Dana Zahorik, NACADA President
As advisors, we know the importance of relationship building from day one as students enter college. Advisors listen to students’ stories, provide input to create a realistic plan, and build a safety net with built in resources to assist students in reaching those goals. It is during these first interactions with students we begin to build a partnership between advisors and the incoming students. Advisors understand the power of these relationships and the impact they have on the student’s success. I recently had a student tell me that for the first time in his life, he felt as though he belonged. In addition to his positive advising experience, he discussed his interactions in the classroom with faculty and fellow students, simple conversations in the hallways, daily greetings from a person in the lunch line, and the sessions with tutors who took extra time. It was the collective campus culture that helped this student belong. Noel, Levitz, and Saluri (1985) state, “It is the people who come fact-to-face with students on a regular basis who provide the positive growth experiences for students that enable them to identify their goals and talents and learn how to put them to use. The caring attitude of college personnel is viewed as the most potent retention force on a campus” (p. 17). This is what we as advisors do and do it well. These stories are wonderful reminders of the importance of creating partnerships and building relationship to get students where they need to be.
Just as advisors prioritize the importance of partnerships with students, it is equally important that advisors continue to increase their partnerships with other professionals to expand their own networks. Several opportunities exist in order to expand your network including attendance at the NACADA regional conferences which have started taking place across the United States and Canada and are a great way to network with fellow advisors and administrators. If you are looking for new ways to solve old problems, I invite you to attend one of these wonderful professional development opportunities. You may also want to explore the opportunity for some summer professional development opportunities including the International Conference taking place in Sheffield, UK, as well as summer institutes. If your institution does not have budget dollars for travel and you are seeking professional develop opportunities, you can check out NACADA’s eTutorials, participate in webinars, review the Clearinghouse for topics, or join a listserv.
As a part of the network within NACADA, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our newly elected and appointed leaders and thank all of you who took the time to vote, read proposals, write articles, and participate in committee or advisory work. You are the gears that continue to keep NACADA moving forward and help create the most effective association possible. I also want to thank the Board of Directors and Council for their hard work as we prepare for our mid-year meeting focused on creating benchmarks relative to the strategic goals of the association as well as an internal evaluation of organizational structures to ensure they remain effective for NACADA members.
The importance of partnerships also came to mind when I was reviewing some of NACADA’s recent initiatives. NACADA as an organization has also been working to expand its partnerships in student success initiatives. The organization has been invited to the table for some important discussions in regards to student success. One such example was the recent webinar introducing 15 to Finish-Advising Matters collaboratively presented by Complete College America and NACADA. You will begin to see more of these relationships develop as NACADA takes a seat at the table with a variety of partners in student success, ensuring that advising plays an integral role in a variety of international student success initiatives. This opportunity allows all partners to provide input into what they feel college students need in order to meet their goals. How powerful this partnership can be as organizations jointly build it from the ground up with the input of experts from a variety of areas.
Finally, be sure to check out the work that is being done on the development of NACADA’s Academic Advising Core Competencies and the revision of the Core Values. I appreciate all who have been involved in this process, including Teri Farr, Jayne Drake, and Joanne Damminger, who have led in these important endeavors. This is just another example of the benefit of partnerships as many of us across the world come together to make great things happen. I am amazed by the amount of work that members and leaders of this association can complete by working together with a common goal in mind, making a better experience for students through the advising profession. On behalf of the NACADA Board of Directors and Executive Office, thank you for all you continue to do to make this association the international face of advising and keep advising at the forefront of student success all over the world.
Dana Zahorik, President, 2016-2017
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Counselor/Academic Advising Council Chair/Peer Advising Co-Chair
Counseling and Advising Services
Fox Valley Technical College
Noel. L, Levitz, R., & Saluri, D. (Eds.) (1985). Increasing student retention. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Cite this article using APA style as: Zahorik, D. (2017, March). From the president: The power of partnerships. Academic Advising Today, 40(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]