Jermaine Williams, NACADA Membership Committee Chair
NACADA has been a welcoming support system since I first became a member. I have been encouraged to write articles, present at conferences, serve on committees, accept a nomination for a leadership position and truly professionally explore and enhance myself. This experience has been overwhelmingly positive and surprisingly transcendental. This article will illustrate how NACADA has affected my life. A brief recount of my personal experiences will illustrate how NACADA’s support of the academic advising profession, opportunities for involvement and acceptance of diversity are but a few reasons for my extraordinary experiences.
My first academic advising position was a tumultuous time for me. I was a professional advisor at the University Freshman Center at St. John’s University located in Queens, NY. There was so much to learn about first year student development, student expectations of academic advising, professional expectations of academic advising, curricula for all the majors I advised, etc. It was during this time I attended my first Regional NACADA Conference – it took place in Rhode Island.
This Regional Conference was a refreshing, exciting and educational experience. I was able to make connections in a warm and welcoming environment. It was extremely beneficial to speak with and hear from advisors with similar concerns and goals. This experience also brought me closer to my colleagues at St. John’s University, as a cohort of us drove up and back together. I considered the trip to be a great success. It opened my eyes to an organization that champions the profession of academic advising, and I was, and still am, thankful to my institution for affording me the opportunity to attend that Regional Conference.
In Spring 2005, I was lucky enough to attend my second Regional Conference. It was there I met Charlie Nutt (then NACADA Associate Director, now Executive Director), who would turn out to be someone I consider a true friend, during a small concurrent session about scholarship within the academic advising profession. Charlie and I had a stimulating conversation about the changing characteristics of the traditional first year college student. Subsequently, Charlie encouraged me to write an article for Academic Advising Today on this topic. I e-mailed him after the conference to follow up on our conversation. He put me in contact with Leigh Cunningham (Academic Advising Today’s Managing Editor), and I started working on my first article (Millennial Students: Rethinking Time Management ). Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was the beginning of my active involvement in NACADA.
Active involvement in NACADA has given me the opportunity to be part of a grand international organization and to enhance myself both professionally and personally. Taking advantage of leadership opportunities in the Association has helped me develop several skills: leadership, interpersonal communication, diplomacy and global thinking style are a few. There are many opportunities for involvement within NACADA: Administrative Division, Committee and Interest Group Division, Regional Division, Academic Advising Today, NACADA Journal, etc. I would implore any member to become immersed in the opportunities NACADA provides.
I have supported NACADA since my first Regional Conference attendance, and I will continue to support this Association. I had no clue NACADA was going to affect my life in such a positive manner. All things considered, I only wish I would have become a more active member earlier in my career, perhaps at or after my first Regional Conference.
Fast forwarding to the present and to begin to conclude, it is my pleasure to continue active involvement in an Association that has provided me with a multitude of positive experiences over the years. It is wonderful to have found opportunity for growth within an Association whose mission and vision I believe in, as a leader and a professional in higher education. I am ecstatic to continue to support an organization that champions the academic advising profession through a congruent espoused and enacted mission.
The Association’s focus is communicated transparently through the mission: “NACADA is the acknowledged leader within the global education community for the theory, delivery, application and advancement of academic advising to enhance student development” (www.nacada.ksu.edu/AboutNACADA/index.htm). To champion academic advising is to support an environment of knowledgeable, educated and diverse academic advising professionals and leaders. Among other initiatives, NACADA constantly strives to “champion the educational role of academic advisors to enhance student learning and development in a diverse world.” I am proud to support and contribute to an organization that has and will continue to “foster the talents and contributions of all members and promote the involvement of diverse populations.” I have seen and experienced NACADA’s dedication to the aforementioned statement. I look forward to witnessing the increasing diversity of NACADA, especially in leadership roles. The opportunities are waiting.
Cite this article using APA style as: Williams, J. (2008, March). NACADA: Opportunities for involvement await. Academic Advising Today, 31(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]