posted on May 29, 2018 01:02
Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
Spring, as always in academia, is a busy but exciting time of year for all of us. In addition to our own busy schedules with our advisees—encouraging and supporting them as they end the academic year and congratulating them as they reach their undergraduate goals and graduate proudly from our institutions—it is always an exciting time for NACADA with our 10 outstanding Region Conferences held across North America.
Spring 2018 was another great season of NACADA Regional Conferences. From Little Rock, AR in February to Charleston, SC in May and all points across the country, more than 4,500 attended, presented, and participated broadly in the excellent Region Conferences. Thank you to our Region Chairs, the Region Conference Chairs and their conference committees of volunteers, Diane Matteson and Dayna McNary and the entire Executive Office staff who support the conferences, and the NACADA Board of Directors members for all their hard work supporting these outstanding professional development opportunities for our profession.
As my very first taste of NACADA was at a Region IV Conference in 1992 in Birmingham, AL, I know how important these conferences are to our profession, our members, and our students across higher education. That first NACADA Region Conference was not only a learning opportunity for the team of eight faculty advisors from (then) Brunswick College, it was also the start of significant and exciting changes in academic advising on our campus. The information we learned and the connections we made at that very first NACADA conference were an eye-opening experience for all of us. The conferences are important professional development opportunities where we reconnect with friends and colleagues and where very new advising professionals, as we at Brunswick College were in 1992, get their first taste of our academic advising profession and responsibilities and, of course, of the true magic of the impact NACADA has on us all and our students.
It has also been a busy Spring for the association as the NACADA Board of Directors and Council, under the outstanding leadership and guidance of President Amy Sannes and Vice President Karen Archambault, have continued their hard work and focus on the association’s strategic goals and the future of the association. I am very excited that this year President Sannes and Vice President Archambault and their fellow Board and Council members have given great attention and importance to the strategic goals that focus on diversity, inclusion, and engagement of our and our leadership. Under their leadership, a great deal of discussion and thought have focused on whether our association’s culture and climate truly uphold the association’s Diversity Statement for our members and the profession as whole. Working in tandem with a work group representing the Inclusion and Engagement Committee, the Research Committee, the Global Initiatives Committee, the Board and the Council, the Board of Directors has spent time and energy on serious reflection and discussions of our association’s culture and climate.
In May 2018, the Board of Directors approved the hiring of a consultant with expertise in non-profit associations and experience in conducting comprehensive climate studies to assist the Board of Directors and the Executive Office in gathering the data and evidence needed to look openly and honestly at all aspects of the association in regard to how our members’ NACADA experiences truly reflect our Diversity Statement. We will also carefully study how open and welcoming the association’s culture and climate are to inclusion and engagement of members, leaders, and professionals from under-represented populations in higher education and in NACADA. A review of experts in the field is being done presently with a goal of starting the study this summer and having some initial evidence and data for our leadership and membership to review and using in planning at our leadership meetings that are held in conjunction with the NACADA Annual Conference in Phoenix Sept 30-Oct 3.
As NACADA stresses the importance of institutions using evidence-based decision-making to reframe and enhance the academic advising experiences of our students, it is very exciting that President Sannes, Vice President Archambault, and the full Board of Directors are deeply committed to ensuring NACADA is carefully using this same evidence-based decision-making process as we look at this very integral part of our association’s future: the inclusion and engagement of all our members in our association. This is an historic step that the Board of Directors has taken as the association has always stressed diversity, inclusion, and engagement but has not always had clear and accurate evidence on which to base decision-making for our association initiatives and programs. I want to personally applaud the Board and Council for their work and for making this decision to gather important evidence for the future.
Watch for more information on this process as it will be important for all members of the association to be as actively involved as they would like in this review and study of our association and the utilization of the evidence gathered to make decisions for the future. This is just another example of how NACADA leadership and the association in general is constantly analyzing the best way we can meet the needs of the profession and our members. It is only through the continued dedication of strong leaders and members across all segments of our association that NACADA will be the premier higher education association for student success and academic advising as our vision states.
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2018, June). From the executive director: Spring and forward. Academic Advising Today, 41(2). Retrieved from [insert url here]