Jennifer Joslin, NACADA President
It was wonderful to visit Denver on the heels of one of my summer books, Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. Nothing Daunted tells the story of how, in 1916, Smith College graduates Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood left upstate New York to teach schoolchildren in rural Colorado for a year. Arriving in Denver for a week's stay at the Brown Palace Hotel (still in business!) before traveling northwest to Elkhead, CO, Rosamund wrote home that despite hearing many stories of the challenging life out West, “We were nothing daunted” and eager to begin their year of adventure.
I thought of this wonderful phrase as I listened to the keynote presentations and sat in conference sessions. Despite the tumultuous times facing higher education in the United States, North America, and across the world, advisors and advising administrators provided example after example of innovative programs, models, theoretical approaches, and interventions.
Resourcefulness has never been more important. The challenges we face in our day-to-day work is nothing compared to the cost of standing still, of failing to innovate. James Applegate, Vice President of the Lumina Foundation, provided a vivid argument for radically rethinking how and who we educate as a nation. Applegate encourages us to 'design a 21st century advising program' in which a focus on adult learners, partnerships with K-12 schools, technology implementation, accelerated pathways to degrees, and data transparency translated into degree attainment for students. As Applegate reminded us, this work is not optional. With the research on salary differentials between high school and college graduates confirmed again this year (e.g., see Carnevale et al, 2009), Applegate exhorted us to remember that 'every student dropped out is condemned to a difficult life.".
Colorado State-Colorado Springs Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak reinforced Applegate’s message by encouraging a similar paradigm shift. Shockley-Zalabak encouraged advisors and administrators to become “intentional interactions designers.” That is, in an age of “instant communication” and rapid technology innovation, advisors must be purposeful and intentional as they assist students in building competencies that lead to persistence in college as well as career success. Decision-making, conflict resolution, accountability, integrity, and an understanding of the role of work in relation to education are crucial skills advisors must model and instill in their students. (View both keynote addresses.)
I echo these calls for creative responses to the difficult circumstances in which higher education and our advising units find themselves today. I encourage all of us to channel the spirit of Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood who, having heard the challenges facing them, remained determined and undaunted.
This year NACADA will reach out to every member regularly through regional conferences, emails, newsletters, speakers, webinars, listservs, social media, and the learning network we are creating. When I get those emails and see the phrase 'NACADA Near You', I know from experience that it is more than a tagline. It is a promise of support, collegiality, and innovation. It also is each one of us! We are the “NACADA Near You.” On our campuses, we may be the nearest thing to NACADA that some of our colleagues will experience this year. It is a great opportunity and a tremendous responsibility. It is an extended conversation. It is a call to action. Please join me and the Board of Directors as we go forth and do good things together this year.
Jennifer Joslin, President
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Director, Office of Academic Advising, University of Oregon
Carnevale, A.P., Strohl, J., & Melton, M. (2009). What’s it worth? Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce. Retrieved from http://cew.georgetown.edu/whatsitworth/
Cite this article using APA style as: Joslin, J. (2011, December). From the president: We are nothing daunted. Academic Advising Today, 34(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]