AAT banner

Voices of the Global Community

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director BobbieFlaherty.jpg

Life has an interesting way of evolving! Little did I realize in 1978 (at the age of 31) while serving as Director of Conferences at Kansas State University, that a phone call with three advisors (Toni Trombley, Vermont; Frank Dyer, Tennessee; and Billie Jacobini, Illinois) might determine the rest of my life’s work. That call was to discuss the possibility of the K-State Conference Office coordinating the annual conference on academic advising and in particular, the 1979 conference which would be the inaugural meeting of the National Academic Advising Association. I secured that “piece of business” and NACADA was formally a part of my life. K-State coordinated all but one conference between then and 1990. In 1989, NACADA had grown sufficiently to require an Executive Office, and I believed that it provided an excellent opportunity for K-State and me, so I worked with Dean Michael Holen to prepare and submit a bid to host the Executive Office at K-State. Due to Dean Holen’s generous support for the office, we were successful and in July 1990, I began in a half-time position as Executive Director with one full-time assistant paid by NACADA and a grad assistant provided by Dean Holen. The rest is history!

Bobbie1.jpgNow, seventeen years after the establishment of the Executive Office, I am stepping down as Executive Director to begin “phased retirement.” In K-State terms, that means that I am reducing my work time to 50% for up to 5 years. The NACADA Board of Directors has concurred with a plan that will permit me to maintain some program development responsibilities while transitioning other responsibilities to staff members and training employees to assume new responsibilities.


These seventeen years have been very rewarding! Membership has grown from 2452 in 1990 to almost 10,000 in 2007, the Annual Conference has grown from 1072 participants in 1990 to a record of 3384 in 2005, and the annual operating budget has grown from $157,000 in 1990 to $2.8 million in 2007. Couple this with the growth in Commissions, all ten Regions having annual conferences that drew a total of 2820 participants in 2007, a vibrant publications schedule, and a variety of professional development opportunities delivered in an ever increasing number of formats, and one can’t help but be proud! However, this pride belongs to the many members who have supported the Association throughout its years, shared their expertise with other members and provided guidance to me. I cherish their support, but more importantly, I cherish their friendship, for I have truly enjoyed most the friendship you all have provided and which I hope to maintain into retirement.


Oh, yes, that “retirement.” My “extra” time to begin with will be directed to completing the home remodeling we began in 1974, extend into some leisure travel, and begin the task of disposing of three family estates currently stored in our garage! Those travels will likely include some opportunities to visit your part of the country – I’ll let you know when! Thanks to all of you!

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, Executive Director
National Academic Advising Association
(785) 532-5717
[email protected]

Cite this article using APA style as: Flaherty, R. (2007, September). From the executive director: It's been a wonderful journey. Academic Advising Today, 30(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


There are currently no comments, be the first to post one!

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.
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.