Eric White, NACADA President
This is my first newsletter column as your president for this next year. First, I would to like to let you know how much of an honor it is to serve you in this capacity. I have been actively involved in NACADA since l983 and have witnessed its tremendous growth, but perhaps more important, watched as NACADA, as a professional association, has taken on a vital role in higher education. Quality academic advising is as important as ever for the success of our students. NACADA, as the premiere association devoted exclusively to encouraging the very best of academic advising practices, has a most important part to play in this success. I believe that as a professional association we have risen to the challenge, but there is still much that needs to be done.
Membership: While we have seen what, even modestly, can be called phenomenal growth, we probably have not reached out to all of the individuals who are providing academic advising. It is important that academic advisors identify with a professional organization that supports their work; the more members NACADA has, the more NACADA can do. This year our Membership Committee will develop a new membership initiative to seek out more academic advisors in our institutions. Specifically we need to know who we have missed…advisors at community colleges? at traditional liberal arts colleges? at major research institutions?-- and reach out to them. I know NACADA has something of benefit to offer and frankly, from my perspective, it’s the “best deal in town.”
Professional Development: In many ways the heart and soul of NACADA are its professional development activities ranging from regional conferences each spring to our multi-day institutes to our national conference each fall (don’t forget next year it’s in Las Vegas.) In addition to these activities, NACADA produces a series of monographs, a journal and has sponsored a teleconference. Our plans for the near future include – “at-a-distance” programming (web casts, on-line courses, or video conferences), programs for faculty advisors, and additional publications. These professional development opportunities revitalize us, connect us with colleagues from across the nation and indeed the world, and allow us the chance to develop new skills and reexamine our practice. I urge all members to take advantage of these offerings. A wide range of opportunities are purposely offered so that those with limited funds still can have the chance to participate. Bring along colleagues, perhaps someone new to advising, and introduce them to others engaged in this endeavor we call academic advising.
Volunteering: Although NACADA has an Executive Office of which we are extremely proud, the foundational work of the association is done by the many volunteers who find it both personally and professionally rewarding to be a part of NACADA. There are many opportunities for involvement and I encourage everyone to become an active participant in NACADA. This can be done at virtually all levels of the organization. Volunteers bring NACADA its spirit of innovation and energy. You can become involved by simply asking someone: “What can I do to help?” This question will give you more responses than you can imagine. You can also go to our Website (http://www.nacada.ksu.edu) to volunteer.
NACADA has always prized our “grassroots” philosophy: the fact that the organization is open to anyone (one of our strengths is the organization’s diversity of volunteers) and that ideas for improvement and innovation often come from the “bottom up.” This is how it should be; nobody knows better than our membership the issues in academic advising and how to enhance quality advising at our institutions.
This is an organization where all voices need to be heard, and indeed, our organization is structured in such a way that your ideas are heard. We have a devoted Board of Directors, Council, and several Divisions where members are actively involved in addressing the needs of our constituencies. Our leadership is available to listen to you; and actively seek your thoughts, on a variety of topics such as credentialing and professional development.
As your president, I am only an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite your comments, concerns, and questions. Like a good advisor, if I am not able to give you a correct answer, I’ll be the first to refer you to someone who can.
Eric R. White
Cite this article using APA style as: White, E. (2004, December). From the president. Academic Advising Today, 27(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]