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Yvonne Halden, Teri Farr, and Cynthia Pascal, NACADA Webinar Advisory Board members

For most of us in the academic advising community, there are never enough professional development dollars; we are always looking for ways to stretch funding and get the most that we can for our shrinking budgets.  Identifying professionals on our respective campuses or close by to present professional development programs takes time and expertise, and often our local experts are simply not available.  Many campuses look to NACADA Webinars to provide cost effective, timely, and quality professional development programs. 

Webinar broadcasts are accessible to advising personnel spanning the global community and can bring together participants from places as far apart as Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and North and South America.  If the live broadcast time is not convenient, a link to the webinar recording is provided to all registrants following the event and is available to personnel at a registered institution up to a month after the live broadcast.  The registrant or someone s/he has designated as “host” for the institution can determine a date and time to fit that institution’s schedule to share the recording with campus advising personnel. 

We hope that the examples provided in this article of how campuses are using the webinars will spur your own ideas about how you can take the webinar offerings through NACADA and expand or enhance your existing professional development program.

Over the nine seasons of webinar offerings, the Webinar Advisory Board has identified many ways that these online events can be used to supplement or re-energize campus professional development offerings.  A Web Event Host Guide created by past Webinar Advisory Board Chair Terry Musser is provided on the NACADA website to help hosts craft a professional development opportunity tailored to their specific advising team.  “Use of NACADA Webinars for Professional Development,” an article by past advisory board member Adam Duberstein (2012), walks us through a variety of ways we can utilize this resource.  Duberstein asserts that the webinar event can foster collegial relationships by bringing together a diverse group of people with different viewpoints and experiences.  In addition, webinars allow us to utilize user-friendly technology to bring the advising community together from all over the world.  With the new Zoom webinar platform, NACADA is providing us with a stable environment and a way for us to all stay connected. 

NACADA allied organizations, such the Illinois Academic Advising Association (ILACADA), have provided members with professional development grants to cover the cost of webinar registration.  ILACADA members can apply for grants awarding a webinar registration for an Illinois institution.  Speakers to assist with unpacking information learned in the webinar are arranged, and the registrant then reports back to ILACADA on the event. 

An advisor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign was a recipient of one of these ILACADA grants, and the Illinois Academic Advising Committee (IllIAAC) hosted the post webinar discussion following the March 2015 webinar “Advising Strategies for Students on Academic Probation.”  Sarah Watson, Division of General Studies Assistant Director, and Jennifer Brandyberry, Academic Advisor in the School of Molecular and Cell Biology, discussed ways that their respective areas on campus were spearheading initiatives to help students struggling academically and how their areas had developed programs designed to assist with students on probation. 

Another Illinois advisor, from Western Illinois University (WIU), received a grant to cover registration costs for the November 2014 webinar, “Integrating Academic and Career Advising.”  Discussion following this broadcast focused on applying principles presented in the webinar to their specific student population.  This event complimented the professional development theme of career advising that WIU put into motion for the academic year.  The webinar was also dovetailed with a common reading and discussion, as well as a workshop co-sponsored with the Career Development Center. 

At the University of Manitoba, they provide an open invitation to the campus community through the Learning and Organizational Development Office by advertising the NACADA webinars on the University LOD Registration System. Through this platform they hope to encourage many different offices on campus the opportunity to connect with each other as well as discuss and engage in the topic areas from their own particular perspectives.  Participants from your institution could include student services/affairs, faculty advisors, residential life and academic advisors who are interested in the specific topics.  

For those who do not have a professional development program already in place, this is a great opportunity to get one started!  Here are some suggestions we would like to offer for planning a NACADA Webinar Event to enhance advisor skills and profile on your campus.

  • Assess your needs and identify a NACADA webinar that supports your college’s goals or agenda.
  • Determine time and space. Just because a NACADA webinar does not align with your schedule or time zone, does not mean that you cannot enjoy the benefits of participating.  Choose a time and location that complements your timetable and you can work with NACADA to view a pre-recorded webinar or develop a webinar unique to your institution.
  • Prepare your participants by communicating webinar dates early and often.  Consider complimenting the webinar with a “common reader” article or a case study related to the webinar topic to engage participants early.  On the day of your event, prepare an ice breaker so that participants who rarely see each other can feel welcomed.
  • Keep it light.  Professional development is an opportunity for likeminded individuals to get together and learn something new about their trade.  For example, if you are watching a pre-recorded webinar, mix it up by pausing it for a discussion or an impromptu brain storming session.  If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, have participants tweet their thoughts or create running list of ideas on a shared document or flipchart.
  • Don’t leave them hanging.  When the webinar concludes, the discussion should begin.  Encourage the creation of workgroups to build bridges between professional development opportunities.  Have these workgroups create synchronous and asynchronous opportunities so that all may participate.
  • Share your best practices with NACADA and your college by writing a blog article, presenting at conference or meeting, or posting it to social media.

Yvonne Halden
Chair, NACADA Webinar Advisory Board (2013-2015)
University of Manitoba
[email protected]

Teri Farr
Incoming Chair, NACADA Professional Development Committee (2015-2017)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
[email protected]

Cynthia Pascal
NACADA Webinar Advisory Board member
Northern Virginia Community College
[email protected]


Cox, J., Lively, K., Reddick, K., Preece, J., & Wong, C. (2015, March). Advising strategies for students on academic probation. NACADA Webinar Series #61. NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. Manhattan, KS.

Duberstein, A. (2012, June). Use of NACADA webinars for professional development. Academic Advising Today, 35(2). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Use-of-NACADA-Webinars-for-Professional-Development.aspx

Musser, T. (n.d.). AdvisorConnect Web Event Host Guide. Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Events-Programs/Events/Web-Events/Facilitator-Tips/Web-Event-Host-Guide.aspx

Spight, D., Doyle, H., Steward, M.D., Griffin, P., Brown, N., & Elliott, J. (2014, November). Integrating academic and career advising. NACADA Webinar Series #57. NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. Manhattan, KS.

Cite this article using APA style as: Halden, Y., Farr, T., & Pascal, C. (2015, September). NACADA webinars provide professional development for the global community. Academic Advising Today, 38(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.