posted on August 24, 2021 01:02
Melinda J. Anderson, NACADA Executive Director
As the world of higher education moves collectively into Fall 2021, I am reminded of a quote by the famous Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, “The only thing that is constant is change.” The first time I heard this quote, I was not in a formal school setting, but I heard it from my parents. I credit them for constantly reminding me that change is an essential ingredient for growth and development. To wish for things to “not change” would prevent me from progressing and experiencing the world in a way that would allow me to become who I was supposed to be in the world. These same thoughts have helped me reflect on how higher education is evolving based on the challenges and opportunities that have resulted from the pandemic, the progression of higher education ideals, and our hopes for increased diversity and inclusion.
Academic advising and student success are connected, celebrated, and, now more than ever, deemed critical to strengthening the mission of institutions. The ideals of higher education have never been more discussed considering how the world has shifted how individuals learn, live, and work. Technology’s impact on how and when learning occurs has always been influential, but its ability to maintain a level of normalcy and increased engagement was vital during the pandemic. How we as advisors support our students, their success, and our institutions can provide innovative strategies that will address the previous gaps, challenges, and untapped potential that exists. NACADA’s Board of Directors have worked hard this past year to craft a new vision, mission, and goals for the association that reflect the growing professional development and leadership needs of all members.
As you move forward this fall on your campuses, please know that your association is here to support you every step of the way. Heraclitus also said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” Higher education is headed into a new era that will still be familiar, and yet we will continue to face changes that we could have never imagined. However, we will meet them together as our members have developed to overcome these newfound priorities presented on their campuses.
In 2009, when I joined NACADA, I never imagined that my involvement would have led me on this path. I am grateful for all my experiences to serve my students and my staff, and I look forward to continuing to support institutions on a global scale to the best of my ability. I would like to thank my family, mentors, and friends who have loved and supported me throughout my career. I am blessed to be in this moment as the new Executive Director of NACADA. I am excited to have joined the executive office staff in Manhattan, Kansas, and as a Teaching Professor in the College of Education at Kansas State University. I look forward to uplifting our members and partners in these new times, in this new space, under new circumstances.
Melinda J. Anderson, Ed.D.
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Anderson, M. (2021, September). From the executive director: Change brings opportunity. Academic Advising Today, 44(3). [insert url here]