programmatic initiatives intended to encourage and develop new members. The intent of the Emerging Leaders Program is to provide opportunities-and support-for NACADA members and, in particular, those from underrepresented groups. This initiative complements the work of Jo Anne Huber and Jane Jacobson, who identified the need within our Association to find ways to engage young professionals to ensure the sustainability of NACADA. The continued efforts of Ben Chamberlain (Iowa State University) and Nathan Vickers (University of Texas-Austin) hold much promise for continuing that successful program.

Second, inasmuch as we need to build upon our past, we also need to look to our future as an Association. As we complete our third and enter our fourth year under our current organizational framework, it is time to strengthen the underpinnings of this structure in order to support the work of this ever-growing, member-driven association. In this regard, reviewing organizational documents such as by-laws and governance to ensure their currency and to strengthen the relationship between them is an important (albeit not particularly visible or sexy) activity in which to engage. It is with this 'down and dirty' work that the Board of Directors will spend much of its time during 2006-2007. In the end, we will have addressed and codified policies and practices that will serve the Association well as it continues to grow and develop.

Third, even as we support initiatives that have begun and strengthen our organizational foundation, it remains critically important to expand our programs and, in the end, strengthen our voices within the national and international higher education communities. Collaborative work with our brother/sister associations such as the National Resource Center on the First Year Experience and Students in Transition, NASPA, AASCU, and AAC&U is important to the academic advising profession. Internationally, we need to celebrate and build upon the work our Canadian colleagues have begun-adopt associational language and behavior that acknowledges the fact that the reach of NACADA already extends beyond national boundaries! In the end, the focus of our collaborative efforts should not be only with organizations external to us, but with and for each other. In this way, we can and will build upon our past, and strengthen our future.

We look forward to working with you all on this agenda.

Susan Campbell, President
National Academic Advising Association
scamp@usm.maine.edu

Nancy Walburn, Vice President
National Academic Advising Association
nwalburn@uab.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Campbell, S. & Walburn, N. (2006, December). From the president: Building on our past, strengthening our future. Academic Advising Today, 29(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]

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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.

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