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Voices of the Global Community


Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director

Charlie Nutt.jpgWhat an exciting conference we had in San Antonio to celebrate NACADA’s 30th Anniversary! From our keynote speakers, preconference workshops, concurrent sessions, and poster sessions to the Common Reading discussion, Commission/Interest Group Fair, and silent auction, this year’s Conference, as always, provided the highest quality professional development and networking opportunities for our over 2500 participants!  I personally enjoyed at our opening session having the opportunity to recognize our Past Presidents and Executive Director Emeritus Bobbie Flaherty for their leadership in our first 30 years! Special thanks and kudos to Jo Ann Huber from the University of Texas and her awesome conference committee, as well as Rhonda Baker and the entire NACADA Staff at Kansas State University for their work and the long hours they put into making the Conference a major success!

NACADA and the role of academic advising in the lives of students have definitely grown together in the past 30 years in a very symbiotic manner.  NACADA has had a direct impact on higher education’s understanding of the value of academic advising in student persistence and success, and the recognition of academic advising as both a profession and an integral component of student success initiatives has had a direct impact on NACADA’s growth in membership and influence in higher education.

It is extremely exciting to see the progress that higher education and NACADA are making, while slowly at times, in recognizing and valuing diversity in our students on our campuses and our membership in NACADA. We are finally seeing a growth in the respect for women, people of color and multi-ethnic backgrounds, and people from all gender identities, institutional types, and roles in leadership in both our colleges and universities and in all areas of leadership in NACADA.  I want to acknowledge the work of Skip Crownhart, Jane Jacobson, Randy Jedele, Casey Self and the many other leaders and members who have actively assisted NACADA in our diversity efforts. Our relatively new Emerging Leader Program has already had success in increasing the involvement in leadership from our members of diverse backgrounds. But I continue to challenge myself, our Leaders, and our members to more openly and demonstratively acknowledge, respect, and value the involvement, views, and leadership of women, people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, our GLBT colleagues, and our colleagues from institutional types and roles different from our own. I further challenge our Association to be a leader in our diversity efforts in the higher education community.

As we are very proud of our 30 year Anniversary and the strong foundation so many people established for NACADA, it is time to look toward the future for the next 30 years!  The NACADA Strategic Goals, as approved by the Board of Directors, provide us with a road map for looking toward the future. With the Strategic Goals as my foundation, let me take a view minutes to outline for us where we have been, where we are moving, and where we might want to be when the Next Generation of NACADA Leaders celebrates our 60 Year Anniversary!

  • We have taken a bold step as an Association in the Board of Directors’ vote to use as our tag line, NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. Built upon our long history of work with our Canadian colleagues, as well as our recent opportunities to work with colleagues in countries like the  UK, Australia, the Netherlands, United Emirates, Japan, South Africa, and Korea, the focus on our international connections is key to the future of NACADA. The Board of Directors is continuing its work on how to more intentionally demonstrate our influence, commitment, and involvement with our international colleagues in student success and academic advising, personal tutoring, and career development. This includes how we might expand our professional development opportunities, both in person and via technology, to international sites; how we might expand international involvement in our publications, such as the NACADA Journal, Academic Advising Today, the NACADA Clearinghouse, etc.; and how we might intentionally develop a plan for involving our international colleagues in our leadership opportunities. Won’t it be exciting during the next 30 years for our NACADA Annual Conference to be held on site and via the Web in an international city and our President be an international member?
  • We have made great strides in our 30 years toward increasing the respect of academic advising as a field of study in higher education through the NACADA Journal as well as the work of the Research Committee, including the NACADA Research Grants, the Association statement on Scholarly Inquiry, the Common Reading program at Annual Conference, and Research Symposium held in conjunction with several Region Conferences. In addition, NACADA’s relationship with Kansas State University’s graduate programs in academic advising also has enhanced the focus on our field of study.  The Board of Directors has continued this focus by recommending that one of the keynote speakers at our Annual Conferences be research focused in the field of academic advising and student success.  We have also worked to connect more closely with our graduate students who are our future researchers through a new Interest Group established for Doctoral Students and through our annual Silent Auction, which works to fund graduate student scholarships to our Regional Conferences. Won’t it be exciting during the next 30 years for NACADA, our members, leaders  and publications to be recognized as the primary source for the major research in the field of academic advising and student success, for our research grant funding to be increased significantly due to an influx in research being conducted in the field of academic advising, and for our graduate student membership and involvement in research in the field to have greatly increased?
  • During the past 30 years, NACADA has greatly expanded our professional development opportunities, resources, and materials that we provide our members and the higher education profession as whole. Today we have a series of professional development events, including our Annual Conferences, Regional Conferences, specialized Seminars, Summer Institutes, Administrators’ Institutes, and Assessment Institutes. We have a full catalogue of print resources including a Monograph series, books done in collaboration with Jossey-Bass, the NACADA Journal, and Academic Advising Today. Additionally, we have expanded our resources via various technology, including the NACADA Clearinghouse, our Webcast series, CD and DVD series, and podcasts and blogs.  During our next 30 years, the Executive Office, in partnership with the Board of Directors and our various Advisory Boards and Committees, must work to not only expand our offerings to meet the changing needs of our members, institutions, students, and the field of study but to also focus on providing  connected cost effective resources. Won’t it be exciting  in the next 30 years for NACADA members to be able to connect attendance at a variety of events with specific publications, resources, and even speakers and consultants from the NACADA Academic Advising Consultants and Speakers Service for one low price and take advantage of these in person or via some form of technology?
  • Last, nothing has changed and grown more in the past 30 years than technology and its impact on higher education, students and their paths to success and persistence.  However, this is one area in which I know that NACADA has not been ahead or even kept up-to-date in our services to our members. While we will be making significant improvements in the next year with on-line membership, registration, and purchases as well as an array of members-only on-line resources, we have a long way to go. The Board of Directors and the Executive Office are working closely together this year to make NACADA’s utilization of technology a priority. Won’t it be exciting in the next 30 years when NACADA has a vision for technology utilization that encompasses not only services to members, but also new innovative delivery modes utilizing the latest technology for our events and resources, and strategies for NACADA being ahead of the ever changing technology curve, not constantly chasing it?

When I was a teenager, much more than 30 years ago, my father taught me that simply living for the present was not the path to success; he told me that it is important to study, honor, and value the past while at the same time dream, envision, and plan for the future. This is the only way I could be successful in the present. Teaching me this was one of the greatest legacies Daddy gave me. It is my goal as Executive Director to always work with each of you as members and leaders of NACADA: The Global Community of Academic Advising. Together we will build upon our rich past as we strategically plan for the future; in this way our association will be successful in the present.

Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
(785) 532-5717
[email protected]

Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2009, December). From the executive director: NACADA, the global community for academic advising. Academic Advising Today, 32(4). 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.