Melinda J. Anderson, NACADA Executive Director
As we move into spring, trees will blossom, flowers will bloom, and warmer weather and longer days will return. We will shed our heavy coats and boots and replace them with lighter fare that reminds us summer is just around the corner. Just like the seasons, a college campus follows a natural rhythm. There is an air of excitement when students arrive back on campus, ready to engage in their classes, eager to see their friends, and ease back into their routines.
As professionals, we fall into our own routines. Every year I make a New Year’s resolution to introduce changes into my personal or professional life, and like clockwork, I am sad to say, I am back to my old routines. However, every Decemeber 31st, I am still committed to making another New Year’s resolution because next year, well, next year is going to be different. Hope springs eternal. I like this phrase because it reminds me that as long as there is hope, there is a chance for change. Change means growth, which means we blossom into better versions of ourselves.
As an advisor, I worked purposefully to sow the spirit of hope and encouragement in my students when they navigated through challenging times. As an administrator and colleague, I work even harder to model the qualities needed in today’s workspaces—qualities such as grace, kindness, hope, and professional growth—and use humor to foster courage. Our thoughts today often turn into questions of how we continue to encourage and support our advisors, our faculty, and the profession when the pace of change in higher education is quickening, demands are growing, and limited resources are shifting.
While we continue to address these questions in the advising community, we must not lose sight of what is important in our work. It is our students, and it is you. Education is a process of development, and it is a lifelong endeavor for us. We must not lose sight of what connects us to our field, our individual talents, and our greatest passions. My hope as we continue to move forward is to recognize the power in our community and in our hearts. We recently received a video message from a NACADA leader who, through happy tears, said “I love all of my NACADA family. We’re all in this fight together, and we’re all trying to navigate everything and help our students. Their smiling faces and encouragement just mean so much to me. I just love all of my advising friends.” That beautiful sentiment summed up what NACADA has always meant to me and the role that I hope it continues to play for you and our profession.
As I move into the second half of my first year as executive director, I look forward to NACADA’s spring events: advising and administrators’ institutes, regional conferences, elections, the research institute, and Global Advising Week. I’m planning to attend all ten regional conferences to conduct a casual advisor-to-advisor listening tour as it is imperative for me to understand our members’ hopes and concerns for NACADA as well as their thoughts on growth opportunities. NACADA will also host a series of monthly community forums to discuss the Association's proposed diversity, land acknowledgment, and Black Diaspora/Black Labor statements.
What I know for certain is that NACADA’s strength, energy, and power lie in its members. So much has changed in our country and communities, and through NACADA, we have the expertise and gravitas to shape the future of higher education. Together, we can leverage our position as the leading global association for academic advising and be the trailblazer our profession and students need and so richly deserve. Hope springs eternal at NACADA.
Melinda J. Anderson, Ed.D.
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Anderson, M. (2022, March). From the executive director: Hope springs eternal. Academic Advising Today, 45(1). [insert url here]