Jayne Drake, NACADA President
There is a tradition among NACADA presidents to use the September issue of Academic Advising Today to wrap up their year as president by casting a long look back—a kind of year in review—and sometimes by peering as far as the eye can see into the future. This opportune moment provides presidents with a chance to take stock, to reflect on where the Association has been and where it is going. This moment provides a unique opportunity to stand on tiptoe, if you will, and scan NACADA from horizon to horizon, to take a good look at the people, places, and things that have shaped our past and present, and will likely influence our future. Now it is my turn. I would like to highlight three important initiatives this year that have altered both the face and the internal workings of the Association in significant ways. They represent big changes in the way we come together—the way NACADA helps “translate” the world and how we connect to the important issue of student success. It has been a very busy year for NACADA.
Perhaps the most visible change this year is the addition of a tag line “The Global Community for Academic Advising” to our iconic acronym. This addition represents the growing influence of NACADA in meeting the interests and needs of advising / personal tutoring / counseling professionals in higher education globally. It also signals the importance of NACADA’s reach and influence across the world as represented by Association members from more than 30 countries. My travels from Liverpool to Tokyo and points in between have shown that the advising issues, interests, and concerns common to campuses in the United States are the same throughout the world—the educational needs, the academic growth, and persistence of students and how best to ensure they are addressed. NACADA truly represents “The Global Community for Academic Advising,” and so the coming years should see the inclusion of more international members gathered around our common goal of student success.
Accompanying this tagline is the responsibility of extending our reach thoughtfully and intentionally. To that end, NACADA’s Board of Directors has invited Glenn Kepic, our incoming Vice President, to assemble a taskforce on the globalization of the Association made up of NACADA members from literally around the world. Its charge, among other matters, is to expand the number of countries and institutions involved in the Association, to develop strategies for increasing the involvement by our international members through our publications and other resources, and to determine the best technologies to cultivate and maintain our relationships around the world. We are grateful to those serving on our Globalization Taskforce for their good work in thinking through these and other important issues.
The second major change that I would like to comment on is how NACADA has deftly responded to the global economic downturn. With budget belts tightening on campuses around the world, it has been more difficult for our members to travel great distances to attend our professional development events. So, we determined that if our members could not come to us, then we would take “NACADA Near You.” From our ten Regional Conferences (which you turned out for in record numbers), our two Summer Institutes in Philadelphia and St. Louis (which were bursting at the seams), to the Research Symposiums, the Retention Seminar, Assessment Institute, and our fourth annual International Conference, NACADA was there to provide important professional development opportunities.
This year, we brought NACADA Near You by expanding our offerings. From new Pocket Guides and monographs to an ambitious number of Webcasts centered on the theme of “Reaching and Retaining Students,” these efforts were coordinated by the NACADA Executive Office staff. Many NACADA members participated in the Association’s Webcast series that drew the highest attendance of any series to date, with hundreds and hundreds of computers tuned in from across the United States and Canada, as well as in countries as far reaching as South Africa and Australia. The coming year is shaping up to be yet another amazing opportunity for NACADA to reach the membership with two new Webcast series: “Foundations of Academic Advising” (four Webcasts) and “Academic Advising for Student Retention and Persistence” (five Webcasts). Nancy King, former President of NACADA, and I have the great pleasure of kicking off these events with a “Foundations” Webcast on September 16th entitled Building the Framework: Advising as a Teaching and Learning Process. No matter where you are in the world, we hope you will join us for this presentation and for all of the exciting Webcasts to follow in 2010-11.
We are also bringing NACADA near you in another important way. One of the most satisfying projects for me personally this year has been working with the members of the Association’s Video Advisory Board and some very impressive and talented people at Temple University to produce Volume II of NACADA’s highly successful Scenes for Learning and Reflection, the professional development DVD that was launched at the 2008 Annual Conference in Chicago. Because of your extraordinarily positive response, the Board of Directors invited Temple to produce Volume II, which is being introduced at our Orlando conference in just a few weeks. As with Volume I, Volume II is a compilation of ten advising vignettes. These scenes were suggested by members of NACADA’s Commissions and Interest Groups, and a Video Advisory Board took those ideas, fleshed them out, and shaped the scenes in this DVD. It was filmed in High Definition at Temple using real students, real advisors, and advising administrators in “typical” advising settings, with the filming and editing conducted entirely by undergraduate students in the department of Broadcasting, Television, and Mass Media. Among the scenes included in Volume II are peer advising, the returning veteran, advising the high achieving student, advising the probationary student, and group advising. Following each scene are questions designed to stimulate lively conversation about the issues raised in the scene and how those issues are relevant to advising professionals everywhere. We fully expect that Volume II will be used on campuses in the same way that Volume I is used: namely, for advisor and faculty retreats, in workshops, and in other professional development settings. In fact, Kathy Davis (Missouri State University), Chris Klefeker (Miami University-Hamilton Campus), and I are hosting a pre-conference workshop in Orlando on the topic of best practices in advisor training and development that will include a deep sneak peek at these new advising vignettes as well as the new monograph on this topic. We will offer ideas about the many ways you might use these scenes to meet the needs of your own audiences, and even model an advising workshop that includes use of the DVD.
The third major initiative I would like to draw your attention to is NACADA’s investment in what is called a hosted association management software system that will bring us technologically up to date in a number of important areas by providing efficiencies in data management in the background and member services in the foreground. It gives us Web-enabled options previously unavailable to us. Soon the NACADA Web site will, for example, provide links for us to update our membership information; it will provide a history of our transactions (event registrations for example) within the Association; it will give us the capability to print out our own receipts and invoices; it will allow us to register on line for virtually any NACADA event; it has a shop-on-line feature, and it even offers a virtual social networking system. Major kudos and wishes for a good night’s sleep to all at the Executive Office involved in this new system.
It has been a very busy and productive year for NACADA. I hope my message to you signals that NACADA is and will continue to be a vibrant organization that brings together the experience, wisdom, and commitment of the membership in service to our students and to all of our colleagues around the world. It is from you that the Association takes its strength. It is because of you that we continue to work hard to meet your needs; it is because of your commitment to your own professional development and to the needs of your students that we continually strive to earn our title as the Global Community for Academic Advising.
It has been my sincere honor and pleasure to serve as your President this year and to give back to an organization that has given me so much. I would like to extend my thanks to our Board of Directors, whose strategic goals and vision continue to shape our present and future. Of course, the way the Board’s good work translates into reality is through the commitment and dedication of an amazing staff in the Association’s Executive Office. These are the folks who work the pulleys and levers, ring the bells, and blow the whistles. My deep and abiding gratitude to the Board and Executive Office for all they do in support of the membership.
What a great treat it has been to take this ride with both Kathy Stockwell, our amazing Vice President, soon to be President, and Charlie Nutt, our front man, our cheerleader, our seer, our redoubtable Executive Director, who is brilliantly stewarding NACADA into our wide open future. The best is yet to come.
Jayne Drake, President
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Drake, J. (2010, September). From the president: That's a wrap-onward to Orlando. Academic Advising Today, 33(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]