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Voices of the Global Community


The Front Lines of Hope: Helping Students Connect to Themselves for a Brighter Future

David Throgmorton, Carbon County Higher Education Center

David Throgmorton.jpg

Editor’s Note: David Throgmorton, Executive Director of the Carbon County Higher Education Center in Rawlins, Wyoming, was the invited speaker for the Opening Session of the NACADA Region 10 Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming in May 2009.  The following article is adapted from that address. 

When life is ambiguous, people tend to cling to the familiar.  They aren’t likely to try new things.  They are not likely to experiment.  In a word, when times are uncertain, people hunker down. 

And times are uncertain.  Phony industries like Enron have collapsed.  Legitimate institutions like Washington Mutual and Merrill Lynch appeared healthy one day, then withered into bankruptcy and disappeared the next.

Worst of all, major industries that actually produced things—the automobile industry chief among them—are being dismantled daily.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics dispassionately tells us who pays the price for this.  In March of 2008, the unemployment rate for adults without a high school education was 9.5%.  A year later, the unemployment rate for adults without a high school education was 13.3%. Comparable figures for adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher were 2.0% in 2008 and 4.3% in 2009.

The message is clear: in uncertain times, the most vulnerable people in our country are those with the least education.

Ten years ago, you were advising people who wanted you to lead them down the path to prosperity.  Today, you are advising people who want you to lead them down the path to security.  They are frightened.  

The NACADA declaration of values unequivocally states that advisors are responsible to their advisees, their home institutions, the educational community and to the principle of higher education.  I would add two more responsibilities. 

  • You are responsible for not being afraid, for not being timid.
  • You are responsible for creating a culture of optimism at your institution. 

Presidents need to be frugal.  Deans need to be cautious.  Professors need to be territorial.  Academic advisors need to be bold.

There are four key areas where academic advisors need to be bold.  Hang tight on these, and you will fulfill the NACADA values.  More importantly, you will serve your advisees well.

First, never forget that as an academic advisor, you are the front lines of hope for your advisees.  You know your people.  You’ve encountered the 18-year-old who wants to be an art historian but whose parents want her to be a beautician because, even during a recession, people want to get their hair done. 

These people are not looking to the president or the dean or their professors for advice.  They are looking to you. They are investing their hope in your ability to understand their plight and to suggest a path out of the darkness.  Clearly your advice for the 18-year-old will be different than your advice to the 45-year-old, but in each case you need to keep hope alive.

And you know the desperation of the 45-year-old shift worker who has been laid off and has no clue how to prepare for another line of work.

Second, your advisees want you to connect the dots between them and security. Your real task is to help them connect the dots between them and….themselves.  The Enron guys connected the dots between themselves and security, but in the process they lost sight of their purpose.  They were not evil; they were simply disconnected.

Hope is important.  Hope is real.  Hope gives people the courage to move on.  And academic advisors give shape to hope. 

Your advisees will not be truly secure simply acquiring the skills to do a job.  They will truly be secure when they know what they are capable of doing, what they are capable of knowing, and how they are capable of adapting to shifting circumstances.

The most important tool in your repertoire is the ability to listen and to mold what you hear into a coherent plan.  People solve their own conundrums, but they look for outside validation.  Your validation must assure your advisees that understanding themselves sounds trite but is, in fact, the only way to secure an education that will allow them to actually prosper.

Third, resist pressure to dumb down academic advising to job training or career counseling.  The unemployment figures mentioned earlier pivot on education. There is a movement afoot to equate job preparation certificates with an education.  There is pressure being put on institutions to promote certificates based on single multiple choice exams as a quick alternative to degrees.  

You know better.  A high school graduate with a career preparation certificate is still a high school graduate. A high school drop out with a career preparation certificate is still a high school drop out.  And these people are vulnerable in the job market.  You will be called upon to promote these spurious certifications.  Do what you need to do to protect your job, but make sure your advisees understand that a genuine education is the only long-term solution to their circumstances. 

Education matters and people in your institution are being pressured into pretending otherwise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is your ally, and you should wave their data like a bloody flag.

Fourth, tell your advisees to follow their hearts, no matter how absurd it seems.  Put a huge poster in your office quoting the words of Daniel Burnham, the architect of the Chicago World’s Fair: Make no little plans!  They have no magic to stir men’s blood. Ditch the sexist words and embrace the sentiment. Tell your advisees about the businesses that began during the most oppressive economic circumstances: Hyatt, Burger King, CNN, Wikipedia, Lexus-Nexus, Fed Ex, Microsoft, Jim Henson Productions…. More importantly, there are millions of small businesses they have never heard of that were founded during harsh economic times.   Each of them prospered because the founder believed in him or herself.  Each succeeded because they had an advisor tell them to pull out the stops, let out the reins and to work hard at what they love. Successful enterprises are not initiated by timid people, frightened people, hunkered down people. As an academic advisor it is your responsibility to make this clear, to encourage courage, to blow oxygen on a spark.

Dave Throgmorton.jpgAcademic advising has never been more important.  It is not about discerning the arcane institutional rules that students need to follow in order to graduate.  It is about connecting students to themselves, providing them with the courage to pursue their dreams and helping them realize their purpose beyond simply securing a paycheck. 

This is the stuff of real life.  What a wonderful job you have.  Be bold! This is no time to hunker down.

David Throgmorton
Executive Director
Carbon County Higher Education Center
[email protected]

From the President: NACADA, The Global Community for Academic Advising

Casey Self, NACADA President

Casey Self.jpgExcitement is brewing as NACADA prepares for our Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, September 30-October 3, and I encourage you to visit the Conference homepage for more details regarding this upcoming event.  I want to thank the NACADA Executive Office staff and the Conference planning committee, led by Past President  Jo Anne Huber of the University of Texas at Austin. It takes hard work by many to pull together a successful Conference of this magnitude, and I know this year will be no exception. This San Antonio Conference will be a special event for two reasons: NACADA is celebrating our 30th Anniversary as an association, and NACADA will officially unveil a new tag line for our name that clearly acknowledges and communicates our global membership.

In 1979, a group of academic advising professionals successfully chartered a new association in higher education, the National Academic Advising Association. Thirty years later, we celebrate an organization that has become one of higher education’s premier educational associations. Those of us who benefit from the numerous NACADA resources and events pay tribute to the many individuals over the past 30 years who have made NACADA the successful association it is today. On behalf of all of us, I acknowledge and thank the many individuals, including past presidents and Board members, Executive Office staff, and the numerous volunteers and members who have contributed to growth of NACADA.

If the past 30 years are any indication, we have many successes in our future. As we honor the accomplishments of our predecessors, we thank them for the insight they displayed in creating our Association. I know that they are very proud of our profession and are even more excited about the potential for our future.

As NACADA celebrates our 30th Anniversary, it is also an appropriate time to officially expand our Association’s reach beyond our North American borders. NACADA membership has expanded over the past few years to include individuals from more than 26 countries across the globe. NACADA has co-sponsored events in the United Kingdom and also sent representatives to numerous other countries, including Japan and Dubai, to consult with members at their institutions of higher education.  After two years of discussion among various NACADA members on task forces and in leadership meetings, the NACADA Board of Directors voted in June to officially adopt a tag line to be displayed with the NACADA acronym. Our Association will be referred to as “NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising.”  I am extremely proud to have been a part of the NACADA leadership team at this significant time in the Association’s history. My experiences with colleagues from Canada and my recent participation in the Third Annual International Conference on Personal Tutoring and Academic Advising in Liverpool, England confirm that NACADA has done the right thing in expanding our name.

I look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio in late September as NACADA members converge, once again, for our Annual Conference. This 30th Anniversary Conference will be a special event as we celebrate our past and look forward to our promising future. 

On a personal note, since this is my last column as NACADA President, I want to thank the many, many individuals who have made this year so special. There are too many names to mention here, but I truly appreciate those who have made my year as NACADA President so memorable. Some are brand new friends and many are NACADA members I have known for years. I specifically want to thank the Executive Office staff, under the wonderful direction of Charlie Nutt, and my fellow Board of Director members over the past three years for their wonderful support. Many thanks to Arizona State University and my colleagues in University College who have been extremely supportive of this adventure!

Casey Self, President
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
[email protected]

From the Executive Director: Join Us in San Antonio to Celebrate our 30 Years!

Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director

CharlieNutt.jpgIn just a few short weeks, close to 3,000 of you will join us in San Antonio for our 30th Anniversary celebration! We are beginning our celebration with this important issue of Academic Advising Today, highlighting not only major events and achievements of our 30 years, but also celebrating key leaders in our history, such as Virginia Gordon, Wes Habley, Tom Grites, Peggy King, and J.D. Beatty, as well as key leaders for our next 30 years, such as Cornelius Gilbert and José Rodríguez.

In addition to this special issue of AAT, as a part of NACADA’s 30th Anniversary celebration, the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources has asked NACADA members to update and expand upon the most popular chapters in the 1995 publication, Academic Advising as a Comprehensive Campus Process. The overviews provide practical suggestions for establishing and maintaining the kinds of positive connections across campus that will lead to greater student persistence. These articles can be found online in the Clearinghouse.

Also to celebrate NACADA’s 30th Anniversary, there will be a trivia game at the NACADA Exhibit Booth at the 2009 Annual Conference in San Antonio. Attendees who answer questions correctly will have the opportunity to win NACADA Bucks that can be exchanged for NACADA publications and products. Each month since January, the NACADA Highlights has featured questions and answers from categories included in the trivia game. The categories are: conference locations, NACADA Past Presidents, NACADA publications, conference keynote speakers, miscellaneous NACADA fun facts, and Get to know your NACADA Executive Office.  Check the Highlights each month for questions and answers. 

Our opening general session in San Antonio will be the start of our Conference celebration – with a special Anniversary welcome from our President Casey Self. After the keynote speaker, join us for our opening 30-year celebration reception!

Other exciting aspects of this year’s Conference are:

  • dynamic keynote speakers with vast experience and expertise in student success of our multicultural students,
  • our NACADA Choir celebrating its 11th anniversary with a musical celebration,
  • 2nd Annual Common Reading with a focus on academic advising and the Latina student,
  • 2nd Annual Silent Auction to support graduate student scholarships to regional conferences, and
  • over 400 concurrent sessions!

I look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio!

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


NACADA Memories:  The Early Years

Margaret C. “Peggy” King, NACADA Past President
Thomas J. Grites , NACADA Past President

Peggy King.jpgPeggy King: I was working as a Counselor at Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey when my boss showed me the flier for the First National Conference on Academic Advising in Burlington, Vermont.  I was excited because the major focus of my work at OCC was in the area of advising. Tom Grites’ name was listed as a contact person, and he worked at Stockton State College (now The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey) just south of OCC. I called Tom and asked if I could ride to Vermont with him. We, literally, met for the first time at a rest area on the Garden State Parkway – it was the start of a wonderful friendship!

Toni Trombley.jpgThat first conference was so exciting! There were 275 of us there. I registered late so ended up in a different hotel and took a shuttle back and forth for sessions.Toni Trombley was the woman with the vision. She and Tom Grites had talked at a previous ACPA conference.  Toni had realized the need for a national conference on academic advising, so she took the ball and ran with it.


Tom Grites.jpgTom Grites: It was not until we re-united with Toni in 2007 at the NACADA Summer Institute in Burlington that I actually knew why she planned that first conference. I invited Toni to say a few words at one of the Institute’s opening sessions.  She noted that her reason for having the first conference was that she had just been appointed as Director of the Advising Center at the University of Vermont, and she was tired of trying to contact people across the country to see what they were doing.  She had traveled to several campuses and realized how costly and time-consuming that was; she thought that it would be much more efficient and productive to bring practitioners to her. What a brilliant strategy!

Peggy: I remember particularly a presentation by Dave Crockett, then with ACT. His session, “Modes and Models of Academic Advising,” was so good and relevant. He presented that session at many conferences thereafter until he retired.

Tom: I co-presented two conference workshops with Joe Metz, a former colleague at the University of Maryland where I was employed when we submitted our proposals.  For the first conference all sessions were designed in a three-hour format, and ours were on “Developing a Model for Academic Advising” and “Maximizing the Use of Faculty Advisors.”

I remember the ferryboat ride on Lake Champlain, where conference participants enjoyed a buffet and dancing. I also remember that people sat around the hotel lobby, or anywhere they could find a comfortable spot, to discuss advising issues.

Peggy: By the end of the conference, there was much discussion about holding a second conference and the need for a steering committee that would look to the future. Individuals could join the steering committee if they felt they could potentially host a conference. Tom and I decided we could co-host one in Atlantic City, so we both joined. I was the only person from a community college on the steering committee, and for many years remained one of the few from that sector of the higher education community who took an active role in NACADA leadership.

Tom: Driving back to New Jersey after that First Conference was an interesting mix of exhaustion and enthusiasm.  I’m sure it was the latter that kept us awake for those ten hours. Soon the planning began for the second conference.

Frank Dyer and Carl Chando of (then) Memphis State University obtained approval from their Vice President to host the next conference in Memphis. As we planned for the second conference, I knew I wanted to be involved with the programming. I lobbied to be the Program Chair and continued in that role for the next three conferences. My thinking was always that a new professional association trying to make its mark in an area not previously recognized needed a very strong conference program to draw people to the conference and especially if a new national association was to be formed and sustained.

All volunteers worked out of their offices using whatever resources they could muster to make this work. The dedication was so obvious from so many people. Peggy volunteered to be a program committee member; during the next few months we put out a call for proposals. Since Peggy and I were located near each other, I remember meeting in a mall to review about 100 proposals for the second conference.

I also remember the discussions Toni and I had regarding a keynote speaker for the second conference. I wanted someone with recognition, but Toni was very budget conscious, as we only had the profits from the first conference for planning. My recommendation was Alexander Astin, so we called him from the Detroit Renaissance Center, site of the 1978 ACPA Conference that was attended by several steering committee members. Toni argued that his fee was too high; I argued that the recognition factor would bring attendees. Somehow, I prevailed, and Toni took the financial risk.

Another example of my financial discussions with Toni was in 1979 in Boston at yet another ACPA Conference, where we were approached by Ted Miller, chair of the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS). He asked us to join CAS and develop the Standards for academic advising, since AcAfAd – an ACPA Commission and the only group that provided any previous support for academic advising – was not eager to do so. The cost to join was $100. However, we were not yet an association and had no membership income; we operated only from the conference profits. Again, somehow I prevailed on the rationale that if we didn’t write these standards, someone else would.

Peggy: Thinking back on those steering committee meetings, I remember very late night and early morning meetings as we worked on future conferences and to form a national association. It was exciting, and we didn’t mind the work. Early on there were strong feelings about making sure we had regional representation as well as representation by institutional type. When the first Board of Directors was formed, I served as the two-year college representative, and Tom served as the public college representative.

Grites2.jpgTom: In 1979, when NACADA was officially chartered, Toni was elected as the first president. By the next year, she had decided to return to graduate school to pursue her Ph.D. and asked that I run for the presidency. I had just published an AAHE-ERIC Research Report and Toni felt that the recognition of that publication would be good publicity for the new association.  At the time, I really wanted to be the editor of the upcoming NACADA Journal, but agreed and was elected as president for two one-year terms. 

One glitch that initially occurred with my election was that I was also approached to run for a national leadership office –Chair of ACPA’s Commission I– since I had been involved with that association for several years. I declined, but was persuaded to leave my name on the ballot so that an election would not go uncontested.  I WON!!  Now what?  Actually, I managed to hold both offices but always knew where my heart was.

King2.jpgPeggy: I later became NACADA secretary (with memories of typing the minutes, collating them, binding them and mailing them), vice president, and eventually president. Back then, Board meetings were large gatherings because of the desire to be inclusive. During my presidency, it was not unusual to have 40–50 people in attendance. I took great pride in becoming the first community college person to assume that role.

Tom and Peggy: In addition to lots of meetings, those early memories include lasting friendships, wonderful meals (particularly Mr. C’s in Omaha where one Board member entertained the entire restaurant by playing the piano), fun experiences like visiting Graceland when we were in Memphis, and being photographed sitting in a race car in Indianapolis.  As we got organized, Tom began the practice of holding Board meetings in the spring at the site of our next conference – a practice he had experienced in his leadership capacity in ACPA. This allowed wonderful opportunities to get to know different areas/cities with two visits. The first of these mid-year Board meetings was held in Indianapolis in the spring 1981, immediately after the ACPA Conference in Cincinnati. Again many Board members had also attended the ACPA conference which was relatively close by. 

Of course, we could write volumes about our NACADA experiences, but others have many stories to tell as well. These reflections seem to be the norm for those of us who struggled through some of the early, more difficult times. We loved every minute of it!

Margaret C. “Peggy” King
Associate Dean for Student Development
Schenectady County Community College
[email protected]

Thomas J. Grites
Assistant to the Provost
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
[email protected]

Reflections on 30 Years of Membership in NACADA


Brenda Hart and Tom Brown, NACADA members

Brenda Hart.jpgBrenda Hart , a NACADA Charter Member, currently serves as Professor of Engineering Fundamentals and Director of Student Affairs at J.B. Speed School of Engineering at Kentucky’s University of Louisville.  She has served as Chair of the NACADA Multicultural Concerns Commission, Region 3 Representative, Editor of the Academic Advising Newsletter, and 1991 National Conference Co-chair.

Brenda says: When I first think of NACADA, I recall receiving an announcement in the mail of an upcoming conference on academic advising to be held in Burlington, Vermont. Having been born in western Massachusetts and spent many summers in the Berkshires, I always jumped at the opportunity to return to New England, so I registered for the conference and soon became a charter member of the fledgling organization. I had no idea how much this would change my life.

At the time, I was relatively new in advising. My undergraduate degree is in French, and I had earned a Master’s in College Student Personnel Services–Counseling, but like so many of us, I had eased into an advising role almost by accident. Becoming an active member of NACADA provided me with expertise in the field and with a life-time of friends. Even though I am no longer actively advising students, I treasure the friendship and use the developmental advising techniques emphasized by this professional organization.

When I reflect on my early involvement with NACADA, I also recall issues of diversity and how my colleagues of color and I used to look forward to getting together. This was long before we had a formal commission or committee tied to diversity. We’d reconnect over meals and during sessions, and we soon decided to formalize as a group. It was vital that NACADA embrace issues related to diversity, so several of us took on leadership roles and pressed to make sure our issues were being addressed. We gave presentations on how best to work with diverse student populations, and we spoke up at Board meetings.  We published articles in the NACADA Journal and in the Academic Advising Newsletter, and we made presentations at regional and national conferences. NACADA became a special organization for us as we shared our individual experiences and areas of expertise and made life-long friends. “Those were the days.”

Tom Brown is currently the Managing Principal of Thomas Brown & Associates. He served as NACADA Vice President for Commissions in 1997-98, Region 9 Representative, Chair of the Multicultural Concerns Commission, 1990 National Conference Co-chair, and Summer Institute Faculty 1987-2008. He is the recipient of the 2000 Service to NACADA Award.

Buddy Ramos and Tom Brown.jpgTom recalls: In early fall of 1979, the Academic Vice President at Saint Mary’s College of California forwarded a notice about a conference on academic advising meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.  Several months earlier, the College had appointed me Dean of Advising Services/Special Programs, likely making me one of the first deans in the nation with advising as part of my title.  Prior to my first NACADA conference, I attended meetings of the ACPA, NASPA, and other organizations, where I scoured the programs for sessions having anything to do with advising. There usually were few to none, and NACADA was a gift that would keep on giving!

My first impressions of that Omaha meeting have informed my involvement with the Association in the intervening three decades.  The first was the genuinely welcoming and inclusive manner of the Association's leaders. People like Tom Grites,Toni Trombley, and Wes Habley brought their reputations to enhance the credibility of a fledgling organization. However, they were friendly, accessible, and—to use a term from the '70s—they were “for real.” There were no cliques or hierarchies; only academic advisors trying to figure out how to do our jobs better.

My second impression was the diversity of NACADA’s founding leadership. Among the founding members was Ed Jones, a distinguished University of Washington scholar who created the NACADA Journal. Brenda Hart, Judy Sanford Harris (Pine Manor College), Reginald Browne (University of San Francisco), Joan Nelson (Dartmouth) and Wenette Pegues (Langston U) served on the Board of Directors, while Washington State’s Bob Clayton was Parliamentarian.


Ashville Conference.jpgIn NACADA’s early days, “diversity” usually meant African-Americans, and people like Brenda, Judy, Skip Crownhart, Catherine Joseph, Sidney McPhee and Brian Stanley, made powerful contributions to NACADA. However, the Association also produced leaders like Juan Alvarez of Modesto Junior College, Kazi Mamun of USC, Evette Castillo of Cal State Hayward, Mario Rivas of San Francisco State, Kris Rugsaken of Ball State University, Carol Fimmen of Western Illinois, and Remy Sotto of Pima Community College. And Manuel “Buddy” Ramos provided distinguished leadership as a NACADA President.

Among my fondest memories were the annual gatherings of multicultural advisors to which Brenda refers. We would search out restaurants in conference cities that served good “ethnic food”—whether Ethiopian, Mexican, or down home soul cooking. We would pass the word to folks we knew and didn’t know, then gather in hotel lobbies for long walks, shared taxi rides, or Metro trips. On the journeys and at dinner, strangers became colleagues, then friends.  We shared our triumphs and frustrations; we talked about new ideas and successful programs; we toasted children born, new jobs, and degrees completed. We returned with a sense that NACADA was a place we could call our professional home—a place where we would always be welcomed.

Brenda Hart
University of Louisville
[email protected]


Tom Brown
Thomas Brown & Associates, LLC
[email protected] 

 Ohama conference.jpg

Snapshots from 21 National Conferences: My World Before Digital Cameras



J.D. Beatty, NACADA Emeritus Charter Member

JD Beatty.jpg J.D. retired from formal academic advising and administrative advising responsibilities at Iowa State University in September 2000, after 30+ years of experience. He began as an academic adviser in the Department of English, moved to college-level advising and leading the liberal arts college Open Option Advising Center, and then added chairing the University Academic Advising Committee and leading efforts to make academic advising the keystone experience of the university’s recruitment and orientation programming. In addition, he was a member of the planning team that created the ISU  Learning Communities Program, a program whose instructors initially were composed of a number of academic advisers. During his tenure, the university evolved from mandatory admission into a major to the possibility of “open option” admission, and the job title of professional adviser was created to complement and strengthen the traditional faculty advising model.

Photos are now digitized, phone calls wireless, letters replaced by electronic email, and casual conversation a tweet. Academic advisors leverage every technology to enhance student satisfaction and achievement but, most fundamentally, academic advisors are humans assisting other humans in a myriad of ways—what is more important than that? 

From Louisville until nearly the end of the 20th century, I was the volunteer photographer for NACADA, the Association’s “paparazzi” if you will, photographing speakers, session presenters, conference venues, and award winners. Most of all, I was the guy who tried to catch “candid shots” of the membership being human. I shot thousands of pictures at nationals—many are in the Association’s archives and under tight security to protect the guilty! The amazing feature, as I think back about my 21 nationals, is that the prints I developed during my 15 or so paparazzi years, both as the unofficial and official photographer, provide a record of members having fun, being confident and committed to the Association, modeling collaboration and community—even in spite of a few sibling squabbles.

My NACADA experience began in Omaha in 1979, a trip that was like going home (though Wolfe asserts that is impossible), because I grew up on a farm about 30 miles from the conference hotel. In many respects, that conference felt like my home town—cozy, yet with an edge issue (insufficient diversity in the leadership positions). There was homogeneity of purpose—people committed to excellence in academic advising, because it was the right thing to do; it could make a difference in students’ lives. It was a group, as I remember, that acknowledged the skeptics who populated their campuses. It had aspects of a support program, and some sessions and break conversations revealed an underlying theme: “My name is Pilgrim, and I’m an academic advisor,” and in response, “Welcome, Pilgrim.” We were on this quest together, but didn’t fully understand what it was that we were in to, maybe a bit like Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.

From that first “hometown reunion,” NACADA gave me the opportunity to explore an evolving vision of what academic advising was about and how it could be delivered, an opportunity to travel from coast to coast and to renew friendships with fellow pilgrims.

Ashville Conference2.jpgOn the east coast there was Asheville, and a national office wasn’t even a glimmer in someone’s eye. Imagine our Manhattan office as an outgrowth of the Biltmore House. Besides the sessions and workshops and networking, there was a beach in Miami, and I met Mickey in Orlando. On the west coast, few “knew the way to San Jose”; only 310 attended. It was a turning point. NACADA’s goals were never in question, but new strategies were needed to make national conferences special. Four years later in Seattle, we hit 800 and still had time to watch guys throw salmon at the market; by Anaheim we were almost living in Cinderella’s castle with more than 1000. Wow! This was big stuff for an Iowa boy.

We also journeyed to the heartland, places like Chicago (with deep-dish pizza), Louisville (Maker’s Mark chocolate), and Houston (the Galleria in Texas with an ice rink, who would have thought?) to search for roots. The Association continued to evolve, the breadth of research and practitioner advice melded, the impact of excellent academic advising continually gained credibility and thus administrative support. What is more American than a strategy to generate a long-term positive bottom line? The Association took on the mocking criticism that it was attempting to create a fantasy profession and has continued to succeed in turning skeptics into believers.

Ah, these were heady times! We continued to work toward defining excellent academic advising: we knew what it was when we saw it, to paraphrase a justice of the Supreme Court dealing with another issue, but it was tough to parse the interdependent elements of academic advising and create a paradigm in order to develop a canon of research on effectiveness in practice. Fortunately members did not give up and today the fruits of those efforts are continuing to ripen.

The Association has developed a strategic plan for a robust future, a plan that led to major reorganization assisted by an energetic national office with outstanding leaders, a leadership development program, and an academic credential program.

As I look at the past decade from the outside, one thought comes to mind: we need to create an interest group for elder care of emeriti members, assuming those of us in need could remember to attend!

As I reminisce and look at some photos, I am struck by the youth, fitness and trim physiques—the “beautiful people” who have given so much to NACADA. They are a great generation, and I am a better person for having had the privilege to share time with them! The current and future leadership are and will be equally gifted, so the best continues to evolve.

That is my story and I’m sticking to it.

J.D. Beatty
[email protected]


A Small but Loud Blip in NACADA History

Virginia Gordon, NACADA Past-President

Editor’s Note: The Virginia N. Gordon Award for Excellence in the Field of Advising, inaugurated in 1982, is annually presented to a NACADA member who has made significant contributions to the field of academic advising.

Virginia Gordon.jpgThe early years of NACADA were full of interesting dilemmas, successes, and experiments.  As the third president of the burgeoning organization, I (along with others) experienced many of NACADA’s growing pains.  As a group of volunteers working out of our campus offices and homes, we sometimes lacked the means of communicating and accomplishing our responsibilities efficiently.  We managed to overcome many of these difficulties, however, because of the commitment to build the organization on the part of those involved. We were constantly creating new policies, procedures, and precedents as the need arose.  It was a fun and challenging time!

Many of the organizational policies, resources, and activities we now take for granted were born out of the needs and concerns that appeared in those early years.  Often these issues surfaced because we were still trying to build an organization that was responsive to advisors who represented such a diverse group in background, position, and title within so many different types of institutions.  There were many issues and procedures to be resolved during my tenure as president, but I only have space to share a few that stand out in my memory.

One of the earliest problems was the lack of continuity from one “Board of Directors” to the next.  Information was passed on to newly elected Board members in an uneven way, depending on old Board members’ filing system (or lack of one) and their ability to meet with their successor.  Some new Board members had never seen the NACADA By-Laws or their job description.  It seemed obvious that we needed to provide a more organized way to record information to improve this continuity.  I sent a questionnaire to all Board members prior to the 1983 Board meeting asking them to write a job description and their short and long range goals.  At the next meeting, I gave each Board member a divided notebook that contained everything we had on paper about NACADA up to that point (e.g., By-Laws, policies, procedures, minutes, leadership directory, regional map, a section for their particular position that contained their job description and other information).  How long this system lasted, I’m not sure, but for awhile at least, we had important NACADA information in one place to pass on.

Virginia and friends.jpgAnother related Board issue was who paid the expenses for members to attend Board meetings. Since the organization was not flush with funds, it was decided that Board members’ transportation be paid only for mid-year Board meetings with no reimbursement for the meetings held at the national conferences (that required coming early). For Board members whose institutions did not reimburse them for any meeting (yes, there were some that did not in those days!), it was a financial burden to some.

An issue that was constantly discussed was the role and responsibilities of the Regional and Institutional representatives on the Board. The original intent of creating Institutional Representatives was to address the concerns of small colleges who feared large universities would dominate the organization. The problems that ensued from this arrangement were that the responsibilities for each group were not clearly defined and often seemed to overlap. Several representatives expressed frustration with this lack of direction. Although general guides were developed, representatives of the same type often interpreted their roles differently. This problem was finally resolved years later when the establishment of Commissions and Interest Groups replaced the institutional category.

Discussion also was held about the establishment of Regional meetings. (Some institutional representatives also proposed meetings for the seven institutional types). It was decided to endorse several regional “pilot programs” in the Spring of 1984. NACADA would offer $700 “seed money” to fund initial costs, to be repaid to NACADA after the conference. 

Another important discussion centered on minority representation in NACADA.  The appointment of a minority representative to the Board was proposed. After considerable discussion, a Committee on Minority Recruitment was established and a chair was appointed by the president. This committee was charged with identifying and recruiting more minority members and to organize a “Black Caucus” at the next national conference.

Another important policy that was not clearly defined in the early years was how to structure and conduct a nominating committee. Not much was written at the time, so each new nominating committee chair interpreted the procedure differently. The role and make-up of the nominating committee was debated vigorously in 1983.  Many questions were raised (e.g., What procedures should be in place for soliciting candidates? Who can nominate and how many candidates should there be per office?  What are the qualifications for each board position? Who can vote?  Who should serve on the nominating committee?  How are they chosen?). These are only a few of the questions that were raised. After considerable debate at the spring Board meeting, the nominating committee’s chair was asked to submit recommendations to the Board in the Fall. 

Other examples of issues that were discussed at Board meetings during my tenure included the inefficient way that sites were selected for national conferences; the need for clearer policies about the NACADA Awards Program, particularly for research awards; the need to purchase computers to keep track of NACADA records and for the use of the Journal editor; interest in establishing relationships with other similar organizations (e.g., representatives from NODA and NASPA attended the Spring 1983 Board meeting); the need to establish a placement committee; and interest in determining the existence of graduate courses about academic advising. A FIPSI Grant was submitted to establish a Consultants Bureau (denied). There was even discussion about possible reorganization of the Board because of continuing problems with continuity, overlap of Board terms, and confusion about certain job descriptions.

If some of the issues described above sound familiar, it’s because we are still trying to resolve or improve our approaches to many of them. Looking back, it took many creative and committed people many hours to organize and maintain this organization through its formative years. Fortunately, we still have capable, dedicated members who are willing to serve in leadership roles.  Other writers of articles in this issue of AAT describe the early periods in NACADA’s history from their perspective.  This article just highlights one small snippet of our early years from one president’s memory. I feel honored to have been part of helping to form the dynamic and responsive organization that NACADA is today.

Virginia Gordon
The Ohio State University
[email protected]

A Financial History of NACADA

Mike McCauley, NACADA Past President
Eileen McDonough, NACADA Past Treasurer
Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director Emeritus

Editor’s Note: Past treasurers pictured are Frank Dyer, Wes Habley, Mike McCauley, Eileen McDonough, and Eric White.

Frank Dyer.jpgAs 2009 brings economic woes to the world, NACADA members can feel secure in knowing that NACADA remains financially strong.  This strength is not by accident, but rather through the diligent work of past Treasurers, Boards of Directors and the Executive Office, who put the policies into place to create a firm financial base for the Association.  The underlying commitment to the membership to keep dues affordable and to provide outstanding service and quality events at a price that makes them accessible to all in education has proven to be the key to financial security.

Wes Habley.jpgFrom the beginning of the Association in 1979, when the membership fee was set at $25, members have found a “bargain” in NACADA.  Today, 30 years later, the membership fee is still the lowest among similar associations.  Those first 429 Charter Members sparked an Association that has grown to over 10,000 members, adding “quantity” to “quality” and making it financially possible to continue to expand services to the members, which in turn attracts more members.

Mike McCauley.jpgUnderlying this success has been the tremendous commitment of volunteers to “run” the organization in its early years and to continue to be involved in its development and governance after the establishment of the Executive Office.  The volunteer hours contributed annually – by members currently in leadership positions, as well as countless others working on committees, task forces, advisory boards, review panels, commissions, and interest groups; in Regions; and in a variety of other less formal activities – are astounding.


Eileen McDonough.jpgDuring the Association’s fledgling years, the Board of Directors and volunteer leaders worked hard to provide some basic services – newsletter, journal, national conference – with primarily dues and conference income.  They contracted with Kansas State University’s Conference Office to manage the newly formed Association’s Annual Conference, beginning in 1979.  (As explained by others in this publication, the first two national conferences were held before the Association was formally organized).   This arrangement provided additional operating income.   As the Conference grew, net conference income and membership also grew.

Eric White.jpgWith continually increasing members, the volunteers realized in 1988 that they were soon not going to be able to keep up with the operating demands of the Association nor adequately meet the members’ needs.  In anticipation of added costs for the operation of an Executive Office, the Board of Directors increased the membership fee and added a surcharge to the Annual Conference registration fee, then began the process of establishing an Executive Office.  Their foresight was commendable in that it provided a stable financial base for an Executive Director and a secretary.  Fortunately, Kansas State University’s interest in housing the Executive Office also provided some financial benefits for the Association through salary assistance and contributed space.  This contribution by Kansas State University has added greatly to the continued financial success of the Association.

Bobbie Flaherty & Nancy Barnes.jpg

Bobbie Flaherty  was hired as the first Executive Director because she had been running NACADA’s conferences through the KSU Conference Center; the Annual Conference was brought in-house in 1991. Nancy Barnes was hired to coordinate the Conference and produced increased net income from the Conference annually, which further contributed to the financial stability of the Association.  The Board of Directors quickly realized that as Executive Office responsibilities were increased, providing additional services to the members, annual net income continued to increase.  Conservative budgeting along with skilled management led to increased professional development opportunities as well as increased service to members.  As the annual income grew and Association reserves steadily increased, Flaherty kept a vigilant watch over the fiscal resources of NACADA and assisted the Board in understanding the financial nuances of the Association and wisely, with the approval of the Treasurer, invested NACADA’s reserves so that the Association earned income. This income was used to support research, awards, and special projects like the NACADA Journal.  It also enabled the publication of NACADA’s early resources for advisors.

Under the leadership of Treasurers Mike McCauley and Eileen McDonough, the budgeting process moved from a guessing game to one of “project based” budgeting, where each request was tied to a project and supported by past or projected data.  The budget process was also enhanced by the establishment of Board policy to ascertain that all expenses were justified and approved within specific guidelines.  This process was very transparent, so that the entire Board (then over 40 members) could view how the different cost centers were allotted funds and how the cost centers were held accountable for their expenditures. Having a well informed Board helped perpetuate NACADA programmatically and fiscally.  NACADA’s fiscal resources grew as a result of Bobbie Flaherty’s vigilance over income and expenses, as well as her astute resource investment. This led to the development of specific financial reports to the Board on a regular basis and eventually to annual audits.

For many years, ACT, Inc. supported the Association through sponsorship of the initial NACADA Awards Program, which provided visibility for the Association through a recognition and reward program for advisors and advising.   ACT also developed the Summer Institute on Academic Advising prior to relinquishing its management to the Executive Office.  In addition, ACT, The College Board, and ETS provided initial funding of the original Faculty Advising Training Video, and each was reimbursed from sales income within the first year of its availability.  Also, many members have contributed their professional talents as instructors at professional development events and as consultants.  The commitment of these entities to NACADA has strengthened it both professionally and financially.

The skillful financial management of the organization’s treasurers has assured that NACADA has been true to its commitment to its members to be a good steward of their money and to invest it in the development of additional services to continue to ensure that they can best focus on the development of students in higher education globally.

Mike McCauley
Director of Academic Systems
Ball State University

Eileen McDonough
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Barry University

Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty
NACADA Executive Director Emeritus
Kansas State University


Evolution of NACADA's Executive Office

Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director Emeritus

Bobbie Flaherty.jpgIt was late in the fall of 1978 when Frank, Billie, Toni, and Bobbie engaged in a telephone conversation about the management of the 1979 NACADA national conference. Toni Trombley had hosted a national conference on academic advising in Burlington, Vermont, in 1977, and Frank Dyer had hosted a second one in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1978. These conferences led to the grassroots movement to establish the National Academic Advising Association, which was being incorporated in Vermont; leaders were preparing to hold the first Association-sponsored conference. Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty was Director of Conferences for Kansas State University (KSU) and was planning a bid to manage the conference for the Association in Omaha in October 1979. Billie Jacobini was to become the first Association secretary. That first meeting between Bobbie and the Association leaders eventually led to the KSU Conference Office managing all but one of the Association’s national conferences from 1979 thru 1990. It also led to interest at KSU in housing the NACADA Executive Office in 1989.

InDean Michael Holen.jpg early 1988, the NACADA Board of Directors recognized the need to establish an Executive Office to handle the Association’s ever growing membership and financial tasks. This set into motion a plan to fund an Executive Office and solicit bids for hosting it within a higher education institution. The Board issued a request for proposals and distributed it throughout the Association. Bids were received and among them was one from Kansas State University’s College of Education, prepared by (then) Associate Dean Michael Holen and Bobbie Flaherty. Dean Holen made the generous offer to provide space, furniture, and salary assistance.

The NACADA Executive Office selection committee visited Dean Holen at KSU and determined that with Bobbie Flaherty serving as Executive Director, KSU would be the site of the NACADA Executive Office.  The Executive Office was established in two offices in Bluemont Hall on the KSU campus on July 1, 1990, when NACADA membership stood at 2400. Bobbie Flaherty was Executive Director and Joan Kohake was Secretary. NACADA’s Immediate Past President, Gary Kramer, was assigned to serve as liaison to the office and made it clear that the Executive Office’s only tasks for the first year would be to coordinate membership records and renewals and assume responsibility for all financial transactions of the Association. Bobbie traveled to Muncie, Indiana, to learn about and transfer the membership records system and financial records from (then) Association Treasurer, Mike McCauley. Bank accounts were transferred to a Manhattan, Kansas bank as well.

Nancy Barnes.jpgWhile establishing procedures during the first year, Bobbie knew the financial advantage of managing the Annual Conference and began the planning needed for the Executive Office to assume its management. The Board approved hiring Nancy Barnes on a half-time appointment to coordinate the Conference. A student from KSU Hotel and Restaurant Management Program was an intern who assisted with the meeting planning details, and Dean Holen provided a graduate assistant to work in the Executive Office. As time went on additional responsibilities were transferred to the Executive Office, and NACADA membership continued to grow.

By 1995, membership had grown to 4400, and the Executive Office managed the Summer Institute, debuted the NACADA Web site, and coordinated production of the NACADA Journal. Diane Matteson was the first of several employees hired to assist with the expanding responsibilities of the Executive Office; responsibilities that allowed volunteers to focus on providing leadership rather than labor. As the Association grew, so did the need for coordination of services to members. Gradually the Executive Office expanded to include current employees: Rhonda Baker, Judy Weyrauch, Julia Wolf, Bev Martin, Charlie Nutt, Marsha Miller, Cara Wohler, Leigh Cunningham, Farrah Turner, Gary Cunningham, Maxine Coffey, Victor Holt, Michelle Holaday, Jennifer Rush, and a cadre of student assistants.  A partnership with NCAA added Jenifer Scheibler.

Bobbie Flaherty & Charlie Nutt.jpgIn 2007, Bobbie Flaherty became Executive Direct Emeritus and began a five-year phased retirement. Charlie Nutt took over the reins as Executive Director. In 2009, the Executive Office handles:

  • 10,000+ memberships
  • a database supporting the management of the Association
  • administration of the Association’s Web site and listservs
  • NACADA Journal coordination and printing of the semi-annual
  • development of the monthly “Highlights”
  • Academic Advising Today coordination and distribution of the Association e-zine,
  • annual Association elections
  • the Speakers and Consultants Service
  • support to the Board of Directors and  Council
  • coordination of 23 Commissions and 18 Interest Groups
  • liaison to 10 Regions and regional conference assistance
  • development and delivery of Webcasts
  • coordination or publication of professional books, monographs, videos, CDs, DVDs, and pocket guides
  • marketing of Association products and services
  • NACADA Clearinghouse on Academic Advising Resources coordination, expansion, and updates to the
  • maintenance of the Association’s archives
  • management of the Annual Conference for over 3,000 attendees
  • Flaherty2.jpgmanagement of two Summer Institutes on Academic Advising, an Administrators’ Institute, and an Assessment of Advising Institute, along with a winter Seminar
  • member inquiries for information
  • the Association annual budget of over $2 million.

Most importantly, the staff of Executive Office strives to provide the most efficient, effective, and friendly service to NACADA members! 

Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty
Kansas State University




Task Force on Adult Student Advisors: Providing the Stimulus for Organizational Change


Cheryl Polson, NACADA Charter Member and Commission on Advising Adult Learners Past Chair

Cheryl Polson.jpgAt a time when the primary focus of higher education institutions was the recruitment and retention of the 18-to-22 year old college student, NACADA had the vision to examine the advising needs of the adult student.  Although other  organizations had already created specific units devoted to the professional development needs of individuals working with adult learners, their membership remained consistently low and rather uninspired to become more actively involved in changing the campus climate for adult learners.  Through an energized and empowered membership, NACADA emerged as a critical support for adult learner advocates.  The history of NACADA’s commissions, and specifically the Advising Adult Learners Commission, is a true testament of the organization’s willingness to listen to its constituents.

In 1984, NACADA was only five years old and truly offered the benefits associated with being a relatively young association in its flexibility to respond to the professional needs of its membership.  While it would be impressive to boast that a grand vision guided the development of this Task Force, which was the precursor to the Advising Adult Learners Commission, it could more accurately be described as pure accident.  National Conference attendees whose primary responsibility revolved around working with students who were older than the average college student seemed to move en masse to every conference session that included the word “adult” in its title.  It was as though advisors of adult students had finally discovered a professional home for which we had all been searching. 

The impetus to formalize what had become an informal professional network began at a roundtable discussion. Chuck Connell, the 1984 NACADA President, was asked by 12 NACADA members to initiate the formation of a Task Force on Advising Adult Students.  The initial Task Force meeting was held during the 1985 National Conference, where small group discussions led to the identification of the unit’s goals.  Raising the consciousness of all advisors to the special needs of adult learners was viewed as the most critical goal.  To accomplish this goal, we felt it was imperative that a working definition of adult learner be established.  The 1986 NACADA Task Force Report on Advising Adult Learners (Polson,et.al, 1986) suggested that the general definition of the adult learner in contemporary society was, “A person who is a high school graduate or holder of a GED, and who has been away from formal education for at  least two years.  The person may hold either a full- or part-time job, have established his/her own home and assumed roles other than that of student. The adult learner is often a part-time learner since education is often not his/her primary concern.”  The full report establishes the rationale for integrating the various factors considered in this definition and purposefully avoids assigning the term “non-traditional student” to this increasing student clientele.  The report’s authors hoped to dissuade institutions from mislabeling the adult learner in that they were convinced that the future would find the number of adult learners as prevalent as traditional college students.

Cheryl Polson and Virginia Gordon.jpgAn additional goal of the Task Force was to conduct a national survey to determine to what degree and in what way institutions were responding to adult learners on their campuses.  In 1986, this landmark study was summarized in the Task Force Report, which remained a top selling NACADA resource for over a decade.  It was also submitted and accepted by ERIC (ED277902).  A more thorough examination of the survey findings as they pertained to the impact of administrative support and institutional type on adult learner services was submitted and accepted for publication in the NACADA Journal (Polson & Eriksen, 1988).  Other Task Force efforts included the publication of the Academic Advising News-Critical Issues in Advising Adult Learners (1988), the publication of an issue of the NACADA Journal focused on adult learners (1989), and adult learner tracks at NACADA’s national and regional conferences.

The above efforts contributed to a major increase in the Task Force’s visibility, resulting in approximately 25 percent of the NACADA membership becoming members in this vital unit.  Clearly, this proactive Task Force could no longer be viewed as a “temporary” unit of NACADA.  The Spring 1988 Task Force Board report requested Board approval to become a permanent unit of the organization.  This request was made at a time when NACADA was experiencing growing pains and forced the first examination of the organizational structure. I remember the Board discussions as being rather heated, with some original board members unwilling to support the formation of Commissions. They argued that while Commissionsmight be a suitable alternative because they would serve the needs of a large group of the membership or the long term interests of the Association, there was the inherit danger that the Commissions would become more important to the membership than the parent organization.  However, the existing NACADA structures seemed inappropriate. Task Forces were seen as being temporary structures formed to accomplish a specific task within a given time frame, and standing committees were viewed as permanent committees of the organization focusing on operational issues.  Related issues revolved around who would attend mid-yearBoard meetings and the additional costs associated with an increasing board membership.  Unable to resolve these issues, the Board voted to make the Adult Learner Task Force an ad hoc committee.  After further Board debates, the first Commissions were established at the Fall 1988 Board meeting.  Spring 1989 Board minutes include Commission Board reports submitted by the Adult Learner Commission, the Minority Concerns Commission, Advising as a Profession/Placement Commission, and the Standards Commission.

Almost 25 years ago, NACADA became a professional lifeline for many of us who felt a unique isolation on our campuses as we were often the lone adult learner advocate.  NACADA provided us the opportunity to network professionally while raising higher educations awareness of this underserved student clientele. At first glance this may seem insignificant to NACADA’s history, but the resulting organization change this unit would later stimulate has had a lasting impact.  Today NACADA has 23 Commissions, two of which were created as recently as 2008.  Responding to changing membership needs continues to be a strength that has served NACADA well these past three decades.

Cheryl Polson
Associate Dean-Graduate School
Kansas State University
[email protected]




Recollections of the First Summer Institute

Wes Habley, NACADA Past President

Editor’s Note: In the February 2006 edition of this publication, we took a “Walk Down Memory Lane” for the 20th anniversary of the Academic Advising Summer Institutes.  In this edition, Wes Habley recalls their beginnings.

Just imagine participating in a 6-day professional development activity that focused entirely on academic advising. Then, think about the fact that this professional development activity included all materials, five nights lodging and 15 meals for the amazing registration fee of $400. These were the costs of attending the first Summer Institute in June of 1987 at the University of Iowa. Although inflation has taken its toll, the low fee was the result of working with the University of Iowa Center for Conferences and the faculty of the College of Education. Because of that relationship, use of the University hotel and meals were all provided at cost and the facility utilization fee was waived.

Summer Institute.jpg

The low cost and burgeoning excitement about the field of advising attracted 56 individuals to attend that first ACT Summer Institute. The Institute was described as a “…participative, action-oriented, and in-depth exploration of the issues and concerns expressed by college administrators.” Many of those who attended were already known to the advising community and, although many have since retired, they continued to make significant contributions to the field long after attending the Institute. The format for the first Institute included many of the approaches still in place today: general sessions, workshops, concurrent sessions, small group discussion, and development of participant action plans. And, the major presentations at the first Institute included topics that continue to be mainstays on the current Institute agenda. They included key concepts in advising, delivery of advising services, assessment, training, recognition, and change. Even though the major topics remain the same, the content of those early presentations has evolved significantly over time. And, as advising issues have continued to change, new topics and workshops have been added while others have long since disappeared.

The Institute was led by a group of core faculty members, several of whom are still active in advising today: Virginia Gordon from the Ohio State University, Peggy King from Schenectady County Community College, Michael Keller from Aquinas College, Wes Habley from ACT, and Sarah Looney from George Mason University. In addition, David Crockett (ACT) and David Jepsen (University of Iowa) also participated as general session presenters.

The first Institute also set in motion a tradition which, when a body of water is nearby, continues with every Institute. For the final night’s social activity, Institute participants hopped on a cruiser bus and headed for a riverboat dinner cruise on the Mississippi River. An added feature of the Mississippi River cruise was entertainment and dancing to the music of ‘Electronic Leroy.’ Rock ‘n Roll, Disco, show tunes – you name it, and ‘Electronic Leroy’ could play it. Since then, Lake Champlain, Lake Michigan, the Colorado River, and the James River have served as venues for the Summer Institute cruise.

The excitement generated by the Institute was evident in participant evaluation comments:


  • “The best buy for the money and the best organized conference I have attended in over 25 years as a professional.”
  • “One of the best learning experiences I have ever had.”
  • “My small group was one of the best support groups ever. Sharing was at an optimum.”
  • “The presentations were outstanding --- so much information was covered and all so relevant.”

This positive reception clearly indicated that there was great interest in the field of advising.

The Summer Institute continued to be offered annually at the University of Iowa through 1992, when a number of circumstances resulted in moving to various sites around the country in the years following.  Those concerns included:

  • termination of an at-cost arrangement with the University of Iowa,
  • demand for the Institute exceeded the 75 person capacity of the University hotel,
  • requests to rotate locations so that more people could participate without major transportation costs, and
  • program management transference from ACT to the NACADA Executive Office.

Twenty-three years, twenty-eight Institutes and nearly Wes Habley and Peggy King.jpg4,000 participants are testimony to the value of the Summer Institute as one of the cornerstones of NACADA’s comprehensive professional development program.

Wes Habley
ACT State Organizations
[email protected]

Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarships are presented annually as a professional development experience to selected NACADA members who demonstrate involvement in national, regional, state and/or local advising organizations and exhibit the potential for national leadership roles.  


NACADA Comes Out: Early Initiatives to Value GLBT Members

Randy Jedele, LGBTA Concerns Commission Past Chair

Randy Jedele.jpg

The 1997 NACADA Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin was my first exposure to the Association. It was a great learning experience, and I formed life-long friendships, as well as participated in professional networking opportunities. However, one of my concerns during that week was that there was no teaching about, no references to, and no acknowledgement of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered (GLBT) students. However, true to its genuine interest in member concerns and issues, the NACADA Executive Office responded and informed me that there was a Gay and Lesbian Interest Group. I attended their meeting at the Annual Conference in Kansas City.

At this Interest Group meeting, we discussed becoming a Commission. However, it was very apparent at this meeting that if anyone was going to do the paperwork – which meant establishing a rationale for creating the Commission, identifying clear goals, noting how the Commission would expand NACADA’s diversity, writing a first-year action plan, outlining a two-year strategic plan, and naming the first Commission Chair – then I would be the one to move this Interest Group into Commission status. I felt becoming a Commission was important because it would bring a GLBT voice to the NACADA Board.

One important decision made while preparing to become a Commission was determining the name of the Commission. We intentionally named the Commission the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Allies (LGBTA) Concerns Commission. Our intention was to be inclusive and include our allies, because we knew that most of our colleagues in NACADA are not gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. As allies, these members support our concerns and interests in understanding the potential problems and developmental/identity issues that students in this population may face when being advised about major and career choices.

From my experience serving on several college committees and leading various initiatives, I knew that our first step was to create our Commission’s mission. In preparation for writing our rationale and identifying goals, we established the following as our mission:   

  • EDUCATE the NACADA membership about the myths and concerns that confront gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.
  • ENCOURAGE conversations among the NACADA membership about sexual orientation and gender identification and its relationship to issues in advising, education/career planning, curriculum, and retention.
  • ESTABLISH a supportive environment where NACADA members can discuss and address homophobia and hetero sexism in their institutions and in NACADA.
  • ENABLE NACADA members who are LGBTA to network with each other at regional and national conferences.

Through the years, it has been exciting to monitor how the LGBTA Commission has lived its mission.  Commission members have presented at several regional and national conferences, coordinated national preconference workshops, and developed print and electronic resources. The presentations have focused on educating advisors on how best to work with and advise students who have sexual orientation and gender concerns or issues. In addition to conference presentations, Commission members have offered Safe Zone trainings at regional and national conferences. Both editions of Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook included sections on advising gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Two other NACADA publications, Academic Advising: New Insights for Teaching and Learning in the First-Year and Advising Special Populations, have entire chapters devoted to advising GLBT students. The NACADA Webcast “Shared Responsibilities: What Advisors and Administrators Need to Know to Better Assist GLBTQA Students' educated participants, and several articles in the Web-based NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources discuss pertinent topics.

LGBTA Concerns CM.jpgIn addition to these presentations and publications, the LGBTA Commission provides other resources on its Web site. These advising resources are in the following categories: advisors, students, allies, studies, and careers. The site also has a “Colleague on Call” program. The purpose of this link is “to offer a referral resource for advisors and administrators who have a quick question or need a reliable referral.” The Commission also provides a listserv for its members and allies.

As NACADA turns 30, it can be proud of its focus on diversity and inclusion by having an LGBTA Concerns Commission. By doing so, NACADA has allowed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered advisors to come out and not remain in the closet as a hidden minority. NACADA has embraced the importance of understanding the needs and developmental issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students, and NACADA has advanced academic advising into the twenty-first century of inclusivity. The LGBTA Commission will never be  a large Commission within NACADA, but nevertheless, the Commission brings an important voice and essential message to academic advising throughout the Association.

Randy Jedele
Chair of Humanities
Des Moines Area Community College
[email protected]



NACADA Organizational Structure

Elizabeth “Betsy” McCalla-Wriggins, NACADA President 2002-2003
Ruth Darling, NACADA President 2004
Eric R. White, NACADA President 2005
Jo Anne Huber, NACADA President 2006

As we have seen in other articles in this publication, NACADA was incorporated in Vermont in 1979 with 429 members and 18 members on the Board of Directors. Twenty years later, in 1999, there were 5318 members in the Association and more than 50 members on the Board. While not all Board members had voting rights, they all attended the meetings and had a voice in discussions where there was much conversation regarding who should Betsy McCalla-Wriggins.jpgspeak and who should vote as representatives of different member constituencies. The Board also spent a large portion of its meeting time on operational issues, which resulted in limited time allocated to strategic planning for the Association. Therefore, at the Fall 1999 Board meeting in Denver, President-elect Betsy McCalla-Wriggins (Rowan University) was appointed to chair a Task Force to investigate possible restructuring of the Association to better address these issues.

The Task Force, made up of Board representatives, explored numerous reorganization options. These were first presented to the Board and then to the full Association membership in 2000 via a white paper. Forums were held at all regional meetings so members could ask questions and provide suggestions regarding the proposed structural changes. At its 2001 mid-year meeting, the Board approved the new structure and in May 2001, members voted on the restructure proposal and By-Law changes with 96 percent of those voting approving the changes.

McCalla-Wriggins & Darling.jpg

The next year, under the leadership of President Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, the Board focused on developing implementation strategies so that the new structure would be fully operational by Fall 2002. During this time, the major implementation and transitional challenges revolved around issues of change. Taking the risk to operate in a different manner can be difficult; it takes time to develop new ways to respond and think. However, the growth of the Association, both in members and in services, certainly suggests that the creation of a new structure was a wise decision.

Ruth Darling.jpgRuth Darling (University of Tennessee) served under the new structure as the first Vice President of the reorganized Board and as Chair of the Council (2002–2003); she then was elected as President (2003-2004). The years of “transition” (2002–2004) represented a time to redefine roles and purposes as well as provide needed support so that the newly elected and appointed leaders could fully implement the approved NACADA structure and By-Laws. One critical transition issue was to help the Executive Director and Executive Office staff establish good working relationships with the new Board, the Council (made up of division representatives), and advisory board members. Strengthening of these relationships helped build an Association infrastructure that today supports the work of these various groups and the programming resulting from their work. Serving as the first Vice President of the Board (and the Council’s Chair), and then as President under the new structure, gave Ruth Darling the opportunity to involve many members in the building process. The change in structure and the resulting changes in By-Laws provided new leadership opportunities for members at the national level as well as engaged both new and returning leaders in the Association’s work – thus better serving the Association and focusing on NACADA’s mission and goals. We emphasized strategic decision making, policy design, programming, and program content; the Executive Office then supported the day-to-day operations and program implementation as our growing Association provided more resources to serve its members.

NACADA flourished under the new structure. The Council and advisory boards supported an “expanded” and more participatory leadership and quickly provided the context for innovative programming and member services. During this time, membership reached 8,000 members and this translated into an increase in Regional Conference participation and attendance at NACADA conferences, institutes and seminars. The Academic Advising Graduate Certificate program was inaugurated and grew to more than 200 students. The expanded NACADA Web site, with the inclusion of the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources quickly grew to be considered the premier Web resource on academic advising within higher education. Partnerships with other higher education associations and groups (e.g., Association of American Colleges & Universities, National Collegiate Athletics Association, National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, and The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Transition Issues) were formalized as common goals and mutual benefits were established.

Also in transition were NACADA’s various publications, including the NACADA Journal.  The newly established Publications Advisory Board, along with support from the Executive Office staff, focused on the effective delivery of information to members through the NACADA Journal, the Academic Advising Newsletter, the monograph series, and other publication venues. New co-editors of the NACADA Journal were appointed with the expressed goal of providing the higher education community with the premier journal of research on academic advising.

Eric White.jpgReorganization of the NACADA administrative structure resulted in the establishment of one-year presidencies, and Eric White (Pennsylvania State University) took the reins next. For one-year presidents, time is of the essence. White focused on sustaining the future of the organization, working collaboratively with the Executive Office, and taking on “big picture” issues. As the second of the one-year presidents and as the former NACADA treasurer, White was convinced that growth in membership and a successful Annual Conference were essential to the future of the Association. Consequently, there was much discussion on how to grow our membership, and especially how to be more strategic in our approach. Were there advisors we were not reaching? Which advisors were more likely to join the association? How do we retain members? We did not always have the answers, but we sensed that there were many advisors in American higher education (indeed, across the globe) who were not members of the Association. And indeed, there were advisors who were not even aware of NACADA.

Huber & White.jpgThe membership effort paid off as the Association continued steady growth. Perhaps driven by a reasonable annual dues structure and a continual effort to assure the visibility of NACADA, the membership roster grew to more 10,000. Is more growth possible? No doubt it is, but the same challenges remain, including coordination of Annual Conferences for increasing number of attendees.

Running an Annual Conference is a monumental task. Much of the success of a conference is determined by its location. As much as we want to believe that advisors will attend a NACADA Annual Conference at any location, attendance records indicate that some cities are more popular than others. White’s presidency concluded with a second visit to Las Vegas (the NACADA Annual Conference was previously held there in 1994), with more than 3300 in attendance.

Jo Anne Huber.jpgSeveral new initiatives were realized in 2005-06, which proved to be a successful year for the Association and its members under the leadership of President Jo Anne Huber (University of Texas at Austin). One initiative, “Building the Next Generation of Academic Advisors,” was designed to embrace and connect with our newest members (those with fewer than three years of advising experience), and proved fruitful. The New Advising Professionals Interest Group was established and has steadily grown, and a topical monograph (The New Advisor Guidebook) has been published. The Academic Advising Summer Institute celebrated its 20th year, and a scholarship was named for its founder, Wesley R. Habley. A Task Force co-chaired by Eric White and Ruth Darling finalized the “Concept of Academic Advising,” which is proudly displayed on our Web site.

Partnership discussions begun earlier by Ruth Darling with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) were finalized and unveiled. NCAA President Miles Brand was present at the 2006 Annual Conference in Indianapolis to publicly voice his pleasure in this joint endeavor. To further promote the international dream of Eric White, (then) NACADA Associate Director Charlie Nutt spoke at the annual conference of the Counseling Arabia Association in the United Emirates and was asked to speak again the following year. Additionally, NACADA was asked to provide the keynote speaker for the Second Annual Conference on Personal Tutoring (academic advising) sponsored by the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom. Since then, there has been a jointly sponsored International Conference yearly, rotating between the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Board of Directors was also pleased to focus on the issue of diversity and what it means to our Association. The Board voted to define diversity from a broad perspective, which includes diversity in regard to ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, as well as diversity in regard to institutional type, institutional size, and employment position. This definition provided the foundation for our work internationally and for the Emerging Leaders Program.

The Emerging Leaders Program, the brainchild of former Vice President Elaine Borrelli, was guided through the Council and Finance Committee by Vice President Jane Jacobson and sent to the Board for final approval. The first class of leaders/mentors was chosen for 2007, and the program has steadily proven its worth.

As is evident from the many initiatives described here, the restructuring of the Association has led to enhanced services for NACADA’s 10,000+ members. Members are well represented through 23 Commissions, 18 Interest Groups, 10 Regions, as well as on seven committees and nine advisory boards.  Their collective issues and program ideas are presented and thoroughly discussed by the Council, which then makes recommendations to both the Executive Office and the Board of Directors. Even with this large number of members, the nine members on the Board of Directors have the opportunity to engage in strategic planning to ensure that the Association is well positioned to meet the needs of advisors not only today, but well into the future. When reflecting on the issues that led to restructuring, it is apparent that the reorganization has accomplished its goals….to make NACADA more responsive and provide more services to its members, to engage more members in the work of the Association, to make the advising professional more visible, and to strategically plan for the future of the Association.    

Elizabeth “Betsy” McCalla-Wriggins
Director Emeritus, Career and Academic Planning Center
Rowan University
[email protected]

Ruth Darling
Associate Vice Provost
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
[email protected]

Eric R. White
Executive Director, Division of Undergraduate Studies
Pennsylvania State University
[email protected]

Jo Anne Huber
Senior Academic Advisor
University of Texas-Austin
[email protected]

Presidents 1979-2004.jpg

The Emergence of the Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes

Susan Campbell, NACADA Past President

Susan Campbell.jpg

The Baby AND the Bath Water

For NACADA, the Summer Institute has been, and perhaps always will be, the centerpiece of the curriculum-based professional development the Association offers its members. However, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as institutional interest in academic advising began to grow seemingly exponentially, the need to support those in administrative positions became apparent. In much the same way that the first annual conference and, indeed, the Association itself were the result of a conversation between concerned individuals, so, too, the conceptual framework for the first NACADA Administrators’ Institute was the result of a conversation between advising administrators and the newly appointed Associate Director of NACADA,Charlie Nutt.  During that conversation—which was, not surprisingly given NACADA’s culinary reputation, at dinner—we designed a 2 ½ day institute that focused on leadership, management, training & development, and the financial/budgetary issues that advising administrators face on a daily basis. Central to the institute was the development of an action plan; something we borrowed from the Summer Institute and an element that has become the hallmark of all NACADA institutes. So, after that dinner, we were off and running! 

Assessment Institute.jpg

The inaugural Administrators’ Institute was scheduled for February of 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. We thought that if we were able to attract 100 participants we would consider the Institute a success. Four hundred participants and two back-to-back Institutes later, we knew, without a doubt, that there was a need within the Association membership for organized professional development in this area!

The participants at this first set of Institutes provided great feedback to use in planning for the future. While satisfied with the content and format of the Institute, they expressed a desire to have more in-depth materials and discussions on topics of particular interest, such as technology, faculty advising, and assessment. As a result of this feedback, the next year a 1 ½ day “seminar” was added to the Institute. Our thought was that each year, we would sponsor a shorter seminar on a salient topic.  Given the increasing interest in assessment within the academy, we decided that the first “seminar” topic should be assessment.

Frankly, this is when things got really interesting!  First, we enlisted the support of Peggy Maki to serve on our curriculum team.  Maki is an internationally known expert on assessment and author of Assessing for Student Learning (Stylus Publications, 2004).  We wanted to make sure our design was grounded and “on target.” Our initial plans to have a single presenter for the “seminar” needed revision when, two months before the seminar, the person we identified was not able to participate. In retrospect, had it not been for this change, the NACADA Guide to Assessment in Academic Advising might not have been written! The seminar team Vicki McGillin, Tom Grites, Rich Robbins,jpg(Charlie Nutt, Vicki McGillin, Tom Grites, Rich Robbins, and I) developed and piloted the Guide during the first seminar. As with the first Administrators’ Institute, our participant registration goals were modest; like the Institute, we exceeded those goals with more than 250 registrants. The “Seminar” ran for a second time the next year, again with an enrollment of more than 250 participants. Thus, the decision was made to transform the assessment “seminar” into the Assessment Institute and link it with the Administrators’ Institute. Of course, we kept on the 1 ½ day “seminar” for more in-depth topic consideration of another salient topic too!

The Importance of the Institutes

The Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes provide opportunities for networking as well as time for reflection and action plan development. Their value is in their design as “working” institutes: places where administrators develop strategies to address key campus issues and support of student success, and places where plans are developed to reframe academic advising as integral to the teaching and learning missions of our institutions.

The designs of both Institutes are reviewed, revised, and refined based on participant feedback and emerging needs within the academy. This approach to program development is intentional and intended to ensure that the topics addressed are timely. In addition, in much the same way that we must address the individual learning needs of our students, we also must understand and be responsive to the individual growth and development of our members. As a result, the Advisory Boards for each Institute have adapted and, as appropriate, expanded curriculum to be responsive to the needs of administrators with varying levels of experience.


The “seminars” have become NACADA’s program development incubators, where ideas are shaped into programmatic initiatives, refined, and then positioned within the Association where they make the most sense.   As examples, the assessment “seminar” transformed into an Institute and the “seminar” on faculty advising was repositioned and connected with the Summer Institute—simply because it made more sense to be held at a time when faculty might actually be able to attend! 

NACADA at Its Best

NACADA is an association committed to advancing student learning and development. As such, it has a responsibility to identify professional development opportunities that support and enrich academic advising practice. The pathway to the emergence of both the Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes outlined above represents NACADA at its best:

  • an Association responsive to identified needs as defined by “those in the field”,
  • an Association that draws upon the expertise of its members/practitioners to develop exemplary programs to enhance and enrich the student experience, and
  • an Association that is reflexive, adaptive, and, most importantly, agile in its ability to adjust and reframe programs and services in light of the needs of its members.

Susan Campbell
Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
University of Southern Maine
[email protected]


NACADA's Tradition of Celebrating Excellence in Advising

Jayne Drake, NACADA President-Elect

Jayne Drake.jpgIt is one of the most important components in a wide array of NACADA initiatives in support of student success. It is an acknowledgement of the importance of sound academic advising on our campuses, and it is an important means of lauding the innovative and thoughtful strategies advisors employ to engage students in their own learning. NACADA’s Awards Program every year salutes the accomplishments of advising professionals and the innovations of advising programs on campuses everywhere.   In the early months of every new year, NACADA’s Awards Committee receives scores of nomination packets in consideration of the Association’s various Outstanding Advisor, Advising Administrator, and Advising Program awards. Then every October, we celebrate excellence in advising at the Annual Conference with an Awards Ceremony in which we publicly and proudly recognize our awardees. How the awards process itself unfolds and how we publicly celebrate excellence have evolved and have been refined over the years in response to a number of factors, including the importance that our members themselves have placed on these awards. 

In the three years that I served as Chair of NACADA’s Awards Committee (2002-05), we observed closely the number, kind, and quality of nominations submitted, listened carefully to the membership’s observations of our process, and solicited regular feedback from the Awards Selection Committee.  As a result, a number of changes and improvements occurred in the way we did things, both behind the scenes and at the Annual Conference. For example, as the membership expanded, so too did the interest in nominating advisors for international recognition. The dramatic rise in the volume of nomination packets meant that the Awards Committee needed to expand the number of awards categories to address more accurately the kinds of highly competitive nominations submitted. The categories of awards restructured at that time are those still in place: Outstanding Advising Awards, Outstanding New Advisor Awards, Outstanding Advising Program Awards, Pacesetter Award, Service to NACADA Award, the Virginia N. Gordon Award for Excellence in the Field of Advising, Student Research Awards, and the Advising Technology Innovation Awards.Julia Wolf & Jayne Drake.jpg Also included in the program are the Retiree Recognition and Research Grants, as well as the NACADA Scholarships including Administrators' Institute Scholarship, Assessment Institute Scholarship, and the Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarships.  To handle the increased volume, the Awards Committee itself grew to 20—two representatives from each of NACADA’s ten regions, with staggered two-year terms that guaranteed continuity across the Regions and on the committee.

We also established an Awards Oversight Committee, advisory to the Chair, representing the diversity of the Association—in gender and ethnicity, and by regions, institutional type and institutional roles—to manage the increasing complexity of issues involving awards for the Association. We encouraged the expansion of the Service to Commission awards and helped in the development of regional awards and scholarships for the various NACADA institutes. New nominations forms were developed; an on-line submission process was introduced for some award categories, and existing forms and submission processes were tweaked.  Except for the expansion of the awards categories, none of these initiatives and changed processes was particularly visible to the general membership, which is as it should be.

However, a number of high-visibility changes did occur during this time that dramatically changed the public face of NACADA’s Awards Program.  What had previously been a wide-open awards recognition program during the Annual Conference became a private, exclusive by-invitation-only reception and ceremony for recipients, invited guests, and the NACADA leadership held just before the official kickoff of the Conference.  This shift was meant to make the awards more meaningful to the recipients, to acknowledge the good work they are undertaking at their institutions, and to signal the importance of these very competitive awards. We then positioned photos of our award winners strategically around the conference site and projected them onto the large screens as the Conference’s opening and plenary sessions.

Susan Fread.jpgYet, as important as the Awards Program’s internal processes and high visibility are, its influence is much more far reaching and amorphous than simply inviting the winners to walk across a stage to accept our thanks and their plaques. Like the ripples from a stone dropped into still water, the awards’ power extends far beyond the actual award and ceremony.  Current Awards Committee chair Susan Fread (Lehigh Carbon Community College) describes its power as the 'warm fuzzy factor”: “the awards process is an affirmation that not only did you do a good job—you made a difference at your institution, and, more importantly, you impacted the lives of others.  And this includes not only students but also colleagues.” Part of this ripple effect is also in providing the nominees with a copy of the actual nomination packet so they may take a glimpse into how others perceive them, see the nature of their impact on students, colleagues, and campus administrators, and learn just how much others appreciate their dedication and hard work.

Former Awards Committee Chair Rob Mossack (Lipscomb University) found his greatest satisfaction in the glow on the faces of the recipients as they walked into the room for the recognition reception and ceremony.  “I always finished the evening knowing that we had done a good thing and that the hours spent reading the nomination packets and tallying the committee votes was well worth it... It is a great experience to learn about colleagues across the country and the neat work they are doing.  It was actually inspirational to see the effects they have on the lives of their students and that their co-workers value them and their contributions.”

The “warm fuzzy factor” also extends to members of the Awards Selection Committee. To a one they agree that the long hours spent in reading the nomination packets allows them to come away with a renewed sense of the critically important work NACADA members undertake in defining student success on our campuses. 

Jayne Drake
Temple University
[email protected]


History of the Emerging Leaders Program

Skip Crownhart, Jane Jacobson and Terry Musser, NACADA members

Since the 1980s, NACADA leadership has recognized that the Association suffered from the same lack of leadership representation from underrepresented groups as other organizations within higher education. The NACADA elected officials did not reflect the diversity of the Association, and there was much discussion about how to remedy that.

Skip Crownhart.jpgAt the 1999 mid-year Board of Directors meeting ,Skip Crownhart (Metropolitan State College of Denver), 1999 Annual Conference Chair, challenged the Board of Directors to bring more people of color into positions of leadership within the organization. NACADA President Nancy King responded by appointing a Task Force to investigate diversity within the organization. For the next several years, Skip and others continued to repeat the message of opening leadership doors.

The reorganization of NACADA in 2001–04 was designed to make NACADA more inclusive and reduce the influence of “old boy networks.” The Diversity Committee was created to address diversity within the organization. One of the committee’s first assignments was to examine issues of access and privilege. In 2002-03, the Diversity Committee’s goals were to identify the scope of the challenge with regard to diversity issues in NACADA. In 2003, the committee discussed a plan to develop diversity workshops for NACADA leaders. This included conducting needs assessments and developing a definition of diversity for NACADA.

In 2004, based upon a report written by members of the Diversity Committee, the Board of Directors approved a concept of diversity that embraces ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation as well as institutional type, size, and employment position. The report outlined the breadth and depth of the Association’s definition of diversity to include: gender, type of institution, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity.

Discussions were held at several regional and annual conferences about this broad definition of diversity. The Diversity Committee identified several obstacles to participation and leadership advancement. These included lack of financial support from the member’s home institution, lack of knowledge of Association structure, and limited understanding of how to gain recognition as a potential leader.

In February 2005, Karen Gould (Brandeis University) wrote an article in Academic Advising Today noting the lack of color in the face of NACADA’s leadership. Meanwhile, the Diversity Committee, now chaired by Skip Crownhart, was developing a set of recommendations. These were presented to the Board of Directors at the 2005 Annual Conference. Among them was the development of an Emerging Leaders Program for the Association. The program was to include strategies for:

  • identifying members to be a part of the program;
  • connecting program participants to a NACADA mentor;
  • involving participants based upon their expertise and interest – writing for various association publications, research, leadership, presentations, etc.;
  • identifying people with diverse backgrounds to specifically present at national and regional conferences; and
  • helping the program be consistent, continuing, and long-term for all Association leadership.

Terry Musser.jpgNathan Vickers.jpgThe Board of Directors accepted the recommendations and directed the Diversity Committee to work with the Executive Office to develop a specific Emerging Leaders Plan during the next year. During 2006, a subcommittee of Skip Crownhart, Terry Musser (Pennsylvania State University), Nathan Vickers (University of Texas at Austin), Jane Jacobson (Iowa State University), and Adrienne Thunder (University of Wisconsin-Madison) designed the Emerging Leaders Program. The goal was to mentor nascent NACADA leaders who belonged to underrepresented populations within the Association. These individuals would be matched with current NACADA leaders for a two-year mentorship. NACADA would provide someJane Jacobson.jpg financial Adrienne Thunder.jpgsupport to the Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders were expected to make a contribution to the organization at a level that reflected their individual interests and talents – writing for publications, serving in leadership at the regional and national levels, participating in NACADA training events, etc. The Board of Directors approved the concept at the 2006 Annual Conference.

A new Task Force of Jane Jacobson, Nathan Vickers, Karen Thurmond (University of Memphis), and Jennifer Joslin (University of Iowa) was formed to launch the inaugural class for the program (2007-2009). The first class of ten Emerging Leaders was identified in July, along with the first ten Mentors. During the three months preceding the 2007 Annual Conference, Emerging Leaders and Mentors participated in a series of on-line exercises to introduce themselves and probe their thoughts about advising and the role of academic advisors.

Prior to the opening of the 2007 Annual Conference, the new Emerging Leaders participated in workshops to acquaint them with each other and prepare them for the mentoring experience. They were introduced at the annual Awards Reception and met with all of the Mentors. Following a preferencing exercise, each Emerging Leader was linked to a Mentor, and the two-year leadership journey began.

The 2008-2010 ELP Class was chosen during Spring 2008, and at the 2008 Annual Conference the second-year class attended training sessions that included members of the 2007-2009 Class. Mentoring now included advice from peers in addition to current NACADA leaders. The ELP Task Force also invited Mentors and Emerging Leaders from both classes to offer assessment and stories of personal change during a focus group session.

Emerging Leaders and Mentors.jpg

Following the 2008 Annual Conference, Diversity Committee Chair Jane Jacobson recommended to NACADA President Casey Self the establishment of an independent Advisory Board to oversee the Emerging Leaders Program. This status transferred ownership of the program from the Diversity Committee to the Association and reflected NACADA’s commitment to the continuing development of leaders from its underrepresented populations. Nathan Vickers was appointed as Chair of the new Advisory Board.

The success of the Emerging Leader Program is without question. Members of the Emerging Leaders classes now serve (or will soon begin to serve) as Multicultural Concerns Commission Chair, Canada Interest Group Chair, Native American and Tribal College Interest Group Chair, Membership Committee Chair, Diversity Committee Chair, and Region 7 Chair. Another Emerging Leader has initiated a potential Interest Group for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Emerging Leaders are serving on the Awards Committee, the Diversity Committee, the Membership

Committee, the Webcast Advisory Board, and the Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board. Several Emerging Leaders presented (some with their Mentors) at regional and annual conferences, one is serving as the Exhibits Chair for the 2009 Annual Conference in San Antonio, and another will serve as Chair of the 2010 Annual Conference in Orlando. Six Emerging Leaders have written for Academic Advising Today, and three have taken part in NACADA Webinar broadcast presentations. Emerging Leaders also report that they have become more involved at their home institutions. One said, “We’ve taken what we’ve learned through the program back to our home schools. This program has not only made an impact on NACADA, but also on the institutions where the NACADA ELP participants work.”

Yet there is still work to be done, for another part of the Diversity Committee’s Emerging Leaders recommendation still needs to be carried out. Each Region has been charged with developing a leadership program designed to address the u

nique needs of underrepresented populations within the Region. This chapter of the Emerging Leaders Program is still being written, and we look forward to many more chapters in the years to come.

Skip Crownhart
Director of Academic Advising
Metropolitan State College of Denver
[email protected]

Jane Jacobson
Director of LAS Student Academic Services
Iowa State University
[email protected]

Terry Musser
DUS Program Coordinator for College of Ag Science
Penn State University
[email protected]




2009-2011 Emerging Leader Class Announced

ELP logo.jpgThe Diversity Committee developed the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program to encourage members from diverse backgrounds to get involved in leadership opportunities within the organization, outfit participants with the skills and tools necessary to pursue elected and appointed leadership positions, increase the number of leaders from diverse groups, and encourage and assist members of underrepresented populations to attend State, Regional, or National Conferences.

The 2007-2009 Emerging Leaders and Mentors, who began work at the 2007 Annual Conference in Baltimore, have been diligently pursuing their goals over the past two years and look forward to receiving their Certificates of Completion at this year's Conference in San Antonio, where they will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony.

Brian Hinterscher and Todd Taylor.jpg2007-2009 Emerging Leader José Rodríguez (Florida International University) says, "I feel more connected to the organization than ever before.  I feel I have a wealth of resources at my fingertips.  I feel I have developed as a professional in the field of advising and am being recognized as such. For those considering being mentors, this is a great way to help others out.  It’s a unique opportunity to form a special bond with another member of the Association and help them to navigate the organization.  For those considering being Emerging Leaders, this type of programming helps to increase the sense of community I already felt from being a member of NACADA.  It forces you to develop leadership skills and is a great avenue to apply leadership and management skills, especially if you are in a position at work that you don’t consider to have a lot of supervisory responsibilities."

Joyce Ellenwood and Nancy King.jpg

2007-2009 Mentor Jennifer Bloom (University of South Carolina-Columbia) says, "My experience as an Emerging Leader Mentor has been one of the highlights of my career.  I have learned as much from my mentee, Cornelius Gilbert, as I hope he has learned from me. We have a supportive relationship that allows us to challenge each other to fulfill our potentials as leaders in, and contributors to, the field of advising. Our relationship will not stop at the end of the two years in the ELP.  Instead, we have built a trust and rapport that I treasure and am committed to continuing to nurture for life."

Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Chair Nathan Vickers (University of Texas-Austin) is pleased to announce the 2009-2011 NACADA Emerging Leaders and Mentors.

Emerging Leaders

Yung-Hwa Anna Chow (Washington State University)
Heather Doyle (Lakehead University)
Luiza Dreasher (Iowa State University)
Adam Duberstein (Ohio Dominican University)
Autumn Grant (Bridgewater State College)
Steve Johnson (Utah State University)
Lisa Laughter (Washington State University)
Cecilia Olivares (Heartland Community College)
Ella Tabares (University of Florida)
Janice Williams (University of Texas-Austin)


Jennifer Bloom (University of South Carolina)
Lynn Freeman (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Cole Holmes (University of Texas-Austin)
Sarah Ann Hones (Washington State University)
Kazi Mamun (University of California-Riverside)
Marsha Miller (Kansas State University)
Terry Musser (Penn State University)
Nora Allen Scobie (University of Louisville)
George Steele (Ohio Learning Network)
Sandy Waters (Old Dominion University) 

New Emerging Leaders and Mentors will meet at the Annual Conference in San Antonio to create partnerships and begin development, conversation, and group building. Partners will develop goals pertaining to leadership in NACADA over the next six months and continue their work together over the two-year program.

Visit the for more information. Emerging Leaders Program section of the NACADA website.

Improving the Future by Knowing the Past: Celebrating 30 Years in the Obama Era

Cornelius Gilbert, NACADA Emerging Leader and Multicultural Concerns Commission Chair

Cornelius Gilbert.jpg

If “30’s the new 20,” as the famed hip hop artist Jay Z told the world in 2007, then maturity can come early. Such is the case with NACADA, as we celebrate the Association’s 30th Anniversary!

Following Jay Z’s line of thinking that “30’s the new 20,” then 40 must be the new 30 and President Barack Obama, still in his 40s, could be thought of as a new “30-something!” Thus, if Jay Z’s line of reasoning is employed, NACADA and Obama both have cause for celebration in 2009. This approach to celebrating NACADA’s 30th Anniversary may be unconventional, but the message is straightforward: we build upon the past to create a better future.

So as we reflect upon NACADA’s maturation, now is an opportune time for the Association to build upon its past to create an even better future. The significance of the early maturation of NACADA is perhaps a testament to the foundation Toni Trombley established in 1979 as the Association’s first President. As she spoke to some 355 conference attendees in Omaha, Nebraska, Trombley stated that if the infant Association was to be effective, then the Association must:

  • have measurable impact upon students;
  • be recognized within the institution; 
  • have well-articulated goals;
  • research, improve and evaluate;
  • discover new methods and improve existing ones;
  • have central coordination to avoid fragmentation.

Trombley’s tenets remain relevant today. Thankfully, NACADA leaders have developed these “crown jewels” for the Association. Recognizing a glaring need to diversify Association leadership, steps were taken to first cultivate aspiring members who belong to diverse and minority communities. For example, the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), established in 2007, serves as an example of the “discover[y of] new methods” that not only enhance and advance the Association, but helps it remain relevant in the 21st century.

As a member of the inaugural ELP class, I can testify that the program fostered my growth. I was blessed with a wonderful mentor in NACADA’s Past President Jennifer Bloom, who provided me with insight into how to be a more focused and directed individual. Perhaps more importantly, Jenny consistently reminds me to pay my blessings forward by helping someone else.

NACADA has, in many ways, recognized the potential in its members. No matter your age, experience, or background, NACADA has an opportunity for you! Perhaps this recognition of “human capital” within the Association and seeking “home grown” talent is a reason NACADA has expanded and matured so quickly. I have found the Association’s recognition of and reliance on members to be actively involved both empowering and motivating.

Charlie Nutt and Cornelius Gilbert.jpgSo as NACADA’s 30th “birthday” is celebrated, to use the words of Charlie Nutt, our Executive Director, the conditions surrounding our celebration are historic and we must be mindful of those conditions. For example, financial resources across the academy are anemic. Fortunately,Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak, co-editors of the NACADA Journal, wrote in the Spring 2009 Journal issue of two important reasons why the profession should remain important in these tight financial times: 1) students enter higher education without the benefit of adequate career guidance in the high school, and 2) academic advising is a critical element in student persistence and success in higher education (Kuhn & Padak, p. 3).

Unfortunately, NACADA’s “big three-o” occurs during these dire financial times, which can also be said of Obama’s presidential election. Unique to NACADA and Obama, however, is the reality that these historic times offer opportunities for greatness. Part of Obama’s significance – for the academic advisors in particular – is that education has become the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

As a result, advisors must pay particular attention to advising students from multicultural backgrounds. Although Obama is an excellent example of aspiration to excellence, and for some, even an example of how we are now a post-racial society – where race is not a (significant) variable in American life – we must not forget that researchers have documented the struggles students of color have encountered on predominately white campuses (Fisher & Hartmann, 1995; Loo & Rolison, 1986; McCormack, 1995; Tan, 1994). Today we must remain mindful that differences still exist, but as difference is recognized, so is each student’s uniqueness.

It is no secret that within the recent past, racial and multicultural educational activities have been continuously scrutinized. Challenges to affirmative action, coupled with the severe economic recession, are likely to result in even more scrutiny of the effectiveness of such activities on our campuses. If such scrutiny occurs, research will become even more important if we are to explain and document the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity for all.

The work of Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, and Gurin (2002) illustrated the necessity for placing a high value upon diversity within postsecondary institutions (p. 330). When the findings of Gurin et al (2002) are infused with Chickering’s (1993) seven vectors of college students’ development, diversity can be “a means of fostering students’ academic and social growth” (Gurin, p. 330).

Now is an opportune time for advisors, particularly those who do multicultural advising, to make and share new discoveries. When we share our discoveries, we not only advance the literature and knowledge base that can assist colleges and universities to recruit, retain, and graduate students of color, but we further explain the benefits of multicultural and diversity activities to all students. Doing so is part of the tenets President Toni Trombley asserted in 1979.

Our strength is our diversity! So let us celebrate this groundbreaking year by giving the gift that keeps on giving: passing on our knowledge to others and helping their journeys. As academic advisors, we range in levels of experience, education, and knowledge, but all of us can contribute to the advancement of advising.

Can we further enhance the educational offerings we provide students and in turn strengthen multicultural advising?

“Yes, we can!”

Thank God for NACADA. Here’s to a brighter future!

Cornelius K. Gilbert
Academic Advisor
Cross College Advising Service
University of Wisconsin-Madison
[email protected]


Chickering, A. W. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kuhn, T.L. & Padak, G. (2009). From the co-editors: Reflecting on 30 years of growth and the future. NACADA Journal 29(1).

A Tribute to Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak, Co-Editors of the

NACADA Journal (2003-2009) 

Ruth Darling, NACADA Past President

As President-elect in 2003, one of my first tasks was to appoint a NACADA Journal editor to replace out-going editor and Past-President Tom Kerr.  In Tom’s last message as Journal editor, he wrote “The future success of the Journal will depend solely on the commitment of the membership to contribute to its mission of enriching the knowledge, skills and professional development of people concerned with academic advising in higher education.”  The Journal’s central role in the development of the profession and the Association, as well as the critical nature of this appointment, weighed heavily as I considered the primary importance of the NACADA Journal in reaching the goal of establishing the Journal as the premier, international journal on academic advising. 

Executive Director Emeritus Bobbie Flaherty and I had many conversations concerning who in our Association could provide the leadership needed, the research expertise required, the broad-based knowledge of academic advising necessary, and the willingness to dedicate many hours to achieving our goal of excellence in research/scholarship.Terry Kuhn.jpg Gary Padak.jpgShe called me one day with the news that she had received a proposal from Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak of Kent State University asking they be considered as co-editors. Terry (recently retired from serving as a Vice Provost) and Gary (a current Dean) submitted a proposal that addressed every point of the Association’s strategic plan and the concerns of the Board of Directors.  I eagerly talked through the proposal with Terry and Gary and then asked if they would accept the appointment as co-editors. Thankfully, they agreed! As I have often stated, that moment has remained one of the most important and impactful decisions of my NACADA Presidency.

Many across NACADA acknowledge the very positive impact Terry and Gary have had on the Association and its members. In reference to the contributions made by Terry and Gary, Virginia Gordon, Senior Editor of the Journal, writes “…words cannot describe the incredible job they have done. They have not only exceeded the quality we have come to expect, but have put the Journal on a stable and forward-looking path. We owe them an extreme debt of gratitude.” Tom Grites, also a senior editor, writes “Together they continually reinforced the nature of integrating theory, practice and research in all that we do as advising practitioners and writers. They have raised the bar in the quality of literature of higher education and established standards and practices that will enable the new Editors to continue the success of the Journal, NACADA’s premier publication.” And, Marsha Miller, NACADA Assistant Director, writes, “Along with Gary Padak, Journal co-editor, Terry worked tirelessly to transform burgeoning researchers into true scholars. From offering a research ‘conference within a conference’ at two annual NACADA conferences to [their] detailed suggestions to authors for manuscript revisions, Terry’s [and Gary’s] support of quality research and those who aspire to publish is more than noteworthy.”

What might Terry and Gary note about their tenure as Journal co-editors?  As true Association “mentors,” what “advice” might they give to all of us? I am sure they would give many other people credit and thank the Journal Board, the Executive Office staff, the many members and non-members who submitted articles!  However, knowing Terry and Gary, they would continue to stand by what they have so eloquently shared with us in each of the Journal’s “From the Co-Editor:”

  • We encourage practicing advisors to take the time to conduct research and write for the Journal, researchers to work with practitioners as they design studies, and both advisors and researchers to consider the important role that theory can play in their work (Volume 24: 1 & 2).
  • Being a scholar in the context of Boyer’s new (1990) definition means recognizing that…knowledge is acquired through research and discovery, synthesis and integration, practice and application, and teaching.”  As NACADA Journal Editors, we contend that academic advising shares this definition of scholarship with the professoriate (Volume 25:1).
  • …we add our own firm belief in the fundamental importance of linking theory to advising practice and research (Volume 25: 2).
  • The NACADA Journal fosters and expects clear thinking regarding the research, theory, and practice of academic advising…The voice of the authors and the eyes of the readers should recognize the phenomenological, assumptive, and hypothetical modes of inquiry in the scholarly literature of academic advising (Volume 26: 1).
  • As an aspiring researcher begins the process of academic inquiry, he or she will need to consider the research question(s) to be asked as well as determine which research methodology to use in answering the research queries…The researcher will also need to consider the participants and setting, data collection methods, data analysis procedures, and potential limitations for the study.  She or he should also identify a realistic time line…Conducting  a research study with the intention of contributing to the body of knowledge in the field of academic advising is an important professional development activity for academic advisors (Volume 27: 1).
  • … authentic mentoring does not function as a means to an end ( i.e. persistence to graduation; a retention strategy in undergraduate education).  Such outcomes may occur as by-products, but the primary purpose of authentic mentoring is the development of the mentee (Volume 26: 2).

What Terry Kuhn Gary Padak have provided to NACADA and its members is authentic mentoring in the truest form – their extraordinary efforts involved the development of thousands of mentees and, in the words of incoming co-editor Rich Robbins, they have produced “a journal for the twenty-first century.”

As we welcome newly appointed Journal co-editors Rich Robbins and Leigh Shaffer, we recognize the “mentoring” given them by Terry and Gary.  And, as an Association with both a national and international membership, we applaud and thank Terry Kuhn and Gary Padak for serving as the Journal NACADA Co-Editors, 2003 – 2009.  I know many in NACADA will echo Virginia Gordon’s thoughts…”words cannot describe the incredible job they have done.”

Ruth Darling
Associate Vice Provost
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
[email protected]

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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.


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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.