The Front Lines of Hope: Helping Students Connect to Themselves for a Brighter Future
David Throgmorton, Carbon County Higher Education Center
Editor’s Note: David Throgmorton, Executive Director of the
Carbon County Higher Education Center in Rawlins, Wyoming, was the
invited speaker for the Opening Session of the NACADA Region 10
Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming in May 2009. The following article is
adapted from that address.
When life is ambiguous, people tend to cling to the familiar. They
aren’t likely to try new things. They are not likely to experiment. In
a word, when times are uncertain, people hunker down.
And times are uncertain. Phony industries like Enron have collapsed.
Legitimate institutions like Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch
appeared healthy one day, then withered into bankruptcy and disappeared
Worst of all, major industries that actually produced things—the
automobile industry chief among them—are being dismantled daily.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics dispassionately tells us who pays
the price for this. In March of 2008, the unemployment rate for
adults without a high school education was 9.5%. A year later, the
unemployment rate for adults without a high school education was 13.3%.
Comparable figures for adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher were
2.0% in 2008 and 4.3% in 2009.
The message is clear: in uncertain times, the most vulnerable people in our country are those with the least education.
Ten years ago, you were advising people who wanted you to lead them
down the path to prosperity. Today, you are advising people who want
you to lead them down the path to security. They are frightened.
The NACADA declaration of values
unequivocally states that advisors are responsible to their advisees,
their home institutions, the educational community and to the principle
of higher education. I would add two more responsibilities.
- You are responsible for not being afraid, for not being timid.
- You are responsible for creating a culture of optimism at your institution.
Presidents need to be frugal. Deans need to be
cautious. Professors need to be territorial. Academic advisors need
to be bold.
There are four key areas where academic advisors need to be bold. Hang
tight on these, and you will fulfill the NACADA values. More
importantly, you will serve your advisees well.
First, never forget that as an academic
advisor, you are the front lines of hope for your advisees. You know
your people. You’ve encountered the 18-year-old who wants to be an art
historian but whose parents want her to be a beautician because, even
during a recession, people want to get their hair done.
you know the desperation of the 45-year-old shift worker who has been
laid off and has no clue how to prepare for another line of work.
These people are not looking to the
president or the dean or their professors for advice. They are looking
to you. They are investing their hope in your ability to understand
their plight and to suggest a path out of the darkness. Clearly your
advice for the 18-year-old will be different than your advice to the
45-year-old, but in each case you need to keep hope alive.
Hope is important. Hope is real. Hope gives people the courage to move on. And academic advisors give shape to hope.
Second, your advisees want you to connect the dots
between them and security. Your real task is to help them connect the
dots between them and….themselves. The Enron guys connected the dots
between themselves and security, but in the process they lost sight of
their purpose. They were not evil; they were simply disconnected.
Your advisees will not be truly secure simply acquiring the skills to
do a job. They will truly be secure when they know what they are
capable of doing, what they are capable of knowing, and how they are
capable of adapting to shifting circumstances.
The most important tool in your repertoire is the ability to listen and
to mold what you hear into a coherent plan. People solve their own
conundrums, but they look for outside validation. Your validation must
assure your advisees that understanding themselves sounds trite but
is, in fact, the only way to secure an education that will allow them
to actually prosper.
Third, resist pressure to dumb down academic advising to job training
or career counseling. The unemployment figures mentioned earlier
pivot on education. There is a movement afoot to equate job preparation certificates
with an education. There is pressure being put on institutions to
promote certificates based on single multiple choice exams as a quick
alternative to degrees.
You know better. A high school graduate with a career preparation
certificate is still a high school graduate. A high school drop out
with a career preparation certificate is still a high school drop out.
And these people are vulnerable in the job market. You will be called
upon to promote these spurious certifications. Do what you need to
do to protect your job, but make sure your advisees understand that a
genuine education is the only long-term solution to their
Education matters and people in your institution are being pressured
into pretending otherwise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is your ally,
and you should wave their data like a bloody flag.
Fourth, tell your advisees to follow their hearts, no matter how absurd it seems. Put a huge poster in your office quoting the words of Daniel Burnham, the architect of the Chicago World’s Fair: Make no little plans! They have no magic to stir men’s blood. Ditch the sexist words and embrace the sentiment. Tell your advisees about the businesses that began during the most oppressive economic circumstances: Hyatt, Burger King, CNN, Wikipedia, Lexus-Nexus, Fed Ex, Microsoft, Jim Henson Productions…. More importantly, there are millions of small businesses they have never heard of that were founded during harsh economic times. Each of them prospered because the founder believed in him or herself. Each succeeded because they had an advisor tell them to pull out the stops, let out the reins and to work hard at what they love. Successful enterprises are not initiated by timid people, frightened people, hunkered down people. As an academic advisor it is your responsibility to make this clear, to encourage courage, to blow oxygen on a spark.
Academic advising has never been more important. It is not about discerning the arcane institutional rules that students need to follow in order to graduate. It is about connecting students to themselves, providing them with the courage to pursue their dreams and helping them realize their purpose beyond simply securing a paycheck.
This is the stuff of real life. What a wonderful job you have. Be bold! This is no time to hunker down.
Carbon County Higher Education Center
From the President: NACADA, The Global Community for Academic Advising
Self, NACADA President
Excitement is brewing as NACADA prepares for our Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, September 30-October 3, and I encourage you to visit the Conference homepage for more details regarding this upcoming event. I want to thank
the NACADA Executive Office staff and the Conference planning
committee, led by Past President Jo Anne Huber of the University of Texas at Austin. It takes hard work by many to
pull together a successful Conference of this magnitude, and I know
this year will be no exception. This San Antonio Conference will be a
special event for two reasons: NACADA is celebrating our 30th
Anniversary as an association, and NACADA will officially unveil a new
tag line for our name that clearly acknowledges and communicates our
In 1979, a group of academic advising professionals successfully
chartered a new association in higher education, the National Academic
Advising Association. Thirty years later, we celebrate an organization
that has become one of higher education’s premier educational
associations. Those of us who benefit from the numerous NACADA
resources and events pay tribute to the many individuals over the past
30 years who have made NACADA the successful association it is today.
On behalf of all of us, I acknowledge and thank the many individuals,
including past presidents and Board members, Executive Office staff,
and the numerous volunteers and members who have contributed to growth
If the past 30 years are any indication, we have many successes in our
future. As we honor the accomplishments of our predecessors, we thank
them for the insight they displayed in creating our Association. I know
that they are very proud of our profession and are even more excited
about the potential for our future.
As NACADA celebrates our 30th Anniversary, it is also an appropriate
time to officially expand our Association’s reach beyond our North
American borders. NACADA membership has expanded over the past few
years to include individuals from more than 26 countries across the
globe. NACADA has co-sponsored events in the United Kingdom and also
sent representatives to numerous other countries, including Japan and
Dubai, to consult with members at their institutions of higher
education. After two years of discussion among various NACADA members
on task forces and in leadership meetings, the NACADA Board of
Directors voted in June to officially adopt a tag line to be displayed
with the NACADA acronym. Our Association will be referred to as
“NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising.” I am extremely
proud to have been a part of the NACADA leadership team at this
significant time in the Association’s history. My experiences with
colleagues from Canada and my recent participation in the Third Annual
International Conference on Personal Tutoring and Academic Advising in
Liverpool, England confirm that NACADA has done the right thing in
expanding our name.
I look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio in late September
as NACADA members converge, once again, for our Annual Conference. This
30th Anniversary Conference will be a special event as we celebrate
our past and look forward to our promising future.
On a personal note, since this is my last column as NACADA President, I
want to thank the many, many individuals who have made this year so
special. There are too many names to mention here, but I truly
appreciate those who have made my year as NACADA President so memorable.
Some are brand new friends and many are NACADA members I have known
for years. I specifically want to thank the Executive Office staff,
under the wonderful direction of Charlie Nutt, and my fellow Board of Director members over the past three years for
their wonderful support. Many thanks to Arizona State University and
my colleagues in University College who have been extremely supportive
of this adventure!
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
From the Executive Director: Join Us in San Antonio to Celebrate our 30 Years!
Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
In just a few short weeks, close to 3,000 of you will join us in San Antonio for our 30th Anniversary celebration! We are beginning our celebration with this important issue of Academic Advising Today, highlighting not only major events and achievements of our 30 years,
but also celebrating key leaders in our history, such as Virginia Gordon, Wes Habley, Tom Grites, Peggy King, and J.D. Beatty, as well as key leaders for our next 30 years, such as Cornelius Gilbert and José Rodríguez.
In addition to this special issue of AAT, as a part of NACADA’s 30th Anniversary celebration, the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources has asked NACADA members to update and expand upon the most popular chapters in the 1995 publication, Academic Advising as a Comprehensive Campus Process. The overviews provide practical suggestions for establishing and
maintaining the kinds of positive connections across campus that will
lead to greater student persistence. These articles can be found online
in the Clearinghouse.
Also to celebrate NACADA’s 30th Anniversary, there will be a trivia game at the NACADA Exhibit Booth at the 2009 Annual Conference in San Antonio. Attendees who answer questions correctly will have the opportunity to win NACADA Bucks that can be exchanged for NACADA publications and products. Each month since January, the NACADA Highlights has featured questions and answers from categories included in the trivia game. The categories are: conference locations, NACADA Past Presidents, NACADA publications, conference keynote speakers, miscellaneous NACADA fun facts, and Get to know your NACADA Executive Office. Check the Highlights each month for questions and answers.
Our opening general session in San Antonio will be the start of our
Conference celebration – with a special Anniversary welcome from our
President Casey Self. After the keynote speaker, join us for our opening 30-year celebration reception!
Other exciting aspects of this year’s Conference are:
- dynamic keynote speakers with vast experience and expertise in student success of our multicultural students,
- our NACADA Choir celebrating its 11th anniversary with a musical celebration,
- 2nd Annual Common Reading with a focus on academic advising and the Latina student,
- 2nd Annual Silent Auction to support graduate student scholarships to regional conferences, and
- over 400 concurrent sessions!
I look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio!
Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
NACADA Memories: The Early Years
Margaret C. “Peggy” King, NACADA Past President
Thomas J. Grites , NACADA Past President
Peggy King: I was working as a Counselor at Ocean County College in Toms River, New
Jersey when my boss showed me the flier for the First National
Conference on Academic Advising in Burlington, Vermont. I was excited
because the major focus of my work at OCC was in the area of advising.
Tom Grites’ name was listed as a contact person, and he worked at
Stockton State College (now The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)
just south of OCC. I called Tom and asked if I could ride to Vermont
with him. We, literally, met for the first time at a rest area on the
Garden State Parkway – it was the start of a wonderful friendship!
That first conference was so exciting! There were 275 of us there. I
registered late so ended up in a different hotel and took a shuttle
back and forth for sessions.Toni Trombley was the woman with the vision. She and Tom Grites had talked at a
previous ACPA conference. Toni had realized the need for a national
conference on academic advising, so she took the ball and ran with it.
Tom Grites: It was not until we re-united with Toni in 2007 at
the NACADA Summer Institute in Burlington that I actually knew why she
planned that first conference. I invited Toni to say a few words at one
of the Institute’s opening sessions. She noted that her reason for having the first conference was that she
had just been appointed as Director of the Advising Center at the
University of Vermont, and she was tired of trying to contact people
across the country to see what they were doing. She had traveled to
several campuses and realized how costly and time-consuming that was;
she thought that it would be much more efficient and productive to
bring practitioners to her. What a brilliant strategy!
Peggy: I remember particularly a presentation by Dave Crockett, then with ACT. His session, “Modes and Models of Academic Advising,”
was so good and relevant. He presented that session at many conferences
thereafter until he retired.
Tom: I co-presented two conference workshops with Joe Metz, a former colleague at the University of Maryland where I was employed
when we submitted our proposals. For the first conference all
sessions were designed in a three-hour format, and ours were on
“Developing a Model for Academic Advising” and “Maximizing the Use of
I remember the ferryboat ride on Lake Champlain, where conference
participants enjoyed a buffet and dancing. I also remember that people
sat around the hotel lobby, or anywhere they could find a comfortable
spot, to discuss advising issues.
Peggy: By the end of the conference, there was much discussion about holding a
second conference and the need for a steering committee that would
look to the future. Individuals could join the steering committee if
they felt they could potentially host a conference. Tom and I decided
we could co-host one in Atlantic City, so we both joined. I was the
only person from a community college on the steering committee, and for
many years remained one of the few from that sector of the higher
education community who took an active role in NACADA leadership.
Tom: Driving back to New Jersey after that First Conference was an
interesting mix of exhaustion and enthusiasm. I’m sure it was the
latter that kept us awake for those ten hours. Soon the planning began
for the second conference.
Frank Dyer and Carl Chando of (then) Memphis State University obtained approval from their Vice
President to host the next conference in Memphis. As we planned for the
second conference, I knew I wanted to be involved with the
programming. I lobbied to be the Program Chair and continued in that
role for the next three conferences. My thinking was always that a new
professional association trying to make its mark in an area not
previously recognized needed a very strong conference program to draw
people to the conference and especially if a new national association
was to be formed and sustained.
All volunteers worked out of their offices using whatever resources
they could muster to make this work. The dedication was so obvious from
so many people. Peggy volunteered to be a program committee member;
during the next few months we put out a call for proposals. Since Peggy
and I were located near each other, I remember meeting in a mall to
review about 100 proposals for the second conference.
I also remember the discussions Toni and I had regarding a keynote
speaker for the second conference. I wanted someone with recognition,
but Toni was very budget conscious, as we only had the profits from the
first conference for planning. My recommendation was Alexander Astin,
so we called him from the Detroit Renaissance Center, site of the
1978 ACPA Conference that was attended by several steering committee
members. Toni argued that his fee was too high; I argued that the
recognition factor would bring attendees. Somehow, I prevailed, and
Toni took the financial risk.
Another example of my financial discussions with Toni was in 1979 in
Boston at yet another ACPA Conference, where we were approached by Ted
Miller, chair of the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS). He
asked us to join CAS and develop the Standards for academic advising,
since AcAfAd – an ACPA Commission and the only group that provided any
previous support for academic advising – was not eager to do so. The
cost to join was $100. However, we were not yet an association and had
no membership income; we operated only from the conference profits.
Again, somehow I prevailed on the rationale that if we didn’t write
these standards, someone else would.
Peggy: Thinking back on those steering committee meetings, I remember very
late night and early morning meetings as we worked on future
conferences and to form a national association. It was exciting, and we
didn’t mind the work. Early on there were strong feelings about making
sure we had regional representation as well as representation by
institutional type. When the first Board of Directors was formed, I
served as the two-year college representative, and Tom served as the
public college representative.
Tom: In 1979, when NACADA was officially chartered, Toni was elected as the
first president. By the next year, she had decided to return to
graduate school to pursue her Ph.D. and asked that I run for the
presidency. I had just published an AAHE-ERIC Research Report and Toni
felt that the recognition of that publication would be good publicity
for the new association. At the time, I really wanted to be the editor
of the upcoming NACADA Journal, but agreed and was elected as president for two one-year terms.
One glitch that initially occurred with my election was that I was also approached to run for a national leadership office –Chair of ACPA’s Commission I– since I had been involved with that association for several years. I
declined, but was persuaded to leave my name on the ballot so that an
election would not go uncontested. I WON!! Now what? Actually, I
managed to hold both offices but always knew where my heart was.
Peggy: I later became NACADA secretary (with memories of typing the minutes,
collating them, binding them and mailing them), vice president, and
eventually president. Back then, Board meetings were large gatherings
because of the desire to be inclusive. During my presidency, it was not
unusual to have 40–50 people in attendance. I took great pride in becoming the first community college person to assume that role.
Tom and Peggy: In addition to lots of meetings, those early memories include lasting friendships, wonderful meals (particularly Mr. C’s in Omaha where one Board member entertained the entire restaurant by playing the piano), fun experiences like visiting Graceland when we were in Memphis, and being photographed sitting in a race car in Indianapolis. As we got
organized, Tom began the practice of holding Board meetings in the
spring at the site of our next conference – a practice he had
experienced in his leadership capacity in ACPA. This allowed wonderful
opportunities to get to know different areas/cities with two visits.
The first of these mid-year Board meetings was held in Indianapolis in
the spring 1981, immediately after the ACPA Conference in Cincinnati.
Again many Board members had also attended the ACPA conference which was
relatively close by.
Of course, we could write volumes about our NACADA experiences, but
others have many stories to tell as well. These reflections seem to be
the norm for those of us who struggled through some of the early, more
difficult times. We loved every minute of it!
Margaret C. “Peggy” King
Associate Dean for Student Development
Schenectady County Community College
Thomas J. Grites
Assistant to the Provost
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Reflections on 30 Years of Membership in NACADA
Brenda Hart and Tom Brown, NACADA members
Brenda Hart , a NACADA Charter Member, currently
serves as Professor of Engineering Fundamentals and Director of
Student Affairs at J.B. Speed School of Engineering at Kentucky’s
University of Louisville. She has served as Chair of the NACADA
Multicultural Concerns Commission, Region 3 Representative, Editor of
the Academic Advising Newsletter, and 1991 National Conference
Brenda says: When I first think of NACADA, I recall
receiving an announcement in the mail of an upcoming conference on
academic advising to be held in Burlington, Vermont. Having been born
in western Massachusetts and spent many summers in the Berkshires, I
always jumped at the opportunity to return to New England, so I
registered for the conference and soon became a charter member of the
fledgling organization. I had no idea how much this would change my
At the time, I was relatively new in advising. My undergraduate degree
is in French, and I had earned a Master’s in College Student Personnel
Services–Counseling, but like so many of us, I had eased into an
advising role almost by accident. Becoming an active member of NACADA
provided me with expertise in the field and with a life-time of friends.
Even though I am no longer actively advising students, I treasure the
friendship and use the developmental advising techniques emphasized by
this professional organization.
When I reflect on my early involvement with NACADA, I also recall
issues of diversity and how my colleagues of color and I used to look
forward to getting together. This was long before we had a formal
commission or committee tied to diversity. We’d reconnect over meals
and during sessions, and we soon decided to formalize as a group. It
was vital that NACADA embrace issues related to diversity, so several
of us took on leadership roles and pressed to make sure our issues were
being addressed. We gave presentations on how best to work with
diverse student populations, and we spoke up at Board meetings. We
published articles in the NACADA Journal and in the Academic Advising Newsletter, and we made presentations at regional and national conferences. NACADA
became a special organization for us as we shared our individual
experiences and areas of expertise and made life-long friends. “Those
were the days.”
Tom Brown is currently the Managing Principal of
Thomas Brown & Associates. He served as NACADA Vice President for
Commissions in 1997-98, Region 9 Representative, Chair of the
Multicultural Concerns Commission, 1990 National Conference Co-chair,
and Summer Institute Faculty 1987-2008. He is the recipient of the 2000
Service to NACADA Award.
Tom recalls: In early fall of 1979, the Academic Vice President at Saint Mary’s College of California forwarded a notice about a conference on academic advising meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Several months earlier, the College had appointed me Dean of Advising Services/Special Programs, likely making me one of the first deans in the nation with advising as part of my title. Prior to my first NACADA conference, I attended meetings of the ACPA, NASPA, and other organizations, where I scoured the programs for sessions having anything to do with advising. There usually were few to none, and NACADA was a gift that would keep on giving!
My first impressions of that Omaha meeting have informed my involvement with the Association in the intervening three decades. The first was the genuinely welcoming and inclusive manner of the Association's leaders. People like Tom Grites,Toni Trombley, and Wes Habley brought their reputations to enhance the credibility of a fledgling
organization. However, they were friendly, accessible, and—to use a term
from the '70s—they were “for real.” There were no cliques or
hierarchies; only academic advisors trying to figure out how to do our
My second impression was the diversity of NACADA’s founding leadership. Among the founding members was Ed Jones, a distinguished University of Washington scholar who created the NACADA Journal. Brenda Hart, Judy Sanford Harris (Pine Manor College), Reginald Browne (University of San Francisco), Joan Nelson (Dartmouth) and Wenette Pegues (Langston U) served on the Board of Directors, while Washington State’s Bob Clayton was Parliamentarian.
In NACADA’s early days, “diversity” usually meant African-Americans, and people like Brenda, Judy, Skip Crownhart, Catherine Joseph, Sidney McPhee and Brian Stanley, made powerful contributions to NACADA. However, the Association also produced leaders like Juan Alvarez of Modesto Junior College, Kazi Mamun of USC, Evette Castillo of Cal State Hayward, Mario Rivas of San Francisco State, Kris Rugsaken of Ball State University, Carol Fimmen of Western Illinois, and Remy Sotto of Pima Community College. And Manuel “Buddy” Ramos provided distinguished leadership as a NACADA President.
Among my fondest memories were the annual gatherings of multicultural
advisors to which Brenda refers. We would search out restaurants in
conference cities that served good “ethnic food”—whether Ethiopian,
Mexican, or down home soul cooking. We would pass the word to folks we
knew and didn’t know, then gather in hotel lobbies for long walks,
shared taxi rides, or Metro trips. On the journeys and at dinner,
strangers became colleagues, then friends. We shared our triumphs and
frustrations; we talked about new ideas and successful programs; we
toasted children born, new jobs, and degrees completed. We returned
with a sense that NACADA was a place we could call our professional
home—a place where we would always be welcomed.
University of Louisville
Thomas Brown & Associates, LLC
Snapshots from 21 National Conferences: My World Before Digital Cameras
J.D. Beatty, NACADA Emeritus Charter Member
J.D. retired from formal academic advising and administrative
advising responsibilities at Iowa State University in September 2000,
after 30+ years of experience. He began as an academic adviser in the
Department of English, moved to college-level advising and leading the
liberal arts college Open Option Advising Center, and then added
chairing the University Academic Advising Committee and leading efforts
to make academic advising the keystone experience of the university’s
recruitment and orientation programming. In addition, he was a member
of the planning team that created the ISU Learning Communities Program,
a program whose instructors initially were composed of a number of
academic advisers. During his tenure, the university evolved from
mandatory admission into a major to the possibility of “open option”
admission, and the job title of professional adviser was created to
complement and strengthen the traditional faculty advising model.
Photos are now digitized, phone calls wireless, letters replaced by
electronic email, and casual conversation a tweet. Academic advisors
leverage every technology to enhance student satisfaction and
achievement but, most fundamentally, academic advisors are humans
assisting other humans in a myriad of ways—what is more important than
From Louisville until nearly the end of the 20th century, I was the
volunteer photographer for NACADA, the Association’s “paparazzi” if you
will, photographing speakers, session presenters, conference venues,
and award winners. Most of all, I was the guy who tried to catch
“candid shots” of the membership being human. I shot thousands of
pictures at nationals—many are in the Association’s archives and under
tight security to protect the guilty! The amazing feature, as I think
back about my 21 nationals, is that the prints I developed during my 15
or so paparazzi years, both as the unofficial and official
photographer, provide a record of members having fun, being confident
and committed to the Association, modeling collaboration and
community—even in spite of a few sibling squabbles.
My NACADA experience began in Omaha in 1979, a trip that was like going
home (though Wolfe asserts that is impossible), because I grew up on a
farm about 30 miles from the conference hotel. In many respects, that
conference felt like my home town—cozy, yet with an edge issue
(insufficient diversity in the leadership positions). There was
homogeneity of purpose—people committed to excellence in academic
advising, because it was the right thing to do; it could make a
difference in students’ lives. It was a group, as I remember, that
acknowledged the skeptics who populated their campuses. It had aspects
of a support program, and some sessions and break conversations
revealed an underlying theme: “My name is Pilgrim, and I’m an academic
advisor,” and in response, “Welcome, Pilgrim.” We were on this quest
together, but didn’t fully understand what it was that we were in to,
maybe a bit like Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.
From that first “hometown reunion,” NACADA gave me the opportunity to
explore an evolving vision of what academic advising was about and how
it could be delivered, an opportunity to travel from coast to coast and
to renew friendships with fellow pilgrims.
On the east coast there was Asheville, and a national office wasn’t
even a glimmer in someone’s eye. Imagine our Manhattan office as an
outgrowth of the Biltmore House. Besides the sessions and workshops and
networking, there was a beach in Miami, and I met Mickey in Orlando.
On the west coast, few “knew the way to San Jose”; only 310 attended. It
was a turning point. NACADA’s goals were never in question, but new
strategies were needed to make national conferences special. Four years
later in Seattle, we hit 800 and still had time to watch guys throw
salmon at the market; by Anaheim we were almost living in Cinderella’s
castle with more than 1000. Wow! This was big stuff for an Iowa boy.
We also journeyed to the heartland, places like Chicago (with deep-dish
pizza), Louisville (Maker’s Mark chocolate), and Houston (the Galleria
in Texas with an ice rink, who would have thought?) to search for
roots. The Association continued to evolve, the breadth of research and
practitioner advice melded, the impact of excellent academic advising
continually gained credibility and thus administrative support. What is
more American than a strategy to generate a long-term positive bottom
line? The Association took on the mocking criticism that it was
attempting to create a fantasy profession and has continued to succeed
in turning skeptics into believers.
Ah, these were heady times! We continued to work toward defining
excellent academic advising: we knew what it was when we saw it, to
paraphrase a justice of the Supreme Court dealing with another issue,
but it was tough to parse the interdependent elements of academic
advising and create a paradigm in order to develop a canon of research
on effectiveness in practice. Fortunately members did not give up and
today the fruits of those efforts are continuing to ripen.
The Association has developed a strategic plan for a robust future, a
plan that led to major reorganization assisted by an energetic national
office with outstanding leaders, a leadership development program, and
an academic credential program.
As I look at the past decade from the outside, one thought comes to
mind: we need to create an interest group for elder care of emeriti
members, assuming those of us in need could remember to attend!
As I reminisce and look at some photos, I am struck by
the youth, fitness and trim physiques—the “beautiful people” who have
given so much to NACADA. They are a great generation, and I am a better
person for having had the privilege to share time with them! The
current and future leadership are and will be equally gifted, so the
best continues to evolve.
That is my story and I’m sticking to it.
A Small but Loud Blip in NACADA History
Virginia Gordon, NACADA Past-President
Editor’s Note: The Virginia N. Gordon Award for Excellence in the Field of Advising, inaugurated in 1982, is annually presented to a NACADA member who has made significant contributions to the field of academic advising.
The early years of NACADA were full of interesting dilemmas, successes,
and experiments. As the third president of the burgeoning
organization, I (along with others) experienced many of NACADA’s growing
pains. As a group of volunteers working out of our campus offices
and homes, we sometimes lacked the means of communicating and
accomplishing our responsibilities efficiently. We managed to overcome
many of these difficulties, however, because of the commitment to build
the organization on the part of those involved. We were constantly
creating new policies, procedures, and precedents as the need arose. It was a fun and challenging time!
Many of the organizational policies, resources, and activities we now
take for granted were born out of the needs and concerns that appeared
in those early years. Often these issues surfaced because we were
still trying to build an organization that was responsive to advisors
who represented such a diverse group in background, position, and title
within so many different types of institutions. There were many issues
and procedures to be resolved during my tenure as president, but I
only have space to share a few that stand out in my memory.
One of the earliest problems was the lack of continuity from one “Board
of Directors” to the next. Information was passed on to newly elected
Board members in an uneven way, depending on old Board members’ filing
system (or lack of one) and their ability to meet with their
successor. Some new Board members had never seen the NACADA By-Laws or
their job description. It seemed obvious that we needed to provide a
more organized way to record information to improve this continuity. I
sent a questionnaire to all Board members prior to the 1983 Board
meeting asking them to write a job description and their short and long
range goals. At the next meeting, I gave each Board member a divided
notebook that contained everything we had on paper about NACADA up to
that point (e.g., By-Laws, policies, procedures, minutes, leadership directory, regional
map, a section for their particular position that contained their job
description and other information). How long this system lasted, I’m
not sure, but for awhile at least, we had important NACADA information
in one place to pass on.
Another related Board issue was who paid the expenses for members to
attend Board meetings. Since the organization was not flush with funds,
it was decided that Board members’ transportation be paid only for
mid-year Board meetings with no reimbursement for the meetings held at
the national conferences (that required coming early). For Board members
whose institutions did not reimburse them for any meeting (yes, there
were some that did not in those days!), it was a financial burden to
An issue that was constantly discussed was the role and
responsibilities of the Regional and Institutional representatives on
the Board. The original intent of creating Institutional Representatives
was to address the concerns of small colleges who feared large
universities would dominate the organization. The problems that ensued
from this arrangement were that the responsibilities for each group
were not clearly defined and often seemed to overlap. Several
representatives expressed frustration with this lack of direction.
Although general guides were developed, representatives of the same
type often interpreted their roles differently. This problem was
finally resolved years later when the establishment of Commissions and
Interest Groups replaced the institutional category.
Discussion also was held about the establishment of Regional meetings.
(Some institutional representatives also proposed meetings for the
seven institutional types). It was decided to endorse several regional
“pilot programs” in the Spring of 1984. NACADA would offer $700 “seed
money” to fund initial costs, to be repaid to NACADA after the
Another important discussion centered on minority representation in
NACADA. The appointment of a minority representative to the Board was
proposed. After considerable discussion, a Committee on Minority
Recruitment was established and a chair was appointed by the president.
This committee was charged with identifying and recruiting more
minority members and to organize a “Black Caucus” at the next national
Another important policy that was not clearly defined in the early
years was how to structure and conduct a nominating committee. Not much
was written at the time, so each new nominating committee chair
interpreted the procedure differently. The role and make-up of the
nominating committee was debated vigorously in 1983. Many questions
were raised (e.g., What procedures should be in place for soliciting candidates? Who
can nominate and how many candidates should there be per office? What
are the qualifications for each board position? Who can vote? Who
should serve on the nominating committee? How are they chosen?). These
are only a few of the questions that were raised. After considerable
debate at the spring Board meeting, the nominating committee’s chair
was asked to submit recommendations to the Board in the Fall.
Other examples of issues that were discussed at Board meetings during
my tenure included the inefficient way that sites were selected for
national conferences; the need for clearer policies about the NACADA
Awards Program, particularly for research awards; the need to purchase
computers to keep track of NACADA records and for the use of the Journal editor; interest in establishing relationships with other similar organizations (e.g., representatives from NODA and NASPA attended the Spring 1983 Board
meeting); the need to establish a placement committee; and interest in
determining the existence of graduate courses about academic advising. A
FIPSI Grant was submitted to establish a Consultants Bureau (denied).
There was even discussion about possible reorganization of the Board
because of continuing problems with continuity, overlap of Board terms,
and confusion about certain job descriptions.
If some of the issues described above sound familiar, it’s because we
are still trying to resolve or improve our approaches to many of them.
Looking back, it took many creative and committed people many hours to
organize and maintain this organization through its formative years.
Fortunately, we still have capable, dedicated members who are willing to
serve in leadership roles. Other writers of articles in this issue
of AAT describe the early periods in NACADA’s history from their
perspective. This article just highlights one small snippet of our
early years from one president’s memory. I feel honored to have been
part of helping to form the dynamic and responsive organization that
NACADA is today.
The Ohio State University
A Financial History of NACADA
Mike McCauley, NACADA Past President
Eileen McDonough, NACADA Past Treasurer
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director Emeritus
Editor’s Note: Past treasurers pictured are Frank Dyer, Wes Habley, Mike McCauley, Eileen McDonough, and Eric White.
As 2009 brings economic woes to the world, NACADA members can feel
secure in knowing that NACADA remains financially strong. This
strength is not by accident, but rather through the diligent work of
past Treasurers, Boards of Directors and the Executive Office, who put
the policies into place to create a firm financial base for the
Association. The underlying commitment to the membership to keep dues
affordable and to provide outstanding service and quality events at a
price that makes them accessible to all in education has proven to be the key to financial security.
From the beginning of the Association in 1979, when the membership fee was set at $25, members have found a “bargain” in NACADA. Today, 30 years later, the
membership fee is still the lowest among similar associations. Those
first 429 Charter Members sparked an Association that has grown to over
10,000 members, adding “quantity” to “quality” and making it
financially possible to continue to expand services to the members,
which in turn attracts more members.
Underlying this success has been the tremendous commitment of
volunteers to “run” the organization in its early years and to continue
to be involved in its development and governance after the
establishment of the Executive Office. The volunteer hours
contributed annually – by members currently in leadership positions, as
well as countless others working on committees, task forces, advisory
boards, review panels, commissions, and interest groups; in Regions;
and in a variety of other less formal activities – are astounding.
During the Association’s fledgling years, the Board of Directors and
volunteer leaders worked hard to provide some basic services –
newsletter, journal, national conference – with primarily dues and
conference income. They contracted with Kansas State University’s
Conference Office to manage the newly formed Association’s Annual
Conference, beginning in 1979. (As explained by others in this
publication, the first two national conferences were held before the
Association was formally organized). This arrangement provided
additional operating income. As the Conference grew, net conference
income and membership also grew.
With continually increasing members, the volunteers realized in 1988
that they were soon not going to be able to keep up with the operating
demands of the Association nor adequately meet the members’ needs. In
anticipation of added costs for the operation of an Executive Office,
the Board of Directors increased the membership fee and added a
surcharge to the Annual Conference registration fee, then began the
process of establishing an Executive Office. Their foresight was
commendable in that it provided a stable financial base for an Executive
Director and a secretary. Fortunately, Kansas State University’s
interest in housing the Executive Office also provided some financial
benefits for the Association through salary assistance and contributed
space. This contribution by Kansas State University has added greatly to the continued financial success of the Association.
Bobbie Flaherty was hired as the first Executive Director because she had been running NACADA’s conferences through the KSU Conference Center; the Annual Conference was brought in-house in 1991. Nancy Barnes was hired to coordinate the Conference and produced increased net
income from the Conference annually, which further contributed to the
financial stability of the Association. The Board of Directors quickly
realized that as Executive Office responsibilities were increased,
providing additional services to the members, annual net income
continued to increase. Conservative budgeting along with skilled
management led to increased professional development opportunities as
well as increased service to members. As the annual income grew and
Association reserves steadily increased, Flaherty kept a vigilant watch
over the fiscal resources of NACADA and assisted the Board in
understanding the financial nuances of the Association and wisely, with
the approval of the Treasurer, invested NACADA’s reserves so that the
Association earned income. This income was used to support research,
awards, and special projects like the NACADA Journal. It also enabled the publication of NACADA’s early resources for advisors.
Under the leadership of Treasurers Mike McCauley and Eileen McDonough, the budgeting process moved from a guessing game to one of “project
based” budgeting, where each request was tied to a project and
supported by past or projected data. The budget process was also
enhanced by the establishment of Board policy to ascertain that all
expenses were justified and approved within specific guidelines. This
process was very transparent, so that the entire Board (then over 40
members) could view how the different cost centers were allotted funds
and how the cost centers were held accountable for their expenditures. Having a well informed Board helped perpetuate NACADA programmatically
and fiscally. NACADA’s fiscal resources grew as a result of Bobbie
Flaherty’s vigilance over income and expenses, as well as her astute
resource investment. This led to the development of specific financial reports to the Board on a regular basis and eventually to annual audits.
For many years, ACT, Inc. supported the Association through sponsorship
of the initial NACADA Awards Program, which provided visibility for
the Association through a recognition and reward program for advisors
and advising. ACT also developed the Summer Institute on Academic
Advising prior to relinquishing its management to the Executive
Office. In addition, ACT, The College Board, and ETS provided initial
funding of the original Faculty Advising Training Video, and each was
reimbursed from sales income within the first year of its
availability. Also, many members have contributed their professional
talents as instructors at professional development events and as
consultants. The commitment of these entities to NACADA has
strengthened it both professionally and financially.
The skillful financial management of the organization’s treasurers has
assured that NACADA has been true to its commitment to its members to
be a good steward of their money and to invest it in the development of
additional services to continue to ensure that they can best focus on
the development of students in higher education globally.
Director of Academic Systems
Ball State University
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty
NACADA Executive Director Emeritus
Kansas State University
Evolution of NACADA's Executive Office
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director Emeritus
It was late in the fall of 1978 when Frank, Billie, Toni, and Bobbie engaged in a telephone conversation about the management of the 1979 NACADA national conference. Toni Trombley had hosted a national conference on academic advising in Burlington, Vermont, in 1977, and Frank Dyer had hosted a second one in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1978. These
conferences led to the grassroots movement to establish the National
Academic Advising Association, which was being incorporated in Vermont;
leaders were preparing to hold the first Association-sponsored
conference. Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty was Director of Conferences for Kansas State University (KSU) and was
planning a bid to manage the conference for the Association in Omaha in
October 1979. Billie Jacobini was to become the first Association secretary. That first meeting
between Bobbie and the Association leaders eventually led to the KSU
Conference Office managing all but one of the Association’s national
conferences from 1979 thru 1990. It also led to interest at KSU in
housing the NACADA Executive Office in 1989.
In early 1988, the NACADA Board of Directors recognized the need to establish an Executive Office to handle the Association’s ever growing membership and financial tasks. This set into motion a plan to fund an Executive Office and solicit bids for hosting it within a higher education institution. The Board issued a request for proposals and distributed it throughout the Association. Bids were received and among them was one from Kansas State University’s College of Education, prepared by (then) Associate Dean Michael Holen and Bobbie Flaherty. Dean Holen made the generous offer to provide space, furniture, and salary assistance.
The NACADA Executive Office selection committee visited Dean Holen at
KSU and determined that with Bobbie Flaherty serving as Executive
Director, KSU would be the site of the NACADA Executive Office. The
Executive Office was established in two offices in Bluemont Hall on the
KSU campus on July 1, 1990, when NACADA membership stood at 2400.
Bobbie Flaherty was Executive Director and Joan Kohake was Secretary. NACADA’s Immediate Past President, Gary Kramer, was assigned to serve as liaison to the office and made it
clear that the Executive Office’s only tasks for the first year would
be to coordinate membership records and renewals and assume
responsibility for all financial transactions of the Association. Bobbie
traveled to Muncie, Indiana, to learn about and transfer the
membership records system and financial records from (then) Association
Treasurer, Mike McCauley. Bank accounts were transferred to a Manhattan, Kansas bank as well.
While establishing procedures during the first year, Bobbie knew the financial advantage of managing the Annual Conference and began the planning needed for the Executive Office to assume its management. The Board approved hiring Nancy Barnes on a half-time appointment to coordinate the Conference. A student from
KSU Hotel and Restaurant Management Program was an intern who assisted
with the meeting planning details, and Dean Holen provided a graduate
assistant to work in the Executive Office. As time went on additional
responsibilities were transferred to the Executive Office, and NACADA
membership continued to grow.
By 1995, membership had grown to 4400, and the Executive Office managed
the Summer Institute, debuted the NACADA Web site, and coordinated
production of the NACADA Journal. Diane Matteson was the first of several employees hired to assist with the expanding
responsibilities of the Executive Office; responsibilities that allowed
volunteers to focus on providing leadership rather than labor. As the
Association grew, so did the need for coordination of services to
members. Gradually the Executive Office expanded to include current employees: Rhonda Baker, Judy Weyrauch, Julia Wolf, Bev Martin, Charlie Nutt,
Marsha Miller, Cara Wohler, Leigh Cunningham, Farrah Turner, Gary
Cunningham, Maxine Coffey, Victor Holt, Michelle Holaday, Jennifer Rush, and a cadre of student assistants. A partnership with NCAA added Jenifer Scheibler.
In 2007, Bobbie Flaherty became Executive Direct Emeritus and began a
five-year phased retirement. Charlie Nutt took over the reins as
Executive Director. In 2009, the Executive Office handles:
- 10,000+ memberships
- a database supporting the management of the Association
- administration of the Association’s Web site and listservs
- NACADA Journal coordination and printing of the semi-annual
- development of the monthly “Highlights”
- Academic Advising Today coordination and distribution of the Association e-zine,
- annual Association elections
- the Speakers and Consultants Service
- support to the Board of Directors and Council
- coordination of 23 Commissions and 18 Interest Groups
- liaison to 10 Regions and regional conference assistance
- development and delivery of Webcasts
- coordination or publication of professional books, monographs, videos, CDs, DVDs, and pocket guides
- marketing of Association products and services
- NACADA Clearinghouse on Academic Advising Resources coordination, expansion, and updates to the
- maintenance of the Association’s archives
- management of the Annual Conference for over 3,000 attendees
- management of two Summer
Institutes on Academic Advising, an Administrators’ Institute, and an
Assessment of Advising Institute, along with a winter Seminar
- member inquiries for information
- the Association annual budget of over $2 million.
Most importantly, the staff of Executive Office strives to provide the
most efficient, effective, and friendly service to NACADA members!
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty
Kansas State University
Task Force on Adult Student Advisors: Providing the Stimulus for Organizational Change
Cheryl Polson, NACADA Charter Member and Commission on Advising Adult Learners Past Chair
At a time when the primary focus of higher education institutions was the recruitment and retention of the 18-to-22 year old college student, NACADA had the vision to examine the advising needs of the adult student. Although other organizations had already created specific units devoted to the professional development needs of individuals working with adult learners, their membership remained consistently low and rather uninspired to become more actively involved in changing the campus climate for adult learners. Through an energized and empowered membership, NACADA emerged as a critical support for adult learner advocates. The history of NACADA’s commissions, and specifically the Advising Adult Learners Commission, is a true testament of the organization’s willingness to listen to its constituents.
In 1984, NACADA was only five years old and truly offered the benefits
associated with being a relatively young association in its flexibility
to respond to the professional needs of its membership. While it would
be impressive to boast that a grand vision guided the development of
this Task Force, which was the precursor to the Advising Adult Learners
Commission, it could more accurately be described as pure accident.
National Conference attendees whose primary responsibility revolved
around working with students who were older than the average college
student seemed to move en masse to every conference session that included the word “adult” in its
title. It was as though advisors of adult students had finally
discovered a professional home for which we had all been searching.
The impetus to formalize what had become an informal professional network began at a roundtable discussion. Chuck Connell, the 1984 NACADA President, was asked by 12 NACADA members to initiate
the formation of a Task Force on Advising Adult Students. The initial
Task Force meeting was held during the 1985 National Conference, where
small group discussions led to the identification of the unit’s goals.
Raising the consciousness of all advisors to the special needs of
adult learners was viewed as the most critical goal. To accomplish
this goal, we felt it was imperative that a working definition of adult
learner be established. The 1986 NACADA Task Force Report on Advising
Adult Learners (Polson,et.al, 1986) suggested that the general
definition of the adult learner in contemporary society was, “A person
who is a high school graduate or holder of a GED, and who has been away
from formal education for at least two years. The person may hold
either a full- or part-time job, have established his/her own home and
assumed roles other than that of student. The adult learner is often a
part-time learner since education is often not his/her primary concern.” The full report
establishes the rationale for integrating the various factors
considered in this definition and purposefully avoids assigning the
term “non-traditional student” to this increasing student clientele.
The report’s authors hoped to dissuade institutions from mislabeling
the adult learner in that they were convinced that the future would
find the number of adult learners as prevalent as traditional college
An additional goal of the Task Force was to conduct a national survey
to determine to what degree and in what way institutions were
responding to adult learners on their campuses. In 1986, this
landmark study was summarized in the Task Force Report, which remained a
top selling NACADA resource for over a decade. It was also submitted
and accepted by ERIC (ED277902). A more thorough examination of the
survey findings as they pertained to the impact of administrative
support and institutional type on adult learner services was submitted
and accepted for publication in the NACADA Journal (Polson & Eriksen, 1988). Other Task Force efforts included the
publication of the Academic Advising News-Critical Issues in Advising
Adult Learners (1988), the publication of an issue of the NACADA Journal focused on adult learners (1989), and adult learner tracks at NACADA’s national and regional conferences.
The above efforts contributed to a major increase in the Task Force’s visibility, resulting in approximately 25 percent of the NACADA membership becoming members in this vital unit. Clearly, this proactive Task Force could no longer be viewed as a “temporary” unit of NACADA. The Spring 1988 Task Force Board report requested Board approval to become a permanent unit of the organization. This request was made at a time when NACADA was experiencing growing pains and forced the first examination of the organizational structure. I remember the Board discussions as being rather heated, with some original board members unwilling to support the formation of Commissions. They argued that while Commissionsmight be a suitable alternative because they would serve the needs of a large group of the membership or the long term interests of the Association, there was the inherit danger that the Commissions would become more important to the membership than the parent organization. However, the existing NACADA structures seemed inappropriate. Task Forces were seen as being temporary structures formed to accomplish a specific task within a given time frame, and standing committees were viewed as permanent committees of the organization focusing on operational issues. Related issues revolved around who would attend mid-yearBoard meetings and the additional costs associated with an increasing board membership. Unable to resolve these issues, the Board voted to make the Adult Learner Task Force an ad hoc committee. After further Board debates, the first Commissions were established at the Fall 1988
Board meeting. Spring 1989 Board minutes include Commission Board
reports submitted by the Adult Learner Commission, the Minority Concerns
Commission, Advising as a Profession/Placement Commission, and the
Almost 25 years ago, NACADA became a professional lifeline for many of
us who felt a unique isolation on our campuses as we were often the
lone adult learner advocate. NACADA provided us the opportunity to
network professionally while raising higher educations awareness of
this underserved student clientele. At first glance this may seem
insignificant to NACADA’s history, but the resulting organization
change this unit would later stimulate has had a lasting impact. Today
NACADA has 23 Commissions, two of which were created as recently as
2008. Responding to changing membership needs continues to be a
strength that has served NACADA well these past three decades.
Associate Dean-Graduate School
Kansas State University
Recollections of the First Summer Institute
Wes Habley, NACADA Past President
Editor’s Note: In the February 2006 edition of this publication, we took a “Walk Down Memory Lane” for the 20th anniversary of the Academic Advising Summer Institutes. In this edition, Wes Habley recalls their beginnings.
Just imagine participating in a 6-day professional development activity
that focused entirely on academic advising. Then, think about the fact
that this professional development activity included all materials,
five nights lodging and 15 meals for the amazing registration fee of
$400. These were the costs of attending the first Summer Institute in
June of 1987 at the University of Iowa. Although inflation has taken
its toll, the low fee was the result of working with the University of
Iowa Center for Conferences and the faculty of the College of
Education. Because of that relationship, use of the University hotel
and meals were all provided at cost and the facility utilization fee
The low cost and burgeoning excitement about the field of advising
attracted 56 individuals to attend that first ACT Summer Institute. The
Institute was described as a “…participative, action-oriented, and
in-depth exploration of the issues and concerns expressed by college
administrators.” Many of those who attended were already known to the
advising community and, although many have since retired, they
continued to make significant contributions to the field long after
attending the Institute. The format for the first Institute included
many of the approaches still in place today: general sessions,
workshops, concurrent sessions, small group discussion, and development
of participant action plans. And, the major presentations at the first
Institute included topics that continue to be mainstays on the current
Institute agenda. They included key concepts in advising, delivery of
advising services, assessment, training, recognition, and change. Even
though the major topics remain the same, the content of those early
presentations has evolved significantly over time. And, as advising
issues have continued to change, new topics and workshops have been
added while others have long since disappeared.
The Institute was led by a group of core faculty members, several of whom are still active in advising today: Virginia Gordon from the Ohio State University, Peggy King from Schenectady County Community College, Michael Keller from Aquinas College, Wes Habley from ACT, and Sarah Looney from George Mason University. In addition, David Crockett (ACT) and David Jepsen (University of Iowa) also participated as general session presenters.
The first Institute also set in motion a tradition which, when a body
of water is nearby, continues with every Institute. For the final
night’s social activity, Institute participants hopped on a cruiser bus
and headed for a riverboat dinner cruise on the Mississippi River. An
added feature of the Mississippi River cruise was entertainment and
dancing to the music of ‘Electronic Leroy.’ Rock ‘n Roll, Disco, show
tunes – you name it, and ‘Electronic Leroy’ could play it. Since then, Lake Champlain, Lake Michigan, the Colorado River, and the James River have served as venues for the Summer Institute cruise.
The excitement generated by the Institute was evident in participant evaluation comments:
- “The best buy for the money and the best organized conference I have attended in over 25 years as a professional.”
- “One of the best learning experiences I have ever had.”
- “My small group was one of the best support groups ever. Sharing was at an optimum.”
- “The presentations were outstanding --- so much information was covered and all so relevant.”
This positive reception clearly indicated that there was great interest in the field of advising.
The Summer Institute continued to be offered annually at the University
of Iowa through 1992, when a number of circumstances resulted in
moving to various sites around the country in the years following.
Those concerns included:
- termination of an at-cost arrangement with the University of Iowa,
- demand for the Institute exceeded the 75 person capacity of the University hotel,
- requests to rotate locations so that more people could participate without major transportation costs, and
- program management transference from ACT to the NACADA Executive Office.
Twenty-three years, twenty-eight Institutes and nearly 4,000
participants are testimony to the value of the Summer Institute as one
of the cornerstones of NACADA’s comprehensive professional development
ACT State Organizations
Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarships are presented
annually as a professional development experience to selected NACADA
members who demonstrate involvement in national, regional, state and/or
local advising organizations and exhibit the potential for national
NACADA Comes Out: Early Initiatives to Value GLBT Members
Randy Jedele, LGBTA Concerns Commission Past Chair
The 1997 NACADA Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin was my first
exposure to the Association. It was a great learning experience, and I
formed life-long friendships, as well as participated in professional
networking opportunities. However, one of my concerns during that week
was that there was no teaching about, no references to, and no
acknowledgement of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered (GLBT)
students. However, true to its genuine interest in member concerns and
issues, the NACADA Executive Office responded and informed me that
there was a Gay and Lesbian Interest Group. I attended their meeting at
the Annual Conference in Kansas City.
At this Interest Group meeting, we discussed becoming a Commission.
However, it was very apparent at this meeting that if anyone was going
to do the paperwork – which meant establishing a rationale for creating
the Commission, identifying clear goals, noting how the Commission
would expand NACADA’s diversity, writing a first-year action plan,
outlining a two-year strategic plan, and naming the first Commission
Chair – then I would be the one to move this Interest Group into
Commission status. I felt becoming a Commission was important because it
would bring a GLBT voice to the NACADA Board.
One important decision made while preparing to become a Commission was
determining the name of the Commission. We intentionally named the
Commission the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Allies (LGBTA) Concerns Commission. Our intention was to be inclusive and include our allies, because we
knew that most of our colleagues in NACADA are not gay, lesbian,
bisexual, or transgendered. As allies, these members support our
concerns and interests in understanding the potential problems and
developmental/identity issues that students in this population may face
when being advised about major and career choices.
From my experience serving on several college committees and leading
various initiatives, I knew that our first step was to create our
Commission’s mission. In preparation for writing our rationale and
identifying goals, we established the following as our mission:
- EDUCATE the NACADA membership about the myths and concerns that confront gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.
- ENCOURAGE conversations among the NACADA membership
about sexual orientation and gender identification and its
relationship to issues in advising, education/career planning,
curriculum, and retention.
- ESTABLISH a supportive environment where NACADA
members can discuss and address homophobia and hetero sexism in their
institutions and in NACADA.
- ENABLE NACADA members who are LGBTA to network with each other at regional and national conferences.
Through the years, it has been exciting to monitor how the LGBTA
Commission has lived its mission. Commission members have presented
at several regional and national conferences, coordinated national
preconference workshops, and developed print and electronic resources.
The presentations have focused on educating advisors on how best to
work with and advise students who have sexual orientation and gender
concerns or issues. In addition to conference presentations, Commission
members have offered Safe Zone trainings at regional and national
conferences. Both editions of Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook included sections on advising gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Two other NACADA publications, Academic Advising: New Insights for Teaching and Learning in the First-Year and Advising Special Populations, have entire chapters devoted to advising GLBT students. The NACADA
Webcast “Shared Responsibilities: What Advisors and Administrators Need
to Know to Better Assist GLBTQA Students' educated participants, and
several articles in the Web-based NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources discuss pertinent topics.
In addition to these presentations and publications, the LGBTA Commission provides other resources on its Web site. These advising resources are in the following categories: advisors,
students, allies, studies, and careers. The site also has a “Colleague
on Call” program. The purpose of this link is “to offer a referral
resource for advisors and administrators who have a quick question or
need a reliable referral.” The Commission also provides a listserv for
its members and allies.
As NACADA turns 30, it can be proud of its focus on diversity and
inclusion by having an LGBTA Concerns Commission. By doing so, NACADA
has allowed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered advisors to come
out and not remain in the closet as a hidden minority. NACADA has
embraced the importance of understanding the needs and developmental
issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students, and
NACADA has advanced academic advising into the twenty-first century of
inclusivity. The LGBTA Commission will never be a large Commission within NACADA, but nevertheless, the Commission
brings an important voice and essential message to academic advising
throughout the Association.
Chair of Humanities
Des Moines Area Community College
NACADA Organizational Structure
Elizabeth “Betsy” McCalla-Wriggins, NACADA President 2002-2003
Ruth Darling, NACADA President 2004
Eric R. White, NACADA President 2005
Jo Anne Huber, NACADA President 2006
As we have seen in other articles in this publication, NACADA was
incorporated in Vermont in 1979 with 429 members and 18 members on the
Board of Directors. Twenty years later, in 1999, there were 5318
members in the Association and more than 50 members on the Board. While
not all Board members had voting rights, they all attended the meetings
and had a voice in discussions where there was much conversation
regarding who should speak and who should vote as representatives of
different member constituencies. The Board also spent a large portion
of its meeting time on operational issues, which resulted in limited
time allocated to strategic planning for the Association. Therefore, at
the Fall 1999 Board meeting in Denver, President-elect Betsy McCalla-Wriggins (Rowan University) was appointed to chair a Task Force to investigate
possible restructuring of the Association to better address these
The Task Force, made up of Board representatives, explored numerous
reorganization options. These were first presented to the Board and
then to the full Association membership in 2000 via a white paper.
Forums were held at all regional meetings so members could ask
questions and provide suggestions regarding the proposed structural
changes. At its 2001 mid-year meeting, the Board approved the new
structure and in May 2001, members voted on the restructure proposal
and By-Law changes with 96 percent of those voting approving the
The next year, under the leadership of President Betsy
McCalla-Wriggins, the Board focused on developing implementation
strategies so that the new structure would be fully operational by Fall
2002. During this time, the major implementation and transitional
challenges revolved around issues of change. Taking the risk to operate
in a different manner can be difficult; it takes time to develop new
ways to respond and think. However, the growth of the Association, both
in members and in services, certainly suggests that the creation of a
new structure was a wise decision.
Ruth Darling (University of Tennessee) served under the new
structure as the first Vice President of the reorganized Board and as
Chair of the Council (2002–2003); she then was elected as President
(2003-2004). The years of “transition” (2002–2004) represented a time
to redefine roles and purposes as well as provide needed support so
that the newly elected and appointed leaders could fully implement the
approved NACADA structure and By-Laws. One critical transition issue was to help the Executive Director and
Executive Office staff establish good working relationships with the
new Board, the Council (made up of division representatives), and
advisory board members. Strengthening of these relationships helped
build an Association infrastructure that today supports the work of
these various groups and the programming resulting from their work.
Serving as the first Vice President of the Board (and the Council’s
Chair), and then as President under the new structure, gave Ruth Darling the opportunity to involve many members in the building
process. The change in structure and the resulting changes in By-Laws
provided new leadership opportunities for members at the national level
as well as engaged both new and returning leaders in the Association’s
work – thus better serving the Association and focusing on NACADA’s
mission and goals. We emphasized strategic decision making, policy
design, programming, and program content; the Executive Office then
supported the day-to-day operations and program implementation as our
growing Association provided more resources to serve its members.
NACADA flourished under the new structure. The Council and advisory
boards supported an “expanded” and more participatory leadership and
quickly provided the context for innovative programming and member
services. During this time, membership reached 8,000 members and this
translated into an increase in Regional Conference participation and
attendance at NACADA conferences, institutes and seminars. The Academic
Advising Graduate Certificate program was inaugurated and grew to more
than 200 students. The expanded NACADA Web site, with the inclusion of
the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources quickly grew to be considered the premier Web resource on academic
advising within higher education. Partnerships with other higher
education associations and groups (e.g., Association of American Colleges & Universities, National Collegiate
Athletics Association, National Association of Academic Advisors for
Athletics, and The National Resource Center for the First-Year
Experience and Transition Issues) were formalized as common goals and
mutual benefits were established.
Also in transition were NACADA’s various publications, including the NACADA Journal. The newly established Publications Advisory Board, along with
support from the Executive Office staff, focused on the effective
delivery of information to members through the NACADA Journal, the Academic Advising Newsletter, the monograph series, and other publication venues. New co-editors of the NACADA Journal were appointed with the expressed goal of providing the higher education
community with the premier journal of research on academic advising.
Reorganization of the NACADA administrative structure resulted in the establishment of one-year presidencies, and Eric White (Pennsylvania State University) took the reins next. For one-year
presidents, time is of the essence. White focused on sustaining the
future of the organization, working collaboratively with the Executive
Office, and taking on “big picture” issues. As the second of the
one-year presidents and as the former NACADA treasurer, White was
convinced that growth in membership and a successful Annual Conference
were essential to the future of the Association. Consequently, there
was much discussion on how to grow our membership, and especially how
to be more strategic in our approach. Were there advisors we were not reaching? Which advisors were more likely to join the association? How do we retain members? We did not always have the answers, but we sensed that there were many
advisors in American higher education (indeed, across the globe) who
were not members of the Association. And indeed, there were advisors
who were not even aware of NACADA.
The membership effort paid off as the Association continued steady
growth. Perhaps driven by a reasonable annual dues structure and a
continual effort to assure the visibility of NACADA, the membership
roster grew to more 10,000. Is more growth possible? No doubt it is,
but the same challenges remain, including coordination of Annual
Conferences for increasing number of attendees.
Running an Annual Conference is a monumental task. Much of the success
of a conference is determined by its location. As much as we want to
believe that advisors will attend a NACADA Annual Conference at any
location, attendance records indicate that some cities are more popular
than others. White’s presidency concluded with a second visit to Las
Vegas (the NACADA Annual Conference was previously held there in 1994),
with more than 3300 in attendance.
Several new initiatives were realized in 2005-06, which proved to be a successful year for the Association and its members under the leadership of President Jo Anne Huber (University of Texas at Austin). One initiative, “Building the Next
Generation of Academic Advisors,” was designed to embrace and connect
with our newest members (those with fewer than three years of advising
experience), and proved fruitful. The New Advising Professionals
Interest Group was established and has steadily grown, and a topical
monograph (The New Advisor Guidebook) has been published. The Academic Advising Summer Institute celebrated
its 20th year, and a scholarship was named for its founder, Wesley R. Habley. A Task Force co-chaired by Eric White and Ruth Darling
finalized the “Concept of Academic Advising,” which is proudly
displayed on our Web site.
Partnership discussions begun earlier by Ruth Darling with the National
Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) were finalized and unveiled.
NCAA President Miles Brand was present at the 2006 Annual Conference in
Indianapolis to publicly voice his pleasure in this joint endeavor. To
further promote the international dream of Eric White, (then) NACADA
Associate Director Charlie Nutt spoke at the annual conference of the Counseling Arabia Association in
the United Emirates and was asked to speak again the following year.
Additionally, NACADA was asked to provide the keynote speaker for the
Second Annual Conference on Personal Tutoring (academic advising)
sponsored by the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom. Since
then, there has been a jointly sponsored International Conference
yearly, rotating between the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Board of Directors was also pleased to focus on the issue of
diversity and what it means to our Association. The Board voted to
define diversity from a broad perspective, which includes diversity in
regard to ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, as
well as diversity in regard to institutional type, institutional size,
and employment position. This definition provided the foundation for
our work internationally and for the Emerging Leaders Program.
The Emerging Leaders Program, the brainchild of former Vice President Elaine Borrelli, was guided through the Council and Finance Committee by Vice President Jane Jacobson and sent to the Board for final approval. The first class of
leaders/mentors was chosen for 2007, and the program has steadily
proven its worth.
As is evident from the many initiatives described here, the
restructuring of the Association has led to enhanced services for
NACADA’s 10,000+ members. Members are well represented through 23
Commissions, 18 Interest Groups, 10 Regions, as well as on seven
committees and nine advisory boards. Their collective issues and
program ideas are presented and thoroughly discussed by the Council,
which then makes recommendations to both the Executive Office and the
Board of Directors. Even with this large number of members, the nine
members on the Board of Directors have the opportunity to engage in
strategic planning to ensure that the Association is well positioned to
meet the needs of advisors not only today, but well into the future.
When reflecting on the issues that led to restructuring, it is apparent
that the reorganization has accomplished its goals….to make NACADA
more responsive and provide more services to its members, to engage
more members in the work of the Association, to make the advising
professional more visible, and to strategically plan for the future of
Elizabeth “Betsy” McCalla-Wriggins
Director Emeritus, Career and Academic Planning Center
Associate Vice Provost
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Eric R. White
Executive Director, Division of Undergraduate Studies
Pennsylvania State University
Jo Anne Huber
Senior Academic Advisor
University of Texas-Austin
The Emergence of the Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes
Susan Campbell, NACADA Past President
The Baby AND the Bath Water
For NACADA, the Summer Institute has been, and perhaps always will be, the centerpiece of the curriculum-based professional development the Association offers its members. However, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as institutional interest in academic advising began to grow seemingly exponentially, the need to support those in administrative positions became apparent. In much the same way that the first annual conference and, indeed, the Association itself were the result of a conversation between concerned
individuals, so, too, the conceptual framework for the first NACADA
Administrators’ Institute was the result of a conversation between
advising administrators and the newly appointed Associate Director of
NACADA,Charlie Nutt. During that conversation—which was, not surprisingly given NACADA’s
culinary reputation, at dinner—we designed a 2 ½ day institute that
focused on leadership, management, training & development, and the
financial/budgetary issues that advising administrators face on a daily
basis. Central to the institute was the development of an action plan;
something we borrowed from the Summer Institute and an element that
has become the hallmark of all NACADA institutes. So, after that dinner,
we were off and running!
The inaugural Administrators’ Institute was scheduled for February of 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. We thought that if we were able to attract 100 participants we would consider the Institute a success. Four hundred participants and two back-to-back Institutes later, we knew, without a doubt, that there was a need within the Association membership for organized professional development in this area!
The participants at this first set of Institutes provided great
feedback to use in planning for the future. While satisfied with the
content and format of the Institute, they expressed a desire to have
more in-depth materials and discussions on topics of particular
interest, such as technology, faculty advising, and assessment. As a
result of this feedback, the next year a 1 ½ day “seminar” was added to
the Institute. Our thought was that each year, we would sponsor a
shorter seminar on a salient topic. Given the increasing interest in
assessment within the academy, we decided that the first “seminar”
topic should be assessment.
Frankly, this is when things got really interesting! First, we enlisted the support of Peggy Maki to serve on our curriculum team. Maki is an internationally known expert on assessment and author of Assessing for Student Learning (Stylus Publications, 2004). We wanted to make sure our design was
grounded and “on target.” Our initial plans to have a single presenter
for the “seminar” needed revision when, two months before the seminar,
the person we identified was not able to participate. In retrospect,
had it not been for this change, the NACADA Guide to Assessment in Academic Advising might not have been written! The seminar team (Charlie Nutt, Vicki McGillin, Tom Grites, Rich Robbins, and I) developed and piloted the Guide during the first seminar. As
with the first Administrators’ Institute, our participant registration
goals were modest; like the Institute, we exceeded those goals with
more than 250 registrants. The “Seminar” ran for a second time the next
year, again with an enrollment of more than 250 participants. Thus, the
decision was made to transform the assessment “seminar” into the
Assessment Institute and link it with the Administrators’ Institute. Of
course, we kept on the 1 ½ day “seminar” for more in-depth topic
consideration of another salient topic too!
The Importance of the Institutes
The Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes provide
opportunities for networking as well as time for reflection and action
plan development. Their value is in their design as “working”
institutes: places where administrators develop strategies to address
key campus issues and support of student success, and places where
plans are developed to reframe academic advising as integral to the
teaching and learning missions of our institutions.
The designs of both Institutes are reviewed, revised, and refined based
on participant feedback and emerging needs within the academy. This
approach to program development is intentional and intended to ensure
that the topics addressed are timely. In addition, in much the same way
that we must address the individual learning needs of our students, we
also must understand and be responsive to the individual growth and
development of our members. As a result, the Advisory Boards for each
Institute have adapted and, as appropriate, expanded curriculum to be
responsive to the needs of administrators with varying levels of
The “seminars” have become NACADA’s program development incubators,
where ideas are shaped into programmatic initiatives, refined, and then
positioned within the Association where they make the most sense.
As examples, the assessment “seminar” transformed into an Institute and
the “seminar” on faculty advising was repositioned and connected with
the Summer Institute—simply because it made more sense to be held at a
time when faculty might actually be able to attend!
NACADA at Its Best
NACADA is an association committed to advancing student
learning and development. As such, it has a responsibility to identify
professional development opportunities that support and enrich academic
advising practice. The pathway to the emergence of both the
Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes outlined above represents
NACADA at its best:
- an Association responsive to identified needs as defined by “those in the field”,
- an Association that draws
upon the expertise of its members/practitioners to develop exemplary
programs to enhance and enrich the student experience, and
- an Association that is
reflexive, adaptive, and, most importantly, agile in its ability to
adjust and reframe programs and services in light of the needs of its
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
University of Southern Maine
NACADA's Tradition of Celebrating Excellence in Advising
Jayne Drake, NACADA President-Elect
It is one of the most important components in a wide array of NACADA initiatives in support of student success. It is an acknowledgement of the importance of sound academic advising on our campuses, and it is an important means of lauding the innovative and thoughtful strategies advisors employ to engage students in their own learning. NACADA’s Awards Program every year salutes the accomplishments of advising professionals and
the innovations of advising programs on campuses everywhere. In the
early months of every new year, NACADA’s Awards Committee receives
scores of nomination packets in consideration of the Association’s
various Outstanding Advisor, Advising Administrator, and Advising
Program awards. Then every October, we celebrate excellence in advising
at the Annual Conference with an Awards Ceremony in which we publicly
and proudly recognize our awardees. How the awards process itself
unfolds and how we publicly celebrate excellence have evolved and have
been refined over the years in response to a number of factors,
including the importance that our members themselves have placed on
In the three years that I served as Chair of NACADA’s Awards Committee
(2002-05), we observed closely the number, kind, and quality of
nominations submitted, listened carefully to the membership’s
observations of our process, and solicited regular feedback from the
Awards Selection Committee. As a result, a number of changes and
improvements occurred in the way we did things, both behind the scenes
and at the Annual Conference. For example, as the membership expanded,
so too did the interest in nominating advisors for international
recognition. The dramatic rise in the volume of nomination packets
meant that the Awards Committee needed to expand the number of awards
categories to address more accurately the kinds of highly competitive
nominations submitted. The categories of awards restructured at that
time are those still in place: Outstanding Advising Awards, Outstanding
New Advisor Awards, Outstanding Advising Program Awards, Pacesetter
Award, Service to NACADA Award, the Virginia N. Gordon Award for
Excellence in the Field of Advising, Student Research Awards, and the
Advising Technology Innovation Awards. Also included in the program are
the Retiree Recognition and Research Grants, as well as the NACADA Scholarships including
Administrators' Institute Scholarship, Assessment Institute
Scholarship, and the Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute
Scholarships. To handle the increased volume, the Awards Committee
itself grew to 20—two representatives from each of NACADA’s ten
regions, with staggered two-year terms that guaranteed continuity across
the Regions and on the committee.
We also established an Awards Oversight Committee, advisory to the
Chair, representing the diversity of the Association—in gender and
ethnicity, and by regions, institutional type and institutional
roles—to manage the increasing complexity of issues involving awards
for the Association. We encouraged the expansion of the Service to
Commission awards and helped in the development of regional awards and
scholarships for the various NACADA institutes. New nominations forms were developed; an on-line submission process was
introduced for some award categories, and existing forms and
submission processes were tweaked. Except for the expansion of the
awards categories, none of these initiatives and changed processes was
particularly visible to the general membership, which is as it should
However, a number of high-visibility changes did occur during this time
that dramatically changed the public face of NACADA’s Awards Program.
What had previously been a wide-open awards recognition program during
the Annual Conference became a private, exclusive by-invitation-only
reception and ceremony for recipients, invited guests, and the NACADA
leadership held just before the official kickoff of the Conference.
This shift was meant to make the awards more meaningful to the
recipients, to acknowledge the good work they are undertaking at their
institutions, and to signal the importance of these very competitive
awards. We then positioned photos of our award winners strategically
around the conference site and projected them onto the large screens as
the Conference’s opening and plenary sessions.
Yet, as important as the Awards Program’s internal processes and high
visibility are, its influence is much more far reaching and amorphous
than simply inviting the winners to walk across a stage to accept our
thanks and their plaques. Like the ripples from a stone dropped into
still water, the awards’ power extends far beyond the actual award and
ceremony. Current Awards Committee chair Susan Fread (Lehigh Carbon Community College) describes its power as the 'warm fuzzy
factor”: “the awards process is an affirmation that not only did you
do a good job—you made a difference at your institution, and, more
importantly, you impacted the lives of others. And this includes not
only students but also colleagues.” Part of this ripple effect is also
in providing the nominees with a copy of the actual nomination packet so
they may take a glimpse into how others perceive them, see the nature
of their impact on students, colleagues, and campus administrators, and
learn just how much others appreciate their dedication and hard work.
Former Awards Committee Chair Rob Mossack (Lipscomb University) found his greatest satisfaction in the glow on
the faces of the recipients as they walked into the room for the
recognition reception and ceremony. “I always finished the evening
knowing that we had done a good thing and that the hours spent reading
the nomination packets and tallying the committee votes was well worth
it... It is a great experience to learn about colleagues across the
country and the neat work they are doing. It was actually
inspirational to see the effects they have on the lives of their
students and that their co-workers value them and their contributions.”
The “warm fuzzy factor” also extends to members of the Awards
Selection Committee. To a one they agree that the long hours spent in
reading the nomination packets allows them to come away with a renewed
sense of the critically important work NACADA members undertake in
defining student success on our campuses.
History of the Emerging Leaders Program
Skip Crownhart, Jane Jacobson and Terry Musser, NACADA members
Since the 1980s, NACADA leadership has recognized that the Association
suffered from the same lack of leadership representation from
underrepresented groups as other organizations within higher education.
The NACADA elected officials did not reflect the diversity of the
Association, and there was much discussion about how to remedy that.
At the 1999 mid-year Board of Directors meeting ,Skip Crownhart (Metropolitan State College of Denver), 1999 Annual Conference Chair,
challenged the Board of Directors to bring more people of color into
positions of leadership within the organization. NACADA President Nancy King responded by appointing a Task Force to investigate diversity within
the organization. For the next several years, Skip and others continued
to repeat the message of opening leadership doors.
The reorganization of NACADA in 2001–04 was designed to make NACADA
more inclusive and reduce the influence of “old boy networks.” The
Diversity Committee was created to address diversity within the
organization. One of the committee’s first assignments was to examine
issues of access and privilege. In 2002-03, the Diversity Committee’s
goals were to identify the scope of the challenge with regard to
diversity issues in NACADA. In 2003, the committee discussed a plan to
develop diversity workshops for NACADA leaders. This included conducting
needs assessments and developing a definition of diversity for NACADA.
In 2004, based upon a report written by members of the Diversity
Committee, the Board of Directors approved a concept of diversity that
embraces ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation as
well as institutional type, size, and employment position. The report
outlined the breadth and depth of the Association’s definition of
diversity to include: gender, type of institution, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity.
Discussions were held at several regional and annual
conferences about this broad definition of diversity. The Diversity
Committee identified several obstacles to participation and leadership
advancement. These included lack of financial support from the member’s
home institution, lack of knowledge of Association structure, and
limited understanding of how to gain recognition as a potential
In February 2005, Karen Gould (Brandeis University) wrote an article in Academic Advising Today noting the lack of color in the face of NACADA’s leadership. Meanwhile,
the Diversity Committee, now chaired by Skip Crownhart, was developing a
set of recommendations. These were presented to the Board of Directors
at the 2005 Annual Conference. Among them was the development of an Emerging Leaders Program for the Association. The program was to include strategies for:
- identifying members to be a part of the program;
- connecting program participants to a NACADA mentor;
- involving participants based upon their expertise and interest – writing for various association publications, research, leadership, presentations, etc.;
- identifying people with diverse backgrounds to specifically present at national and regional conferences; and
- helping the program be consistent, continuing, and long-term for all Association leadership.
The Board of Directors accepted the recommendations and directed the Diversity Committee to work with the Executive Office to develop a specific Emerging Leaders Plan during the next year. During 2006, a subcommittee of Skip Crownhart, Terry Musser (Pennsylvania State University), Nathan Vickers (University of Texas at Austin), Jane Jacobson (Iowa State University), and Adrienne Thunder (University of Wisconsin-Madison) designed the Emerging Leaders
Program. The goal was to mentor nascent NACADA leaders who belonged to
underrepresented populations within the Association. These individuals
would be matched with current NACADA leaders for a two-year mentorship.
NACADA would provide some financial support to the Emerging Leaders.
The Emerging Leaders were expected to make a contribution to the
organization at a level that reflected their individual interests and
talents – writing for publications, serving in leadership at the
regional and national levels, participating in NACADA training events,
etc. The Board of Directors approved the concept at the 2006 Annual
A new Task Force of Jane Jacobson, Nathan Vickers, Karen Thurmond (University of Memphis), and Jennifer Joslin (University of Iowa) was formed to launch the inaugural class for the
program (2007-2009). The first class of ten Emerging Leaders was
identified in July, along with the first ten Mentors. During the three
months preceding the 2007 Annual Conference, Emerging Leaders and
Mentors participated in a series of on-line exercises to introduce
themselves and probe their thoughts about advising and the role of
Prior to the opening of the 2007 Annual Conference, the new Emerging
Leaders participated in workshops to acquaint them with each other and
prepare them for the mentoring experience. They were introduced at the
annual Awards Reception and met with all of the Mentors. Following a
preferencing exercise, each Emerging Leader was linked to a Mentor, and
the two-year leadership journey began.
The 2008-2010 ELP Class was chosen during Spring 2008, and at the 2008
Annual Conference the second-year class attended training sessions that
included members of the 2007-2009 Class. Mentoring now included advice
from peers in addition to current NACADA leaders. The ELP Task Force
also invited Mentors and Emerging Leaders from both classes to offer
assessment and stories of personal change during a focus group session.
Following the 2008 Annual Conference, Diversity Committee Chair Jane Jacobson recommended to NACADA President Casey Self the establishment of an independent Advisory Board to oversee
the Emerging Leaders Program. This status transferred ownership of the
program from the Diversity Committee to the Association and reflected
NACADA’s commitment to the continuing development of leaders from its
underrepresented populations. Nathan Vickers was appointed as Chair of the new Advisory Board.
The success of the Emerging Leader Program is without question. Members of the Emerging Leaders classes now serve (or will soon begin to serve) as Multicultural Concerns
Commission Chair, Canada Interest Group Chair, Native American and
Tribal College Interest Group Chair, Membership Committee Chair,
Diversity Committee Chair, and Region 7 Chair. Another Emerging Leader
has initiated a potential Interest Group for Historically Black
Colleges and Universities. Emerging Leaders are serving on the Awards
Committee, the Diversity Committee, the Membership
Webcast Advisory Board, and the Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board.
Several Emerging Leaders presented (some with their Mentors) at
regional and annual conferences, one is serving as the Exhibits Chair
for the 2009 Annual Conference in San Antonio, and another will serve
as Chair of the 2010 Annual Conference in Orlando. Six Emerging Leaders
have written for Academic Advising Today, and three have taken part in NACADA Webinar broadcast presentations.
Emerging Leaders also report that they have become more involved at
their home institutions. One said, “We’ve taken what we’ve learned
through the program back to our home schools. This program has not only
made an impact on NACADA, but also on the institutions where the NACADA
ELP participants work.”
Yet there is still work to be done, for another part of the Diversity
Committee’s Emerging Leaders recommendation still needs to be carried
out. Each Region has been charged with developing a leadership program
designed to address the u
nique needs of underrepresented populations
within the Region. This chapter of the Emerging Leaders Program is
still being written, and we look forward to many more chapters in the
years to come.
Director of Academic Advising
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Director of LAS Student Academic Services
Iowa State University
DUS Program Coordinator for College of Ag Science
Penn State University
2009-2011 Emerging Leader Class Announced
The Diversity Committee developed the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program to encourage members from diverse backgrounds to get involved in
leadership opportunities within the organization, outfit participants
with the skills and tools necessary to pursue elected and appointed
leadership positions, increase the number of leaders from diverse
groups, and encourage and assist members of underrepresented populations
to attend State, Regional, or National Conferences.
The 2007-2009 Emerging Leaders and Mentors, who began work at the 2007
Annual Conference in Baltimore, have been diligently pursuing their
goals over the past two years and look forward to receiving their
Certificates of Completion at this year's Conference in San Antonio,
where they will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony.
2007-2009 Emerging Leader José Rodríguez (Florida International University) says, "I feel more connected to the organization than ever before. I feel I
have a wealth of resources at my fingertips. I feel I have developed
as a professional in the field of advising and am being recognized as
such. For those considering being mentors, this is a great way to help
others out. It’s a unique opportunity to form a special bond with
another member of the Association and help them to navigate the
organization. For those considering being Emerging Leaders, this type
of programming helps to increase the sense of community I already felt
from being a member of NACADA. It forces you to develop leadership
skills and is a great avenue to apply leadership and management skills,
especially if you are in a position at work that you don’t consider to
have a lot of supervisory responsibilities."
2007-2009 Mentor Jennifer Bloom (University of South Carolina-Columbia) says, "My experience as
an Emerging Leader Mentor has been one of the highlights of my career.
I have learned as much from my mentee, Cornelius Gilbert, as I hope he has learned from me. We have a supportive relationship
that allows us to challenge each other to fulfill our potentials as
leaders in, and contributors to, the field of advising. Our
relationship will not stop at the end of the two years in the ELP.
Instead, we have built a trust and rapport that I treasure and am
committed to continuing to nurture for life."
Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Chair Nathan Vickers (University of Texas-Austin) is pleased to announce the 2009-2011 NACADA Emerging Leaders and Mentors.
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow (Washington State University)
Heather Doyle (Lakehead University)
Luiza Dreasher (Iowa State University)
Adam Duberstein (Ohio Dominican University)
Autumn Grant (Bridgewater State College)
Steve Johnson (Utah State University)
Lisa Laughter (Washington State University)
Cecilia Olivares (Heartland Community College)
Ella Tabares (University of Florida)
Janice Williams (University of Texas-Austin)
Jennifer Bloom (University of South Carolina)
Lynn Freeman (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Cole Holmes (University of Texas-Austin)
Sarah Ann Hones (Washington State University)
Kazi Mamun (University of California-Riverside)
Marsha Miller (Kansas State University)
Terry Musser (Penn State University)
Nora Allen Scobie (University of Louisville)
George Steele (Ohio Learning Network)
Sandy Waters (Old Dominion University)
New Emerging Leaders and Mentors will meet at the Annual Conference
in San Antonio to create partnerships and begin development,
conversation, and group building. Partners will develop goals
pertaining to leadership in NACADA over the next six months and
continue their work together over the two-year program.
Visit the for more information. Emerging Leaders Program section of the NACADA website.
Improving the Future by Knowing the Past: Celebrating 30 Years in the Obama Era
Cornelius Gilbert, NACADA Emerging Leader and Multicultural Concerns Commission Chair
If “30’s the new 20,” as the famed hip hop artist Jay Z told the world
in 2007, then maturity can come early. Such is the case with NACADA, as
we celebrate the Association’s 30th Anniversary!
Following Jay Z’s line of thinking that “30’s the new 20,” then 40 must
be the new 30 and President Barack Obama, still in his 40s, could be
thought of as a new “30-something!” Thus, if Jay Z’s line of reasoning
is employed, NACADA and Obama both have cause for celebration in 2009.
This approach to celebrating NACADA’s 30th Anniversary may be
unconventional, but the message is straightforward: we build upon the
past to create a better future.
So as we reflect upon NACADA’s maturation, now is an opportune time for
the Association to build upon its past to create an even better
future. The significance of the early maturation of NACADA is perhaps a
testament to the foundation Toni Trombley established in 1979 as the Association’s first President. As she spoke
to some 355 conference attendees in Omaha, Nebraska, Trombley stated
that if the infant Association was to be effective, then the
- have measurable impact upon students;
- be recognized within the institution;
- have well-articulated goals;
- research, improve and evaluate;
- discover new methods and improve existing ones;
- have central coordination to avoid fragmentation.
Trombley’s tenets remain relevant today. Thankfully, NACADA
leaders have developed these “crown jewels” for the Association.
Recognizing a glaring need to diversify Association leadership, steps
were taken to first cultivate aspiring members who belong to diverse
and minority communities. For example, the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), established in 2007, serves as an example of the “discover[y of]
new methods” that not only enhance and advance the Association, but
helps it remain relevant in the 21st century.
As a member of the inaugural ELP class, I can testify that the program
fostered my growth. I was blessed with a wonderful mentor in NACADA’s
Past President Jennifer Bloom, who provided me with insight into how to be a more focused and
directed individual. Perhaps more importantly, Jenny consistently
reminds me to pay my blessings forward by helping someone else.
NACADA has, in many ways, recognized the potential in its members. No
matter your age, experience, or background, NACADA has an opportunity
for you! Perhaps this recognition of “human capital” within the
Association and seeking “home grown” talent is a reason NACADA has
expanded and matured so quickly. I have found the Association’s
recognition of and reliance on members to be actively involved both
empowering and motivating.
So as NACADA’s 30th “birthday” is celebrated, to use the words of Charlie Nutt, our Executive Director, the conditions surrounding our celebration are historic and we must be mindful of those conditions. For example, financial resources across the academy are anemic. Fortunately,Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak, co-editors of the NACADA Journal, wrote in the Spring 2009 Journal issue of two important reasons why the profession should remain important in these tight financial
times: 1) students enter higher education without the benefit of
adequate career guidance in the high school, and 2) academic advising
is a critical element in student persistence and success in higher
education (Kuhn & Padak, p. 3).
Unfortunately, NACADA’s “big three-o” occurs during these dire
financial times, which can also be said of Obama’s presidential
election. Unique to NACADA and Obama, however, is the reality that
these historic times offer opportunities for greatness. Part of Obama’s
significance – for the academic advisors in particular – is that
education has become the civil rights issue of the 21st century.
As a result, advisors must pay particular attention to advising
students from multicultural backgrounds. Although Obama is an excellent
example of aspiration to excellence, and for some, even an example of
how we are now a post-racial society – where race is not a
(significant) variable in American life – we must not forget that
researchers have documented the struggles students of color have
encountered on predominately white campuses (Fisher & Hartmann,
1995; Loo & Rolison, 1986; McCormack, 1995; Tan, 1994). Today we
must remain mindful that differences still exist, but as difference is
recognized, so is each student’s uniqueness.
It is no secret that within the recent past, racial and multicultural
educational activities have been continuously scrutinized. Challenges
to affirmative action, coupled with the severe economic recession, are
likely to result in even more scrutiny of the effectiveness of such
activities on our campuses. If such scrutiny occurs, research will
become even more important if we are to explain and document the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity for all.
The work of Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, and Gurin (2002) illustrated the
necessity for placing a high value upon diversity within postsecondary
institutions (p. 330). When the findings of Gurin et al (2002) are
infused with Chickering’s (1993) seven vectors of college students’
development, diversity can be “a means of fostering students’ academic
and social growth” (Gurin, p. 330).
Now is an opportune time for advisors, particularly those who do
multicultural advising, to make and share new discoveries. When we
share our discoveries, we not only advance the literature and knowledge
base that can assist colleges and universities to recruit, retain, and
graduate students of color, but we further explain the benefits of
multicultural and diversity activities to all students. Doing so is
part of the tenets President Toni Trombley asserted in 1979.
Our strength is our diversity! So let us celebrate this
groundbreaking year by giving the gift that keeps on giving: passing on
our knowledge to others and helping their journeys. As academic
advisors, we range in levels of experience, education, and knowledge,
but all of us can contribute to the advancement of advising.
Can we further enhance the educational offerings we provide students and in turn strengthen multicultural advising?
“Yes, we can!”
Thank God for NACADA. Here’s to a brighter future!
Cornelius K. Gilbert
Cross College Advising Service
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chickering, A. W. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Kuhn, T.L. & Padak, G. (2009). From the co-editors: Reflecting on 30 years of growth and the future. NACADA Journal 29(1).
A Tribute to Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak, Co-Editors of the
NACADA Journal (2003-2009)
Ruth Darling, NACADA Past President
As President-elect in 2003, one of my first tasks was to appoint a NACADA Journal editor to replace out-going editor and Past-President Tom Kerr. In Tom’s last message as Journal editor, he wrote “The future success of the Journal will depend solely on the commitment of the membership to contribute to
its mission of enriching the knowledge, skills and professional
development of people concerned with academic advising in higher
education.” The Journal’s central role in the development of the profession and the Association,
as well as the critical nature of this appointment, weighed heavily as I
considered the primary importance of the NACADA Journal in reaching the goal of establishing the Journal as the premier, international journal on academic advising.
Executive Director Emeritus Bobbie Flaherty and I had many conversations concerning who in our Association could
provide the leadership needed, the research expertise required, the
broad-based knowledge of academic advising necessary, and the
willingness to dedicate many hours to achieving our goal of excellence
in research/scholarship. She called me one day with the news that she
had received a proposal from Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak of Kent State University asking they be considered as
co-editors. Terry (recently retired from serving as a Vice Provost) and
Gary (a current Dean) submitted a proposal that addressed every point
of the Association’s strategic plan and the concerns of the Board of
Directors. I eagerly talked through the proposal with Terry and Gary
and then asked if they would accept the appointment as co-editors.
Thankfully, they agreed! As I have often stated, that moment has
remained one of the most important and impactful decisions of my NACADA
Many across NACADA acknowledge the very positive impact Terry and Gary
have had on the Association and its members. In reference to the
contributions made by Terry and Gary, Virginia Gordon, Senior Editor of the Journal, writes “…words cannot describe the incredible job they have done. They
have not only exceeded the quality we have come to expect, but have
put the Journal on a stable and forward-looking path. We owe them an extreme debt of gratitude.” Tom Grites, also a senior editor, writes “Together they continually
reinforced the nature of integrating theory, practice and research in
all that we do as advising practitioners and writers. They have raised
the bar in the quality of literature of higher education and
established standards and practices that will enable the new Editors to
continue the success of the Journal, NACADA’s premier publication.” And, Marsha Miller, NACADA Assistant Director, writes, “Along with Gary Padak, Journal co-editor, Terry worked tirelessly to transform burgeoning researchers
into true scholars. From offering a research ‘conference within a
conference’ at two annual NACADA conferences to [their] detailed
suggestions to authors for manuscript revisions, Terry’s [and Gary’s]
support of quality research and those who aspire to publish is more
What might Terry and Gary note about their tenure as Journal co-editors? As true Association “mentors,” what “advice” might they
give to all of us? I am sure they would give many other people credit
and thank the Journal Board, the Executive Office staff, the many members and non-members who
submitted articles! However, knowing Terry and Gary, they would
continue to stand by what they have so eloquently shared with us in
each of the Journal’s “From the Co-Editor:”
- We encourage practicing advisors to take the time to conduct research and write for the Journal,
researchers to work with practitioners as they design studies, and
both advisors and researchers to consider the important role that
theory can play in their work (Volume 24: 1 & 2).
- Being a scholar in the
context of Boyer’s new (1990) definition means recognizing
that…knowledge is acquired through research and discovery, synthesis
and integration, practice and application, and teaching.” As NACADA Journal Editors, we contend that academic advising shares this definition of scholarship with the professoriate (Volume 25:1).
- …we add our own firm belief in the fundamental importance of linking theory to advising practice and research (Volume 25: 2).
- The NACADA Journal
fosters and expects clear thinking regarding the research, theory, and
practice of academic advising…The voice of the authors and the eyes of
the readers should recognize the phenomenological, assumptive, and
hypothetical modes of inquiry in the scholarly literature of academic
advising (Volume 26: 1).
- As an aspiring researcher
begins the process of academic inquiry, he or she will need to consider
the research question(s) to be asked as well as determine which
research methodology to use in answering the research queries…The
researcher will also need to consider the participants and setting,
data collection methods, data analysis procedures, and potential
limitations for the study. She or he should also identify a realistic
time line…Conducting a research study with the intention of
contributing to the body of knowledge in the field of academic advising
is an important professional development activity for academic advisors
(Volume 27: 1).
- … authentic mentoring does not function as a means to an end ( i.e.
persistence to graduation; a retention strategy in undergraduate
education). Such outcomes may occur as by-products, but the primary
purpose of authentic mentoring is the development of the mentee (Volume
What Terry Kuhn Gary Padak have provided to NACADA and its members is authentic mentoring in the truest form – their extraordinary efforts involved the development of thousands of mentees and, in the words of incoming co-editor Rich Robbins, they have produced “a journal for the twenty-first century.”
As we welcome newly appointed Journal co-editors Rich Robbins and Leigh Shaffer, we recognize the “mentoring” given them by Terry and Gary.
And, as an Association with both a national and international
membership, we applaud and thank Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak for serving
as the Journal NACADA Co-Editors, 2003 – 2009. I know many in NACADA will echo Virginia
Gordon’s thoughts…”words cannot describe the incredible job they have
Associate Vice Provost
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Academic Advising Today
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