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Voices of the Global Community

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director 

BobbieFlaherty.jpgAs we continue to celebrate our growing membership (now over 9100!), it seems appropriate to pause just a moment to consider how we got to this point. So, I am going to try to highlight some of the important moments in NACADA’s history that have contributed to its continued growth and success. I am convinced that NACADA has been blessed with exceptional leadership at all stages of its development – leaders who had a vision for the Association and recognized how to continually change the organizational structure to be most responsive to the needs of the growing membership.

From Toni Trombley’s organization of the first National Conference on academic advising in 1977 with its 275 attendees, to NACADA’s founding members and first Board of Directors, through the many Boards of Directors, to today’s Leaders at all levels along with the Council and Board, each has provided guidance and inspiration that focused on the needs of members to assist them in enhancing student development and student success.

The commitment of the leadership to focus on this mission has produced a very dynamic Association. I find it interesting to see the many achievements of the Association during its relatively short life and believe it is a tribute to the leaders and their ability to change as the Association has grown and matured. The literature on association development describes this maturation process and NACADA is right on track while holding true to its mission. Check out this condensed history:

The first Board of Directors included 18 Members: 4 officers, 7 Institutional Type Reps, and 7 Geographic Reps;
Initial membership consisted of 429 Charter members (annual membership fee: $15);
Published first Newsletter;
The National Conference drew 355 attendees.

Joined CAS to help develop standards for advising.

Added Past President to the Board of Directors;
Published first Journal;
Established ERIC descriptor for academic advising.

Presented first Research Award.

Started Consultants Bureau.

Initiated National Awards Program;
First Region Conferences held.

Expanded Board of Directors to 24 positions, organized through 2 VPs with 10 Regions.

Published Report on Advising Students in Oversubscribed Majors.

Published Reports on Advising Adult Learners;
Member Placement Service formalized.

Established Research Grants;
Published Report on Advising as a Profession.

All Regions held a Regional Conference;
Decision was made to plan for an Executive Office.

Clearinghouse was established at Ohio State University.

Established the Executive Office;
Leadership consisted of: Board of Directors (23), Committee Chairs (10), Editors (2), Commissions (4), Appointed Others (4) – a total of 43 Leaders.
Membership was 2452.

Allied Member Associations recognized.

Reorganization eliminated Institutional Type Reps, decreasing the Board to 18 members with a VP Commissions; also 10 Committees, 2 editors, and 4 Commissions.

Published Report on Advisor Training;
Organized the Summer Institute for the first time through the Executive Office.

Adopted Core Values Statement for the profession.

Published first 3 Monographs;
Established NACADA Website.

Published another Monograph;
Released Advising Training Video.

Published another Monograph.

Published another Monograph.

Produced National Teleconference and Video.

With 5318 members and 56 Leaders: Board Members, Committee and Commission Chairs, the Board recognized the need to reorganize.
Published another Monograph;
Published Advising Handbook (with Jossey-Bass).

Executive Office handled all Regional Conference registrations (with budget approvals).

Board and Membership approved Governance restructuring (10 Board Members at-large charged with focusing on the Vision and Strategic Plan; 6 Council members to handle Association management issues; Executive Office charged with implementation with input from members).
Clearinghouse established through Executive Office.

Added a second Summer Institute;
Published 2 Monographs;
Published the Family Guide;
Started Administrators' Institute;
Published the first Monthly Association Highlights;
Held the first Administrators’ Pre-Conference Workshop at Regional Conferences;
Established Graduate Certificate Program in Academic Advising.

Published 3 Monographs;
Initiated National Seminar Series.

Record participation at National Conference – 3383 attendees;
Held the first Assessment Institute;
Produced first CD in Foundations of Advising Series;
Published 2 Monographs;
Revamped Newsletter (renamed 'Academic Advising Today') to focus on advising content.

Membership count topped 9100 on January 10, 2006.
Already this year, have published the Career Advising Guide with Jossey-Bass;
Added a Faculty Seminar to the professional development offerings list.

Then Archivist, J.D. Beatty, wrote in the 1991 NACADA Journal article on NACADA’s history, that

In some respects the Association’s growth has followed the developmental model outlined by William Perry, a keynoter at the 1980 Asheville conference….The Association initially had to pull together diverse needs….As the Association grew, it became more willing to accept multiplicity…..(with) shared experiences generating a growing pool of professional literature…(and) there is every reason to believe that the Association will continue to move up the developmental ladder….The Association is entering its adolescence (1991)…but it has neither lost nor forgotten the wonder years, and many chapters remain in its rich future. We 'have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.'

We thank the many dedicated leaders of NACADA’s past who have nurtured this Association through its infancy and adolescence, and prepared it for a bright future as a “grown-up” Association! Now we challenge the present and future leaders to be as visionary and successful, for we still 'have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.'

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

Cite this article using APA style as: Flaherty, R. (2006, February). From the executive director: NACADA memories and milestones. Academic Advising Today, 29(1). 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.