2015 Region 8 Conference Recap

View from CDA Resort of Lake CDA

Last week, 400 advisors converged on the beautiful city of Coeur d’Alene, ID. With an amazing room rate, the continued low cost of conference registration, and gorgeous scenery, it was too good to pass up. So good in fact, that this is the largest amount of participants for a non-I5 corridor conference that this region has ever had. If there are people who we can credit for such an amazing turnout, those thanks must start with Andrew Brewick, our conference chair. Andrew and the conference sub-committees put in a ton of effort to make sure that all 400 participants had an amazing experience.

We also must thank our Region Chair, Nicole Kent. Nicole is doing great work leading the Region 8 Steering Committee and has already turned her sights to the 2016 Region 8 Conference in Seattle, Washington…but more on that later.

Next, I would like to thank our keynote speakers Chairlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director and Michael Benitez Jr. for their wonderful opening and closing keynotes. Last, but certainly not least, we need to thank the NACADA Board rep for this conference, Pat Mason-Brown for her wonderful updates on the things that the board is currently working on.

A special thank you to the Coeur d’Alene resort and the Hagadone Corporation for their hospitality and generosity which made this event unforgettable.

Let’s move onto the recap!

Conference Planning Committee

On Tuesday, the conference planning committee began their work stuffing 400 bags for our conference participants. We may have not been whistling while we worked, but the assembly line moved right though all 400 bags. On Wednesday, it was time for your Region 8 Steering Committee to meet. We discussed a range of topics including the budget, the 2016 conference, awards and scholarships, diversity within the region, region by-laws and a variety of other topics. The conference may be over, the the Region 8 Steering Committee will remain hard at work.


Steering Committee

Wednesday during the day we started with four pre-conference workshops, including last year’s Best in Region winner Kerry Thomas and Nova Schauss, Advising Students on Developing Resiliency.

11046630_10100567970933894_8087312158336846824_nOn Wednesday night, everyone got together and hit the open water. The Coeur d’Alene Resort shuttled the conference participants across Lake Coeur d’Alene to the Hagadone Event Center for the official conference kick off and dessert! Andrew Brewick started us off by thanking everyone who joined us, and then the Coeur d’Alene tribe shared with us a story of the area and their people through dance. We then cruised back across the lake and awaited the next day of sessions.

On Thursday, we started with breakfast, which led right into the New Member Orientation. This event brought in 75 new members of first time attendees. Charlie Nutt and Nicole Kent, along with some of the other conference guests and the Region 8 Steering Committee, got the new members excited about Region 8.


We then began our concurrent sessions, two in the morning, which then led to the first keynote luncheon and awards ceremony. The Thursday luncheon, which featured some delicious turkey croissant sandwiches, began with some remarks from Andrew Brewick, Nicole Kent and Pat Mason-Brown. We then jumped into recognizing some of our Region 8 Award and Certificate of Merit winners. This year, we split the awards ceremony into two events, the first focusing on primary advisors from Region 8. These individuals were selected by the Awards Committee from the Region 8 Steering Committee and represent some of the best that this region has to offer.

Let’s review the recipients of the first day of awards:

Excellence in Advising New Advisor Certificate of Merit Recipient – Sharlyn Gunderson-Izurieta, Montana State University

Excellence in Advising New Advisor Award Winner – Allison Ramsing, Oregon State University

Excellence in Advising Professional Advisor Certificate of Merit Recipient – Kelli Schrand, University of Idaho

Excellence in Advising Professional Advisor Award Winner – Kimberly Rambo Reinitz, University of Oregon

Excellence in Advising Faculty Academic Advisor Certificate of Merit Recipient – Dr. Frank Willhelm, University of Idaho – Andrew Brewick Accepting

Excellence in Advising Faculty Academic Advisor Award Winner – Dr. Mary Sanchez Lanier, Washington State University

IMG_2253 IMG_2254 IMG_2255 IMG_2256IMG_2258

IMG_2264After recognizing these members, we moved to our first keynote from Michael Benitez Jr. entitled “The Conviction Behind the Work: Cultivating a Culture of ‘Thriving’, not Surviving.” Our Region Chair Nicole Kent added her thoughts about the keynote, “It was wonderful to have Michael share his thoughts around the intersection of advising and issues of diversity.  His ability to break through barriers around some sensitive topics to frame a concrete conversation about our practice really sets him apart.  His keynote was enlightening, engaging, and inspiring, and we were so fortunate to have the opportunity to hear him speak.”

We then jump back into sessions for the afternoon, and there some great sessions! After the Thursday sessions ended, we jumped into the Region 8 business meeting led by our fearless leader, Nicole Kent. Nicole detailed the regional goals and what Region 8 is all about. Then we moved over to Nova Schauss, who detailed the upcoming Region 8 Conference in Seattle. Another post will follow detailing the upcoming conference, but here is some quick excerpts from Nova’s talk: The conference is January 20-22nd, 2016 (note it is 2 months earlier than normal). The conference will be in Seattle, WA at the Motif Hotel (formerly Red Lion) on 5th and Pike.  The room rate will be $149.00 a night, and the conference rate will be announced soon. Proposals will be due September 8th (much earlier than normal) and the scholarship deadline will be November 1st. Participants then ended their evening with some dinner groups around the beautiful city of Coeur d’Alene.

On Friday we fueled up with breakfast and then had two more sessions before our closing lunch. These sessions were also amazing, and included the 2015 Region 8 Best in Region winner…but more on that later!

11012611_896793022948_3830411399480534286_nJumping into the closing luncheon, Nova shared some information on Seattle to those who were not able to make the Region 8 Business meeting. We then welcomed Executive Director of NACADA, Charlie Nutt to talk with us about “The Heart of the Matter: Academic Advising for Today and the Future.” Charlie rallied the troops and got everyone excited about what we do every day. Charlie discussed a variety of topics including what we as advisors need to do to gain the support of our administration, how we need to advocate that we are professional with a field of student, and helping students find their place in the world. All of this, as Charlie says, gets to the heart of what we do every day.

After Charlie reminded us why we do what we do, it was time to recognize more award recipients. The second day of awards focused on those people, and the things which help primary advisors serve our students.

Let’s review the recipients of the second day of awards:

Excellence in Advising Advising Technology Innovation Award Winners – Joshua Gibbs & Henry Lui, University of Washington

Excellence in Advising Advising Administrator Certificate of Merit Recipient – Justine Rupp, Washington State University    

Excellence in Advising Advising Administrator Award Winner – Mark Hoffman, Oregon State University

Excellence in Advising Institutional Administrator Award Winner – James Minkler, Spokane Falls Community College

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Nicole Kent then recognized outgoing Steering Committee members for their service. Steering Committee members are elected for a term of two years, with an option to continue for an additional two years. We recently held a regional election to elect our new Steering Committee members, who official began at the Wednesday Steering Committee meeting, but it was time to recognize those who were rotating off. A big thanks to

Linda Morgan, University of Alaska – Anchorage, Alaska Liaison

Sabreena MacElheron, College of New Caledonia, British Columbia Liaison

Shea Ellingham, Mt. Royal University, Alberta Liaison

Brenda Lindquist, Grande Prairie Regional College, Alberta Liaison

Tamie Saffell,  Western Oregon University, Oregon Liaison

IMG_2294Finally, Nicole presented the 2015 Best in Region presentation winner, Beth Dittman, Willamette University “Practice, Reflect, Repeat: Getting Back to Basics to Teach At-Risk Students the Essential Elements of Persistence.” We will be able to see Beth next in Las Vegas, as she will present this topic at the Annual Conference in October. Following the Annual Conference, Beth will give this talk as a pre-conference workshop in Seattle.

Final thoughts about the conference…amazing! There were a lot of great sessions and a lot of great people. If you missed a session or were unable to attend, you can view most presentation material under the 2015 Region 8 Conference section of the blog. Simply click the full schedule of presentations and on the right will be the presentation materials. See everyone in Seattle in just 10 months!

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