Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
The role of academic advising in the lives of our students and in the health of our institutions continues to grow in value and respect. Whether institutions are analyzing their programs for first-year students, at-risk students, or students on probation; or preparing for regional or content area accreditation visits; or evaluating how best to use technology to enhance student learning and student connection to the institution, it quickly becomes apparent that academic advising plays a significant role in the success of these ventures. Administrators and institutional constituencies increasingly understand that academic advising touches every issue and must be a part of discussions dealing with students’ success in reaching their academic, career and personal goals.
As we continue to deal with decreased funding and increased student numbers, the issue of student success grows more important to our administrators, our students, and our public constituencies. Because student success is so often measured by retention and persistence to graduation, it is essential that advisors and advising administrators continue to grow in our knowledge, talents, and skills through continuing professional development that will teach us how best to:
- utilize group advising as one way to manage the growing numbers of students with no increase in staff,
- utilize technology to better reach the “digital natives” in our growing freshman classes,
- build collaborative partnerships across campus to support student success,
- assess academic advising and determine student learning outcomes for advising,
- utilize the latest research in the field of academic advising and student success,
- build a culture of scholarship within the academic advising community on our campuses, and
- learn key strategies and techniques for advising students who present increasingly complex issues.
I strongly encourage you to attend our excellent professional development events, including one of our Regional Conferences, one of our Academic Advising Summer Institutes, and our 34th Annual Conference at the Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, October 3-6, 2010.
However, I know that travel funds have been restricted for many. Therefore, it is essential that these travel restrictions not halt our professional development. Here are some great ways to continue to grow professionally and get the most out of our NACADA membership:
- Share this issue of Academic Advising Today with colleagues on your campus. Articles such as Becky Ryan’s “Integrating Group Advising into a Comprehensive Advising Program” will stimulate conversations on how we can best meet our students’ needs.
- Take advantage of one of the greatest member benefits, the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. Not only does the Clearinghouse provide members with access to some of the best resources and research within the field, but Clearinghouse articles can be used as the foundation for professional development meetings on campus or within an advising unit. A great example is a new article to the NACADA Clearinghouse, authored by long-time member Maura Reynolds, entitled “An Advisor’s Half Dozen: Principles for Incorporating Learning Theory into our Advising Practices.”
- Attend one of our live Web Events or utilize the CD from a past webcast. Webcasts are great tools for providing on-campus professional development for groups or individuals at a low cost and without travel.
- Develop a curriculum for professional development workshops on campus using the NACADA series of Pocket Guides on specific topics such as Faculty Advising and Utilizing an Academic Advising Syllabus. These cost-effective guides can serve as the foundation for an advisor workshop and provide participants with a high-quality “take away.”
- Use the NACADA training and development DVD, Scenes for Learning and Reflection, as the basis for quality in-house professional development events that are fun and valuable. These ten scenes, along with the second volume of ten scenarios being developed this spring, are a great way to stimulate discussion about the skills and knowledge needed for quality academic advising experiences.
These are just a few of the ways your NACADA membership continues to provide the best in support, resources, and assistance to you!
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2010, March). From the executive director: Your professional development is the key to your students' success. Academic Advising Today, 33(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]