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Cecilia Olivares, NACADA President

Cecilia Olivares.jpgFor each Academic Advising Today column I wrote as NACADA President, I spent time reviewing what the NACADA Presidents before me wrote at the same point in their presidencies. The themes are fairly consistent: transition, reflection, and appreciation.


In May, I shared an update about the Board of Directors’ work with the new mission, vision, and strategic goals; and recommendations from the Region Review Implementation Committee (RRIC) and the Race, Ethnicity, and Inclusion (REI) Working Group. The Board approved the following:

  • Establishment of a working group to guide the selection process for hiring an external consultant to conduct a structural audit of the association
  • NACADA’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement
  • NACADA Land Acknowledgement statement
  • Updated charge of the Inclusion and Engagement Committee (IEC) to focus on the continuous assessment of the needs of NACADA’s diverse membership
  • Creation of Inclusion & Engagement Training Advisory Board to work with the IEC to develop, conduct, and assess training for association leaders and members based on recommendations from the IEC assessment data
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion training for NACADA leaders beginning with the 2022 election cycle

I anticipate that by the end of September, the Board will have voted to approve the new mission, vision, strategic goals, and updated by-laws. I also hope that we will finalize implementation activities based on the RRIC’s recommendations before we transition to the 2021–2022 Board under the leadership of Incoming President Kyle Ross and Incoming Vice President Michelle Smith Ware.


This year’s Board of Directors has been busy behind the scenes, setting the groundwork for the next phase of NACADA. We extended our monthly meetings because of the breadth and depth of conversations, despite being in six different time zones with a 14-hour difference. We never had enough time in meetings, but we never lost focus of our responsibility for the strategic plan and allocation of resources for the association. In addition, unlike previous boards, the 2020–2021 NACADA Board of Directors will have never met in person.


The past year’s efforts would not have been possible without the leadership, collegiality, and continued support of the Council, the NACADA Executive Office staff, retired Executive Director Charlie Nutt, current Executive Director Melinda Anderson, and Kansas State College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer.

I especially want to thank my fellow Board members for their service to NACADA this year: Megumi Makino-Kanehiro, Oscar van den Wijngaard, Melinda Anderson, Zoranna Jones, Kyle Ross, Michelle Smith Ware, Teri Farr, Rebecca Hapes, and Mehvash Ali. This team never wavered from a shared commitment to NACADA and its members. We built on the lessons learned from the past and created a new vision and plan for the future of the association. I am honored and humbled to have served alongside these incredible colleagues and friends.

And thank you, NACADA members, for your continued engagement with the association. You are at the heart of what we do and why we do it as an association, so thank you for the opportunity to serve you. On behalf of the current Board, I hope we served you well.

Cecilia Olivares, President, 2020-2021
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising 
Director of Transfer Center & First Generation Student Initiatives
Interim Director of Discovery Center
University of Missouri-Columbia
[email protected]

Cite this article using APA style as: Olivares, C. (2021, September). From the president: Transition, reflection, appreciation. Academic Advising Today, 44(3). [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.