January 2014

NAADA Connections


What’s in a Name?

Jillian StevensonActually, quite a bit! For NAADA, finding that right name to represent who and what we are as a professional organization does matter. Over the years, our organization has evolved to include student and communication professionals, and our name no longer embodies the breadth of our membership or the potential for growth. With that in mind, last year your NAADA Board of Directors charged a task force to consider a name change for the organization that would reflect the entire membership — not only our current members, but potential members in other areas of our organizations and institutions with an interest in agricultural sciences and their related programs. The committee has suggested a new definition of NAADA, and we need your feedback. Please visit our online survey and let your voice be heard. Once we have gathered your input, the board will meet in March to consider next steps — move forward with the suggested name and bring to the membership in June for a formal vote or go back to the beginning for new ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jillian Stevenson
NAADA President

Consider Hosting a NAADA Conference

By Mary Buschette, University of Minnesota

Have you ever considered hosting a NAADA Conference? It can seem quite daunting, but before you write off the idea, consider this — it was with some hesitation that the University of Minnesota submitted a proposal to host the 2009 conference. Would NAADA members want to come to Minnesota after a conference in Hawaii!? And the economic situation in the US was looking pretty grim (slashed travel budgets, etc.)

Fortunately, we could rely on fantastic support from the NAADA staff at Ewald Consulting as well as the wisdom and resources shared by previous hosts. Hosting the conference gave us the opportunity to shine at home (several representatives from central administration participated), show off our facilities (research facilities, the new TCF Bank Stadium, the Landscape Arboretum) and engage our students, alumni volunteers and donors in a unique way. Several professionals from other parts of the university presented sessions, including the director of the nationally recognized U of M Parent Program.

But the greatest benefit is that 5 years later, our advancement team in CFANS is stronger than ever. Before the conference, we were much more separated both by our professional silos and our physical locations. We didn’t realize the possibilities for connections and collaboration. Working together over two years to plan the conference brought us closer together. Recently we've established a monthly industry roundtable discussion that brings together admissions, alumni relations, development, communications, student services, career services, and international programs to discuss how we can better collaborate with our partners. It has been a fantastic way to share information, support each other and "build bridges”. So before you dismiss the idea, think about the benefits of bringing the NAADA conference to your institution, and know that there are colleagues at previous host institutions who are ready and willing to support you.

I hope that you will consider submitting a proposal – the RFP form is located here. If you have questions about what hosting a conference entails, please give me (Mary Buschette, 612-624-1745) a call or contact Jillian Stevenson at

What Do I Know?

By Andy Zehr, Iowa State University

No matter how smart I start to think I am, there are always reminders of what I don’t know. It starts with my 4-year-old enlightening me about what the fox says and continues with a parade of students, updating me on things like competitive taxidermy. Both topics are beyond my areas of expertise. You truly do learn something new every day.

I think that the opportunity to explore areas outside of my expertise is what I appreciate most about my association with NAADA. While I belong to several professional organizations, most of them are pretty narrowly focused and the other members’ daily work is fairly similar to mine. But NAADA presents a unique opportunity for me to gain perspective on what professionals in areas outside of my little world of student services do.

I find it fascinating to learn about the strategy and time investment required of development officers before and after a major gift. I’m inspired by the career services specialist who cares enough to have an uncomfortable conversation with a student about appropriate interview attire. I envy the energy and stamina of the alumni relations professional hosting hundreds of their college’s friends and alumni. And I’m impressed that I can learn about these topics at a single conference.

These are all jobs that I don’t do on a day-to-day basis. Truth be told, I’m not so sure I would be good at any of them. But, my work is made better by learning more about these different positions and the people who have them. At the very least, NAADA experiences always help me better appreciate my colleagues at Iowa State and across the nation. At the very best, NAADA experiences generate creative ideas for collaboration with my colleagues that I might have missed if I focused only on my to-do list.

In my experience, the projects that tend to have the most impact – and are the most fun – are often team efforts that challenge you to think about things from multiple perspectives. Sometimes that means I need to think like a development or alumni relations officer and I’m smart enough to realize that there’s a lot I don’t know about those areas. But I also know we are all committed to the advancement of agriculture. To me, making that connection is what NAADA is all about.

Annual Conference Registration to Launch

Registration for the Annual Conference will launch in mid-February. Hold June 17-20 on your calendar, start looking into your travel now and keep an eye out for the official launch email.

Welcome New Members

Help us welcome our new NAADA members. Feel free to drop them a note of welcome!

Suzanne Griffeth, University of Georgia, Development
Carla Wood, University of Georgia, Alumni Professionals
Samantha Adler, Michigan State University, Development
Andy Granskog, Michigan State University, Volunteer
Dorcia Chaison, Michigan State University, Student Professionals
Fred Poston, Michigan State University, Dean
Steven Williams, Pennsylvania State University, Communications
Tracy Hoover, Pennsylvania State University, Student Professionals
Jenneth Layaou, Pennsylvania State University, Student Professionals
Stephen Logue, Pennsylvania State University, Development

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