Ann M. Hintz, MS
St. Norbert College
NACADA Summer Institute Chair and Faculty Member
Vice President of Membership, WACADA

As the semester comes to an end, it is time to start thinking about professional development opportunities for the summer. Summer is a great time to work on projects and get a head start on goals for the next academic year and the NACADA Summer Institute can help you reach those goals. This summer, the NACADA Summer Institutes are being held in Erie, PA June 19-24 or July 24-29. As the current chair and a faculty member for the NACADA Summer Institute (SI), I can’t recommend this opportunity enough for individuals or teams.

What is the Summer Institute? This week-long event is more than just a conference. While there are foundational, concurrent, and open forum sessions for academic advisors and administrators to gain additional knowledge, the magic of the SI comes through the work group work and the creation of an action plan that you build at the SI. The action plan is developed by you or the team you attend with, focusing on an area of academic advising at your institution that you want to enhance or improve. Action plan topics range from development of items such as an academic advising syllabus, to major changes within your academic advising structure, enhancing professional development programming, and much more. 

I love the one on one work that the SI faculty get with those who attend. There are work group sessions where you can build your action plan, as well as consultation sessions with faculty to get feedback on your action plan. When you leave the SI, most action plans are close to being ready to implement. As a faculty member, it is incredibly rewarding to help others develop a plan to reach the goals around academic advising at their home institutions. 

Each work group is assigned a faculty member to help you learn how to build an action plan, share valuable insight into helping make the action plans work, and more. Faculty are chosen for work groups based on their experience in higher education, knowledge of your institutional type, and are able to share valuable insight into the process. Additionally, you or your team will have a chance to have a consultation with a different faculty member at the SI, as well as connect one on one with faculty for informal consultations during meals and breaks. You will also receive feedback from your peers at the SI to ensure that you are getting as much feedback and insight as possible to set your action plan up for success. 

The SI is for everyone who works within academic advising. Newer academic advisors gain valuable knowledge and can increase their academic advising skills. Experienced academic advisors are able to share insight and dive into larger projects. Individuals are able to network to develop connections with academic advisors from across the globe. Faculty academic advisors will gain additional insight into academic advising approaches and how best to serve their students. Academic advising administrators can help guide academic advising for their institution. When your institution brings a team, you can really dig into larger action plans with dedicated workspace and time to approach head-on the changes you are hoping to make at your institution. 

Whatever the reason you or your team wants to attend the SI, the faculty will help you work towards completing an action plan that is ready to implement and move academic advising forward at your campus. I hope to see YOU this summer in Erie! 

Remember to Apply for a WACADA grant to support your professional development! All WACADA members may be considered for grants funded by WACADA to support you and offset financial costs of professional development opportunities. If you are interested in attending the SI, consider applying for a WACADA grant.