William Fleming, Sam Houston University
One of the most innovative and beneficial programs NACADA sponsors is the Assessment and Administrators’ Institutes, held mid-winter for the purpose of congregating administrators to share ideas and programs for the enhancement of our profession. Working in small groups, administrators from all types of educational institutions discuss the nitty-gritty of advising in order to establish positive programs that will be of use in their own unique environments.
I attended the first Institute in San Antonio in 2002 because I had recently been put in charge of a new and innovative advising center at my university. Our advising center is, in reality, a combination of two separate but complementary facets—academic advising and mentoring—and the administrative aspect has become somewhat complex as both sectors continue to grow and impact our student body. While attending NACADA conferences I have found that although the structure of our advising center may be unique, we ultimately have much in common when we are dealing with our students and their needs. This aspect of both the national conference and the administrators’ institutes is the real meat and potatoes of our profession and the crucial importance of attending these functions. Along with the lasting friendships, the unforgettable war stories, and the small-group discussions, the administrators’ institute offers us a pleasant atmosphere and the expertise of those who have already gotten their battle scars through the years.
One of the requirements for our new advising enterprise was to develop a mission statement; this is required by our accrediting agency. During one of the small discussion meetings at the Administrator’s Institute, we discussed the development of an appropriate mission statement for our advising entities. Several colleagues talked about relating the mission statement to their university’s statement and then we discussed reflecting NACADA’s core-values paradigm as a guide to developing our own. After working with many ideas and utilizing concepts I got from the Administrators’ Institute, I was able to formulate a mission statement for our advising center that reflects our existence: “The mission of the Student Advising and Mentoring Center (SAM Center) at Sam Houston State University is to provide intrusive academic advising and mentoring to all students assisting them in discovering methods to set personal goals, establishing strategies to achieve their objectives, enhancing skills to sharpen academic accomplishments, and providing incentives for realizing educational success.”
Sam Houston University
Cite this article using APA style as: Fleming, W. (2004, December). The real meat and potatoes:Why I go to the assessment and administrators' institutes. Academic Advising Today, 27(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]