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Voices of the Global Community


Joshua S. Smith, NACADA President

I am delighted to report that the NACADA Annual Conference in Nashville, TN was a resounding success. Nearly 3,000 members sang, danced, and most importantly learned from one another. As is customary, the Board of Directors held its board meeting following the conference. I wanted to update you on our deliberations and continue to elaborate a bit more on my theme of “Professionalism” in the field of academic advising.

NACADA President Josh Smith.jpg

Building on the excellent work of past NACADA leaders including former NACADA Vice President Glenn Kepic, Past President Kathy Stockwell, and others, the Board agreed with me that we should create a working group on global initiatives. Karen Sullivan-Vance of Western Oregon University and Penny Robinson of Leeds University have agreed to co-chair the work group. They will present the proposed charge and membership of the work group to the Board before the New Year.

Additionally, the Board agreed that we need to do better at helping members effectively communicate with their administrators following NACADA events, such as conferences, institutes, etc. Therefore, we will develop and disseminate some sample communication templates and recommendations for sharing information about academic advising and the impact of professional development experiences you attend. Keep an eye out for these helpful tips in the near future.

Last, but certainly not least, we are creating a Task Force to develop resources and practices to foster leadership in NACADA. We are very proud of the success of the Emerging Leaders Program, but we recognized the need to support leaders when they transition into a role of Committee Chair, Commission Chair, Region Chair, and the many other opportunities to get involved in the leadership of the organization. Former Presidents Jayne Drake and Jennifer Joslin have graciously agreed to lead this effort.

This approach is directly connected to the theme of Professionalism and the responsibility of each of us to champion the role of academic advising as central to student development and learning in higher education. As advisors, we know about student development, transitions, decision-making, and the power of promoting reflective practice in conversations with our students. Additionally, research supports the value of quality academic advising to a variety of college student learning outcomes. Most recently, a study out of the Center for Public Education at the National School Boards Association by Klepfler and Hull (2012) examining retention figures for over 9,000 students identified three important factors associated with one-year persistence. These included taking high-level math courses such as pre-calculus or calculus in high school, enrolling in AP/IB courses, and talking with academic advisors in college. The impact of advising was particularly salient for low-income students.

Advisors need not be shy about sharing what we know, communicating our stories of student success, presenting data on the impact of our programs, and taking a stand on practices and policies that run counter to what we know about student learning. Let me reiterate my call to action. Please commit to doing something different this year that demonstrates your professionalism within our profession. And then be sure that others know about it. Tell your Provost, Vice President of Enrollment, President, and for goodness’ sake, tweet about it, blog about it and after it is completed, write it up for Academic Advising Today, The Mentor, NACADA Journal, or other professional outlets.

Lastly, I want to give a Tweet Out! to the social media gurus of NACADA whom I met at the Tweet Up during the Nashville annual conference. They convinced me to sign up for Twitter. Consider following me @NACADAJosh.

Keep up the good work on behalf of our students and colleges/universities around the globe.  

Joshua S. Smith, President, 2012-2013
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Dean, School of Education, Loyola University Maryland
[email protected]


Cite this article using APA style as:

Smith, J.S. (2012, December). From the president: “Professionalism” in the field of academic advising. Academic Advising Today, 35(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.