Author Taya Britten (right) is pictured with colleague Amy Geist as they represented the Advising Success Network at the NACADA annual conference in 2023.
In the fast-paced world of education and student advising, staying informed about the latest strategies and resources is crucial. Recently, I had the privilege of exhibiting the Advising Success Network (ASN) at the NACADA Annual Conference. The event not only exceeded my expectations, but also opened my eyes to the incredible benefits of sharing resources, connecting with fellow professionals, and the power of advising. In this blog post, I’d like to reflect on my experience at the conference and share what I learned during my time there.
Uniting Over Advising
The NACADA Annual Conference is a gathering of advisors, educators, and professionals deeply passionate about student advising and success. The 2023 conference was hosted October 4-7 in Orlando, Florida. The atmosphere of nearly 3,400 in-person and online participants was bustling with the exchange of ideas, strategies, and success stories. Whether attendees were seasoned advisors or just beginning their journey, there were discussions and workshops tailored to their needs. The 24 conference tracks featured topics like career advising, health and well-being, student persistence and identity, and advising administration, for instance. And, like-minded individuals gathered to tackle common challenges and celebrate triumphs in an innovative environment.
Embracing the Advising Success Network
I had the opportunity to share about the ASN with attendees, and that was a major highlight for me. Our network represents a diverse and dynamic community of professionals and organizations committed to advancing equity and student success. Engaging with the ASN opens doors to collaboration, idea-sharing, and ongoing learning that we were able to share with attendees.
We talked to new professionals who were still settling into their roles, and seasoned professionals who had spent over 20 years in the field. We had many fruitful conversations with attendees about their work and their students. But there was an overwhelming consensus — advisors can’t carry the weight of student success on their shoulders alone. They need improved systemic support to do the work we know is critical to student success.
Amongst a crowd of exhibitors, ASN connected with professionals from various institutions and backgrounds. We shared about professional development opportunities that will be available in the network. For example, individuals could participate in engaging discussions; review publications; write blogs; or join an advisory group.
Access to a Treasure Trove of Resources
Professionals found a goldmine of resources, materials, and information to bring back to their institutions. Presenters offered informative workshops, practical toolkits, and cutting-edge research findings. The event provided a treasure trove of knowledge to enhance advising techniques and improve the student experience.
We were able to highlight our focus on Black, Latinx/a/o, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, and poverty-affected students. ASN resources are a collection of work centered on holistic advising, trends in the field, relevant resources, and promising practices. We shared what resources attendees could utilize and other ways to get engaged in the network. Things ASN discussed while exhibiting included:
- ASN’s free resources
- Potential interest in ASN services
- ASN 2024-2025 Cohort application
- Free online courses coming soon
- Network engagement opportunities for individuals
My experience at the NACADA Conference was incredible. I was amazed by the support, camaraderie, and knowledge-sharing that occurred. It reinforced the importance of collaboration and highlighted the incredible power of connecting with peers who share your passion. Advisors are doing incredible work — hearing their stories and being able to share free resources about supporting our priority populations was very rewarding.
I left the conference with a greater understanding of the current advising landscape and a passion to engage as many people as we can in upcoming opportunities from the ASN. My conversations with fellow attendees sparked new ideas and rejuvenated my commitment to student success. The experience reaffirmed that, in the field of advising, sharing resources and connecting with others are catalysts for personal and professional growth.
In conclusion, my experience exhibiting at the NACADA Conference was unforgettable. Therefore, I encourage every advisor and education professional to seize the opportunity to attend such an event. Attendees can unite with a community of like-minded individuals, tap into a world of free resources, and actively participate in critical conversations around student success. Through this experience, I’ve discovered that the path to excellence in student advising is paved with the bricks of sharing, connecting, and learning. The NACADA Annual Conference was a shining beacon along that path.
Taya Britten is the Program Manager with the Advising Success Network. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia.