Three weeks out, there’s finally a pocket of time to stop and reflect on the 2011 NACADA annual conference in Denver. It was nice having the annual conference this far west. Some of us were lucky enough to only have one flight to Denver; others enjoyed no change in time zones.
First, the postcard info: the weather was great! Warm, sunny and a little breezy now and again. Locals told us it easily could have gone the other way so…phew!…our silent prayers to the weather gods were answered. Overall, the hotel consensus was positive and the downtown location was indeed a crowd-pleaser. Different folks had differing levels of altitude adjustments; it was so easy to forget one was a mile above sea level. A slight headache and chapped lips were usually the first reminder to keep hydrated.
The Colorado Convention Center was huge. And it had a giant blue bear looking in at the entrance. Our conference started in the convention center at the butt end of the 2011 Great American Beer Fest. The irony of rubbing shoulders with young adults wearing pretzel leis was not loss on us.
Region 8 got the conference off with a bang. Two of our colleagues gave pre-conference workshops on Sunday, October 2. Sarah Ann Hones of Washington State University presented “Academic Advising and Consultant Speakers Service Training Workshop.” Becca Schulze from the University of Oregon partnered with Katie McFaddin of Brandeis University on “Blogs, Screencasts & Podcasts: Empowering your Inner ‘Techie.'” Back at the Hyatt Regency, Sally Garner from the University of Oregon was initiated into the Emerging Leaders Program’s 2011-2013 class.
The Awards reception that afternoon was a lovely affair (facilitated, among others, by Oregon State University’s Kerry Kincanon). A small, but vocal, contingent was on hand to cheer the Region 8 award recipients:
- Karla Makus, Washington State University, Outstanding Advising Award – Academic Advising (Primary Role)
- Bryan Dutton, Western Oregon University, Outstanding Faculty Advising – Certificate of Merit
- Miranda Atkinson, University of Oregon, Outstanding New Advisor – Academic Advising (Primary Role) – Certificate of Merit
- Anna Chow, Washington State University – Research Grant recipient & graduate of the 2009-2011 Emerging Leaders Program
- Lisa Laughter, Washington State University – graduate of the 2009-2011 Emerging Leaders Program
Our loudest cheer (and standing ovation), was for Associate Provost David McDonald of Western Oregon University. He was awarded the 2011 Pacesetter Award at the event, an award that recognizes “Chief Executive Officers, Provosts, and Chief Academic or Student Affairs Officers who exemplify a commitment to academic advising and are true advocates for advising, students and advisors.” In nominating him for this award, his colleagues noted he “operates from a base of integrity and his strong character and principles drive him.” Other colleague noted, “(He is) an innovator that sees opportunities in challenges.” On campus, David is known for being both an advocate for students and professionals, helping both develop their potential. “Quite simply,” the announcer said, “he gets the job done.”
CONGRATULATIONS to all the Region 8 national award winners!
But wait, there’s more clapping…
Lisa Laughter of Washington State University presented her Best of Region award-winning presentation, “Journey to Wellness: Managing daily stress as an advisor” on Tuesday, October 4th. The evening before, Region Chair Judi Haskins presented Lisa with her Best of Region award at the Region 8 business meeting.
Speaking of the business meeting…there’s good stuff happening around the region, folks.
Preparation for the 2012 Region 8 conference in Portland, Oregon, is well on its way. Conference chairs Jennifer Joslin and Lori Manson from the University of Oregon are headed up a dynamic planning committee. The conference will be held at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower hotel in downtown Portland, March 17-20, 2012. Call for proposals are now live.
The region leadership was pleased to announce in the business meeting the creation of a new scholarship program for the region. The new scholarship “package” for Portland 2012 will include a NACADA membership, conference registration and two nights accommodation at the conference hotel. Seven recipients would be selected from around the region. [Insert applause track.] The region leadership hopes a larger scholarship package would allow an attendee who otherwise would not have any (or little) financial support to attend. Although not required, each attendee would be encouraged to submit a presentation proposal for the 2013 regional conference…
Yes, Alaska! Hotel negotiations are underway for several hotels in downtown Anchorage. No decision has been made yet on conference dates; when we know, you’ll know. A preliminary conference planning committee has been put together but planning are still in very early stages. First comes hotels, then comes dates. Then comes everything else. But that’s another post for another time.
That’s not to say we’re not looking ahead because we are. Vancouver, British Columbia, you are in our sights for 2014…
There’s so much more to a conference than awards ceremonies and business meetings. If you were home but on Twitter, we hope you were following the #NACADA11 and the #NACADAR8 hashtags. The conference had a very active back-channel and an extremely well-attended tweet-up. There was way too much to cover in one blog post.
But we can’t end this reflection without the largest applause track for our region. At this conference, Region 8’s own Jennifer Joslin from the University of Oregon started her term as NACADA president. In her presidential speech, she laid out her priorities for the coming year:
I do plan on writing & speaking a great deal about technology in the coming year — it shapes our daily lives, and it will continue to shape the future of our field. I would argue that the theoretical shift from prescriptive to developmental advising, and the infusion of technology into advising are the two most pivotal events of the last 40 years in the field.
She challenged us to be aware how we react to change, especially if our campuses face tumultuous times:
Even in these difficult times, I encourage you to be the co-worker you want to work with; the boss you always wished you’d had; the advisor your students need you to be. From Oregon to Australia, these are hard times but let’s not let these times define and most importantly limit us.
She closed with a call to action:
When you get home, be prepared. This year NACADA will reach out to you regularly through regional conferences, emails, newsletters, speakers, webinars, list-servs, social media, and the learning network you have and are creating. When I get those emails and see the phrase NACADA Near You, I know from experience that it’s more than a tagline. It’s a promise of support, collegiality, and innovation. It’s also each one of us! You are the NACADA Near You. As surely as I represent, so do you. When you go home, you are the nearest thing to NACADA that some of your colleagues will experience this year. It’s a great opportunity and a tremendous responsibility.
So here is our own call to action now. As we as a region turn our attention to Portland 2012, think of the ways you can participate. Submit a proposal, apply for a scholarship, nominate a colleague for a regional award. Do these things for yourself or encourage/nominate others. There is great stuff happening in our region. Let’s share. Let us all be the NACADA near us.